Ch. 1: The 105th Annual Meeting.

by Haley Anderson

"Alright, in your personal way, describe to me a demon."

My amusement was short lived as the others began to answer him. I wanted to make a comment about his scent again, but I knew I couldn't. It would seem tooerotic. He was sitting so calmly in his widened armchair. He'd set the fireplace so the room radiated with warmth. The light danced off of his face as he intertwined his fingers and rested them in the center of his lap.

"Mother fuckers that need to die." The vile spewed from Jack's mouth once again. But this was a typical human for you. He was a very tall, muscular man. At least for his breed. Only a few inches shorter than Kale and a hell of a lot bigger. A handsome man, but completely and utterly brainless. He had these golden eyes and a deep brown hair. Very dull in color due to his humanity, but there was something to admire about that.

It was much different than the blackened locks that shone gray in the light on Kale. His pigment was so drained, either due to his bad habits or age, nobody really knew. He'd always looked to be about in his mid twenties.

Jack had so much color to him, more than any of us. I had always been the one that looked the liveliest until he was administered into our organization. I guess blonde went out of style in the Elizabethan era.

Kale smirked at his response, the flames dancing off of his cold blue lips and bright white teeth.

"Good answer."

Jack smirked in response to this. I felt a scoff leave the outskirts of my lips and quickly pursed them together to keep from saying anything. But Kale caught on. He was eyeing me from across the room. His eyes narrowed, but not necessarily in a threatening way.

I didn't even know what to say. I wanted to tell him he was an idiot and that I'd already killed him in my head in the most gruesome way the past few days. I wanted to make him piss his pants. But I couldn't, he was a comrade.

I hated comrades.

"Are you offended, Gwen?"

I knew it was coming. The moment the look of disgust took over the emotions on my face was the moment Kale would pounce. And so he did. Which brought attention from the other group members, Lilith, who was in actuality only a recently conceived demon, probably the most innocent on this general planet and sadly, the closest of my comrades to my nature chimed in.

"Well of course she's offended. I mean seriously, just because she's a demon doesn't mean she needs to die-"

My blood was boiling. She was such an incompetent being. She was so innocent to the point it was absolutely sickening. And she was making a fool out of the both of us.

"Please do not speak on my behalf Lily." I barked, sending my eyes in her direction which immediately set her down to the confines of her chair. She was such a gentle creature and so easy to control. I worried about her when she came of age to be in a relationship with a male. How easily they could abuse the power. She needed to be taught self-defense, my way. Her sandy blonde hair caressed her face in delicate smooth patters. Once or twice I'd heard others state she was made in the spitting image of myself, but that was absurdity. Her eyes were greenish gold as mine were honey red to match a very pale blonde in a wave like pattern. We looked nothing alike except perhaps our height. Which was very similar seeing how I was on the smaller side of the demonic height and width charts, though muscular. I glanced at Jack then moved my eyes to Kale, and kept them there.

"All demons are the birth of destruction and death and so, without any exception, need to be wiped clean from the face of the planet."

Kale's grin widened, my eyes narrowed and I clenched my jaw line so tight I was afraid a tooth was going to snap. Lily sank farther into her chair. I sat down almost immediately and glanced over in her direction. I could tell she was reluctantly making eye contact simply to please me, and I narrowed my eyes as if to tell her not to speak on my behalf again. I didn't need anyone embarrassing my image by making it seem as if I couldn't handle my own arguments.

"Well then, why haven't we killed ya yet?" Jack remarked, sending a laugh into the air. I heard the voices around the room let out a little giggle. Though hushed, because I quickly stood and slammed my fists upon the table sending glasses full of whiskey and bourbon off their coasters. I glanced up at the panicked set of eyes and smirked.Right where I got you. I moved my eyes to Jack's elbow, which was seated perfectly on the table and now had to be aching from the impact cast to his ulnar nerve. He winced and grasped his elbow, but that was to the extent of showing his pain.

I could easily imagine myself snapping back his wrist and twisting it until the bone released from the joint. The shriek he would make, it would be beautiful.

I suppose I did an action similar to a grimace and hollowed out grin upon answering, "Because you can't."

This sent shiver down the backs of the rest of the group. I hardly knew any of their names. All I knew is that they worked under the same organization I worked under therefore we were after the same goal, thereforethey were not to be killed. Under any circumstances.

I took my seat as the chills ran through to the back of the room, reached Kale who shook his head in amusement, and came back up to me. My initiative was complete.

"Well then, there you all go.Thatis a true demon." He said motioning his glass in my direction. At some point he must have caught on to what I was about to do and raised his glass. The foggy brown liquid swished in his cup before he pressed the edge of the glass to his lips and took a gentle sip.

Guessing by his personal preference he had to have chosen Bourbon. In fact, passing up his scent and the smells radiating from the other cups surrounding me, I could smell his from where I was sitting to confirm my analysis. I wondered if it would warm his body any. I wanted desperately to ask, anything to make him uncomfortable as I was.

Kale was no leader, nor was he the organizational director, but he'd been alive longer than any of us, even I. Therefore, he was somewhat reluctantly respected along the ranks. He was a mystery, and that was it. No one knew where he came from or how old he was or what exactly it was he had been doing before he started working for Demcore. One would often find him spouting off directions or bits and pieces of information to the rest of the group. Though I personally believe he never quite knew all of it, seeing how he would play games and wouldn't tell us enough until after something gruesome or terrifying happened on a mission.

That was just how Kale worked. He was the filth of the earth. And rude and annoying man that had a head the size of the planet and always smelled funny. That was just his game. He wasn't human, after all. At least we all could conclude that.

"A demon is simply a human, that at some point in his or her lifetime, be as you may, decided to become somethingmore." He took notice to the confusion of the table. We had been over this same exact topic for over two decades now. Still to no avail.

The questions began pouring.

"Well what exactly is more?" Jack was the first to ask. Seeing how he was the most recent member I couldn't blame him. And honestly, he'd known Kale just long enough to know he wouldn't tell you anything before you begged for an answer. However, with this oneKale truly had no idea.

You see this is what Demcore was created for. The analyzation of mythical beings demons. Which were placed under categories of "werewolves", "vampires", "witches", "ghosts", you name it. Whatever the human population had decided to pin a demon with it was still what it was, a demon. For example, your typical vampire isn't really a vampire, but just a demon that decided at some point in time to begin drinking blood. Of course, humans ran away with this story and began assuming it was this and that and everything else under the sun. When in reality, we knew little to nothing. Even demons working for humans. Seeing how once a demon became a demon, it's past was annihilated. Forgotten. It ceased to exist as anything other than a demon. Though we were certain, demons were born from humans. But that was all our knowledge in a nutshell. Sad to say this company has been running on such a short amount of knowledge, right? I agree. Besides the fact that we've killed over several hundred thousand and still find ways to kill demons, daily.

Though every week this topic would arise, to which no answers were put forth. And every week we'd leave as confused or more so before we got there. Not once had I before missed one of these discussions. In twenty years, since I'd arrived here, not once had I said a single thing to contribute simply because I did not know. And every year

"So, Gwenneth, -"

"Do not call me that."

He smirked and continued his sentence, "Have you found anything out yet?"

And every year Kale would ask the same god for blessed question simply to humiliate and/or question me on what exactly it was I had been doing on these missions.

"Every year. For fifty-two weeks. Multiply that by two and it makes one hundred and four. One hundred and four times that you have asked me that same exact question for two years straight Kale."

My eye was definitely twitching angrily as I felt my head begin to release heat. If I could sweat, I would be. My lip pulled to the side to show fangs in a half smile, half snarl. My voice was stuttering in anger and embarrassment. He was winning, for the one hundredth and fifth time.

"Oh, well excuse me I thought for sure after one hundred and five times you'd somehow have gathered up the answers behind your existence but what exactly are women good for anyways." He closed his eyes in a cheery smile and waved his hand jovially in front of his face, mocking me.

I could feel my inner being reaching across the table and breaking each and every joint in his fingers. Instead, I cleared the wad that had now built up in my throat and glanced up at him, eye still twitching mind you, and tried to muster up a quick reply.

"And for one hundred and five times you have too seemed to fail this company as you have not given any genuine or helpful information to the case or in fact any whereabouts to this said information. And let me just be the one to point out the elephant which is clearly standing at the foot of the table that is your drug addiction."

A few gasps and murmurs echoed throughout the room, as it remained silent for a few moments. Everyone, including myself, was waiting for his response. Which was delayed as he finished his ninth glass of alcohol.

Kale was a writhing drug and alcohol addict. Though many members liked to calmly drink, he was always the one to come barreling down the hallways stuttering and spitting out profanities. His room was in the basement, attached to a laboratory as he so claimed himself to be a "scientist". No one ever went down there or asked any questions. I assumed the leaders of Demcore knew what was going on but refused to say anything due to the fact they treated him as part of their family. How many years he'd known this family and their generations was beyond me. But it was despicable.

His was quite obviously shooting up some sort, or many mixtures, or lethal drugs under ground. Though he never seemed to genuinely do this in front of others. We all sort of assumed by his blatant behavior, vomiting, and needle scarred arms that this was what it had all come down to.

No one ever really said much to disgrace or personally attack him, until I came along. And ever since, I'd ragged on him for it nearly every time we'd spoken. He most likely hated me, but I didn't necessarily care.

His cheeks filled with some color, which was unusual against his very pale, translucent skin. And he pursed his lips in a now drunken reaction and continued he conversation.

"I'm sorry, I can't seem to answer your question seeing how I'm now officially trashed." His grin has spread to the outskirts of his cheeks as he leaned his entire half of his body upon two open palms, resting his elbows on the table.

This called an end to our one hundred and fifth annual meeting regarding demons. To which no one got any information and everyone left either soiled, drunk, or in rage.

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