Page 50 of The Demon in Him

Font Size:  

“Not one step closer, lover, or they’ll fry in front of you.”

A nerve jumped in my cheek, but otherwise, I stopped, letting my eyes yellow and hoping I could halt him with only a look. I didn’t want this to resort to violence, but he was holding Jacob’s life above my head as I knew he would, yet somehow naïvely hoped he wouldn’t.

“Tate,” I said as Emrick’s hand slid from my arm, his dark gaze on Tate and fingers twitching, itching to take his life. “We can talk.”

“Sure.” A smile lit Tate’s face, and I almost flinched. No humor, happiness, or love was there, only the darkness that lived within him, so deeply rooted it took up every part of him, brought to the surface by me. “Let’s talk. While I’ve got you here, a captive audience, there are some things I’d like to tell you.” His teeth flashed in the light as he grinned wider. “Might as well start by torturing you emotionally.”

“Let Jacob go, and we’ll talk.”

“No. We’ll talk now.” He turned to Emrick. “A little surprised to see you here,boss.”

“You have your buddy Earl to thank for that.”

Tate scowled but said nothing further about Earl, aware he’d been set up but so confident he had the upper hand, I doubted he cared much. Hedidhave the upper hand—he held innocent people hostage.

And all because of me.

“Tate,” I said, hoping that if I kept saying his name, it would reach a deep part of him that he’d forgotten, a more human part. “I’m sorry for how everything turned out. I’m sorry for what I did to you, and you deserved better than me.”

He scoffed. “You think you’re so fucking high and mighty. You’re a demon who refuses to be a demon, who insists on hiding and suppressing the very thing that makes you better than everyone else. After what you put me through, the pain of the severance, I was waiting. Waiting for the perfect time to prove to you that you were no better than any other demon, that under the right circumstances, you were just as animal and out of control as the rest of them. You should have embraced it. We could have been so good together.”


“I’ve done a lot of fucked-up things, Mike, but even I never tore men limb from limb and left them to bleed out.”

My mouth was dry, and I refused to clutch onto Emrick next to me even though the room had started to spin. I risked a glance at Jacob, and his face was whiter than before, terror ebbing through the dread. He was looking at me as the monster I truly am, the monster I tried to hide from him. No amount of getting closer, of sharing moments and happiness, could have braced him for the idea that I murdered humans.

But how did Tate know?

As if reading my mind, Tate said, “You’re wondering how I knew about the men at the drug lab?”

But I couldn’t answer. I simply shook my head, stuck between stepping away from Tate and wanting to move closer to Jacob, to drag him away from all of this.

Tate continued, clearly enjoying every second of it. “You were already losing control that night. I don’t know what the fuck you used to do to control your demon, but I don’t think it was working as well as you thought. Stumbling through the streets, halfway between demon and human, muttering and slashing at the air, I found you. At first, I didn’t think you recognized me, but on some level, you must have, my scent at least, and you went ballistic. A severed bond was still a bond, and I don’t think I’ve ever been so thrilled to be dragged into an alleyway. We fucked, Mike, like we should have been fucking all along… rough and dangerous and with blood. It was fucking glorious. Afterward, I managed to get you into my truck, and I drove you out to one of Emrick’s furthest suppliers, his cooks, where we wouldn’t be disturbed, and I let you loose on them.”

My blood ran cold, and I felt Emrick’s eyes on me. “Why?” was the only word I could choke out.

“Two birds with one stone. I got rid of one of Emrick’s labs, something he had no explanation for, another seed in destroying the businesses’ faith in his abilities, and…” his eyes yellowed, and I repressed a shudder, “… I proved that you were no better than any other demon. You’re a killer, an animal, nothing more than a monster. I wanted you to be sent back to Hell. Imagine my surprise when you weren’t.”

Emrick growled. “It doesn’t work like that, human.”

“What?” Tate barked at him.

Emrick’s lip curled into a sadistic grin, smirking as if privy to some sick irony or joke he wasn’t sharing. He glanced briefly at the ceiling of the building and chuckled. “An out-of-control demon isn’t responsible for human deaths. A demon is only punished for killing a human if it’s a conscious decision, and theychooseto take a life. That’s the difference.” He turned to me. “You harbor so much guilt for something you had no control over, and that was your savior.”

“No matter,” Tate said, waving the trigger around before smirking at me, “You had that broken memory with you, the guilt of what you had done, and that’s an even better torture.”

“I didn’t know,” I pleaded. I wanted Jacob to understand that I wasn’t a monster, and I’m no longer what I used to be. Ineededhim to understand that I wouldneverkill a human willingly.

Never again.

“Jacob, please, you have to believe me. I wasn’t in control. I wouldneverdo that. Please…” but he was simply staring at me, eyes wide and unmoving, watching the scene unfold before him. His torture and pain were mine, and every second I felt myself coming apart at the seams. “I’m bound by the rules. If I had killed those men on purpose, I wouldn’t be here.” The emotions were too much, and Tate was taking from me my second chance at love. The first time I had allowed myself to feel anything, and he had turned it against me. Rage was bubbling in my stomach with despair as I turned back to Tate. “You’rethe monster. Youchoseto condemn those men to death.”

“You’re right, I’m not bound by your rules.” His smile was twisted as his gaze shifted from me to Jacob. “I can kill whoever I want.”


Several things happened at once.