CW: Death and Violence

Name: Daniel

Day/Time: Sunday, 5:18 AM

Current state of mind: Homicidal

What are you wearing? Jeans, t-shirt, and leather jacket

What are you listening to? Dance With The Devil by Breaking Benjamin

What are you drinking? Bourbon from the bottle

Where are you? My balcony

I’m cursed. That’s the only possible explanation as to why I can never enjoy one of my favorite holidays in peace. Every Halloween, some half-witted moron fucks up my night. Every Halloween, some idiot either needs saving or needs killing. It never fails. I just want one holiday where I’m not chasing down demons, saving humans, exorcising spirits, or killing resurrected witches. I just want one holiday where I can chill by the bonfire with my booze. I thought this was gonna be my year. I thought wrong.

My night of hell started while Holly and I were driving home from Lost Souls Forest. The weather had turned to shit. The light fog was an inconvenient addition to the rain and snow mix that fell from the moonless sky, coating the tree-lined road in ice. Holly fiddled with the radio, chattering on about potions or some shit. I couldn’t be sure. I was more focused on navigating the Mercedes down the makeshift skating rink than to pay any attention to her chit-chat.

Just as I rounded the curve, some woman in an angel costume darted out into the street. Holly screamed, and I punched the brakes, swerving to avoid hitting the imbecile. I pulled over, my heart hammering in my ears. I turned and checked on Holly, who was clutching her chest and breathing hard. She was shaken, but otherwise okay.

I bit back a string of nasty curses, clenching my jaw, as I stalked across the road. I wanted to lay into the angel for being so fucking reckless, but checked myself as I got a closer look. Angel’s long, stringy blonde hair was plastered against her bowed head. Blood and dirt coated her pasty skin and short, filmy white dress. She looked like a damn murder victim and not some drunken partygoer like I initially thought.

Haunted hazel eyes flashed up to mine, relief flooding over her familiar, tear-streaked face. I knew her. Aniela was one of ours. Fresh out of college, she worked for Holly at the local orphanage, teaching arts and crafts to the kids. The kids and staff loved her. She was as loyal as she was reliable, always willing to step in and help. Seeing her like that—all terrified and traumatized, was like a sucker punch straight to the gut.

Before I could get a word out, Aniela started rambling on about how she woke up in the woods, going on about dying or some shit. I wanted to hear her out, but I needed to get her out of the cold first. I scooped her up and carried her to the SUV, setting her down in the backseat of the Mercedes.

Holly leaped into action, wrapping Aniela up in a blanket like some fucking burrito as the teacher continued babbling incoherently through her chattering teeth. Aniela wasn’t making any sense. But then trauma would do that to a person. She needed medical attention, and we were just wasting our time sitting on the side of the road.

As I drove to Cove Medical Center, Aniela had finally calmed down and told us all about how her boyfriend had experimented with necromancy. And Aniela, unknowingly and unwillingly, had been the test subject of the resurrection spell. One minute she was drinking with her boyfriend and his twin brother, the next she was waking up in the woods, covered in blood. They killed her and when she didn’t come back, they discarded her like trash.

Murderous rage consumed me. I was gonna kill those two fuckers and I was gonna enjoy the hell out of myself. Everyone knows resurrection spells are illegal. You can’t just bring someone back without repercussions. Nature demands balance. When you upset the balance, the consequences are often disastrous. Aniela wasn’t supposed to come back. She was supposed to stay dead. And that was a problem of epically fucked proportions, but we’d deal with it later.

First, I needed to hunt down those two depraved assholes and end their miserable existence. Aniela showed me everything I needed to see. I knew their names, appearances, and where they lived. I also knew they were guilty as fuck.

Holly hit up Nick and filled him in as I detoured into the quaint subdivision, searching for the two-story colonial. It wasn’t hard to spot with its over-the-top Halloween décor and illuminated “Party This Way” sign. I told Holly to wait in the car with Aniela, but she wasn’t having it. Holly tried stopping me, tried reasoning with me, telling me I needed to wait for Nick.

Fuck. That.

I didn’t waste any time, just strode past the plastic headstones and right through the front door. I fritzed the stereo system with my magic, killing the music and the party. Groans filled the air as I flipped on the lights and ordered everyone to leave. The small crowd dispersed, and just like moths to a damn flame, the twin killers emerged.

They bolted the second they spotted me. The twin dumbasses made it as far as the kitchen before I snagged one by the back of his collar, flinging him against the wall. As I commanded the asshole to stay put, his brother’s body sailed past me, crash-landing against the stainless-steel fridge.

Fucking Nick.

Nick strolled in, calm fury radiating off him like poison. We traded glances, a silent understanding passing between us. It was time for the twins to die. Nick would take one. I would take the other. Judgment had been passed, the sentence rendered, and now the punishment would be delivered.

At Nick’s curt nod, I unleashed my magic. My powers, more effective than any bullet or blade, inflicting maximum damage. I savored the asshole’s screams, basking in his cries for mercy as I tore him apart from the inside out, until there was nothing left but a pile of ash.

Chaos erupted. The ground quaked, shaking the old colonial’s foundation and rattling the walls. The wind howled, shattering the windows and blowing out the lights, violent magic churning through the air. Nick and I exchanged looks and hauled ass out into the backyard.

Holly was in the center of the magical maelstrom, squaring off with Death. Calm, sensible, level-headed Holly launched herself at the Grim Reaper. I caught her up, caging her in my arms as she thrashed against me, verbally berating Death.

But the Grim Reaper paid no attention to Holly. Instead, his silvery gaze landed on Aniela, who stood off to the side, wrapped up in her blanket. Tears streamed down her cheeks and despite her brave face, it was hard to miss the terror in her eyes. She didn’t want to die. She didn’t deserve to die. Not again.

I calculated all the possible ways to kill Death. Even if I succeeded, it wouldn’t change Aniela’s fate. It wouldn’t stop the loss of innocent lives caused by Aniela’s untimely and unnatural reincarnation. Not to mention, I really didn’t feel like dealing with Hades’ wrath. Or Nick’s, for that matter.

Holly screamed as Nick eased Aniela down onto the ground, cradling her head in his lap, and holding her hand. The Grim Reaper squatted down, placing his palm on Aniela’s forehead. Slowly and quietly, the life drained out of Aniela, her soul leaving her body.

With a sad smile and wave, Aniela’s soul disappeared into the night right along with the Grim Reaper.

There was no satisfying resolution to this fucked-up night, no happy ending to be had for anyone. Just tragedy. Preventable tragedy. And yeah, I know we can’t save everyone. That’s a given. But the losses still suck, and some cut deep. This one was gonna leave a scar.

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