Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language and violence.
The store was small, lit by several light bulbs and lamps, but ridiculously extensive. It smelled of ginseng and herbs, like a witches cauldron if it were dressed for Chinese New Year. Adriel shoved his hands in his pockets, pulling out a lighter and a pack. “Nothing here’s flammable, right?” He asked Pax, glancing about.
“Would be a little more proper to smoke outside,” He replied, frankly.
The dark skinned demon shrugged, lighting the cigarette anyway. He took a drag, releasing a cloud from his nose. “No smoke, no smoke please!” A woman came out from a doorway, just behind the glass counter, tapping on it with a walking stick. She was a scrawny figure, collarbones jutting out from the base of her neck, fingers long and spider-like. Her grip on the walking stick was strangely firm, and despite her frail appearance, Adriel felt strangely…afraid of her. Her black gray-lined hair was tied into a bun, screaming ‘Mourning Mother’ along with the drab blue cardigan and long nightgown. “Outside, outside, please.”
Adriel took the cigarette from his mouth, quickly extinguishing it in his pocket. “Mrs. Li?” He asked, politely.
“Yes, yes,” She replied. “Husband here. Do not speak English. Looking for aging medicine, yes?”
“No, no, nothing of that sort.” Pax chuckled, quietly. “We just wanted to ask about your husband, is all.”
“Ah,” She nodded, in an erratic fashion. “You are from the psycho institute, then, yes?”
“What? No.” Adriel looked up at her, sensing a lead. “What would give you that idea?”
She muttered a curse word in Chinese, banging the cheap tiled floor with her cane. “My husband, he crazy.” She stated, clearly, glancing at both of them. “Every night, he talk to invisible man in attic, laughing like psycho. I talk to doctors everywhere, but no one listen to me. He gets more crazy every night.”
“And who is this invisible man?” Pax asked, earnestly.
“He say it is god.” The woman chuckled, meekly. “Can you believe that? He crazy.”
They both gaped at the woman for a moment. Pax looked at Adriel, knowingly, Adriel nodding. “Thank you for your time, ma’am.” He said, smiling. “You won’t be seeing us again.”
He dragged Pax out of the store, then, buckling into the drivers’ seat of their car. He didn’t come back until the following night.
He was only several years older than his wife, but possessed a mess of grayish-silver hair, matching the description of their target.
The man walked towards the store door, flipping the sign OPEN sign before locking the door. He turned out the lights, then, walking back upstairs. He turned, feeling a sudden chill run down his spine, as a shadow crept pass him in the store. Nothing. He bit his lip, heart beating a little faster, taking his steps in caution.
Adriel knew his next step would’ve been towards the attic door. He was waiting, there, in his shadowy form, fitting into his vessels’ skin. When the man walked up, he was leaning against the wall, rolling a cigarette with a gun in his left hand.
“Nei Li?” He asked, turning to the man.
Li turned a shade paler, turning to the gun. “Ni shi shui?” He mumbled. Adriel bounced off the wall, aiming the gun at Li’s head. Gingerly, then, he pulls on the trigger—
And it gets slapped from his hand. He feels the force burn through his vessel, reaching the essence of his divine being. Only one thing could’ve had such an effect. “You’re the real deal, aren’t you?” He nodded to himself. “And with a powerful connection. The Old Man wouldn’t actually touch people for another’s sake, you know.”
But the man wasn’t listening. He was running. He’d turned back, jogging his way down the hall, Adriel following behind his back. Pax appeared down the steps, gun in hand, prepared to shoot. His feet seemed to slip on the wooden floorboards, pulling him back onto the ground with a solid thump.
Nei Li stared at the sight, unsure if he should help the man or jump over him. When Adriel came stomping down at the scene, he opted for the latter.
The man hopped over Pax, but in a series of unfortunate events slipped on his body, slamming face first onto the staircase into the store. An audible crack echoed across the floor. He rolled a few more steps, and stopped. He didn’t move.
Adriel pocketed his gun, kneeling towards the man. He put an index and middle finger against the skin of his neck. No pulse. He’d stopped breathing.
“Well, that was easier than anticipated.” He stood up. Pax was whining something, behind him, straightening out his suit. “For you,” The other demon spoke, coughing.
Adriel smiled. Luck was on his side, tonight.