“the devil made me do it”
by Cherie Ann Turpin
#4 (Thirty Stories in Thirty Days)
“The devil made me do it,” Gavin said, staring at Lil with that sick grin, his eyes burning with a certain satisfaction. A short, thin blade covered in red flame pierced the night air as it propelled towards her chest like lightning.
Typical. Gavin loved to brag.
It was and still is a common excuse given by many who commit acts of violence against another to blame the devil. Such claims are occasionally written with fingers dipped in blood and other fluids still warm and steaming. The devil, indeed.
In Gavin’s case, he was speaking the truth. No horned man or Baphomet-like figure spoke to him. No, this manifestation of evil was the true fallen angel who came to him as a result of an elaborate summoning with all the requisite ceremony Gavin was known to employ when engaging in invocation. In short, Gavin opened himself to true evil in order to bargain freely and for that he would gain the unholy power and wealth to which he believed himself to be entitled.
Or so he assumed when he agreed to bargain away his soul. Gavin was on an assignment, the kind of assignment that would, upon completion, see the majority of her blood supply pool around her body. There were other women who would share the same fate if Gavin succeeded in his task of murdering her. Lil already knew of this assignment, as well as the likely trajectory of his path long before this moment.
Lil rejected this same offer given to her by this entity, and she did so knowing that she would become a target for the next soul weak enough to fall. It was a vulnerability common to spirit warriors who worked with the dead. It was common enough occurrence for seasoned warriors like Lil to expect confrontations from the fallen one through weak vessels like Gavin, who lusted for power and glory at the expense of those humans he previously pledged to serve. His greed blinded him to the pitfalls of trusting an entity who had not warned him about Lil’s secret gift.
Lil shook her head with disappointment in her former pupil as she warded off his attack with her right hand, flattening and rendering the dagger into dark space before her. Raising and pushing both hands towards Gavin, she pushed him and the air around him in that same dark space, the dry, hollowed space of the Entrapped, a prison of sorts filled with perpetual longing for the water of life for the unfortunate wretch who attempted to do mortal harm to the one who possessed the power of Shadow Entrapment. Until this moment, Gavin had no knowledge of Lil’s full talent as a spirit warrior.
Unlike Gavin, Lil avoided telling everyone specifics about her gifts.