Authors: Penelope King
Tags: #urban fantasy, #love, #suspense, #poetry, #paranormal romance, #fantasy, #magic, #teens, #witches, #dark, #demons, #new, #series, #edgy, #young adult fiction, #modern fantasy, #good evil, #fantasy adventure demons warlords magic parallel worlds mystical creatures
A Demon Made Me Do
This book is a work of fiction. The
names, characters, places, and events are products of the writer’s
imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be
construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead,
actual events, locales or organizations is entirely
All rights are reserved. No part of
this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever
without written permission from the author.
The poems of Lord Byron, William
Blake, and Paul Laurence Dunbar are used under the fair use act and
are in the public domain.
Whoever says Hell is the worst place
imaginable obviously never spent a day at Dove Creek High School.
There needs to be an inscription on its front gates reading,
“Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”
Somewhere in the back of my mind is
the soft hum of my teacher’s voice, but I pay no attention to his
words. The clock on the wall ticks by so slowly I swear it actually
stops a few times. I close my eyes and try to imagine a happier
place—anywhere but here, doing anything but wasting my life
pretending to belong in a world that hates me.
According to Dante, the
eighth circle is reserved for those who have committed treacherous
acts of fraud and deceit…” Mr. Sodenberg drones. I love how he has
the ability to make a journey through Hell seem less interesting
than a trip to the dentist.
To be fair, I’d already
I was eight years old as part of my early demonhood education.
Although that was nearly nine years ago, I still have perfect
recall of each and every word, as with anything else I’ve ever
read. Listening to it being discussed in class is as exciting as
re-learning the alphabet without all the fun of singing the catchy
tune that goes along with it.
I half-open one eye to peek outside
the window. Bare bones of tree branches tremble in the wind. Soon
it will be winter. Soon the snow will come. Then, not only will I
be stuck inside a classroom for most of the day, my lazy afternoons
in the woods will be limited even more. I’ll be trapped in the
small cabin I share with Tatiana, my guardian.
Trapped. Story of my life.
Trapped in this classroom, trapped in
my body, trapped in the daylight, trapped in this false world.
Trapped in limbo with no escape in sight.
It’s cold outside, so when my skin
starts suddenly warming up, I know something’s wrong. As the
sun-burning sensation slowly spreads up my neck, I begin to
No, no, please no.
Liora Greyson!” Mr.
Sodenberg’s angry voice and a book cracking against his podium
snaps me to attention. I raise my head from the cradle of my arms
and shoot him an icy glare.
What?” My voice doesn’t
belong to me anymore. It sounds like me, but it’s not.
He scowls at me from behind
his reading glasses. “I’m sorry if our discussion on Dante’s
with your naptime.” The rest of the class titters, except for my
friend Corrine Wilson, who looks at me with concern.
Yeah, mind keeping it
Whah Whah Whah
. That’s what you sound like.” I can’t stop the words coming
out. My heart sinks and I close my eyes. Realizing I still
over my own body, I place a hand over my mouth. But it’s too late;
the damage has already been done.
Shocked gasps mix with nervous laughs
and disapproving sneers. Mr. Sodenberg’s face puffs up red and his
normally squinty eyes look like they’re about to pop out of their
Great. What else is new?
and you tell him that you
are no longer welcome in my classroom. I will not tolerate this
type of behavior.”
.” My hand rises to my head and
gives a snappy salute before I’m able to force it back down. I grab
my book bag, ignoring the superior looks from my classmates. They
enjoy seeing me get in trouble, as if watching the weird-freak-girl
getting punished for being a weird-freak-girl makes them feel
better about their simple, ordinary lives. But no matter how
strange they think I might be, they’d be
if they knew the real
As they should be.
A cool blast of air stings my face as
I trudge down the school’s breezeway. I zip up my jacket and debate
walking right past the principal’s office and right off
I lean against a rusted locker while
weighing my options. Either deal with a smart-mouthed demon
hijacking my body and getting me in trouble, or, face an angry
witch waiting for me at home if I ditch again.
Dante never covered this
part in his guidebook through the nine circles of Hell. He only
wrote of going to a place where demons punished sinners
Nowhere does he mention the personal hell of having to share a body
with a living demon who could torment at will, but I’m sure he
would have appreciated the cruel irony. Perhaps this could have
been his ‘tenth circle’.
After a few moments I decide to take
my chances with the principal. My body temperature feels back to
normal, so I think I’m safe for now. I can only pray. The
secretary, Ms. Fleming, doesn’t even ask why I’m in here, she just
gives me her usual hateful glare. I take a seat on an ugly orange
chair, stare at the old Civil War photographs on the wall, and
ignore her dirty looks.
Principal Winters opens his door and
clears his throat. “Miss Greyson, come in.” He definitely isn’t
happy to see me. But that’s the reaction of most people. Some, like
Ms. Fleming, openly despise me. Others try to act nice, but I can
always tell they feel uncomfortable. It’s all about the eye
contact—or lack thereof. People tend to look off to the side when
speaking to me, or just glance for a nanosecond before averting
their gaze. Maybe eyes really are the windows to the soul, and they
don’t want to see how ugly mine is.
So, Liora, what brings you
here today?” He relaxes in his chair as if we’re going to have a
nice chat about the weather, his eyes focusing on the wall behind
I actually like Mr. Winters. He sort
of reminds me of Santa Claus, and unlike his repulsive secretary,
he genuinely seems to care about the students. I even give him some
credit for trying to be nice to me.
I may have nodded off in
English class. Mr. Sodenberg wasn’t happy about it.”
Ahh, yes.” He nods as if
he understands completely. “Are you feeling all right?”
How are things at
His smile fades. “How is your
grandmother these days? I know you take care of her by yourself and
that must be quite a burden for you.”
She’s great. Absolutely no
trouble at all.”
He frowns, determined to
solve me…to fix me.
Yeah, good luck with
Are you bored in your
Why, yes. Yes I am,
Principal Winters. I am bored out of my freakin’ mind! This place
makes me stupider by the minute!
No, I’m fine. Academically
challenged. Intellectually stimulated.”
He ignores my sarcasm. “I’m going to
be straight with you, Liora. I’m becoming very concerned with your
That makes two of
this is the fourth time
you’ve been sent here in the last two weeks. Skipping classes, the
incident in gym…”
I told you, that fight
wasn’t my fault,” I interrupt, but there’s no point in arguing. I’m
pretty sure he won’t buy my ‘a-demon-made-me-do-it’ excuse, but I’m
half-tempted to say it anyway. But then he’ll just send me to the
school guidance counselor
and she’ll tell Tatiana she’s concerned with my
. Tatiana will have to smooth things over
and get mad at me
He leans forward in his chair and
shuffles some papers on his desk. “There is no question you are
academically gifted. Your test scores are consistently the highest
in your class and your grades impeccable, despite your apparent
lack of effort. Your future is wide open for any number of
incredible educational and professional opportunities, if you so
desired. Yet you don’t appear to care at all, and this concerns me.
You seem to enjoy mocking anyone who tries to help you. I just wish
I knew where this poor attitude of yours comes from.”
Trust me, you don’t want
. “I’m sorry. I’ll try to do better.
More caring, less mocking. I promise.” I force a smile and hope
that’s the end of it.
But my optimism quickly turns into
dread when the familiar stinging creeps up from my stomach, over my
chest, and down my arms and legs. She’s back.
I need to get away from here.
Unfortunately, Principal Winters still wants to chat. He opens a
file and carefully peruses its contents. I shift uncomfortably in
my seat and take several deep breaths, focusing all of my energy on
remaining present and in control.
I am Liora Greyson… I am
Liora Greyson… I am Liora Greyson.
But Her electric threads of fire
spread throughout my body like a swarm of army ants marching to
battle. A battle I will lose.
Have you given any more
thought to your plans after graduation? Mrs. Collins has reported
you’ve skipped all of your college prep counseling appointments. As
a senior, you don’t have much time left to get your applications
in. I have taken the liberty of finding some schools…”
I am Liora Greyson. I am
human. I am here. This is my time, not yours
My silent chant goes unheeded. It’s
futile to ever try to fight Her. Her energy overtakes me and again
I’m nothing more than a mere spectator—a silent, powerless
passenger in my own body. She fixes my gaze hypnotically on Mr.
Winters, who instantly freezes and stares back.
Mister Winters, excuse
Winters, thank you for your concern, but there’s no need to
worry about me anymore. I have things figured out and will be just
fine. I’m leaving now, and you won’t stop me. In fact, you’ll
forget you even saw me today. Everything’s cool as far as Liora
Greyson is concerned. She’s your favorite student. You
her.” My voice
sounds sweeter than sugar drenched in honey.
Still holding the file in midair, Mr.
Winters nods robotically.
You may speak.”
you…th-th-thank you for c-coming in. P-please let me know if I can
h-h-help you with anything…anything at all…”
Thank you, kind sir, I’ll
be sure to do that. You have a nice day, now. Ta ta,” I sing and
exit his office. One look at Ms. Fleming silences her into
submission, and she stares at me like a petrified toad.
Somewhere between the
dried-up flower beds outside the offices and the cracked sidewalk,
Her invading force recedes, allowing me to regain control. But
I’m staying in school for the rest of the day with Her acting
up, regardless of the consequences waiting for me at
Fighting back tears of
frustration, I weave my way through the collection of old pick-up
trucks and rusty hand-me-downs populating the student parking lot,
my mind a muddled mess. Why is She showing up when it’s not her
turn? Nighttime belongs to her, but the day belongs to
And why is Tatiana
forcing me to participate in this ridiculous charade of being a
normal teenage girl anyway? Clearly it’s impossible. I am
normal and trying to act as if I am is nothing more than a
masochistic exercise in futility.