Dawn Harshaw / Zombies VS Vampires VS Demons / Demonic Butterfly (short story)
Those who don't get into the habit of dying frequently wither inside - and death comes all at once to finally free them from their fear.
- Dreamer's Handbook
Its wings laced with the shimmer of demonic energies, the butterfly flittered not-so-innocently toward the rabid priest. With a strong, unnatural push, it flew inside the frothing mouth and continued down the windpipe. The possessed human started coughing, but the obstruction in his airway remained lodged, as if held there by an invisible hand.
Unlike other demonic entities, Rremine learned to control the rage in her eons of existence. She didn't forsake it, of course, but she preferred to express her aggression with refined elegance rather than clumsy brutality.
Guiding the butterfly from the overgrown park in the abandoned city all the way to the edge of the desert required patience that not many of her kind exhibited. But, she enjoyed gliding her consciousness over the urban jungle - so much life, so much strife, yet so little of the rage characteristic of demonic existence.
The priest croaked and punched himself several times in the chest and throat. This earned him a miniscule amount of air, just enough to prolong his suffering.
Possessing small animals was Rremine's favorite pastime; several others could possess rats and cats without frying their puny brains, but none could control a butterfly. This was not only a source of pride for Rremine, but also a source of great power: since she could achieve more with less, she wasn't dependent on humanoid worship to assert her will and domain.
Elder demons respected her power, but those looking to expand at her expense occasionally mistook finesse for weakness. The youngest often pissed in her backyard, ignorant of her presence altogether.
The priest fell. With bulging eyes, he continued the struggle against the inevitable.
Rremine considered herself a teacher and a scholar amongst demons. A teacher, because the young ones who went against her - knowingly or unknowingly - had to be taught harsh lessons. A scholar, because gently poking around humanoid minds helped her appreciate languages and cold logic. One thought after the other - the linearity is so limiting, yet so carefree. She considered curse words delicious.
No one knew for sure how demonic entities came to be - humans thought they came from some other world. Rremine's theory was that the sleeping spirits of nature which kept laws of physics in check got rudely jolted into awakening by the suffering from numerous apocalypses. She suspected human emotion - especially billions crying against their fate - molded them into these raging, seemingly otherworldly entities. However, she was careful not to voice such opinions, not even among her more thoughtful brethren.
At last, the priest's heart stopped beating and Rremine released her grip. That dimwit Shkazzrt... reinforcing for physical strength without setting up any kind of internal resilience makes it so easy to kill them.
She condensed her awareness to inspect the present locality: it was a makeshift camp at the edge of a desert. Some of the inhabitants gathered around the corpse and poked it a few times. A quick, non-intrusive touch upon their minds confirmed that they all suffered severe mental illnesses - most caused by Shkazzrt's directionless and botched possessions.
Though conscious worship granted demons the cleanest and least volatile form of energy (that's why Rremine cooperated with only a select few), subconscious worship through fear and terror provided lots of brute energy which fueled rage and made a demon feel powerful - but didn't have much controlled use.
This should teach him not to bring his such filth near me.
The deceased priest barely deserved the title. 'Hatemonger' or 'instigator' would have been more accurate, since he wasn't preaching the tenets of a well-designed demonic religion, but just sprouting whatever hateful nonsense came to him. Maintaining that raised level of fear and hate kept Shkazzrt in the forefront of their minds.
A strange kind of silence settled upon the camp. With the loudest of them gone, the ragtag survivors struggled to find something else to fill the void with.
For people as thoroughly broken as them, the one thing worse than starvation or the assault of the elements was to be left alone inside their own minds, with no distractions to ward off the abyssal anxiety that tore at their souls. A few rocked back and forth hugging their knees, others mumbled or yelled to break the horrifying silence.
Rremine contemplated whether killing them or letting them live would be kinder - but in the end she decided she didn't really care. Possessing another demon's pawns, even just for the second it took to fry their unprotected minds, was not only impolite, but tantamount to a declaration of all-out war. Not worth the effort. If left alive, like wounded warriors in the battlefield, they'd continue to be a drain rather than a resource.
Having successfully disrupted Shkazzrt's hold on these people, Rremine slowly prepared to withdraw from the locality. Maybe I'll look for another butterfly.
Not satisfied with only poking the corpse, a few of the deranged started biting. The last thing Rremine heard was a woman's voice as she slapped one of the biters on the back of the neck: "No eating yet! We're gonna chop it up and fry it first!"
Dawn Harshaw / Zombies VS Vampires VS Demons / Demonic Butterfly