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   Yako watched as people swarmed around her. She didn't want their sympathy. It seemed so superficial and useless. Her cheeks were dry. Her mother's eyes were like ponds connected to streams. She couldn't stop crying. Everyone was wearing black. Yako was wearing her best clothes. Her stomach was empty but felt full. The taste of a parfait was on her tongues. She hadn't eaten parfaits in weeks.

   She missed her father. This was her father's funeral. He had been killed a few days ago. His blood had painted the walls red and his body had been rendered like a slaughter animal's. Knives jutted out of him like his broken bones. The door had been locked and his screams had gone unheard. A chainsaw had attacked him, or so the police theorised but the police also theorised that he had killed himself.

   Yako accepted a fruit cake as a gift from her housekeeper. She stuttered as she walked away. She couldn't understand why Yako was being so stony. Yako was certain that everyone around her thought she was a heartless freak. what kind of daughter doesn't cry at her father's funeral?

   A few rain drops began to caress the tombstone Yako's father had been given. Gradually, the rain got harder and Yako was taken home. The ride had been long and silent. It had been unbearable.

   Days passed but then days turned to weeks and weeks unto months. Yako became reclusive. She stopped saying as much as she used to. She would just stare and lurk like a spectre.

   'Are you okay?' Kanae asked, a beautiful girl who had been 'reformed' from her previous delinquency. She was Yako's best friend.

'Of course I am.' Yako replied. She sounded automated and hollow.

'Okay, I believe you.' Kanae lied. 'If you ever need anything, I'm right here.' That was sincere.

'I know.' Yako replied. She knew Kanae was lying. By this point, only a bird would believe her lies.

   Yako found some solace on the internet. She had never been fond of creepy things but ever since her father's passing, they had become comforting. She found a seedy looking website, eons away from Google's first page. "How to summon a Demon".

   'Yeah, right.' Yako mumbled to herself. Her eyes drifted to the corner of her computer. The time read "3.09AM". She was in pitch blackness. Her eyes stung and she felt vaguely hungry.

   She scrolled downwards and read through the instructions. Yako noticed that all of the things needed for this supposed summoning were things that were around the house. They were relatively normal things although, the blood of a virgin and skull of a bird were unusual but they weren't totally unattainable.

   Demons weren't real but the desperation was.

"A demon, when summoned, may ask you for your deepest desire - anything and everything, sexual satisfaction to the resurrection of the dead - but the price is costly, your soul."

   Demon's aren't real. Demons aren't real. Demons aren't real. The phrase became Yako's mantra but an idea still weaved between the words. Let's try it anyway, as a joke... After all, demons aren't real.

   Dad... I love you, you know that? This is for your sake.

   Yako grabbed the normal ingredients from the kitchen and laundry. She made her plans and everything happened so quickly that the memories blurred. She hadn't felt such a drive in months. It was wonderful, if not concerning. Yako didn't have a bird skull to use though but she hoped that a photograph of one would work. She had printed it off of the internet. She placed the items in a bowl and placed the bowl on a drawing of seven pointed star. She grabbed a razor.

   She stared at it. It stared back. 'This isn't a good idea. She couldn't do it. She couldn't prick herself and let her blood drip into the bowl. She was desperate but not stupid. She had been told all of the facts and statistics in school about cutting and self-harm. That wasn't a cycle she wanted to start.

   Instead, she grabbed the meat from the fridge. It was premium beef and her mother was planning on cooking it later. It wallowed in blood. Yako separated the steak from its blood and put into her bowl. She returned the steak.

   She glanced at her computer and read the incantation.

   Nothing happened.

   No, Yako was no disappointed. She had merely proven what science had explained ages ago. Demons weren't real.

   'What do you want, bitch?'

   Yako turned around. Her blood ran cold and her heard pounded at a million beats a second. She couldn't see anything. Was she hallucinating?

   'I'm over here.’

   Yako glanced to the photograph of her father. His face had distorted and something was trying to claw its way out of the frame. Horrible, metallic claws came out of her father's smile. A beaked face with maddening eyes poked through the rips in the film. 'You did the summoning wrong. Imbecile.'

'But it worked?' Yako was in horror and awe. 'Are you a demon?'

'No, I'm an angel.' the voice replied, bored and snarky. 'Of course I'm a demon.'

'Are you going to grant my wish?'

'Why would I do such a thing?'

'For my soul.'

   The owner of the voice tore through the photograph some more. 'Please don't do that.'

'Try me.'

'Please! That's the most important thing I own and you’re ruining it.

'For an imbecile, you have nerve.' The voice sounded intrigued, it also sounded like it had smiled.

'So, for my soul, will you resurrect my father?'

   'How long had he been dead?'

'A few months.'

'How did he die?'

'Homicide.'

'What happened to the body?'

'Cremated.'

   Yako didn't want to across as eager but the hope of bringing her father back was so tantalising and close that of course she came across as eager.

   'Unless you want sentient ash for a father, then I suggest you don't sell your soul.'

   The hope crumbled. Yako was crushed. 'But you have magic, don't you? Some kind of black demon magic, right?'

'Of course. I am the most powerful demon you are ever likely to encounter.'

'You’re Satan?'

'He's an imbecile. Why would I be Satan? No, I'm someone much worse. I'm Nougami Neuro, the 'Brain-Eater'.'

'Then can't you help?'

'I could but I don't eat souls. Not palatable whatsoever. Only idiots eat souls, the low rankers and lice. The scum of Hell. Not I though. I prefer something far more elusive to digest.'

'I'll let you eat my brain if you can turn my father into a proper, non-zombie human, for my mother's sake.'

   'I eat the essence of mysteries and unless you want to murder someone for me, then I won't be eating you any time soon.'

   Yako's hope, flimsy and brittle like bird bones, had been crushed again with ruthless, successive waves. She fidgeted and looked downward. The demon, Nougami Neuro, watched and was puzzled by the downcast demeanour of the heartbroken human. Emotions of a human calibre were far too annoying for Nougami to understand. Demons had even less finesse, he could admit that. They felt little more than wrath, hunger and envy. He liked to think he was more receptive to a more diverse range of emotions and he could label what he was seeing here as 'sadness' but he couldn't feel empathy for the pitiful girl. He could barely synthesise sympathy for her.

   'I have a proposal for you.'

'I don't want to hear it. Go away.' Yako murmured. She pulled on a jumper and walked towards her bed.

'I will only say it once.'

'Don't care.'

   What kind of human offspring would reject a demon's offerings and 'kindness'? Nougami was outraged but he controlled himself. He tried to remain as sweet as molasses but this girl, was irritating.

   'How would you like to become the next advisor to the Emperor of Hell?'

'I'd rather sleep.'

   Nougami could not begin to comprehend how insolent this human girl was being. Did she not recognise him or his prestige?

   'What would you like then? No strings attached, no fancy titles.'

'Why do you care about me? Don't you have important demon business things to attend to?'

'I care because no one disrespects me. And you, a simple louse, have repeatedly.'

'So your curious about the type of person I am?'

'No.' The voice was growly then reinforced back to sickeningly sweet. 'Just answer the question.’

   'Well, if bringing my Dad back is out of the question, then I would like a fridge that never runs out of food, or the ability to always get the best results at school... or a friend. I love Kanae but, I don't know, lately, I haven't been connecting with her lately.'

   The demon wasn't overly certain as to why a fridge was nor a school. It had been millennia since he had resurfaced in the human realm and it appears, they had developed things they didn't need in Hell. He had to respect their ingenuity. But the third thing on her list, he could understand, a companion. They had those in Hell but they never lasted long, usually only in bloodshed. But it was something he could understand and even extend. This human was fascinating.

   'From now on, I am your friend.'

Yako laughed.

'I am being serious.'