One Wrong Step
Friendless and forced to hide his magical powers, Robert is tired of being alone. After years of research, he believes he has finally worked out how to get the spirit of his friend Jack back from Purgatory. All he has to do is summon a demon. It’s All Hallows’ Eve – what could possibly go wrong?
When the demon Syron appears, things are not as they seem. For one thing, the attraction Robert feels is unusual and not entirely welcome. But that’s not the only thing he has to contend with. It seems Jack didn’t take his own life as he’d been told and when a visit to Syron’s home in hell turns ugly, Robert is forced to face the truths about his life, his family and most of all his attraction to Syron.
This is a standalone MM Halloween short story written by Lisa Oliver, under the name pen name Lee Oliver. Normal warnings for adult stories apply. HEA. True Mates. Demon and Warlock.
Robert flicked his jet black hair out of his eyes as he checked his supplies for the last time. The moon was full and the witching hour was near. The four elements, earth, wind, water and fire were represented on four of the five points of his meticulously drawn pentagram. The fifth required spirit and that’s where his deadly sharp athame came into play. His skin held the trace of almond soap he’d used to ensure he came to the ritual completely clean. His naked limbs were covered in goosebumps under the thin robe he’d stolen from his aunt’s closet. He’d followed every instruction he could find to the letter.
It was time. Yet Robert hesitated one last moment. There was no danger of him being observed. His aunt and her cackling coven were all in town for the night. All Hallows’ Eve was the highlight of the season for the coven. Robert pictured his aunt; her greedy glare assessing every gift offered by town locals in the hopes she would bless them with good fortune or grant their deepest desires. Not that she was capable of granting much at all. Even the combined powers of the entire coven couldn’t raise more than a fart from a bloated dog.
Maybe they should have asked Robert. His powers manifested when he was just seven years old. His aunt brushed it off at the time as the result of grief as his mother had died the same year. Unwilling to raise her ire and find himself homeless, Robert kept his head down, his powers quiet, practicing in private. He spent hours in the attic where his aunt kept the dusty tombs of their family heritage. The books contained the secret of magic. How to harness real magic – the very power that flowed through his veins.
Pulling a crumpled photograph from the pocket of his robe, Robert blinked rapidly as he took in the red hair, freckled nose and wide grin of the boy frozen in a moment of time. No matter how hard he tried, he’d never been able to forget his dearest friend, Jack. In his heart, they were so much more. Lovers, partners…of course, nothing intimate ever happened between them. He and Jack were only fourteen when they exchanged bruises over a stolen apple. By the time Jack discarded the core, they were firm friends.
Why did you do it, Jack? That was something Robert had never understood. He’d been eighteen at the time, anxiously waiting for his friend to come of age. He had it all planned – his speech that he’d present to Jack’s father had been carefully penned and rehearsed for weeks in front of his mirror. As his aunt’s ward, and his mother’s heir, Robert had prospects and was sure his offer would be approved. He’d imagined Jack’s joy at being able to leave his father’s home at last and eagerly anticipated the relief they would both feel, setting up house as true adults. Permanent partners. But it wasn’t to be.
Brushing away his tears, Robert crumpled the photo in his fist. After tonight, he wouldn’t need a reminder. Jack would be in his arms by the time the moon waned if Robert had to fight Lucifer himself to get him. All Hallows’ Eve was the one night when the veil between the living and the dead was at its thinnest. Robert’s research suggested any person who took their own life was barred from passing on, which meant Jack had spent four years in Purgatory. And the gates of Purgatory were guarded by demons. Robert intended to summon a demon and not just any demon. He planned to summon Balthazar, the prince of them all, and demand his partner be returned.
Stepping into the pentagram, Robert sliced his palm with his athame. Allowing exactly three drops of his blood to fall on the fifth point of the pentagram, Robert’s skin tingled as he felt the magic flow around his crisply drawn lines. A whispered word and the cut on his hand reduced to a thin white scar. Magic always took a price.
Muttering complex Latin phrases, Robert’s hair lifted from the back of his neck as the power within the pentagram increased. Bring me Jack. He was taken too soon. I demand his return.
“Who are you to demand anything?” A voice as soft as aged wine had Robert’s eyes flying open. He hadn’t even realized he’d closed them. Standing far too close for comfort was a demon. It couldn’t be anything else. As his eyes took in bronzed skin, basketball sized biceps and a dark treasure trail leading to a growing bulge under a leather loincloth, Robert’s body stirred.