Shadows surrounded Drammelech like a cloak outside the Daily Dews coffee shop and bookstore. The turmoil within its walls sent a perverse sense of joy streaming through his body. A smile split his lips despite not being in his nature. Taking possession of the witch with his sister’s name proved a worthwhile juncture, even if only for the entertainment value she brought him. Why those grown men fawned and fought over Calliope Dewsberry boggled his mind, but anytime men were pitted against one another until the strongest prevailed, he found satisfaction.
Had he been human, those notions would make him a monster among men, but him? Human? No. He was the being of nightmares. The spawn of true evil. A devil. No. The devil. The moniker ‘Jersey Devil’ became his centuries ago and he wore it with pride, hoping to earn his father’s respect.
His smile widened. Dear old dad; a devil of the highest order. One who gave him more than life. He’d provided him with purpose. A calling. As the kids these days said, goals.
Drammelech turned his attention back to the large bay window of the store and rubbed his hands together, the itch to intervene growing with every second. His mission bordered on completion. The witch swore to serve him if he promised to spare the two men she cared for, thus ensuring the key to the Overworld would be his. He cocked his head and stared at the humans, the word acid on his tongue.
What was she waiting for? The orders had been clear. Go inside and convince Daphne Barren to willingly join them. If she did, Calliope wouldn’t spell the men into fighting—to the death, he allowed the witch to wrongly assume. Death would be too simple. Uncomplicated. Clean. No. Drammelech relished the knowledge the fight would be over her. Maybe to the death for fun. His fun.
Laughter tickled his trachea. The third man inside sweetened the deal. He agreed the Barren boys would go unharmed as long as Calliope did as commanded, but this other man created a loophole he didn’t see coming. An advantage he’d keep in his back pocket for the exact right moment. These little twists were what he lived for. Based on the glances shooting between Calliope and the man, they were in love. And not the love she had for the twins either. Real love. The kind that, when gone, ripped out hearts and fed them to demons. Demons like him—and he was starving.
Now he possessed something even more valuable: leverage.
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