A gentle rapping at the passenger window made me jump. “Derius,” I told myself on a slow exhale. I wasn’t about to be jumped in front of a church.
“Did you know the church is neutral?” He was barely inside the car before he started unraveling my life.
“That’s impossible,” l said. “They preach about higher powers and disciples and how to be virtuous and just.”
“They teach what is permitted. In all that preaching, count how many times references are made to the other side of the coin.” He smiled knowingly before he reclined the seat. “You may begin.”
I held in a sigh, placed the recorder on the armrest, and pressed the red button. “In our last interview, you mentioned Pandora’s Box was in the possession of a Major Sin.” He nodded. “Who is it?”
He opened an eye to look up at me. “What are your guesses?”
“If I am to believe in this and not that you’re insane then I guess Wrath but then why would you all be out? Surely somebody like that would keep everybody under their thumb so then I default to Greed. The need to have the finest and rarest of items would make the box very appealing.”
His one eye had closed, giving me pause. Maybe I was wrong. Nothing about him changed other than him looking at me; not an expression or twitch of a finger. He had no tell. Finally I gave in and stuck to my guns. “No, those are my guesses.”
“Has the box?”
“And a sin or two.” He nodded as if he was convincing us both. “But that is sin on sin crime, nothing to concern your fragile mind.”
“What of your friend?”
“She says hi.”
“Does she have a name?” I could risk it. Worse case, he’d go mute.
“She has taken the name Eloa.”
I kept my excitement to myself. We were getting places. “Is she a special friend? Is that who you went to meet?”
“She is a friend,” he reiterated with a pointed look, “and yes.”
“Why are you here?”
“Why are you?”
There was a moment of silence that settled over us. He returned to his resting state and I returned to my thoughts, sifting through till the right question came.
“You look very tired today but with a bit more color. Has something happened since we last met?”
“So you are capable of observation.” He opened his eyes again and I saw the touch of stress. “I am now no more than a sack of blood, bones, and ridiculous urges. Why do you humans always need to eat and pee? How have you survived millenniums and not evolved past this?”
It was my turn to go silent. There was the insult to process and the fact he was…”Are you saying you’re now human?”
“Unfortunately,” he grumbled, “it’s a tiring thing.”
“But why give up your life as a demon-”
“Sin,” he corrected.
“Sin, why give up your life as a sin to be a human if you have such a disdain for it?”
“For a friend.”
“Eloa?” He nodded. “And the reason why?”
“Miss Daniels, not many things matter to us anymore. The one thing that she has fallen in love with was taken from her and I intend to get it back.”
He spoke with conviction and despite his now human appearance, I could see the air shimmer slightly around him. Whatever it was, it was big. “What was taken?”
“Another time.” He had set the seat back to its upright position. “Do not contact me till the next new moon.”