One joy of being an author is you get to create a multitude of unique individuals that often transform into some of your best imaginary friends. Sound crazy? Probably, and maybe I am, but one of my absolute favorite characters in the Personal Demons series is a demon named Violet. Here is a sample from Chapter four of Personal Warriors.
Chapter 4: Secrets
Charlotte glared, transfixed upon my face. Unblinking hatred seethed from her. Of their own accord, my legs moved toward her cell. Her gaze followed me as I stepped closer and reached a hand to grasp a bar, but still she didn’t move.
It had become almost too easy to forget that my mother’s demon had overcome a body that didn’t belong to her. It was also easy to admit that to me, Violet was a vast improvement over the original owner, but staring into Charlotte’s memorable blue eyes, a fissure of guilt ripped through my heart.
“Charlotte, can you hear me?” But she didn’t answer. “Charlotte?”
She blinked and sat up ramrod straight. Black flooded the blue, drowning out the icy color.
“No, darling,” Violet said in a soothing tone. “It’s me. Charlotte is not here.”
A shiver rattled my spine. “She—she was watching me.”
“Did she speak?”
“No, but you were asleep, and she was watching me.”
Violet selected a strand of hair and examined the silver blonde tips. “I’m sure she was, but she is gone now. You have nothing to fear from her again.”
“Have you talked to her? Does she know what Nikolaos is planning?”
“I’m sorry, my darling. She still refuses to answer me.”
I stared at my knuckles grown white from gripping the bar so tight. If only I could have gotten Charlotte to open to me—to show me what she knew. But then I rolled my eyes at my own mental stupidity. Charlotte hated me. I was the last person she would expose her secrets to.
I retrieved Violet’s food. Placing the book on top, I slid the tray through the opening in the bars. “Hector wants you to eat before our run this morning.”
She beamed at the offering. “He is a dear.”
The muscles between my brows contracted. I had never thought of Hector as “a dear” but then again, I didn’t have much to do with him outside of work. Over the past month he had seen to most of Violet’s needs and was the main reason for all the improvements of her space. I didn’t know if he acted in memory of his friendship with Charlotte or if there was another motivating factor. Whatever the reason, Violet seemed to favor him.
She picked up the novel and hummed in approval. “Jacob’s Revenge. Sounds promising. But I think, from now on, I’d like to read what you have finished.”
I grimaced. “I haven’t had much time, lately.”
She tsked. “Never stop reading. It’s good for the soul.”
“Fine. I’ll see what I can do.” I checked the handle of her room. Locked. “What’s—what’s going to happen to her? To Charlotte?” I asked, afraid to know the answer. “If you stay in her body, what will happen?”
Violet set the novel on her nightstand and moved to the door. She gripped the cell bars as she peered into my eyes. “If I stay on in her body, she will become weak. Every day I remain, the more despondent and vulnerable she will become. Soon, she will stop fighting. Stop caring. And then… she will go.”
She nodded, then rested her head on the metal cage, watching my response. The intensity and sincerity of her words cut me to the core. Nothing about Violet made sense. Jonathan either. How could the mortals be more wicked than the demons that controlled them? Was it truly possible, or was I playing the fool?
“Her soul will relinquish hold and then I can fully take over.”
“Is there another way?” I closed my eyes, breathing through my guilt. A hot touch brought me out of my sulking as Violet reached through the bars and took hold of my arm in a firm grip.
“If I leave her body, she will keep coming after you. Her mind is more altered than you or anyone here can imagine. She was groomed from a very young age to be what she is. You must trust me.”
Only when I nodded did she let go. My skin tingled from the release of pressure. She smiled and reached her arms above her head, stretching her long muscles. “You’re late,” she said, changing the conversation and tone.
“I know.” I wiped sudden perspiration from my forehead. “I’m sorry.”
“I was getting hungry.” She sat on her bed and pulled her tray in her lap.
I gently kicked at her cell bars with the tip of my toes. “I’m surprised you didn’t just hop out and get breakfast yourself.”
Violet swallowed a bite. “Now why on earth would I do that? I don’t want to scare all my new little friends within my new little home.”
“Oh.” I huffed a laugh, taking a seat on the ground. I straightened my legs to do my pre-running stretches. “You just want to scare me to death in the middle of the night?”
She set down her fork and gave me her most angelic smile. “That was never my intention—but I will be honest: your reaction was intensely gratifying.”
I pinched the bridge of my nose. “What are we supposed to do with you?”
“As of right now, I am a necessary evil. The Three wouldn’t know what to do with Charlotte if she were in full control of her faculties. She is a risk. They can’t release her to the outside world, and they would never commit anyone to death.” She shrugged. “Charlotte would remain locked up for who knows how long, turning the ears of her compound mates and making it miserable for those who saw to her care. This would break down the protection to your sanctuary and put you at risk. It’s better that I am here, my love.”
She was right. Charlotte was manipulative and destructive. Zane was proof of her capabilities—the result of her manipulations.
“So how did you do it?” I asked once she had finished her food. I stood and wiped the dust from the back of my shorts. “How did you get out?”
“You want me to tell you my secrets?” she asked, selecting her running shoes from the top drawer of her dresser. She placed them at the foot of her bed.
Her smile faltered. Her head cocked to the side as she considered me. “Very well.” She began tugging off her shirt and I spun around to give her privacy. “You have been taught about energies, have you not?”
“And you know the effect of using negative energy against negative energy, correct?”
I hummed in the affirmative. “It can be used against me.”
“Have you mastered it?”
“I…” My voice trailed off. Darius, Jonathan, Elisa, Fiona—they had all tried to teach me this concept, and while I was improving on it, I had come nowhere near to mastering it. There was just too much anger in me still. Too much residual hurt.
“That would be a no.” She laughed. “You can turn around.”
I did as I was told. Dressed in shorts and a tank top, Violet slipped on her running shoes then stepped to her door. “This lock.” She tapped the metal plate where the keyhole was located. “Its main purpose is to keep me confined in this cell. Its energy is focused on that one, solitary goal. If I fight against it, it will fight right back.”
Without warning, she reached through her cell and grasped my wrist. Shocked, I jolted back, but she didn’t seem to notice. Stronger than I had realized, she easily pulled my arm through. I growled as my shoulder and the side of my head rammed against the bars. My mind raced, wondering if I should be afraid, but the Demon’s Eye was calm. Not a single vibration warned of foul play.
Violet set my hand upon the lock, laying her palm flat over the top of mine. Her demonic caress heated my skin, so different from the bite of the cold metal beneath my touch.
Her voice whispered in my ear. “So much of our time is wasted in battling the obstacles that stop us—the objects that, duty-bound, block our path. We want to move them, to break them, to blast our way clear, but that is ultimately what causes our failure. When we don’t take the time to realize what someone or something’s sole purpose is, we lose the fight from the very beginning.”
“What are you talking about?” I asked through gritted teeth.
Violet tsked. “Ava, this lock’s sole purpose is to keep a foe behind bars. It is used for an enemy, but I am no enemy and I must tell it so. I must prove I’m its friend.”
Power beat from Violet’s scorching touch into mine. The radiation pulsed through my skin and into my very blood. Fire burned, but instead of pain and agony that normally flowed from the touch of a demon, the feelings intensified into a strange kind of warmth, hope, thankfulness, and even love.
A metal pin within the lock clicked, the sound reverberating within my soul, and Violet released my hand. I stepped away as the door swung open, blinking back a strange, raw emotion that gathered in the corner of my eyes.
“But I don’t understand,” I said, my voice hoarse.
“Understand what, darling?”
“You—you are a demon, Violet. How could you even know…?”
“I am a Fallen, Ava, who followed the wrong leader. But because of your mother, I was able to switch sides, in a sense. At least for the time being.”
Friends like Violet and more abound in Rachel Collett’s Personal Demons series. Check them out on Amazon.