Winter’s First Touch

We set up in the bleachers with our music stands, and prepped our instruments for three hours of playing the same 6 songs over and again. It was an average Friday night game. The late Summer heat kept the field a balmy 90F, and I was thankful that I wore a spaghetti strap top and shorts today. It didn’t quite matter, since the marching uniform was like an oven over me, but every bit made a difference.

It had been a short hour and a half ride from Paris (TX) to Mount Pleasant, and my tiny group of friends had spent the whole time talking about Pulp Fiction and “U-ma, u-ma!” while listening to Blues Traveler and Goo Goo Dolls. Now out of the bus, it seemed the temperature had risen ten degrees, and my uniform was sticking to me in all the wrong places. The sun couldn’t set fast enough.

We stood, readied our instruments, and started the fight song as the football players took the field. In the distance, a gray cloud system was forming. It was far enough away it seemed hardly a threat. In an age before cell phones or portable internet devices, we weren’t able to get instant data to tell us what it was. Still, the directors agreed that if it came closer, we’d probably leave. Wet instruments were worthless instruments.

It blew in within seconds; it seemed. We finished the fight song, and it had covered the entire field. There was a light mist, but the worst of it was the ferocious wind.

It was so cold and biting and intense that it froze the sweat on our skins and knocked over all the music stands with a monstrous, almost simultaneous “clang.” Sheet music flew out into the field and stands, and we clambered to grab anything and everything. I watched and mimicked the other flutists as they tucked their instruments under their uniform jackets. I put my marching band hat on my head and pushed it down just above my eyes to avoid it falling off me. Then grabbed a music stand in both arms and grimaced as the tripod legs took turns hitting the back of my running legs.

We loaded the buses and vans with the drums and stands, all while our teeth chattered and fingers froze. Once in the bus and on our way back home, the only sound anyone could make was the common “brrrr” as we huddled in our corners of the seats and wished the heat was back.

Winter had come, and he was a cold bastard.

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Even Demons Need Love

CW: Mildly explicit, some gore and violence

Zyra knelt in the shadow of the timber stairs. At this hour, no one would have seen her hiding just within reach of the front door. The wind blew, and a message traveled with it, “Nowwww.”

Creaking wood, a grunt, and footsteps told Zyra someone was awake. With one clawed hand, she pushed back from the edge of the stairs and crept towards the front door. “Do it,” she hissed.

“What are you doing?!” she heard an old woman cry on the second floor.

Muffled screams reached Zyra’s ears. The faint musicality of them reminded her of their first meet.

**

It had been the ultimate meet-cute. Zyra was coming to complain about a parking ticket; he was repairing the computers. Despite the sign that said to go to the next window, she walked straight up to him and unleashed a string of expletives. His face had been so adorable as he turned red with rage. She couldn’t even remember what calmed him down in the end, but it was an hour later when he was rising from her bed.

**

Zyra craned her neck to listen for the whimpers, the last dregs of a life eking out. She wondered how he looked as he strangled his mother, the insipid, overbearing slag. Her controlling ways had kept him imprisoned here with her for years. She imagined he reveled in the murder. He loved Zyra now, and she loved him. In her way.

Zyra stood at the door. She sensed the soul releasing it’s hold on the old woman above. Her mind connected to his, and she was filled with his thoughts of love and pleasure and unbridled hatred. She stripped down and used her power to open the door, transforming with each step into her true visage, complete with horns, tiny black wings, hooves, and a long whip-like tail. With each step on the stairs, she saw tiny dancing figures appear, chanting in their demonic language.

She entered the room, a black gown and veil covering her. Moonlight filled the room and announced her arrival. Consumed in his rage, he was tearing out chunks of skin with his teeth from the limp body of his mother. The blood painted darkness on his face and splattered across the bed and walls. She watched in delight as the room became covered and dripped from every corner. His body grew and soaked in the blood, turning him a rich vermilion.

“My love,” Zyra whispered.

He turned to look at her. His metamorphosis complete, he was even more perfect than she imagined he would be. “You’re so beautiful,” he gasped.

After a full year of dating, she had finally helped release him from his prison, and he was free to be the man – no, demon – he should have always been.

Their eyes linked. She felt the warmth of his unending love envelop her as the demon host pronounced them bonded for life.

Then Zyra let her imps watch them consummate their marriage.