Attic, part 26

Around the central spire of the palace, the city was circular. There were five ramparts, spaced equally around the circle. Atop each of these ramparts was a flaming torch, eternally lit with a greenish flame the color of the sky. The travellers walked in silence through the seemingly deserted streets. Gradually the sky darkened, and the gloom settled around them like dust.

Charlie was the first to speak. “I remember back when these streets used to be full of life.” The large demon looked around with sadness. “It was like one big party here, and everyone was laughin’. I would come home at night through the crowds and it’d just feel great to be alive. I remember once, back when I was just a boy, my mom…”

“Your mom?” Jenny interrupted. “But you’re a demon!”

“Yeah,” he replied sadly, “You got that right. I am a demon. But I wasn’t always like this,” he said. “I had a life once — before I was, um, taken.”

“Taken?” she said. “I don’t understand.”

He shrugged. “Not sure I can explain it right, at least not till you understand more. Reality is, well, a kind of prism, and even truth itself can bend. That’s as true on your world as it is on mine. And wherever the light bends, we gotta see what it shows. Sure, I’m now a demon, can’t argue with that. Every bit as much as your teacher there,” he pointed toward Mr. Symarian, “is now human.”

“Mr. Symarian?” Josh broke in, looking at their teacher in alarm. “You weren’t always human?”

“Perhaps,” their teacher said, smoothly changing the subject, “We can continue this fascinating discussion another time. As you can see, we have arrived at our destination for the night.”

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