By the time she got to class, she was glad to see the assortment of demons. “Alright everybody! You ready?” She asked, flouncing into the room.
In the past four hours, in addition to Henry, she’d run into a man who wanted his wife to tie him up and beat him with a flyswatter, a woman who wanted to burn her office building to the ground, a young boy with a balloon who’s darkest desire was eating six scoops of ice cream, and a woman who desperately wanted to run naked through a sports game.
Since the little boy’s mom distracted by her phone she’s just bought him a cone of ice cream from a nearby store because that was just too precious, but the others she’d encouraged in little ways. Maybe ask your wife to tie you up, hmm? Maybe instead of burning it down, quit the job if you hate it so much? Instead of somewhere public like a sports game, maybe get a taste of that thrill with the woods behind your home?
It wasn’t that it was easier to see desires than sins, nor was it more tempting on a visceral level to use than the other power. It was, however, much more fun. Besides that little psycho, of course. But it was a hollow fun, and she knew that one of these times she was going to get curious and find someone with a really sickening desire.
Plus, she really didn’t like what it might say about herself that she was enjoying this so much.
So she was glad for the chorus of halfhearted affirmations from the demonic host. “C’mon, you all know better than that! I asked if you were ready?”
This round of affirmations was more spirited. Kelly was just glad the same motivation that worked on humans worked on the legions of the damned. “That’s more like it! Now we’re going to start with jumping jacks. Remember your form if you have more than two arms and legs! Malphas, I know you’re not using your wings! And one and two and three and four and…”
The rest of the class passed in a blur, but at least here Kelly felt almost normal. You do realize you feel normal when you’re leading an exercise class of demons? Like, Kelly, you get how twisted that is, right?
She fought the voice down. She was not going to let her own insecurities spoil what was becoming the best part of her day. “Alright, now two groups. If you have two arms and two legs, to the right, if you have more of either to the left. Those of you on the right, let’s start with pushups. Put your hands shoulder width apart, make sure they’re lined up and one. And two. And three. Good job, keep that up till twenty. Those of you on the left! Let’s…figure out the closest thing to a push up you can do.”
Anything to distract her from the fact that she only had three hours until she saw Shannon. She had spent some time today pretending she wouldn’t want to find out her best friend’s darkest desire…but by the time she’d gotten to class, she’d decided that it was best she was honest with herself.
Besides, what could possibly be darker than Shannon’s sin?
Shannon had gotten thai food on the way over. “Oh my god you are a literal lifesaver!” Kelly exclaimed, opening the door for her. “I was about ready to eat my table.”
“Well, I’ll let this use of literal slide since that would literally kill you.” Shannon laughed and put the food down on the table before Kelly could take it from her and brush fingers. “So, any panic attacks today?”
Kelly shook her head. “No, thankfully. Just…busy. Feel like my life is out of control, you know?”
“Mmm,” Shannon swallowed the noodles she was already shoveling into her mouth. “I know exactly what you mean. But look on the bright side – we’re doing it! You made enough money to retire and become a personal trainer before you were too old to do it, and I’ve got my own firm! We are our own bosses!”
Inspiration struck, and Kelly held up her hand for a high five. Shannon reached over to slap it.
They weren’t in Kelly’s apartment anymore. Shannon was alone in a small stone room, littered with skeletons and lined with coffins. Shannon stood there, wearing only the skin she was born in and painted with strange symbols. For a moment, Kelly was afraid she was about to learn her friend had a horribly macabre fetish, but Shannon knelt down, painting on the floor with the same strange red paint that adorned her body.
Blood. Somehow, Kelly knew it had come from a goat, which was a relief. Shannon was painting a pentagram on the floor.
Once that was done, Shannon began chanting in Latin. “Venite ad me Dominus tenebris! Dona mihi potestatem Princeps mendacium! Inimicus! Inimicus! Et tu iubes vocationem hercle!” As she chanted, the room began to grow dark, and the skeletons on the wall began to turn their heads to face her.
A shadow formed in the center of the pentagram, and out of it stepped the six winged figure from her dream last night. “You dare call me directly?” He said, his voice full of unholy anger.”
“I dare and have done!” Shannon retorted defiantly.
The figure smiled. “A bold choice.”
The desire ended, and Shannon continued, “So let life take care of itself! We’ve got this.”
Kelly smiled at her, but her heart was pounding. The urge to push Shannon into somehow following through with that desire was strong, almost overwhelming. She stuffed some of the Thai into her mouth to keep herself from whispering some temptation into her friend’s ear with that silky voice she could use now.
If it hadn’t been for a different desire, Kelly might have done it. But something far more human was vying for attention. I could tell her the truth. If that’s what she wants, if that’s her darkest desire, she’ll understand. But that would open a whole new problem.
Knowing what she truly wanted, what would Shannon do with that knowledge?