Sneak Peek: My Guardian Demon

Chapter 1

There are, without a doubt, aspects of this world that are unknown to certain people, and yet known to others. This is unavoidable, of course. Then, there are things unknown to all humans, hidden from all but those, like me, who are a part of this secret world. We share a strange and magical world. If it was revealed to you, it would surely be the cause of nightmares, a fear you could not fathom. 

            A powerful veil shrouds our world, put in place to protect us from each other, to prevent war and chaos. It keeps the very horrors of your nightmares concealed so they can stay as such, rather than tangible threats. Our world is a dark and mysterious place that houses the most horrific monsters and terrifying beasts whose lust for blood is unmatched. They live among you, going about their lives without much interference in mostcases.

            You couldn’t begin to imagine the bewilderment I experienced when I unearthed the truth of who, of what I am. I nearly considered myself to be delusional at one point, until I understood that I could see past the veil. I thought something was wrong with my mind, that I was hallucinating, seeing things that weren’t there. My surprise did not end there, though. I discovered that I, too, was one of the hidden treasures on the other side of the veil. You see, on my side of the barrier, everything would make your blood run cold, to say the least. 

            Much like you, I was never raised to believe in such silly things. I was always told that the stories I’d been told were nothing more than legends and myths, designed to frighten young children into obeying their parents, lest they be subjected to the vast horrors of the world. Though, I’m sure my parents believe the lies they told me as well.

You see, my parents aren’t my birth parents. What happened to them, I’m sure I’ll never know. I never got a chance to know them, though I often think about them. I wonder whether they are live, if they gave me up willingly and why, and how different my life could have been, had I still been with them. I was adopted at a young age, too young to remember. Although, this is significant, my story didn’t begin until my first day of school.

            Fear flooded my thoughts as I walked through the school’s doors on that first day. I was nervous and worried. Oh, so worried. I made my way to my locker through hallways that mirrored each other in image. I would undoubtably get lost, as my classroom was several hallways over, disguised among what seemed like fifty other doors that looked identical. I had been assigned to Mrs. Balaska’s class for kindergarten, the farthest room from my locker. I placed my backpack in my locker after removing my pencil case from it and set off on my struggle to find my class. A few minutes later, the buzzer sounded through the school’s intercom system, announcing that school had begun, and I was now late. After what seemed like fifteen minutes at least, I found the room and walked in, just as Mrs. Balaska was about to shut the door.

            “You must be Kassandra,” Mrs. Balaska said as I approached her classroom. “How nice of you to join us,” She peered down at a watch on her wrist, “Eight minutes late.”

            “I’m so sorry, Mrs. Balaska,” I pleaded, “I got lost trying to find—” 

            Mrs. Balaska cut me off. “There is an open seat over there by Dimitri.” She pointed to a desk at the back right corner of the classroom. “Hurry now. You have already wasted enough of our time.” 

            Without speaking another word, I started toward the desk with the empty seat. I kept my eyes down, hoping to hide the blush that burned on my cheeks. The desk had two chairs, one of which was occupied by the boy that Mrs. Balaska called Dimitri. Dimitri was a lanky, pale boy with hair resembling fire both in shape and color, and a face littered with freckles.

            “Hi there! I’m Kassandra.” I offered a friendly smile as I noticed that the poor boy looked mortified while I spoke. “Would you like to be friends, since we will be sitting together all year?”

            Dimitri stared straight ahead, his eyes wide in horror and his cheeks now displaying a hue redder than his hair. I looked to see what Dimitri was focused on and found myself face to face with an angry, beet-red Mrs. Balaska. Oh no.

            “Kassandra! You will be punished if you cannot be bothered to even be quiet and respectful in class. If you do not behave yourself, you will earn yourself a trip to the principal’s office.” Mrs. Balaska’s eyes looked as if they would have popped right out of her skull, the w2ay they were bugling as she scolded me. 

            As Mrs. Balaska turned to return to the front of the room, I decided to really take a good look at the room I sat in for the first time. The walls were slate gray, like you’d see in a jail, which is exactly what school felt like so far. The walls were lined with boring educational posters and the floor was hidden beneath a large dark blue rug. The room was bare, with the exception of the desks and a world globe sitting right inside the door. The only bit of color in the room was coming from a vase of flowers that sat on the windowsill in the center of the outside wall, directly behind Mrs. Balaska’s desk. 

            I spent my time in class trying to focus as Mrs. Balaska mindlessly drawled on, but no matter how hard I tried, it proved to be of no use. I found myself getting lost in the magics and wonder of my imagination as I daydreamed through class. I imagined the class in a far less gloomy state. The awful gray walls were replaced with an array of colors, all the hues of a rainbow. The boring posters covering the walls now contained moving images displaying some of my favorite cartoons. One showed Minnie Mouse, smiling and waving at me. Another showed Ariel perched on a rock protruding from the sea, her hair flowing in the wind while her mermaid tail splashed in the water below. Even the flowers behind Mrs. Balaska’s desk smiled and waved at me. In the center of each of their petals was a cheerful face.

            Lost in my daydreams, I hadn’t realized that Dimitri whispered my name. He nudged my arm with his elbow and looked at me before directing my gaze to the outside wall of the room. Dimitri and I stared in awe as we noticed the daisies on the windowsill dancing back and forth, waving at us with their leaves. 

            “You’re seeing this too, aren’t you? I’m not just imagining it?” I whispered to Dimitri.

            “I don’t know, Kassandra… I think I might be imagining it too. Why is it happening?” 

            What if I can make my daydreams come to life. Is that what’s happening? I focused hard for a moment, then nudges Dimitri’s arm and discreetly pointed toward the globe, careful not to alert our angry hag of a teacher. I imagined an invisible person standing next to the globe. He spun the globe. One rotation to the left, one to the right. Two rotations to the left, two to the right. All the while, Dimitri watched in awe as the globe spun. 

            “Kassandra, it’s you! You’re making this happen!” Dimitri hushed his tone as he looked around to make sure nobody else had noticed, including Mrs. Balaska. “You really did it! I can’t believe it! Dimitri spent the remainder of the day talking with me and breaking out of his shell. He had me walk with him to his dad’s car when we were released for the day. “Do you want to come over and play tonight? My dad can write down his number for you so that your parents can call and set something up!”

            I nodded my head and waited for his number before happily skipping over to my mom’s car.

            Dimitri and I soon became the best of friends, forging a bond unlike any other. We became inseparable. We spent the majority of the following years exploring my abilities, which weren’t many, believe me. Trying to find a cause for my possession of these unearthly abilities was much more difficult, and we gave up after some time. We figured there was no point in spending all our time trying to figure out why when we could have fun with them instead.

            Everything changed on the evening before my sixteenth birthday. I awoke out of a dead sleep. I felt strange, as if there was a surge of electricity coursing through my body. I felt energized, powerful. There was a split second at the peak of my power where I felt as if I was on top of the world. Nothing could stop me. While I tried to slow my heavy breathing, I turned my head to the side when I realized that sunlight wasn’t pouring in through my windows like it typically did when I awoke. My alarm clock’s neon green numbers read 3:33 AM. I picked up my phone to text Dimitri, but the only way I could think of to attempt to explain it was to simply tell him that I felt powerful. I couldn’t come up with the words to describe the feeling I’d just experienced. Realizing that he was still sleeping and wouldn’t respond, I rolled over and fell back asleep once my heart rate was regulated. 

            I woke up a few hours later to a message from Dimitri, responding to my message from the night before.

            D: Good morning, Birthday Girl. What shall we do today? You feel powerful… What is that supposed to mean? Extra excited for your birthday, or something?

            I responded between giggles.

            K: Hey, bud! Thanks a ton. 😀 I was thinking maybe we could hang out at the park. You know, get away from our houses for a little while. And as for the power, I can explain a little better in person. Meet me up at the park in an hour!

            I rolled out of bed and started to get ready for the day. I noticed that I still felt a little off. Is this some sort of residual effect from last night? I brushed it off as birthday excitement as I finished preparing myself. I left the house to start walking toward the park, locking the front door behind me. The walk to the park was unnerving. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was being watched. The feeling refused to let up until I was finally able to see Dimitri sitting on a picnic table near the road.

            “Dimitri!” I called out to him as I picked up my pace. “I need to talk to you.”

            “Is everything okay, Kass? What’s going on? Talk to me!” He stood and led me to a bench overlooking the playground and sat first before offering me a neat next to him.

            I sat immediately and started unloading my thoughts onto Dimitri, trying to explain to the best of my ability.

            “It was weird, Dimitri, and it still feels strange. It’s like something changed inside of me. I don’t understand it. I wish I could know what is happening to me and what this all means.”

            Dimitri wrapped an arm around me, offering his support. In the process of trying to talk to Dimitri, I noticed that there were a lot of people at the park, much more than normal, and they all looked too old to be playing at the playground.

            “I’m not sure what it all means, Kass. We could—”

            “Dimitri,” I cut him off mid-sentence, “Doesn’t it seem strange that there are so many adults here and not a single kid in sight?”

            “Uh, Kass?” Dimitri looked around before continuing. “Are you sure you’re okay?”

            “Yeah, I’m alright for the most part. Why?”

            “We are the only two people here. Nobody else is here.”

            I could feel the color drain from my face as the panic began to set it. Am I just seeing things now?

            “No, that can’t be right, Mitri. They are right there. How aren’t you seeing this? I am not crazy!” I noted the seriousness that plagued Dimitri’s normally upbeat demeanor.

            “Nobody is saying you’re crazy. Just calm down for a moment and tell me what you’re seeing. It might have something to do with what happened last night.”
            I took a moment to observe, this time trying to pay closer attention to their features. “Just people, I guess. They’re all adults, though. They don’t look like they’re doing anything. There’s a woman sitting at the top of the tall metal slide. She doesn’t have any hair; it looks like it’s been burned off and only scars remain. There is a man sitting on the swing next to another woman. Both are wearing hooded cloaks, like a couple of grim reaper lookalikes. There’s someone up in the tree too, but that one doesn’t look entirely human, like a gargoyle or something, but I’m sure that can’t be right…  It has arms and legs like a human, but it has something large protruding from its back, and it’s perched like a bird.” A chill ran down my spine. “None of them are moving. They’re all just sitting there, watching us.”

            “Kass, did you just say gargoyle?” Dimitri’s eyes went wide with shock. “I think we should head back to your house. I have no doubt that these things are there, but if they are all watching us, it must be for a reason.” Dimitri waited for me to agree and stood. He held his arm out, waiting for me to move first so he could keep an eye on me.
            The walk home felt much longer than it should have, and the feeling of being watched came back, stronger than ever. I struggled to keep my eyes forward, knowing that if I gazed behind us and saw even a small thing out of place, I could do nothing but panic. So, I kept my eyes straight ahead and refused to look back until we were safely in my house. I turned to shut the door behind us and noticed the gargoyle-like being perched in a tree a few houses down across the street. I quickly shut the door and locked it.

            We walked straight to my room and locked ourselves inside for good measure. I hurried to my windows and shut the blinds on each, after making sure they were all locked. I sat on the edge of the bed. Dimitri was now pacing back and forth from one end of my bedroom to the other.

            “What do you think this is all about, Kass? Do you think we should be worried? You’re seeing things that I can’t. I don’t know what to make of this.”

            I tried to allow my heartrate to slow a bit before I responded.

            “I don’t know, Mitri. I think you might have been onto something earlier when you said it could have had something to do with last night.”

            “How do we figure this out? It’s not like we can just do a quick Google search, Kass.”

            I stood up quickly and pulled my phone out of the back pocket of my jeans.

            “Dimitri! You’re a genius!”

            “How on earth did you conclude that from what I just said?” A puzzled look riddles Dimitri’s face.

            “Maybe we’re thinking too hard about this. If this is happening to me, what are the odds that I’m the only person that has ever experienced something like this? Maybe a simple internet search is the exact thing we need.”

            Dimitri pulled out his phone as well. “Two people searching is better than one, right?”

            Dimitri and I spent what seemed like hours searching through website after website, link after link. I lost track of how many times I was ready to give up until Dimitri finally spoke up.

            “Kass, look at this!” Dimitri came to sit next to me so that I could see his phone’s screen as well. “It says here that a witch transitions into adulthood on the anniversary of her sixteenth year. Do you think you’re some kind of witch?”

            I yanked the phone out of his hand and read further. I hope this website is credible enough to go off of?

            “I’m not sure. All this information adds up, though. There is some sort of barrier I can see past now, I guess.” Of all the things I could have been, I’d never imagined a witch being one of them. “Maybe I should ask Mom and Dad about it. They might have some more valuable information. I just read a portion of this website that says all witches come from the same bloodline. It’s something you inherit from your mother. They should know what’s going on. You stay here. I’ll be right back!” I hurried out to the kitchen where my mother sat, drinking coffe and flipping through the pages of her favorite book.

            “Mom, can I talk to you for a minute?” I took a seat at the table across from her.

            Mom sat her book down after carefully placing a bookmark between the pages. “Of course, Sweetheart. What’s going on?”

            “Why didn’t you warn me about what would happen today? Was I supposed to figure it out by myself or something?”

            “Don’t be silly, Dear. You knew today was your birthday. You’ve been talking about it for weeks!”

            “No, don’t act like you didn’t know, Mom. I’m a witch and if that’s true, it means you would have to be one as well, and you knew this would all happen to me today!”

            “Don’t say such foolish things, Kassandra. Witches don’t exist.”

            “How else would I have seen those strange people in the park today? The gargoyle that followed Dimitri and I home? It’s the only thing that really makes sense.”

            The confused look on my mother’s face melted into one of horror before my eyes. She stood and started backing away from me. I don’t understand…

            “Go to your room now, Sweetie. Your father and I need to discuss some adult things. Okay?”

            I stood and turned to return to my room. I had better listen. I don’t want to mess this up anymore that I already have. I listened as Mom frantically called my dad’s name while I retreated to my bedroom. I made it to my room and plopped down onto my bed.

            “Kass! What did she say?” Dimitri sat beside me, observing what I’d assume was a devastated look on my face. “Oh, no. What’s wrong?”

            “I think I screwed up. She acted like I was crazy, Dimitri, like she was appalled by my behavior. She said she had to talk to Dad about some adult things. I don’t know what’s happening, but I do know that Mom isn’t a witch, and she thinks I’m not one either.”

            “Well, what do you think we should do now?”

            “I’m not sure, but I don’t think it’s going to be pretty when they return to speak with me. I think it might be better for you to go home for now, at least until I get everything straightened out with them, you know? I’m not sure what will happen, but I’ll call you when it’s over with.”

            Dimitri nodded and stood to leave. He turned and gave me a quick hug.

            “I have a bad feeling about this, Kass. Be careful.” 

            I told him I would as I hugged him back. I sat down as Dimitri left, awaiting whatever dreadful thing was coming my way. I tried to listen in on what was happening on the other side of my bedroom door and overheard Dad on the phone with somebody.

            “Doc, we’re not sure what to do with her anymore. She’s even begun hallucinating, Sir! We believe this to be an emergency at this point. Do you have any rooms immediately available for long-term occupation?” There was a brief pause. “Surely, you can more something around. It’s urgent, Doc. We’re desperate!” Another pause. “This afternoon? Perfect. Thank you. We’ll be there.”

            Before I even had a moment to allow my brain to register what had just happened, Dad started toward my room. He hollered down the hallway, telling me to pack a bag for a birthday weekend getaway he was planning, and to leave my phone at home so it wouldn’t interrupt our family time. He can’t seriously be trying to trick me like this. I did as he asked and packed myself and my things into the car with him and Mom. I pulled out my phone, after we were on the road and both parents were looking forward, to switch the volume off and text Dimitri while awaited out dreaded arrival. 

            Kassandra: Hey, D. I don’t know for sure, but I think Mom and Dad are taking me to a mental hospital or something. I’m worried. I overheard Dad on the phone talking to someone about an available room for “Long-term Occupancy”. 

            Dimitri: No way! That’s absurd. They can’t do this shit to you. Let me know the location as soon as you get there. They will take your phone if you’re being admitted as a patient. I’ll find a way to get you out of there, okay Kass? I’ll have Dad pull some strings and help out. Don’t worry.

            Kassandra: I love you, D. Thank you so much. I’ll text you when I get there. I don’t want to get caught on my phone. Dad told me to leave it at home. Don’t forget about me, Mitri.

            I slowly shoved my phone between my thighs, careful not to make any sudden movements that could potentially alert Mom or Dad. I started to listen in as I heard whispers coming from the front seat over the horrendous country song that was playing on the radio.

            “Dan, I don’t think it’s right, what we’re doing. Don’t you think this is a bit much?”

            “Oh, shut up, Theresa. None of this is right. The adoption agency never told us that she was fucking defective when we adopted her! Her birth parents were probably just as crazy, too.”

            “That’s our daughter that you’re talking about! Quit being so insensitive. We can’t just abandon her.”

            “No, Theresa. She is not our blood, nor will she ever be. You are right about one thing though. We can’t just take her back to the adoption agency, she’s much too old now. So, this is probably the closest we’re going to get. We are going through with it. Stop arguing with me.”

            How can he feel this way about me? How could they just not tell me that I was adopted? I felt the familiar sting of tears welling up in my eyes as I tried desperately to keep them from running down my face. Their whispers were drowned out by my own thoughts as I picked up my phone to text Dimitri again. I’m strong. I can do this. It will all be okay again soon. 

            Kassandra: D. They’ve been lying to be my whole life. I was adopted. That’s why they didn’t understand, why they think I’m crazy. They’re not my real parents. Shit. We just got here. Kingsboro Psych Center. Get me out of here ASAP.

            I stashed my phone in the bottom of my bag and got out of the car without hesitation. It wasn’t hard to accept my fate, for I fully trusted that Dimitri would save me. I just hope he hurries. Mom held my hand as we walked inside with tears in her eyes.

            “It’s okay, Mom,” I whispered so that Dad couldn’t hear. “Don’t be sad. I know this wasn’t your choice. I still love you for everything you’ve done for me. I couldn’t have asked for a better mom.”

            She gazed into my eyes with remorse in hers. She squeezed my hand tighter as we passed through the psych center’s doors. Mom visibly held back sobs as Dad walked to the front desk to let the receptionist know we had arrived. This is torture…

            Within hours of Mom and Dad leaving me, I was still in the evaluation room answering question after boring question. It felt as if I would be there for days, until the receptionist appeared in the doorway behind me. She announced her presence by clearing her throat and told the doctor that somebody was there to speak with her, and it was urgent.

            The doctor stood from behind his desk. “Please excuse my Kassandra. This shouldn’t take long.”

            I nodded my head and watched as the doctor left, leaving me with the receptionist. 

            “Excuse me, Ma’am?” I spoke to the lady, who was looking very worried, yet eyeing me up nervously all the same. “Is something wrong? You look upset.”

            “I’m sorry. I’m not permitted to speak with patients.”

            “Oh, uh. I hear you, loud and clear.” Damn. They’re strict around here.

            Moments later, the doctor returned.

            “Kassandra, please come with me. The police are here to take you into their custody.”

            “Did I do something wrong?”

            “Not at all, Miss. They are opening an investigation on your parents. They asked for my finding up until this point, which show that you are mentally sound. They will be holding you and placing you in another home until the investigation is complete and a decision has been made.”

            About damn time. I stood and follow the doctor through a labyrinth of hallways and doors, designed to make it more difficult for patients to navigate, no doubt. I tried my hardest to look upset as we neared the lobby, but I’m sure some of my excitement showed through my façade as we rounded the corner and approached the front desk, where Dimitri’s dad stood. He was holding a stack of papers and outfitted in his police uniform.

            As Mr. Daniels and I walked out to his police cruiser, I couldn’t hold my questions in.

            “Mr. Daniels?” I awaited his knowing look and continued. “Did you put your job at risk to save me?”

            “Actually, what Dimitri told me was more than enough to open an investigation.” We were now standing by the cruiser, talking. “As of right now, they’ve already gone off the radar. They refuse to speak with us and aren’t complying. They’ve so much as turned both their phones off, along with the internet at their house, though we know exactly where they are and what they’re doing. So, how we go forward with this depends on you. I’ve put in an order for you to legally be placed in my care as a foster child until further notice. For now, I think you should hop in the back so we can take off, Kiddo.” My Daniels gave me a quick hug before opening the back door of the cruiser for me.

            My eyes widened as my mind overflowed with happiness. Dimitri awaited me in the cruiser, arms wide and awaited my embrace.

            “Mitri! Thank you so much!” I wrapped my arms around him and refused to let go for a long moment.

            “Are you okay, Kass? They shouldn’t have done this to you.” His eyes glistened, as if he was trying to hold back tears as he looked into my eyes.

            “I’m okay, D, just a little shaken up. It scared me more than anything. I’m just glad it’s over now, which reminds me,” I lowered my voice, “What all did you tell your dad about what happened?”

            Dimitri chuckled,” Just enough to stir up some shit, don’t worry. But, hey. You get to move in with Dad and me now. You don’t ever have to see them again.”

            The ride home was relaxing, for the first time all day. As we neared town, Mr. Daniels cleared his throat.

            “Kasi, I’m going to drive by your house, if that’s okay. If they aren’t home we can grab some of your things to take to my house.” He watched for my silent nod and turned down my road.

            I glanced toward the house as Dad emerged from the front door carrying two boxed stacked on top of each other. The trunk of their car was wide open and contained most of Mom and Dad’s clothes on hangers and in bags. They’re moving?

            “Maybe another time, Mr. Daniels. I’m not sure I can handle speaking to them just yet. Seeing them through the window is difficult enough. It looks like they’ll be gone soon anyway. There’s a “for sale” sign up already.” My voice was cold.

            Dimitri grabbed my hand as he spoke to me. “Did they have plans to move before they sent you away?”

            Mr. Daniels cut in before I could respond. “It’s a new development. I’m actually buying it under an alias and keeping it for you when you turn eighteen so you can move back home.”

            “Mr. Daniels! You don’t have to do that, really.”

            “It’s not a problem, Kasi. I’ve been sitting on my divorce settlement payout for years. It was meant to be Dimitri’s college fund, but he insisted I buy the house for the two of you instead.”

            My jaw dropped. “Mitri, no!”

            “Kass, the payment has already been made. Dad was supposed to keep it a secret. I’m sorry.”

            “Don’t be sorry, D. I could never thank you enough.” I burst into tears against my will. “I can’t believe you’d do something like that for me.”

            “Anything for my best friend.” Dimitri put his arm around me and held me until we arrived at his house. He helped me carry my bag into the house and unloaded my things into his room.

            “I’ll sleep on the couch until I can get you set up with your own bed, Kass. I hope this will work for now.”

            “It’s perfect, Dimitri. Thank you.” I finished unpacking and prepared to spend the next year and a half there, until moving back into my house with Dimitri.

            Life with Dimitri was fantastic for a while. Our friendship grew and flourished throughout our time as roommates. Though, it wasn’t long before strange things started happening again. 

            It wasn’t until the night before my eighteenth birthday that I realized I was in way over my head.

            This is my story.

           The story of how I became Lucifer’s personal bounty hunter.b

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