In the beginning, there was nothing, and boy was that boring to travel through.
Sure, standing on top of a star as it whizzes through the universe sounds cool as hell, but in an empty universe? Oh, look, more nothing going past, didn’t see that coming. Let me guess, in a hundred miles we might run into nothing, then maybe we take a left into nothing? Fantastic.
So, after sticking around being bored for a while, I decided enough was enough. I ‘let there be light’ as the saying goes.
Regretted it ever since. Bloody planning permission was a nightmare.
The Imperial Library is a lovely place, if not for all the people allowed in. Still, there is the odd exception…
I look up from my desk, scrutinising the guard reading in a rocking chair.
“Are you okay over there?”
A helmet covers their face, save for their cool blue eyes. “Fine, thanks.”
“You finished cleaning up, you know. You don’t need to stay any longer.”
“So you’re here to read?”
They lower their novel, looking straight at me. “I’m here to admire things. Some of those are books.”
I look down, blushing furiously as the guard chuckles.
The hall was silent.
“Hello?” I managed. “Heart of my Heart?”
It felt wrong to tiptoe down that sacred place, watched by Hearts long past, or at least, by their paintings. Many bore a stern, regal look, but when the Cardus family came into view, their eyes were full of warmth, courage and trust.
That was a sire you’d be proud of, they’d said. I’d said.
“Heart of my Heart?”
Icarus Cardus was my sire. When I was born from the earth, his kindly eyes were the first thing I saw.
And now, the forges dead, eyes closed…never again.
“So you don’t want to sell your soul?”
I glanced to the cupboard under the sink, where a small, annoying imp looked at me like a prime piece of sirloin.
“No,” I said, firmly. “I am quite alright, thank you.”
“It’s just…no one’s ever refused the money and power before,” the imp whined. “And then I tried the classic lust route and even that didn’t work!”
I tried closing the door, but all it did was POOF on top of a shelf instead. I sighed.
“What’s so good about my soul, eh?” I asked.
The imp shrugged. “Collector’s value?”
It sat in the distance, atop its pile of trinkets, taunting me. Even from across the street, I could smell its evil stench, a mix of ash and sulfur often blamed on the local waste plant.
I tripped, but quickly scrabbled to my feet, grasping for my fallen glasses. Without them, the world was so green, clean and pure…and fake. Definitely fake.
A curious teenager offered my glasses, completely unaware of the chaos around her.
“Are you okay?” she asked, and when I equipped my glasses, I knew it was not.
For the dragon was right behind her.
She never did like mornings. Her long, copper hair felt the heat as well as any wire, especially beneath the covers.
So she got up, and checked the fridge.
She rolled her eyes as Belzeroth announced his arrival with the usual hail of brimstone, soot and washing up liquid.
“We’re out of juice,” she continued. “Fix it.”
“Yeah, well, you owe me for pizza.”
BZOOMF! Demon™ brand juice zapped into her hand, and Belzeroth zapped out to avoid doing the dishes.
She shook her head, taking a sip of the sickly sweet juice.
“Fuckin’ demon roommates, man.”
“You have quite an impressive CV, Devon.”
Devon shifted in his seat of human skulls, too scared to ask for a pillow. After all, it’d probably be made from phoenix feathers or something.
“We were quite surprised that you had experience working in heaven, especially. How did you find it there?”
Devon looked up to the ten foot tall goat demon in front of him, its four eyes drilling deep into his soul.
“It was okay,” he replied minimally, wincing as his voice echoed. “I had some disagreements with the boss, though.”
“Yeah. Kept turning my water into wine.”