What exactly would you do to get your revenge? How far would you go for the ones you love? Would you tear apart someone’s life for tearing apart yours? Who would you hurt? Would you kill for it?
Those were the questions Rowan had been asked countless times over the past few months. Those were the questions she’d been asking herself over the past few months. With each step taking her closer and closer, with each action growing more severe, more violent, more ruthless than the ones before. Those questions still rang through her head. But she’d stopped caring about the answers long ago. She’d gone too far by now, there was no point in turning back. Stopping wouldn’t undo the damage she’d already done. And she was so close. Her conscience had died along with the people she had loved, buried in a grave, as cold and lifeless as the body buried with it.
No, there was no turning back now. Not as the wind whipped through her hair, howling as if it knew what was coming, ripping through the trees, threatening to tear through what she’d spent so long preparing. She brushed the chalk off her hands, ready to complete the ritual she’d been researching for weeks. She lit each candle at the end of the pentagram she’d made, casting some light into the small clearing she’d chosen. The wind picked up, as if it was trying to stop what was to come, or warn her to turn back before it was too late. But she would not be stopped, and the flames refused to be put out. She took a deep breath, looking up at the night sky. The moon stood out against the dark night sky, and there wasn’t a star in sight, as if they’d all run away. She waited, watching, not noticing the fog that had begun to roll in, gathering around her. The white slowly turned to red as the moon fully eclipsed, and the fog that surrounded her turned red along with it, as if the earth itself was bleeding. It was time to finish the ritual. Rowan took a deep breath, stood up straighter, and fixated her focus on the pentagram in front of her along with the incantation she’d been reciting over and over in her head.
“Ego summonite ego summonite te vendere animam meam ut a paciscor. Ego summonite ego summonite te vendere animam meam ut a paciscor. Ego summonite ego summonite te vendere animam meam ut a paciscor.” As she chanted, the fog gathered inside of the pentagram, rising to form the shape of a person. The smoke cleared, rolling back down to the ground, revealing someone standing in the middle of the pentagram. The first thing Rowan noticed was their bright red eyes, matching the red suit they were wearing. Their black hair that fell past their shoulders was slicked back, and their lips were black as well. They stepped forward, and put their foot down before taking another step when they noticed the circle of salt surrounding them. They walked around the circle, observing their surroundings, searching for any break in the circle, but there was none to be found. They shook their head with a laugh, then shoved their hands in their pockets as they turned back to Rowan.
“Hello there,” they said as they eyed the person in front of them. Rowan stood nearly as tall as them, with dark purple curls falling to her shoulders, brown eyes, wearing a purple leather jacket and pair of jeans. They didn’t look scared as people normally did when summoning them. No, they just looked angry.
“Hi,” Rowan responded, eyeing the demon skeptically.
“You called?” the demon said with a smirk.
“I’d like to make a deal.”
“With the devil?”
“You know those deals can be quite costly-”
“I’m well aware. I understand the price,” Rowan said, cutting them off. The demon nodded, leaning forward.
“So what’ll it be then, hm? Power, riches, immortality? Would you like some miracle cure? Or for someone to fall in love with you?”
“I want some people dead,” Rowan said, their face blank. The demon chucked, looking Rowan up and down.
“And who exactly is it you want dead? Why would someone like you be out for blood?”
“A few months ago, my girlfriend was kidnapped. They tortured her. Then they let her go, only to hunt her down and murder her. She was found scattered all over the woods. She was my everything. I’ve never had a family. Everyone just abandoned me. But then she came along,” Rowan said, looking down to the ground with a sad smile, shaking her head. “She was my family. She showed me what love was. She was the kindest, sweetest, most caring person you could ever meet. When she smiled you couldn’t help but smile along with her. She did everything she could to make the life of anyone she met better. She helped so many people,” Rowan said, lifting her head with a laugh. “We almost got evicted because she’d take in any stray or hurt animal she found. We even had an eagle once. But she made a deal with our landlord-she’d bring him these amazing cookies she’d make every month. And she knit his newborn daughter this cute little baby blanket with the animals she’d saved on them. No one hated her, they couldn’t. Everyone loved her,” Rowan said, her smile disappearing, any buried emotions brought up by the memory of the one she’d loved being overtaken once again by anger. “And they fucking killed her. For no reason. They killed the kindest person I’ve ever known. She did nothing to deserve what they did to her. She never hurt a soul. She brought so much good into the world. And the people who brutally murdered her got away with it. Apparently there wasn’t enough evidence. So the people who killed her, who took her away from me, are still out there, with no fucking punishment. And they’re going to do it again. I know they’ve done it before, to other girls. They hunt people like it's a game. It's fun for them,” Rowan said, anger growing in her voice with every word, eyes filled with the rage that had been building up inside of her, that had been consuming her. She stepped forward, locking eyes with the demon. “I want them gone. I don’t want them to be able to hurt anyone like this ever again, to stop them from destroying anymore lives. I want them to know what it feels like to be hunted. To scream for help and realize that no one can hear them, that no one’s coming to save them. I want them to feel all the terror and pain they’ve inflicted on people.”
“Wow,” The demon said, taking in the information, then a grin grew on their face. “So. You want me to hunt them down, torture, and then kill them? Sounds like fun. It's so entertaining watching poetic justice play out. Especially when it involves some bloodshed. But, it’ll cost you. The…removal…of some souls for…your own.” Rowan nodded.
“So it's a deal?” she asked.
“It’s a deal. But I have one more question.”
“I’m guessing you’d like to watch? As they all face their bloody demise?” The demon asked with a smirk. Rowan almost grinned.
“Yes. Yes I would.”
“Then it's a deal,” the demon said, holding out their hand. Rowan eyed the demon once again, thinking over the deal. Over everything she’d done over the past few months, everything that had happened, what she wanted. Rowan stepped forward, shaking the demon's hand. She would do anything to get her revenge. To get justice for her girlfriend. Even if it meant selling her soul. Even if it meant making a deal with the devil.
“Now, if you want me to carry out my end, you’re going to have to break this little salt circle you made. I can’t do anything while stuck right here now, can I?” the demon said with a sly smirk. Rowan hesitated, looking over the demon and the circle that trapped them. “Oh c’mon. We made a deal. Don’t you trust me?”
“I definitely do not trust you,” Rowan said with a scoff. “But. You’re my only option…” Rowan said before stepping forward and kicking some of the salt aside, breaking the circle. The demon’s smirk widened, and their eyes seemed to light up as they stepped outside the circle. They turned to Rowan, their eyes bright, a sinister smirk on their face.
“Let's have some fun.”
The woods were pitch black, any light from the moon or stars blocked out by the thick canopy of trees. You couldn’t see more than a foot in front of you, no idea what creatures lurked around you, what hid in the shadows. There was a chill in the air that would send shivers down anyone’s spine. The forest was unusually silent, as if the animals had gone to hide, anxiously waiting, as if the trees were listening for something to come. But it wouldn't be quiet for long.
Rowan looked over to where the demon stood leaned against a tree. They were juggling two daggers with curved red blades in the air, a smile on their face, a malicious gleam in their eyes. Their red suit had been replaced by a black one, making them blend in with the night.
“So. Are you ready?” The demon asked. Rowan nodded.
“Kill them all.” The demon grinned, then disappeared into the dark. Rowan waited, minutes going by with nothing seeming to happen. And then, the silence was broken. A blood curdling scream erupted into the air, and in the distance Rowan heard the scream turn into wailing. Then, as sudden as the scream had started, it was over, the forest falling silent once more. Before a minute had gone by, another scream burst into the air. Then another, and another, and another, until it seemed like the forest itself was screaming. The sound of footsteps filled the forest, and there was another sound. Laughter. Manic, giddy, unbridled laughter mixing with shrieks and cries. With every scream that was suddenly silenced, the laughter only grew louder.
Rowan tensed as the sound of footsteps seemed to grow closer. It was impossible to tell where they were coming from; they seemed to be coming from everywhere around her, and it was difficult to hear the footsteps over the screaming and laughter. Rowan jumped as someone suddenly clutched her jacket. She quickly turned, looking down to see a man crawling towards her. He was covered in blood, there was a large gash on his face, going over where one of his eyes should be, part of his leg was gone, the bone sticking out from a torn up piece of flesh, the other leg was still mostly intact, save for the flesh that had been ripped off, revealing his bones. One of his hands was missing, and some of his ribs were sticking out, as if someone had reached into his chest and began to pull them out one by one, but failed to finish the job. Rowan was surprised he was still conscious, although it was clear he wasn’t going to be for much longer.
“Please,” the man choked out, his voice weak, tears in his eyes. “Help me. Please.” Rowan laughed, and stepped forward.
“Iris Damaris. You remember her?” Rowan asked, leaning down. “Light blue hair, green eyes, dark skin, not too tall,” Rowan said, watching as the man’s eyes widened. “You kidnapped her. Tortured her. Murdered her. It took two fucking days to find all of her, since you left her all over this forest. We didn’t get to bury all of her, no, the wolves got to some of her before we did.” The man began to drag himself away, or try to. With every second that went by, the more he bled out, and the closer he got to death. Rowan laughed at his miserable attempt to escape, then stepped forward, placing her foot on his still intact leg, crushing his bones. He screamed, using his arm to try to drag himself further away, but it was pointless. He wasn’t going to make it out of this forest. “Now you’re going to die in this forest, just like she did. The hunter becoming the hunted. I wonder how long it’ll take them to find all of you.” The man cried as moving became more and more difficult, laying in a puddle of blood as he continued to bleed out. Suddenly, the demon appeared in front of Rowan. Their black suit had turned red with the blood they’d spilled, their once clean daggers now dripping with blood, a chilling smile on their face that would send anyone with good sense running in the opposite direction, their eyes gleaming with joy.
“This one tried to escape,” the demon said with a laugh, shaking their head. Rowan watched as the demon tore apart what was left of the man, then disappeared back into the forest to finish off those who remained. Soon, the screaming stopped, and the forest grew silent once more, just as dawn arose, the sun peeking out, the sky slowly beginning to light up, chasing away the darkness. Rowan walked around the forest, looking at the fallout of the demon’s destruction. Limbs, bones, and the little of what was left of the bodies littered the ground, blood stained the trees and soaked the ground. It was done. They were dead. They were all dead. Rowan was finally finished. She had finally got her revenge. And everything she’d given up, everything she’d done, was worth it. There was no regret, no guilt plaguing her. Only peace and relief. She looked up to the sky with a sigh, wearing a sad smile as she watched the sun slowly shed light through the trees.
“It’s done,” she whispered, tears falling down her face. “They won’t hurt another soul again. What happened to you will never happen again.”
“Glad to see you happy with our deal.” Rowan snapped her head over to see the demon walking towards her. The smile disappeared from her face as she turned to face them.
“So what now? Do I need to sign some contract promising my soul to you or something?” she asked. The demon shook their head with a laugh.
“No. No signature required. Actually, it’s quite simple really,” they said. Before Rowan could open her mouth to ask what they meant, the demon was stepping towards her, dagger raised. With one quick motion, they slit her throat. Her eyes were wide, filled with confusion as she clutched her throat, her hands quickly being covered with blood. She opened her mouth to speak, but whatever she was trying to say wasn’t heard, unable to choke out a sound. She dropped to her knees, staring up as the demon watched her bleed out. Moments later, her head hit the ground, and as the last bit of life faded from her, she watched as the sky turned into a mix of pinks and oranges and yellows as the sun rose. Even as she bled out, she had no regrets. She’d already lost the most important thing to her, and had done the thing she’d wanted most-avenge the one she loved. Rowan didn’t care about living if it meant living without her, and she’d accomplished her final goal in life. Now she’d be free, and would get to be with the love of her life forever.
Or so she thought. She opened her eyes, blinded by the sun shining above her. She pushed herself up off the ground, looking around to see her blood covering the ground where she’d been lying. It soaked her shirt, stained her hands. But she was still there. Her mind raced as she tried to figure out what was going on, what had happened. What had the demon done? Had it all been an illusion? Had she imagined it all?
“Confused?” the demon asked with a laugh as Rowan continued to stare at the blood on her hands. She looked up to see the demon eyeing her. Their usual smirk was gone. Instead, they wore a small smile and looked…calm. Almost relieved.
“What the hell just happened? What's going on? What did you do?” Rowan asked, confusion and worry in her voice.
“You sold your soul. You know, you really should be careful making deals with demons or the devil. Which words you use are very important. You simply sold your soul. Very, very vague. It leaves open so many possibilities.”
“So what exactly happened when I sold you my soul?” Rowan asked, anger mixing with her worry and confusion.
“Do you know how my job works? Well, I was like you once. Desperate. Out of options. So, I sold my soul to the devil. Not knowing that it would mean I’d take the place of the demon I bargained with. That’s how they ended up like that, and the demon before them, and so on. Forced to spend eternity making deals for the devil. No peace, no kind of afterlife. Just waiting until you found someone else to trick into taking your place. That's what happened,” the demon said, a smile growing on their face. “But now, you’re taking my place. I’m free,” they said with a small laugh. Rowan stepped forward, but before she could open her mouth to ask any of the countless questions running through her mind, the demon had driven their dagger into their own heart. Rowan watched as they fell to the floor, lying lifeless in front of her. Leaving Rowan alone, confused, with no answers in sight.
Rowan stepped forward as the fog around her cleared, revealing a person standing a few feet away from her.
“So. You’d like to make a deal?”