Dance with the Devils__A Novel

In Croft village, Devils and Twilight Guards know that they are not exactly compatible elements. But when rules get broken and lines are crossed . . . The results are bound to be explosive.


Forbidden things were always the finest. I see Naya as a symbol of guilty pleasure I should have no business wanting. Then again, what was another added guilt to die with? Eve did not truly crave the apple, she was merely curious, right?


24. 22

 CHAP: 22

*. . .UNEDITED...*






Time moved swiftly when you’re barely aware. Hours passed like seconds; each morning I arrived at the Manor seconds before lockdown. Unlike Naya's world, everything remianed the same inside these walls. The tension between Ian and I remained. Then there were bleeding mortals who seemed to have spitefully brought here to send me into a frenzy. Even so, my days were surprisingly tolerable. Perhaps because I had Shadow’s company. Naya was right after all. Shadow was a great listener . . . in between chewing on stuff he shouldn’t.

I speed down the staircase and through the door like a bolt of lightning by the time nightfall, into Greenland, where Naya waited for me. The welcome smile I received each night never failed to thrill me. I imagined she rushed home from her last day of school like an ambulance going 120 miles per hour . . . showered . . . then hurry to meet me in Greenland as sun dipped beyond the horizon. Once I’m there I followed her to visit Zara. I spent most nights at Croft’s clinic. Being around them would have been a great joy if only those nights didn’t include prayer service—given from members of the Temple. It was nearly time for the concert Naya and friends were staging to raise funds for Zara’s procedure, so in favour of Zara—temple members visited her most nights.

I got rashes just being in the same room with them.

I wanted to leave but Naya and Zara asked me to stay. Usually, before temple members arrived, Nora would read to Zara. Naya occupied her time with schoolwork and I would pretty much lose my mind. Naya hadn’t talked much for the little time we were alone, but often from the corner of my eye, I caught her glancing at me. Before everyone gathered inside I took Naya aside. Nora pretended not to notice when I brought her niece to a corner in the room . . . she also pretended not to hear when I asked Naya if I had done something wrong—since she was barely talking to me. Nora wasn’t fooling me. She was aware of the times Naya and I spent together, whether at the clinic, on the street, or at home. I’m often wary of her. Even with her unusual likeness towards me, I figured over time it would pass, and she will forbid Naya from seeing me. However, it hadn’t come to that.

“You did nothing wrong,” Naya said. “It’s me. I feel . . . well, I know my company is boring compared to what you’re used to, and I have been busy thinking of ways to make you feel the way you would if you were in the company of someone else.” She didn’t meet my gaze when she said it. Her eyes rested on my chest.

I couldn’t believe it. Which person would refrain from speaking for so long for fear of saying something one didn’t like? I stared at her. I could see her clearly, but not much beyond. She seemed mystified, as though she was not entirely sure what was going to happen now. It wasn’t possible for her to make me feel the way I would if I were in the company of another since she wasn’t like anyone else. It was bad enough I’m using her for my own selfish reasons. I realised then that if I’m going to hang around her, I had to respect who she was.

I deliberately took hold of Naya’s hand. I looked dead into her eyes, which drew me in with their intensity. I smiled fondly as her hair fell above her eyebrows while she rocked unsteadily at my touch. It drew my attention down to her nose, then her pink lips. There came an inexplicable twist in my gut that should not have been there. It was need. Astonished beyond belief, I wanted to tug my hand from her but fear my sudden action would give the wrong impression. There was, I think, something between us. Something I wouldn’t get to explore due to the choice I made. There was a perfect, terrible likeness, with sheer guilt on my side, with worries and without a future. I cleared my throat and swiftly looked away—over her shoulder, then back at her, once I had control of myself. 

Temptation bites!

“Don’t ever attempt to be what you’re not. I don’t deserve such a sacrifice. Such effort. I never will.’

‘You do. You just can’t see it yet.’

Since that night, I asked questions instead of trash talking everything she said, as I had done before. I showed interest instead of tolerating certain conversations. At nights when we sit on her veranda, we shared each other’s thoughts. Naya would laugh a small odd laugh, almost like a sob, although her eyes were dry, whenever something was funny. I couldn’t help but laugh with her sometimes. She was lovely and blush at the simplest of things. It was a pleasure to admire her. Naya stated there was a pond deep Greenland. No resident knew of it since they didn’t venture there. The pond was her special place. She never took Zara there. It was time-consuming, and Zara wasn’t healthy enough to make the journey. One day after the sun disappeared from the sky and the moon brightly lit up everything below, I offered to take her to the pond.

At the pond, underfoot, the ground was soft. With each step, I sank slowly into it and left my mark in this magical solitude. I smiled as I breathed in the scent no other place can duplicate. A mixture of earth and dew. The still body of the water signifying its depth. Naya reached out and touched a large tree. Feeling its rough, ageing surface, as if blinded and reading its history through the braille of its trunk. Naya said the area was remarkably unchanged. It was close by Naya met her first Devil as a child. She rejoiced in the memories of those days. She said there were times when she felt as if memories of that Devil were drifting away.

For half of that night, we lay on our backs staring up in the sky and talked about other things. Easier things. Like the foods she liked or didn’t. Silly things she did as a child. The music we couldn’t bear listening and colours we would not be caught dead wearing.

“This is nice,” she had said.

I told Naya I hated darkness when I was human. I used to think darkness was ugly and too many wrongs happened in it. It seemed hilarious that I now lived for the one thing I couldn’t stand back then. In return, she let me know of her fear of clowns.

‘You’re scared of clowns but not to be alone with me,’ I said in disbelieve.

She gazed at me, her eyes very hypnotic as I stared into them. ‘I am not afraid because I trust you. I don’t hate you because I know in my heart you didn’t choose this life.’

‘You think so?’

‘I can’t believe you would ever want this life.’ Her voice was incredibly tender.

I returned my attention to the water, allowing its slow, tranquil movements to relax me.

All of this played in my mind as I stood in the ward watching Naya and Nora as they welcomed the village Chief with a warm open smile and hug. Chief hadn’t quite recovered from the shock of me being at the clinic. Sometimes, I wanted to spare him the torment, but also, I enjoyed hearing his heartbeat pound loudly that it affected the rhythm of his breathing.

Chief tried very hard not to stare at me but often failed. I remembered the first night he came. He wasn’t alone. He had five disciples with him. There was a moment of tension between Naya and one of the women after she saw me in the room. I saw the look of disgust on her face. They weren’t receptive of a Devil being there, but only one had the balls to stand up and say something.

“Why is a Devil here?” one of the women asked. Her moon-face was heavily lined and her already large nostrils flared open.

“He is a friend of the girls,” Nora spoke in a tranquil voice, almost hesitantly.

Everyone gasped and covered their mouths.

“I won’t stay here with a Devil. He leaves the room this instant.” The woman continued.

“He will not,” Naya said. “He stays. I don’t tell either of you who to be friends with.

It was unbelievable. I’m knocked for six, and clearly not the only one. The temple council members were flabbergasted and whispered furiously around the room.

“Who are you to decide he cannot stay?” Naya continued, stunning everyone into silence.

The woman ignored Naya as unworthy of attention. All her rage focused on Nora.

“Are you forgetting what happened the last time a Devil was trusted? I’ll not stand for this nonsense.” The woman hissed.

“I do remember very well. We all do. That Devil was . . .” Naya gaze dropped as she blinked multiple times as if to keep tears away. She was remembering it. Her friend. What had happened.

“Nora. You are going to allow her to speak to me so disrespectfully and remain friends with a Devil? I am highly disappointed in you, Naya.”

“As I am of you,” Naya responded simply.

This was the worst thing that could have happened. Too much wrong could come from this unfortunate situation. I’d wanted to say something then. I did not want Naya to argue over something so small and stupid. Something I didn’t give a shit about. I didn’t want her good reputation tainted. But seeing that no one else was getting in the middle of the dispute, I decided it was best I didn’t either. I stared around the room at their faces. Zara’s was stiff with shock.

I stood motionless, without so much as a breath to betray my silence, while the tension in the room built . . . adding layer upon layer. I dreaded what the outcome of the matter would be.

“Mr Foster . . .” Naya looked over at him.

Though comb-over hairstyle was worn by men to minimize the display of baldness, the Chief’s hair was black and thick with heavy flecks of grizzled. He was a shade less than six feet, large body (not fat but not skinny), wide shoulders and a way of moving that made it clear he was head of the village.

“You know the importance of the matter here, however, if you, too, got a problem with the situation—you are free to leave. Anyone who wants to leave can do so. Julian is my friend.”

“The Devil back then was your friend as well and how did that turn out?” the woman scoffed.

“I know what everyone at the temple thinks of my family, mother especially. I used to feel guilty over what happened because I chose to bring a Devil home. I blamed myself for everything. But I don’t anymore, and I don’t think you want to know the reason for that.” Naya narrowed her gaze on the woman had been rude this entire time.

“Enough of this!” The Chief’s voice climbed above the others. “Shall we get started?”

“Chief Foster!” the woman gasped. “You don’t have to settle. Don’t sell your belief because you’re afraid Naya might—”

“Enough, Mavis! Not another word.”

Unbelievable! I never witnessed anything like what was unfolding.

If I had to guess. This was not what The Chief wanted. He did not need me there. He would not mind I leave. His son hated Devils. They all did. Yet he stayed. Why?

“Then . . . I cannot stay. Sorry.”

Mavis stalked out of the room. Didn’t he want to follow her? What a mess the night turned out to be! Shit! I needed to leave. I’m oddly overwhelmed and had heard enough for one night. I liked spending time with Naya but why did I have to endure torture?

I looked at Naya. She did not meet my gaze right away and when she finally did, I studied her. I could hear her breathing, a controlled breathing.

I communicated a silent goodbye and left for the night.

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