He was so utterly, undeniably boring. Just like all the others - all those nameless, useless others. This one had roving eyes of milky blue that seemed to gnaw away at her with an animalistic possessiveness. Exactly like every other one had. The human race, Cassandra thought, was remarkably unoriginal. It was a little surprising that, given her generally impatient disposition, she could even stand to be with the ignorant mortals for more than a mere second. She clicked her tongue almost absentmindedly, then realised that the boy was asking her questions and no longer rambling. Looping one of her curls around her finger, she assumed the pretence that she'd been listening attentively the entire time almost effortlessly easily. It was almost irritating - she wanted so desperately for a challenge, just once. She clicked her tongue.
"What's your name, anyway?" the boy was saying, sticking his coarse tanned hands in his pockets and wriggling his toes inside his strong leather boots. His mousy brown hair had the unfortunate habit of hanging lankly down from his forehead and covering the greater part of his face. It gave him the impression that he was both unkempt and perpetually shy.
Cassandra looked up from beneath her lashes. Like her hair, they were blonde, curling at the tips as if by design instead of the chance it was - and when she fluttered them so calculatedly, painstakingly innocently it was as if she had the foolish boy hypnotised, mesmerised somehow by the sheer dexterity of her perfection. The lips that voiced her response were starkly coloured; postbox red, brimming with the dripping, oozing connotations of the colour scarlet. It might have looked silly or clownish had it not been worn by her. On her, the bold stripe of crimson was somehow satisfying, enticing as much as it was elegant: tempting, and charming, and tantalisingly fresh all at once. She spoke, and her voice was a mismatched jumble of harsh grit and melting sunsets. "My name is Angel."
Her name was Cassandra, but she really couldn't deign to tell the human that sort of information.
"Angel," he repeated, licking his lips to savour the word. "That suits you, you know? Angel." He smiled, expecting some sort of thanks - hopefully kissing, because oh Gods, how he wished she would lean forward just a little bit closer, lock her mouth to his, so he could finally give in to the constantly captivating allure of her lips - but instead she laughed throatily, one eyebrow raised. Rather than stepping closer to him, like he yearned for so desperately he couldn't fathom how an emotion of such unbelievable strength had grown inside him so quickly - she perched delicately on the stone edge of the fountain, running her fingers through the water behind her.
Even her fingers were elegant, exquisitely so. How strange, that such a small fragment of one person's anatomy could seem like it held the answers to all the universe within its flesh!
He sat down beside her, and Cassandra lifted the cigarette to her lips, drawing a long, satisfying breath that seemed to last an age before he got to hear her voice again. "Angel?" She rolled her eyes, both heavily outlined in charcoal, and then she purred in a voice so silken, so soft, so satiny smooth that it was barely audible beneath the quiet babbling of the fountain and the tendrils of party music that had found their way outside. "Oh," she said, "I'm more of a sinner, really."
Although it was likely that he'd told her already, she did not know the boy's name and nor did she particularly care to. Names were not important, after all. Not when people had hearts and brains to tell them what to do. Not when people had souls, and memories, and drifting thoughts so delectably ambrosial that it was hardly fair for them to keep them. Humans were so shamefully selfish. Surely they realised, even with such ridiculous, miniature sized brains, that they couldn't possibly continue through life keeping all the treasures of the mind to themselves. Share your doll with Barbara, Tommy. Share your sweets with your brother, Mikey. They learnt as young as nursery age - three, or four, or five - of the right to share with others.
The right to share with her.
Share your soul with Cassandra, mortal.
The boy was chortling quietly as if she'd said something funny, his hand clamped over his mouth that was much too wide for his face. He looked her up and down, from the pearly pink nails that tipped her bare, milky pale feet to the very last strands of her golden hair, and his face split along the hand sown seams into an expression of barely concealed amusement. He smiled at her, eyes ablaze with a dull, bland, and predominantly boring humour that left Cassandra entirely straight faced. "You? A sinner? A satanist, or voodoo person, or whatever?"
She shrugged, picking at her nails though were already pristine. More for effect than anything. She liked to put on a show; it made the human's reactions a little more worthwhile when it came to her grand finale.
"Yeah," he grinned, continuing on, "And I'm the King of China." He stopped, all of a sudden, his face shifting into a curious variation on a serious expression. "Look, Angel. Angel." He said the name as if it was something special, as if the word itself was as divine and holy as the heavenly beings it represented. "Angel, you're the most gorgeous, radiant, stunning girl I've met. Like, ever. And someone as... As beautiful as you could never be so twisted up inside. You're not a sinner, Angel. You're - well," he grinned sheepishly, "You'd be the most perfect angel in Heaven, Angel."
The boy began to ease his way closer, certain he'd said the right thing, that she'd let him in. He smelt like the sea, Cassandra noted forlornly, a wave of unseen sadness washing over her and carrying her away in her own hopes and dreams that would never come to be. He smelt just like her home, and she hated him for it.
All the more reason to cure him of his ailment.
All the more reason to chew on his thoughts and deprive him of his soul.
She flicked her tongue across her teeth, which sat in straight, white, shiny rows. "Oh, my darling," (the boy looked suitably contented with this mode of address), "You have no idea how messed up I really am." And she drew on the cigarette once more, exhaling a cloud of puffy, grey smoke. If the moment had been a photograph, the boy would probably have assumed the haze was photoshopped, or something not quite real. As it was, he could not doubt the truth his own eyes showed him, although he wondered what providence would bless him so handsomely by crossing his own path with the girl's, that night. Maybe, he thought, it was fate. Maybe they'd see each other again, and start dating, and get married, and have lots of lovely children, and grow old together, and many years later they'd die hand in hand.
He couldn't have known that his death would be much, much sooner. If he'd known, perhaps he'd have stayed indoors, where the party was raging at its fullest. He'd have never met Cassandra, and that meant that it wouldn't be his turn to die.
Not that night, at least.
Uneasy, the boy tilted his head to one side. He didn't know what to say, and Cassandra made no move to help him out, instead folding her arms in a hint of her unrivalled power, of her complete control. "Well...I - I could help you get through that? I mean, everyone's messed up in some way. Nobody's perfect," he stuttered, smiling hopefully.
Nobody's perfect. Nobody's perfect. It's the human's mantra, the ongoing battle cry they screech so loudly that they can't hear their faults over the shouting.
Cassandra smiled, the edges of her mouth quirking upwards in an uncharacteristic show of indulgence. "No, nobody's perfect," she whispered, her words catching on the cool night breeze. Uncrossing her arms, she walked towards him with swaying hips and streaming hair, a banner of saffron yellow threads that danced in the wind like a warning beacon. They stood up, then, and they stood so close that her chest touched his, their bodies curving together as her hand drifted up to his shoulder, and he bent his head over to kiss her with his soft, tenderly human lips and-
Then he screamed, and she cackled, and she pushed him away.
Her face alight with a magnetising frenzy, her hands moved like birds as they flitted through the air, jabbing at nothing and whirling with the reckless sorrow of the ancients. The boy's mouth opened - a silent tunnel of never ending horror - and his body convulsed, his ruggedly carved hands clutching at his throat and clawing at the charred, starless sky that hung like a blindfold above them both. When he opened his mouth he could not breathe or talk or scream for help - and he was choking, choking, a phantom kind of water he couldn't see flooding his airways and consuming him whole, an icy rain of fire gorging holes inside him till his heart floated in a sea of salt tinged blood and water. He couldn't see the water that his insides swam in but he could feel it, burning acid holes of hate in the hollows of his chest - gaping so wide and red that all his hopes and dreams and future fell through all at once. He twisted, turned, his vision swimming and his head throbbing, arms thrashing wildly in futile contortions. Whatever he tried, he found he could not shake his legs from the earth they were planted in, though with what little strength he had remaining he tugged until his knuckles bleached white and began spurting flowering buds of crimson blood - and even then he kept trying, for in man's last desperate attempt at living they pull out every single pathetic stock they still hold, even when, as he did, they hold none.
Cassandra drank it all in, her hands grasping hold of the tantalising scent of the boy's sweet, sweet blood and pulling it with vigour towards her. She could taste his terror and she could smell his panic, but overriding it all she found his unmovable desire for her. He was so refreshingly naive, it almost hurt. And yet he struggled. She struggled too, for his resistance blocked her from latching onto his mind and the even greater prize of his soul, which tasted best of all. The pudding, if you will. The sugary dessert to finish a gratifyingly nourishing meal.
Her throat was still raw from the last time she'd fed, but she allowed herself a small sigh before parting her lips and letting the first glorious note fly out. Instantaneously the boy stopped struggling, his head snapping round to witness her sing her song. The siren's song.
It was rare to hear it, and even rarer to live to tell.
Reaching deep inside her, she sent a part of herself into the music and let it surround the boy, easily combating his useless barriers and insufficient boundaries until he lay motionless, still, powerless to do anything but listen to her song and scream his soundless response. She sang the songs of death and poison, of love and betrayal, of treachery and youth, and her water washed over him until he gave up the battle for his life and offered himself willingly, the desire to die and to end the pain much too strong to attempt to resist. Cassandra stole to him quietly, the dew of the grass licking at her feet. Its tongue was cold. In one swift motion, demonstrating an agile ability she'd previously concealed, her lips brushed his brow and snatched from him the shards of individuality his mind gave to him.
Sharply, she gasped for breath at the wonders of his private musings, taking a minute to savour the ringing triumph that rhymes with success. Her head danced with the taste of the internal working of his head, her vision shifting and acuminating to the sort of clarity that mortals only dream of. The gears of his mind shifted and turned until they turned in synchronised harmony with hers, and she smiled feverishly, thanking his comatose body quietly. She touched her index finger to the boy's colourless lips, and the last remnants of his soul abandoned him for the seductive stench of her. Running a hand through her mass of cascading blonde curls, Cassandra pushed them back from her face abruptly and turned away to walk inside. In her wake she left nothing more than a hollow shell, an empty casing, something that might once have been a boy.
Her name was Cassandra, though names didn't matter. In the end, it was her magic that ripped the humanity from the bodies. No one stopped her, because those who knew were usually too dead to try.
She was more of a demon, really.