“I’m hungry,” Pasha whined. Her voice cut his concentration like shards of broken glass.
“Shut up, I’m trying,” Falken snarled under his breath. That brat was bound to draw attention to them if she didn’t keep her trap shut.
“How about that? It looks good.”
“No, it’s not right.” His eyes scanned their surroundings. So much potential swarmed around them. Despite the vast selection in the mall’s food court, nothing he saw looked vaguely appetizing.
“You want me to starve!” Pasha bellowed.
Falken cursed and clamped a hand down on his coat pocket. The hard edges of Pasha’s sheath bit into the palm of his hand through the thin material. His fingers tightened around her slim form, wishing to hell and back that he could actually strangle the dagger. Without special implements he couldn’t even keep her blade sharp. Only He Who Made Her could damage her. And Beelzebub wasn’t likely to come searching for a dagger he’d cast aside centuries ago any time soon.
The guy had no appreciation for material belongings.
Pasha laughed at his annoyance, a thousand wood screws raining down on a tile floor. The noise grated on the demon’s last nerve and severed it completely. His teeth ground against the urge to dig the dagger out of his pocket and throw her in the nearest trash can. It wouldn’t be the first time he threw her away.
Didn’t matter what he did, though, she always found her way back.
“Silly Falken. Just find me sustenance and I’ll leave you be for a little while.” Her singsong voice bounced over the reverberating effects of her laughter. It made him sway in his seat. How could an inanimate object be so damn perky?
“If you weren’t such a picky eater this would be easier.” This time he remembered to speak with the dagger using their blood bond. They were alone so often that he didn’t feel the need to waste energy speaking to her. Mundane means of communication came in handy when finding ways to replenish their energy were growing thin.
Modern technology stole Pasha’s prime food stuffs right out from under his nose. Now, in order to find an adolescent virgin male Falken was forced to stalk video game shops, or worse comic book stores. Teenagers lived in nearly all-encompassing fantasy worlds. Prying them loose of their over-sized couches to get them out in the world took a fucking miracle.
If the demon had any hopes of taking advantage of divine interference, he had to keep watching the two stores directly across from the food court.
“I’m bored. Can’t we just grab that one?”
Pasha mentally nudged his focus to a boy sitting three tables over. His light brown hair curled in a way that made it look unkempt despite the obvious comb marks running through it. Glasses blocked his eyes from the world like a pair of inmates in a glass prison. Yeah, he was just her type. Would be perfect too except Falken knew from the thoughts in the kid’s head that he’d just scored with his buddy last week. He was worried that coming out during his senior year would hurt the scholarships he’d applied for. The stream of thoughts poured from his head with little coaxing from the demon.
“No, Pash. He’s not for you.” He reached in his pocket and ran a finger down the dagger’s sheath, trying to will some patience into her.
“But he looks right,” she whined again.
Falken flicked the end of the handle, right where Pasha’s nose was carved into the ebony wood. “Look with your power, not your stomach.”
“That hurts, you know,” she grumbled, voice nasally and ten times more annoying than usual because of it. “Cursed daggers don’t have stomachs, stupid.”
“Then stop using whatever the hell is distracting you and focus,” he growled aloud, drawing the attention of a mother and two children sitting at the table next to them.
“We can’t eat them. Stop taunting the eggs.” Pasha’s word for children too young to be proper food for her.
A finger reared back and popped the dagger on its little wooden nose again. Pasha shrieked. Falken laughed despite the headache forming behind his eyes. His powers were waning. They had to find a suitable meal soon.
“Can we have that one?”
“No, he popped his cherry last week.”
“That one then.”
“Freshman in college. He ran through half a sorority during pledge week.”
“Oh, he looks good enough to devour…”
And on it went. Another hour ticked by on the large clock hanging over the entrance to the food court. With each minute fear blossomed in Falken’s chest. Had they finally exhausted the city’s supply of male virgins? What the fuck were school teaching these kids if every single one of them experienced some for of sexual contact by the age of sixteen? He’d give his eyeteeth to go back to the good ol’ days when people actually waited until their wedding night to screw around.
I’m an idiot! What the hell was I think asking a girl like Beth out? To a comic store, too. This is why I’ll never get laid. Kenny the Eternal Virgin, that’s me all right.
Through the deafening chorus of thoughts flowing through the crowded mall, Falken picked up on one too sweet to ignore. Dark brown eyes scanned the faces passing by. Where was he? The kid had to be here somewhere. His thoughts were screaming loud, like he was sitting inside the demon’s head having a conversation with himself.
“Show your face, damnit…” His already thin patience began to crumble around the edges.
Why can’t I just grow a pair and ask a girl out to the movies? Jason said it was a snap to get a hand-job in the theater…
Searching eyes landed on a tall, thin kid walking in front of Dugout Cookies. Bone straight blonde hair swept down just past his shoulders, effectively blocking his face from view. He walked in his own little yellow bubble of self-loathing and humility. The slightly worn black t-shirt hung off his shoulders like a potato sack. As he passed, masked men glared out at those that dared to look at them. The band’s name scrawled across the span of the kid’s shoulders was in letters almost impossible to decipher.
Please don’t let any of the meatheads catch me here. Again.
“Pash, we got one,” Falken whispered through his mind to the dagger, who’d grown strangely quiet over the last ten minutes.
Pasha made a yawning noise and gave the impression that she was trying to stretch inside the snug demon-scale sheath. A soft questioning hum breezed through his mind, barely audible over the mental MMA match the virgin male worked through as he walked.
“Why do you do that? It’s not like you sleep, or breathe.”
“How else am I supposed to let you know that I’m bored off my butt? I could start humming songs.” On cue she began to hum a song he once heard performed by a purple dinosaur. The notion that parents allowed their spawn to watch it spoke volumes about how pervasive evil had become in this century.
“Anything but that,” Falken groaned.
“You’re no fun,” the dagger pouted. “Ooo! I got a better one.” She started in on “It’s a Small World”. The tune was worse punishment than spending eternity as Beelzebub’s piss pot holder.
“That’s enough, Pasha.” The dagger continued to hum happily in his head. Falken began to wonder if there was any way to gag her.
I’ll just run in and pick up a few things. Black Canary’s rack is damn near therapeutic.
“Fuck.” Falken pushed off the planter he’d been using as a perch.
“My songs aren’t that bad, grumpy.”
“Shut up and pay attention. Your dinner is about to be lost to us.”
A high-pitched squeal hacked any sane thought he may have had into a billion tiny pieces. If Pasha could bounce in excitement she would have. Anytime food crossed her path it was cause to celebrate. Much to Falken’s dismay.
“Which one is it?” Frustration bled through, marring her usual singsong tone.
He had a rare moment of understanding Pasha. She was a big ball of personality shoehorned into an inanimate object. If she’d been given flesh and blood instead of steel and wood he knew she would constantly be the life of the party. More than likely she would also be up to her eyeballs in trouble. Even as a blade she still managed to get both of them in deep shit.
“The blonde.” Falken allowed Pasha to see through his eyes as he usually did unless engaged in private matters.
“He has promise,” the dagger mused, her attention locked on the boy as he ducked into the comic shop. “Damnit, Falken! Can’t you find one male in this godforsaken desert that isn’t a complete dweeb?”
“You insisted on living in the city. Rural areas are teeming with farm boys yet to so much as touch a tit, let alone stick it in a girl,” Falken reminded her.
“Unless you count sheep.”
Roaring laughter echoed through the food court. Falken couldn’t help it; the little pain in the ass had a good point. Boys violating sheep was hardly a new problem for the pair to overcome. Most of Pasha’s potential meals when he first acquired her were lost to the throes of woolly lust.
Sex was sex no matter who or what you stuck it in.
“Do you want him or not?” Falken asked quietly, hoping not to draw any more attention to himself.
“If he’s all we got…”
Pasha let out a long-suffering sigh. “Fine. Lets go grab Geek Boy.”
Asylum Comics possessed the most interesting façade of all the stores in the mall. Which was a pity, really, given the fact that once you walked past the faux stone archway the comic book shop looked like every other den to geekdom on the face of the earth. Falken grimaced when he realized just how many stores like this he’d haunted all in the name of satisfying Pasha’s hunger.
Right inside the glass doors sat a, supposedly, life-sized cardboard cutout of a man dressed like a bat. Next to him stood another cutout, this time the man pictured wore red underwear on the outside of blue long johns. It baffled the mind how so many people ate this shit up. Escapism was alive and well in modern times. Lucifer must be rolling in fresh souls daily, so long as they didn’t stain his precious white suit. What a complete fucking pansy.
“Let me out, Falken. Please. I’m so hungry.”
He tried to ignore the pain that thinned out her voice. “Not yet, Pash. Let me get to the back.”
The back corner of Asylum Comics housed what they considered the “adult” comics. All of the blood, guts, and tits modern sensibilities deemed too graphic for younger eyes. Some of the covers intrigued Falken, not to the point where he’d consider being caught dead buying one. He shuddered at the thought of being on the same mental level as the victims they tracked into the store over and over again. Demons were far superior to the cattle they fed on, he reminded himself as he ducked around the shoulder-high walls. A low-level confusion spell concealed the move. Most of the store’s occupants wouldn’t remember him at all. The few that did wouldn’t remember where he went and simply assume he’d left without a fuss.
That little parlor-trick saved his ass more times than he cared to admit. Pasha wasn’t always careful once she was driving the bus.
“You lost him,” she yelled suddenly.
Falken jumped and bumped into a rack of comics hard enough to make it scrape against the tile floor. A few heads came around to look their direction. With a snarl he flung out another dose of the confusion spell. The extra effort made him dizzy. They needed to feed now or he wasn’t going to have the power to trigger the transformation.
“Shut up you impatient little twerp! He is right on the other side of these walls. I came in here so we could do our thing without prying eyes.” He hoped like hell his anger translated to the words he fed into her pea-sized brain.
“No need to get snippy,” Pasha huffed.
He yanked the dagger from his pocket and glared down into her little carved face. “Snippy? You’re making me do stupid shit. I’m not snippy, I’m pissed.”
She giggled, giving him the impression that she wiggled in her sheath in a bid for freedom. The only time Pasha assumed a form other than metal was when she had to feed. They’d tried before, but the magic that transformed her faded instantly if food wasn’t within grasp. So Falken got to do all the legwork while the blade got to do the fun part.
Not to say that he didn’t have his fair share of kills under his belt.
“I’m so hungry.” Energy vibrated around the dagger. Her sheath expanded and shrank as she tried to will herself out.
Shaking his head, he slid Pasha out of the binding demon scales. Florescent lights shimmered in her pristine finish. A pair of orange eyes materialized in the silver blade. They narrowed at him, impatience bled through their blood tie.
“Make it quick.”
The eyes bounced in their silver prison. In his head she giggled, a rather unnerving sound considering what she planned to do to the poor sap drooling over women in spandex not three yards away. Falken smiled at the little dagger and slid his finger down one side of her blade, then the other. Blood coated her sharp edges. With a hungry snarl she absorbed it.
There was no bullshit morphing of his body into hers. No movie moment where they could have been seen between one form and another. The moment Pasha absorbed his blood she simply took over. Falken receded to a portion of her mind, able to monitor her but helpless to intervene until she captured her prey. Not having control gave him a fit.
Pasha smoothed a hand down her leather dress and gave the transformed sheath a pat. The scales rippled in response. They’d been created to be her jail cell, but after a few centuries grew to like the dagger. Hell, everyone liked her. The energy she exuded was infectious. One had to be a corpse to not fall for her charms. And even a few of those were card-holding members of the Pasha Fan Club down in the underworld.
“Oh were, oh were did my little dog go?” she sang softly under her breath as she circled back around the wall separating the adult section of the comic book store from the rest.
“No games, Pash. Grab the kid, take him somewhere private, and get this over with.” Falken tried to be patient with her, but claustrophobia set in despite the fact that he could tap into her senses.
The transformed dagger just smiled. Her gaze locked on the boy they’d chosen as her meal, Kenny the eternal virgin. There’d be no talking sense to her now. Once the girl got her mind set on eating all he could do was sit back and watch the blood fly. Sometimes he swore ‘Bub screwed up and created a cursed stomach instead of a dagger.
“Excuse me?” Pasha used her sweetest voice to get the boy’s attention. “You wouldn’t happen to know where the Power Girl comics are, would you?”
The boy, all of seventeen, stuttered and shifted the stack of comics in his hands in front of his groin. Human males were completely predictable.
Like a pro, Pasha flashed him an apologetic smile. One that said that she realized how cute she was, but couldn’t help it and would really like some help. She locked her hands behind her back, trying to look as non-threatening as possible. Thank fuck the kid couldn’t hear her stomach growling, begging for sustenance.
“Power Girl is over there.” A shaky finger pointed back behind her. “I, ah, can show you.”
Brave kid, Falken mused as the pair walked over to one of the many low tables covered in comic books. The little dagger looked down at the rows and rows of comics. In her head, Falken let out a laugh. No wonder she’d picked that specific comic book. The super heroine had tits the size of Mt. Everest and her costume was made to show them off. He had to wonder how many men wanked to that particular series of books. Going from the thoughts tumbling out of Kenny’s head, quite a few.
Pasha picked up one of the books and flipped through it idly. He couldn’t tell who was going to snap first, him or Kenny. The kid looked like his head would explode if she got any closer, which of course is exactly what she did. Leaning over, she brushed her arm against his and pointed to another comic. “Is this the newest one? I don’t get out a lot, so I miss some issues.”
Kenny swallowed hard and shook his head. “Ah, no. There are two more after that.”
He bent down and began to rifle through the stacks on the table. Pasha edged closer so that when he pulled his arm back, it grazed across her breast. Kenny damn near jumped out of his skin. Scrambled apologies scattered in the air just like the books he’d been holding scattered across the ground. Snickering, she bent down to pick them up while he continued to swear that he wasn’t trying to cop a feel.
“It’s okay,” she insisted and handed the comics back.
Sweat broke out across his forehead. “How can I make it up to you?”
Bingo. Falken damn near saw a light bulb go off in his companion’s head right beside him.
“You could buy me a cookie. The ones next door looked delicious.” Her voice dropped to just shy of a seductive purr.
Mentally Kenny counted the cash in his pocket, all earned from mowing his neighbor’s lawn on the weekends. In this form, Falken couldn’t shut off the telepathy that helped him track proper food for them. It was really fucking annoying. And disturbing. For example, he knew that the kid was rocking an erection still. Shit like that a demon didn’t need to know.
Jesus, look at her rack. Are those real? They have to be. Every time she breathes they bounce. Shit, get it together, Kenny.
“Stop playing with your food, Pasha,” Falken warned.
“You said to snag him and go somewhere private. I can’t have my fun in the store. Shush, crankypants,” she replied on a whisper in her mind.
Damnit, the dagger was right. He hated that.
The unlikely pair headed out of the store, with a quick stop so Kenny could pay for his comics. As yet another apology, he also paid for the comics Pasha had been looking at. A waste of money, but she went along with it to get him out of there faster. Faster was good. If Falken could pace in her mind, he would. The space began to close in on him with each second ticking by. It damn near smothered him by the time the kid paid for their cookies and Pasha suggested hiding in the hallway behind the stores to eat in. That way they could “talk” without interruption.
“Most girls wouldn’t be caught dead in a comic shop.” Kenny sat on the ground with his back against the wall, knees bent.
Unable to stand still with the thrill of the kill so close, the transformed dagger paced around his feet. She waved a hand, dismissing the notion. “I’ve been to all sorts of comic and collectible stores. They are intruiging. So much art to study, a modern art gallery of sorts.”
Both Falken and Kenny were shocked. The demon barely hid his surprise at Pasha’s interest. She’d always been so outspoken against hunting in the comic stores. Perhaps her protests were to succor his own dislike of the places and the vermin that haunted them. For once he was glad to not have a face while she worked. It would’ve given away every single thought in his head.
The kid wasn’t as successful. He sat on the floor, mouth working like a fish out of water. “Never thought of it that way.”
Pasha flipped him a pitying look. “That’s because you are male and males rarely appreciate beauty when they see it.”
“I take offence to that remark, Pasha,” Falken muttered in her mind to remind her he was still there.
Inwardly she shook her head at him as her pacing took her past Kenny’s feet again. Her outer calm was slipping. They’d pushed the limit on how long she could go between feedings. It left her fidgety. Some of the grace natural to her vanished. All in all, it made the little dagger almost human. Both of them detested that.
“I know that you are beautiful.”
The quiet declaration snapped Pasha’s head around to her prey. He’d finished his cookie while she paced. A smile spread over her face and she knelt down beside him. Her nearness made Kenny sweat even more. The kid looked like someone tossed him in a pool fully clothed. Couldn’t blame him, even if he weren’t about to be lunch, having a hot chick pay you that much attention made your hormones short wire. Big time. Not even demons were immune from the forces of red-hot lust.
After all, sex with the wrong people was one hell of a way to sin.
“That is the sweetest thing anyone’s said to me in a long time. Usually someone just yells at me to shut up and treats me like a possession.” Silver fingernails teased down Kenny’s arm. Her body coiled, ready to strike.
In his head, the kid game himself the mother of all pep talks. Falken chuckled at the play by play he got from the mental argument Kenny had with his libido. He had to give it to him, if half the things running through his mind came out of his mouth; he was a brave, brave man.
Just say it. What’s the worse that’d happen? Plenty of girls have laughed at you before…
“You deserve better than that,” he choked out finally.
“I do,” Pasha purred, her hand crept towards his chest. “Will you be the one to finally treat me with a kind heart?”
“Y—yes.” He licked his lips and leaned in towards her.
Falken had half a second to brace himself against the impending rush of power. Pasha’s fingernails extended, flashed the silver of her true form a moment before tearing into the boy’s chest. Power flared as the blood hit her skin, hot, so hot. Tiny fingers caught on rib bones and she gave a frustrated growl. Yanking free, she shoved Kenny onto his back. She mounted his hips, not caring that the dying human got a flash of her undefined sex under the snug confines of her demon-leather dress.
“Stupid ribs. Stupid boy for sitting so funny,” Pasha grumbled.
“Finish him off before someone hears him scream.” Falken could hardly make himself heard over the surging power she absorbed.
“Easiest way to a man’s heart is through the stomach. How could I forget?”
With a gleeful giggle, she reared back and sent the sharp points of her nails into the fleshy belly under her. Kenny let out another scream loud enough to make her ears ring. She slapped her free hand over his mouth, glaring down at him as she wiggled her fingers deeper and deeper into his gut. The tiny blades on her fingertips sawed their way through fat, meat, ligaments, and blood vessels. Pasha’s legs were painted red. The demon skin dress soaked up what splashed its way and rippled in pleasure.
“I wonder… do ribs get ticklish if you tickle from the inside?”
Long, metal nails scraped over the kid’s ribcage. He bucked up against her weight and howled in pain behind the hand over his mouth. Blood loss made his pasty skin damn near translucent. Falken watched the veins running up his throat begin to collapse. A gurgling sound replaced frantic panting; she’d nicked his lung. The blood pooling in his chest cavity poured in the hole, replacing air, suffocating their prey.
“The heart, Pasha. Before he dies,” Falken reminded her, urgency giving him the oomph to shot over the power clouding her thoughts.
“I’m not newly-forged, silly butt.”
Giving a triumphant shout, Pasha retracted her fingernails and wrapped her dainty fingers around Kenny’s heart. It tried so hard to keep beating, to keep pumping though there wasn’t much blood left for it to move, except to spill across the tile floor below. One hard yank freed the heart from the kid’s chest cavity with a squishy, popping sound.
Pasha dismounted her kill, plopping down into the puddle of blood surrounding them. Her dress drank while she traced the veins running around the heart. Humans were so different on the outside, but their insides, the sameness of them intrigued her. Falken gave her the moment to enjoy her exploration, even though it cost him a slice of sanity to sit useless in her head while she played with her dinner.
“You’re giving me a headache, Falken. Like you’re punching the walls up there. Stop it. I’m trying to eat.”
“Just hurry up already,” he snapped.
He felt her roll her eyes at him before bringing the warm heart to her mouth. One, two, three, four good-sized bites and the heart was no more. Power flared through Pasha’s body and his spirit. She gasped, hugging herself through the tidal wave threatening to drown them both. Falken grabbed a thread of the power and began to twist it into the spell he needed to reverse the transformation.
He came back into a world that’d been painted bright red. Inside Pasha’s head he could not fully appreciate just how much blood there’d been. The pale yellow walls dripped gore onto the grey tiles below. The worst of the mess, which he found himself kneeling in, ran from wall to wall and a good way’s down the hall.
“I’m Jackson Pollock!” She laughed inside his head and this time it felt good, not the nerve-grating sound from before they’d fed. With a full belly and power coursing through their spirits, he felt the bond with his small companion as he had in those first decades together. It was nice.
Falken joined her in a good laugh as he carefully stood and made his way out of the hall. A quick spell cleaned up the mess soaked into his jeans, socks, and boots. He did nothing with the body. Let the humans try to solve that murder. They’d yet to pin the right guy for any of the bodies Pasha left for the last 300 years. Even with modern technology, the CSI-types wouldn’t have a thing to go off of. Not even Grissom could figure this mystery out.
Besides, he thought as he slid Pasha back into his coat pocket, how were they going to slap handcuffs onto a cursed dagger?