As always, I'm working on the next thing. Warped Souls is a story about a woman who has to share her body with a demon due to an unfortunate Ouija Board accident in her youth. April rules in the day, and Sangria rules at night. Sangria sates her blood lust in a bastardized form of vigilantism and eventually kills someone that the world will notice. A high political official, who is not only known to humans but has been slated to become the vessel of The Source, the creator of Demonkind as he tries to gain a foothold in the physical world. For the first time April and Sangria have to work together to get out of this mess instead of just fighting for control.
Enjoy the excerpt!
I woke covered in blood. Again. I was bone weary of this, but it was my fault. You know what they say about making your own bed. Apparently, mine was a stinking blood bath. I rolled out of bed still dressed in my leather skirt and red corset. The corset I never really cared for, but the leather skirt I loved. It was one of the few things we could agree on. I was going to be pissed if she ruined it.
Walking across my little efficiency apartment I was shocked at the pain between my legs. Again nothing new, but it was enough to make me stumble a little. What did she do, fuck a metal pole? I wouldn’t put it past her. Damn, I felt ripped all the way through. I contemplated going to that free clinic downtown the prostitutes liked while I fumbled with the coffee pot. At least there they wouldn’t ask how it happened.
“What did you do last night?” I asked my voice hoarse from morning drowsiness.
‘Had fun,’ came the laughing answer in my head.
Sangria had fun. What that really meant was Sangria did something that was going to make my life a living hell. I knew I should stay awake when she had my body, but I just didn’t want to remember what she did most nights.
‘I can show you if you like,’ she taunted.
“No thank you. I really don’t want to know.” I stumbled into the bathroom and startled at my reflection. It wasn’t the blood that was streaked from my mouth all the way down my chest with a sticky pool between my breasts; that I had gotten used to. It was my face. No matter how many times I looked into the mirror it wasn’t my face looking back at me anymore, it was always Sangria, my demon half.
I wasn’t born with a demon half. We were stuck together when a Ouija board exploded. I had been stupid enough to try and channel the other side as a teenager. Now we shared the same face, the same body, even the same mind sometimes, but I didn’t see me anymore. It was her smile—her eyes that looked back at me—even when I was in control. Trust me neither of us liked it, but it was survival for us both.
I undressed and stood naked cleaning the worst of the blood and filth off and the memories came back unbidden like they always did no matter how hard I tried to push them away. I closed my eyes unable to look at myself and saw the man in the business suit.
Sangria stalked him, watched him for days. I knew it was only a matter of time before she went for him. When she watched him kill the child prostitute his fate was sealed. She hunted him and his lackeys. She followed them through the city and corned them in a bar. I watched disgusted while she offered her body to them and let them share her right there in the bar, both of them at once. One man’s hands so tight in her hair at the base of her skull the chain of a necklace broke. No wonder I hurt. She led them away with the promise of more. I almost threw up when she knelt down to give some head. Then she pulled out the dagger lightning quick and stabbed the one man in the heart and bit off the other’s dick. Blood flowed freely as he fought but she was on him in a second viciously carving out his heart…with my hands. My hands tearing at chunks of flesh, my mouth that spit his member back out at him and my body that left him to die in pools of blood.
I came back to myself screaming. The only thing keeping me from scratching my face off was Sangria taking control of my arms. We both agreed to no self-mutilation of any kind, but I just couldn’t take it. How many people would she have to kill before I finally gave up? How many ways would she defile my body? How long would I have to live this torture?
‘Now, now,’ she chided. ‘You want to stay pretty for lover boy.’
“I don’t have a lover boy,” I snapped, but she was right. I didn’t want to scare Pat more than I had to. He was always on the edge of interfering. I really should have moved on by now, but it was home. It was the closest thing I had anyway. No one there cared if I was crazy, and Pat was the world’s best boss even if I didn’t technically get paid.
I was diagnosed schizophrenic but considered functional. Who would believe the truth anyway? See I wasn’t crazy enough to be put away, but I was too crazy to work so I got money from the government. Living wage my ass. It was barely enough to survive, but survive I did, until I got fed up enough to turn myself in for Sangria’s crimes or we got caught. That was a ticking time bomb that I wasn’t sure she knew about.
“I swear to God, Sangria,” I said starting the shower. “If you got us pregnant I will kill myself and send you back to the source.”
‘Ooooh,’ she mocked, but I knew that was the one thing she was afraid of. She would lose all her precious free will and probably be tortured. Torture for an immortal being could last a very long time. I laughed at myself darkly. I didn’t really have it in me to leave her to that fate or I would have done it long ago, but in the constant battle for control we fought she didn’t need to know that. I still thanked whatever it was that did this to us that she couldn’t read my mind. I would be lost forever if that happened.
I let the hot water burn my skin rinsing away the stink of sins too horrible to contemplate. I scrubbed as hard as she would let me thinking dimly if I could just peel away the layers of my body I wouldn’t really be the same person that went to sleep and let a demon loose on the city.
Susan is a plural writer and artist by day, a child and pet wrangler by night, and occasional crazy person on the weekends.