Kelly was starting to have doubts about her plan by the time Shannon was supposed to arrive. It was one thing to find yourself sliding into becoming a demon, but getting your friend to sell her soul so you could get more information out a demon? That seemed…
She was still struggling to find the right word when Shannon texted to let her know she was here. No time to think it through anymore. She didn’t have time to change, anyway.
“Come on in,” she texted back, “door’s unlocked.”
Shannon opened the door a moment after Kelly heard the chime in the hallway of her apartment. “Must have been a rough day. You didn’t even have time to cha-oh my God!” Shannon was so shocked she dropped her phone, and the screen cracked as it hit the wood near the door.
“Shit, sorry, didn’t think you’d drop it!” Kelly said, moving over to help Shannon pick up her phone. She needed the help. Shannon was just staring at her, mouth agape.
Kelly was wearing shorts and a tank top, no shoes or socks or gloves or anything else to conceal what was happening to her. The hooves were clearly visible, as were the feathers on her back when she bent down and pick up the electronic and press it back into Shannon’s hand.
“Kelly? What…oh my God, what is going on?” Shannon sounded shocked, but Kelly didn’t hear any notes of fear in her voice. Confusion, of course. Concern, which was expected. And…was that excitement?
Kelly put a hand on Shannon’s shoulder and led her further into the apartment. Step into my parlor, said the spider to the fly, part of her brain couldn’t help but editorialize. “Was kind of hoping to get a chance to tell you about that. Wine?” Kelly already had a glass poured, and Shannon reached for it with a trembling hand.
“Tell me about what?”
Kelly sighed, making sure to make it as dramatic as possible. She couldn’t tell Shannon the truth, Chemosh would have her head, but she didn’t want to lie either. “I’ve been…well, I’m changing.”
“No shit! You’ve got hooves! And…winglets?” Shannon’s mouth dropped open. “Oh my God, are you a mutant?”
She couldn’t help it. Kelly threw back her head and laughed. “Oh god, I wish. No, that would be so much simpler.” She sat down at the table across from Shannon, taking a sip of wine for herself while Shannon gulped hers with trembling hands. “So…I can’t explain a lot of it.” Kelly did her best to imply that it was because she didn’t know, and from the way Shannon nodded that’s the way she interpreted it. “But apparently I’m…part demon.”
Shannon gasped again, but Kelly was watching her eyes. Her pupils nearly doubled in size, and her breathing hitched at the word. “How long?” Shannon said after swallowing another gulp of wine.
Kelly took a deep breath. It was time to twist the truth into shapes as strange and unnatural as her legs. “About the time my hair started changing colors. At least, that’s when I really noticed it. From there it was kind of a waterfall, you know? The hooves finally hit fully earlier today. Remember how I told you my dad used to be big into the occult stuff?” Shannon nodded, and Kelly fought back the urge to breathe a sigh of relief. Her dad had owned a tarot deck and Ouija board, and once gone to a psychic. Kelly had told Shannon her dad had been into occultism freshman year, when that had seemed like peak occult to her middle class, mostly Christian upbringing.
The idea that his toys had seemed like anything close to supernatural was a laugh now.
“Well,” Kelly gestured towards herself, an expansive motion that covered the top of her flame-red hair to the bottom of her clover hooves. “I’m not going to say that somehow he did something, but…”
“But what else could it be?” Shannon breathed her eyes wide. “Unless it was those nerds you have for the class.”
Kelly laughed and, seeing Shannon was serious, quirked her eyebrow and said in her most dismissive voice, “Please. If they could do that, don’t you think they would have done it to themselves first?”
Shannon nodded after taking a moment to study Kelly’s face. “Yeah, fair point.” Shannon took another trembling sip of the wine, but it was Kelly’s heart that was pounding. Everything hinged now on what she had seen when she’d touched Shannon just a few days ago being true.
“Are you going to be alright?” Shannon asked after a pregnant pause, her face filling with concern.
Kelly put a smile on her face. “I’m getting pretty good at hiding the physical side effects, and I was freaking out at first, but now that I got settled into it? It’s actually kind of nice. I can make a hellfire sword, and remember the date I had with Sean?” Shannon nodded, spellbound, “well, halfway through the dinner I saw into his deepest sins. He was a bully and had some serious issues, and God only knows how long it would have taken for me to figure out without that.” Kelly laughed again. “Although I guess I shouldn’t be talking about Him. Guess I’m not on his good side anymore.”
That last line Kelly couldn’t help but throw in. If Shannon was going to do this, Kelly wanted to make sure that she considered her immortal so-
“That sounds amazing.” Shannon said, cutting off the train of thought with her excitement. “Is it weird that I’m kinda jealous?”
And now we’re in business. Kelly laughed again. She’d tried to warn her away, her conscious was safe. “Jealous? Shannon, do you have any idea how hard it is to cover all this up?”
“Oh, not for that part. Although you are definitely rocking the demoness look! No, I’m just…” Shannon had to finish her glass of wine to get the fortitude to push forward, and Kelly was happy to refill it. “I use to fantasize about it, ever since I read Faust back in high school. Like, the idea of cutting a deal with a demon, having the kind of power you could get from that? I just never really…I mean, I didn’t think it was possible. And now you actually are a demon, or turning into one or whatever. It’s real! And that means…” Even with the extra liquid courage, Shannon couldn’t finish that thought.
“What?” Kelly prompted with a sly grin. “You’re thinking about cutting a deal with Lucifer now? Selling your soul to the devil in exchange for power and all that?”
Shannon blushed. “Well, I mean – why not? You’re a demon now! How’re you gonna judge me?”
“Hey, easy. Didn’t say anything about judging you.” Kelly leaned forward onto the table, and Shannon finished the second glass of wine in a single swallow. “Is that what you want to do? Really?”
“Well…think about it overnight. Make sure you’re sober and all that. And if you still do, let me know. I’ve been in contact with another demon, and that might be possible.”
“Really?” Shannon said in a small voice.
Kelly’s only response was a somber nod.
“Please tell me you’re not messing with me, Kelly. That you’re not wearing some fancy make up and costume and this is an prank.” There was real thickness in Shannon’s voice, far more than could be accounted for just by the wine. Kelly hadn’t ever imagined the idea of tears of hope before, but seeing Shannon’s eyes right now, she knew she was seeing them.
“I promise, Shannon.”
“Then tomorrow when I’m sober I’ll tell you the same thing. Yes, Kelly. I want this.”
Kelly smiled at her. “Then we’ll get you there. In the meantime, I can’t just call him up or anything. Still want to watch the movie?” Shannon laughed, and they headed over to the couch to get some cheap laughs and fake scares.
Let’s hope I didn’t just damn both of us, Kelly thought as they sat down. In spite of that thought, try as she might, Kelly couldn’t manage to feel any guilt.