LINCARD1000 --

Picture by Viergacht

1 - "previously"

"You are a peculiar one, aren't you? I fail to understand why you, of all people, are having so much difficulty with this."

"It doesn't strike you as being the least bit odd? No, wait. That's a dumb question. Look at who I'm asking!" Garth was just able to choke back a nervous laugh that threatened to become more of a strangled scream.

He heard the presence behind him in the darkened room shift position slightly -- a slight creak of floor-boards and a subtle rustling noise that he couldn't quite place. It took all his will-power not to turn around and confront whatever it was. To his relief the sound of the movement ceased, plunging the room back into an expectant silence. From the sound of the breathing the presence hadn't moved any closer, merely shifting position to get more... comfortable, perhaps.

Outside through the window the lights of the distant city flickered, interrupted when the branches of the tree outside moved in the stiff, Winter breeze. A slight filigree of frost was beginning to encroach across the window-pane from the edges -- the temperature was going to plummet overnight. However the air inside the room was warm and stuffy, with an unusual, alien scent in it that he could remember smelling only once before from when he was much younger. A smell that he had chalked up as he got older to nothing more than his rampant, childhood imagination. He snorted softly, recalling something he had read a long time ago; 'Scent is one of the few senses that evokes some of the most powerful memories...' Well no shit, bloody Sherlock!

"Something troubling you, hmm?" The voice had a taken on a relaxed drawl and sounded vaguely amused as if the speaker were grinning at him from some private joke.

Garth started slightly, holding onto the window-frame in a death-grip while he gathered his wits. "I'm really not dreaming this, am... am I?"

This time the presence did laugh briefly, more of a low, throaty chuckle than anything. "No, you are not. Anyway, what kind of way is this to treat an old friend?" More of the mysterious rustling noises indicated the presence was moving again, as if punctuating what it was saying using its arms.

Steeling himself, Garth released the window-frame with reluctance, idly wondering if he would find finger-marks crushed deep into the wood in the morning when he awoke from this disturbing dream. He slowly turned around and blinked, attempting to scan the impenetrable darkness on the far side of the room to catch a glimpse of his unexpected visitor. For some reason what little light that entered the room through the window failed to illuminate the far side of the room at all; yet another little detail that lead him to add more credence to the dream theory.

"It's been 15 years since we last spoke properly, however I have never really left your side. At least, not for any serious -"

"Show yourself!" Garth blurted out into the darkness, frustration and fear overcoming his near paralysis. However the voice smoothly carried on as if never interrupted.

"- serious length of time. I figured it was time we got properly reacquainted now that you are of an age to be able to appreciate me properly." The impenetrable darkness on the far side of the room from where the voice was speaking lessened marginally, and a rather large, unusual shape began to manifest itself in the diffuse starlight entering through the window. "I've grown a little since you saw me last, so don't be too surprised."

Stepping forward from the darkness toward him was something he recognized from 15 years ago. Something he thought had been little more than a product of his over-active imagination from childhood.

"You are real," he breathed, spell-bound and not a little terrified. "I thought I had just imagined you..."

"You always did have a warped imagination as a hatchling," the presence gave him a large smile; a grin laden with a lot of sharp, white teeth as it approached his bed, hunkering down beside it so it was at eye-level with him. "Ah, sorry -- you humans are born wet, bloody and squirming, aren't you? Not from eggs like any civilized creature."

Despite himself, Garth found himself reaching out a tentative and trembling arm toward the presence which simply crouched there watched him impassively. "You're bigger than I remember you."

"Haven't you listened to anything I said? I don't talk just for the pleasure of listening to myself, you know," the presence grumbled good naturedly.

The tips of Garth's fingers met a cool, hardness, smooth beneath his touch and feeling like old, worn bone. It took a monumental effort of will not to snatch his hand away again. Instead, after a few moments of hesitation, he continued to let his fingers trace over the face of the creature.

"Why have you returned?" he whispered.

Up until this point, the creature's eyes had been all but invisible in the darkness with only the occasional glint of reflected light giving them away. Suddenly they flashed a bright orange color, startling Garth who snatched his hand away and lurched backward, only stopping once his back was hard against the window-frame. The creature brought its head forward, only stopping once it was a hands-breadth away from his face, the baleful glow from its eyes bathing his face like glowing embers in a fire.

"You summoned me... again," it growled, voice low and gravelly, heavy with menace. "I believed I had fulfilled the terms of our pact all those years ago, but it seems that I was mistaken."

"B-but I didn't!" Garth pleaded desperately, cold sweat tracing a cold trail down his spine. He instinctively knew this creature was a demon of great power and the last thing he wanted to do was piss it off; the problem being though, that he genuinely couldn't remember doing anything even remotely like a summoning. "Honest! I wouldn't! I don't even remember how I did it the first time," he whined while his heart thundered in his chest.

"Are you calling me a liar?!" the demon snarled and placed both massively taloned hands on the bed to either side of him. The bed groaned under the weight when the demon leaned forward even further, the single large horn adorning its face pressing against Garth's nose.

Not wanting to anger it any further, he scrunched his eyes tightly closed and waited for the demon to bite his face off. Instead he felt something hot and wet being slopped across his face and squirmed away from the unexpected and somewhat disturbing contact. Opening his eyes he watched with relief while the demon backed off and stood up, huffing with laughter, drawing its long, sinuous tongue back into its mouth.

"Heh, you should have seen the look on your face," it shook its head while continuing to laugh. The eyes lost their glow and disappeared into the shadowed darkness again, only the slight tell-tale glint giving away their position. "Anyway, I grow weary of playing games; it is time to get down to business. Why have you called me back?"

Wiping at the demonic drool dripping down his face, Garth warily crossed the bed and sat on the edge while regarding the shape in the darkness carefully. His heart was still hammering a pretty fierce beat in his chest from the fright and he still felt a little shaky after that close, moist encounter.

"I was telling the truth, honest! I haven't called, uh, summoned you -- whatever... I didn't." He wracked his brains, trying to think if anything he had done in the past day or so could have had this sort of consequence but failed. "I'm really sorry. I didn't mean to annoy you," he finished lamely and laced his fingers together in front of him while attempting to look as contrite as he could.

This time when the demon approached him he barely flinched. It reached out a taloned hand and stroked his cheek in a gesture that was almost tender before clamping its hand more firmly around his chin and staring at him intently. "Hmm... You might be telling the truth, at that," it mused.

Without any warning Garth felt an alien presence in his mind, rummaging through his thoughts and memories like a bargain-hunter at a flea-market. He groaned from the sensation and would have fallen over were it not for the relentless grip on his face.

"Oh ho, there it is!" the demon bared its teeth in a rictus grin at him in triumph. "You did call to me, only you have little memory of it for it occurred in one of your dreams." Lapsing into silence again it continued to rummage through his mind for a few more moments before releasing him with a grunt of satisfaction.

Reaching up to rub at his tingling chin with one hand, Garth blinked and breathed deep in an attempt to clear his head. While not painful, the mental interrogation had left him feeling a little rattled. "I don't remember no dreams with you in them," he grumbled. "You're kinda hard to forget."

"I'll take that as a compliment," the demon responded in a somewhat thoughtful tone of voice, regarding him with frank curiosity. "Although your reasons for the summoning on this occasion are a little different than the previous encounter..."

2 - "stranger"

Fifteen years ago, Garth Krieger had been a thoroughly miserable 7 year old boy. Bullied at school, disruptive in class and busy driving his mum to distraction, it was not a good period of his life he had to admit when looking back. Not to mention his dead-beat father had walked out on them a few years earlier to be with a younger woman, leaving both him and his mum more than a little bitter. After one particularly difficult day at school he had come storming home in a black mood to find his a note from his mum on the table next to a small pile of coins.

The note simply read:

'My dearest little sauerkraut...
Mum has to work late tonight.
Here is some money to buy yourself a treat from the corner
shop -- remember not to spend it all on lollies! I will be home
by 9 pm. Brush your teeth!


"Just fucking great," he muttered to himself, proud at using words his mum would likely clip him around the ears for saying.

Pocketing the money, he slammed the door shut after himself and ran down the road toward the corner shop at the far end. When he got there he discovered the shop was in fact shut, a sign in the window stating something about stock-taking, whatever the hell that was. Kicking the door in frustration he turned around and glared at a bus that was just pulling into the stop in front of the shop. Several people got off, most ignoring him apart from some young guy who was the last to step onto the pavement a few meters in front of him, who came to an abrupt halt.

Garth turned away from him and was about to begin walking the disappointing trek back home when a yell from behind him stopped him in his tracks. He turned around and stared at the stranger who was staring at him with an open and amused expression on his face.

"Hey kid! Yeah, you," the guy nodded at him.

Looking the guy up and down, Garth regarded him warily and took a couple of steps back. Wearing a tight, black, sleeveless muscle-shirt and faded, torn black jeans, the guy looked a little out of place in this typical suburban setting. Medium length black hair framed a fairly pale, angular face, and his bare arms were covered in intricate, full-length black tattoos depicting all sorts of strange, mythical creatures. But the feature that struck Garth the most was the young guy's eyes; they almost glowed, and were the most peculiar shade of light-brown... more of an amber/orange color.

Garth frowned. "What the fuck do you want? Shouldn't be talking to strangers anyway," he muttered taking another step back.

The young guy's eyes widened in surprise and he laughed softly while crossing his arms across his chest. "You got a real mouth on you, kid."

Not knowing quite how to respond, Garth looked around to see if there was anyone else nearby that he could scream for help to if this guy got any more weird. As if reading his mind, the guy uncrossed his arms and reached behind him, looking as if he was pulling something out of the back pocket of his jeans. With the sort of shitty day he had been having up until this point, he was half expecting the guy to pull out some sort of weapon and was about to break into a sprint while screaming his head off. However instead of a weapon, the guy held up what looked like a small paper-back book.

"Got something for you. Here," the young guy crouched down until he was at eye-level and extended the book out toward him. "It's just a book, kid. It won't bite you. Figured you might find it... useful."

Garth remained motionless, alternating a suspicious glance between the proffered book and the guy's face. Both at school and home he had been taught that strangers spelled nothing but danger, however from his young experience it seemed he had more to fear from the people he knew. With this in mind he took a tentative step forward and stopped again, looking around for anyone but the street was now deserted. Even the traffic seemed to have disappeared which was a little unusual for that time of the day. The guy was still crouched and unmoving with the book extended toward him and making no other moves. He took another halting step forward, followed by another until a few moments later he was standing in front of the guy whose smile hadn't faltered.

Now that he was close, he could see the dark tattoos all over the young guy's well muscled arms a lot more clearly. They were monsters inked in shades of dark gray dancing amidst black flames. And they were moving by themselves, slowly and sinuously writhing while the flames flowed with languid grace around them. Although he was only 7, he knew damned well that tattoos didn't move by themselves and all he wanted to do was turn and run away screaming back home. Instead as if his arm had a mind of its own, he found himself reaching out and taking hold of the book while unable to take his eyes off those of the stranger.

The very instant his fingers touched it he felt a sharp prickling like a jolt of static electricity and he fell over with a yell, clutching the book to his chest and swearing like a trooper. And alone. Of the young man crouching in front of him there was no sign -- it was as if he had never existed. He hadn't even seen him move or disappear; one moment he was there, the next he was gone. Staring around wildly he scrambled to his feet before launching himself like a 7 year old organic missile in the direction of home and safety.

Once home and recovered from the peculiar encounter a bit later, he sat at the kitchen table with a glass of juice and a half-eaten sandwich while staring suspiciously at the book the stranger had bequeathed to him. It had a worn, black leather cover with no words or any sort of decoration on it at all. The unopened pages were yellowed and beginning to crumble slightly on the edges, exuding a musty smell that reminded Garth of the second-hand bookshops his mum occasionally subjected him to when they went shopping together. He took another bite from his sandwich and almost reverently opened the cover of the book, unsure what he would find inside. To his surprise the book flopped open to the middle two pages as if by magic -- it was only later that he would discover that magic is exactly what it was. The two pages were covered in an unusual, spidery script that made absolutely no sense to him whatsoever. However it was the two illustrations that caught his eye, not the writing. On the left page was a sketch of a human and his eyes widened slightly -- it was unmistakably the same young guy that had given him the book. On the right hand page was the picture of a rather well-built, humanoid monster of some description wearing chain-mail armor. His attention riveted to the picture of the monster, he reached out and almost tenderly traced the outlines of the sketch with his fingers; he could almost feel the heat of the beast and feel the texture of its rough skin.

With reluctance he began quickly leafing through the rest of the book but discovered that every other page apart from the middle two were completely blank. Turning back to those pages he spent the next hour or so fruitlessly squinting at the spidery-script in an attempt to try and figure out what it said.

Later that night after his mum had arrived home and tucked him into bed, he lay in the darkness, contemplating the strange turn of events he had experienced a few hours previously. Inevitably sleep soon stole over him but he found himself dragged into a wakeful state an hour or so later by a noise he couldn't place. Slipping from his bed he crept over to the door and opened it just a crack. The rest of the house was dark and silent, his mum having retired to her bedroom not long after putting him to bed. He could hear the faint snoring from her room and closed the door again. The noise, somewhat reminiscent of a cloud of deep-throated mosquitos, appeared to be coming from the direction of his desk.

Garth padded over to the desk but came to a sudden halt when he saw that the peculiar book he had left there earlier was now open to the same middle two pages that he had been studying earlier. He remembered leaving the book closed so his mother wouldn't ask any awkward questions on seeing the writing or illustrations, so how the hell could it have opened itself?

Blinking in the darkness he was startled to note that the writing and pictures were softly glowing in the dark, and it was from the open book that the deep-pitched hum was emanating. Fumbling around he opened a drawer in the desk and rummaged around for a ruler that he knew was in there somewhere. Snorting in triumph held the ruler in one hand and used it to poke at the book nervously, half expecting it to leap up and flap madly at his face like some sort of demented paper vampire-bat.


He plucked up a bit more courage and used the ruler to flip the book closed again, holding his breath while he did so and hoping the noise would shut up. It was freaking him out a bit and he briefly toyed with the idea of going and waking up his mum. However, in a rare flash of almost adult-like understanding he realized that would be asking for all sorts of awkward questions, and most likely some sort of panicked parental reaction about 'stranger danger'. The book continued to drone, even while closed.

Deciding that he wasn't going to let some fucking book freak him out -- he was 7 after all! - he dumped the ruler and grabbed at the book, half expecting another static jolt like when he had touched it for the first time. It merely vibrated gently in his hand and remained otherwise inert.

He returned to his bed with the book clutched gently in one hand and flopped down onto his back, regarding the small tome with some bewilderment. Some impulse he was helpless to resist forced him to open it and stare at the words and pictures closely. When the gently glowing, spidery looking script suddenly began to bunch and flow on the page all by itself he choked back a cry and attempted to fling the book away from him, but it was as if it had been welded to his hands. A strange paralysis gripped him and prevented him from crying out in terror while the words flowed around the two pictures.

After a few moments the movement on the pages and the humming noise both stopped simultaneously, and at the same moment all control of his limbs returned to him. With a whimper he threw the book as hard as he could away from him, however the book, as if with a mind of its own, merely dropped to the floor by the side of his bed, falling open on those same two middle pages.

Garth spent the next 10 minutes huddled under the blankets, waiting for something horrible to happen, not daring to call out for his mum in case the scary book took that badly and did something awful to him. When nothing continued to happen, he scuttled over to the edge of the bed and peeked out from under the covers at the offending object lying innocuously on the floor. The unreadable script had rearranged itself into recognizable words surrounding the two pictures, although he was sure the young guy on the first page hadn't been smirking when he had studied the image earlier.

He ignored that, chalking it up to his rattled state of mind and looked closer at the gently glowing words shimmering on the two pages. Some of them were a little difficult to make out having been written in some sort of ridiculous 'ye olde' style he wasn't familiar with, but most of them made sense. With a start he sat up straight in bed and stared at his door. Any sensible boy would be yelling for an adult right about now, he realized. But over the past couple of years had become more than a little blasé about pain and terror from the almost daily abuse and beatings he had endured at the hands of the other miserable brats from around the neighborhood and at school. If he could accept a beating from the school's strongest bully without running home to mummy or some teacher who could care less, he was fucked if he was going to let some stupid book get to him like this!

Girding his loins, he reached down and plucked up the book and then held it close to his face to see the words better in the gloom, and began softly reading them aloud. As he read each word aloud the gentle glow illuminating it would cut out, leaving him unable to go back and re-read anything, so he continued nervously until he reached the end of the first page. There was a subdued orange flash which startled him and the picture of the young guy disappeared from view. However the glowing image of the monster on the facing page was beginning to glow brighter. What this signified he had no idea, so he continued reading.

Once he reached the end of the second page and stopped speaking, he stared at the picture expectantly while waiting for something to happen. All that happened was that the picture, like the first, flashed a bright orange color briefly then went dark. With a slight sense of disappointment he sat there staring at the book in the darkness until his dry eyeballs forced him to blink. 'What a waste of fucking time,' he thought to himself shaking it with more than a little violence, hoping to elicit some sort of reaction from the now quiescent tome.

After a few minutes more of nothing happening he walked over to his desk and dumped the book on the top before returning to the bed where he lay on his back, casting an occasional, hopeful glance toward it. After the brief flirtation with excitement, tiredness overcame him and he drifted off into a sleep punctuated with strange and disturbing dreams he wouldn't remember the following morning.

3 - "not like jeans"

The first thing the 7 year old Garth did on getting up in the morning was pick up the book and flip it open to the middle pages with a feeling of expectation. Only he was to be disappointed and a little saddened instead; the pages were blank. Of the strange, spidery script and distinctive pictures there was no sign, it was as if they had never existed. Puzzled he closed it, waited a few moments and then with a flick of the wrist opened it up again.

Still blank.

He growled and with a vicious sneer he slammed the crumbling tome into the rubbish bin beside the table and stormed out of his room to prepare for another miserable day at his shitty school.

However as soon as he stepped out the door he came to an abrupt halt and looked around. There were gathering storm clouds on the horizon and a stiff wind had already begun to pick up, blowing the autumn leaves around the street outside his house with wild abandon. He had been momentarily overcome with an intense feeling of expectancy. Something was going to happen, he was certain of it! Something momentous. But exactly what it was he wasn't sure...

Shrugging off the feeling he began the walk to the bus-stop at the end of the road by the shops he had visited the previous evening. Garth faced this part of the day with absolute dread: Usually waiting at the bus-stop was one of his worst tormentors, a girl about 4 years older than himself and weighing 3 times as much as he did. She was a hateful, hurtful, sneering bitch of a girl who for some reason had managed to attract a small 'gang' of like-minded girls of a similar age. They took particular pleasure in pushing him around (if he was lucky). Or if they were feeling particularly vindictive they would snatch his bag from him and steal the lunch his mother made for him, before scattering the contents of his bag all over the road then throwing his bag in the nearest rubbish bin. They then would laugh like shrieking harpies while he rushed around trying to save his books and other belongings before they were damaged or destroyed.

This morning was shaping up to be yet another repeat of so many before it by the looks of things; he could see the group of girls already waiting at the bus-stop. He had been leaving later each day in an attempt to try and avoid them but that only got him into trouble at school for turning up late so he had been forced back to catching the same bus they did.

"Drop dead you fucking bitch!" he muttered before catching sight of the bus turning the corner at the end of the road.

Putting his head down he began to run toward the bus-stop so as not to miss it and so missed what happened next. He was about 100 meters or so away when there was a loud scream of tortured rubber, a loud horn blasting and the horrified shrieks from some of the girls. Startled, he looked up and just in time to see his tub-o'-lard tormentor attempting to struggle to her feet on the road right in front of the bus which was still moving at a considerable pace as it pulled into the stop. This was followed immediately by a meaty popping noise as if someone had just exploded a large plastic bag full of rotting offal.

A couple of hours later after the shocked and subdued passengers had been transferred to another bus and Garth had been delivered, somewhat shaken to his school, he had time to reflect on what had occurred. He hadn't seen exactly what had happened, but heard from another student that the girl had appeared to leap out onto the road in front of the fast-approaching bus without any warning. She had died at the scene, crushed under the low front of the bus before it had a chance to come to a complete halt. The gang of girls had been taken away for grief counseling, and it had also been suggested, questioning; witnesses said it looked like the victim had been shoved, but all of the other girls had all tearfully denied it of course.

Garth mulled over his feelings for some time. Shock. Numbness. Satisfaction. No more torture at the bus-stop, no more going hungry at lunch-time, no more having to rescue his belongings from the traffic or the rubbish bin. He knew he should be feeling sadness and probably horror, but he just could not bring himself to feel those emotions no matter how hard he searched his conscience. The bitch was gone. Forever.


When the lunch-bell rang a bit later on he walked out into the playground toward his favorite spot -- a large pile of boulders that had been heaped near one of the boundary fences. It was a spot that he considered his own, none of the other kids normally hung around that part of the playground because it was fairly exposed. He camped out on the tallest rock in the pile and munched on his sandwich while watching the other kids playing. Not far away the school's top soccer players were practicing. One of them, a kid a couple of years ahead of him by the name of Malcolm, was acting goal-keeper while the others in the team kicked balls toward him.

Scowling, Garth paused eating and watched them for a minute or two. Malcolm was a prize jerk, although most others behaved as if the sun shined out of his arrogant jock asshole. "I hope you fuck it up and cry like a bitch," he snarled with more than a little venom around a mouthful of sandwich.

So caught up was he in his moment of Schadenfreude that he accidentally breathed down a scrap of bread from his lunch and began choking, missing what happened next. Tears streaming and face bright red from coughing, he looked up to see Malcolm had fallen to his knees with his hands clutched to his face and wailing like a 2 year old with a full nappy. Blood was leaking down between his fingers -- he had caught one of the soccer balls kicked with full force straight in the face, smashing in his nose and breaking several of his teeth.

The boy was quickly escorted from the field by his friends and a couple of teachers who had come running to investigate. Garth sat there, blinking in surprise but still not quite connecting the dots. The rest of the day passed uneventfully for him, even the usual in-class shenanigans were absent, and he ended the day wondering what he had done to merit such good luck. Even the storm-clouds that had been gathering in the morning had failed to materialize into the expected seasonal thunder-storms, which usually drenched him when he walked home from the bus-stop.

Even his mum commented on his unusually cheerful demeanor over dinner that night, but Garth just shrugged it off. He had no doubt that life would return with practiced swiftness to its typical miserable existence, tormenting him from day to day... although even he had to admit that it would be better now that he no longer had to contend with that awful bitch in the mornings.

That night he dreamed of the strange young guy who had given him the book. Although he later began to wonder if it had in fact been a dream, given the events that were to follow...

In the dream he woke up, quickly realizing that he was not alone in his room. Sitting bolt upright he stared with a strange mix of horror and fascination at the guy who was lounging in the chair beside his desk, idly thumbing through the book from the light of the desk-lamp he had turned on. The stranger looked over at him and grinned when he saw Garth was awake and staring at him with his undivided attention.

"I was never one for books, myself. But they are a useful tool," he said in a casual, conversational tone while turning his attention back to the worn tome. "So kid, what's your name?"

Garth clutched the sheets with a death-grip and just gaped at him, doing his best impression of a goldfish while trying to figure out whether he should be screaming for his mum or not.

"Aw, don't be like that, little guy -- is that any way to treat a friend? I'm not gonna hurt you," he smirked, putting particular emphasis on the last word which was something even Garth's immature mind picked up on. The stranger turned the book partially toward him, open at the middle pages which were once again full of writing and illustrations. "Not a bad likeness really, although the artist was a real skittish guy to work with. Anyone would think he'd never seen a demon before."

Allowing himself to relax just a fraction, Garth continued to regard him warily. After all, this was just a dream, right? Demon? The squirming arm tattoos definitely hinted at something being not quite right with him, and how the hell had he gotten into the house without waking anyone up? If the guy was going to rape and murder him -- or would he murder then rape? - then he was being awfully talkative for a psycho.


"What's that? Did I hear you squeak something?"

"Garth. My name," he spoke in little more than a whisper.

"There now, was that so difficult? That's a good, simple, strong name, I like it! Well hello there young Garth, you may call me 'Dennin', and I am delighted to meet you," the stranger nodded at him in a friendly manner, placing the book on the desk with gentle reverence before turning back to face him, resting his arms on his knees and slouching forward in the chair.

"Denim?" Garth asked quietly, quirking an eyebrow at him. Why would someone name themselves after a pair of -

"Not denim like a pair of jeans," the stranger interrupted his thoughts with a melodramatic sigh while rolling his eyes. "Den-INN. Not my proper, full name of course. Cant tell you that; it would give you complete power over me and that is something I will not allow," the stranger narrowed his eyes slightly and gave him a hard stare.

Figuring by now that this 'Dennin' guy didn't appear inclined to whip out a machete and lop off his face, Garth became a bit more bold. After all, this was just a dream...


"What do you want? How did you get in here?"

Dennin leaned back and crossed his arms across his chest with the smug grin back on his face. "I'll answer your last question first, because I'm an annoying bastard like that. You invited me in when you recited the summoning incantation from the book last night," he reached out and caressed the cover of the book like that of a lover. "As for what I am doing here, that is a long story -- but you like stories, right?"

"Uh, yeah," Garth admitted sheepishly; with few friends he tended to spend most of his time immersed in various books, usually epic science-fiction or fantasy novels.

When Dennin stood up and approached his bed, Garth shied away, but he merely sat down at the foot of the bed and smiled. "S'okay kid, I don't bite unless specifically requested," he laughed when Garth gave him dubious frown. "Anyway, to keep things simple, I am what you would call a demon. Yeah yeah, I know -- 'Dennin the Demon'. But whaddya gonna do, right? And I know what you're thinking, but you'd be incorrect. We do not come from 'hell' because it does not exist; at least not in the form you would recognize it as. 'Heaven' would also come as a bit of a shock to the religious types -- you should see the looks on their faces when they kick the bucket, really not what they expected. We're just your average superior beings from a magical realm who get off on interfering in mortal matters. Although what we do pales in comparison to what you lot are capable of. Damn but you humans are a real fucked up bunch of critters, you have no idea"

Garth glared at the chuckling demon for a few moments before the truth of the words sunk in and he let the glare fade away. Humans -- well, some of them anyway -- were a fucked up bunch of savages.

"Yeah, you are, make no mistake. But that's alright, I like fucked up savages -- you humans are very entertaining."

"You can read my mind?" he asked, aghast.

Dennin nodded thoughtfully and examined his fingernails as if looking for dirt under them. "It's not difficult. You pitiful humans are like 6.5 billion little radio transmitters scurrying around, mostly broadcasting nothing but noise. However, every now and then we pick up the signal of something special. Something that calls out to my kind." He sized Garth up with a sober, serious expression on his face. "You are special, kid."

"What the fuck are you on about?"

Laughing, Dennin nodded at him. "See what I mean? Smack-talking to a scary monster from a magical realm. That takes some balls. Anyway, back to the story. I've been observing you for some time, and over that time you have earned my respect. Just a little mind you, so don't go getting a big head. You've put up with a lot of shit from some unpleasant brats so I figured it is time to set things right again. It's all about balance, Garth. The universe revolves around it, and then things get out of balance then all sorts of unpleasant crap occurs."

"Today... that was you?" Garth blinked, the pieces finally falling into place.

"Well... I don't like to blow my own trumpet, but... ah fuck it, who am I trying to kid. I do like to blow my own trumpet," Dennin beamed at him, his mouth stretching wider than a human's face was normally capable of. "All me. That fat cow at the bus-stop? Oh man that was delicious," he said with obvious relish. "Did you hear that glorious «pop!» noise she made when the bus mowed her down? Thought I would cream my jeans from that one alone."

His enthusiasm was kinda infectious and Garth found himself sharing a smile with the demon, before he caught himself and struggled to wipe the smile off his face. Dennin noticed this and waved an admonishing finger at him.

"Don't go feeling all guilty about it, kid. That human Zeppelin was a nasty, bitter, twisted piece of work with no redeeming features whatsoever. She would only go on to make other people's lives a misery so your world is better off without her."


"You understand deep down I'm right," Dennin lectured at him. "And that other guy at your school with the soccer-ball to the face? A few scars and broken teeth will teach him a bit of humility. Arrogance can make the most attractive person ugly which is something you will come to learn with experience, my young friend."

"I'm not your friend. I don't even know you!" Garth protested, scowling at the demon and crossing his own arms across his chest with a pout.

"Oh but you will. I am here to bring your life back into balance. You need me."

4 - "meanwhile..."

Back in the present day, Garth jerked himself out of his reverie and goggled at the demon, who he now recognized from the picture in the book all those years ago. He jumped out of bed and began pacing around casting occasional suspicious glances at the demon. "But you looked human back then? Fuck me, why are all these details only coming back to me now? How did I forget...?"

Dennin looked away, his demonic countenance looking distinctly uncomfortable if Garth read the expression correctly.


"It was for your own good," the demon muttered.

Garth paused and stared out the frost-covered window, deep in thought. "You didn't want me saying anything about your existence to anyone, otherwise it might cause you lot a few problems," he spoke softly as if thinking his thoughts out loud. When the demon jerked its head back in surprise and hissed at him he smiled briefly. "Well, you did say I was more intelligent than most of the humans you were used to dealing with all those years ago."


Feeling a lot more comfortable now that he had Dennin on the back foot for the first time since waking, Garth skirted around the demon and leaned over to turn the desk-light on. The light threw the demon into stark relief, and it really did look quite different from that night all those years ago. Back then he had taken on the form of a rather well built, pale young guy with dark, flowing tattoos covering his arms. Quite an attractive guy if his memories were correct, he thought with a pang.

"Yeah, I was pretty hot, wasn't I? That wasn't by chance either, I'll have you know," Dennin had recovered his composure and appeared to be preening himself.

"Geeze, could you stay the hell out of my head for just 5 minutes, man? Give a guy some privacy!"

Dennin gave him a casual shrug. "As you wish," he responded in a dismissive tone of voice.

Standing at around 2.5 meters tall, the Demon was quite an imposing figure. Muscles writhed around under his clay-colored skin every time it moved, while its long, thin tail swished around as if agitated. He returned Garth's frankly curious gaze with one of vaguely amused boredom, staring back at him through bright, amber eyes with the snake-like pupils tracking his every movement.

"So, uh, Dennin... What happened to you? You looked like a normal guy all those years ago, well, apart from the tat's..." his voice trailed off when the demon flexed both arms in a classic body-builder pose, the tattoos he remembered from when he was younger still etched into the creature's skin. And still flowing as if alive in sinuous motion.

"Attempting to masquerade as one of you puny humans takes a lot of effort, but I didn't want to frighten you at the time." Dennin huffed out a rather weary sounding sigh and lumbered over to his bed where he plonked himself down. He grinned at Garth and gave the mattress beside him a gentle pat. "C'mon, come sit down beside your old friend and relax a little. Make yourself at home -"

"Hey! This is my home, you asshole," Garth grumbled at him, but meekly did as he was told when the grin faded from the demons face to be replaced by a deepening scowl when he hesitated.

Dennin wrapped one massive, meaty arm around his shoulders in a companionable manner and gave him a gentle squeeze. "Now where was I... oh, yes! I was attempting to blend in at the time and not attract attention to myself until I located just the right person. And then I discovered you at that bus-stop, just radiating misery in all directions." He paused and gave Garth another speculative look before continuing, all levity dropping from his voice. "You were fortunate it was me who located you first. Others of my kind are not as compassionate when seeking out entertainment."

Staring up at the demon's vaguely reptilian face, Garth blanched slightly. "Entertainment? And what do you mean, 'fortunate'?"

The demon managed a credible job of looking somewhat affronted by the question, dropping his arm from around his shoulders and swiveling around to face him properly. "Did I ever hurt you in any way?"

Hesitating, "Well, no..."

"Did your life not actually improve significantly after I came along?"

"Yes, but -"

"Have you not wondered many times over the past few years about what happened to turn things around so dramatically?"

"Yeah, though -"

"Well there you go then. Fortunate," Dennin's smile returned and he hugged Garth close to him again, ignoring the young man's increasing agitation at being held so intimately by him. "And yes, entertainment. I decided to make you my own little project. My hobby if you like. It was actually rather enjoyable granting your conscious wishes; but more so your unconscious desires..."

Garth started guiltily. His guilty horror at the revelations the demon was revealing to him aside, his eyes had been roaming all over the demon's body -- he couldn't help himself. He had known he was gay from early on in his teenage years and had always harbored a particular liking for well built guys. The jocks, gym-bunnies, weight-lifters, wrestlers and the like... Although there were some rather disturbing differences. Dennin's body was the epitome of male perfection: Broad shoulders, well-developed pectoral muscles blending into a perfect, tapered and ripped waist, thighs of doom which lead to legs ending in... well, below the knee the demon's digitigrade legs resembled that of a dinosaurs -- scaled and with large, sharp talons on the end of the long feet. That coupled with the slightly reptilian features of the face... Then there were the two dark and twisted horns jutting from each side of the head, the rhino-like horn on his snout, that tongue, the pokey-out ears, the wicked talons on the ends of his fingers, the barbed tail that moved around as if it had a mind of its own...

Garth groaned and leaned forward, breathing deeply to prevent himself from passing out. His mind was in a complete storm of conflicting emotions and he didn't trust himself to say a single word.

"Are you okay?" Dennin asked him, a tone of genuine concern in his voice as he jumped up off the bed and hunkered down in front of him while reaching out to hold his shoulders in a gentle grip.

"Can you please remove your tail from inside my underwear," Garth whispered hoarsely, his voice weak and shaky.

Slipping the end of his tail out from one leg of the young guy's boxer-briefs where it had been gently caressing his thigh, the demon shifted his gaze away and wisely decided to say nothing.

Confused and shaken, Garth closed his eyes and continued to breathe until he calmed down a little. "Remind me again why I am so fucking fortunate," he asked after a couple of minutes recovery.

Instead of rejoining him on the bed, Dennin sat on floor in front of him and crossed his legs, with the (unintentional?) effect that the mesh armor he wore kilt-style rode up his well-muscled thighs, exposing in the shadowy depths a vague shape that all too familiar to Garth, only quite a bit larger than anything he had ever seen online or in real life. Thankfully it was mostly hidden in deep shadows otherwise he wasn't quite sure whether or not he would be able to tear his eyes off it. Instead he concentrated on the demon's belt buckle -- a rather realistic looking if bestial skull with a faint red glow emanating from the empty eye-sockets. It rode on a wide belt made up of tarnished looking metal plates stretching all the way around the demon's waist.

"When I first met you I decided that instead of tormenting you, it would be more enjoyable to get inside your head a little. I sensed that you had a dark streak inside you that if suitably stimulated might yield some entertaining results. That is why I gave you the book. The rules," at which point he grimaced and his voice dropped a few octaves, "state that you had to be the one to initiate our... relationship."

"Relationship...?" Garth repeated in a hollow voice.

"Correct. Many demons initiate such arrangements with the humans they have selected under false pretenses -- it is all part of the game. Then, under the guise of 'granting wishes' or other such inanities, they twist things around and end up feeding off the pain and misery they inflict on the unfortunate, if greedy victim."

Garth's eyes snapped up from the belt-buckle to meet those of the demon. "That's fucking horrible! You're all some kind of... monsters!"

Dennin shrugged then placed his palms flat on the floor slightly to one side and behind, then leaned back on them for support. "See these horns? Talons? Fangs? Demon here, hello? Of course we're monsters. It's how we get our kicks."

Shaking his head, Garth stuttered, "B-but -"

"But nothing," the demon cut him off with a curt shake of his head. "Nature of the beast and all that."

"So, why did you not just torment me further and just feed off that?" It was still the middle of the night and the emotional toll of the past few minutes was beginning to take its toll on him. He crawled up the bed and lay down with his head on the pillow, not taking his eyes off the demon for one instant, however. Tired or not, he knew it would be a mistake. Not that looking at the impressive -- and rather sexy, he reluctantly admitted - creature was a hard task exactly. "It wouldn't have taken much to drive me over the edge back then and surely that would have been some sort of especially tasty treat for you," he growled.

"True," the demon acknowledged with a tilt of his head. "But such a very small treat and over far too quickly. No, I figured you would provide me with a much richer source of entertainment if given ample opportunity. So I gave you the book that would allow you to summon and bind me for a period of time. But other than my brief initial meeting with you, and occasional subsequent visitations in your dreams, I figured it would be better not to frighten you off."

"That's awfully considerate for a monster."

The demon grunted and looked away with an unreadable expression on his craggy face. "Let's just put it down to the fact that I could relate with your situation and leave it at that, yes?"

"Uh, if you like," Garth muttered, intrigued despite himself. Was this a chink in the demon's emotional armor?

A smirk that exposed some of the sharp little teeth which glistened moistly in the dim light given off by the desk-light re-emerged on Dennin's face. "Just don't go getting ideas into that pretty little head of yours, boy. Anyway, enough about the past! You have summoned me again, only this time it is something you have unwittingly engineered rather than by my arrangement."

Garth propped himself up on an elbow and looked worried. "Look, I already told you I had no idea how that happened. I don't even remember the dream you say was the cause. I'm really sorry, so please don't be angry with me."

"I'm not angry. As it happens I happen to be at a loose end at the moment anyway."

"Well, uh, perhaps you had better go then. It was great seeing you again -"

"Steady on, boy," the demon interrupted him. "I cannot depart, even if I wanted to. You summoned me and I am unable to leave until the terms of the summoning have been met."

Garth began to panic and sat up, beads of sweat popping into existence on his forehead. "But I already told you, I don't remember the dream. Look, I free you from obligation! Begone foul demon!" he waved his hands around wildly as if trying to scare off pigeons.

Booming laughter filled the room from the demon as he sat upright and began to clap slowly, applauding him. "Doesn't work like that I am afraid. C'mon, it will be fun, just like old times. Until you figure out what will complete the pact, that is." Dennin's expression abruptly changed from mirth to annoyance and he fixed Garth with a smoldering, serious look. "But just beware who you are calling foul, you insignificant little speck, or I'll devour your soul."

Unable to figure out if the demon was joking or not, Garth collapsed back on the bed and closed his eyes. "Sorry. Guess if there is no choice in the matter -"


"- then make yourself at home," he mumbled.

Despite everything that had happened. Despite the potential threat that the demon -- a demon! In his room! - posed, he dozed off momentarily, his weariness finally caught him while he had his eyes closed. He was jolted wide awake however when movement from behind him blew the sleep away in one terrifying moment of full wakefulness.

Spooned up against his back was a large, heavy, solid presence; a presence that had draped a large, muscular arm over his chest in a rather possessive manner. Frozen in place he stared at the writhing tattoos that lay mere centimeters in front of his face, softly lit by the light shining from the desk-light that hadn't been turned off. The large talons on the end of the demon's fingers were pressed lightly against his left pectoral, holding him with a gentle, but firm grip against the creature. Draped casually across his thigh he could feel the demon's barbed tail, slowly snaking around as if with a mind of its own.

Now Garth wasn't exactly a weakling or a skinny runt any longer. As part of the new found confidence he had discovered when he was younger (more demonic influence?) he had begun pushing himself physically. In his teenaged years this had involved a lot of swimming and weight training, although if he was being honest with himself part of that came from the fact that many of the others who participated in those activities were also young, attractive and male. So he was fairly confident of his own strength when it came to fending off unwanted advances, however he instinctively knew that he was seriously outclassed here. He was also a little shocked when he realized that part of him didn't want to flee from the demonic male embrace.

Dennin must have felt him stiffen because he nuzzled at the back of his neck and made a soft huffing noise. "It's okay, boy, relax. Just making myself at home as per your instructions. Isn't this cozy?"

Feeling the almost feverishly hot skin against his back and the arm clamping him solidly to the demon's chest and stomach, he forced himself to relax. So far the creature had not shown any inclination to hurt him and had in the fact done many things to improve his life. He began to wonder just how many of the things that had gone right in his life were due in fact to the demon's influence...

This was the last thought before sleep claimed him properly this time around, the pervading warmth and feeling of someone holding him secure winning out over his fear and distrust.

5 - "secret of the ooze"

Garth woke from a dream filled with all sorts of strange and exotic images, many of them quite explicit and pornographic to discover a significant, hot weight draped over him while he lay in bed, face down and unable to move. What really got him wide awake and squirming however, was not remembering that he was sharing the bed with a real, live demon, but the realization of what part of the demon's body it was pressed hard against his ass. It didn't take a genius to realize exactly what it was, either.

"Whoa whoa whoa, that's an exit only, man!" he yelled out, scrambling like a mad thing to get out from under the demon's weight and away from the bed.

He backed toward the door keeping a close eye on the creature, half expecting him to leap up and drag him kicking and screaming back onto the bed where he would be raped -- or worse.

Instead, prying open one eye with reluctance, Dennin fixed him with a baleful glare. The eye visibly glowing brightly even against the morning light shining through the window. "You cannot rape the willing," he muttered in a deep voice that sounded almost like he was gargling gravel. "And get me a coffee while you are up, will you? There's a good boy."

Speechless, Garth stumbled out of the room and working on auto-pilot managed to find his way to the bathroom where he turned on the shower. It was only then that he voiced his thoughts with a long, drawn out wail when he reached around and found slippery demon ooze liberally smeared over his butt-cheeks.

Unseen and unheard in his bedroom, Dennin flopped over onto his back and cradled his hands together under the back of his head. He cracked a large, toothy smile while he recalled key moments of the dreams he had shared with the young guy during the night. Licking his lips with his long, black, forked tongue he chuckled to himself.

"That's not what you were saying last night, kid..."

Meanwhile, in a shower that was almost too hot for him to bear, Garth examined himself after a thorough scrubbing and came to the relieved conclusion that his ass was still virgin territory. If perhaps a little besmirched with demonic dick ooze. Much to his annoyance, his body however seemed less relieved and more excited by the whole prospect and memory of what had transpired in the dreams during the night. He shuddered, wondering just what it was that he would need to do to get rid of the creature. If he had called to it in a dream, just what kind of dream was it?

A few minutes later he reluctantly ventured back into his bedroom wearing a towel wrapped around his waist and bearing a hot mug of coffee; lots of milk and 5 sugars, although how he knew Dennin liked it like that he wasn't certain. But he did suspect (correctly) that it was probably the demon messing around inside his head -- again. But he wasn't about to risk the displeasure of refusing the creature's demand for a hot drink. With extreme trepidation he approached the bed holding the mug out as far in front of him as he could -- the damned creature wasn't making things easy, lying completely stark naked on his back in the bed, sheets strewn on the floor beside it.

"Here's your c-cock... er coffee! Coffee, goddamnit!" he stuttered, trying but miserably failing to take his eyes off the prominent feature lying quiescent between the demon's thighs.

"Perfect," Dennin sighed and reached out for the mug while with deliberate intent reaching down with his other hand to slowly and carefully rearrange his junk.

His tail was wrapped sinuously around one thigh, although had it been free it would have been waving around in a demonic body-language display of complete mirth. As it was, he was having a very difficult job in not bursting out in raucous laughter at the expression on Garth's face.

'He is just too easy, the poor kid' he thought to himself while struggling to control himself.

Propping himself up in the bed, Dennin downed the contents of the mug in one mouthful then leaned over to put the empty vessel on the floor. Garth took an instinctive step backward at the unexpected movement but stopped short of fleeing the room altogether. He relaxed when the demon lay back on the bed, propping himself up on one elbow.

"I know why you summoned me," Dennin mentioned in a conversational tone of voice, watching him carefully. "And what must be done in order to meet the conditions to release me from this binding covenant."

"Anything! What?" Garth asked with apparent eagerness, but furious with himself for the stab of disappointment which accompanied the demon's statement.

This time Dennin couldn't hide the smirk on his face when he patted the empty space in the bed beside him and made a 'come hither' movement with his head. A smirk which disappeared pretty quick when the boy remained motionless by the door as if preparing to make a break for it.

"Do not test my patience," the demon growled with a carefully injected note of unspoken menace that he actually had no intention on following through with.

He just wanted to see how much the boy would do on his own without being forced into anything. He knew there was an internal war brewing inside the boy's head about his wants and desires and was not about to influence him; this had to be his decision.

Putting one reluctant foot in front of the other, Garth walked over to the bed and sat down on it but didn't take his eyes off the demon for one second. "What do I have to do? And is it going to hurt much?"

"I would be disappointed if it hurt. Some of my kind enjoy inflicting or receiving pain, however I am not one of them. Anyway, after all the things I did for you I would have thought you would have understood that. Now, lose the towel, please."

"But -"

"Lose. The. Towel."

Hardly daring to breathe, he did what the demon requested and sat on the bed feeling nervous and vulnerable, staring out the window to attempt to distract himself from what he thought might be coming. When a warm hand with retracted talons clamped onto his shoulder with surprising gentleness, he yelped and would have leaped up and fled if he wasn't being held down. The demon's tail had also uncoiled and was now slithering across his thigh and twining itself down his right leg.

"W-what are you doing?" he asked with closed eyes and expecting the worst.

There was a feeling of movement from behind him and the reply when it came was whispered, softly, seductively into his ear, "only what you summoned me for, Garth Krieger. You wanted this."

Garth let himself be drawn into Dennin's hot, masculine embrace with a sigh and felt the demon's tongue seek entrance to his mouth. The war in his heart and mind had been fought and this was the final surrender. "Yesssssssssss..."

Afterward, sweaty and satisfied while they lay together staring at the ceiling, Garth asked the question that was on both of their minds. "So, what happens now?" he asked, his head resting in the cleft between the demon's arm and chest with the arm hugging the two of them close.

"Hmm, that depends on you, really."

"What do you mean?" he asked, turning his head to stare at the demon's face curiously.

Dennin shrugged. "Depends on whether you desire me to remain with you longer-term or if you wish for me to depart and not return. It is your decision either way and one I will not influence."

"Like I had any choice in this," Garth snorted in gentle derision.

The demon returned his gaze and gave him a questioning look. "You found the experience unpleasant? I was that that horrible as a sexual partner?"

Garth reached over and gave the demon's dick a gentle squeeze. The experience had been... other-worldly. Quite incredible and not something he had ever had with anyone else -- having your lover inside your head during the whole thing was almost like having sex with yourself. The only problems had come about when Dennin kept attempting to shove things up his butt, fingers, tail, tongue, cock... all of which had to be swatted away from the no-go zone on a continual basis, accompanied each time by a disappointed pout from the demon.

"No, you weren't - that was the best thing ever! Although, my jaw still aches a bit. But it doesn't change the fact that I didn't ask for this -"

"Your dreams do not lie, boy. They were very insistent," Dennin interrupted.

"I didn't ask for this consciously!" he continued with a slight frown. Suspiciously, "And you didn't mess around with my head and 'encourage' me into doing this?"

Dennin managed to look rather offended. "What do you take me for? Some kind of monster?" When Garth merely raised an eyebrow at him, he grumbled. "Anyway, no. It is called free will, and something you had to decide on your own."

Pushing the demon's arm off him, he swung his legs off the bed and sat on the edge. He cupped his face in his hands, rested his elbows on his knees and stared out the window at the snowflakes falling past. "Well anyway, it had to be done in order to dismiss the summoning, pact, covenant, whatever it was. Y'know, to free you."

"Oh... yeah."

Garth's eyes narrowed at the tone in the demon's voice and he turned around to stare at him, but the demon refused to meet his gaze. "What?"

"What do you mean, 'what'?" Dennin countered defensively.

"Don't mess with me," Garth threatened, swinging around and planting both hands on the demon's broad shoulders, forcing him to look into his eyes. "There is something you're not telling me, isn't there? Spit it out, demon!"

"Some things are best left unsaid."

"Tell me."

"You wont like it."

"Tell me!"

Dennin sighed and propped himself up on an elbow, forcing Garth to release his shoulders. He reached with his free hand to cup the side of the boy's face which earned him a glare, but he didn't knock his hand away at least. "I was already released from the summoning. I was released over 15 years ago."

Garth's jaw dropped and eyes widened. "I don't understand..."

"You can only ever summon a demon once. Once the agreement between the two is settled the demon cannot be bound again by that person. Ever."

"But -- but you said I had summoned you in my dream!"

Looking uncomfortable, Dennin released his face and lay back down on the bed sounding weary. "You attempted to summon me again in your dream, this is true. However I had already been bound by you once when you were young, so it held no power over me this time around."

"But you turned up anyway? I still don't understand!" Garth's voice was becoming louder but he didn't notice.

Dennin met his gaze again. "I returned because I wanted to. Because your dream-call I found intriguing. I was not lying to you all those years ago when I said I liked you. I could see the young man you would become and what I saw was rather..." he paused for effect and leered at him, "...appealing."

"You fucking piece of shit! You lied to me! You fucking lied to get me to have sex with you. Gah!" he leaped away from the bed and grabbed his towel, wrapping it around himself before standing at the window and staring outside -- angry at the demon, but more so at himself.

Deciding that now was probably not the best idea to point out the little hypocrisy about this being his idea in the first place by summoning him, Dennin remained in bed and watched the subtle play of light and shadow over the boy's toned body. While not built as well as a demon, he was still very attractive. At least to his eyes.

After a few minutes of frosty silence, Garth turned back to him. "Why? Why lie to me if you say you like me so much?" he asked, hurt.

"Because it is not something you would have admitted to yourself -- or to me -- without prompting. I gave you an excuse."

Garth glared at him again. "You couldn't have just told me?"

Shrugging, "You would only have denied it."

Flinching from the sting of truth in the words he swallowed and looked away. At least the fucking demon had the sense not to look smug about it. Hanging his head he closed his eyes and shook his head gently from side to side. "Damn you," he whispered, broken.

At this the demon swung himself out of bed and stood up. Despite the weird legs, tail, horns, teeth, talons and vaguely reptilian features, he was like a perfect specimen of manhood. It both fascinated and attracted Garth on a very deep level, one he knew the demon wasn't responsible for manipulating. He also recognized the truth of the demon's words, even if they hurt.

Dennin walked over and wrapped his hotter-than-human muscular frame around him, embracing him firmly. Garth gave a token struggle but swiftly gave up when the demon showed no signs of being deterred.

"Damn me? Baby, I come pre-damned and packaged for your convenience. Anyway, you should count yourself lucky that it was me who answered your calls all those years ago. Some of my kind would do a lot worse than bend the truth to spare your feelings. Remember, we feed off that sort of emotional energy."

Garth pouted. "I guess..." he muttered in a dubious tone of voice.

"Could be worse though, right? I mean, I am pretty sexy if I do say so myself. You will come back to bed now, yeah?" he tugged the only slightly resistant young guy back toward the rumpled and sweaty sheets. "I'll show you some tricks I know that will really corrupt your innocence," he leered, groping himself and yanking away Garth's towel.

"You're terrible," Garth protested weakly.

"Hell yeah! Wonderful, isn't it?"

"I'm still not going to let you do me in the ass you know," he growled, slapping away the barbed tail that had been sliding up between his cheeks and falling onto the bed into the demon's embrace.

And he realized that Dennin was right, again. At the end of the day: Better the devil you know...

the end of this written abomination :-)