Built high in a distant desolate land, where mountains ceased to resemble toblerones but became twisted malevolent shards of stone, where eerie winds moaned through bone strewn valleys, was a black fortress. It had many names, Allhopes End, The Hall of Despair, Deathskull Palace. Which made it hellish for postmen.
Darkness reigned supreme in this place, called the Land of Darkness and Despair or Land of Hackneyed Clichés to the more worldly wise of its night-bred inhabitants. A greenish-yellow sulphurous mist swirled through the forests and around the base of the fortress. Large bats permanently flitted around the turrets in a dizzying whirl. Obviously in shifts except at weekends when the skeleton crew took over.
The moon was always full and often blood red when it felt the need for added melodrama. And whenever anyone or anything approached the fortress, a violent thunderstorm would strake the night sky, a sort of paranormal intruder alarm. The worse offenders for setting it off were the werewolves using the storm as an impromptu bath when their coats became too manky. The evil minion guards of the castle had become accustomed to so many false alarms and now ignored them, a case of crying werewolf.
Despite this, the demon that lived there called it home. A reluctant dweller on Earth, he had been kicked out of Hell for the heinous crime of dissension and creativity. To Rafial, all that prodding with pitchforks had seemed so petty, so pointless. An eternity living in sulphur scented darkness with no reality TV and soaps was surely punishment enough for the souls of the damned? What was the point of having devilish powers and a fallen angel’s beauty just to dangle food on long poles in front of the eternally hungry? And do all that annoying maniacal laughter. It was so trivial and tedious. His dissent and ambition had led to banishment, condemned to live amongst humans for eternity. It could have been worse. Living with lemmings or wombats would have been far more problematical.
With a huge, gloomy castle to roam in and plenty to read, Rafial was content. Unlike his daughter Demonica. Born from a brief but tempestuous relationship with a human woman, she was desperate to create merry hell on earth. Bored and restless, she frequently railed at her father to go out and wreak some satanic havoc, to corrupt souls and torment people. But Rafial was adamant. He would leave humans alone if they didn’t bother him. They had enough misery in their lives already…clip on ties, verrucas, puberty, gangsta rap, piccalilli, spam emails selling shlong enlarging cream…the list was endless.
In her spacious, cobweb draped quarters, Demonica stood in front of a suitably gothic mirror, black glass, dark pewter surround decorated with skulls, dragon claws and bats. A click of her fingers and the mirror cleared. She was darkly glamorous like her human mother, tall, with long slim legs, an ample bosom and a tiny waist. The tumble of her raven locks down her back hid two neat horns, courtesy of her father’s side of the family as were her neat yet sharp fangs. Her eyes were jet black and would flare into flame when angry - which was often. Long, blood red painted talons completed her look. To her dismay she had not inherited her father’s impressive black wings. Wasted on him of course, another sore point, Rafial never flew anywhere.
Unlike the contents of her chambers. The demon’s daughter stepped back from her mirror and kicked a childhood favourite toy, her scarebear flying across the room to bounce off the furthest wall. It waited, crumpled into a heap on the flagstones until her attention was drawn to a pile of magazines by her bed before wisely slinking into the shadows. Around Demonica agitated by her fury and frustration spun a dizzying tornado of ‘Succubus’ and ‘Lilith’ and other teenage girly demonic magazines as well as a copy of ‘Not Ok’ featuring hot gossip from the damned in Hell. What was the point of them all anyway? Alone in the castle with her demon father and his slug-like minions, she had no friends to gossip with or boys to gossip about. Therefore she dismissed it now as time wasting trivia, she had no intention of becoming trapped in perpetual ennui like her pathetic, list making father.
‘It’s not fair!’ She howled, ‘I am nineteen today. Nineteen and not one birthday card or present.’
She sank down on her impressively gothic bed and sulked. ‘It is so unfair, nineteen, no birthday party and no boyfriend. I wish we had never left Hell.’
Demonica had a point, there was a dearth of suitable suitors in the Land of Darkness and Despair. They were all either too ugly, hairy or diaphanous. The evil minions were globular warty creatures oozing pus with zero personality and off puttingly squat. At least Hell had many fit looking fallen angels to date. If only her mother was still here, Demonica sighed but Pashmina had found guilt and religion and had run away to join an order of the Nuns of St Repressia. After this, her father Rafial began to make his endless, pointless and obsessive lists and all but forgotten he had a daughter.
Time for action, with a flash of fire from her eyes, she incinerated the still flying flock of magazines and all of her toys, save the cowering hidden scarebear.
Dressing in her favourite skintight black leather cat suit decorated with vicious looking stud and spikes and arming herself with various weapons of mass destruction, Demonica was ready. Watch out world, the Daughter of Darkness was on her way, ready to kick some weakling human backsides and find love. Whatever that meant.
Excerpt Monday: The Unwise Woman of Fuggis Mire by Raven DaneLarry Johnson
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