The Demon of Tricks sits at my door.
He says he loves me, but I don’t know anymore.
The screaming down the hall has put mine to shame.
I know he has others, and I am most tame.
“Hardly tame, love,” he laughs, pacing the space outside the gates. Shadows push against the thick material, but never cross. Sounds and smells, of laughter and decay, are the only pieces of him allowed through. “But you are my favorite,” the raspy voice purrs. His swift steps come to a halt, and the gates creak again, as he peeks into the room beyond.
White hair is sprawled against stained brick. Luna runs a hand through the soft strands, trying to block his view of her. Pale skin and tear-stained cheeks are all he can see. Still, he clicks his tongue in approval.
He wants her eyes. Then, he’ll take her soul. Small, sweet pieces are his only goal.
Tender words waft through the gates. Even now, a blush bites at her pale skin. He’s always spoken to her like a lover in the dark. She was embarrassed to admit she liked the flattery. He cherished every inch of her, telling her so every night. The words seemed harmless. Compliments melded with subtle threats. She didn’t know what the riddles and tricks meant.
It wasn’t until she stumbled and tripped. She fell deep into the Earth, into his waiting crypt. Luna screamed and yelled for someone to hear, but the door fell shut. Her world disappeared.
Later that night, the demon showed himself. A man built on riddles and rot and greeted with screams quite a lot. Still, she recognized him. He used to have a handsome face. High cheekbones, pursed lips, and vivid green eyes.
Beautiful words are all that remain of the living man. He morphed them into weapons. Intricate words and careful rhymes. They drift past your ears and take root in your mind. Until Hallows Eve, the riddles are his only defense. Mindless rhymes will invade your thoughts. They pull you to the gates, breathless to cross.
There are others trapped in this crypt. Just like Luna, they stumbled and slipped. She can hear their voices in faraway corners. The question remains: are they lovers or mourners? Sarah and Janey. Anna, Mareen, and Coco Aimee. They squeal in terrifying delight as the midnight hour closes in. Anna calls for the demon, but he ignores the summons. He continues his pacing outside of Luna’s door, agitated.
When his hands meet the gates, they sizzle and crack. Even with his ticking patience, he has no choice but to step back. He wants torture and he wants fun. But Luna has his secrets, so she has won.
The gates are just as restless as him. They’ve let information spill into her room, staining the bricks like tar. Conversations trickle in. Gifts appear in the night. Flowers and chocolates. Candy and wine. Over the weeks, its feelings have grown. Now, in this place, she doesn’t feel alone. Familiar voices drift in and out, soothing her worries and easing her doubt.
She peeks at the figure peering down at her again. Hollow spaces claim the place eyes used to rest. The demon smiles his shadowed grin, “Luna, my love. Don’t you look forward to seeing your twin?”
She looks at the gates, crafted of blood and bone. And its gifts, in the corner, left all alone. The demon himself has a secret to hide. Somewhere far below lays his beautiful, undead bride.
A carbon copy of Luna sits below this bitter place. Pure white hair with a small, sallow face. Luna grips her skin, squeezing and clawing. The riddles are working. Her thoughts are withdrawing. She takes a moment to think without rhyme. Not about the time, or the crime, nor the floor filled with grime. She slaps her face and thinks of Meg.
Meg: with her button nose and bright, blue eyes. She resembled her sister almost identically. Only one of them still has bright, blue eyes. She’s missing an ear, some fingers, and a leg too. His treasured bride is made of parts and covered in glue. That’s the real secret why he steals. The Demon of Tricks is head over heels.
The Collywell sisters, with their pure white hair and curious minds, have always been one of his most precious finds. “What will you do with us both?” Luna whispers into the night. Her breathe fogs the air in front of her.
Another break in the pacing and a sizzle of impatience turns Luna’s head. “I only want one,” the demon discloses. He holds her stare longer than she’d like. It’s long enough for words to twist in her head. They move in sharp, painful jabs. She clamps her hands over her eyes. A scream bubbles in her throat.
“Stop,” she pleads. The gates strain between them, filling the crypt with inhuman noises. The demon dares a step closer. He watches Luna writhe on the ground with pleasure.
Decisions need to be made. Sisters are different, and yet they’re the same. One has a temper, and one is more tame. Which twin will he pick? The one far below, or the one on the brick? His undead bride or this broken girl? His one true wife or this treasured pearl?
He sighs and continues his pacing. Two more minutes until the gates will open. He ignores the shouts from the others in this hollowed hole. They are simply pieces, and he wants a soul. He pretends to love. He pretends to care. The riddles first started in the electric chair.
Luna knew Meg would follow that man anywhere. He’s the reason she lost so much. The reason, at Christmas, she walked with a crutch. Plans were drawn and promises made. Tricks were crafted and games were played. Through it all, they stuck with each other. A troubled man and twin, taken from her mother. It wasn’t until their plan went up in flames, that we finally saw an end to those games.
The getaway driver was nowhere in sight. He drove far away that cold, October night. Meg sacrificed herself and jumped in his path. Now, she’s in pieces. You do the math. The demon was caught and eventually fried. He lost his body, his soul, and his bride.
He found Meg a heart, a foot, and a lung. Some things are harder, like finding a tongue. It has to be perfect, the pieces exact. He won’t accept anything dirty or cracked. Imagine his surprise when Luna fell into his crypt. A perfect copy had stumbled and tripped.
He moves a step closer, taking a peek. Tears make trails down Luna’s dirty cheek. Her small hands fall from her eyes. She wipes her tears and tries to rise. Shaky legs barely do the trick. She avoids his figure, staring at the brick. With a deep breath and a small prayer above, she accepts the gift the gates gave her with love.
Another trick. Another treat. But this trick felt oh so sweet. The demon starts screaming at the gates. He yells more riddles, proof that they’re mates. His hands sizzle and then they crack. It’s the gates, launching their final attack. It’s a fight between a demon and a door. But Luna is tired. She doesn’t care anymore.
Her life is in her hands and she’s thankful for that. The gate’s final gift was more than a hat. She can do something before she enters that place. Her footsteps are weak, but she takes them with grace. It appears before her with a sugary design. Like Luna; it’s small and sweet. It’s simply divine.
The tart falls from her hand in a sickly sight. When the clock strikes midnight, the demon takes a second bite.
Now, he has a collection of hearts.
An arm. An eye. So many broken parts.
Every Halloween he searches for more.
Please, don’t fall for the demon under the floor.