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"So deep in my head even the ocean's jealous of you. there's hunger in you and there's a satiability you had claimed only I could give. it's a lie, i see it clear in your eyes but I clamp my mouth shut and wait. i wait, and i wait, and i wait till your scent is too much to bear but i'm already six feet deep in it, slippery bathroom tiles under my feet as i sit with my knees pulled against my chest. what a cop out, I decided to dance with the devil by myself and now that his fingers are tipping my chin up with tears rolling down the sides; i look for somebody else to blame. he's a hundred sins wrapped into one, each layer falls from brawny shoulders the closer I get. funny, isn't it? the devil himself has come to take me to salvation. if he was to drag me through the depths of hades in exchange of another kiss; i'd carve the shape of his lips onto my grave." Cecilia was born cursed with blindness. She takes extreme interest in the underworld. However when she ends up with a demon bond to her, there's two choices she could make, ask the demon to solve all her problems and end up paying the price he asks in exchange or let him drag her to the depths of Hades. "Even with your red eyes of a demon, you seem closer to heaven than to hell," She tells him, a hand on his cheek. He begs to differ.

Chapter 1

Salvation; a term used to describe deliverance from a sin and it's consequences. For some, it's protection from damage, harm and loss while for other's repentance of the deed's they've done. It includes death and separation from god as we know him. While I had never been a religious person myself, partially felt as if I was an athiest, my belief in salvation arose after I met him. It's a little difficult to tell the story by myself but the following pages are all I could write down, all I could think of.

Still vivid in my memory was the day I had first met him. My toes were pittering with rain water and my father's car stood a couple feet away from me. The town had never been more glum, it felt like the arrival of all things dark all as once. A heavy cloud hung low in the sky and the grey buildings were getting painted a darker shade by the water. He was thunderous even in the way he walked that day, powerful, sleek and with a look that screamed 'I'm here only for business'. The man with the black umbrella had an unfamiliar aura to him. He was serene and calm even in the unusual rain, I had recognized the difference when he stepped into the department store. His shoes came to a clacking halt to my right. The lady who owned the store was perhaps outside somewhere bargaining for fruits.

"Oh it's raining so much," he had grumbled, perhaps agitated. Ryesville had never seen such rain before. It talked of somebody's arrival. Somebody who was here to hold other people's departure.

"Would you like to buy an umbrella then?", I suggested, placing my thin gloves away to direct my way to the racks where the umbrellas were. "What size do you want it to be?"

"Are you blind?", he snorted a little and I turned on my heels to what direction I assumed he was in. "I already have an-"

"Yeah," I interrupted and then a beat of silence followed my response. "I am blind."

"Oh, I apologise for being insensitive," he had muttered softly. There was so much to unpack in his voice. So unfamiliar, so warm and so, so, so distant at the same time. Who was this man? "I wasn't paying enough attention to notice."

"That's fine," It wasn't fine. "Would you like to purchase something or are you only here to find relief from the rain. If so, please grab a chair and rest well." The bell of the back doro rung indicating Mrs. Whyre's arrival. She wore boots and stopped very near me.

"He's a bit uncommon looking, eh?", she asked in a soft voice next to my ear and I whipped my head around, almost spraining it. From what I had heard, She was a short, stubby and extremely friendly shop keeper who happened to engage with almost everybody for hours on an end. Mrs. Whyre was one of the reasons I loved visiting the local market so much. My father's reputation wasn't all that great outside town but here, he was a considered a hero. Some even worshipped him. She was one of those who did.

Eh, could never be me.

"Certainly," I smiled a little. She dragged a stool to sit next to me. "Is he sitting?"

"Yeah he's quite far from us," Mrs. Whyre whispered. "I doubt he can hear us. Did you catch his name? He looks new in town."

"I didn't, his presence feels very unfamiliar to myself," I confessed quietly. "Must be here for business. What do you think?"

"Ah, Miss Barlowe, I doubt he's here for good business, man's wearing a golden serpent ring."

It was considered ominous here. People said only those with murderous or satanic intents fashioned such rings. I used to laugh at it. Of course, nothing religious made sense to me and though I respected their beliefs, it was utterly foolish to consider a piece of jewellery so unlucky. "The younger kids these days," Mrs. Whyre sighed, a little exasperated. "You never know if it's just their style or if they're here to kill."

Right. I wasn't seriously going to be scared of a ring. "Should you leave so soon? Ryen's coming to fetch you." She told me and all I did was nod. The stranger's presence was too strong for my liking, I couldn't help but want to leave. Right as I stood up to gather my stuff, a chair screeched as if somebody pushed it back and a whoosh of air passed my face.

The stranger had left the shop.

"Good day Miss Barlowe, be careful on your way back," Mrs Whyre warned gently. "The roads are slippery when it rains." I left with another nod.

"Just take me home please," I mumbled, carefully placing my dirty shoes in one corner once I was in the car. The driver only revved the engine to life. Apparently he was too scared of my father's anger to talk to me directly. It was funny, I hadn't quite learned to respect the man since I never felt the need to but to see others shrivel up at the sound of his voice was hilarious.

It was a five minute drive from the market and I could barely enjoy the rain before the car came to a halt. I rushed in before the downpour could get the better of me. My feet were slightly slippery against the wooden flooring but I was sure I could make it to the living room before falling. I stopped to snoop into my father's 'study' which seemed more like a scheming room to me and from the noises I could make out that there were at least two other people in the room. Good thing he was busy. I had no intentions of chatting with him. The hall outside was empty, not a single sound was heard and my shoulders immediately dropped in relaxation.

"You should be a little more alert," a sharp whisper to my right. "Miss Barlowe."

I spun around with a short gasp, fright written clear as the day on my face when I realised that it was a fairly familiar voice. The man from the department store!

Chapter 2

No. No. No. He didn't follow me, right?

"What are you doing in my house?", I clenched my teeth harshly. My father would skin him alive if he had followed me here. The man huffed a little. My mind was running over a gazillion thoughts and haphazardly, he was still a blur of fear and nervousness to me.

"Your father's a client of mine," there was an edge of humour to his tone. Distate filled my immediately as I stepped back in haste. "I assume you can imagine what I'm doing here then."

"You want my father to do some filthy work for you?", I asked in a hushed whisper, my fingers grasping tightly onto the wooden shelf against the opposite wall.

"It'll only be fair for your father to tell you everything by himself," he smirked a little and I started to familiarize with his voice more. From our proximity now, I could smell his perfume. Though i could barely recognize it, his scent was too


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