The Demon Slayer©
“Kynan Acheron, do you have any idea what time it is?” Arial Alexander scolded from the doorway of the living room. Kynan looked up from his book at his mother to find her strong but thin arms crossed, her thin frame standing up straight with authority. His dark silver eyes traced her thin face, searching for signs of annoyance. There were none. Shifting his position on the worn black sofa, he smiled at her modestly.
“Come on, Mother, one more chapter?” he asked, holding up his Demonology book. Arial brushed a few thick black curls away from her deep violet eyes as they began to glow with a type of motherly influence.
“It’s late, Ky.” She placed her hands on her hips, making it clear this was his last warning. With a groan and a small smirk at his defeated effort, Kynan marked his place and stood.
“Fine, Mother. I’ll let you win this round,” he said with a hint of sarcasm in his tone. Arial smiled softly before brushing the straight black locks away from Kynan’s eyes and placing a gentle kiss on his forehead.
“I always win, darling.” She said in an airy voice, “In fact, because I won, I want you to spend some time outdoors tomorrow. You’re looking rather pale.”
Kynan wanted to roll his eyes, but he didn’t dare. Lord only knew his mother was always right. After kissing her cheek goodnight, Kynan shuffled to his room, shutting the door gently. Before he climbed into the black sheeted twin bed, he snatched his flashlight from his nightstand, reopening to the place in his book where he left off. Mom really won’t mind if I just read a little bit more, he thought to himself.
For most of the night, Kynan was absorbed into the world of demons and their likenesses. The crisp mountain air flowed through his open window like a river, the November chill keeping the room just cool enough for Kynan to stay awake. All around him, the dark red bedroom walls appeared black, the color erased by the glow of the flashlight. After a few hours, his eyes were beginning to droop. Closing his book and discreetly placing it on his nightstand again, Kynan shut off the flashlight and brushed the hair from his face.
As he got out of bed to grab his black hoodie and shut his window, he felt odd. His stomach was slightly uneasy, as if he had eaten too much at dinner. In an attempt to shake off the feeling, he crawled back into bed, curling up tight under the comforter for warmth. Kynan was about to crash into oblivion when there was a deafening disturbance that broke the silence of the house. He heard glass tinkle to the floor like wind chimes, and his eyes shot open. An unpleasant chill ran up his spine and across his skin like wildfire. The feeling in his gut was worse than before, churning with the unpleasantness of something similar to the flu.
“Mother?” Kynan called out into the darkness. A bit of clatter followed his call, followed by a lot of slamming and shouting. Swallowing hard, Kynan stood up and walked over to his bedroom door, opening it just a crack in order to peer down the short hallway toward the living room. It was still dimly lit, and Ky could hear a faint whimpering sound accompanied by heavy, angry breathing. Cautiously, he squeezed his fourteen-year old body through the slight opening and crept down the length of the hallway, stopping at the edge of the wall. There was a roar of rage before a wooden chair flew past him and crashed into the wall to his left. He winced and ducked his five-foot-six-inch form lower.
“I can give you anything you want. Just stop, please. You don’t need them,” Arial begged. Kynan turned his senses on full alert, doing his best not to make his presence known.
“I don’t wish for anything you can offer me, woman. Tell me where they are,” a dark, growling voice demanded. Kynan’s stomach rolled violently. Arial said nothing.
“Answer me!” the voice screamed in rage. Kynan clamped his hands over his ears and shut his eyes for a minute. Who in the hell was this guy, and what in God’s name did he want with his mother?
“I’m not giving them up.” Arial’s voice wavered slightly.
“Then you shall die this night,” the voice snarled viciously. Ky’s eyes widened slightly while fear sank into his blood.
“Please,” Arial begged, but her voice was cut off by a piercing scream and an intense white flash. The sound of Arial’s scream made Kynan’s stomach lurch violently while sweat dripped from his forehead. I should be out there, he thought desperately, trying to convince himself to go defend his mother. He knew he was out of time when the flash faded.
“Mother?” he choked breaking the ominous silence. There was no answer. Hesitantly peaking around the wall, Kynan was greeted with the revolting stench of death, blood, and burning flesh. On the couch was Arial’s mangled body, charred and bloody. Yanking himself back behind the wall, Kynan sank to his knees and dry heaved while a few tears ran down his cheeks. Dear God, what have I just done, Kynan groaned to himself.
From the kitchen, there was the slamming of a back door. Kynan froze on the ground, fearing that the strange man had come back to look for him. He choked on a whimper while he waited for a sound.
“Kynan? Arial?” Xzander’s voice echoed off the walls of the house. Ky sagged in relief at his father’s voice, but he didn’t dare answer. He felt like a coward for letting his mother die.
There was a strained silence while Xzander looked around the bloody massacre in his living room. Again, Ky peaked out from the hallway just in time to watch his father’s six-foot-four inch form crash to his knees. Carefully, his shaking hands reached out to touch Arial’s body. His pain was written all over his face.
“Arial?” he choked. Two single tears ran down his face, and Kynan felt his heart shatter. His father never cried, not ever. After a moment of tense silence, Xzander rose to his full height, his steel gray eyes gleaming with Hell-like rage. Pulling at his short brown hair, as if on the verge of a nervous breakdown, Xzander threw his head back, and roared, rattling the windows and walls.
Clapping his hands over his ears, Kynan shot like a bullet for his bedroom and slammed the door behind him, diving into his bed and covering his head with his pillow. Several minutes later, when Kynan thought that silence had taken place of the screaming, he uncovered his head and listened. He could still hear his father’s quiet sobs. Feeling shame and guilt travelling through his heart, Kynan buried his face back into the pillow and silently cried along with him.
“Kynan!” Xzander’s voice broke through the soundless void of the house.
Ky jolted out of his sleep as if he were struck by lightning, sweat dripping from his forehead as the nightmare he’d been crawling through faded into nothing. His normally dark silver eyes were bloodshot and looked thunder cloud gray from lack of sleep, and he all around felt like crap. Regardless of his condition, Kynan squirmed free of his bed sheets to meet his father’s call. After throwing on a pair of dark jeans and a white t-shirt, Kynan trudged heavily into the living room to come face to face with Xzander’s icy stare. Kynan wanted to shrink back, but he held himself still. It was time to be a man. At least the smell of death had faded from the air.
“Your mother was murdered last night, Kynan,” his father stated softly but firmly. Kynan gulped. His father had gotten right to the point.
“I know, Father.” He said. “I was a witness.”
For a moment, Xzander just stared at him, as if trying to see through him and find proof of a lie, tracing his features with a steel gray gaze. Kynan didn’t dare to look away.
“Where were you hiding?” his father inquired.
“In the hallway, behind the wall,” Kynan answered quietly. There was another long, strained silence, and Kynan began to sweat again. Just hit me already, he thought. He wasn’t sure why it crossed his mind; Xzander had never laid a harmful hand on him before. Surprisingly, Kynan’s father placed a strong hand on his shoulder.
“Thank God for that,” he sighed in relief. Kynan’s anger began to boil at his father’s reaction.
“How can you say that?” Kynan snapped. “I should have helped her!”
“I’m glad that you didn’t.” Xzander took his hand away and sat on the newly cleaned couch. Arial’s body was gone, as if it had never existed.
“I was a coward, Father. I let her die. I should have helped her,” Kynan growled in shame. He decided to stay standing. Sitting on that furniture was likely to make him vomit. He was already feeling nauseous to begin with.
“You have no idea,” his father said sternly, “what you would have gone up against, Kynan.”
“What was it?” Kynan muttered after a minute or two under his father’s glare.
Xzander reclined against couch, his fingers caressing the fabric where Arial had taken her final breath. Kynan kept his mouth shut, giving his father time to come up with an answer. When his father finally spoke, his voice was hard, causing Kynan to jump a little.
“His name is Jaxon, and he is a ruthless demon.”
“So just hunt him down.” Kynan noticed his own voice seemed childish and ignorant for a fourteen-year old. Of course it couldn’t be that simple.
“Jaxon is an older species of demon; one of Hell’s finest,” his father stated as a matter of fact. “He is hard to track and harder to defeat. Jaxon is a nasty cheater.”
Kynan shook his head in disgust while he stared at the bay window to the left. The sun was high now, the light glinting through the dying trees of the forest and bouncing off the thin layer of frost on the grass. Mom always loved winter, he thought solemnly. With a sideways glance, he noticed his father was watching the frost glitter in the rising light as well.
“We can’t let this go so easily,” Ky muttered after a few heartbeats of stillness. Xzander nodded slowly.
“You’re right about that,” he agreed. He didn’t dare pull his eyes away from the outside scene. It was as if he could see Arial outside with the frost sprinkled among the locks of her black curls, her face alight with laughter. Kynan’s own heart skipped a beat at the mirage.
“So what do we do?” Kynan watched his father intently, tearing his eyes away from the window. Xzander had an answer to everything, being the head demon slayer of the area. Letting the bastard live wasn’t an option. Surely his father understood that. Minutes passed.
“Go grab your knife, son.” Xzander growled menacingly.
“We’re going to take on God’s second greatest mistake.”
“Meaning?” Kynan inquired, taken aback by his father’s sudden change of heart.
“We’re going hunting.”
For the next several days, Kynan and his father tracked through the Cascade Mountains, looking for any trace of the demon. They found absolutely nothing. However, the trips weren’t completely worthless. Xzander spent a great deal of time teaching Kynan how to hunt properly and kill if needed. It helped Kynan feel empowered. It gave him a sense of pride knowing that he was going to be a very skilled assassin when it was time for him to assume his father’s role.
On the ninth day of hunting, Xzander and Kynan left home earlier than usual, just as the sun was rising above the trees. Not a single moment could be wasted while Jaxon prowled the earth, possibly taking the lives of several more innocent people. For the longest time, at least until high noon, they trudged through the frosty grass, the blades snapping with soft crunches as their weight pressed down. The early winter air was frigid and icy, calling for a strong and brutal winter. Kynan did his best not to complain. He’d worn the proper attire; a black hoodie and black cargo pants. It wasn’t as if he was cold though. His blood was alight with fiery hatred for his mother’s murderer. He would find Jaxon, and that bastard would die.
“How will you kill him, Father?” Kynan murmured once the sun was beginning to set. Still, they hadn’t found a thing.
“It’s not an easy thing; killing an elder demon. He has to have a weakness. Our goal is to find out what it is,” Xzander grunted, scanning the landscape for any signs of life. Kynan looked over his shoulder in another direction before breaking his stride and stopping.
“What’s the matter?” Xzander asked looking Kynan over briefly.
“I think we need to head west,” Kynan said, nodding his head in the right direction.
“How do you know?” Xzander raised a dark skeptical eyebrow.
“If you really think about Jaxon and how his brain works,” Ky began, “he must know we’re looking for him.”
“So we’ve already searched the west area thoroughly. He’ll suspect that we won’t come back. It’s common sense really,” Ky explained.
Xzander looked westward, his eyes glazed over with serious thought. Kynan thought that his father looked older since his mother’s passing. His normally buzzed brown hair was growing longer, and it was streaked with gray. His clear hard eyes were now weary and sad, as if his very soul had been torn away from his body. Death must do something to people, Kynan thought glumly, feeling a little older himself.
“Alright, I’ll trust your judgment,” Xzander agreed. Kynan smirked to himself, proud of his father’s trust in him.
It didn’t take very long to reach the western side of the woods. The property was quiet, but in an eerie sort of way. There were no birds chirping, no leaves crunching under the weight of a fleeing rabbit or deer. It was what could only be described as dead silence. Kynan felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. Something wasn’t right about this area.
“Father, can you feel that?” Kynan hissed while his bones began to rattle. Xzander looked down at him with a firm glare.
“What are you talking about?” he snapped.
“I don’t feel right. Something is wrong here,” Kynan continued quietly. His eyes traced the landscape, desperately looking for anything unusual.
“It’s nothing, Kynan,” Xzander scolded.
“Father, I can feel it.”
“Kynan Acheron, this is no time for nonsense. You’re being paranoid. Now silence yourself and start looking,” Xzander growled. Kynan’s eyes dropped to the ground in shame, tracing the melting sheets of frost.
His stomach began to roll with nausea, just as it had the night of Arial’s murder. It felt as if he’d swallowed something vile. Soon after this, the ground around him began to spin in a circle, blurring his vision until he thought he was going to faint. He felt his body swaying as he saw spots in front of his eyes.
“Kynan, what’s wrong?” His father’s voice had a strange hint of concern to it while he gripped his son’s shoulder tightly.
“Is that your offspring, Xzander Slate?” a darkly familiar voice snarled in an attempt of pleasantry. Kynan blinked a few times and scanned the trees through the dark holes in his vision.
“Show yourself, Jaxon!” Xzander snarled, hatred dripping from his tone like acid. Kynan squinted past the blur, looking for the shape of the man who killed his mother.
Seemingly from nowhere, the demon Jaxon dropped to the ground with leaves scattering around him from his hiding place in the trees.
“Xzander Slate,” Jaxon sneered, “it has been far too long.”
Shaking his head and rubbing his eyes to clear away the spots, Kynan forced the stomach bile back down. He had been a coward once. He didn’t plan on being one again. Xzander snarled at Jaxon’s expression.
“My wife wasn’t yours to claim,” his father ground out. Jaxon smiled sinisterly, revealing a row of sharp, pointed, bright razor-like teeth. At the mention of Arial, the demon’s eyes glowed bright bloody red, looking like a neon road sign as the sun bounced off of them.
“You broke your agreement with me. It was only fair that I seek retribution,” Jaxon stated simply. He shook his head to move his shoulder length, slick black hair away from his eyes. His skin seemed to glow pure white in the sunlight, making the frost on the ground look dingy and dirty. Kynan gulped. The evil flowing from this creature was nauseating. The darkness permeated Kynan’s body like deadly gas, causing his senses to go haywire. How could his father not feel this?
“I never agreed to anything,” Xzander snapped violently, stepping in front of Kynan in order to defend him.
“Oh, but you have.” Jaxon’s eyes locked onto Kynan like a homing missile to its target. “You promised me the blood of your offspring.”
Kynan choked on his next uneasy intake of oxygen, his eyes widening in disbelief at the demon’s words.
“Father?” he managed past the lump in his throat.
“It was a selfish mistake that I thought was my only option,” Xzander growled.
“You sold me to him?!” Kynan shouted in rage, his eyes watering with unwanted hot tears.
“Never intentionally, Kynan. I would never sell something as precious as my son to a creature like him.” Xzander broke stares with Jaxon to glare hard at Kynan, begging him to believe his words. His eyes were full of regret and remorse. How could Kynan not forgive him?
“Yet you still broke our deal,” Jaxon chimed in.
“So you slaughter my wife?!” Xzander roared, drawing his sword from its sheath. Jaxon smiled, pulling out a blade of his own. Kynan looked at his father’s weapon stash and saw the new blade his father had made; a pure silver blade with ruby shards in the black stone from his mother’s jewelry collection in the hilt. That’s the one you should use, the boy thought angrily.
“She was delicious to devour,” the demon chuckled. “I wonder if your son is a likeness?”
Shoving Kynan backward into the dirt to get him out of the way, Xzander lunged for the demon. On his impact with the ground, Ky’s stomach lurched, and he vomited up his breakfast into a dirt patch. He could hear the echoing clashes and clangs of weaponry, followed by harsh vile curses.
Fear gripped at Kynan’s throat suffocating him along with the overpowering sense of evil in the air. Hot tears fell from his eyes from the nausea churning his stomach into hash browns. He couldn’t focus.
“Kynan!” Xzander yelled over the ruckus around him. Kynan shook his head and attempted to stand up in order to defend himself.
“I think not, little one,” Jaxon sneered in his ear from nowhere. Kynan found himself in a headlock without warning, his throat exposed when Jaxon yanked him to his feet by the hair. Kynan bit back a curse.
“Let him go.” Xzander’s glare was frigid and deadly. Blood ran in a thick river down his face from a deep gash in his left temple.
“His blood is mine,” Jaxon growled.
“It was a mistake,” Xzander snarled. Jaxon smiled darkly and put his blade to Kynan’s jugular vein. Kynan’s stomach lurched again, his senses overwhelmed by the evil that only he could sense.
“Don’t move, boy,” Jaxon growled quietly. Kynan froze, caught between sheer anger and raw fear.
“Let go of my boy, Jaxon, or I’ll annihilate you!” Xzander’s rage was beyond controlling now.
“Don’t threaten me, slayer,” Jaxon chuckled, dragging the tip of the blade across Kynan’s throat. Ky grit his teeth and clenched his fists. One shuffle, and it would be over.
Without warning, Jaxon added pressure to Kynan’s throat, creating a four inch cut just above his collarbone. Kynan withheld a curse while Jaxon inhaled the scent of blood deeply.
“You’ll be a sweet one. Your soul is fresh and strong. No wonder your mother protected you to the grave.” Jaxon was dangerously close to the wound, his large fangs elongated. At the mention of Arial, Xzander snapped. Roaring in rage, he lunged for Jaxon.
In one fluid motion, Jaxon threw Kynan back into the dirt, causing the back of the boy’s skull to crack against a frozen rock, and shoved his dagger through Xzander’s heart.
Xzander crashed into the frozen dirt, knees first, horror written all over his features. Kynan sat up, gaping while his eyes re-flooded with angry tears. Jaxon simply beamed in pride, his bloody red eyes gleaming like rubies.
“Your payment has been made, Xzander Slate,” the demon said clearly. “It’s been a pleasure doing business with you.”
“Kynan,” Xzander managed doing his best to hold himself up. Ky locked gazes with his father, the blood from his wounds dripping into the grass, turning the frost red.
“You’re a good boy, Kynan,” his father continued, “and I’m sorry.” Xzander finished his descent into the dirt with a thud, his gray eyes dull and empty while dark red liquid seeped into the earth from his heart.
Kynan swallowed his grief while his father’s life drained away. It’s alright, Father, he thought silently.
“Now for you, little one,” Jaxon laughed. Easily, he pinned Kynan to the ground with his black boot, his blade aimed right for Ky’s heart.
“Try not to scream too loudly, boy. You’ll awaken the others, and I don’t like sharing my meals.” Jaxon, bit by bit, began to add pressure. Instead of feeling the usual sickness or fear, Kynan was enraged. A flick of his eyes caught his father’s dagger; the one with the ruby shards.
Kynan couldn’t feel the pain of Jaxon’s blade, even though blood was beginning to saturate his shirt, and the tip of the blade was almost ready to go through. He couldn’t feel the pain of his concussion and the blood matting his dark locks of hair together. The nausea was gone. The dizziness had been cleared. Instead, there as a sharp snap inside his heart and mind.
Fire began swimming through his veins at lightning speed like wildfire. His vision turned bright red, and he felt all powerful. Jaxon pulled back the dagger, ready to bring it down for the final kill, and Kynan let out a roar of his own.
With incredible ease, Kynan grabbed Jaxon’s arm and flipped him over his head, freeing himself so that he could scramble away.
“You little brat,” Jaxon snarled with all of the pleasure gone from his eyes. Kynan said nothing. He made a dash for his father’s body, snatching up the sheath with the ruby dagger inside it. He hooked the case to his belt and pulled out the blade, holding it in the ready position.
“You know nothing of weaponry, boy. Come quietly or face your worst,” Jaxon growled quietly.
“Game on,” Kynan snarled, his vision burning as hot as the blood in his veins.
Jaxon rushed the boy, but Kynan was faster. He dogged Jaxon’s swift movements, and caught the demon in the shoulder with the pure silver blade, making a deep gash. Jaxon wasted no time coming at Kynan again, rage alight on his face. This time, Kynan made a sweeping duck, and sliced through the tendons in the demon’s legs. On Earth, Jaxon was no different from any other human, and this rendered him immobile. Jaxon collapsed into the dirt, unable to use or repair his legs.
"You don’t have it in you, Kynan,” Jaxon hissed from his pool of black dirt-caked blood.
“Rot in Hell, you sick son of a bitch,” Kynan spat. Jaxon opened his mouth to retort, but his statement was cut off by a piercing screech unheard by human ears before. A shiver went up Kynan’s spine as he shoved his father’s blade into Jaxon’s heart over, and over, and over, spattering black blood everywhere. It coated his clothes, his face, and his hands, making the knife slick and hard to hold.
With a final thrust of the blade, Jaxon began to disintegrate back into the pits of the underworld. Kynan wiped the demon blood from his eyes and the blade with a clean part of his hoodie and sheathed the blade back at his hip.
Watching Jaxon turn to black dust from under his black veil of hair, Kynan screamed to the pits, his voice echoing off the trees.
"My name is Kynan Alexander! I am the demon slayer! This means war!”
Turning his back on the bloody scene after bowing respectfully to his father’s corpse, Kynan silently and solemnly made his way back toward his house. The demon slayer was now in business.
Copyright © Kat Jenning//Shade Shadows 2012-2016