Author's note: this is part of a series of connected stories (look for ones that start with "Diana's Life Tips") that are stand alone with short relevant information that I would provide in the beginning. Thank for reading!
Relevant Information: Daemon is a demon Diana accidentally summoned after following a Doberman into a janitor's closet.
“Listen I—” Daemon began as he flung open Diana’s bedroom door.
Almost as quickly as he bursted in did Diana pull a lever by her bed, sending the demon down a trapdoor. She smirked to herself, happy to finally get some use of that trapdoor, then kept studying for her AP Bio test. Just another Sunday.
Annoyed, Daemon teleported back on top. “Listen, I—”
Interrupting him, Diana pulled the lever again.
Daemon teleported back, anger boiling on the surface of his face’s skin. “Listen here, y—”
And down the lever went again.
“Would you stop that?” Daemon cried as they teleported back on top.
“No,” Diana said as she pulled the lever, sending Daemon tumbling for the third time.
And for the third time, Daemon teleported back. “I cannot believe you opened a trapdoor on me three times!”
“I cannot believe it took you four times to realize not to teleport back on the same spot as the trapdoor.”
Confused, Daemon asked, “But it’s only been three times?”
Diana pulled the lever.
“Enough,” Daemon declared as they teleported onto a spot that wasn’t that one. “No more trapdoors.”
“I disagree,” Diana said as she pulled a second, smaller, secret lever, sending Daemon falling down a second trapdoor.
“Now, that’s enough.” Daemon teleported on her bed by her feet, a suspected safe zone. “I came here to tell you good news.”
“You’re finally going to leave me alone so I can study for my AP Bio test?”
“No. I found my new hobby.”
Diana flipped a page in her textbook, unamused. “Like how fishing was going to be your ‘new hobby’? But all you did was steal fishing supplies?”
“That was different—”
“And how ‘wrestling’ was going to be your ‘new hobby’—but all you did was steal gym mats. And lego building, and opera singing, and bell ringing, and—”
Daemon covered Diana’s mouth with his hand to get her to stop talking. “I get it, I get it, I have a history of stealing…”
“It’s less of a history and more of a core personality trait, but go on…”
“This time I’ve gone straight and gotten a real hobby. I’m really going to fit in with humans now… as subpar as they are.”
“Come see,” Daemon cheered like an overexcited child.
“I can’t. I have to study. And write a good review for the guys that installed these trapdoors. 12/10.”
“Please. Just come once and then you can get back to studying.”
Diana paused. Even though it had been originally her idea to convince Daemon to pick up a new hobby so he would stop distracting her while she tried to study, it seemed to backfire with the amount of times Daemon’s showed up to show off his new hobby. So, when that didn’t work, she had to resort to other methods—ie trapdoors—to keep him away.
She cautiously closed her book. Though, if this was actually it, then Diana could finally get the peace she’s been after all weekend.
“Fine. I’ll do it. What’s this new hobby anyway?”
“Driving,” Daemon squealed as he ran his hand over the smooth, shiny, new surface of a new car in Diana’s driveway. He tossed the keys in the air and caught them. “Let’s go for a ride. One ride,” Daemon added before Diana could interject. “Only one.”
“Fine.” Slowly, Diana got on the passenger’s side. “Out of curiosity, where did you get this brand new car when you have no job and no money?”
“Err—irrelevant.” He slammed on the gas. “Let’s go.”
During most of the trip, Diana stared in a daze out the window, barely paying attention to where they were going. “So, you really like this new hobby, huh?”
Daemon grinned as he gripped the wheel, whizzing by trees and mailboxes with glee. “Yeah. It feels right this time.”
“And what makes you so sure of that?”
“Well I—how did you know that studying is the right hobby for you?”
Diana snorted as she turned to face him. “Studying isn’t my hobby. Writing is. I want to write major columns for the school paper.”
“‘Want to’?” Daemon repeated.
Her eyes lowered under the weight of disappointment. “Yeah, well, right now the stupid Editor-in-Chief, Rachael Kim, seems to be doing everything in her power to keep me working this ‘Life Tips’ selections. It’s hardly real journalism.”
“What are ‘Life Tips’?” Daemon asked.
“You know like… ‘Diana ‘s Life tips #21: Don’t Eat Gas Station Sushi’. ‘Diana’s Life Tips #43: Never Date a Guy Who Refers to Himself in the Third Person’.” Diana’s eyes widened as the car pulled up to her empty high school. Not a single car dotted the parking lot, making Daemon’s freshly stolen one stick out like a sore thumb. “And my most recent one: ‘Diana’s Life Tips #52: Don’t Get in a Car with a Demon Driving’. What are we doing here? The school is closed.”
“Well,” Daemon said as he unstrapped himself. “I figured since you’re so busy studying for that AP Chem test—”
“Same difference. Since you’re so busy studying, I figured we could just steal the answers and you’d be done studying.”
“That’s cheating. If I get caught breaking into the school and cheating, I could get expelled.”
“Then don’t get caught,” the demon said slyly as he stepped out and headed into the building.
Diana scurried after him and grabbed his sweatshirt’s sleeve. “Daemon, don’t…”
With a simple twist of his neck, Daemon looked back on her and smirked diabolically. “You know, it’s the fact that it’s forbidden, that makes the fruit so sweet.”
That was all he said before he teleported inside, leaving Diana alone like a lost ant in a vast desert.
Keeping her right hand over her face to hide from the front cameras, Diana poked around the front doors, trying to find a way in to get Daemon out.
Out of frustration, she kicked the front door just as a small click sounded. With the same stupid smirk, Daemon waltzed through and opened the door from the inside. “You didn’t think I’d leave you out here in the cold did you?”
“We’re in Florida. Cold is a theoretical concept here. Look,” Diana crossed her arms as she looked around. Their only company was leaves tumbling in the distance and the occasional glance of the poor-quality security cameras. As long as she kept part of her face covered, they would never be able to recognize her. But still… “Let’s just go.”
Daemon pouted. “Is this how you react to someone trying to help you? Look, I already got the test answers.” He held out a manila folder stuffed with papers.
“What?” Snatching the folder, Diana shuffled through the contents. “This is the recipe for the school’s mystery meat.” She blinked and held it farther from her face. “At least I think it is. Looks more like chicken scratch than actual human hand writing. Whatever. It doesn’t matter, let’s go.”
“I agree.” Daemon grabbed her wrist. “Let’s go further inside to find the test answers.”
Digging her heels in the ground and her fingers on the steel doors, Diana cried as Daemon dragged her off, “Wait, wait, wait.”
As creepy as you’d think high school is when it’s full of half-stoned, full-horny teenagers that would stab you for a new cell phone (believe me, they would), it’s even worse when it’s quiet and deserted.
“Woah,” Diana said as her shoes squeaked along the freshly waxed floor. Everything was empty. All chairs had been overturned on the desks. A few ceiling tiles were out of place due to incomplete repairs. Without lights, a grey darkness loomed deeper in the hallways than the sun-lit classrooms.
“Aha! The AP Bio classroom,” Daemon declared as he pushed open the boys’ bathroom’s door.
“That’s the restroom,” Diana said.
“What’s that science experiment on the floor then?”
“A dead rat being eaten by cockroaches.”
“Wow. The human world is so fascinating.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Diana closed the door, “it’s the miracle of life or whatever. Had enough? Because it’s not too late to—”
Something crashing into the metal lockers interrupted her. It echoed throughout the halls. Startled, Diana backed into Daemon. “What was that? The rat’s mom? Oh dear god, does she want revenge?”
“Hey, watch your language.”
Diana glared at him. “God. God. God.”
Daemon shoved her off him. “Stop it.” He said, scratching his arms. “I think I’m developing an allergic reaction just from hearing His name.”
“Good. The sooner you keel over, the sooner this nightmare is over and my anxiety can stop trying to murder my heart.”
“I got news for you, honey. I’m immortal.”
“Then this won’t kill you. God. God. God.”
His eyebrows twitching in anger, Daemon opened his mouth to argue, then quickly shut it at the sound of a second loud bang. Diana shoved him out into the middle of the hallway. “Tell you what, Mr. Immortal, why don’t you deal with that while I go get the test answers since I actually know where the classroom is.”
Daemon eyes’ shimmered with pride. “Awe, look who’s stepping up onto the thieving plate. I’m so proud of my little protege.”
“I thought driving was your new hobby?”
“I can teach you that later. Now go!”
Daemon considered the banging to have two possible causes: a demon uprising that had come to bring him back from the mortal plane, or something the humans called a “possum”. He hoped it was the first because to be honest, he wasn’t sure how many more flaky hobbies could entertain him. Humanity only got to have a few left as this right because he had tried like ten whole hobbies and read half a book. He’s basically qualified to teach a class about humanity, gotta tell you.
Oh, and he had already figured out the name for said class: Professor Daemon Talking about the Subpar Species that is Commonly Known as Humans. Little wordy, but nothing a good acronym couldn’t fix. Daemon grinned to himself at the thought of it. Oh, how the humans would praise his superiority and--bang.
Daemon narrowed his eyes, surveying the scene. How dare some noise distract him from his glorious day dream. The audacity of… a dog with a trash can on his head?
Crouching down beside him, Daemon stared at the dog as he wiggled his body and head, trying to shake off the trash can. He accidentally whammed into the metal lockers a few extra times. “Alright,” Daemon said, “this is just getting sad. Here we go…”
With a few swift yanks, the trash can came right off. Grateful, the dog licked Daemon's face two times—wait no six. Wait, what?
Daemon stared at the dog. He had a narrow face and black body with brown markings and he was… glitchy. Whenever the dog turned his head a certain way, it almost looked like he had three heads. Noticing the dog collar, Daemon read the name off the tag. “Cerberus.” He paused, processing the impossible information. “No way. I thought Satan’s ex-wife got you in the divorce? What are you doing here, big guy? What would Satan’s ex-wife be doing at an American public high school in Florida?” Daemon snorted. “Oh, I hear it. Yeah, no, this makes sense.”
Giving him a goodbye pat, Daemon told Cerberus, “Well, tell her I said hello. Wait no, don’t do that. I heard she hates broke demons. Don’t mention me. Ever. Please?” He held out his hand. “Shake on it?”
Cerberus put his paw on Daemon’s hand. “Awe, that’s a good demonic dog. Who’s a good demonic dog?” Cerberus wagged his tail. “That’s right! You are.”
Sad news everyone, Diana is still a goodie-two shoes. Once she had outsmarted Daemon into leaving her and the answers alone, she made a beeline for anywhere but the AP Bio classroom. Instead, she found herself in the main office, looking for blank paper and a blank folder. Just like the mystery meat recipe had fooled Daemon, these would do the same.
“There,” she said, snatching the extra supplies from a desk. “Now to get back to Daemon and get out of here.”
“I feel like I should drive this time,” Diana said as Daemon slid into the driver’s seat.
“Relax,” Daemon said as he gripped the wheel. “I’ve been driving for a whole three days, remember? I’m basically a pro.”
“The only thing you’re a professional at is stealing.”
Daemon floored it, peeling out of the school parking in such a manner that would have resulted in several accidents if they weren’t completely alone. “Ah, but that would be you now, my little protégé.”
Diana clutched the blank file. “Come on,” Daemon said, “Let me see the spoils of our victory.” He reached for the file just as Diana pulled it away. “Don’t be shy now.”
“Just keep your eyes on the road,” Diana said.
“I have four eyes, Diana, I can see plenty, now let me see.”
“Ah?” Confusion invaded Diana’s mind. “You have two eyes?”
“What?” Daemon slapped a hand over his two eyes to test a theory. “Oh my Satan! I can’t see. Where are my other eyes?”
“Daemon, the road!” Jumping to the rescue, Diana grabbed the wheel to steady it. Unfortunately, she was a worse driver than Daemon and they rammed into a tree at twenty-five miles an hour shortly after.
Crumpled, the front part of the car billowed smoke and flames as the scratched up Diana and Daemon clambered out wobbly legs.
After a few minutes of silence, Daemon said, “Don’t worry about crashing it, Diana. It wasn’t my car anyway. I can always steal a new one.”
“It was your fault we crashed.”
“Really? Nah, that can’t be. Anyway, time for good news. Show me the answers.”
Before Diana could stop him, he plucked them from her arms. “Wait—” She began, but Daemon shushed her.
As he flipped through the pages, the amount of confusion exponentially grew on his face. “I don’t get it—where are the answers?”
“There are none. I got blank paper.”
“Maybe so.” She crossed her arms. “But I regret nothing.”
“Wait a minute,” Daemon slowed in his flipping. “There’s something on some of these pages. Looks like a written plan of sorts.”
“What?” Diana stole the pages from him. “Oh no, I actually did steal something—by accident... but still.” Under her tight, anxious grip, the papers crumpled. “I need to get rid of the evidence. The fire.”
Before Diana could burn the paper, Daemon scooped it back from her. “Now now, we wouldn’t want to get rid of the precious mementos of baby’s first thievery, would we? Though, I like your instinct. Always get rid of incriminating evidence.” He read more of the page. “Besides, this is good stuff. It looks like a plan of some sorts. Like an evil invasion plan.”
Diana bit her lip until the temptation overtook her. “Let me see. Woah. This doesn’t just look like a plan... it looks like a scoop.”
Daemon nudged her. “See, see? Committing crime is always the right thing to do. It makes dreams come true. We should get going. Into the car.”
“It’s on fire?”
“That’s nothing a little love and elbow grease can’t fix. Besides, it’s my new hobby. I can’t just abandon it.”
And he was so sure about that until the car exploded too.
“On second thought, I’ve always thought paintball and its legal pain sounded fun.”