Wednesday, September 2, 2020

On a Hot Desert Highway


Calico whistled her way down a remote roadway, her body more relaxed and at ease than it had been for decades. Unless she managed to catch a ride before the sun finished rising, by the end of her walk she’d go from a light bronze tinged brown to a deep mahogany. Her mother would have tsked had her mother been paying attention to anything that happened on Earth.

If not paying attention to Earth was something Calico could do, she’d have been doing it. It wasn’t though; not anymore. Thanks to a summoning ritual that the participants had foolishly video taped back when tapes were something humans recorded on. If they’d spent more time worrying about their protective sigils and less time worrying about their camera angles and lighting, they might still be alive.

How the man who had summoned her had obtained her true name, the one needed to drag her from the depths of Hell, she’d yet to ascertain. If she ever figured that out, she’d have to get back to killing. But all he’d known was that it was whispered to him by a voice in the dark. Completely useless information. He’d hoped confessing would save his life, but that just went to show how little he understood demons.

Calico had killed her summoner as his followers had fled. She got a few of the stragglers, but then had to spend decades tracking down not only the people who had been there but the people unfortunate enough to be told of the ritual’s success. Arguably, the people being told were unlikely to actually complete a ritual themselves since they were being told how easily one could go sideways, and none of them had been given her name, but it was easier just to kill them anyway. The tape had helped, as had Calico’s gift for forcing people to tell the truth, which worked even when they didn’t actively remember the details of the truth and were too scared to even try very hard as they were being stared down by an honest-to-Satan demon.

After asserting that the last of the summoners, a middle-aged gentleman who had promptly left the summoning ceremony to enter seminary and had spent the last thirty years trying to save souls, had told no one what he saw, Calico had calmly obliterated both the man and his car. There would be no evidence for mortal police to try to trace to her, just as there had been no evidence of any of the other slayings. The stereotype that demons are into overt violence and blood splatter is both harmful and inaccurate. The vast majority of hell’s children are happier not to see evidence of the icky things humans store inside themselves.

She strolled away from the death site, pulling her luggage behind her. After a few steps, she realized she didn’t need the video tape anymore. She tossed it to the side because she enjoyed the gesture, but then sent a pulse to disintegrate it where it landed. It simply wouldn’t do to have someone find it and possibly release it to the public. Sure the public would assume it was fiction of the found-footage genre, but why give them that much?

Calico shifted the song she whistled, replacing a tune she knew from her childhood to something by a human named Elvis. Within steps, she’d replaced whistling with words. “Viva Las Vegas....” Sounded like as good a destination as any.

Above image is by Ric Nagualero and entitled "Wherever I May Roam." You can buy a copy at

It was offered as prompt on my Wording Wednesday Project.

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