Lucifer: Chapter 1
LIGHT FILTERED IN through the open window, and a gentle breeze fanned over Damien's face as birds sang outside. He sighed and closed his eyes, his head resting on his pillow. Though it looked as if it were going to be nice out today he didn't quite feel it; he hadn't gotten nearly as much of the sleep as he should have last night.
The dreams. He'd been having the dreams again. Like some kind of ache in his joints they kept returning to plague him. As if the one about his sister wasn't bad enough, now the one about the fire had come back. That had been about fourteen years ago yet it insisted on sticking with him, as much as the murder of his sister three years past. He'd almost fooled himself into thinking that he'd conquered that one, when of course he hadn't.
It was a nice day, so he decided not to waste it by lying in bed brooding over his nightmares. He never had before and he wouldn't start now. He got up and left the room, rubbing a crick out of his neck as he walked down the hall.
There was a low buzz as everybody else in the house--and there were quite a few of them--walked around, eating or talking or watching TV. A few greeted him. Damien stopped at the end of the hall and blinked as if still asleep. He almost felt like it. Someone touched his shoulder and he nearly jumped, but it was just his girlfriend, Katrina. She smiled and pecked him on the cheek. He was grateful for the dimness of the hall, as it hid the shadows that he was certain lurked under his eyes.
"Good afternoon," she said; he glanced at the clock and saw it was just after twelve. How long had he been lying there? "So you really are still alive."
He shoved down any memories he had left of the nightmares. No use bringing the others down with him. "Unfortunately for you," he replied, giving her a sly grin and a pinch to the arm.
"We'll just have to see about that," she replied, picking up some stray dishes from an end table and going out into the kitchen. He followed, sniffing the air.
"So, dream up any new songs for your soon-to-be, much-lauded second album?" Kat asked. "You've been talking about it for so long it's a wonder you haven't just willed it into existence."
When she turned around to look at him he gave her a forced smile and she could tell. She sighed, lowering the dishes which she'd been holding aloft. She set them down on the counter.
"Not again, Damien." She shook her head, unable to believe this was still going on. "When are you going to get help for this?"
"I don't need help," Damien replied, a tiny bit of his stubborn side coming out in his voice. Yet he refused to make eye contact, knowing she could see right through him. "They'll go away."
"Yeah, just like they always do," Kat said. "You know that they won't. For as long as I've known you you've been having these dreams. Why don't you at least tell me what they are?"
"They're nothing," Damien insisted, catching her by the arm as she turned away again to pick up the dishes. He whirled her around to face him and kissed her.
"Your nose is cold," she murmured.
"You can warm it up for me."
"We'll just have to see about that," she said again, pulling herself loose and depositing the dishes in the sink. "And don't you try to change the subject on me, Damien. I'm not falling for that one again."
Damien started to protest when the doorbell rang. Since Kat was closest to the door she went to answer it. Damien followed her out onto the porch, wondering who could be calling. Even with all the people living in the house, they rarely got unannounced visitors. Beyond the screen door, out in the buzzing heat, stood a uniformed deliveryman, holding a package under one arm and a clipboard under the other. On seeing Kat and Damien he pulled the clipboard out.
"Is there a Mr. Damien at this residence?" he asked, reading from the paper.
Behind Kat Damien smiled. He was quite well known in the music industry by now, thanks to the success of his first album, but there were still some people out there who added "Mr." to his name. He wondered if the same thing ever happened to Madonna or Prince. "Right here," he replied, squeezing around Kat and opening the porch door.
"Got a delivery. Sign here, please." Damien took the proffered pen and signed his name, then took the parcel. "Have a nice day," the deliveryman said, tipping his hat and jogging back to the waiting truck. Damien let the door slam shut and paused to examine the package. It was simply a small box, wrapped in nondescript brown, with his name on top.
"What is it?" Kat asked.
"I don't know," Damien replied. "There's no return address." He hefted it and shook it. "It doesn't feel too heavy either. No ticking, so it can't be a bomb." A grin.
Kat snorted and put her hands on her hips, impatient. "Well, open it! It is addressed to you, isn't it, Mr. Damien?"
Damien smirked at her joke and sat down on the porch swing, unwrapping the package. He opened the box and brushed aside some tissue paper--and then his hands froze. His face went white.
Kat drew back, slightly alarmed. Damien had used to live on the streets--actually sleeping near an old bridge--so barely anything fazed him nowadays. At least, nothing as mundane as a mail package. She sat down beside him, pulled away some of the paper, and looked inside for herself. She frowned.
Lying upon a bed of tissue was a stylized D made of gold, about three and a half inches in height. It twinkled up at them, catching the sunlight still filtering in through the screens.
Kat stared at it for a moment, then looked back up at Damien. "Damien?" she asked softly. "What is this? Who's it from?"
Damien didn't reply. Instead he just kept staring at the letter, swallowing repeatedly in an attempt to regain his voice. Kat noticed a note included in the package, and she took it out and unfolded it. Written upon it in plain script was a simple poem:
One is gold.
Take the new but
Keep the old.
She frowned again. "Damien? Who's FD? Damien, tell me. Who's FD?"
Damien had started trembling. After several minutes he finally spoke.
"This is a joke," he whispered, so softly that she had to bend closer to hear. His voice shook. "This is all some sick practical joke. I heard it--I heard the gunshots--"
"Gunshots?" Alarm lit her eyes. "Damien, tell me what's going on!" She took him by the shoulders and shook him, and when that produced no reaction she slapped him across the face. At that he shook his head and gazed up at her, though it took a few seconds for his eyes to focus on her face. His mouth opened and closed several times and he stared at her stupidly.
"Who's FD?" she asked again. "And who was shot? Tell me what's going on."
He continued staring at her, then looked back down at the D glittering in his lap. "My uncle," he finally replied. "He--he was my namesake. Damien. He was killed about fourteen years ago. When I was really little. There was--this is too unbelievable." And he covered the D up with his hand, as if hoping to put it out of existence by the mere act of ignoring it. Kat pulled his hand away, however, and looked him in the eyes.
"Tell me," she said firmly. "I'll believe you."
Damien faltered for a minute, then went on. "My uncle--there was this--cult, sort of--I don't remember much--I was really little--"
"What happened to your uncle?" Kat prodded gently.
"He was shot--trying to help us," Damien said, putting his head in his hands. By now tears were dropping from those unusual golden eyes of his. "All I remember is that all of us were in this cult but I don't remember what it was. There were these people in black robes, and this fire--there was fire everywhere." He shuddered. "They built this big fire around us and we couldn't get out, and my uncle came to help us."
Kat couldn't believe half of what she was hearing, though she knew he must be telling what he at least thought to be the truth. He wouldn't make up a lie like this. However, she said nothing, and nodded for him to go on.
"That's all I know," he said, lifting his head from his hands to reveal his tear-streaked face and red-rimmed eyes. "I ran away, and I heard this shot--and I just kept running." He stopped, as if searching to remember something, and then it hit him. "He gave me this before we ran." He pulled out his own necklace, a silver D. Kat had never noticed it before since he'd always worn it under his shirt, and had thought it to be just an old chain he'd somehow taken a liking to. But he held it next to the golden D and they matched--exactly.
She looked at him.
"What kind of a cult?" she asked, still only half believing.
He shook his head. "I don't know.... They dressed in these dark robes with hoods, like they were the reverse KKK or something--the leader wore something on his head, some kind of skull with horns." He swept his hands back over his head, mimicking what he was seeing in his mind.
Kat sat up abruptly, something striking a chord. "A goat?"
Damien shrugged and sniffed, wiping his eyes. "I don't know. Could've been."
"How old did you say you were?"
"About six. I don't remember well. I tried to forget. It's that that I've been having dreams about all this time." He let out a shuddery sigh. "I guess I can't forget."
Kat took his arm and stood up, forcing him to stand with her. "Come on," she said. "We're going to find this FD."
He gave her a confused look. "But how do we know who he is? Or where he lives?"
"I don't know about where, but I know who."
"And how do you know that, when I don't even know?" Damien pressed, his voice rising slightly.
Kat looked in his eyes. "Because," she replied, "I believe your uncle is still alive."