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Author Topic: Devil on One Shoulder, Angel on the Other  (Read 755 times)

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Offline StarlequinTopic starter

Devil on One Shoulder, Angel on the Other
« on: July 05, 2010, 02:46:08 PM »
Peter Winters rolled over in his bed, kicking the covers off and flopping face down, his pillow held in a death grip. He was in what he'd always called the Slumber Valley, that point between fully asleep and fully awake that he'd always hated, but was too lazy to pull out of. His lips smacked wetly, and he felt something cold and slimy brush against his smooth chin; a puddle of drool had accumulated atop his sheets, and he rolled again, onto his back. He nuzzled his chin against his shoulder and wiped the stuff off, and faded back into the Valley.

As he lingered in his own personal morning purgatory, his thoughts ran wild. The last few weeks had been more than passing strange, and even asleep he couldn't shake the memories that plagued him. For more than a month he'd been hearing voices. Not the harmless, amusing kind that just spouted random, weird things from the depths of his subconscious, and not the probably-not-so-harmless kind that told him aliens were taking over the world through subliminal messages in the newspapers. No, these were the kind that told him to run into a burning building and save a kitten, or walk into a fast food restaurant and go to town with a pick axe.

OK, OK, so they hadn't actually told him to do those things, or anything even remotely like it. Yet. But they had been trying to make him do things, things that often quite clearly went against his nature. Several times in the last couple weeks, he'd had to fight off the urge to shoplift, or play some mean-spirited prank on one of his neighbors, or donate the money in his wallet to a children's charity that he passed on the street, or buy a sheath of get-well cards and send them to strangers staying in hospital. Peter realized the latter two were probably strange urges to resist, but he rationalized that if he started giving in to the good urges, there might be nothing to stop him from giving in to the bad ones, as well.

Peter just wasn't the kind of guy this sort of thing happened to. He was a quiet guy, an average guy. No close friends, no real enemies. Not very bright, not too dim. Not quite estranged from his family, but not very close, either. But he was at least certain that mental illness had no place in his family history. No great uncles that turned out to be serial killers, no long-lost distant cousins that claimed to be Shakespeare or Lincoln or whoever was in vogue among the crazy folks these days. He clambered out of bed and shuffled to the bathroom, his eyes still squinted shut, blissfully unaware of the presence of the two figures that followed mere inches behind him.

Offline Eternity

Re: Devil on One Shoulder, Angel on the Other
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2010, 03:05:18 PM »
Talk about one hell of a job. Literally, one hellion, and her job. What had she done to be assigned to this; she wondered. The answer to the question was unknown, but she could hear the snicker of others watching her- probably imagining what the other angels were doing as they watched. This would be a kick for them, but so far this was a tough case. This man, Peter, wasn't budging on either side. His scale was not tipping, and that meant she was going to be bound here for what felt like- and could possibly be- forever.

Azalea was an angel, standing a slender yet lean height of 5'7 with tanned skin and smooth black curls tied back by a white ribbon. Her face was smooth, bearing high cheek bones, a small nose, full lips, and somewhat narrow, almost shaped eyes. Her eyes were a sweet icy blue with long lashes casing those gentle hues, all beneath thin arched brows that easily accentuated her emotions when they came to be expressed. Her body was smooth, flawless and without moles, pimples, or scars; clad in a white 'V' neck longsleeve and a white knee-length pencil skirt. White closed toed heels topped off her outfit, making her look like Heaven's secretary, a woman very down to business and yet with an aura of kindness and hearth about her.

She stood with her arms folded across her chest, staring at Peter in his bed, wondering how late this human could sleep in. And how long before the pitted verbal scritch-scratch happened between her and the man's other conscience boost.

Her eyes studied the man and finally she reached for his ankle, and withdrawing it back. Don't wake him up, that's the moron's job.

As he shifted again, Azalea then chose to clear her throat, speaking up in a voice slightly tinted with an Italian accent, though her speech was flawless as well.

"Good morning Peter."

Offline Eternity

Re: Devil on One Shoulder, Angel on the Other
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2010, 03:07:40 PM »
OOC: Character limit on my phone, sorry! }

Her voice went ignored, as it seemed to drift into silence as it was as gentle as a whisper, as he got up and shuffled to his bathroom, the angel stepping aside and being ignored almost as she faded to a translucent, ghost-like state. Her body became visible to his eyes again once he passed, and she moved to sit on the edge of the bed. She folded her legs and smiled, a brilliant and friendly smile, like she was ready to start a day of hard work all over again.

This time, she said nothing, just held her smile and waited.

Good morning sunshine.

Offline Frezak

Re: Devil on One Shoulder, Angel on the Other
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2010, 05:57:23 PM »
Kraadex turned his attention away from the various evil acts in the world, and back to... Peter.
As yet still a spirit, not having created an image yet (a waste of energy for a ridiculously ordinary mortal like this one), he hovered over the bed, a vague shadow in the air.
He was a demon, dammit! And a pretty good one at that! Why the Hells was he stuck with this insipid wretch? He'd have been in a proper hell ages ago, if it wasn't for the damned angel. He hadn't actually communicated directly with her as such, but they were both quite aware of the other's existence, especially now that the human's barriers were weakened through both of them trying to get to his mind first. Kraadex had hoped to get in first, and establish a decent foothold, but had failed. He wasn't very happy about it.

He turned from his thoughts as the angel manifested. He'd never, over the ages of corruption, understood just why angels alwayswent for perfect bodies. It's not like it was their way to tempt mortals with pleasures of the flesh. Kraadex grinned to himself. And decided to make a form based on that very moment. In the blink of an eye (not that demons blinked) a set of large, pointed teeth made their appearance in the air, shortly followed by a thin, angular body. The demon decided to eschew hair this time, and went on to form an aquiline nose and a small goatee. With another thought, jeans and a grey T-shirt were added to the body.

Peter heaved himself from the bed, and wandered off to the bathroom, ignoring the angel. Kraadex grinned again, and faded. She was no doubt aware that he was near, but without manifesting, it would be difficult to spot him. So he waited carefully as she did. He hoped for a more dramatic, or annoying, entrance. He was stuck with this mortal, so he might as well get what pleasure he could, even if it was from minor evils.

Offline StarlequinTopic starter

Re: Devil on One Shoulder, Angel on the Other
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2010, 07:01:32 PM »
Peter splashed some cold water in his face and patted himself dry as he returned begrudgingly to the waking world. He fumbled for his toothbrush and flipped the cap on his toothpaste, squirting out too much as usual. He brushed his teeth, grabbed a wet washcloth and scrubbed behind his ears, and completed the rest of his morning ablutions, grateful for at least the temporary silence in his head.

When he was finished, Peter pulled the bathroom door open and shuffled back into the bedroom, glancing at the incredibly beautiful woman sitting on his bed and the slightly scary man leaning against the window. He almost made it into the hall before his awareness caught up with him.

Peter bowed and shook his head slowly, closed his eyes and counted to 10. He slowly turned around and lifted his head, and one eye peeked open. The woman on the bed lifted a hand in a friendly little wave, and the man by the window nodded curtly. This time Peter bowed his head and counted to 20, then opened both eyes.

Yep. Still there.

"Um...g-good morning," he stammered uselessly. His mind raced with possibilities to explain two strangers' casual appearance in his bedroom. 'They don't look like they're here to evict me, I'm pretty sure I didn't enter any contests, ok there's the matter of those parking tickets but I only had like three of them and they don't really harass you for that, I guess they could be here to rob me, but it's not like they're gonna get anything worth taking...' After a minute, he gave up. For a moment he considered introducing himself, but decided to wait and see who they were first. He looked at each stranger expectantly, but no explanations appeared forthcoming.

"Uh...can I help you?" He asked lamely.

Offline Eternity

Re: Devil on One Shoulder, Angel on the Other
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2010, 07:17:09 PM »
Azalea watched him come out, spot her and the other, and close his eyes. Her mind counted down as his did, and he opened his eyes. He counted down again. Twice this time. Opening his eyes, he appeared to be gazing at them. Yes, they were seen now. Well, it's his fault, in a way. But the major fault, Azalea kept thinking, fell on that idiot of a dark side. Without him, convincing Peter to better himself as a human being amongst his society would've been a breeze... Maybe.

The angel came to a stand, smoothing the wrinkles out of her pencil skirt and putting on a very professional smile, broad and brilliant. She was a combination of what her past life's image was, mixed and enhanced by the angel's approach of being 'beautiful', 'flawless', and 'heavenly' in appearance. Azalea readied in her mind the eminent answer to Peter's question of could he help them.

She clapped her hands together quietly and nodded her head.

"Yes you can Peter." She stepped forward, completely ignoring the third presence in the room. "I am your Angel, here to guide you into the path of righteous behavior, to help you better yourself amongst your society. You've got great potential, and I am here to help you. And in return, you can most definitely help me; and that would be by putting forth the effort to change your life in simple little ways to make the world a better place." Her smile broadened again and she blinked, smooth hues keeping perfect contact with his.

And now time for that bitter imbecile's side of the argument, unless he's going to make it easy on me... But I doubt it.

Offline Frezak

Re: Devil on One Shoulder, Angel on the Other
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2010, 02:26:16 PM »
Kraadex hated first encounters. he much preferred to work in the background, subtly manipulating, never entering in direct contact with mortals. But with the damned angelangel being so direct, not manifesting now could concede a great advantage to the upsider. And this was one demon that had no intention of just giving away a soul.

The demon manifested, sat cross-legged about two feet above the bed, and grinned with those inhuman teeth.
"Or," He said, with perfect elocution and the slightest of French accents, "you can choose another path. A way that you grant you great power, wealth and fame. You don't need to place yourself under the servitude of others."
Still in a sitting position, he flew behind the angel to stop by Peter's side.

"You can still, if you choose, use your life for people you've never even met, sacrifice yourself for the masses, become a martyr, even. It's your choice, I won't deny it.
But I could grant you so much more. You only need to say the word, and the considerable powers of Kraadex would be at your service. And the best part is, " and now he leant close to the human with conspiratorial wink " You don't even need to sign a contract."

That, he thought to himself, was a decent intro. Not the best, but pretty damned good. The bird-woman didn't have a chance.

Offline StarlequinTopic starter

Re: Devil on One Shoulder, Angel on the Other
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2010, 03:06:27 PM »
Peter stood as still as he could manage as the woman who called herself an angel--his angel!--spoke her piece, and smiled sweetly. Her smile was so beautiful, for a moment he thought maybe she could be an angel. But she was obviously just a very disturbed, and possibly deranged, person who'd probably gotten lost on her way to the hospital. And the other fellow, why, he was probably just her, her brother or nurse, or something, sure. Of course she wasn't dressed like he'd expect a madwoman to dress, but he'd never really met any madwomen, or mad people in general, so he decided he probably wasn't the expert to consult on the matter.

He raised his hand to interject a comment, but before he could speak the other fellow sat down and crossed his legs.

In mid-air.

Peter's eyes widened in disbelief as he watched the man float--float!--across the room to sit beside the woman. He smiled, a cold, cruel slash across his mouth filled with, dear God, were those teeth? They couldn't be, they're like sharks' teeth, no man has teeth like that. He launched into his own spiel, and Peter could only stand on trembling legs, shaking his head in denial.

'Oh, God, it really happened, I've actually lost my mind, I just woke up one day and BOOM, I went crazy, that's what they'll say, stupid fake family history, I'll bet it's actually rife with psychopaths, schizophrenia and suicide and mass murderers and car salesmen, that's who I'm really related to, I'm gonna spend the rest of my life sucking down thorazine in a padded cell, OK, OK, hang on, maybe this won't be so bad, I'm sure Stacy won't want to spend the rest of her life with a loony tune, I've been looking for a way to break up with her for weeks, and maybe I can get my anti-psychotics in grape flavor, WHAT AM I SAYING I'm going nuts and thinking about breaking up with my girlfriend, I must be insane!'

When the floating man was finished, Peter bowed his head and counted to 30. It hadn't worked yet, but maybe he just wasn't counting high enough.

28, 29, 30....Nope. Still there.

Finally he inhaled, a long, slow, steady breath, and turned to each of them.

"Um, OK. I'm going to go downstairs now, and I'm going to have a nice, relaxing bowl of cereal. And then, I'm going to call either the police, or the best psychotherapist I can find in the yellow pages. I haven't decided which yet. Goodbye."

And with that, he turned away and walked very calmly downstairs, white knuckles clutching at the railing, his eyes wide and unblinking.

Offline Eternity

Re: Devil on One Shoulder, Angel on the Other
« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2010, 08:16:33 PM »
Azalea watched, not once daring to eye the demon in her presence. The human was of course frightened; though not by her (so much persay in comparison). But soon, just as trial one this morning, Peter turned away and moved out of the room, heading wherever he may; just elsewhere. The angel could feel his presence, as if there were a secret link between the two and she could feel a tug into the direction in which he went. As much as she may've wanted to at certain times, she could not leave Peter. Til her job was done, she was bound to him like a genie waiting out the asking of wishes.

A few moments of silence passed, and she slowly pivoted on her heels. Those icy hues met the gaze of the other in the room, the demon; Kraadex. Her eyes hung on his figure, his solidity, moving from his head, to his toes, and back once more. There was a sharpness to her glare; a violent distaste wrapped in white rose petals and swan feathers. Her eyes broke from his shape and she began to walk forward, heels clicking just barely on the floor.

"You are going to make this a wretched day, aren't you Kraadex?" Azalea said upon making a stop a few feet away. Her back was turned to him as she dipped her head a bit, rubbing her temples. She took in a deep, chest-filling breath, then let it slide out of her nostrils as she continued onward, slowly moving to find Peter....

~XXX~

She waited around the corner, listening intently to the sound of cereal being crunched after he had freshly poured milk into it. He ate, and she waited, and time seemed more eternal now than it had been in her previous, painstakingly unpleasant assignment. When she heard the clatter of the spoon against the bottom of the bowl, she counted down her own matter of seconds, moving into the kitchen. Her clothes around her became wisps of white, her figure beneath hidden by a hazy glow. Her clothes quickly changed to something very very casual, so that she seemed more like a friend or roommate.

Azalea adorned a charcoal gray Abercrombie & Fitch top with a 'V' cut neck over a white tank top, and sleeves that fell to the elbows in length. Her jeans were pretty basic, boot cut and with worn knees, falling over slip on classic black and white Chuck Taylors (converses). Her hair was still tied up, but a little messier now, her appearance somewhat more human now without all the white.

The angel pulled up a chair wordlessly across from Peter and sat down, folding her hands over the table and looking up at him, a halfhearted grin flitting over her lips.

"So, you must be pretty freaked out." Azalea said in a much more casual, easy tone. "I'm here to help you. So, if there's anything you want to know, about me or Kraadex, go on and ask. It's not like we've got anything better to do with our time." Azalea grinned.

Offline StarlequinTopic starter

Re: Devil on One Shoulder, Angel on the Other
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2010, 02:03:01 AM »
The first bowl of cereal Peter poured wound up on the floor. His hands were shaking so badly, it was almost a miracle that he was able to hold the box at all. 'No, no, don't call it a miracle, don't even think mir--that word, no such things, no such things as mira--those, or angels, or weird scary guys that sit in the air, it wasn't real, yeah, that's it, it wasn't real, of course not, a hallucination or uh, some kind of waking dream or maybe I came down with food poisoning last night and I'm just delusional or something, or maybe I got hit by a car on the way home yesterday and this is all just a really vivid, tripped out dream brought on by bad painkillers, I bet sooner or later I'll wake up and realize I'm in the emergency room bleeding to death or something...'

Perversely, the notion that he could be simply experiencing a mental breakdown due to possibly lethal physical trauma did wonders for Peter's state of mind. His hands steadied, and he poured himself another bowl of cocoa crisps. Ignoring the mess on the floor, he sat his bowl on the table and withdrew a quart of milk from the fridge, and sat down to breakfast. He munched quietly, focusing on only his breathing and the rhythmic motions of eating. Breathe, scoop, chew, swallow, breathe, scoop, chew, swallow. Before he'd even finished the bowl, he'd convinced himself it was nothing but an unusually vivid waking nightmare.

And then she came downstairs.

Peter had just finished his last spoon when she appeared at the foot of the stairs, and it was all he could do not to choke on his crispies. His entire body tensed as she walked casually toward him, her almost ethereal--'stop using words like that, dammit!'--white outfit morphing as she moved into a far more common, earthly style. He leaned back in his chair, ready to leap to his feet and bolt out the door, but she smiled again, that serene, completely disarming smile that felt like being pinned beneath a ton of velvet. No one had ever smiled at him like that. Truthfully, no one had ever really smiled at him at all; they'd smiled at things he'd done, or more often things that happened to him. None of them were as warm or as pure as that simple grin.

"...better to do with our time." Peter realized she'd been speaking, and shook his head like a boxer dazed by a sudden jab. He smiled then, a small, weak little number barely even reached his lips, let alone his eyes, and swallowed hard.

"Look...you're not...I mean, you and, uh..." he nodded toward the upstairs. "the other guy, you're not really...you know. Right? This is some kind of joke or something, right? Did someone put you up to this, or am I on some kind of new reality show, or what?" His breathing quickened and a short, barking laugh escaped his lips as he hoped and prayed with every fiber of his being, which admittedly wasn't much, that she would agree with him.

The look in her eyes told him he should have prayed harder.

"Then...am I really crazy? Maybe I drank a bad soda, or I'm suffering from like, mercury poisoning? Anything?"

She shook her head with a sad smile. He slumped in his chair, and his tension evaporated. For several minutes he sat silently, staring at his toes and blinking back the forming tears. At last he lifted his head and shyly met her eyes.

"So...you want to help me...?" He asked, his voice low and almost brittle. She nodded eagerly, grateful at last to have gotten things underway. She started to speak, but Peter raised a hand to stop her. "Please...please, will you just...go away? And, take your friend with you?" He could tell she was confused, but he continued before she could interrupt him. "Look, I don't know what you want, either of you, but I can tell you right now I'm not the person you're looking for. I mean, I'm flattered--I think--that you guys would even think about noticing a guy like me. Well, actually, I'm terrified. But I'm a little flattered, too. I guess. But you came to the wrong guy. I'm nothing, alright? I-I-I'm a nobody. My own parents have problems remembering my name! Please, both of you, just...just leave me alone. I don't want anything, I swear, I...I just want to be ignored..."

As he spoke, Peter squeezed his eyes shut and rocked gently back and forth in his seat. He breathed quickly, air exchanging in his lungs in short, rapid bursts, and his hands trembled almost violently as he gripped the arms of his chair. Part of him marveled at his own words; if she really was what she said she was, then how foolish to risk angering her. But risk it he did. He truly wanted no part in anything they could offer him. His whole life had shown him that he, Peter Winters, was largely insignificant, and he'd made peace with that. The thought of that ever changing was more terrifying than anything she, or the other one, could ever do to him.

Offline Frezak

Re: Devil on One Shoulder, Angel on the Other
« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2010, 03:54:29 AM »
Kraadex, who'd been listening in from the floor below, drifted through the ceiling to stand besides the angel, whom he grinned at.
He doubted that making her uncomfortable would cause him any trouble at all, and hopefully the opposite.

"Nobody?" He frowned. "I doubt that a 'nobody' is the kind of person to be visited by both a demon and ... an angel" He said, making a vague, dismissive gesture towards the latter. Inside, he was seething. He truly hated it when the damned humans went and disbelieved him. He was a demon, dammit! How dare he argue! Sometimes, the whole soul-taking became nearly more trouble than it was worth.

"You have so much more potential than the rest of the sad inhabitants of this sorry world. You, my boy, have the opportunity to become something great, to change the face of the world."

Kraadex paused a moment, glancing inside Peter's mind. The human was actually as terrified as he said. Hellfire! Why was it never easy? And Azalea wasn't going to make it any easier. At this rate, no-one was going to get him. And that just wouldn't do.

"Very well then, we'll give you a moment to think about all this. But we will be back. I need you to know, Peter, that what you say is true. You are insignificant. But from now, you will be much, much more."

He turned, grabbed the angel by the arm and hurled them through the wall, out of the house. At least he could touch her if they were both incarnated.
Kraadex didn't bother looking at his surroundings, neither of them would be spotted, and he just needed to get away from the human for a moment.

"Listen, feathergirl, " The demon hissed, features becoming distorted now that there was no need to pretend to any humanoid form, "The poor bastard is terrified. If you push him too hard, then neither of us are going to get his soul. So give the monkey a moment to breathe. "

The demon let go of her, hissed, and discarnated again. Taking in the area, he tried to find something he could use, poring over minds and places, looking for an edge. There was no way he was going to let a mindless angel cost him a soul. On that thought, he keep a (metaphorical) eye on her, in case she approached Peter again.