This comes to you as late as the prompt did. Saturday is so busy for me, on top of me not feeling well. However, it’s a bit of a longer prompt. I guess I’m trying to make up for the wait? Who knows.
Tomorrow, I will be posting much earlier, and I will hopefully have the permissions that I need to post the next NaNo tip that I have for you all. Until then, enjoy the story!
I was having the dream again – the dream that I always seemed to have. Some people liked to tell me that it was a foolish fear. Some people liked to tell me that I was being ridiculous. I didn’t care, because I knew for a fact that ice cream trucks were scary. They’d freaked me out from the time that I was a child, and even into adulthood, there was just something about them that I couldn’t put my finger on.
I was trying not to pass that fear on to my daughter. She was four years old, and she knew nothing about my fear. All that she knew was that Mommy didn’t let her get ice cream from the ice cream truck. Thought it infuriated her sometimes, it never left her afraid. It never left her having deep and troubled nightmares about the ominously frightening music that an ice cream truck played.
A new sound entered my dream, and it was that sound that caused me to jerk out of my sound if somewhat disturbed sleep. Our screen door liked to creak when it opened, and I hadn’t gotten it fixed since my husband passed away. I immediately jerked away with my heart pounding.
“Lila?” My daughter’s name spilled from my lips. I looked out the window to see her little red head bobbing happily as she walked down our sidewalk. What was worse, parked in front of our house and playing the music that had frightened me since I was a child was an ice cream truck. The cabin was dark, and I couldn’t see who was waiting for her. “Oh, God.”
I didn’t think about pulling on shoes. I didn’t think of the fact that I only had on my underwear and a tanktop. All that I could think of was the fact that it would only take her a few seconds to get to that truck, and I didn’t have time to wait. I took the stairs three at a time and made it to the opened front door just in time to see Lila reaching into the ice cream truck. Two long spindly hands came out and picked her up, pulling her into that darkness.
“No!” I ran down the sidewalk so quickly that I could feel the harsh pavement cutting into the bottoms of my feet. I didn’t care. I could hear the engine revving, could hear that music beating in my ear. “No! You give her back!” The truck began to speed away, and I made it to the side with just enough time to jump forward. I didn’t know if I was going to make it. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to touch it.
Only just – my fingers gripped the open door and I was able to pull myself up and inside of the open window of the passenger door. The sight before me was terrifying. I made it inside just in time to see the creature throwing me daughter into the back of the truck, which rippled and whirled like some void – I could see an entire world beyond it… like a portal into another dimension, full of harsh angles and screams. Halfway through the window and trying desperately to pull myself inside, the thing turned to me and grinned. Its mouth split from ear to ear, and it tipped its hat at me.
“We thought that you’d forgotten about us.” Its voice spoke, and I could hear centuries in those depths. A thousand voices, all eliciting horrified memories from the back of my mind. I knew those voices, I’d heard them before. The creeping tune of the ice cream truck was something that I’d heard since the time I was born. Suddenly, the guise of humanity that I had cast on myself, the spell to forget… it was all ripping away. I remembered now – I remembered being in the human world for 10 years before I had met my husband… and I remember giving up all of my powers and my very memories only a few days after Lila was born, in hopes that they wouldn’t find me. I’d given my very soul to make sure that she was more human than monster.
“No. No, please… give me back Lila. You can keep me, but don’t punish her for my mistakes.” His head tilted to the side, as though the very idea of mercy were foreign to him. Black, liquid eyes stared unblinking at me.
“All who are of our kind must come back to us. Your welp is half our world, and so she shall live in it.” I wanted to scream. I wanted to cry. I pulled myself through the window and sat beside him, wrenching at the door to the back of the truck. I knew that it wouldn’t come open until he so chose. Those of my kind had different abilities, but we were only able to open our own portals.
“Please…” I could hear my own voice slipping in and out, echoing once, twice, thrice. “I didn’t mean to fall in love. I didn’t mean to be of this world. She’s innocent.”
“None are innocent.” His voice was disapproving, but there seemed to be malicious laughter to it. My kind was wicked, and took great pride in the suffering of others. Still, we rarely turned on our own, and I knew that he was going to use this new vulnerability against me. “You know that, Mal’Noir. You have known that since the beginning. You grew too close to the humans, and you forgot that.”
I could feel my lower lip trembling. Tears wanted for form, but the lids of my eyes were already peeling back to reveal a flat, black, unblinking gaze. I could feel sharpened teeth ripping my jaw wide as lips faded away. “I didn’t mean it. And you cannot say that, Valez.” My head shook, my black hair turning to tendrils that moved like whips. My human visage was fading away completely. “Children… children are innocent, and we do not take of the innocent.”
He stared at me for a moment long as though contemplating my words. “You are right. We don’t… but she is not simply human, is she?” His head tilted to the side, curious. “You will stay, Mal’Noir. You will stay and face the punishment for giving in to the temptation of humanity. We are eaters of sin and reapers of the wicked. We cannot play in the world of mortals. Do you accept your punishment?”
I wanted to give her a chance… my sweet Lila, who had never done anything wrong. My sweet Lila, whose claws I had trimmed back and whose very appearance I had given half of my soul to make sure would remain human. “I will accept my punishment – I will not fight, but only if you give her a chance.”
I could feel my human heart fading away, the thundering stopping as I turned spindly and thin. I hadn’t fed on sin in so long that I was weak. Valez grinned.
“Very well – we will watch her, let her grow. But she will fail. Mortality is no match to our lineage.” His clawed hands shot out, one ripping through my chest and another opening the door. I saw Lila there, frightened, wide eyed, with tears running down her face. I wanted to comfort her, to go to her, but Valez was holding my very center, my core… and I knew what he was going to do. “Say goodbye now, Lila.”
“Mama?” Her small voice was frightened – I looked nothing like her mother, but still she reached for me as though she could sense it was me.
“Lila… baby…” My hand went out to her, and I felt Valez squeeze. Something inside of me shattered, and the world went dark. I was only able to get out one more sentence as the blackness of the Nothing Void took me. “Be good, baby… be good.”
It was the only chance she had.
Demons who steal sin and soul in the guise of ice cream trucks… yep. xD That’s a thing, apparently. I hope you all enjoyed.
Until next time, keep reading and writing!
Author Amanda McCormick
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