The Devil's Children

It's been about well, six years since I met him, and now that we've gotten to better know each other, I feel a greater appreciation for this demon child. Alois has both saved my life and been saved by me on several occasions; now however, as we go into high school together, along with my other friend who's a vampire, things seem to be changing around town. I worry as to what will happen as i approach the anniversary of my meeting this Boy who ate a soul. (Sequel to "The Boy Who Ate a Soul")

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18. A Shield of Deception

   Father Cornell sat awake in his room as the night wore on, listening to the soft patter of rain on the window pane as he tried to concoct a viable story to get Jenny and her boyfriend out of the house and into safe care whilst he and the boys were to be away. The candles flickered causing shadows to dance about on the walls of faded yellow and brown as he thought about the situation. 

   "This is a bloody nightmare," he muttered to himself as he wiped his hand down his face in frustration, "I have to both applaud and curse the stubbornness of the boys sometimes. I wish they could only see the situation as it is and do as I say... However, their bond to each other is amazing to say the least." 

   His desk was cluttered with random assortments of documents which ranged from simple sermon to complex orders of reading and reference that exorcists such as himself took to reading in their efforts to better improve their knowledge of the ever changing world around them. In front of him now was an unfinished letter to the clergy requesting protection and observation over the Hughes family and property to which the Father found himself suddenly unable to finish as his mind grew into nothing more than a dense fog. 

   "Ugh, what can I say? The clergy spread a bit thin as it is and now I'm going to do this?" he dug into his drawer and pulled out a thins silver looking object with ornate inscriptions on it. Undoing one of the clasps he withdrew a singular thin brown tubular object and then used a candle nearby to light it and took a long puff. He coughed heavily for a minute or two as he adjusted to the feeling of smoke in his lungs but soon was able to suppress the reaction as he sat back down. "I haven't had to do this in over eighty years, god I'm getting old but my duty on this Earth is not yet done or I'd have been called home already..."

   "I didn't know you smoked," came the cool voice of a familiar adolescent, standing in the doorway was the demon boy to which he first met six years ago when Allen came with him asking if he could provide shelter as he supposedly had no family. Alois had certainly matured since then as both a friend to Allen, and as a human. 

   "And what are you doing here?" Cornell slurred out of tired fatigue, "Shouldn't you be at home with Allen and everyone?" Alois smiled as he strode over to and sat opposite the Father, his coat flowing behind him like a cape of shear darkness as he sat down.

   "I decided to go for a walk, is that so wrong?" His cool bluish steel eyes met with those of Cornell's as he smiled the man opposite of himself. "I wanted to see how things were coming, besides Michael and Christoph are well enough to handle their own."

   "You always were the curious one I suppose," the Father replied as he eased back into his chair, "Truthfully, I'd rather you and Allen stay behind whilst Michael and Christoph come along-"

   "-Oh no, you're not playing that game with me Cornell," Alois' smile became a minor scowl.

   "Let me finish child!" Cornell cooly replied with a slight edge in his voice, "I said I'd rather you and Allen stay, however as I've seen in the past, you three work much better when you are in company of eachother... So, I'm going to take you three."

   "And Michael? You know being your apprentice he won't let you leave him behind," the demon boy calmed down as he too leaned back into his chair. "Besides, I hate to say it but, Michael could be of some use to us."

   "Hmm, indeed he could be," Cornell shifted in his chair as he took another puff. "That aside, Alois, I need you help. Can you think of a creative way to get Jenny and the boyfriend out of the house so I can have the clergy secure it whilst we are away?" 

   "Hmm, well I know that when it gets cold, some of the pipes have trouble..." Alois thought aloud as he lightly pressed his index finger to his lower lip, lost in thought he hadn't noticed that Cornell had taken another puff until the smoke blew into his face causing him to cough up the sickly smoke and fumes. "Oh boy..." he coughed a couple times trying to find some decent air to breathe, "What the hell is that crap? Not normal tobacco as I can tell."

   "A special herbal plant, mixed with lavender extract," Cornell replied in a calm state of mind, "And no, to a demon like you it wouldn't be pleasant as I soak mine in holy water for added effect." At this Alois now understood why he was having a hard time breathing, damn Cornell should really have been more considerate of him and yet, perhaps this was his way of asking to be alone though for some odd reason, the demon child didn't want to leave the man.

   "Well could you atleast not blow into my face?" the demonic child politely asked as he tried to wave the smoke away from him, "It's a bit suffocating as you might've guessed." Cornell just grinned a bit but obliged the boy's request as he turned in his chair so as to be now sitting perpendicular to him.

   "Better?"

   "Yes, a good deal so," Alois sat back in the chair as he was able to breath once more. "As I was saying, perhaps I could tamper with a couple of the pipes once it gets a bit colder." As he thought about the subject he began to grow concern over Allen being with them on the mission because of his fragile and easily manipulated disposition. "It is supposed to be very cold soon, isn't it?"

   "Yes, I believe a cold snap is coming through here soon," the Father smiled as he put out the cigarette and began to return writing his letter as he no knew how to finish it. "Very well Alois, go, tamper with the pipes but be careful." With a gentile nod the demon boy arose and with subtle gesture of respect left the sanctuary of the church and began his travel home.

********************

   ~Two Days Later~

   "Well this won't do," called the man to whom Jenny had been seeing for a while. He tried his best with the socket wrenches and other assorted tools to figure out what had gone wrong with the heating and water lines but it was all in vain. "Jenny, what shall we do? Without heat and water running, the house isn't suitable to live in, especially not with the increasing severity of this cold snap we find ourselves gripped in." 

   "I fully agree, hmm," she thought about for a moment or two before as if on cue Michael came around the corner with a suggestion.

   "Mother, what about Father Cornell?" he smiled beneath the scarf he was wearing for warmth as the temperature in the house slowly faded away. "I'm sure he has a couple of spare room available."

   "Michael Gabriel Hughes, were you eavesdropping again?" His mother calmly scolded, "What have I told you about doing that?"

    "I'm sorry mom," he walked up to and hugged his mother as he always had when he was in trouble. His mother's gentle hands felt warm to him despite the chill in the air as she gently pushed him off her and let out a soft sigh. "I just overheard you guys and thought y'know, maybe the Father could help us out a bit."

   "That's a great idea Michael," Jenny's boyfriend muddled up the stairs with a mild grin, "What do you think dear?" Her expression told him that though she'd rather not encumber herself upon the man, it was perhaps their only option. "Right then, Michael, go get us the phone please."

   "Right, be right back!" he smiled as dashed out of the room returning but not a moment later with the phone in hand. Receiving a pat on the head and a smile he turned and left the two adults, returning to where Alois and Allen were hiding around the corner on the stairs.

   "Well?" Allen started up quietly.

   "Piece of cake," the younger brother smirked as he lowered the scarf from his face. "All the pieces are falling into place, don't you think?"

   "Quite nicely I might add," the demon boy smiled as he meandered back up the stairs, his human partner following suit after him. "Come now, we've planning and packing to do." Michael too wandered up the stairs but his packing was done, it had been done since mention of going with master on a quest a few days ago. However, he had other buisness to attend to; Christoph was still in the house unbeknownst to either Jenny or the boyfriend as Michael had concluded that he couldn't stay hidden in Alois' room since as of late, Jenny had gone into his room more and more.

   "Michael, how is everything going?" the vampire whispered as he emerged from the darkened safety of the closet where he had disguised himself as a miniature statue of some unknown patron saint. Though a couple of days had passed since his initial injuries, without his casket he was healing very gingerly, carefully feeding off of Michael when he could as it was deemed unsafe for Christoph to try and venture back to the chapel for the fear that Reginald still had spies in the area.

   "All is going according to plan," the human smiled as he closed the door and glided across the wood floor to his vampiric friend. "You're hungry again, aren't you?" Christoph blushed a bit and felt minorly ashamed as he had to repeatedly defile Allen's younger brother's body over and over again to sustain a living. To him the worst part was watching Michael having to purify himself afterwards every evening before going to bed, it looked agonizing to the vampire.

   "I'm sorry Michael, but... I need it to-" he was cut off by a quick kiss on the behalf of the human child who then undid the upper clasp of his jacket and offered up his neck to the vampire. "I'm so thankful for your understanding, my dear sweet Michael." Christoph took the boy into a tender but firm grasp as he bit into the neck, puncturing the vein causing a wild surge of blood to spill forth into his waiting mouth. Finishing with his feeding he injected a healthy dose of venom to stem the blood flow and heal the wound as he pulled away, smiling down at the slightly shorter youth to whom he had become quite fond of and attached to.

   "You bit a bit deep that time," Michael grinned as he rubbed the twin puncture wounds in his neck, "Damn, you were thirsty, weren't you? I feel like I'm missing a good pint or so... Jesus." Christoph took this to mean that the human boy was in pain and displeased and so he turned away in a minor bought of shame only to be stopped by Michael who again kissed him, this time on his cheek while whispering, "It's alright, I just want to know you'll be alright."

   "I am," he turned back to the boy, smiling at the tired look on the child's face. "You're tired Michael, get some rest now." Michael tried to resist him but soon drifted off to sleep in the vampire's arms to which Christoph then decided to gently lay him in his bed. As he did so a voice pulled at the back of his mind.

   "You love him, don't you?" it called, "Turn him then. He's pathetically fragile in this state."

   "No, I won't," he mentally answered himself, "He made me promise him. I respect him too much to break it." The inner voice in his head gurgled a bit before fading away as he just watched the sleeping boy, watching over him like a guardian angel whose wings had long since lost their white purity and along with it, many of their soft feathers. His thoughts were disturbed by a knock at the door which caused Christoph to flee back into the closet, leaving a hairline crack open so he could see who was entering.

   "Michael sweetie, wake up," it was Jenny who came in with her boyfriend in tow. She gently nudged the sleeping boy until with a groan, he stirred from sleep. "Honey, I need you to pack up some clothes, we're going to the chapel for a bit."

   "Alright mom, I'll be down in a minute," he yawned and rubbed one of his eyes in a childish way to in Christoph's eyes made him seem like an innocent little boy, how amusing that this exorcist could still seem so innocent. Once the mother and the boyfriend left, Christoph came out of hiding only to be told by Michael to disguise himself as the statue so he put him in his bag.

   "Please be gentle," Christoph mused as he transformed. Speaking mentally into Michael's head as he was placed in the bag he continued by saying "If you're not then I shall have to punish you."

   "I'd love to see you try," the boy smirked as he hefted the bag onto his shoulder and left his room, descending down the stairs and into the hallway where the others were already waiting for him. As the group headed out of the house and towards the church the boys all couldn't help but feel bad for keeping their mother and the boyfriend in the dark but as Christoph communicated to them it was for the well being of both them and the four children.

   "It's a shield," he said, "a shield of deception...and protection..."

 

   

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