Seeing Red

Seeing Red

Damien Crane

Chapter 1

Part 1

 

 

Red.

Adjective.

“Of a color at the end of the spectrum next to orange and opposite violet, as of blood, fire, or rubies.”

 

A color that a particular demon was quite familiar with. Eros stood on the street, the ash-black chains wrapped around his forearms tight and ready for use. Scarlet flames seemed to lick the edges of his eyes as the pale figure peered at the other one across from him. There, hunched forward, was a very tall goat-like demon. It stamped its hoof against the cobbled street and huffed, muscles rippling across its arms and chest. A crowd had gathered around the two, watching in anticipation. “Mister Baphomet!” shouted Eros, a smug grin on his face. “I do believe your time is up!”

 

Eros knew this wouldn’t be long. No, not even longer than two minutes. He knows this because Eros had fought many, many, many demons such as Baphomet in his time. This was Eros’s six hundred and forty-eighth year in Hell. He had gotten used to the underworld. Well…this underworld. There are many different “Hells” in existence, each one serving a different purpose. This particular underworld is considered by many to be the “capital,” where the Dark One dwells. No one knows who the Dark One is, just that not to cross him. And this Hell is divided up into circles, yes. Nine of them, as defined by Dante’s Inferno. In the midst of the circles is a city, Pentagram City. All nine circles overlap over the city, dividing it up into “sectors.” Based on which circle overlaps over the area, the sectors would be named after its respective circle. Such as the Limbo District, the Lust Strip, et cetera. And outside the city is a seemingly endless wasteland of barren desert. Few demons dare tread through there. The sector that Eros and Baphomet were in was called Blasphemy. This was the section under the sixth circle of Hell, heresy.

 

Eros quickly realized just how fitting the location is.

 

“Honestly, I’m not surprised you’re here. You know, given your past with a number of people, such as the Knights Templars.” Eros walked in a circle around Baphomet, his jet-black loafers tapping against the stone beneath his feet. “Heretics…funny. ‘A belief or opinion contrary to orthodox religious belief.’ What a curious word.” 

 

“What do you want?” grunted Baphomet before he growled. The demon’s voice was deep, booming, like it was a continuous crash of thunder. Eros chuckled and kicked a rock across the street. “Oh…nothing much. I know you’re an Advocate, sir. I have to hunt Advocates down and challenge them to a duel,” he called. With a slow pace, Baphomet followed the crimson-clad demon with his eyes, turning to keep him within sight. “Bah! You are puny compared to me. Puny for a demon!” With a frown, Eros couldn’t argue. Being only six foot three, in life he may have been taller than average. But he was considered short in Hell. Many demons are, on average, between seven and ten feet tall. Ignoring the jab, Eros continued speaking. “I don’t know why I didn’t come for you earlier on! Other Advocates try to lie low and avoid attention. No one shuts up about you!”

 

Eros watched as Baphomet growled once more. He sighed, flicking his arms out. “Ah, but I suppose you’re impatient. Surely you’ve got more important business to deal with than me.” The pale man stopped and turned to the goat demon, holding his arms out with a smirk on his face. “If you’re so strong and mighty, then I’ve got nothing on you.” Eros was not strong-looking. He looked rather weak, to be frank. And the size comparison between him and Baphomet was massive, the heretic stood over twelve and a half feet tall and looked like he hit the gym eight days a week. It was just…pitiful in appearance.

 

Baphomet scoffed and scraped his hoof against the cobblestone street. Like a bull, he snorted and lunged forwards, fist raised up. Eros smirked, sidestepping with ease out of the path of the strike. He unraveled the chains and began spinning them, the black links slamming into the stone and sending sparks flying. The demon lashed his chains out, whipping them across Baphomet’s back. “Stay still, imp!” bellowed the goat-demon. Eros cackled and danced around him. “Oh, my good sir! You don’t realize how long I’ve been doing this.” Chains wrapped around Baphomet’s horns and yanked backward, pulling his head into Eros’s knee. “I’m not a foolish child who thinks they’re high and mighty. I’m a man who’s bound to a promise and aims to finish.”

 

Baphomet roared and reached a hand up, grasping a chain. He yanked on the chains, forcing Eros to fly across the street. He skipped across the cobbles below before rolling onto his feet. Eros turned, spinning his chains with a grin on his face. As Baphomet lunged forward, Eros leapt into the air above. He lashed his chains out once more, wrapping them around the demon’s horns. As the crimson-clad figure flew up and the goat-legged demon roared below, the chains went taut. This signaled Eros to yank his arms up and redirected his momentum from up to down. He rushed down, slamming his black shoes into the top of Baphomet’s head. Eros inevitably smashed the Advocate’s head into the ground below. The stone cracked under the force and Baphomet became rather still and silent. 

 

As Eros stepped off and raveled the chains back around his forearms, the crowd was silent. Baphomet began to glow, then burst into a cloud of glowing specks. They moved towards Eros, gathering within a transparent orb held between his fingers. When the orb changed to a solid gray, the man tucked it into his suit jacket and brushed off his shoulder. “Show’s over, folks. Clear out of here.” The crowd murmured and dispersed at a slow pace, leaving Eros alone in the street. He began walking down the sidewalk, his proud stature dispersing as well. His shoulders sagged, he hunched forward, and his feet were dragged forward. Rain began to fall from above, a rarity in Hell. Eros came to a halt at the bus stop, standing in the rain.

 

Several other demons had arrived before the bus pulled around the corner. It slowed to a stop with a sharp hiss of the hydraulic brakes. Eros climbed on and grasped the pole, soaking wet. He stared with blank, emotionless eyes as young imps climbed over him, barking at each other harshly. The demon sighed and tried his best to ignore the kids. The fact he was able to accomplish this was an amazing feat in itself, especially given the fact that they were both loud and obnoxious.

 

Eros’s mind drifted without a specific destination. It swirled and dove through the sea of thoughts as he gazed off into the distance. How much longer must I keep pushing? He thought, a glum frown crossing his face. The hydraulic brakes of the bus hissed as it slowed to a stop, the doors sliding open. Eros lurched forward in a daze and walked down the stairs, stepping onto the cement. He turned right and lifted his right foot up and moved it forward, only to repeat the motion with his other foot. 

 

This has been the entirety of Eros’s existence for the last six hundred forty-eight years, three months, and nine days. At approximately six a.m in the morning, Eros would wake up and shut off his alarm. During the next half hour to forty-five minutes(it depended on just how depressed he felt that specific morning), Eros would proceed to pour himself a bowl of cereal, commence in his personal hygiene, get dressed, feed his demon-skeleton-cat creature, watch the television or read a book, and most importantly, sulked. At seven a.m., Eros would leave his apartment on the east side of Hell and take the bus to his job at Jimmy’s Diner all the way on West Side. From seven-thirty to three in the afternoon, he would work the kitchen duty and any other requests the higher-ups asked. From three-thirty to eleven, Eros would resume his search for the Advocates that he sought to kill. Wash, rinse, repeat.

 

Eros was getting tired of this bullcrap.

 

As the rain continued its violent downpour, the demon pushed against the double doors that led to his apartment complex. To his utter disappointment, they were locked. Eros sighed and reached his hand over to the intercom on the wall. When he pressed the button, the familiar buzz of an outgoing call did not do its job. “Mother of Christ…” Eros pressed the button again, to no avail. With increasing frustration, he began jabbing at the button, before flat out punching it.

 

After a long, painful pause, it buzzed with a reluctant hum.

 

Eros leaned on the wall, his hair hanging into his face. After an excruciatingly long five minutes, there was a sharp click when a voice spoke from the speaker. “Hello? Who is it?” Eros rubbed his face with weary movements as he said, “Mags, it’s Eros. I’m locked out again, can you buzz me in?”

 

“Hmph. It’s eleven-thirty, Eros. Why are you out so late?”

 

“Reasons, Mags. Just buzz me in, it’s raining.”

 

“Mm…” The person named “Mags” hummed for a long moment. “No, I don’t think I will. Serves you right for staying out so late for a week straight.” Eros scowled at that and responded with, “Mags, it’s none of your concerns as to why I’m out so-”

 

“Buh-bye!” The speaker went quiet as Eros grew angry. He pressed the button with furious intent and shouted. “Mags? Mags! MAGS! Mags open the goddamn door!” When no response came, the demon slammed his fists into the brick wall, then leaned his forehead against the cold bricks and sighed. “Great. Absolutely wonderful.” Eros pressed his back against the bricks and slid down, sitting on the concrete as the rain continued pouring. 

 

“I hate this place.”

About the author

 

Damien Crane is a writer, planning to publish a series of books.