The Demon’s in the Details

(From the Writer’s Digest creative writing prompt Creating the Character.)

I feel the summon beckoning to me, pulling me to the surface as I haven’t felt in hundreds of years. I stretch my wings and eagerly answer the call. For all the power I have, that’s still the only way for me to travel between Earth and the Realms. That’s how they do their best to limit us. At least the other side has this same handicap in this eternal war.

I materialize within the circle and rise to my full height. Trails of sulfuric smoke lift from where my clawed feet stand. I always did like a dramatic entrance, even if a bit predictable. I find it helps keep the apes in line.

My gaze rests on the one who summoned me. He’s stocky and bespectacled, wearing a floor length black robe. I can see his eyes grow wide to the point that I wonder if they’re going to pop out of his skull. I smirk. Oh, this is going to be too easy.

“Why have you summoned me?” I bellow.

He jumps back, dropping the tome from his hands. “I—I…”

Yes. Much too easy. I look quickly at the circle around me, searching for any mistakes. The summoning is only as strong as the circle binding me, after all. And this one? I crouch down, grinning as I see one of the symbols isn’t completed.

I look up to meet the scared ape’s eyes, pointing one of my taloned fingers at it. I trace the chalk line, my nail screeching as it scars the stone floor.

“You…you can’t…”

“Can’t what? You think you can control me?”

“I summoned—”

“Yes, you did.” I begin tracing another symbol into the floor, enjoying the discomfort clear on his face at both the sound and the fact that I’ve crossed the inner circle. “But you do know that you must make this perfectly,” I see him cringe at the emphasis, “or you have no power over me. At.”

I straighten and take a small step forward. His face pales.

“All.” I take another step, clearing myself from the botched attempt of a summoning circle. The ape stumbles and falls back.

“D-d-d-don’t hurt me!”

I grasp the front of his robe and lift him to his feet. “Why should I hurt you? You’ve done me a favor, ape.”

I see the confusion swirling in his eyes as he tries to comprehend my words with his feeble mortal brain. “I…have?”

“Of course. You brought me here.” I look at him again, distaste in the back of my throat. What an abhorrent ape specimen. But…he’ll have to do until I can get a different host. “Now just hold still and take a deep breath.”

As he obeys me, I sink my talons into the sides of his head. His mouth drops open and I see the shock and betrayal in his expression. “Rule one: never summon a demon,” I whisper. “Rule two: if you’ve ignored rule one, never trust a demon.”

I lower him to the floor, and once the life is gone from him, I contort my body into the shape of the deceased ape. I grimace with revulsion. I need to find a different ape form. It’s unfortunate that I have to kill my summoner to take his ape form, but I can’t possess him. Nor can I fully break his control of me until he’s dead.

“Rule three,” I murmur to myself as I remove the spectacles from his face and place them on my own, “is make sure your circle is flawless.” I stretch my pale ape arms and smile. Now, time to go possessing.

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