Possession Of The Demon Tamer – Part 6
Although time worked differently in Hell in contrast to time on Earth, Alphonse felt more than happy to spend some quality time with his father, Lucifer. For a few moments that blended into an endless long day, he forgot about every predicament in his existence. Father gave him a decent pep talk while also talking up Silas, which felt like a backhanded compliment in away.
The two feasted on corpses and played several rounds of Kick the Skull. If the skull hit the wall and cracked into a million pieces, the kicker won. They tortured some souls, watched a few fights in the Violence layer. Almost every demon who was anybody came to watch these fights.
Alphonse remembered when he was created, a mere demonling, just small in size but with a nature to destroy and conquer. Then, his father took him to these battles in their own netherworld, gave him his first torture victim, and they even went to the Skull Kicking Tournament held in the center of Hell every couple hundred years.
Lucifer shouted, whistled, clapped, laughed, and drank the blood of his enemies and lost souls. Alphonse felt such pride being with him again. They were together again, singing songs about death with the other demons. There was something about going back home, to this way of being with his family that felt right.
There was no telling how long he’d been there. It felt like a millennium had come and gone by the time father approached him. “Silas started a volcano eruption in Hawaii.” He said to Alphonse as they watched a soul get ripped apart, put back together, then get ripped apart again.
“He loves his natural disasters,” Alphonse muttered.
“Don’t you have a demon tamer to possess and kill?”
He did. The desire to make his father proud coursed through him like fire. Being here, although fun, wasn’t productive on his part. He was stalling, and he knew it. Maybe his father knew it, too. “Yeah. I guess I’ll be heading out.” He downed the rest of his blood-filled goblet and threw it at a poor soul who was being flayed for the billionth time. “It was fun, dad. Great to see you.” Alphonse grinned. He should turn and go, but he stayed where he was, waiting for something… something he wasn’t sure of.
Lucifer gave him a happy nod. “All right! Well, see ya, son.” The great ruler then turned from him and sauntered away, leaving Alphonse a bit deflated.
Had he expected a hug? How asinine.
Alphonse made his way back to Earth. He stood outside Cassandra’s house. It was daytime, no matter how many years he felt had gone by in Hell. It was only a matter of hours on Earth.
“Hey. You’re Cass’ friend, right?”
Startled, Alphonse whirled around toward the sound of the voice. At his eye level, he saw nothing, and then glanced down to see little Antonio poking at the mist that clung to his figure. The child played outside?
What an odd question. What a terribly strange child. How was the boy not afraid? Alphonse let out a deep growl, drawing Antonio’s attention back up at him. Antonio giggled and then reached up for his hand, pulling him along to the backyard. “Let’s go play. She’s here. Mom’s not home, so it’s okay that you’re here.”
“Er, right.” Alphonse sighed. So much for fulfilling his duties.
When they turned to the back of the house, Cassandra came into view. She bounced a plastic ball up and down but didn’t smile at the sight of him. Alphonse froze, and Antonio tugged on his hand to keep pulling him along.
Cassandra sported a gash on her forehead with the blood dry, and a settled bruise on her cheek. Her sharp eyes glared at him, and she kicked the ball towards them both. Antonio lost interest in trying to yank him closer as he let out a joyous laugh and went to play with the ball instead.
Alphonse glided closer to her. She met his eyes again, her own deep and intense. Despite their silence, so many words seemed to pass between them with unanswered questions on both ends. Now was not the time. Antonio wanted to play.
“Smile,” she told him. “and kick the ball. You can do it.”
Before he knew it, the ball flew right to the back of his head. Alphonse jumped in surprise and turned to see Antonio shout, “GOOOOOOOAAAALLL!” for such a long amount of time that the child went out of breath.
“Si, just like Messi!” She exclaimed
“I’m gonna be just like him!” Antonio shouted, kicking in the air so hard that he fell back. Cassandra stiffened, but he got right back up with a laugh, grass in his hair. “I need some practice still, clearly.”
“Just a little bit. Come on, let’s go at it again!”
Alphonse flashed the boy a smile and kicked the ball with diminished strength for fair play.
Cassandra giggled, and Antonio kicked the ball again. Cassandra sprinted as if it were a reflex to kick it back as it swerved away from them.
“You know,” Alphonse said. “This is all nice and all, but I think we should practice properly.”
“What do you mean?” She asked.
“Come here, boy,” Alphonse said, beckoning Antonio closer with a clawed finger. Antonio did, eyes swimming with glee as he carried the ball with him. “Close your eyes. You, too, Cass.”
Cassandra flashed him the brightest smile since he’d come back and did as she shut her eyes.
Alphonse almost never used his powers like this, especially for humans. He was growing fond of Cassandra, a lot like how a brother or father cared for their sister or daughter. He couldn’t explain it if he tried, but it was undeniable. He wanted to protect rather than kill.
He knew they doomed him, knew he’d fail in his mission. Seeing Cassandra had been hurt in his absence hurt him. It filled him with loathing for the one who hurt her, and he had a hunch as to who it was.
And little Antonio, with his dream to be a soccer player.
From one second to another, they were in an empty soccer stadium. A cloudless, blue sky and bright, hot sun greeted them up above. Soccer balls stood in a line well in front of the right goalpost. An invisible announcer shouted into a microphone that reached every end of the stadium, “Y ahora, Antonio Vargas!”
“Wow!” Antonio squealed, looking as if he were seizing from excitement. “My clothes!”
Alphonse had switched Antonio’s clothes to a junior league team uniform of the national Argentinian team. He ran around with elation, back and forth with a continuous burst of laughter. “This is so cool!”
Alphonse looked at Cassandra, who had fallen speechless with shock. Her hands covered her mouth. “I hope you didn’t have anything to do today. Anyway, thought that Antonio needed a proper backyard to practice his goals.”
She let out a surprised laugh and jumped up with enthusiasm. “This is,” she put her hands down and gaped at him. “insane! I didn’t know you could do this?!”
“It’s not like I often have reasons to do this,” Alphonse said with a humble shrug. “If I don’t use these kinds of powers, I’ll get rusty, and then how will I possess you?”
“You’re so full of it,” Cassandra laughed.
“Cass! Stand goalie!” Antonio shouted, and Cassandra hurried over. Alphonse waved a hand to magic a goalie uniform on her, with the gloves and shin guards. She laughed again, glancing over at him with a thumbs up. “Pay attention, though! Don’t go all easy on me!”
“I won’t! Give me your best shot!”
Alphonse watched from the sidelines. Antonio was good for a kid. He had his aim, although his strength needed work, and that’s where it’d come out weak. Soccer balls were tough, but how else would he get better? Not with a plastic ball that bounced, that’s for sure.
After a few goes at every angle, there was a definite improvement. Alphonse took it upon himself to appear at every single seat in the stadium at inhuman speed. He cheered, whooped, and whistled. With his efforts, he turned into a blur, and the sounds blended as if there was a crowd.
By the last run, they played against each other without goalies but intending to kick the ball through the net remaining the same. Alphonse had a whistle and some colorful cards. “Out of bounds!” He shouted as the ball rolled away. In an instant, it appeared right in the middle again. “Not in the goalie ring! Watch it!” And they’d go again.
Cassandra was ruthless. She got the ball into the net several times, but it only seemed to urge Antonio to do better. He looked like a bull ready to charge every fresh round, when finally, Antonio kicked the ball so hard that it went flying and into the net in a top bin goal.
Alphonse blew the whistle an exaggerated amount, making Antonio laugh. “I don’t believe it! A top bin goal!” He hurried over to the siblings, who shouted over the goal.
“Did you see that?”
“That was epic!”
“I can’t believe it!”
“I really did that, huh?”
“Anyone up for some celebratory ice cream?” Alphonse interjected, and before their eyes, he held three ice cream cones.
“Dulce de leche, my favorite!” Antonio said, taking it happily and sitting in the grass in the middle of the field.
“Thank you,” Cassandra said, taking the mint chocolate chip. They left Alphonse with cookie dough. Both smiled at each other and went to join Antonio.
“You should join the team at school,” Cassandra told him. “I’m serious. I’ve been telling you forever. This should be enough incentive for you to do so, right, Al?”
Alphonse blinked and nodded. “Oh! Right! Yeah, you’re actually quite phenomenal.”
“You think so, guys?” Antonio let out a dreamy sigh and laid down, looking up at the sky. “Thanks for taking me here, Al. This is the best day ever. I’ve always wanted to come to a soccer stadium. Well, I’ve always wanted to watch a pro game, too, but this is amazing.”
Alphonse grinned. “Someday.”
“Thank you, Al,” Cassandra told him, nodding with a warm smile. “This… this means a lot. We kind of needed this.”
Her gash and bruise were staring at him, mocking, reminding him of what happened while he was gone. The crushing guilt ripped into him. He shouldn’t have gone. He should’ve stayed and protected her, and to an extent, little Antonio, too, with the big soccer dreams and sleepovers with his friends.
“Don’t mention it,” Alphonse said, shrugging. “I’ve got a reputation to uphold.”
“What a load of bull.”
A soft laugh escaped him, but he hated that it was bull. Hated that he knew, and admitted to himself, that he could not harm this young girl or this young boy.
Although, that brought another fear biting into his core. What if he became a risen demon? What did that entail? What would happen to him? What would his father think? His brethren? Silas? Would he still be able to protect these two and bring them the happiness they deserve?
Of all the things that had to happen to him… he had to become a moral demon. He was a sellout, and he knew he was in deep trouble.
Alphonse couldn’t help thinking how getting into eternal trouble was worth the risk when he finally cared about someone enough to protect them.