CHAPTER 2: THE HYPNOTIC STRAW
In a funny way our souls are like Christmas trees. Our experiences and decisions decide the ornaments we adorn it with. The older the soul of course, the heavier the tree becomes. Till one day, the crushing weight can make a soul snap, or in Ravens case, catch fire. It's true that demons do not magically come into existence, they are the end result of a suffered past. Ravens case was no different. His poor decisions and lack of compassion placed him firmly in the grips of hell, forever placed into fiery servitude. As it stands he currently sits on standby with the management. Like waiting for an open seat on a plane he patiently lives his immortal days waiting for the next command. It's been decades since he last saw any real action and it slowly gnaws at him like a dog to a bone. He wouldn't admit it if you asked him but deep in his gut he feels a pain. A dull pain that never seems to tire of bickering, but after last night the pain has stopped talking to him, seeming content.
Raven wakes to find himself in a different mood than usual. He bounces out of bed with almost the slightest skip in his step. Doing his nightly routine he cleans himself up in the bathroom and as he walks by the mirror he glances and stops dead in his tracks. He's seen something in the mirror, something he hasn't seen in a very long time. The faintest of smiles has found its way to his face. He quickly shrugs it off and heads for the nightstand, looking down at the napkin. "This is all your fault!" He quips to the napkin as if it was a sentient thing. He leans over and quickly snatches it up. "Everything was fine until this came into my life, everything was just fucking perfect!" He balls the napkin up and tosses it into the trash. Guilt slowly flows over him like a quiet fog. Raven tries to ignore it as he cleans the living room, repeatedly cleaning the same items trying his hardest to push his thoughts to the side. He finally gives in and plops down on the couch.
"Well what am I supposed to do?" He mutters to himself. "Demons don't hang out with humans. We torture them, we eat them, they are just dinner." Raven sits quietly for a minute as the pain in his gut slowly starts to speak again. "Ok fine, fuck it, I'll just text him, he's probably busy anyways and will blow me off."
Raven finds his phone and digs the napkin out of the trash, gently un-wading it he punches the number into his phone. "What do I even say?" "I can't believe I'm freaking out about what to say in a stupid text message." He finally settles on "Hey Jake this is Raven from last night, are you up for hanging again?" It takes him what feels like an eternity to hit send. His demon heart flutters madly in his chest as he sits down, staring at his phone. Seconds later his phone beeps. As his heart jumps nearly out of his chest he reads the reply:
"Sounds great raven! Same place in an hour?"
Raven quickly responds and the outing is confirmed. With what must seem like a man on ten shots of espresso Raven makes a mad dash to get ready. Unaware that the smile has slowly crept back on to his face. Raven showers again and stares at every detail on his body, "I want it to look perfect" he thinks to himself. Slightly increasing his muscle mass, making the chest hair into the perfect pattern. Satisfied with his appearance he runs out the door. Walking briskly he continuously checks his watch, worried that maybe he should have taken a taxi. He could just slip out of human form and fly to the bar but that would for sure ruin the clothes he so meticulously picked out. Turning the corner at almost a running pace he slams directly into a human. Immediately he feels a rage come over him as he prepares to rip the head off of whatever is standing in his way. As his chest bows up and his veins begin to bulge a voice stops his change.
"Oh gosh Raven are you ok? Sorry I was rushing to meet you on time." Jake says a little winded.
Raven quickly switches gears and the smile returns to his face.
"Yes I'm fine; I was worried I might have hurt you Jake."
Raven realizes what he had just said. "Did I really just say I was worried about a human?" He thinks to himself.
Jake smiles and laughs.
"We just bumped is all, I'm fine."
They proceed into the bar and find themselves sitting in the exact same seats as before. The entire time Raven sits mostly quiet listening to Jake tell stories of his past, looking for lack of a better word completely enamored. Ravens trance comes to abrupt halt when Jake makes a comment:
"Hey you sure do look like you've put on a little more muscle since yesterday. You must have one hell of workout routine." Jake says grinning.
Raven chuckles as he flexes his arms.
"Yeah it's hell for sure. Does it look good?"
Jake smiles and nods. "It definitely looks good on you."
Raven looks down at his shoes smiling and feeling a little embarrassed, another emotion that hasn't seen the light of day in quite some time.
"So Raven do you have a girlfriend or anything?" Jake says as he stirs his drink.
The question seemed innocent enough but Raven caught the subtle hint: "or anything"
Raven looks up and pauses as his demon heart begins to beat faster, finding himself fixated on the straw hypnotically stirring in Jakes drink.
Raven wonders to himself, "Is he asking me if I'm gay?"