“Let’s go for a walk down Easy Street
Where you can be reborn”
-“BITE” by Troye Sivan
Bourbon Street was quiet that night, as it probably had never been before, and curiously absent of alcohol, drag queens, ladies of the night, or any other typical signs of revelry. Darkness was pulled over the city like a pillow used to suffocate, and the sky was heavy with strata of clouds that obscured any stars.
The two figures walking down the cobblestones didn’t need to slink through shadows here- they strode down the center of the street as a bride goes down the aisle to her future. Neither was human, but the taller figure had a forked tail that flickered as he walked. His eyes glowed like coals.
Aza lay perfectly still on a balcony and watched the two figures appear through the fog on the street, perfectly black silhouettes on a billowy white canvas. She had sensed their coming. Maw Eula had taught Aza to obey those urges, and follow them to whatever end. Aza wasn’t sure that included laying on a cold, wet balcony (exposed, her gut whispered) watching a demon and his far more menacing companion swagger down Bourbon Street. Actually, Aza was sure she wasn’t supposed to be doing this- Maw Eula insisted twelve was too young for the “delights” of Bourbon Street- but she’d never felt so right in one of her “connections”. Before her mysteries had appeared, she had been working through the arguments she would use when discovered, but her interest in herself had vanished with the stars.
The devil kept glancing at the sky, but his companion never faltered. Before they reached the circle of every street lamp, it would flicker out, only to somehow reignite as soon as the supernatural visitors passed. Ana’s eyes adjusted to the gloom. The devil was handsome, she saw now, with a shameful bolt of surprise. Handsome devil, she thought ruefully.
“What have I always told you? It’s all true,” hissed Maw Eula suddenly, laying down beside Aza. That had been one of the first lessons- every old adage and wives’ tale was true. Horrifyingly true, not fairy-tales-for-children true. Aza’s blood, already chilled, ran cold with possibilities.
Her mysterious visitors were now near enough that Aza could hear their shoes clicking as they turned into the old cemetery. Votive candles suddenly glowed in their cupped palms. Aza saw that her devil’s fingers were clawed. The other turned abruptly, and in the candle’s gasping light Aza saw high cheekbones, sharp eyebrows, wicked teeth, blood red lips. The face was gorgeous, and now that Aza knew it was a woman she could see the curves of her body as if they’d always been apparent- a full bust tapering to a narrow waist and feminine hips. This woman was beautiful, in every sense of the word. The motherless, girlish part of Aza wanted what this woman was, but Maw Eula’s withered fingers on her shoulder reminded her what she had. It was worth a lot more than vixen looks, Aza reminded herself with a shake. Devils’ temptations rarely touched her this way. Her unease grew to prickle her whole skin like armor.
She watched as the devil drew his flaming sword. She bit her lip as he systematically stabbed every grave in the little cemetery, a little of his flame draining into the ground like grease from bacon. Blood dripped down Aza’s chin. She clenched her fists as he moved to stand guard at the cemetery gate while his companion scattered herbs and placed pins in dolls. When the chant began, both inhuman voices rising and falling in archaic Latin, Aza rolled over to implore Maw Eula and found she was crying.
“They’re…defacing…befouling…” she choked out.
“Child, we can do nothing,”Maw Eula whispered. “We are just the Watchers.”
When the chant finished, there was a great groaning of Earth. Aza’s soul cried at Nature’s last stand. While the undead rose from their graves and marched down Bourbon Street, two ghostly women watched-and could not stop- the beginning of the End Times.