tagNonHumanCorruption Ch. 01

Corruption Ch. 01


Hello everyone! Just a note that this is my first ever publicly displayed series, so comments and critiques are very welcome so I can improve future chapters :D



She was surprisingly calm for how much blood was pooled on the ground, some painted the walls a beautiful shade of pinkish red while more squished under her bare toes, like mud in its thickness. It made the whole room wreak of iron and salt despite the smoke that competed for her attention, although Cassandra found she was rather fond of the combination. The light of the fires danced in her peripheral, serving the lovely purpose to consume the temple walls and set the bodies that scattered the halls ablaze while the living suffocated.

But she doubted that there was anyone living left, except for the old coward crawling towards the main altar of the temple now. She felt absolute euphoria fill her as she walked up behind him. He whimpered and prayed to his gods despite her presence, touching the stone altar for the same beings she once served herself ...

He looked back at her when she laughed, mismatched eyes wide and full of fear while her own were black as coal and full of nothing but bloodlust. Not even rage was present as she lifted him by the front of his robes, laying him down on the very stone altar she'd desecrated long ago, climbing on top of him like an animal. He screamed and begged for his life, but she sheathed her blade in his throat without consideration for his pathetic pleading, gasping in delight as blood splattered her face upon removal of the razor sharp blade.

He gurgled as the realization dawned on him that he was truly going to die, wood panels falling from the ceiling as the fire grew hotter and stronger around them. Cassandra slipped her finger through the blood that dripped down her face, tasting its sweet metallic essence and feeling her body shudder in pleasure as the life left the priest's eyes-

Cassandra's eyes burst open from her dream as the frame of her bed rattled, sister Helen shaking her bed goodnaturedly to wake her up.

"Time to get up sleepy girl, we have grocery duty today." The blonde grinned as she tossed her friend the red snood they all wore to signify their faith.

She grunted, sitting up and straightening out her night dress before tucking her long black curls into the red cap. "At least we aren't cooking for fifty." she yawned, slipping out of her gown to put on the standard heavy red robes and sandals so that she'd be ready to leave, trading places once Helen was out of the bathroom to take care of her own grooming needs.

"So what do we need?" she asked around her toothbrush, moving on to wash her face as Helen searched for her shoes.

"Beans, peppers, corn, meat from the butchers... uhhh." she picked up the list that was on her bedside table and brought it close to her face. "A bunch of different spices and a few random items like bowls and a jug since we keep breaking them." she folded the paper and pocketed it as Cassandra shouldered the grocery bags they had brought to their rooms the prior night.

"That's not too heavy at least." she yawned, tucking stray hairs back into her habit as she waited by the door for her sister.

"Ha! Don't speak so soon, the father's might make us fill them with water as some kind of test." she shook her head, opening the door for the both of them so that they could leave and get on with their chores.

The insides of the temple walls met Cassandra with tolerance, her fellow sisters chiming short "hello's" and "good-morning's" to her with neutral expressions, keeping a wide enough berth so that she could in no way taint them with her presence. Cassandra had found out over the years that there were only a rare few in her village who didn't think she was the child of a demon, with her unnatural eyes being the biggest contributor to that.

Everyone claimed that they saw something different, from yellow with slits, to full black, to red or goat like pupils. No one who had told their horror story had ever given her sister Helen a straight answer, Cassandra herself only ever seeing a dark brown color, nothing unusual or even similar to what she was accused of.

But then again what did she know? She began to lose track of her thoughts as she exited the temple, preferring the space of her own mind to the judgemental stares of the town she passed through.

Cassandra always saw things differently, rather it be people that weren't there, futures that would often be muddled in her dreams, colors and sounds and smells that no one else could sense. But she ignored the creatures, the lights and portals and phantoms, all of it, just to avoid the beatings that would come from the Father's hand if she told them about any of it. For the longest time she thought she was just crazy, but once the visions started to come true after she'd had them...

A black cat jumped in front of her at that moment, a beautiful thing with bright yellow eyes. Helen tried to shoo it away when she was stopped by her Sister, Cassandra stooping down to gently scratch its head and have it arch into her hand.

"That is so much bad luck!" Helen whispered at her harshly as she tried to pull her away, the townsfolk grumbling at the display enough that she moved on without much fuss, the cat moving on quickly as well when a man threw a small stone in its direction.

"No more than i already have." she grumbled, staring daggers into the man so that his gaze was cast away and he stiffly moved on as though he'd seen a ghost. She smirked, knowing that the punishment she might get if he snitched to the temple would be worth it.

"Why are you such a glutton for punishment?" Helen echoed in a hiss as she paid for the peppers and beans they would need. "Just stay out of trouble and go get the meat from the butcher, she scares me."

"Yeah yeah." Cassandra adjusted the bag on her shoulder as she walked away, hearing the sigh of relief that her lack of presence brought. She'd use this opportunity to get the last of what she needed anyway.

She'd memorized the list, candles which were easy to get, an apple, which were just in season and growing in the temple garden, charcoal, which she had scrounged from the kitchen fire, and a heart...which she would smuggle from the butcher. She liked Cassandra and was always happy to hand her whatever she wanted under the table, although she'd always refused before, not willing to get into trouble like she was now.

"Hello Mrs. Tyler!" She called as she walked into the shaded stand where animal bits hung in various states of disassembly.

"Well hello there Cassandra, how can i help you today?" a woman with skin as dark as coffee beans asked her, tight coiled hair bouncing as she skinned a recently slain deer.

"I need about six pounds of ground meat, whatever you have most of today." she said before looking around to make sure there was no one else in the area. "I also need a uh... a heart?"

"A heart?" the woman stopped skinning the large hunk of meat in front of her to give a cute look. "Well darling you already have mine."

She giggled. "You're the most deplorable sinner Mrs. Tyler."

"You know it baby, if you ever feel like joining me i'll snatch you up in a heartbeat." she winked, her broad shoulders flexing as she dropped the skinning knife and wiped her hands on her apron to fetch what she needed.

"I am serious about that heart though..." she cleared her throat, mumbling the sentence under her breathe when the woman turned around.

"I heard ya the first time. What do you need a heart for anyway?"

"Nothing you need to be asking about." She assured as the woman came up to the counter with an arm full of butcher papers.

"Ohhh fulfilling that demon heritage huh?"

You have no idea... she thought to herself. "As i said, nothing you need to ask about." she stuck out her tongue and the woman raised an eyebrow suggestively.

"Well then what kind of heart do you need? I have pig, goat, rabbit, cow..." she waved her hand in the air to suggest there were probably more.

"Uhhh... rabbit." that would be small enough to stash in her pocket without suspicion.

"Odd girl you are." she shook her head as she complied, wrapping up a small rabbit heart from a scrap bin she had and handing it over. "Tell me if you need any other body parts, im happy to provide."

Cassandra just shook her head as she stashed the small organ, she hoped it didn't bleed in her pocket at all... yuck.

Mrs. Tyler settled down against the counter behind her, wanting to have a chat with her favorite customer for a while when Helen called from outside, unwilling to come in and face the butcher that always remarked on her freckles so fondly.

She laughed "ive gone and scared that little blonde shitless havn't i?"

"Not everyone can handle your personality." Cassandra shrugged, the woman tended to scare the nuns for the fact that she came on so strong. It was seen as a sin to bat for the other team after all, the only love between two women or two men being familial and between siblings like with their twin gods. At least thats what the priests told her... But Cassandra didn't care much about that, which had also gotten her in trouble at the temple, so she'd learned to stop flirting back with Mrs. Tyler very quickly, although the other woman never gave up.

"I'm just glad i've got at least one person to play with around here." she rolled her eyes as she squeezed Cassandra's arm affectionately. "You stay safe, come back if you need anything else."

"I will... and uh...could you-

"Keep that heart between us? You got it honey." she shooed her off with a gentle pat. It was all she needed to be assured that her secret was safe, smiling in relief as she trotted out of the shade of the stand to join her sister.

Now all she needed to do was wait until Helen was asleep to finally get some answers. Her heart beat harshly against her chest in anxiety and excitement at the prospect. She was betting a lot on this, in fact her very soul could lay on the line, but that's if she wasn't already damned to begin with... she could turn back now, or any time before tonight if she wanted to. Throw out the heart and return the book that started all of this and just forget it all together... but then what kind of hellish life would it be if she never knew why she could see things others couldn't? And no one here would give her answers... fuck it. Fuck it, she was going to stick to her guns and carry through with this. She couldn't live with herself if she didn't.

"Cassy you alright?" god she hated it when people called her Cassy...

"Yeah Helen, just thinking about what all i need to do today." what she said was only a partial lie at least.

"You're always in your own head. Why not join the rest of the world for a while?"

"And hear the townsfolk nag at me all day?" she scoffed. "No thanks."

Helen rolled her eyes. "Fiiiine. We have all we need now, so might as well let you escape reality through your books." It was Cassandra's work to archive and research the historical and religious manuscripts that the temple kept. So while it was work, it was work she usually enjoyed.

"I think i'd like that, between you, the town, and the temple i can't seem to catch a moment of silence." she looked pointedly at Helen who shuddered, looking away quickly as though she'd seen something frightening in her face. It must have been her eyes again...

Cassandra had plucked her apple and kept the heart in her robe's pocket, the small bag of charcoal next to the incense she burned with the excuse that it would keep the small cones neatly placed in their dish and from burning anything outside of it. The candles were already in the nave of the temple where the altars and pews sat unattended at the late hour. She only was waiting to make sure that Helen was thoroughly asleep, patiently laying in her bed until the soft sound of her friends snore was heard from the other side of her room. Cassandra watched her roommate closely as she got up, and upon seeing her not move despite the matress springs squealing, sighed in relief.

She hurriedly donned her robe and habit once again, taking the bag of charcoal, apple, and even quietly dug up the old leather bound book she needed to complete her ritual. She was still amazed she even found it, lying among one of the piles of new texts that she was tasked with sorting. Normally such dark manuscripts were seen by the fathers and sent to the forbidden collection before she could ever get her hands on them. But she'd gotten lucky and had gobbled up every last page while she could, hiding it among the works she brought back to her room for research and stumbling across the ritual her heart desired most... to summon a being that could give her answers, that she could control if only she followed careful instructions.

She skipped putting on her shoes as she tucked the book fondly under her robe and crept out of her room. No one would be up at this hour, she knew that for a fact. Many nights she had taken her studies from dusk into the early hours of dawn and no one ever came through these halls or to the heart of the temple. She could only guess that they slept soundly or felt they could go to the father's quarters if they needed help. But either way it worked only in her favor.

She opened the massive doors of the nave, seeing the gorgeous stained glass and stone altar, a statue of her twin deities behind it at the far wall. two brothers embraced with a golden star clutched in their joined hands, supposedly the spark of the divine they used to make mankind. She would do her work behind the altar and under their gaze, if anyone did happen to come in... it was the safest spot. Although she'd feel even more awful summoning gods knows what being right in front of them with their clear laws against witchcraft and blasphemy. Which, considering her book called on over a dozen different gods for different spells and rituals? she was breaking at least two of those laws, if not more.

"I'm sorry..." she whispered at them as she gathered the candles she'd need, six according to the book, which was hardly a fraction of the many lighted to the gods honor. If she didn't lose her soul for this spit in their faces...

She looked at the book carefully again, she'd need to draw an odd circle on the floor with the ash, place the candles at the corners she'd draw and then bite into the apple and... stab the heart to it with a needle, placing it in the center of the circle and calling upon what she'd need. What was wrong with these pagans? Could they have done this less violently at all?

She drew the symbol, a nonsensical pattern of squiggles that branched out at six points inside a circle with six black dots for the candles to go on top of. She was able to draw it easily enough, thankfully not smudging it much or having to redo any of the inner symbols, but the book stressed that the outer line connected with no breaks, so she triple checked to make sure that it was all perfect before following the next steps, pulling the needle hidden in her hair and taking the apple, biting into the dark pink skin and delighting at the taste. She hardly ever got to taste something so wonderful, but she knew she couldn't finish the sweet fruit, instead taking the small rabbit heart from her pocket as she braced the apple in the center of the circle, flinching as she stabbed the slightly bloody heart through with a "squelch."

There was no ritual or incantation, the book told her she simply needed to think of what she desired most and what she needed would come. She'd thought long and hard for many nights before this, knowing she might jumble herself up in the moment and blow it if she wasn't sure of her own desires.

The truth. Was all she thought, fists clenched together in her lap as she closed her eyes and thought hard on the two words. She had prepared the wish for almost a month, knowing not to muddle other desires into her plea for fear that she might blow the whole ritual. It was such a simple desire, she just wanted her truth, the truth of what she was, her life, if she was human or damned... if the town was right to be afraid, to keep her cooped up in these stone walls...

But she only thought of those two words. The truth. She echoed them to herself over and over for a few moments. Cracking an eye when nothing happened at first...

There was no light, no fire or crack of thunder like she expected. She opened her eyes completely after a minute or so of waiting, swallowing hard as her shoulders wilted in confusing. Had she done it wrong?

She looked at the faces of her gods a moment. Maybe they had warded off whatever she'd tried to summon... always keeping her from what she most wanted- no, needed to know.

Cassandra sighed. Tears welling in her eyes as she realized how foolish this all was, there would be no one to help her, these gods were false or weak compared to her own. Although she wished they weren't. She almost wanted a pagan god to sail down and snatch her away. She'd do whatever odd and terrifying ritual they wished, she'd dance naked and howl at the moon if it meant she could just know the truth, if she could just be free...

A slight static filled the air, the sensation of champagne bubbles floating across her skin suddenly when she heard a disembodied whisper.

"Now that, little girl, is what i wanted to hear."

Cassandra's hackles raised as she heard nothing short of the most sinful voice to ever crawl over her ear. Just where there had been air before, now stood the strangest of men with large black horns exiting the top of his head, ears long and pointed. He even had sharp fangs that gleamed in the candlelight and a tail as black as the sky that flicked back and forth in amusement.

He was also stark naked.

Once her shock left her, Cassandra quickly covered her eyes with both of her hands in order to avoid staring at his nakedness, which also happened to be rather close to eye level from her kneeling position on the floor. She was hallucinating again wasn't she? This thing wasn't real, it couldn't be.

Cassandra gulped hard for the third time that evening, peaking out from between her fingers to see the man chuckle at her embarrassment. She slowly stuck her hand into the circle which she knew to be safe, feeling hard warm flesh meet her own as she poked at his thigh.

"I did it right..." she peeped to herself, looking up at the creature to address him directly this time, making certain to only look him in the eye and not his wagging tail, horns, or otherwise uncovered and distracting body. "What did you want to hear creature? I said nothing while i summoned you."

He laughed, what a brave face she put on. "Only the screaming desire to 'be free' that you sent out to every creature within a hundred mile of here." he placed his hands on his broad hips, even his fingers were inhuman with long black nails, what on earth was he? "It was quite the call you made, i don't think i could have blocked it out if i tried."

"Oh..." was all she managed to retort. She thought about her phrase for a month and she still managed to fuck it up?

"In fact i think even your priest might have heard it from the sound of footsteps coming down the hall..."

Her stomach sank, she was sure he was lying. Eyeing him and then the door and back again. Cassandra opened her mouth to call his bluff only to stop when his grin grew even wider, glancing between him and the door one more time, deciding that she would rather be safe than sorry as she sprinted over to the far wall of the temple to press her ear to the wood. There were indeed soft footsteps padding down the hall just like the creature said.

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