A girl named Wera, well accustomed to the supernatural, pays a visit to a vampire friend of hers, Leonard, a charming, gentlemanly bohemian popular in the circles of the nocturnal elite. In a world of elegance, class, and bloodshed, she quickly gains friends unusual even by the standards of the creatures of the night... Together with them, Wera will have to rediscover the meaning of her life, fight a war for her own world started because of a confused rockstar and a girl named Cocaine - and meanwhile, try to discover the secret of the equinox...
I woke up with the spicy taste of rust and sulfur in my mouth, which rekindled my disappointment from the previous night. I had expected the taste to be different, a little more enchanting, like maybe roses or even liquor - rust and sulfur was just too traditional for someone of that caliber. But hey, I reminded myself, it could have been worse. After all, I was the kind of person who'd choose rust and sulfur over liquor any day.
Of course, there was more to it than that. Apart from the specific demonic scent and the warm feel of seemingly human skin, it also felt partly frightening, and partly sickening, like tasting the echo of the flavor of a thousand wounded bodies, a hundred rotting corpses, a million hungry flies. It tasted like a summary of the history of human death and suffering. But then again, that's what you get when you're kissing the Devil.
I still found it a little hard to think of him as the ultimate evil, especially once I'd seen him resting his golden blond head on my pillow as the sunrise was bursting in through the windows. Hardly anyone would imagine the Devil looking like this. On the other hand, however, I couldn't imagine him looking any different. I'm not particularly fond of blond men, and if the Devil was my kind of guy, I'd be really terrified.
The amulet was choking me, so I got rid of it cautiously. I'd left it on the entire night through, since you definitely want to think about protection when you decide to fool around with the Devil. I was pleased to discover that my soul was intact and was still located within its rightful owner. Apparently Satan was going to have to do better than that to steal it. Smiling to myself, I quickly left the room and went downstairs to brush my teeth. No need to pay my guest any special attention - he didn't need an ego boost, anyway; if anything, he needed the opposite.
This morning I was feeling especially cheerful, with the catchy tune from last night stuck in my head, the October winds howling and roaring outside, and me standing safely out of their reach. I simply couldn't wipe the grin off my face. I'd never found autumn weather this delightful before - or anything, for that matter.
Now that I'm standing here doing nothing, I feel it is the right time to clarify things a little bit.
No, I am not a devil-worshiper, and Satan is neither my close friend nor is he my lover. He is in fact a little less than an acquaintance - after all, we've only met twice in my lifetime, and yesterday was our second encounter. The first one was nearly four years ago - maybe not on the same date, but during the same season. I was going through something back then, he came to me with a tempting but unconvincing offer, I turned it down... and now I am back where I left off. In my old, cozy, demon-friendly house, struggling with the same choice, trying to make it have a different outcome this time. So, since after the last time I refused to kiss the Devil things went really bad for me (he must have mentioned I was going to regret it at some point), I decided to try the alternative just to see where it would take me. Maybe it was a good luck charm,
like kissing a chimney sweep. Or maybe I was just sick enough to even think things like that.
"Sick" could merely be my middle name; my first name is Wera - the name I gave myself - or Vera, the way some of my vampire and semi-vampire friends pronounce it. I've been Wera for a long time; however, many things happened since I became Wera. Matters of the heart, matters of life, matters of innocence (the loss of it) and experience (whatever little hells on earth the Devil may bring), and many more matters tightly bound to bitter memories, fortunately now buried, which I'd rather not dig out at this point. No, this is Wera's second life, the life of the Wera who is in almost every way different from the Wera as she began - a shy, socially awkward and physically unappealing teenage brunette, slightly resembling a fox or a weasel, the average teenage boy's nightmare, but otherwise a true embodiment of purity, innocence, self-sacrifice and all those other forms of goodness that she always carried on her like a badge. You'd never imagine her doing anything horrifying, obscene, or just plain bad. But the former Wera's innocence, lack of experience and desperate trust in some of the more decent representatives of mankind made it possible for her to experience sorrows and disappointments beyond a teenage brunette's capacity.
Personally, I have no problem with that, because I ran out of self-pity exactly eleven months ago. But sooner or later everything leaves its mark on you and hell sticks to you too, becomes a part of you when in sufficient amounts - so it is not that surprising that I ended up kissing the Devil last night. Besides, he is far from the worst kissing option there is.
One reason why I did it was partly because I didn't care, and partly because he was so hopeless in his efforts to seduce me. I couldn't help but feel sympathy for him. The other reason was that he had predicted what I could become long before I even knew it was exactly what I would become.
'I thought you wouldn't come back,' he uttered mildly when I walked back into my room and started rummaging for something to eat. Naturally, he was magnificent, in a white silk shirt that had gone out of fashion at least two centuries ago and velvet indigo-colored trousers. He gave me a piercing - no, a scorching emerald green look, which would have passed for cheeky, were he only human. He was where wicked came from, but had so much style that I couldn't blame him for any genocide in history while he was still in sight.
'I thought you weren't going to be here,' I gave him a slightly delayed reply. 'I'm impressed.'
'Did you change your mind about us yet?' he winked, well, devilishly at me. Not that there was any other way for Lucifer to do it. 'What's the matter, are you going to leave that moment we had last night without a comment?'
'Well, I appreciated your vulnerability performance,' I shrugged, 'but it's not going to work, Lucy, I'm sorry. You're just too handsome for me,' I added with an almost sincere apology in my voice.
'I've always taken a very special interest in you.'
'You know, I think I kind of felt it,' I nodded, the grin on my face so sharp that Satan was probably proud of it. 'I think that the kiss might have moved you, even.'
'Didn't it move you?' the Devil raised a long thin eyebrow. I shrugged again. 'It tasted a little weird. World War II is not my favorite flavor.'