Claimed *Completed*

"I'm already living on borrowed time. When it comes to it, it will be my time to go."

500 years ago Cathy should have died, but she didn't. She was saved by the Devil.

"I agreed to something ... Something that cant have been important then, it seemed too far away.
I'd agreed, after five hundred years, to hand myself over to the Devil, to become his."

Now her time's up, but back in the city where it all started, things are far from over. Cathy finds out that there is more to the Devil than she ever thought. A new boy, a best friend and a deadly enemy, things are about to get complicated...

"No one's that good or bad, it's not that simple, nothing's that black and white. It's more grey."

*Hi, this is my first Movella, so I'd love some feedback and constructive critsism! Thanks :)

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21. Monday, 17th January 2012

 

Monday, 17th January 2012

 

 

 

 

  I’m frozen to the spot. No matter how loud my brain screams at me to run, the message just doesn’t make it to the rest of my body. The wind is whipping my hair around my face, but I don’t notice.

  He’s there; right in front of me. Black radiating from him; just as Jess has said. After five hundred years, he still looks the same. And he’s talking to me. I take a moment to force my ears to work. “It’s been too long Catherine, wait – is it Cathy now?”

  I can’t make my mouth work.

  The Devil sighs, “Not talking to me then? That’s a shame. I was hoping we could have a nice little chat.”

  Through the fog of my mind a thought occurs to me – Chrissie. I jump up quickly, my muscles unfreezing and struggling to stay upright in the gale. “Where is she? What have you done with her?”

  The Devil frowns, “Who?”

  Was I going to have to spell this out? “Chrissie, my friend – what have you done with her? I know you’ve got her.”

  Realisation crosses her face. “Oh, your new little friend, I haven’t touched her, it’s not her I want.”

  I frown back at him, if he didn’t have Chrissie, where is she? And why did she say she was at the bridge? He must be lying, I narrow my eyes at him, but before I can say anything he hols his hands up, “I honestly haven’t done anything with Chrissie. That’s something you need to know about me, Catherine; I can’t lie. I can twist things, sure, make things sound better than they actually are, but I can’t lie.” I study him suspiciously, was it true? Could he really not lie? That must be annoying for him.

  Now he’s here, all the emotions have drained out of me: anger, hatred, determination – all gone. They’ve been replaced by a slowly rising panic inside me. I try to hide it; I don’t want him to see weakness.

  The Devil watches me closely, longing in his eyes, a smile playing on his lips. I glare at him, he laughs, “Oh, you’ve no idea how long I’ve waited for this.” He steps closer and it takes all my will power not to back away. My experience with Katrina has though me not to back away, especially anywhere with a drop. “I’ve been getting closer, all this time, I’ve been getting closer. Been wondering why I keep suddenly turning up in your head? Like I’ve gotten through after radio silence for years?

  “All that time you spent exiling yourself,” He shudders, “I just couldn’t get though, but then,” He smiles, a smile that makes me shudder instead. His smile widens at my discomfort. “When you came back here I couldn’t believe my good luck. Toritos – the place it all started. The place is so full of memories for you.”

  “What are you talking about?” I demand, even though I can feel the dread slowly spreading down the length of my body.

  He laughs, “Come on, Catherine, you’re a clever girl, you can figure it out.” He pauses, as cocks his head to one side as if he’s listening to something in the distance. I strain my ears, but I can’t hear anything.  “Actually, I think you already have.”

  Feeding on my fear.

  “Fear, guilt, grief, worry, anger – I’m not a fussy eater.” I start shivering uncontrollably, I can’t stop myself, I’m aware that I’ve only got my dress on and goose bumps are appearing on my arms. No, this is not happening, this is not happening. I want to close my eyes, pretend none of this is happening, but I can’t take my eyes from his face.

  “It was so much easier when the memories starting coming off their own accord, oh, I did help them along a bit.” He flashes me a nasty smile, “Ever wondered why you seemed to have such bad luck? How you forgot about Elizabeth that night and only remembered her when it was too late? Why she wasn’t where she usually, unfailing was everyday when you started that fire? Why Jane turned against you? You thought that was all your bad luck?” He laughs softly, but it’s not a nice laugh.

  I can hear his voice, but the words just wash over me, like my brain is at full capacity and refuses to take in anymore. What is he talking about? How does he know about ant of this?

  “Come on,” He rolls his eyes, such a normal gesture that it just doesn’t seem right when he does it. The Devil leans forward until he’s in my face, I can still feel his cold breath against my cheek, even with the storm roaring around us. I flinch away, but refuse to back off. “It was me. I made you forget Elizabeth, I made her visit the Lady’s quarters, I made Jane run off and tell the village that you’d confessed to being a witch. My hold on you is not as strong on you as I would have liked, but it’s enough. And humans aren’t hard to influence – and they play a big part in your life.”

  “You...” He what? Made my life hell? Made me suffer for five hundred years because I thought it was my fault? I thought I’d killed my sister, but here the Devil is telling me it was his fault.

  Without thinking I stumble back against the side of the bridge.

  The Devil continues like I haven’t said anything. “The ironic thing is that all this time you’ve hated me, you’ve only been making me stronger.”

  I choose to ignore this last bit.

  “Don’t take it to heart Catherine, it’s a survival thing. I’d be like blaming the cat for chasing the mouse, the lion for catching the deer, or even the human for killing the cow. It’s what all living thins do – survive. I thrive on your grief, so I take it the only way I can – you can’t blame me for that.”

  I can’t, and I hate him for it. I’m about to open my mouth when the Devil continues, “And why do you think you didn’t want to fight me? When all these years you have been hell bent on defeating me?” So that’s why, even now, I can’t find the anger I want to direct at him. As soon as I try to reach into my mind to find the fury, my mind seems to hit a brick wall.

  “There’s still no excuse for what you’ve done to me and all the other people bacuase of it.” My voice sounds flat and empty because the anger behind it has been lost. The Devil gets the point though.

  “Oh really? Well, what about the Angel? What about she’s doing?”

  Oh, yeah, I’d forgotten about the Angel – my mind is only able to think about one threat at a time. But now it opens up that can of worms again. What is she doing? What was it that Jess said? My mind has gone temporarily blank. All I can think about is how the Devil has made my life a misery – how can the Angel possibly be any worse?

  Then I remember what Jess told me and I repeat it to the Devil, confused, “She ‘preserves the balance of life’ or something like that.”

  “That makes it sound like she’s doing something good.”

  “Isn’t she?”

  “No,” he scoffs, “Well, she might think she is, she uses that excuse for herself to hide what she is. She probably believes it, but just because she believes it, it doesn't make it true. Essentially, she’s just the same as me.”

  “No,” I hiss, “she’s nothing like you. You’re pure evil.”

  “You think?”

  “Yes. She doesn’t turn people’s lives into a living hell, unlike you.”

  “Oh, Catherine, there’s so much you don’t understand about the world. I’m not ‘pure evil’ as you call it. No one’s that good or bad, it’s not that simple. Nothing’s that black and white. It’s more like grey.

  “The Angel makes out she’s here to keep the balance of creation. But really what she’s doing is killing people, killing those that are going to die.” He pulls a face, “Hardly filling, those that are dying have less emotion left in them. Fear is so much sweeter when the food is young. You prove such a great source of fear; I hardly need to feed when you’re around.”

  I shudder. I’m not total sure what he’s just said, but it didn’t sound great. I still don’t really what to think of any of this. I really need someone to tell me what on Earth is going on, because right now none of this is making any sense. My brain is scrambled and I think that the Devil might be playing a part in that. The reasons for hating him are piling up. The anger at him is bubbling below the surface, ready to explode the moment his hold on me weakens.

  “The Angel and I go back a long way, a bit like you and that Saved – Katrina. Natural enemies. The Angel likes to think she’s the better one – but really, who’s to say?  It just depends on how you look at it.” I’m really not liking the sound of the Angel either. Hmm... I wonder who I’d choose to Claim me if it came down to it?

  Why am I even considering it? I’m not top of the bridge where I nearly died, in the middle of what is now  a storm and talking to the Devil – and I’m asking myself who I’d rather be Claimed by: the Devil or the Angel. Again, I think the Devil has something to do with the reason I’m not yet in full scale panic mode. Maybe that’s a good thing.

  I don’t know anymore.

  I take a couple of deep breaths and the risk a question, “So what about the Damned, why do you need them if you can feed off me?” I shudder violently when I say it, and the Devil’s face twists into a grotesque laugh at my reaction.

  “Oh, it’s not about feeding from them – although they can be used as great sources of grief. No, just think about it - what great power doesn’t have an army? It’s more about the war against the Angel now, more than anything else. How else could I compete without other people to do my bidding?”

  “Huh, you make other people do the things you can’t be bothered to do. Sounds a lot like slavery to me.” I put on a brave face, but the Devil is starting to pace around me in an arc, trapping me up against the wall.

  Oh God, now I’m in for it.

  “Catherine, they’re all there like you, because they want to be. Fair enough, it’s not like they had a much of a choice, or long to think about it. But, still, I can’t Claim anyone unless they agree.”

  I throw my shoulders back and stand defiantly; recklessly, “Then you can’t Claim me. I won’t agree, I’d rather die. Kill me.”

  “Ha – nice try Catherine, but you’ve already agree, that ‘yes’ five hundred years ago was the equivalent of a binding magical contract, there’s no way of getting out of it now.”

  That doesn’t make any sense. “Well, what about the Angel, Jess said that she wants to Claimed me too, but how can she do that if I’ve already given myself up to you?” Why does everything have to be so confusing? Why can’t everything have a straight forward yes/no answer?

  The Devil sighs, “I have much more important things to do than stand here and explain to you how the world of the supernatural works, but I’ll humour you.

  “You’ve sacrificed yourself to the supernatural – when I tried to Claim you the last time, I didn’t put enough power into you, I was a lot less powerful then. I couldn’t even be seen in full form, like I can now; I could Claim you properly right now. Last time I only put enough power into you to make you part of the supernatural – but not enough to make certain that you belong to me. You’re neither Saved nor Damned. So you’re in limbo. But I think I‘ve figured it out; It takes more power to turn you into a Damned than it would a man.”

  That’s not really the simple answer I was after, but I think I got most of it. I can make it a lot simpler though, “So, basically, you messed it up because you weren’t powerful enough, so now I’m stuck between normal and you.”

  The Devil shrugs, clearly annoyed by my amateur description, he turns his back to me and stares out over the river. I look over my shoulder at the water below and quickly turn my head away again. The water below is so violet that if I fell there would be no question of my survival – it would be a definite death. I realise that I still can’t seem to hear anything other than mine and the Devil’s voices. The waves are as silent as ever. Instead of looking down - I try my best to ignore the river which is easier if you can’t hear it, but it is eerie – I start to edge back along the wall toward my car.

  “Don’t even bother.”

  “Why?” I demand, but I still stop.

  “I would still find you if you ran; you’re just making it worse for yourself. And this place should appeal to your dramatic side – can you think of a better stage than this?”

  “Stage?” I say in disgust, “You just see this as one big joke, don’t you?”

  “Joke? No it’s no joke Catherine, it’s business.” The Devil still hasn’t turned around, and against the sunset he really does look like he’s on stage, with the lights shining behind him.  He seems deep in thought, which would make this the perfect time to escape, but I know I’d be pointless – it’s like he has eyes in the back of his head. Teachers might joke about it, but I really wouldn’t be surprised if he said he did.

  So I stay silent and still and keep my eyes fixed on the back of his head. It’s like staring at competition you can’t see. Now I feel stupid. I remember the knife I have under my dress – but somehow I don’t think he would even blink if I stabbed him.

  Finally he speaks, “See, you’ve been under my control all this time, but in a way I’ve not had any influence over you. Only recently have I been strong enough to communicate with you. With the Damned it is total and utter control, but it’s harder with you. I don’t like it Catherine, I don’t like not having control over you. You’re mine – but yet I can’t do anything with you – like getting a toy for Christmas, but not being able of play with it.”

  Slowly he turns around, his red eyes glinting; it would be scary if I wasn’t already starting to get used it. “I want you to join me, but it seems the Angel wants you too, so it would seem a fight is inevitable – or so I thought. But here we are and, oh, no Angel.” A smile stretches right the way across his white face, showing all his straight teeth – funny, I would have though they’d be all rotten, but even from here I can smell death radiating off him.

  “I wouldn’t speak too soon.”

  The Devil and I both spin around to face the owner of the voice. It takes me a moment to place her in the dark, but then I recognise Jess, still in her pink ball gown. Relief floods through me. It’s so good to see her. It seems like I’ve been separated from civilisation for days rather than an hour.

  I smile gratefully at Jess and I’m about to say something when she looks at me so coldly I stop and stare. Where is the friendly Jess I know? It’s like she’s gone back to how she was on my first day of school. Uh-oh.

  The Devil, whose smile dropped like a stone when Jess appeared, starts to smile a slow, easy smile. I stare at him instead.

  “Oh, look, it’s Catherine’s friend, come to see if you can save her, have you? I’m afraid you’re too late; Catherine is mine.” God, I’m really sick of his calling me Catherine – if I get out of this alive (even if it is as a Damned – if I can still think straight)  I’m never getting called Catherine again. I’m Cathy, end of.

  I glance at Jess, but she has closed her eyes and raises her hands to the darkening sky, she looks like she’s invented her own version of prayer, although I can’t see how that can help us now. What on Earth is she doing?

  The Devil’s red eyes narrow and he whispers, “Oh, so you’re playing it that way are you?” He laughs quietly, but the sound is like breath scrapping against sandpaper, “Double cross, I like it.”

  Double cross? Another uh-oh, I don’t like where this is going.

  I hear a voice that seems odd, at first I can’t put a finger on what it is, until I realise that rather than aloud the voice is in my head, like it’s a thought being projected out from Jess, “Angelus, I have her.”

 

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