Chapter 4: Slave to Stray

“I know the devil,” Cobra said.

Cobra’s eyes rolled into the back of his head, leaving them an eerie, glossy white. His smile stretched across his face until it ripped his mouth open. Blood spilled like a waterfall down his chin.

Keitaro slipped back from the ghastly visualization. He blinked, and Cobra’s face resumed its normalcy. Cobra smirked and slipped his sunglasses back on.


Gunner obeyed the order of his boss. He laid his money down and joined the group.

“Estoy muerto.” Victor’s devastation dripped in his voice. He stared at his body incredulously. “I’m dead.”

“You don’t have to be possessed to own a demon’s power.”

Metal clanked behind the loveseat blocking the fireplace. Cobra stared down into the flames as he spoke, “You could get the power from playing with a Ouija board, offering yourself to the demon, shit like that.” He raised a poker with a bright orange stamp on the end. He blew it and steam rose off the scalding brand. “Or you could be cursed.”


“Stay down,” Gunner said. He raised his gun to Keitaro’s face. Keitaro stared down the barrel without flinching. But when he did flinch, he knocked the pistol out of Gunner’s hand and broke Gunner’s nose. Keitaro kicked Gunner out of the way of the door.

“Aw fuck.” Thiago swung a punch of his own. The swollen eye completely blocked the left side of Keitaro’s vision. Thiago’s fist crushed into his swollen face. Keitaro’s head whipped to the side, and he fell to the floor. When he looked up, he saw Victor’s body on its back in a puddle of blood.

Thiago got Keitaro up to his knees.

Gunner pinched his nose and tipped his head back. He hummed in a way that sounded like internalizing anger that would explode later.

Cobra approached with the poker. “Fuck are you so afraid of?”

“I don’t dabble with magic,” Keitaro said. He growled as a means to exert all his last strength to escape. But Thiago held him down.


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