So he made a mean dish of bacon and eggs. I’ll give him credit for that. Not all delusions can whip up breakfast for you.
“What do they call you?” I asked. I felt strange in this swanky apartment. Modern art tastefully graced stark white walls, and even the furniture had sharp modern angles. It was so different from my dad’s house (stuck in the fifties). From the front room, the TV hummed some news broadcast. Sounded like CNN, and it was oddly comforting.
“Collin.” He settled himself into the chair across from me, his shoes scuffing noisily over the linoleum. Okay, maybe he wasn’t a delusion. In the warm morning light streaking through the windows, he looked pretty solid.
And if what I felt last night when he pinned me against the wall was any indication, he didn’t just appear solid.
“You’re not human, are you?” I asked, knowing what his answer would be.
“Not exactly.” He inched his chair back a fraction.
“That’s a yes or no question.”
He sighed, and his face was sad. “I try to be – does that count?”
I had no answer, so we sat for a moment in silence. I picked at the left-over ketchup on my plate with the end of my fork.
“Did your father ever say anything… about me?” he asked, uncertainly.
I blinked at him. “No. Why?”
He leaned back in his chair, frowning. “Figures,” he muttered.
“Figures?” I asked. “What was I supposed to know?”
“Everything,” he said, and the tone in which he said it made me feel ill again. He went to lean forward, as if to brace his forearms on the table, then thought better of it, re-settling himself awkwardly in his chair. Reaching out, he took a paper napkin from the holder, twisting the corner between his fingers. “I made a promise to your father to look after you,” he said, staring at the paper in his hands.
“Why?” I interrupted him before he could say more.
“He asked me to.” Collin began shredding the napkin into little chunks on the table-edge.
“I don’t understand,” I said. “I’ve never met you before in my life.”
“It’s… complicated.” He sighed. “He was wanted by Luce, and knew it; he didn’t want you in the middle of the aftermath.” He gave me a wry smile. “Unfortunately, you are in the middle of it, and that’s why I’m here; to try and keep you safe until this all blows over.”
“Who is this Luce?” I asked. “Did Dad owe him money or something?”
“Or something.” He shrugged. I frowned, but he continued. “Luce – that is to say, Lucifer – had a claim on your father. What for, I’m not certain; but I do know this: that claim meant he could take anything of your father’s – including you.”
I stared at Collin for a few moments, stunned. My jaw hung open, the tissues of my mouth drying. He stared back at me, the evidence of truth written bare for me to see.
“As in, the Lucifer? The Prince of Darkness?”
“The very one. But he prefers ‘Lord of Evil.’”
“So you mean to tell me, I’m dealing with the Devil, here?” I said.
“Great,” I said. “Just, great.”
* * *
(This piece is part of an ongoing serial story. You can catch up on the plot via the Serials page. If you liked this work, please consider purchasing one of my other stories, or some of my music for your collection. )