The Summons: Part 2

Read Part 1 here!

“Well?” Caine asked.

“I’m getting there, give me a sec,” Jay snapped, scowling.

“Harris,” she said with a sigh.

The man’s fist pounded into Jay’s jaw, knocking their head to the side, splattering blood across the floor. It was dazzlingly bright in the pure, white light. The punch hurt. A lot. Jay groaned, closing their eyes. The initial sensation subsided quickly but a strong, pulsing ache was left behind. When Jay looked up again, they flinched: Gelethil stood at the edge of the runes closest to them. He was far taller than Jay had guessed – taller than any human. His face was stern and cold. With a squirm from their stomach, Jay noticed the thin haze of smoke rising from his flesh. The light was literally burning him. His next thoughts sounded incredulous.

You truly are a prisoner.

“Find out what we need,” Caine said. “Or that’ll seem like nothing.”

Jay’s mouth tasted of iron. Yeah. I am. They rolled their eyes. Thought it was a trick?

He nodded.

They want to know what your price is, Jay projected. Whatever that means.

Gelethil snarled, his ears dropping flat along the side of his head. I am no Bargainer, feeding on greed. This little organisation thinks they are so clever. Pah! They are insects, playing with things they do not understand.

“He says he doesn’t have a price,” Jay relayed to their captors. “You’ve got the wrong guy.”

Harris stepped behind Jay and grabbed their hair, jerking their head back. They cried out but fell silent as something cold pressed against their cheek. They glanced down to see a knife glinting there.

“An answer or an eye,” he growled. “Pick.”

“I can’t make him talk,” Jay spat back in a poor attempt to hide their terror.

A low, feral rumble drew the attention of all three humans.

What’s happening? Gelethil asked.

The blade was pressed harder against them and a sound escaped their throat. “They want an answer!” Jay cried out, both aloud and in thought.

Gelethil showed his lengthy fangs in a sneer. Idiots can’t even summon the right demon and they think they could handle a Bargainer?

“Tell it these lights only get brighter,” Caine said through grit teeth.

They’re going to torture you, Jay pressed on, limbs trembling. The blade bit their flesh.


The lights. They get stronger.

He growled and swore but then his ears perked up above his head, a wicked smirk creeping onto his face. Tell them I want you.

Jay balked. “What?” they asked aloud, stricken.

“What did he say?” Caine demanded. Harris flicked her an uncertain look.

Tell them, Gelethil insisted. Trust me or trust them.

Great choices. You want to EAT me, Jay thought. With their chest still tight, breathing took focus.

I was thinking of your other suggestion.

Harris moved the blade closer to their eye, a hot dribble of blood running over their cheek.

“Me,” Jay said, barely a whisper. “He wants me.”

That gave both captors pause. The pair glanced at each other before the woman nodded. Jay held their breath but Harris simply withdrew, taking the knife away. They released a shuddering exhale as the pressure was removed from their flesh.

Gelethil’s grin darkened. It seems you are an acceptable price. Ask the bitch what she wants.

What do you want with me?

Ask her, he replied curtly.

Jay’s mouth felt dry as sand, despite the blood. “He’s asking what you want,” they managed, at length, to say.

Caine chuckled. “Excellent. Tell it we’ll get to that after I’ve asked it some questions.”

Jay relayed the message as if on autopilot, too stunned for anything more. Gelethil threw his head back and laughed, a deep and rolling rumble. He then shook his head.

Tell them that isn’t how this works.

Jay did.

Caine glowered. “Turn up the lights.”

Harris mumbled discontentedly but reached for a dial on the wall opposite the switch and turned, eliciting a click from it. The brightness of the room doubled. Gelethil screamed and dropped to his knees, clutching at his eyes as thicker steam plumed from his skin. Jay shuddered, his agony pulling them from their shock.

“There are four more settings.”

Jay glanced uncertainly between the dial and the demon twice before relaying the message. Gelethil said nothing, curling over in his anguish. Jay chewed their lip anxiously. On one hand, he was terrifying and would kill all three of them given the chance. On the other, Jay and this demon were both captives, both wronged by these people.

“He said make it dark and he’ll talk.”

Caine took a long moment to consider the offer, brow furrowing theatrically. Taking her time, she reached up and flicked off the light, plunging them all back into the eerie red. Gelethil gasped and there was a soft thud that Jay assumed to be him falling to the ground.

Sweet darkness, came the velvet voice of his mind.

Jay exhaled slowly. I told them you’d talk if they killed the lights.

“Now,” Caine began, “to my questions.”

She had a series of queries about the dark world below and the truth of demons, which Gelethil answered tersely. Thanks to their talent, Jay had always suspected the world was not as mundane as advertised, but hearing such things discussed so candidly was chilling. The questions moved onto magic and the answers became slower and increasingly vague until she had to ask questions exceedingly specifically. Jay’s mind ticked through the exchange. Enough time passed that they began to feel brave again.

Has anything you’ve told them been true? They could practically feel his smirk from the darkness.

Of course not. This is not knowledge for mortal minds, much less these morons.

What about the things you told me?

My name is Gelethil, he replied. And I do very much intend to devour them both.

Jay’s shoulder was nudged, a reminder of the presence of Harris and his knife, and they relayed more of the demon’s bullshit.

And me? they asked.

He was silent for a time. You never told me your name.

They hesitated. Jay.

A telepath is a useful thing, the demon mused. Almost a shame I can’t make a true bargain for you.

Jay’s skin crawled.

Yes, a pity, Gelethil went on. Still, I’m sure we can come to some arrangement. You can tell them I’m done answering questions now. They’re not getting anything else until you’re with me.

“What?!” Jay exclaimed aloud.

“What did it say?” Caine asked. She rose from the desk, interest piqued.

Jay opened their mouth, heart thundering, but no sound came.

You need to listen very carefully, Gelethil said.

“What did it say?” she repeated, this time a barked order.

Answer her, the demon said, a surprising softness to his voice. Make sure she knows she has no choice.

Harris took a fistful of Jay’s hair and they grunted in discomfort.

When they bring you, you must grab something sharp or hard. You MUST.

I’m tied, I can’t-

Do it! he commanded, making them flinch.

With voice quaking and no other plan, Jay gave Gelethil’s demands to their captors. They braced for a punch that never came. Caine gestured and they both moved behind Jay, far enough that the ensuing whispers were inaudible. Jay glanced around, desperately looking for anything that might fit the bill. It was difficult in the gloom but a faint glint caught their eye. Harris’ knife was sat upon the desk to their side. Jay’s hands slickened with perspiration.

What’s happening? The demon asked.

I don’t know, I can’t hear, Jay replied, feeling sick. I don’t like this, I don’t trust you. They flexed their mental muscles to try and pick at his brain again but to the same result. They needed focus and none of that would come in this state.

It’s me or them, he shot back. I won’t hurt you. I need you.

And when you don’t?


Gelethil? Jay ventured, breath quickening.

The only sound was the steps of their captors returning. A near silent whine escaped their throat. They released a short, startled yelp as something grabbed their wrists. Harris was untying the bonds that held them to the chair. They instantly felt sick with regret.

“No!” Jay cried, limbs surging with desperate strength as they writhed against their bonds. “He’s gonna eat me!”

“Not until he’s free,” Caine replied, a cruel sneer on her face. “He needs you at least until then.”

Jay swore. Profusely. “You can’t do this!”

Come, come, little one, the demon crooned.

Jay, far less substantial than the bulky Harris, was easily pulled to their feet and dragged towards the darkness. They bucked and struggled but there was no give. Only one option presented itself – appease the demon and hope for the best. It wasn’t a great plan.

They rammed their shoulder into Harris with all the strength they had, causing him to stumble ever so slightly into the desk. He chuckled, amused by their pathetic efforts. So amused that he never noticed Jay’s fingers curl around the knife handle. A brief thrill went through them before something hard slammed down on their hand. They grunted and felt the knife pull away easily from their grasp as Harris righted them both. “Nice try,” Caine said, placing the tome she had used to assail Jay’s hand on the desk. “But you’ll need a little more than that to defend yourself from that thing.”

Read Part 3 here!


One response to “The Summons: Part 2

  1. Pingback: The Summons: Part 1 | C. Matt Schofield

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