The moment my foot entered the building, I knew I was done for.
Oh well, we've had a good run. Twenty years-old, graduated school. Never been kissed. All that jazz. I mean, if this were the Middle Ages, I'd almost be an elder. Technically.
Oh, fuck it. Why do I get myself into these situations? The money is pretty good, yeah, but is it worth the risk of my sanity? Apparently so, 'cause I accepted this stupid job.
I can still see that stupid real estate agent's smug smile as he gestures toward the building and says, "after you."Ugh.
I grumble to myself as I duck under some dangling wires. I'm not sure whether to be glad the power's working or angry. On the one hand, I can see. On the other, electrocution.
"Where are you, you little bastards," I mutter, peering into a corridor. Stray pieces of paper and tape are littered along the matted floor. Lining the walls are speckles of dark goop. Blood.
I scrunch my nose up.
What on Earth have they been doing? Since this building used to be an accounting office until a few months ago, maybe the little dudes have been learning to use the computers.
The thought of devils working as accountants causes a snort to escape me. Devils handling finances. What a joke.
Movement at the corner of my eye makes me start, and I whip my head around to face the corridor it had come from.
They would've sensed me enter the building, so they're probably just fucking with me at this point. Devils be devils.
I sigh. "Look, you little ingrates, I hate you as much as you hate me, but unless you're cool with being set on fire by the government, you better come with me.
" The Society won't hesitate to bulldoze the building after I leave, and if I hadn't appealed to the estate agent before, they would have done so already.
I hear the pitter patter of tiny feet echo along the floor and look up to see the silhouettes of the devils facing me. They would never show their real forms to me; they're too vulnerable.
Instead, devils use walls as a protective shield. It's quite smart, really. While they're in there, they're pretty much invulnerable.
They can't interact with the physical world either so it's a fair trade. I mean, it's not like minor demons like these could cause that much harm anyway.
It's the major demons you have to look out for.
"Hello there," I say, hands on my hips. "Ready to go?"
My question is met with four pairs of squinting yellowish eyes. Yep, pure devil.
Minor demons only have yellowish eyes - it's one of the most concrete forms of identifying what demon you're dealing with.
If they have red or blue eyes then, well, we'd have some problems.
I turn and begin walking back the way I'd come. The devils know the drill. As soon as we come to the exit, they'll take off and go bother someone else's building.
Being able to travel within surfaces like they do is a neat trick that I wish I had sometimes.
It's hard not to feel awkward when there are about a hundred little pairs of eyes flicking around in the walls. I glance behind to see the shadows moving along with me.
Looks like the entire swarm is complying, which is good, but it doesn't change how unnerving it is to have your movements watched like a, well - a devil.
"Fucking Hell," I curse, as I almost high-five the clear glass door with my face. Tiny cackling echoes off the walls around me.
If I had to describe a devil's laugh, I'd say the closest thing is a hyena.
The real estate agent still stands in the same place I left him; behind a policeman's shield. Seriously, it's so ridiculous.
Minor demons like these devils have neither the power nor the desire to harm humans. They do get into scuffles with the wildlife, though, funnily enough.
On approach, I see his smug smile has disappeared. "Is it done?"
No 'thank you for your help' or 'I appreciate you taking the time out of your very busy day to assist me'? "Yes."
He raises an eyebrow but doesn't say anything more. He turns to the two policemen beside him and nods. They nod back before getting back into their vehicles and driving away.
Dirt and gravel crunches underneath the tyres as the car disappears around the corner. The agent starts walking towards the building, probably to resume inspecting the damage.
I also turn away, throwing one last glance at the building over my shoulder. You could only see it if you were looking for it - the little shift in the air.
Another neat little trick the bastards have: invisibility.
I turn away with a small smile on my face and begin my long walk. Cumulonimbus clouds promise an annoying commute home as I tighten my spray jacket around myself.
I usually enjoy winter, but since I have to keep leaving the house into temperatures found only in arctic seas to purge buildings like this of devils, I can't say I'm having any fun.
Oh well, I guess it's okay since I'm not doing anything else these days.
I pass by a shop window, my hooded blue eyes and long brunette locks reflect back at me through the glass. My dry lips form a frown. I look tired of everyone's shit. Fitting.
"Should I grab takeout?" I wonder aloud, glancing around the street for the dumpling place I like. It's around six o'clock so the kitchens are open for dinner time.
Despite that, though, there aren't that many people around. It is a weekday; the productive members of society must still be working. Like my flatmate Imogen.
I try to ignore the shadows dancing along the maroon bricks as I make my way toward the restaurant. It's normal at this point, really.
Devils like these spread gossip faster than a retirement home. I have no doubt the devils I just purged have already spread the word of my presence in the area.
The locals must be coming out to get a look. Lookie here, it's the demon slayer.
I don't look at them as I walk. They are harmless, but you always have to keep in mind that demons are tricksters in nature.
I don't think they'd hesitate to play a little prank on me just for their own amusement, even if I am known for purging them.
I can still feel the bruises from their last little prank.
A shiver goes down my spine as I turn to check my surroundings. I blink at the number of demonic yellowish eyes in the buildings around me.
Well, at least I am sort of being supervised in case I get mugged or something. I go to turn back before something bright and red flashes in my peripheral.
Instantly I whip back around, my eyes trained on one of the walls. My heart beats wildly in my chest. The air seems to pick up at my movement.
The bar sign across the street from me, with the words 'The Dappled Eye' written in cursive, swings back and forth, the slight creak in its movement oddly unnerving. I keep my eyes on the wall.
The devils watch me in return, their little laughs echoing around me. Yellowish eyes. Hundreds of them. But I know what I saw...
"I know you're here," I say, trying to keep my voice steady. Sweat trickles down my forehead.
I know the devils can sense the panic in me - they are predators after all, even if I am not their usual prey. They watch me, puzzled. Intrigued.
Moments go by as we stare at each other, waiting. Could I have been mistaken? I wonder, as I study the shadows for any sign of red.
Red-eyed demons. Now they are what prey on humans. A little devil purger like me is way out of her league when it comes to actual demons.
"Fine then, be that way."
If there truly was a demon hiding in the swarm, then that means I am the opposite of safe right now. Looks like dumplings are out of the question tonight. Darn.
I make my way immediately back the way I came. I need to get back to the main street of the town.
Yes, yes, you may question why I would be running to where there are more humans if I'm being possibly chased by a human-eating demon. It's not exactly the humans that I need, it's the light.
Can't hide in a shadow if there's no shadow to hide in, know what I'm sayin'?
Anyway, it was because of this decision that I am then captured by the demon but hey, it would have worked.