Arabella tugged on the strap of her white wings. The costume store had promised they wouldn’t be this heavy and bothersome. She yanked them off and tossed them on the ground. Drunk adolescents stomped on them as the music slowly filched their hearing. Without telling her girlfriend Freya, Arabella left the party, stepping out into the dead of night. Maybe she would send her a text when she reached her aunt’s apartment in SoHo.
While she walked, she scratched at her thigh over the white stockings and listened to the clack of her white suede boots. The abandoned city street did not have a flicker of light. She stared up at the moon: bright grey, wafting fog. Arabella felt a shudder of fright but continued on anyway. Perhaps she should call Freya, but she didn’t want to ruin her fun night.
The frigid air of Halloween night tightened around her body and despite her attempts to hug herself, her long-sleeved, white velvet dress did no justice.
Clack, clack, clack, clack.
She listened to her shoes.
Click, click, click, click.
She whipped around at the unfamiliar clicks. “Who’s there?” she asked without wanting to know the answer. Dread clutched her core. She inspected the darkness, her chestnut hair brushing her blood-rushed cheeks. Two round and red eyes flicked open. She took off running until another red set of eyes appeared.
“No,” she pleaded in her hurry. “No, I still have one more life!”
Arabella was one of the lucky ones. At birth, she was granted her nine lives and it took two hundred years for her to use them up (freak accidents, cancer, or senseless stunts). Now that her time was up, the demons had arrived to take her to their side, under their claws to teach her their murderous ways.
“Your nine lives are up,” the demon growled.
“I still have one more! Get away from me!”
“Alas, you are mistaken, my dear. We have waited for this night… it is your time.”
One of the demons clamped its shadowy hand over her face and dragged her inside the nearest pub. Humans and other monsters did not dare intervene. They carried her into the bathroom and tossed her at the grimy walls.
Before Arabella registered anything further, one of them dug its sharp claw under her jaw until it split skin and drew blood. Its venom sprinted through her veins and a scream tore from her throat.
Her stomach twisted, the air draining from her lungs. She clawed at her own throat as the blood slipped down her neck. The demons stood and watched, their horns brushing back over their dark head.
Arabella threw herself at the sink, her breath like fire, tears like acid, and heart like ice. Daggers cut her up from the inside and she felt something scratch at her back. She stared into the mirror, trying to fathom the transition. No horns were growing from her head. Her skin was still the same chestnut brown. It wasn’t fading into a black shadow like it was supposed to. For a second she thought she would be okay. But something gathered in her back…
“Wh—what’s happening to me?” she struggled to say.
Arabella shook her head, hot tears sizzling on her skin. She cried out and scratched at her back. It felt as if a knife had carved her skin open. She heard her dress rip.
Demons don’t have wings, only angels do, she happily thought to herself. She opened her red burning eyes. Her fingers sharpened into claws and her ears molded into a point. Demons don’t have ears like this, only angels do, she repeated in her head.
The demons dropped their crossed, scaly arms as Arabella’s wings took up most of the restroom. The black feathers ruffled.
No. Angels have white wings.
The pain slowly subsided. She examined her claws from front to back. She glanced in the mirror at her red eyes. She pushed back her hair to see her pointed ears.
“What are you?” the demon asked.
Arabella ruffled her wings and picked a feather, wincing before examining it.
“I am something more.”
She breathed in and blew the feather from her hand.