Hiya, Welcome back to PEP! In honor of Camp NaNoWriMo, Friday posts this month will be writing pieces.
While waiting for her coffee to be called, Catherine was gazing at the bulletin board that was often used as an advertisement board for this and that. She blinked in shock at a ragged index card and had to pull it off to get a closer look at it.
‘Demon, free to a good home. House broken, pet friendly. Ask for Jill.’
Turning it around, she saw a local number scrawled across the back of it. Just then, “Catherine.”
She retrieved her coffee from the barista, absently tucking the card in her back pocket, no one noticing.
That night, as she was changing into lounge clothes, it fluttered out of her pocket and she picked it up, “Oh, yeah…”
Out of curiosity, as she curled up on her loveseat with Princessa, her Persian, she dialed the number on her cell phone.
“Hi, Is Jill there?”
“Calling about the ad?”
“K, hold on.”
The guy clearly set the phone down with a thump before Catherine could just hear him yelling, “Jill! Phone’s for you. Please get rid of the thing this time.”
Catherine was baffled, this was real…?
“Hi, is this Jill?”
“Yep, calling about Haz?”
“Uh, Haz? I found your ad on the board at Sleepy Beans.”
“Yep, Haz, short for Hazelethus. I don’t know if it matters but he’s an elemental demon, very affectionate but needs a human that’s willing to put up with mistakes as he is young and very prone to emotional outbursts.”
“I’m sorry, you’re serious? Demons don’t really exist, do they?”
Then Jill chuckled, “New to this world, huh? How about we meet tomorrow, your choice of meeting place, and you can meet Haz and we can talk.”
Deciding to go for it despite her doubt, “Sure. How about Green Acres?”
“Sure. About noon?”
“Works. See you there.”
Even though she didn’t have a dog, Catherine was often at Green Acres, the local park that included a skate and dog park, and knew that it would be fairly populated, ensuring her safety.
She showed up about an hour early wanting to get some work done, Princessa safely bundled in her halter and leash and a book, notebook, her laptop and Princessa’s travel bed in her travel duffel. She settled on a comfortable bench in the middle of the park, safe distance from the dog park, and set Princessa’s bed in the middle of the bench. After sniffing around the bench, Princessa hopped up and settled in her bed. Regulars to the park didn’t even blink at the two anymore as they were there three-four times a week as Catherine enjoyed getting out of her apartment while she was working and Princessa enjoyed the air and view.
“Be ready, Princessa. We’re meeting some people today and I don’t know about one of them.”
Princessa simply mewed in response as she watched the skaters in the skate park. Just then, Catherine’s attention was caught by a short blonde urging an insanely tall guy along with her. She wondered if this might be Jill and Haz. The blonde looked up, her light yellow-green eyes lighting up when she spotted Catherine and Princessa.
She came closer, “Catherine?”
She urged the tall guy behind her closer and Catherine realized his height wasn’t the only unusual thing about him. Not only was he at least 7 feet tall but his hair, to his shoulders, was a perfect shade of aqua blue and his eyes were a gleaming ruby. He was handsome with golden skin, but she’d never seen anyone. The hair could be dyed but she didn’t think there were contacts that could make someone’s eyes that shade of red. Now she was beginning to believe this wasn’t a hoax.
Jill came around and sat on the other side of Princessa while Haz came to a stop in front of the bench and shyly waved at Catherine. She waved back with a small smile and he seemed to be more comfortable.
“So, this is Haz, short for Hazelethus. He’s an Elemental Demon and really nice though most people are immediately afraid of his red eyes. Being an Elemental Demon means that he has control over all the elements, including some magic. He has a little different moral compass than we do, being a demon versus our humanity. But still really cool.”
“And you’re trying to give him away? Does he not have his own right to freedom? And even if not, if he’s so cool, why are you giving him away?”
Jill perked up, “You’re the first to ask about his right to his own freedom! Normally, yes, Demons have the same rights as we do. However, much like we must be 18, a demon has to be 21 and Haz is only 17.”
Catherine blinked, only 17?
“Is he going to get any taller?”
Haz grinned shyly and Jill chuckled.
“No. Demons mature through ‘puberty’ faster than we humans do. He’s already reached his max height. I’ve recently changed jobs and have to move. Where I have to move to doesn’t allow demons and my roommate doesn’t want to keep him. I’ve managed to put off moving for a little while until I can find Haz a new home but the deadline’s coming up and I know if it’s left to my roommate, he’ll be given to the government to find a home.”
“That won’t be good. They’ll just give him to whoever qualifies, whether it’s a good home or not.”
Catherine had never heard of demons before now but even she knew the government’s habit with finding homes for refugees and the bad history.
Looking at Haz, “I don’t have a guest room, but my couch folds out. Will that do?”
He spoke, voice a rolling bass, “That’ll be more than fine. It’ll be better if I’m in the living room anyway as it’ll be easier to protect from there.”
Catherine’s eyebrows rose, and Jill smiled, “Yeah. He’s going to be your guardian, whether you want one or not, if he moves in with you.”
Catherine couldn’t deny that wasn’t a plus as she did live alone.
Deciding to jump in with both feet just as she had with moving to a new city and taking a new work-at-home job a couple years before, “Alright. He can move in with me.”
Jill bounced in her seat, “Yay! You won’t regret it! Ya’ll will be great friends!”
Jill handed over a duffel bag that clearly had Haz’s belongings in it, explaining that his diet needed more meat than most but otherwise was very similar to a human’s. With that, Jill departed, and Catherine packed up Princessa’s bed and her laptop before leading Haz to her loft that was his new home as well.
© Paula Crofoot
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