Three days later, I experienced the most severe pain I’d had yet. My muscles contracted until my body began to shake and I could feel blood vessels bursting in my arms. My body thrashed on the bed and my head slammed into the headboard, blurring my vision. I thought back to Katie’s description of the bones smashing organs until the skin was stretched so tightly that it ripped. To me, this pain was much worse than I imagined that would be. After more thrashing about on the bed and hitting my head three more times on the headboard, I fell off the bed and hit the ground hard. After that, everything got hazy and then black.
When I woke, my body felt completely fine. The slash across my stomach was still as visible as ever, but the pain was completely gone. I stretched my arms out to the side and lifted my legs one at a time, testing my tolerance limit. I didn’t know how I had gotten back in the bed, but I sat up and swung my legs over the edge, arching my back and stretching out my spine. I felt like a miracle must have occurred to make me feel so incredible so quickly. I stood up and twisted at the waist. Even direct pulling on my wound wasn’t inflicting any pain on my body anymore. As I was twisting, I noticed a dark object in the corner of the room and stopped. Turning slowly around, I saw Sikal the demonlord standing in my room.
“Hello.” He said catching my eye and grinning.
“Sikal.” I said through clenched teeth.
“Don’t act so surprised. Did you actually think I was dead?” He opened his cloak to reveal a black cast on his arm. “Not dead miss, only a little broken.”
“I never said that I thought you were dead.” I told him bitterly. To myself, I added that I had hoped he was dead.
“So this is where they locked you away, is it?” He asked, hitting a sore nerve.
“Yes. In my own room. Was it that difficult for you to find? You’ve been here before.” I reminded him.
“I have been here before.” He agreed. “But never under these circumstances.
“What is that supposed to mean?” I asked defensively.
“You have no idea what’s going on, do you?” Sikal asked genuinely surprised.
“No.” I admitted quietly and sliding onto my bed. Even the demonlord who wounded me knew what was going on. My friends had been okay with Sikal knowing something that they wouldn’t even tell me.
“My sword; the one that cut you there.” He began, pointing toward my stomach. “Had been dipped in a magical poison. A curse of sorts, if you will. For the past three months it has been coursing through your body, joining with your cells and changing your status in life. Although the curse hasn’t completely worked its magic – excuse my pun – it’s completed enough for me to come and pick you up.”
Nothing that Sikal had said made sense except for the initial magical poison part. The poison explained the sudden burning and shooting pains that I had felt. Seeing that I didn’t completely comprehend what he was saying, Sikal continued.
“Do you remember any of the thrashing and twitching?” He asked and I nodded. “That occurred every time the curse made a connection with a significant part of your body. This last one was so severe because no one was here to strap you down and because all of your organs except for one have been infected.”
I stared at the demonlord in disbelief. How could he stand there and so calmly tell me that my entire body – my entire life – was changing?
“You’ve been watching me?” I asked, clinging to his knowledge that the last thrashing had been the worst.
“Yes. As administer of the test, it was one of my privileges despite losing the battle.” Sikal informed me. “Would you like to know more or should I just proceed with my course of action?”
“I’d like to know more.” I said, holding my ground and trying to buy time.
“Fine. Your brain has not been completely infected. The poison has entered your brain on occasion which is why you have selective amnesia. When your brain is wholly bound with the curse, your memory of this life will be repressed into your subconscious and no amount of psychoanalysis should be able to retrieve those memories. That’s pretty much the details of how the curse works, any questions?” Sikal asked as though he was a teacher and I was his student.
“What is the curse,” I hesitated, afraid of what the answer might be. “What is the curse making me into?”
“An assistant.” The demonlord told me simply and I wondered what assistant was a codename for.
“A what?” I asked him, waiting for more explanation.
“You’ll see when we get there. He’ll explain it all to you much better than I can. Rest assured, you won’t be working with me. I know that you feared that.” Sikal guessed my apprehensions.
“When do we leave?” I asked him.
“You’re awfully accommodating.” Sikal observed and I realized that I was taking all of the news rather well.
“Is it the curse?” I ask him and he nodded.
“For a little while, you’ll be pretty accommodating to certain people. It won’t last too long though. It will hold until you’ve gotten situated in your new position.” He explained for me.
“So when do we leave?” I asked, echoing my previous question.
“Do you have anything holding you here now?” Sikal asked with a wide gesture of his arms sweeping across the room.
Anthromagic by Crystal and Pamela MacLean is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.