This is a work in progress and has not been edited.
Flames licked the clouds as the orange sky blazed overhead. Stepping out of the sedan, I already missed the conditioned air that made it easier to breathe. The onyx building towering before me was as sturdy and solid as a fortress but just as deadly as any prison. As I strode inside, the smell of sulfur burned my nose and I rolled my shoulders to wipe the distaste from my expression.
The guard at the door eyed me. Like every other despicable, demon lowlife in this dimension, his beady, red gaze skimmed up my body with a lecherous twitch of his lips. I ignored him and moved on.
As the elevator pinged and the doors slid open, rage and hurt churned in my gut. I ground my teeth and hardened my expression as the elevator rose. With each floor up, heat made the air thick; burning my lungs as I climbed closer to the fire in the atmosphere.
I remember blue skies, oceans that didn’t boil but were blue and cool. I remember waking in the green grass and the soft blades sinking between my toes, not this rocky, dusty wasteland. I remember my mother before we were taken from our home and brought to this place of black towers and burning skies. I remember her smiling, laughing. Reaching up to the soft gold ring dangling from my neck, I clutched it in my grasp. It was the last piece of her I had. The feel of her soft skin as she brushed my hair, her scent – spicy and feminine was like a knife to my heart each time I thought of her. How much I missed her and how angry at her I was that she’d left me alone. With them.
Dropping the chain, I buried the images of my mother from my mind. Thinking of her or our home wouldn’t do me any good. Any sign of emotion would demonstrate to Ardal that I was weak and any mention of my mother would anger him.
The elevator pinged and I shoved everything away as the steel doors slid open. Squaring my shoulders and raising my chin high in the air, I stepped out into an office I knew all too well.
“Maddox, I’ve been waiting for you,” the demon behind the desk barked. “You’re late.”
“Yes,” I swallowed, “Master.” The word tasted like acid as it rolled off my tongue. Bowing my head, I hid the venom flashing in my gaze from him. I was human, a slave, and expendable. Although I had more freedom than most, I still belonged to Ardal. The brand on my shoulder blade told the world I belonged to him and his family. Balling my hands into tight fists at my sides, I raised my gaze to my master and waited for his orders.
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