Bim stood nervously in front of the door to Dark’s office, fidgeting and crinkling the paper in his hand. He’d managed to compress his swirling thoughts into one paper of questions. In other words, at least thirty. Taking a deep breath, he raised his hand to knock, but then the door swung open and Dark was standing before him, looking entirely unsurprised Bim was there. “Are you going to stand there like an idiot radiating anxiety or are you going to actually come in?”
Bim’s mouth opened and closed a couple times before he managed to get sound out. “Um. Yeah. Yeah, right.”
Dark opened the door wider and retreated back inside, Bim on his heals. Bim couldn’t help feeling the spike of anxiety and intimidation – he was always uncomfortable when he was alone with Dark. The demon’s aura curling toward him as they sat down on either side of Dark’s desk didn’t help. Dark raised an eyebrow at the paper he still clutched in his hands. “You only get three questions.”
Bim’s jaw dropped. “Only three?! But –”
“Yes, three. I do not have all night. If you don’t like it, you are very welcome to leave.”
Bim swallowed, running his fingers through his hair. “No! No, no, three is good, uh…” He straightened his back, trying to mimic Dark’s posture. “Who were they?”
Dark sighed, and allowed his body to splinter, his red and blue copies standing to either side. “They are siblings, twins, named Damien –” He raised his left hand, gesturing to the blue copy, and it shimmered, changing to match the form of the man Bim met earlier that day, right down to the white flower tucked in his suit jacket pocket and the old cane he held in his hands. Dark gestured to the right copy. “– and Celine.”
The copy shifted to take the form of a beautiful young woman with dark hair and a black dress. Unlike Damien, who was smiling warmly at him, Celine refused to meet his eyes as he openly stared. “That’s Yandere? How…how did she get to be like that?”
Something flashed in Dark’s eyes. “When they died, their souls were stripped of every good quality they once possessed, leaving them just shells filled with rage and revenge and hatred.” He folded his hands back on the desk. “Celine was desperate for love in life. She first married a childhood friend, a man she loved dearly, but her affections quickly transferred to another – her husband’s adoptive brother. A man named William.”
Bim’s eyes went wide. “Is that –”
Dark smiled ruefully. “Yes. Wil was not always the…loose cannon he is today. Back in the day, he was respected. A war veteran. A brilliant man. In fact, he attracted the attention of both twins.” Damien blushed, turning his head away. “But that is a story for a different day. When they died, Celine’s desperation became obsession as her soul was corrupted, turning her into the psychopathic stereotype of a ‘yandere’. Hence the name.” Dark let out a chuckle. “She latched onto you because your personality is nearly identical to that of her husband’s.”
Bim swallowed. “I…guess that makes sense.” He looked back to his paper, then crumpled it up, shoving it into his pocket. “How did they die?”
Dark raised an eyebrow. “Heavy question.” He grinned. “Celine wasn’t exactly a ‘pure’ soul even before death. She was a seer. She practiced the dark arts. Let’s just say that, one day, she bit off more than she could chew. Damien just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. The protective brother. Collateral damage.”
Celine ducked her head, covering her mouth with her hand, shoulders shaking with silent sobs. Damien cast a distressed, longing look in his sister’s direction, reaching out one hand behind Dark. Celine responded in kind, Dark’s body blocking the view of their fingers linked together.
Bim’s brow furrowed. “You said…you said Wilford was a war veteran. You mean like…Vietnam or Afghanistan or something?”
Dark’s grin turned feral. “No. We are far older than that. I mean World War I.”
Bim’s eyes grew huge. “You’re kidding. There is absolutely no way.”
Dark spread his arms. “In case you hadn’t noticed, the rules don’t tend to agree with us. If you split me up by my three parts, I’m technically older than even that. But, yes, going by the human souls, we are roughly 129 years old.”
Bim’s eyebrows shot together. “Wait, three parts? But –” He cut himself off, body going rigid, when he felt Dark’s aura brush against his leg, wrapping around his ankle and flaring out behind the demon, sending icy terror shooting down his spine, panic flashing in his mind as he was distinctly reminded of what happened the last time he was this close to that aura.
Dark’s smile was predatory. “I never said Celine didn’t succeed in channeling what she was after. I just said she underestimated it. It’s why her soul is strong enough to split occasionally.” He leaned back in his chair, one leg crossing over the other. “You’ve used up your three questions. I even let you get away with a fourth. We’re done here.”
“Wait! Wait wait wait, I’ve got one more! Please!” Bim cleared his throat, trying not to wither under Dark’s gaze. “You said that…that their souls were stripped of ‘every good quality’ they ever had, so…how can they – you, I mean – still love? How are you able to…still love Wilford?”
Dark’s mouth fell open in surprise before it morphed into a sad smile, Damien and Celine exchanging a look behind him. “Celine’s affection was born out of desperation and the thrill of an affair. Those are not ‘good’ qualities. And Damien…Damien was a gay man in the 1920s, constantly being fed toxic ideology about who he was and his sexuality, and pining after his best friend who just so happened to also be his sister’s lover. In his mind, there is nothing ‘good’ about that either.”
His smile fell and an expression of what Bim could only describe as heartbreak crossed his face. “Wil doesn’t remember them, doesn’t remember the two he once loved so dearly. I think…I think in some tiny, insignificant corner of his mind he recognizes me, but his mind is too broken to fully grasp at it.” He drew a shaky breath. “That day, on the roof all those months ago…” Bim flinched at the reminder. “Wil remembered us. He called me Damien. He saw them and I –” Dark stared Bim dead in the eye. “I have existed as this…this stitched together abomination, crammed into a dead and broken shell, for 93 years. And in all those years I have never felt such relief as I was given conformation that Wil – buried deep, deep down – still remembers the man he once was. The man they – we – I – fell in love with a century ago.”
The silence rang heavy after Dark’s confession, nearly suffocating. Bim didn’t dare move, barely dared to breathe. He felt like he was about to give under the pressure and the weight until a thoughtful expression crossed Dark’s face. “You know…” He let out a chuckle. “The Jims are just as old as Wil and I.”
Bim’s jaw dropped to the floor. “Out of all the frankly impossible things you’ve just told me…that is the most unbelievable.”
Dark laughed again. “It’s true!” His smile grew a little softer, and gave a broad, sweeping gesture. “They were here the day Damien and Celine died. The day Wil’s mind broke and he began his downward spiral into madness. The day I was forced into this body. Recorded it all, in fact. They probably have the footage archived somewhere if you want to ask them.”
Bim was nearly positive his brain had short-circuited at this point. “Wait wait wait, hold up now. You’re telling me all of that happened here, in the manor, nearly a century ago?” A pause. “The Jims are over a hundred years old?!”
Dark let out a full-body laugh at Bim’s disbelieving shriek and expression, shoulders shaking and his face falling into the support of his hand as Damien and Celine both began to shimmer and fade. “Yes. I’m not quite sure how. However, I do know that they are incredibly more observant than they let on.”
An odd shiver ran down Bim’s spine. “Remind me to step more lightly around the Jims. Jesus.”
Dark drew a deep breath, calming himself down and reaching that hand that was not propping his head up towards a stack of paperwork resting on his desk. “Alright, I’ve let you ask your questions. Now if you don’t mind, I have paperwork to do. I think it’s time for you to leave.”
Bim nodded, standing up. “Yeah, of course.” He started toward the door, then paused, spinning back around. “Uh…hey, Dark?” The demon raised his head, clearly already engrossed in his work, one eyebrow raised. Bim flashed him a smile. “Thanks. You didn’t have to do this, so just…thanks.”
Dark returned his smile. “Oh, Bim, before you go…” Something flashed in his eyes. “Remember, if you tell anyone, especially Wil, what I told you here…well, I still stand by my earlier threat.” There was no bite to his words, but Bim heard the underlying promise; he meant what he said.
Still, he flashed him a grin all the same. “Here ya loud and clear. I think I’m gonna go interrogate the Jims. You have fun in here.” Bim ducked out of the room, and Dark could hear him calling out to the Jims all the way down the hallway. He let out a low chuckle to himself, eyes skimming over his work.
And for once, his twin souls were quiet.