THREE WEEKS PRIOR - SOMEWHERE IN SOUTH GEHENNA
There he sat on a flaming rock. Bored. With nothing to do. There wasn't really much of a war since this new movement between Gehenna and Assiah was going on. There were rumors, of course. But he didn't see anything. Nothing that would impress him or get him excited, at least. Nothing that stood out. So there he sat, the uninterested expression literally engraved in his face. He closed his eyes, letting the strong heat waves brush through his hair. He was so bored he wanted to just crack the ground open. But he had already done that enough. So, he sat.
He had become quite irritable with all this idle time. He had become like a kid. A pouty kid that wanted his games. Oh how he loved his games. But they were all used up. All overdone. Now there was nothing else. Not even his candy. He loved his candy even more than he loved his games. Now, he was miserable. As he continued on in his seated position, he could see an underling hobbling its way in his direction. He didn't really want to be bothered so he figured he'd send it back to where it came from.
"I don't want to be bothered!" he yelled from the rock.
"But...master...this is my weekly contract run! It is imperative that you at least hear the weekly offer," the underling continued.
He remained on the rock with his head lowered. He then thought for quite some time to himself, the underling standing by several feet away. What harm would it really do to just hear the contract list? None. He then looked up at the underling, who had a small briefcase hanging down by its waist.
"Alright, what is it?" he asked, signalling the underling to approach him.
"Well, well master...have I a few offers for you!" the underling cheered.
"Yeah, yeah...let's just get this over with," he replied. At this point, he was definitely not in the mood for small talk. The underling popped open its mini-suitcase and pulled out a stack of papers. Rummaging through the papers, it came to its first stop.
"Alright, first up is a Soul Contract 18 - made by aspiring musician Ken Baker- you'd pretty much help him with his success and then take his soul at the end of the process. Provides full access to Assiah given all rules are obeyed," the underling read from the paper.
"No," he simply replied. He wasn't interested in helping some selfish douchebag get sold-out shows. The underling flipped through the papers until he found another one.
"Okay, next is Kill Contract 68- Mobster Jin Kansberg wants fellow mobsters Karl Landing, Pol Mutello, and Jay Ginzeno found and given proper punishment for going AWOL right before a drug bust. Provides limited access to Assiah given all rules are obeyed," the underling skimmed.
"No," he replied again. He also wasn't interested in hearing mobsters bitch about everything. Though the temptation to kill was there, he was trying to take a different route with things since this movement was supposedly occurring. He used to kill. A lot. It was like a drug to him. And it wasn't like he had completely stopped. There had always been a dark hole inside of him. A hole which contained the unknown. After all this time he had managed to control his urges. Someone relatively close to him taught him how to do it. He still hadn't been 'clean' for that long. The underling said nothing. It only continued to flip through more papers. Stopping at another, it continued.
"Next is Escort Contract 24 - Exorcist Salual Conwell signed this contract four years ago asking for the protection of his younger sister, Kuri, when she turns 21. Provides full unlimited access to Assiah given all rules are obeyed. This one has been in danger of being idly shelved and burned for so long," the underling read once again, just waiting for him to refuse.
Surprisingly, he paused. He suddenly found that he couldn't just skip over this one like he had did the previous two. He had absolutely no idea why, but there seemed to be some sort of impulse building inside of him within the moment. This particular impulse felt as if it was stopping time itself. His body immediately froze.
"Master?" the underling started, "are you alright?"
He didn't answer right away. He just sat there with a puzzled look on his face. This impulse wasn't letting him go. He did need to cure his boredome. Maybe being back in Assiah was what he needed. He hadn't been in so long. Was that what was stopping him from turning it down? A need to be in Assiah? Maybe. He definitely needed to get the hell out of Gehenna. He was at that point. Plus it wasn't like he would have to endure some mobster or guitarist. But even then, what made him so sure?
"Master?" the underling repeated, becoming slightly worried from his master's sudden behavior.
"Okay," he then said randomly. The underling then gave him a questioning look.
"Okay...as in you're okay?" the underling tried for clarification.
"No...I mean...that contract...the one you just read," he added. His words had caught the underling off guard.
"You mean...you'll do it?" The underling wanted to make sure that it wasn't misunderstanding him.
"Yes." The word fizzed out of his mouth. He couldn't believe it himself. But, the impulse had made itself known within his inner walls.
"Alright...then just sign here," the underling said, handing him the paper and pin.
He took the pin and pricked his finger before slowly and unsurely signing his name in his own blood. It was as if fate was pulling him along. He didn't understand what was happening. This was something. Once you agreed to a contract, there was no breaking it unless you seriously broke the rules of it. After handing the signed contract back to the underling, it then took a deep breath.
"Alright, master, here's the information. You'll basically be starting in about three weeks so no rush to prepare. Just know that her name is Kuri Conwell, she'll be 21 by the time you two meet. She lives in a town named Waleson...wherever that is...you'll find it. You will also be receiving a pamphlet with the rest of her information in it. Ummmm...lets see is there anything else...uh yeah, I don't have a photo of them but the earth will lead you to her...so um...um...so yeah, uh... she's a human female and...yeah." The underling tried to think of more things to say but failed.
He only looked at it blankly as it packed up its papers. He was still trying to understand the main reason why he had the sudden impulse to agree to this particular contract. It was all so weird. It couldn't be helped. Watching the underling hobble away, he thought about this Kuri person. What would she be like? The contract description was too vague for him to tell. He thoroughly hoped that she wouldn't be annoying. He didn't want to go all the way to Assiah just to be annoyed beyond end. On the other hand, he severely hoped she wasn't boring. That would be bad. Very, very bad. That would be so bad he'd have to off her and then off himself.
But, nonetheless, he had three whole weeks to actually 'prepare' for this Kuri person. This was...new. He had never escorted anyone before...especially not a human (and a female at that). But there was also the possibility that this would actually cure his boredom. That could happen. He was never really known to be fond of humans but he had learned to socialize better with them with the help of other demons. Hopefully, all this teaching wouldn't go to waste. So many thoughts were now racing through his head. There was no point in fiddling back and forth across Gehenna's grounds. That wouldn't make time go by sooner. Til then, he'd have to just...wait it out. And that's exactly what he did.
Chapter 1: The Mysterious, Green-Haired Man
THREE WEEKS LATER - WALESON TOWN DISTRICT
It was early September on a Saturday night in Waleson. A night when everybody would go their own way and do their own thing. A night when freedom filled the air and possibilities seemed to be endlessly existent. Kuri loved Saturday nights. She needed these nights desperately. Without them, Kuri would probably end it all.
On this night, Kuri Conwell rose from her bed to stand at her average, 5'5 frame. On her nightstand stood a picture of her and her brother standing side by side smiling. She missed him so much. Kuri's brother, Salual, had disappeared from the town she lived in about four years prior. She had never seen or heard from him again. He was then reported dead by police authorities after a six month search. Their parents both died when they were younger from unusually sudden illnesses so Kuri was left alone and confused. But she had learned to live with it. Since she was much older now, she had learned to understand their supposed circumstances.
The newly 21-year-old's face claimed big, brown, expressionistic eyes. Her head held kinky, light brown hair and her body was wrapped in rich, dark brown skin. She would usually keep her hair in braids but tonight each small section of her hair was separated into individual little twists. Kuri decided to slip on some denim jeans and a comfortable blouse before heading out the door. On her way out, Kuri picked up a random book one of her classmates wanted her to look in to. It was a gimmicky romance novel but she didn't seem to mind because she loved reading. It was the only thing that kept her sane.
Kuri left her apartment and made her way down the street. As she walked, she enjoyed the touch of the night air brushing against her parted lips. She let the wind rush through her hair with pleasure as she let a smile shape her face. She could finally let go. She could let go of the fact that she lived in Waleson. It was such a god awful town. She hated it with a passion. Despite the fact that the town was literally dying before her eyes, there was nothing to do there. Plus, a good 80% of the original population left.
It was about a ten minute walk until Kuri arrived at her favorite spot, a small intersection near a local park a few blocks away from her apartment. She liked coming here. It was quiet and peaceful. It was now 8:10 pm. The park looked a tad bit eery from the distance since it was so dark. Placed outside the park were benches that bordered between the park and the intersection. Kuri picked her usual bench, got herself into a comfortable position, and began reading. It was nice.
About twenty minutes had passed and Kuri was already trying not to cringe at the strange lingo in the book. "What the hell?" she thought as she continued to read. She had come across the first love scene and the terrible illustration of it caught her off guard. Kuri tried not to let it stop her. Another ten minutes had passed and Kuri had been spending the last eight talking out loud to herself. "Oh really? Are you kidding me?" she exclaimed with a chuckle. She had come across some pretty cheesy points within the story and it had her laughing continuously. Kuri was trying to keep it at a low chuckle but she was having a rather hard time with it.
The book was so cheesy it was almost uncanny. She began to wonder how such a book could get published. Did the author sleep their way to the top? Did they blackmail the publishing company? How? Just How? Kuri kept on chuckling to herself until she heard a small sound come from one of the bushes on the outer end of the park.
Kuri immediately stopped and shut her book. She was frozen still while her eyes remained on the area from which the sound came. It could have just been a rabbit or a squirrel. She sure hoped it was. Then again, there usually weren't animals running around in this particular park. This could be a first. But without warning, all of Kuri's hopes of it being an animal were hissed away when she suddenly had a sense that she was being watched but someone. Or something. She didn't know. The presence around the area was thick. Powerful. Almost smothering her. Kuri couldn't describe it. She wanted to just leave the intersection and bolt home right away but she couldn't get her body to move. She was stiff.
"Hello?" she said out loud, "is anybody there?"
There was no answer.
Kuri's sense of fear heightened as she used whatever strength she had left to lift the upper half of her body. When she finally managed to get to her feet, Kuri then saw something in her peripheral vision coming from the opposite side of where the park was. There was, oddly, something moving at the very top of the nearby street lamp to her left. Was it a bird? She certainly didn't hear it land. She then slowly shifted her head to the left and saw what appeared to be a man crouched to his knees. He was staring right at her.
Kuri didn't know what to do so she just stood there staring back at him. In that frozen moment, Kuri began to examine what she was seeing. Though the man was crouched, he looked like he had a tall frame. He had a rather lean, muscular build as well. His hair was a dark forest green with some sort of spike at the top; such an unusual style and color. He wore a large brownish-burgundy trench coat that covered a red-green plaid color shirt with tie and greenish arm-warmers. His feet were covered in knee high boots with a highly unusual curl to complete the look.
Kuri then noticed that his ears were pointy, only something she had seen in fiction. Either way, he certainly didn't look human. His skin was pale, like a ghost, and his eyes were a piercing emerald green. He only continued to gaze at her. It was as if he was staring directly into her soul.
"Who or what is he?" she nervously thought to herself, "and why on earth is he just crouched there staring at me like that?"
The man was looking at Kuri in such a peculiar way, as if she was the one who was different. But it was strange. It wasn't a look of hatred or disgust at all. It was more like a look of mere curiosity, as if he found her intriguing.
Soon after, a light could be seen coming from the opposite direction of where the man was crouched.
It was a car and it was approaching the intersection at a rather high speed. Kuri looked to where the car was approaching from, her body remaining frozen in its original stance. As the car crept closer, Kuri heard something small hit the ground.
By the time the car was in the middle of the intersection, Kuri looked and noticed that the man was gone. Not a trace of him was left except whatever hit the ground. Kuri was now alone in the intersection. Even though she was alone now, her body continued to remain still. It was quiet. Very, very quiet. After a few more moments of silence, Kuri finally managed to get her feet to move again. She slowly took a few steps toward where the sound came from and spotted something small on the ground. As she got closer she found it to be…a cell phone?
"He dropped his...cell phone?" Kuri asked herself. This strange man owned a cell phone? As frightening as this experience was to Kuri, it was also quite amusing.
A random guy who appeared to be not quite human was found staring at her as he crouched at the top of a street lamp and when he left, he forgot his cell phone. Yeah, what a great story she could tell the next person she sees…NOT.
Kuri was shaken up but remained calm. She examined the cell phone upon picking it up. It looked a lot like an ordinary cell phone but it had a sort of dark feel to it. The design seemed other-worldly. Then, at once, a school of thoughts rushed their way through Kuri's head causing her to stop in her tracks. She began to weigh if she should keep the phone and possibly return it to the strange man. This particular suggestion was pretty damn heavy and had opened an entire world of infinite possibilities. It was scary. Kuri didn't know what to do with the idea.
Kuri also weighed the option of just leaving the phone in its place and never coming back to that intersection at night again, closing that door. But was Kuri so sure that she wanted to close that door? If she did, she'd have to go back to the same thing everyday. Back to her private torture of a life. Did she want that? What did Kuri want?
At the end of the day, the choice was hers.
Kuri had spent the next 24 hours flipping the cell phone open and shutting it. It was now Sunday, the day after, and she still had nothing else to do. She tried to search through the phone but it appeared to be locked. Kuri was still contemplating whether or not she should return to the same place she was the night before in hopes of the mysterious green-haired man being there so that she could return his phone. It invaded her thoughts the entire day as she lay across her bed. She did, however, manage to fit in some homework during the afternoon. In a way, she was kind of afraid to go outside again. She was confused.
Kuri was trying to understand the world. What was going on? What was happening? Was she dreaming? And on such an odd day as well. A Saturday night? Well she supposed that all sorts of weird things could happen on a Saturday night, but not to an extent such as this. Then she remembered the way this particular man looked at her. Why on earth was he staring at her like that? It was...unusual.
The sun was lowering fast and the next thing Kuri knew the evening had set upon her. It was about 7:45, approximately fifteen minutes before she had left the previous night. It was now time to make a decision. In this moment, Kuri looked back at her life in this small town. No change. She was still heading nowhere. Sure, she'd have a college degree but she wouldn't get far. There was no way she was leaving Waleson. She didn't have the finances to. As far as she knew, she was stuck. Stuck in an endless time warp of a town. She'd die there, with no excitement, no shine, no light, no color. And in that moment, Kuri decided she was not going to let that happen to herself.
After one last inhale, Kuri exhaled as she rose from her bed and put on yet another pair of jeans and a blouse. Kuri had officially made up her mind. She was going walk back down to that intersection and return that 'interesting' cell phone to this mysterious, green-haired man.