by Vanessa Fogg
The rifle feels heavy and unbalanced in her hands. Her knees are shaking, her arms weak as water. Her world has narrowed to a spot fifteen paces ahead. In the barn’s dim light, what looks like a young man lies stretched on the floor, dark hair spread out like a pool of ink. As her heart clangs within her, the figure groans and lifts its head. Dark eyes meet hers, fever-bright. Delicate features in a face pale as snow. A human face, but what rises from its head betrays the disguise. Winter light washes in through the door behind her and catches on onyx-black horns.
Beautiful horns, glossy and bright, rising straight from the head and then curving back and slightly outward like the horns of a goat. The horns of a demon. The unmistakable sign of devil-blood.
This is not the first time that Alis has encountered a demon.