Daniel placed his bag onto the side table, just after inspecting it for dust or stains. He was that type of person, methodical, precise, unwavering in the depths to which he would inspect certain things. Possibly an obsessive-compulsive person but, getting him to admit that, would never be forthcoming. The table, clean, in order and as it should be, would thus comply with his requirements. Some would say that he was an odd person but others, those close to him, would trust him with absolutely everything. Their lives, their fortune, their misery filled conversations and more.
The room, as he glanced at the various fittings and colours, was somewhat stale and drab. Possibly due to the number. That number many feared for some unknown, odd, silly reason. To him numbers meant nothing, other than to calculate of create statistical odds and ends. To others they meant everything. He’d read many books, old and young alike, with the older books fixated with old wife’s tales and furious notions of other realms and fantasies. He, however, believed in what he could see, touch and experience.
Daniel, looking serious, walked around the bed to where the chair sat. A large room, three main areas, with the usual bathroom tacked alongside the bedroom. The chair wasn't as light as he’d liked but, being honest with himself, it probably wasn't supposed to be moved. He could see that, from the carpet indentations, as he tilted the furniture to make it easier to drag. He knew that the cleaner would wonder what on earth he was doing but, by then, he would be long gone.
The chair, sat directly between rooms, straddled the middle of his hired space. Out of breath, by just a little, he walked over to the usual complimentary snack and tea area, opening a bottle of water to quickly quench the thirst growing within. That thirst. That gloriously gaping thirst that consumed him four years previous, hardly a thing for a small bottle of water to resolve, but nonetheless this was why he was here.
Forgetting his usual ethic of cleanliness, he wiped his lips against the cuff of his suit jacket, aware, knowing, of what he must now do. It had taken the four years to reach this place, the study, the absolute acuity of success, which meant that even if he weren't ready, it was now or never. He’d wished ‘never’ hadn't found him. He wished a lot of things. But the wishes were never, ever, answered.
He balanced himself on the chair’s arm, wondering if he really should do what he was about to do, but such talk was fool’s talk. Images flashed into his mind, exploding, ushering his calm into a state that he despised. He hated losing control. He tried to ignore the impulses of life but after the events, all those years previous, he’d be damned if anyone, or thing, would get away with what they did.
Gaining strength from the hurtful images, his mind spinning, he fell into the chair and started to relax. He’d prepared, he’d practised to a point, even tried on multiple occasions, but failure ensured knowledge and this was the absolute place for such things. He closed his eyes, breathing in, in such a way to control his heart, eventually feeling the calm and control take control of him. Such things were not allowed within this place, his world, any more.
With calm, he started. He tensed his back, feeling all the nerves within his spine tingle. His mind started to mimic his spine’s power. He started to feel the heat and, just then, began sending out the pure hatred within his mind. All his negativity, all the pain, the remorse, the hatred within his very blood, escaped his body as his aura reached out into the room. He knew that it might take a while, seeing as such things were not omnipresent, so the books proclaimed. He, however, believed that such things were everywhere. Within hearts, infecting minds, leeching from souls and within every single creation.
As his body pulsed, sending forward such energy that the room, if alive, would run from him, he felt the change almost instantly as the voice appeared.
“How did you find me?” it asked. Daniel would smile, if the rage within allowed such things, but this moment was not for any such thoughts or motions.
“The thirteenth state, the thirteenth street, on the thirteenth floor within the thirteenth room, how could someone not find such a thing!”
“Clever,” came the reply with such a vicious, dripping, vile voice, “What do you want?”
Daniel grasped the seats' arms, fingers turning white as his grip tightened to abnormal levels. He wanted it to suffer, to pay, to feel the emptiness of life as everything is taken from you. He wished for things to return to normal, but he couldn't. That day was gone. Today, on the other hand, was the thirteenth and he had all the power he needed. “Show yourself!” he commanded with a strength he’d not normally be known for.
As his eyes scanned the room, head turning to see each corner, the figure materialised in front of him. A red mist, with eyes. A spectre of immense power and fortitude. He knew that the form varied from one myth to another but this form, more than likely, was the real form not often seen. It must have felt relaxed, that he was of no threat, which he knew might actually be true. Now was the time to forgive himself, to let go of the pain and punishment that had tormented him for the years gone by.
The entity approached, looking at him through its burning red eyes. Daniel had no idea of its thoughts, its motives, or why it even existed, other than to torment. “Do you know why I’m here?” he asked with defiance and as much courage he could find. The study, the tests, the scholars and Holy men’s advice were, of course, not even remotely suitable to face such things. His calm and resolve, on the other hand, were more than enough. If he died on this very day he would be more than happy as he knew who was waiting for him.
The thing, silent, eventually spoke, “You’re here because I took something from you.”
“Yes, you did!”
“…and why should I concern myself with you? I have taken many at their time.”
“It wasn't their time!” spat Daniel with venom.
The entity moved closer, the rage intensifying its eyes to a new shade of red, “How dare you assume you can tell me anything. I shall have your soul!”
Pressing himself into the chair, Daniel could feel his chest start to hurt, the spectre doing exactly what he’d hoped. His soul, his very essence, was being taken from him. He knew that time would then be short, a quick slide to the bottom of life before dying of illness. He didn't wish for this to happen, but he’d held on as long as he could. He’d watched his Wife and Daughter leave the world in such odd circumstances that he needed an answer, and this was what he was looking for. He’d read that humanity were food, a form of energy to these things and, right now, he wasn't about to let that happen.
The force against his chest intensified as the Demon continued to try and take his soul but, as he knew, he’d prepared. For those four years he’d planned, discovered, realised so much about the hidden world, that the sacrifice would be worthwhile. He closed his eyes, concentrated and started to use his greatest rescue. His mind. The demon paused, for a brief second, wondering what was happening but it was too late.
“Where is your soul?” it asked with complete confusion. Daniel opened his dark eyes, smiling, using the intense pain and suffering of the memories to his advantage.
“I gave my soul away to help another. That means there’s an empty space. Care to join me?”
He wasn't a man that made jokes, full of bravado, but there was always room to expand his personality. His spine still pulsing, every nerve fibre in his body acting as a powerful conductor, he could feel his metaphysical chest opening to expose the bodies soul chamber. Vacant, absent, empty from rescuing a small child from evil’s clutches, he jerked his head back against the chair, closing his eyes, then started to scream. The Demon moved forward, into him, concatenated, to be encased once inside.
He concentrated, continuing to use every single ounce of his strength, as the Demon completely entered him, his soul cage closing behind. Gasping for breath, the ordeal finished, he felt something within him, empty for days, suddenly becoming whole again. He knew not what the effects would be, what would happen after this day, but as long as that thing remained trapped and away from causing unnatural, painful deaths of loved ones, he would gladly endure his new life.
His breathing eventually relaxed, sweat pouring from his skin, he looked within himself to feel the soul squirming. It wasn't quite ready to surrender, but he had time. His fingertips let go of the chair, finally, as he felt the odd sensation of power within him. He carried his soul since the very first day of his creation, yet he knew not what to do with it. Now, on this very day, he held within him a soul of a different kind. A dangerous kind yet, for some reason, he wasn't sated. He wanted more. He knew that there were others and, right now, he was ready to move forward.
Today might have been the thirteenth day, on the thirteenth floor, the street, the state, but he immediately made the decision that one wasn't enough. He wanted to devour all thirteen and that’s exactly what he would do.