Old Christmas Magic (MM)
Drew McLean has had a run of bad luck and it’s dampened his Christmas spirit. But the last thing he expects to find for the holiday is a demon.
While strolling in the late-night snow, Drew hears screeching tires and a sad scene is awaits him around the corner. A man kneels beside a dog hit by a car, distraught and broken.
The man is Artem, a demon sent to find a pure soul. Drew matches that description to a T. The problem is Artem’s never really been good at the demon gig.
Will a little Christmas magic help them both find what they’re looking for?
The snow had ceased and the puffy cotton ball clouds were long gone, leaving in their wake a breathtaking view of the stars; the stubborn buggers refusing to be drowned out by the city lights. As soon as he could pry himself away from the dog, Artem slipped out of the emergency clinic, turmoil boiling inside of him. It was like being at war with two halves of himself and neither side was willing to relinquish its ground or wave a flag of surrender.
When he saw the man, who by now he knew was named Drew, standing there before him, Artem temporarily lost himself. Somehow, someway, he’d found a pure soul without even having to look. True, the glow Drew gave off was faint, suggesting he was on the verge of letting the corrupting touch of darkness creep in, but at the same time he would be a prize back in the world of sins. The cream of the crop, so to speak, a delectable morsel they would all seek to taste.
It was Artem’s job to grab him and doom him for all eternity.
So he walked away.
Echoing around in the confines of his skull were the heated words spewed at him by Cyril, the threat to his well-being clear as day. And yet, here he was, walking away from an easy target. This was why he kept failing, this was why he would never fit in, no matter how hard he tried. Artem, much to his dismay, wasn’t cut out to be a demon. It was a seedy, shady existence that involved prolonged torture to souls, some deserving for the awful things they did and others not so much, merely tricked into torment by getting what their heart’s desired. There was sin and lying and absolutely none of it appealed to Artem.
He was quite simply the only demon that would wind up on the road crying for an injured dog. He was a blight, a stain, a joke to be laughed at, and thinking of it that way, he asked himself a very important question. What did it matter if he decided not to go home? It was clear as day to see, he was always going to be despised for this part of himself that he could not, would not change.
“Hey, where are you going?”
Artem blanched, dread washing over him at the sound of Drew’s voice.
“Away, very far away from here,” he answered without turning back.
“What about the dog?”
He shrugged. The creature, the very one who came to him with happiness in its steps, acceptance in its eyes, was in good hands, the kind that could actually save it and see to it that he got a good life. Neither of which Artem could do.
“He’s where he needs to be.”
“Hey, come on, man, what’s going on here?” Drew followed, the powdery snow crunching ever so faintly under his footfalls, the sound noticeable only by Artem. “I thought you would stick around to see how he faired.”
Artem whirled. “And do what for him? My time here is limited. He will be better off with someone else, someone like you.”
Something in Artem’s choice of words caused Drew to falter, his eyebrows shooting up. As far as humans went, Artem found Drew fetching. His hair was light brown and his eyes, which were concealed behind black rimmed glasses, were a warm shade of brown. Dimples appeared when he smiled and his five ‘o clock shadow gave him a touch of ruggedness when he easily could have passed as a college professor, or maybe a librarian, either way he came across as the bookish type. He was built of average height and might have easily replaced millions of those already being handled back home.
With the exception of his glow.
“What do you mean by having limited time?” Drew broached, adjusting his glasses. Worry began to etch lines into his forehead and the corners of his mouth. “I know this can be a depressing time for some, but surely whatever has you down will pass and the light will shine again.”