She got a call from Shannon later that night. “Oh my God, you won’t believe what happened!” she gushed before Kelly could speak. “Or I guess you would because you arranged it, didn’t you? Oh wait, should I even be saying oh my God anymore? Is that wrong?”
Kelly laughed into the phone. “Deep breath, Shannon. I take it my friend showed up.”
“Uh huh. Gives whole new meaning to the phrase handsome devil, huh? Anyway, we signed some contracts, and then the deal was struck and now…oh Kelly, it’s amazing. I made Booger my familiar! He can talk to me now, kind of.”
“Wait, your challenged cat? The one that gets lost on his way to the litterbox? The one that traps himself in your cabinet weekly? Booger, the windowlicker, is your familiar?” Kelly loved that little idiot, but Booger had the critical thinking skills of the carboard boxes he’d occasionally get trapped in.
“I know, I know, but he’ll live as long as me now! And he’s a bit smarter now” Shannon laughed. “I think he’s almost at normal cat levels. He can’t talk, talk, but I can feel his emotions and see through his eyes.”
“Okay, that sounds pretty cool. What’s it like?”
“Mostly staring at whatever he’s confused by. But still!”
They both shared a laugh. “And I’m already figuring out basic spellcraft. I’m working on my remote viewing right now – I can see you.”
Kelly was glad she was wearing a robe out of the shower. “How do I look?”
“A lot more normal! What’d you do?”
“I figured out how to hide the hooves and wings and fangs and all that. Chemosh said it would probably accelerate my actual transformation but on the whole, I can blend in better.”
Shannon let out an excited cheer. “That’s awesome, Kelly! We should celebrate. Hit up the club, get down with our fiendish selves.”
Shannon had always been vivacious, excited, and energetic. But never in the time Kelly had known her had she been this full of energy. It might have worried Kelly, if it wasn’t for the fact that her friend just seemed so happy. “If you want to. But I figured you’d want to practice with the magic some more?”
Shannon did a raspberry into her phone. “Part of the deal was I’d learn by doing, not by sitting around studying and all that boring stuff. Not much point to selling your soul if you have to spend the next thousand hours learning how to use it. I’m sure I can find some douchebag that needs a good hexing while we’re there, let’s go!”
“Well, I can’t argue with that logic,” Kelly said, laughing. “Give me thirty to get ready and we’ll head out.”
“Sure thing! Meet you there?”
“Absolutely. See you soon.” Kelly ended the call and hurried to get dressed, wondering if Shannon was still peeping and not particularly caring. They’d been roommates, after all.
Thirty-five minutes later Kelly was in her slinkiest black dress and boots that were made for walking and dancing and being noticed, makeup done and hair perfectly straightened. Kelly was glad that shifting her feet allowed her to wear the boots normally again, and was even gladder that she didn’t clop when she walked like a damn horse.
Running late and excited to see her friend, not to mention excited to get out for a fun time for the first time since her ill-fated date, Kelly didn’t notice her phone’s charge was only at ten percent. By the time she had gotten to the club, texting Shannon to let her know she was there, it was down to 7. Kelly noticed then but it was too late to do anything about it, so she put it on power saver and stuck it in her purse.
It sat there for the evening, untouched after the initial photos were taken to post to Instagram and share on Snapchat. With the power saver enabled, it didn’t even light up to notify her of the likes she was getting on Instagram, or the responses she was getting from thirsty guys on Snapchat.
It didn’t light up when Shannon started tagging her in the other photos they took that night, including one with a man who called himself Eduardo but was actually named Steve, a man Shannon would catch trying to slip a roofie in Kelly’s drink. She put her first ever hex on a man on him. He would become a magnet for ghosts, and the rest of his life would be plagued by creepy dolls, random hauntings, and terrifying apperations until finally drawing attention of a poltergiest that would ultimately end his life.
It didn’t light up when it started ringing, as it was approaching 4%, a call from Kelly’s brother that went to voicemail. Or the second call. Or the third, or the fourth, or any of the twelve frantic calls he made before the phone went completely dead, around the time Kelly flopped onto her bed, too exhausted and drunk to remember to charge it.
It didn’t light up until the next morning, when it turned on after Kelly plugged it in on her way to the shower. It sat, unnoticed, as she ate a bacon breakfast to celebrate her cheat day, and it didn’t get noticed until she had gotten dressed and gone for her first hoofless jog in days. It was a relief to get the jogging in, to actually run using her real feet and not needing to worry about who might see her clopping along.
Getting back meant another shower, and when that was done, some time after noon, she finally grabbed her now fully charged phone to check the notifications.
“Kelly…please check the phone.” Clifford’s voice was ragged and he sobbed. It didn’t sound like pain, not to Kelly’s ears. It sounded like fear. She put the phone on speaker before her furious grip crushed the device. “There’s something here, something huge and…so many wings, Kelly. I think it’s-”
Whatever Clifford thought it was got cut off. She could only hear a terrified scream, then a squelch that conjured horrible images, then silence before the voicemail ended from silence.
He’d said so many wings. That was all Kelly needed. Sariel. She was already grabbing her keys and heading to her car.
Sariel can’t hurt Cliff. He can’t hurt mortals. For a moment that thought calmed her, until another one crept up on its heels. Then what can he do to him?
She started running to the car, begging the universe to not be too late.