Fan Fiction

Oriental Problems
by DarkLite
Chapter 1 / Chapter 2 / Chapter 3 / Chapter 4 / Chapter 5 / Chapter 6 / Chapter 7 / Chapter 8 / Chapter 9 / Chapter 10

Chapter 1

At four in the morning, rabid, agonized screaming is rarely appreciated.

At six in the morning, it becomes slightly tolerable. More or less.

Especially if it happens to be a regular occurrence.

Sam rolled over irritably and sighed. Several loud thumps filtered down through the ceiling, and suddenly a large, smoldering lump, that upon closer inspection would have been found to be wearing a "Perv" T-shirt, appeared in an ungainly tangle of charred limbs at the foot of the stairs.

There was a pregnant silence whilst Jack's larynx re-constituted. "Ow." He spat, through melted lips that were already beginning to reform. After a moment of introspection, he decided that his vocal chords were just about ready.

"Never..." he started, raising a mangled and thoroughly cooked arm, "forget which door is the bathroom..."

"And which is Sandra's room." Sam finished. He sat up, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. Sam was, for all intents and purposes, an anthropomorphic rabbit, about 4 foot high, not counting the ears, which at this moment were crumpled from sleep. Sam debated whether to move or not. Hmm. Wait for coffee.

At this point, the author would like to point out that as the reader might have guessed, this household was far from ordinary.

Crystal was already finished setting the table and was now humming a cheerful little ditty to herself as she started on the coffee.

It was at this particular moment that a large pile of laundry came down the stairs, attached to a most unusual pair of legs. The legs were wearing a pair of ordinary jeans, but the legs themselves were very oddly shaped, for a human at least. Perhaps the most unsettling thing about the legs was the fact that they ended in hooves. What little could be seen of the skin that the legs happened to be occupying was striped much like a zebra.

The set of legs deliberately stepped on the scorched lump at the bottom of the stairs, which did nothing other than whimper.

The laundry gave out a satisfied grunt, and then went on to say "Bad ol' pervert," hardly normal behaviour for a pile of laundry, legs or otherwise.

Of course, the legs belonged not to the laundry but to Sandra, someone as unusual as the legs that she was now steering towards the basement where the washing machine was.

Sandra, as one might have guessed, was not your quintessential human. Far from it. As she clopped down the stairs, one would have noticed that the monochromatic colour scheme extended to cover all of her flesh, with the exception of her hair, which has a rich, vivid purple, arranged in an extremely unnatural manner, fanning out downwards at the back and curving forward to create two almost tusk-like extrusions at the front, flanking her face.

If one could actually see her face, one would have immediately noticed that Sandra had more eyes than the mandatory pair. The purple irises were unusual too. More atypical were the horns atop her head, 4 in total, slender and as always, alabaster white with black stripes. Had she have opened her mouth, one would have also noticed the fangs.

However, having taken all of that into consideration, perhaps the most arresting detail about Sandra's body was her tail. It was unusual, even for a tail. Slender and long (although the length could vary according to Sandra's wishes, apparently) and ending in a spade shape with a deadly sharp point. It was with this curious appendage that she flicked the light switch on.

The light did not come on. Sandra sighed, then proceeded down the stairs anyway, the darkness no hindrance to her as she could see perfectly well in the dark. Sandra flung the laundry into the washing machine and idly slapped it shut with her tail. She picked up another pile, a set of bedsheets this time, and went back up the stairs.

By the time Sandra had reached the top of the stairs, Jack had recovered sufficiently enough to have moved, and was now sitting, more or less intact, at the table. Sandra grunted. Demons were not renown for guilt, but Sandra was not technically a demon. In body but not in soul. A small consolation.

Crystal noticed Sandra, having finished the coffee, and noted that they would need more bedsheets. Sandra went through them like loaves of bread. An unfortunate side-effect of having a demon's body was that all of Sandra's bodily fluids were caustic acid. Sweat and saliva included. Obviously, this unique aspect of demon anatomy posed a great many problems, including the constant shortage of bedsheets.

It was summer, but everyone knew that the heat wasn't the problem. Sandra was plagued each night with terrifying nightmares, constant and unrelenting. Whether this was normal for demons or not, no-one could say.

What did seem to be normal for demons was the innate pyrokinesis. Sandra had the ability to set things alight with the power of her mind, especially things she happened to feel angry at. Which would explain why Jack was so nervous as Sandra came back down the stairs.

The coffee had finished, and everyone in the house had just settled down for breakfast, (with the exception of Sandra, as she never ate) when all of the dogs in the neighborhood started barking.

Hardly usual behaviour, at such an hour.

However, unusual or not, it was just barking, and there was coffee to be had.

This of course, is when the doorbell rang.


Chapter 2

The atmosphere became very tense very quickly. The doorbell was hardly ever a good thing. Obviously, with a horrifically burnt Jack, a Demoness and a rabbit, it was paramount that no prying eyes be allowed in.

But who was to answer the door? Obviously, Sandra and Sam could not, and Jack's appearance at the moment would have sent the most hardened of masochists fleeing, squealing in terror with their dignity running down their legs in thin brown streams.

To put it lightly.

Crystal sighed, and was just about to get up when the house's fifth occupant bounded down the stairs, pulling on a shirt.

"I'll get it!" shouted Wally.

Wally at first would seem to be a perfectly normal person, bar the mismatched irises.

But of course, appearances can be deceiving. Especially in this household. Wally was a werewolf, albeit a benign one. He had joined the crew after helping to kidnap and then save Crystal from Doyenne, a voracious she-werewolf. Crystal had taken quite a shine to him.

So in fact, apart from having a werewolf for a boyfriend, Crystal was the only normal person in the house.

"Where have you been?" Crystal enquired, ever optimistic and curious.

"Bathroom." Wally replied, slightly muffled as he was struggling with the shirt.

Sandra was surprised. "You hardly ever use the bathroom in the morning!"

"I'm hardly ever in my human form in the morning!" Wally replied, finally getting the shirt in place and disappearing into the hall.

For Wally could only change between forms during the night, not the day. Werewolves don't always need full moons to transform. You just watch too much television.

Jack suddenly sat up as if he had been kicked.

Sandra glanced at him. "What now?"

Jack furrowed his brow and pointed an accusing finger at Crystal.

"Why, pray tell, was Wally in his human form last night?"

There was a severely awkward silence, Jack glaring at Crystal, Crystal looking like a deer in the headlights, Sam and Sandra not daring to speak.

"What, would you prefer if we did it when he's a wolf?" Crystal deadpanned after a few seconds.

Given the situation, Sam and Sandra couldn't help but explode into hysterical peals of laughter.

Outside, the delivery man was most upset. This was the second time he had delivered to this house, and he still didn't like it. Ever since he had come here before, he had always felt that there was something wrong with the house. It seemed to be darker than the other houses, even in broad daylight, and almost all of the windows were constantly covered by thick curtains. The whole house gave of an aura of creepiness.

That and the fact that everytime he came here there was screaming coming from inside. Today was no exception.

Just as he was debating to whether he should sign this time or not, the front door opened, allowing the delivery man to hear clearly what the argument was about:

"I WILL NOT CALM DOWN, MY SISTAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA-"

The screams were muffled abruptly as Wally slammed the door shut, trying to look as inconspicuous as possible. Aside from the mismatched eyes. And the fact that the house he had emerged from was filled with screams, shouting and other crashes and thuds as things were knocked onto the floor. Someone was laughing too.

Wally gave the man a slightly over-enthusiastic smile. The deliveryman took a step backwards.

This, Wally decided, was not going well.

"Er, do you have something for us?" Wally asked, hesitant.

This seemed to snap the deliveryman out of his reverie. He checked his clipboard.

"Are you Jack?"

"Uh, he's kinda busy at the moment."

As if to confirm this, someone inside the house shouted "He's my boyfriend! I can do whatever I like with him!"

Wally wondered what on earth was going on. He chose to end the conversation as soon as possible so he could go and check. "Does he have to sign?" he enquired, motioning to the package the man was carrying.

The delivery man at this point just wanted to run far away and have a drink. Obviously, getting a signature would take more time...

Wally made as if to open the door, and the deliveryman jumped back as if the house had the plague.

"No need to sign! Just take the package." "But you need Jack's si-" "No need, really! I trust your word!"

With that the deliveryman threw the package in Wally's general direction and ran back to his van, whimpering. How very odd.

Back inside, Wally didn't know quite what to make of the situation. Sandra was grinning at him, as was Sam. Crystal was sitting at the table looking slightly bashful. Jack gave Wally an incredibly dirty look. Or at least, he may have been. It was hard to tell, since Jack was missing a substantial chunk of his face, and his eyebrows were singed off.

Wally handed him the package, and Jack snatched it out of his hands without a word. Whether this was because of animosity or because his vocal chords hadn't reformed, no one knew.

The strained silence remained, and Wally became uncomfortably aware that everyone was looking at him.

"What?" he asked plaintively, and Sam and the girls started laughing again.


Chapter 3

Jack was having a bad day.

At first, he had woken without being on fire. That had been good.

Then, he had, in his sleepiness, accidentally opened Sandra's door.

That had been bad.

He was set on fire, fell down the stairs and then was trodden on by Sandra, and hooves really hurt.

It had gone downhill from there.

Now he knew that Crystal and Wally had slept together. Last night, no less. The thought alone made him scowl.

Of course, Jack knew that since they were a couple, sex was an inevitability.

Perhaps he had over-reacted. Perhaps he shouldn't have threatened to banish Wally to a hoary underworld for all eternity. Perhaps Crystal was right, and it really wasn't his business.

He still didn't think that Sandra barbequing him again was necessary. Jack swore his eyebrows took longer to grow back every time.

Downstairs, Sandra was locked in one of her numerous morality conflicts. She probably shouldn't have flamed Jack. Probably. She swore that his eyebrows were taking longer to grow back every time.

Although it was fun.

Seeing him flail about and scream in his girly voice.

Along with everyone else, flailing about on fire under a blood-red sky filled with the souls of the damned and fountains of gore and viscera...

Sandra shook her head, trying to shift the images from her mind. It seemed that demonic daydreams were not very fun.

In a kind of 'slathered-in-gore-whilst-drinking-the-blood-of-the-innocent-and-inhaling-the-souls-of-the-insane' way.

Sandra sighed. Being a Demon could really put a crimp on your day.

There were some perks. The pyrokenisis was fun, and the tail was very handy. Not to mention the ability to fly. Of all the aspects of Sandra's new body, the wings were probably her favourite.

However, as with all things, there were two sides to the coin.

The nightmares.

The claws.

The fangs.

The Acidic bodily fluids, and the multitude of problems it brought about.

But that wasn't the only thing.

Sandra wouldn't have told anyone else, but each and every day she was terrified.

Terrified.

Not in the "Oh dear there's a cockroach in the kitchen" way but in the sort of "makes you want to scream and scream and scream and tear yourself away and find a deep dark hole in the ground where you could hide forever" way.

A few years ago, Sandra had been trapped in Sam's world and had been killed. But she didn't die, she had gone into a sort of demonic autopilot, ripping her way through the natives and draining them of their flesh and muscle to rebuild.

It had scared her.

She knew that whatever had been in control then had done terrible things.

Furthermore, she knew it wasn't gone...


Chapter 4

The day went on.

The sun proceeded in it's way from the east to the west, as it is wont to do, dragging the twilight with it.

There was peace, for the time being.

Jack and Wally were at opposite sides of the room, still at loggerheads, although in a quiet, 'I'm going to sit here staring at you to make sure that you know beyond any possible doubt that I dislike you severely' kind of way.

Sam, as usual, was watching the television. Since Sam was an ex-cartoon himself, he was something of a connoisseur on all things theatrical. Albeit a very cynical, scathing connoisseur.

Crystal was sat next to Sam, occasionally interrupting Sam's long and exhaustive derisive critique with noncommittal sounds of agreement. She had learnt long ago not to argue with Sam, but instead tune him out and try to enjoy the show.

Sandra was sat in the kitchen, staring into space with a mug of coffee.

Sandra often found herself very bored. Being a demon confined her to the house most of the time, and since she didn't need to eat of drink, her options were limited.

On most nights, Sandra would have been watching television.

But Sam was in one of his moods, and as much as Sandra craved social contact, even the most isolated and hypersocial of good listeners wouldn't be able to resist setting Sam on fire when he got into one of his more involved TV-bashing episodes.

Sandra still thought that there was something fundamentally wrong about setting your alternate self from another dimension on fire.

Had you have found Sandra a few years prior to her transformation and told her that one day she would forego television for fear of setting her lagomorphic counterpart from another dimension on fire using the power of her mind, she most probably would have given you a stare that spoke volumes about her concern of the state of your mental health.

Which explains that Sandra was almost relieved to hear the cacophony of thuds and clanks that was the unique sound of a large creature hitting the roof of the house and subsequently falling off.

Almost immediately, everyone stopped whatever they had been doing, and simultaneously looked to the door.

Sandra was the closest, and so she stepped cautiously into the hallway, trying very hard not to clop.

Wally's features blurred as he silently shifted into his wolf form, and Jack's plaid shirt started to flow in its vague, ethereal way, as it always did when Jack was particularly vigilant.

There were three, painfully slow thuds on the door, which after a moment Sandra realized, were knocks. Someone wanted in. Sandra silently mouthed at Crystal. Take a look.

Crystal nodded to Sandra, and strode purposefully to the door, the tension in the household rising with every step.

There was a moment of complete and utter silence as Crystal looked through the peephole. Four people collectively held their breaths as Crystal stayed in position for a long few moments.

At long last, Crystal turned away from the door and stared at Sandra, wide-eyed and speechless. Sandra raised a few questioning eyebrows.

"I think...I think you'd better get it this time, Sandra"

Crystal stepped aside, careful to avoid Sandra's hooves. Sandra looked through the peephole with slight difficultly.

She was a bit taller than Crystal and had more than the usual number of eyes.

Fearing some sort of trick, Sandra suddenly yanked the door open, giving everyone a view of the stranger.

He was wearing what could have once been a very expensive tailored suit, now tattered and shredded beyond repair. It might have been dark blue with a pristine white shirt, but it was hard to tell, as what little was left of the fabric was stained in a particularly putrid shade of brown.

The colour of dried blood.

He might have once worn expensive shoes to go with the suit, but he didn't anymore. It would have been impossible, as he no longer had feet.

His skin was covered in scales, a strange exotic mix of crimson and bright yellow, no definite pattern, but swirls and wisps of colour flowing into each other. As he moved, well-defined muscles flexing underneath gave the rather unsettling effect of making it look like a furnace was raging away under his skin.

Whereas Sandra's fingers were almost completely replaced with claws, the stranger's hands were almost completely normal, aside from the strange colouration and his fingernails, which appeared to have been subsumed into wickedly curved talons.

His face was the most alarming of all. As with Sandra, he had three eyes, and fangs, but there the similarities ended. His hair was long and, unlike Sandra's, seemed to flow freely. His irises were a vivid shade of orange and his eyebrows were incredibly thick and bushy, giving him a perpetual frown.

His entire lower face had been elongated into a snout-like protrusion. He also had a beard, a scraggly affair that clung to the sides of his face and finished at a point below his chin. He also had two long whiskers, which sprouted from just below his nostrils and hung almost to his shoulders.

In fact, he looked very much like a Chinese dragon.

Most probably because he was, in part.


Chapter 5

Several seconds passed, nobody daring to move.

Sandra was stunned.

There were others. She was not alone.

This single fundamental fact shook her world, and Sandra could feel the elation building. She wasn't alone! Someone else was like her! Someone else understood!

But as always, the little niggling doubts appeared and her fanciful dream came crashing down amongst her stripey, pointed horns.

How do you know if he's friendly?

Who's to say that he's like you?

Sandra became aware of Crystal tugging at her elbow.

"Listen!" she whispered urgently.

Sandra listened, and soon enough she too could hear it. Between painful, rasping breaths, the stranger was trying to say something.

"Heh-"

Sandra leaned in closer.

"Heh-"

Sandra wasn't telepathic, but she could guess what he was trying to say.

Help.

Still Sandra was undecided. Did he really need help? Or was it all part of an elaborate plan?

Sandra had always been the most mature of the original group of three. Crystal was too naive and Jack was too... well, Jack. Sandra had always been the skeptic, always hesitant to throw herself into things.

So much for the good it had done her.

The matter was abruptly decided for Sandra when the stranger collapsed onto her. He was much heavier than he looked.

Almost immediately, Crystal stepped forwards, but Sandra waved her back.

"He's bleeding! Quickly, the kitchen."

He certainly was bleeding. A steady hiss came from the tattered remains of his suit as it was eaten away, and soon it was gone almost completely and everyone could see the horrific injuries he had.

His torso was riddled with wounds, some half-healed, others leaking copious amounts of orange blood. There were some that were so deep that Sandra could see the carpet.

Through his chest.

He was definitely much heavier than he looked. Sandra started to drag him into the kitchen, whilst Crystal bustled past her and closed the door. Prying eyes were something that they really didn't need right now.

As she dragged him through the kitchen door, Sandra took a moment to study him a bit closer.

He was slightly taller than Sandra, even counting her horns. Speaking of which, the stranger didn't have any horns, but instead a crest of short, blunt, yellow spikes that started from between his ears and trailed down his back, along his spine and to the end of his tail, which was much shorter, albeit thicker, than her own.

His eyes were closed, but he was still mumbling things that Sandra couldn't pick out. His breathing was slow and reedy and on every breath, some of his wounds bubbled. He had a punctured lung.

Sandra was still wondering what could have happened to this man. Where on earth was he from? Was he born a demon, or was he another unfortunate soul who had fallen victim to an errant transformation spell?

And how on earth had he obtained so many injuries? Inspecting one of the bleeding craters, Sandra could have sworn that they were - "Bullet holes." Jack said bluntly. Sometimes Sandra forgot that Jack wasn't just a pervy slacker.

He was a pervy slacker who was also a wizard, imbued with many mystical and arcane powers, amongst them the power to read minds.

Sandra wasn't sure she agreed with Jack reading her mind at a time like this, but there were more pressing matters at hand, and Jack wouldn't be of any use if they had to scrape him out of the carpet.

Finally, Sandra bumped into the kitchen table. Skilfully, she picked up her mug with her tail, setting it aside without spilling a single drop. Now for the hard part.

"Eh...Wally...lift please?" Sandra asked through gritted teeth, straining. "Don't touch...the blood."

Wally didn't need to be told twice. He grabbed the stranger's ankles, careful not to touch the orange smears, and together, he and Sandra unceremoniously hefted him onto the table, which immediately groaned, protesting against the sudden weight.

"Is he..." Crystal started, wide-eyed.

Sandra slipped a claw into the crook of the stranger's neck. The pulse was faint, but still there.

"No. But he's not doing too well." Sandra stated, perhaps a trifle unnecessary.

Suddenly, a fresh outburst of racking, bubbling coughs came from the table's occupant, and Jack found a large, red and yellow claw clutching the front of his flowing plaid cloak, and a snout full of a disquieting amount of very sharp fangs alarmingly close to his own face. A snout that was now moving soundlessly, trying desperately to form words.

"Buh...Book..." Faint, but barely audible.

Sandra gave Jack a look. A look that Jack had seen before.

The look that spoke of flames, screaming, pain and general all-round unpleasantness.

"What did you do, Jack?" She spat.

"I didn't-" Jack stammered ineffectually.

"WHAT."

Sam, unnoticed as of yet, stepped closer and looked carefully at the stranger, who had once again collapsed back onto the table.

"Guys..." Sam started.

Meanwhile, Sandra and Jack were having an interesting conversation. One involving lots of threatening gestures and various amounts of threatening language.

"He's talking about a book. You have a book. Explain. Or claws, to face."

"I swear I've never seen him in my-"

"Guys?"

Sandra carried on regardless.

"Then why did he-"

Sigh.

"SANDRA!"

Sandra spun on the spot (no mean feat when one has hooves) and glared at Sam. He could feel his ears growing warm.

"He's a demon. He's very terribly injured. What do demons do when terribly injured?"

Sam could already see the realization dawning on Sandra's face. Thankfully, his ears returned to room temperature.

Jack, who was taking the opportunity whilst Sandra wasn't shouting at him to get a closer look of the visitor, noticed something rather interesting.

Namely, that the stranger's irises had disappeared.

"Oh..."

What would have followed the 'oh' is up to anyone to guess. Chances are it wouldn't have been 'dear' or anything else complimentary. The reason Jack didn't finish his sentence, and consequently the reason we shall never really be sure of what would have followed the 'oh', was that Jack found it rather difficult to speak with a very much awake and infuriated demon lifting him off the floor by his neck.


Chapter 6

Living with a demoness who is in the habit of setting you on fire more than twice a day, combined with the power to restore yourself incredibly quickly to full health can give you a very high pain threshold.

That being said, there is nothing remotely un-painful in being lifted off the floor by your neck by a demon who was injured, angry and had enough sharp, pointy teeth to make a crocodile blush. And a multitude of sharp talons that were dangerously close to Jack's cateroid artery.

Not to mention that he was pissed off something fierce.

The demon growled. In the sort of way that all demons do when they are angry enough to start lifting people off the floor and growl.

Jack's day had taken a turn for the worse, yet again.

Jack grabbed the massive red and yellow wrist of the massive red and yellow fist that was clamped around his trachea, desperately trying to move it. It was like trying to shift concrete. He could feel his vision fading as the lack of oxygen started to reach his brain...

Sandra, who until a scant few seconds ago was prepared to burn Jack into a pile of incandescent slag, curled her legs under her and pounced, moving so fast that she was barely a blur, slamming shoulder-first into the Demon's stomach, knocking him clear of the kitchen table and freeing Jack.

The Demon, now irrevocably pissed off beyond all possible belief, roared and tore Sandra off himself. The two immediately descended into a boiling frenzy of claws and hooves, slashing and tearing wildly at each other, moving faster than the eye could follow.

Meanwhile, outside of the fearsome melee, Crystal and Sam were dragging a comatose Jack out of the kitchen. Although Sandra had saved Jack from having his windpipe crushed into a chunky paste, the sudden removal of the razor sharp talons had unfortunately gashed open his jugular.

Crystal wasn't anywhere near Jack's level of magical prowess, when push came to shove, she could pull off a decent healing spell. And at the moment, Push hadn't just come to shove, Push had just taken a shit through Shove's letterbox.

Wally, although relatively small as werewolves go, could still be rather handy in a scrap. Unfortunately, Wally was helpless as the two demons fought, each moving so fast and so close that Wally was just as likely to wound friend than foe.

Sandra was in trouble. The Demon was much stronger than her, even if she was perhaps a touch faster and more agile, blocking or dodging most of his attacks.

Even so, she was slowly being beaten back towards a wall, which was decidedly not very good.

The Demon tried for a downwards slash, but Sandra raced to parry it, taking the force of the blow on her forearm. The Demon was very strong indeed, and it was a stroke of luck that he was already weakened from his previous injuries, or this fight would have ended a great deal earlier. He could probably have killed her in a single blow, she thought as she moved out of the way of another thunderous punch, if only he could get it to connect.

And if Sandra could actually die, too.

Finally, The Demon overstepped, exposing a vulnerable flank, and Sandra drove her outstretched claws forwards, tearing a huge chunk out of The Demon's side and dousing a completely innocent kitchen chair with acidic blood.

The Demon screamed, and being a demon, he could scream something fierce.

Crystal had hurriedly finished healing Jack's throat and was now slapping his face with increasing urgency to wake him up. Unnoticed in the corner, the kitchen chair slowly dissolved and collapsed into a soggy heap of woodpulp and liquefied chipboard.

"Euargle." said Jack experimentally. The dull burning in his throat was fading, and soon it had gone as he wiped the scars away completely. His plaid cloak shifted and twisted, then lifted Jack off the floor and onto his feet.

In the kitchen, the fight was beginning to go in Sandra's favour as the Demon started to falter, his wounds and the loss of blood slowing him down. At last, Sandra spotted an opening and went for the neck.

What happened next was so fast that not even Sandra could have avoided it. As she stepped into the blow, the Demon suddenly grabbed her wrist, twisted and brought his knee up into her elbow with terrifying speed.

There was a gut-wrenching snap and Sandra fell back, howling and clutching her broken left arm, which now hung limp and useless. Talons outstretched, the Demon bore down for the kill, bellowing his triumph.

Until Wally jumped him from behind and wrestled him to the floor, repeatedly punching him in the ribs and hanging on for dear life as the Demon thrashed and twisted.

Sandra was hurting badly. Very badly.

Funny how having your left elbow shattered can do that sometimes.

Sandra now needed to heal herself before her demonic alter-ego took control and she went on a berserk feeding frenzy. The gang could barely handle one hungry demon, Sandra had a nagging suspicion that they might not be able to deal with two.

Sandra knew that Wally probably couldn't last very long against the Demon, but she also knew that she wouldn't either with a broken arm. Sam and Crystal obviously couldn't help very much, and for all she knew, Jack was still unconscious, maimed and/or dead.

"Sandra!"

Or not.

Jack hurriedly put up a magical barrier around himself and Sandra as he took a look at Sandra's arm. Sandra hissed as Jack prodded it a bit too hard, but she held back from toasting him. For now, at least. Roasting Jack would seem a bit petty with the current circumstances being as they were. Jack couldn't directly heal Sandra, but he could heal himself, and Sandra needed flesh...

Jack hesitated for a second before he rolled up his sleeve and held out his arm. Sandra's expression softened, and she looked into Jack's eyes for a few long moments. Jack nodded imperceptibly.

"Thank you, Jack."

She slowly wrapped her long, slender and surprisingly nimble claws around Jack's arm, being careful not to accidentally cut him. Jack shivered, although whether this was from fear or the fact that Sandra's touch was very cold was hard to tell.

"I'll count to three."

Jack nodded, clenching his teeth.

"One... Two..."

He had known it would be painful, but that didn't stop him from screaming as Sandra drew out the muscle and bone marrow that she needed. In her defence, she did try to make it as quick as possible.

"Three."

At last it was finished. Jack whimpered as he healed himself, fresh tissue forming to fill the gap, emancipated skin and muscle regenerating.

Whilst all this had been going on, Sam and Crystal had been doing the smart thing.

That is, hiding in the living room. The sounds of the battle were muffled by the walls, but they could both clearly hear Jack screaming, and heavy thumps as someone's head or possibly snout was repeatedly slammed into the floorboards.

There was a yell, several nasty tearing noises and a strangled curse. Then silence, broken only by several sets of ragged breathing.

"Is it over?" Crystal plaintively asked.

In answer, someone threw Wally through the wall.


Chapter 7

Not into the wall. Through.

Wally landed on top of the couch in a big, furry pile of comatose werewolf.

The wall between the kitchen and the living room now had a large, almost comically werewolf-shaped hole in it, through which Crystal could now see Sandra grappling with the Demon.

One thing to remember, if you want to not anger a demon.

Don't throw people through walls.

More specifically, don't throw their friends through their kitchen walls.

It tends to make them angry.

Very angry, in fact.

Angry enough to set things on fire.

Sandra tensed as she felt the familiar tingling start from some indefinite point below her ribcage. Soon the tingling became warmth, and soon the warmth became a searing wave of heat that spread through her like wildfire, filling her completely and reaching to her extremities before falling back upon itself and concentrating.

For the first time that evening (amazingly), her irises faded, leaving her eyes disturbingly blank, her lips peeled back, revealing fangs locked in a fierce snarl.

The concentrated ball of heat in her core writhed and seethed within it's boundaries, then exploded and dissipated, leaving Sandra suddenly cold for a moment.

Sandra fully expected the Demon to burst into flame, scream, roll around or collapse in agony. Maybe all at once, if she was lucky.

In fact, none of that happened.

Instead, the Demon smiled. Hardly usual behaviour when someone has just tried to set you on fire.

Sandra tensed. There was something distinctly sinister going on here, and the attempted flaming had left her more weary than usual.

In fact, she was getting very tired. Too tired.

A dizzying wave of nausea broke over her, and the room started to sway in several directions at once, as it has a habit of doing when you've had one pint too many.

Sandra's hooves fell from underneath her and she tumbled awkwardly, painfully pinning her tail beneath her as she fell.

The Demon drew another deep, shuddering breath, several of the wounds on his chest bubbling, and Sandra felt another bout of queasiness assaulting her.

Convulsive spasms shook her frame and she rolled awkwardly on her side and dry-heaved.

It was probably for the best, the carpet was going to need enough cleaning as it was.

Sandra's eyes rolled back into her head as a surge of cold materialized in her abdomen, an icy hand seizing her ribcage and squeezing, crushing the life out of her.

Sandra contorted, whispering soundless screams as she fought for air.

But it was no use. She was too tired to fight, and soon the struggle ceased.

Her vision faded into a hazy, indistinct shade of purple, and then into a calming, final whiteness...

It could be regarded as somewhat ironic that The Demon, who came so very close to killing (as much as it is possible too) Sandra, also saved her, in the midst of the very act of killing her, no less.

Such is the nature of the universe.


Chapter 8:

The Demon, whose name was unpronounceable in syllables made for human voices, was pleased.

There had been times where the Unnamable had been worried, afraid that he might have lost, and been cast back into hell, out of this fresh host, this delightfully ripe and colourful world upon which he could unleash a ravenous horde of fire and death.

The fight had been challenging. Had the Unnamable had been bound into the host properly, if the soul of the shell had been properly extinguished beforehand, if he had been at his full, realized potential, the battle would have lasted less than a few seconds.

Well, maybe not just a few seconds. The wizard who the unnamable had sought was a powerful one. Nowhere near that of some of the old Taoist monks had been, but in this age his aura shone brightest. Luckily for the unnamable, he seemed not to have realized his own power, only casting a few meager shielding spells, which the Unnamable had shattered with ridiculous ease.

And a fellow demon! The Unnamable did not recognize her heritage, although her stripes were not entirely unlike a particular minor Demoness who he had once helped to incite rebellion amongst the American Colonialists.

In any case, she seemed to be in much the same situation as himself, trapped within a host body not correctly marked and prepared.

It had been a surprise when she had attacked him, but the Unnamable came to realize this was because she was dormant, and apparently had been for a long time. The host, filthy and unworthy, had taken control of the body and had now clawed a chunk from his flank.

And then, just as things had looked at their worst, the sudden flow of psychothermic energy had come out of the blue, like a blessing from Lucifer himself.

As the Unnamable fed upon this unexpected outburst of mago-plasmic ambrosia, he traced it back to it's source, eyes widening in shock when he discovered the thread attached to the Other Demon. To be able to use the Demoness' gifts whilst she slumbered?

That could only mean one thing.

The host had been so ill-prepared, the conditions of binding so convoluted, that the Demoness had not been summoned so much as bound into the soul of the host itself.

The Unnamed sighed. He had been habouring thoughts of recruiting her as a lieutenant, but he could see now that the Demoness was not dormant, but comatose, unable to form a corporeal consciousness, reduced to a mere vessel for the host to tap into, almost as if the human had been summoned into the demon instead!

There was probably an irony in that.

In any case, she was a threat to the Unnamable, and as such had to die.

Conveniently, just as he had come to this conclusion, he had finished processing the mago-plasmic energy, his host shell completely healed, devoid of scarring or any nasty remaining wounds.
It was then, just as the Unnamable was bringing his claws down, positioned as to puncture the three eyes and expunge the Demoness' soul, or what little was left of it, that it all went wrong, as if due to some inscrutable cosmic law, perhaps named after a fellow named 'Murphey'.

The host awoke from the slumber that it had been in since the trauma of the binding.


Chapter 9

Pain.

That was the first thing that Bryan felt.

Pain.

Excruciating, unbearable agony. The kind of pain that makes you want to tear at your own flesh, rend and rip and destroy yourself just to take your mind off the pain, just to get a few precious moments of respite.

It hurt quite a bit.

Bryan did the only thing he could.

He screamed.

***

Sandra, drained and defeated, her vision blurry, tried to flex her legs, move her arms, get out of the way, do anything.

Nothing, save a lethargic flick of the tail.

Sandra had contemplated death before, right at the beginning, after she first met Broadshoulders. To have her hopes put up and then crushed so completely...

She hadn't told Jack or Crystal, but she had tried to slit her wrists afterwards.

All for nothing, of course, as she healed almost instantly. And to top it off, she had bled all over Crystal's favourite teddy bear. She made up some rubbish about crying too much, but without even the solace of death to fall back on, Sandra felt that she would never stop crying.

She stopped harbouring thoughts of suicide after she had been to limbo, after she had seen where she would have headed.

Where she was headed now.

If Sandra had been able to, she would have wept in despair.

Ironic that she had wanted to die, but couldn't, and now, just when everything seemed to be going right, she would die, and she didn't want to.

The Demon brought his claws down, moving so fast they were barely a blur...

***

Throughout all of this dangerous and life-threatening magical confusion, Jack had been comatose. Which is a pity, since he probably would have been very interested.

In any case, after the Demon had demolished his shielding spell, he had been backhanded into the fridge, which now bore a large dent as testament.

Jack wasn't out for long, however, as being a wizard, he was incredibly resilient.

A misbalanced milk bottle upending it's contents over his head helped too.

Jack saw the dark, looming mass of the Demon above Sandra pause, his claws a few scant inches from her face.

Almost instantly, Jack knew that the Demon was going to de-summon Sandra. It probably wouldn't work on Sandra, but Jack wasn't willing to put money on it.

He pulled himself to his feet, shakily taking a few steps before he collapsed again. Something felt broken, and the broken end of his thigh sticking through his trousers probably indicated so...

***

A moment with the reader, if you will.

The irony that the Unnamable's moment of triumph, after which his plans for world domination and unspeakable acts of horror would have been put into motion, the one point where all of his greatest enemies lay broken and defeated around him, was in fact the point which led to his quick demise, is not lost upon him.

If you should ever find yourself in Hell, do ask for the Unnamable and remind him of it.

***

The Demon screamed, louder than he ever had before, clawing and ripping at his face and falling back from Sandra's prone form.

Jack and Sandra were surprised, to say the least.


Chapter 10


The Unnamable felt a surge of frustration. Until a few scant seconds ago, he had been well on his way to introducing hell on earth.

Now, he had lost control of the host, who was somehow preventing him from regaining it, something that had never happened before in the long history of demonkind.

The Unnamable was not a young demon, and he had seen many things.

But a host that regained control of the shell? It was unheard of, and as such, the Unnamable had no idea of how to regain control.

Truthfully, it would not be amiss to say that the Unnamable was a little afraid, facing something so totally unusual.

***

Bryan tore at his face again and again, trying pitifully to dislodge the strange entity, as if it were a physical cancer that he could grab a hold of and rip out.

In response, the pain behind his eyeballs got worse. It was as if an oversized hand had grasped his head and was slowly squeezing, leisurely crushing the life out of him.

Once again, the hand constricted, and the entity laughed as Bryan's movements became more frantic, his screams higher-pitched.

The entity chuckled sadistically, and the hand slackened, allowing Bryan a reprieve.

Bryan suddenly caught a brief glimpse of something vaguely purple and shimmery.

Before the hand clenched again, tighter than before.

Bryan madly grabbed at the strange, purple mist had been as his screams started anew...

***

The Unnamable made a monumental cock-up in allowing the host a second of rest.

In that one second, just before the Unnamable renewed his attack on the host's soul, the host saw the link, renewed as the wounds on the shell's face healed, and clutched at it.

The Unnamable diverted almost all of his attention to blocking the host's futile grab.

Almost instantly he realized his mistake, and he screamed in frustration.

As the host had control of the shell, he also had one end of the link, which meant that if he had just severed that link, then...

***

To put a long and unnecessary complex techno-magi explanation aside, the link reversed itself, the mago-plasmic energy returned straight back to the source.

There was an audible crackle as a tentacle of eldritch lightning leaped from the howling demon's torso, whizzing around the room, setting fire to the fruit basket and finally sinking into Sandra's chest.

The demon didn't take it too well, as the healing process fueled by the mago-plasmic energies went into reverse. The demon howled as old wounds re-opened, gouts of orange blood pouring from the demon's trunk and flank, causing a mess comparable to the Oktoberfest.

Finally, drained, defeated and exhausted, the Unnamable collapsed, releasing Bryan from his mental torture and offering him the comfort of unconsciousness.

***

Sandra opened her eyes. Several things came to mind almost immediately, but the most prominent was the fact that she was completely revitalized, and that the Demon was still alive.

Well, one of those was going to have to change.

To be continued...