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Innocent Devil's Harem (Book 1)

Genre: Adult, Men's Fiction, Paranormal Fantasy

Tags: Supernatural, Harem, Male Lead, Shifter, MILF, Lesbian, Succubus, Mystery


Kai has a big secret he has kept all his life, even from his older housemate, Serenity, who he began living with, shortly after their parents all died in a car accident. However, when he finds out that Serenity’s best friend has been kidnapped by a serial killer, just how far will he go to save her?

And how will he handle his secret finally getting out, that he’s much more than what he seems?

 

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Innocent Devil's Harem 1 by Kaizer Wolf

  • Published: April 18, 2021
  • Words: 114,030
  • ISBN: 978-1005935986
Innocent Devil's Harem (Book 1) by Kaizer Wolf

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Innocent Devil's Harem (Book 1) by Kaizer Wolf

I got home from school, parking my silver used car in its usual spot, and went inside to begin making dinner for myself and my…

Well, essentially, my housemate.

The girl I lived with was five years older than me, and had practically been a part of my life since I was two-years-old, our families having always been super close.

However, due to an extremely unfortunate car accident, involving all of our parents, the two of us had been living together by ourselves for five years now.

Serenity had been eighteen at the time when it happened, still in her Senior year of high school, causing me to be sent to a foster home for almost a month while she attempted to gain custody of her almost thirteen-year-old childhood friend.

Unfortunately, they didn’t exactly allow regular custody, but I was allowed to live with her, since she was automatically designated as the conservator to the trust fund I’d been left, with a court-assigned guardian checking in on us once a month until I turned eighteen.

Honestly, in hindsight, I was surprised it had only taken a month for her to bring me home, since I wasn’t at all related to her in any way, and there wasn’t even paperwork on file of my adoption with my adoptive parents, only a Delayed Birth Certificate with fabricated dates…

Yeah, I was adopted to begin with, with my adoptive mom and dad having set up a trust fund that specified Serenity’s parents were to be my godparents, and be the point-of-contact for the fund.

Meaning, they were to be the conservator, or guardian for my property and assets.

Or rather, I supposed ‘god-family’ was more accurate, since it was specified that anyone legally an adult could take care of my assets. Which meant Serenity legally became the conservator and point-of-contact for a fund that contained a two-and-a-half million life insurance policy, all of which was money meant to help take care of me in the event of their untimely death.

And oddly enough, her parents had done the exact same thing, leaving her with three million in life insurance money, though she didn’t need a legal representative due to her age.

I was sure none of them ever anticipated dying at the same time, considering my adoptive parents were likewise supposed to be her godparents, but the unthinkable truly happened.

Unfortunately, the missing adoption paperwork did cause a bit of a problem, but ultimately the trust funds were what helped the most, in her saving me from the foster home.

Eventually the court decided that a clerical error must have been made somewhere along the line, and assigned a legal guardian for regular visits while also allowing Serenity’s legal right to be the conservator of my trust fund to proceed, with the judge seeing no reason to put a kid who’d just lost his parents through hell, over a few technicalities.

Never mind the stress it put on Serenity, who was also going through hell after losing her own mom and dad.

But now we lived together, my court-assigned guardian having no problem allowing Serenity to take care of my living arrangements, with court approval of course. Although, I wasn’t sure how me turning eighteen a couple weeks ago affected the status of her being in control of the trust fund, not that she ever really used money from my fund anyway. She’d always used her own money, which meant the actual value in my account had grown beyond the two and a half million, due to investment income.

Still, I had no idea if emancipation was automatic or if I had to file for it. I at least knew that I was already emancipated from the court’s oversight, since I wouldn’t be receiving any more visits from my legal guardian, but wasn’t entirely sure how the trust fund part worked.

Not that it really mattered, since I still had to finish my last year of high school either way, and would probably still continue living at home while I worked on some college credits.

But at the very least, we wouldn’t have to worry about those random visits from the court-assigned guardian, although I had to admit it was only a minor inconvenience, since the older woman knew that Serenity had things covered at home and was responsible for our finances anyway.

The only problem was, the lady liked to talk, and would often occupy several hours of our time, once a month, as she talked Serenity’s ear off while I pretended like I was doing homework.

Initially, after everything was resolved and the courts allowed Serenity to be responsible for my living arrangements, we tried living in her parent’s old house for a while, but it was too painful for us, both of us having a ton of memories tied to that location. And of course, she wouldn’t move me into my old home for the same reason.

Thus, within the first six months, we’d moved into a much smaller house, hidden away in the trees on the edge of the city, with her having purchased it with a portion of her insurance money.

Honestly, seeing the pain in her eyes, I couldn’t help wishing that at least hers had survived the ordeal. Because, even though Serenity’s parents weren’t mine biologically, I still grew up around them, and it still felt like I was losing loved ones either way.

Of course, a selfish part of me wished mine were alive too, but if I had to choose, I would have chosen to take the sadness away from her, instead of me.

It was agonizing to lose all of them, especially at the same time. Horrible for our world to be normal one day, and turned upside-down the next, with all our parents gone in the blink of an eye.

For the first year, Serenity trembled whenever she got in a car.

She tried to hide it, but I noticed.

It was a reminder for both of us, and yet we couldn’t exactly go without transportation.

And even though I was adopted, and theoretically had other parents out there, I had no idea who my real mom and dad were, so finding them wasn’t really an option.

The official story was that my mom found me on the doorstep, as crazy as that sounded, but honestly not even Serenity knew for sure where I actually came from.

Not that my biological parents would have been a replacement for the people who raised us. Certainly, not for Serenity, considering it was her real mom and dad who died.

But as far as where I came from, my older friend just remembered me showing up one night when she was about to turn seven.

Her childish mind had thought God answered her prayer for a playmate as a birthday present, often wishing either her parents, or mine, would have a baby.

And to this day she occasionally teased me about being ‘her gift from God.’

But I doubted it was God, or a god, that had been the one to answer her prayer, given what I knew about myself. Granted, I would never dare tell Serenity why. She was the only person I truly loved, and I could never betray her by revealing that I’d discovered at a young age that I wasn’t like her…

That I wasn’t human.

Our new house, which we’d lived in for over four years now, had a large spacious kitchen that also served as a dining room. Despite the fact that it was only the two of us, we’d kept a lot of the furniture from her old house, unable to part with everything. Thus, the dining room table could seat six people comfortably – two on each side and one person at each end, with plenty of room in between. Really, the table was large enough that eight people could probably be squished together if an extra chair was added to each side.

However, as it was, only two chairs were used with any frequency, even if we had six at the table.

Sighing, I glanced at the clock, and then sat down at the table, leaving the hot ‘cheddar, potato, and bacon soup’ I’d made on low heat on the stove to prevent it from getting cold.

On a good day, Serenity would arrive home a little after 5 PM from her job as a police detective.

However, as it neared 5:45 PM, I began to suspect this might not be a good day. She had been working on a case recently that was causing her a lot of stress, but she hadn’t brought home any of the files yet, so I didn’t know what it was about.

Yes, I sometimes snooped through her casework files. I snooped through a lot of her things, if I was being honest, though I’d never share that with her. She’d probably be mortified if she knew I’d been through her underwear on numerous occasions.

Sometimes, although very rarely, if the work situation was bad enough, I would intervene myself to stop the criminals. However, I also knew that it might raise suspicion if someone made the connection that all the incidents when I’d helped happened to be her cases. Thus, to avoid that outcome, I only got involved in the situations that were exceptionally upsetting for my unconventional roommate, usually involving abuse against women.

And by abuse, I meant serial killer cases where the victims wouldn’t survive without intervention.

Serenity didn’t technically have to work, since we had enough money to last us for an extremely long time, possibly all our lives, but she’d initially wanted to make sure no one doubted she was responsible enough to raise me.

Still, I didn’t know why she’d chosen to pursue a career as a detective.

Prior to getting the position, she’d held another job almost full-time while attending the police academy, and yet soon found herself with some of the best scores in the state. I’d asked her ‘why’ once, but she only gave the allusive answer that she enjoyed solving mysteries – allusive, because I didn’t feel like her answer explained her intense drive.

Or maybe her intense drive was just to prove she could take care of me.

Glancing at the clock again, I got up to grab my backpack, deciding to get to work on my homework while I waited for her to get home.

It was near the end of the spring semester, toward the end of April, my graduation only about a month away, so it was already warm outside on most days. I really enjoyed the warmer weather, mainly because I liked it when there were leaves on the trees. But I was also glad school was almost over in general, eager to get that part of my life behind me.

I was an adult now and wanted to feel like an adult, instead of a kid or dependent.

Honestly, I didn’t mind school itself, so much as I was tired of dealing with my shallow human peers. As I’d gotten older, my body became lean and muscular, sparking a lot of interest among my female classmates, as well as attempts made by the guys to win my friendship. However, my memory was a lot better than theirs, and I wasn’t one to forgive easily.

I could still remember all the jokes and teasing they’d done just after everything happened, coming from both the boys and girls. It hadn’t taken long for the whole school to find out I’d lost my parents, and I quickly discovered just how hateful middle school kids could be, with them beginning to harass me about living alone with my ‘hot’ older friend, who was barely out of high school at that point.

Not just suggestive comments, but true harassment.

True hate, making it seem like it was really a big deal, and I was a huge pervert.

Apparently, one of the kids had overheard a couple of teachers discussing the whole thing about her becoming responsible for my living arrangements at such a young age, and even overheard about the trust fund, and I didn’t hear the end of it after that for a solid semester.

Funny how kids that age could always turn something into harassment, because if that happened now, I wouldn’t be nearly as bothered by it.

But honestly, in hindsight, it was only about three months of torment. Still, it felt like an eternity to my crushed thirteen-year-old self. At the very least, it slowly taught me to not let words bother me – otherwise, I might not have survived the regular onslaught of bullying.

Nevertheless, I still hated them all. Or maybe ‘hate’ wasn’t the right word. It was more like I couldn’t consider trusting them again, even though I’d never had much trust to begin with.

When I finally heard Serenity’s car pull up, I glanced at the clock to see that it was almost 6:45 PM, indicating that it might have just been a really busy day. However, my powerful senses told me differently.

Even over the noise of the car engine, with its familiar clanking sound from a loose bolt, I could hear her fast heartbeat. And even despite the smell of bacon, I could smell her salty tears, as well as the scent humans gave off when they were grieved – something that shouldn’t even be possible for a wild animal.

The only predators who had a comparable sense of smell were the shark, which could detect a drop of blood from about a quarter of a mile away, as well as the bear, which could smell a food source almost twenty miles away. However, my supernatural nose could home in on a scent from much further if I concentrated hard enough.

When Serenity didn’t come inside after turning off the engine, I realized she must not want me to see her crying. Granted, it’s not like she would be able to hide the fact that she had been crying. I knew her face would be red and puffy, especially around her deep brown eyes, even if she managed to get ahold of herself anytime soon.

Sighing again, I got up to go bring her inside.

The kitchen was connected to the rest of the house by the foyer area, where the door, stairs, and hallway to the living room all met. The wide entrance to the living room was only about halfway down the hall – someone coming down the stairs could easily see into it – but the hallway continued on to the laundry room and backdoor.

Underneath the stairs was a small bathroom with only a toilet and sink. Upstairs, above the kitchen, was Serenity’s room, along with a spacious closet, whereas on the other side of the house was my room and the bathroom we both shared. It was only a two-bedroom house, but all the rooms were extremely spacious, providing more than enough living space for just the two of us.

Opening the front door, I saw Serenity resting her head against the steering wheel, her dark brown hair disheveled, trying to control her breathing like she was on the verge of having a panic attack. Her blue car was parked at the edge of the long gravel driveway, in its usual spot next to my silver one.

Tall trees lined each side of the drive, including all around the house, giving us a sense of privacy since we were about a tenth of a mile off the road. Even though we lived on three acres of land, I only had to mow roughly half an acre in total, including the two strips of grass along the driveway.

Not wanting to startle her, I tried to be noisy as I walked over and then gently tapped on the window, rather than just opening it. However, despite her not looking up at me, I knew she’d heard me. Keeping her forehead on the steering wheel, she moved her hand to unlock the door, only to open it up herself. The moment I was able to, I knelt down and reached out to pull her into a hug.

Serenity immediately accepted the offered gesture, returning my embrace as she began to sob.

“Can you tell me about it?” I whispered after about a minute of her crying on my shoulder.

She immediately shook her head no, before answering. “Not officially…” She then told me anyway. “It’s a s-serial killer case, Kai. And it looks like h-he targets only women.” She sighed heavily, trying to speak clearly despite her sobbing. “And what he d-does to them is…horrible.”

“How many?” I wondered, already considering intervening, since this predator had made her so upset. This was by far the worst I’d seen her.

She tried sucking in a deep breath. “T-Technically, he’s only killed two so far. But a new girl was just kidnapped…” Her voice trailed off as a whine escaped her throat, a sob then erupting from her chest as she began falling apart again. Her face was twisted in anguish. “And if w-we don’t find her soon…”

“What’s the timeline?” I asked, speaking in a way I knew would help her mind shift into detective-mode.

It worked – not perfectly, but it worked.

Serenity took a shaky breath and began speaking more clearly, as if a switch had flipped in her brain. “If his two victims are indication of a pattern, then she’ll be dead by midnight. He leaves a spray paint symbol, along with a token from his previous victim – that’s how we know who kidnapped her. Previous evidence suggests that the first two were tortured in the most inhumane ways possible, before he killed them while sexually assaulting them in the woods.”

“The woods?” I repeated in surprise, feeling that was odd if it was really the pattern.

“Yes…” She pulled away to look at me then, her deep brown eyes hesitant, knowing she shouldn’t be sharing information about this, but deciding to do it anyway. “We think he enjoys the chase. He wants them to run, probably so they have a sense of hope – that they might find freedom after being tormented.” She paused. “Only for him to catch them and finish it off horribly.” A pained expression crossed her face again as she barely managed to maintain her composure.

Suddenly, I realized I’d missed a fundamental question – something to explain why she was upset to this extreme. Because her reaction was far beyond what I’d ever seen before.

“Serenity…do you know her? The girl he took?”

Her composure broke, and she lost it again.

I waited patiently for her to gather herself, not wanting to seem too pushy. After all, I could never let my ‘technically a cop’ older friend find out I might get involved in this situation. She could never know my secret.

While I waited, my mind began going through the people she knew, wondering who it might be. Honestly, my housemate didn’t have very many friends – the only close friend she had was a girl named Gabriella who she met only a few months ago. Serenity also had a few coworkers who she was friendly with, including Jessica and Abby, but otherwise the list was pretty short.

Granted, it could also just be a random acquaintance from high school or the police academy. Simply knowing the person could make a case feel a lot more personal. All it would take was just seeing a familiar face, coupled with knowing what might happen to the girl if they didn’t catch the guy in time.

After a few minutes of holding onto her, I was about to prompt her again, but then she finally responded to my question on her own.

“Kai,” she said in a strained voice. “It’s my friend. It’s Gabriella.” She sobbed again, her words coming out in a whine. “And they removed me from the case when they realized my connection.”

Shit.

Suddenly, I found myself holding my breath. Because it wasn’t just someone she knew more casually. It was the worst person it could possibly be. And not just for her.

For me, too.

Gabriella was twenty, only three years younger than Serenity, and when they’d both noticed they frequented the same coffee shop regularly, they struck up a conversation over a book that quickly turned into a friendship. It also helped that Serenity occasionally had lunch at the Chinese restaurant next to the nail salon where Gabriella worked, giving them an easy way to hang out almost daily.

Even when my older housemate wasn’t in the mood for Chinese, she went anyway to socialize, and before long they were having lunch together every day at one of the many restaurants in the area.

From what I understood about Gabriella, she was extremely kind, although somewhat shy. She didn’t have many friends of her own, largely because she wasn’t interested in the stuff most of her peers liked to do, like partying. Instead, Gabriella loved to read, with the book she’d been carrying being what prompted Serenity to talk to her.

I’d only met her once briefly when she visited our house a handful of weeks ago, but I quickly excused myself after being around her for only a handful of seconds, because I’d never reacted to anyone like I was reacting to her. And it threatened to expose my secret.

Gabriella had red hair, green eyes, and was exceptionally attractive. However, unlike other redheads I’d known, her hair was so red that it almost looked dyed, and she kept it fairly short at just a couple of inches above her shoulders. She was about four inches shorter than me, two inches shorter than Serenity, and had a massive rack large enough to make any guy’s head turn and most girls jealous.

But the biggest attraction was actually her scent. Everything about her aroused me, but her natural smell was nearly overwhelming. I had no idea what caused it, wondering if the fact she was vegetarian, which I’d learned by eavesdropping, was the reason.

Technically, it wasn’t dangerous for me to be fully aroused, and it was actually something I allowed to happen on a regular basis when I was alone in my room…sometimes in Serenity’s room, when she wasn’t home.

But the problem was I couldn’t avoid revealing the fact that I wasn’t human.

I’d learned at a very young age that strong emotions and desires caused my body to begin uncontrollably transforming into my more devilish form, my hair turning white, my skin turning dark gray, my irises transitioning to a glowing gold while my sclera turned pitch-black. At the very least, if I hadn’t run upstairs when I did, then I doubted Gabriella would have ever returned, never mind Serenity’s reaction.

I was sincerely afraid of my older housemate’s rejection, in particular. She was the only support I had, and honestly my only friend, since I felt like I could sincerely consider her a true friend at this point, even despite the five-year age difference.

So I couldn’t afford to lose her. I couldn’t take that risk.

However, the attraction I felt toward Gabriella was so strong that just thinking about her was making me aroused now. And pissed, when combined with the knowledge that she was probably being tortured at that very moment. Between the two emotions, I could feel my body threatening to turn gray underneath my clothing, my chest definitely darker now, as well as the back of my neck and the skin along my spine.

I took a deep breath in an effort to clear my mind, knowing there was nothing I could do right away, without Serenity suspecting something was wrong.

Yet, I didn’t want Gabriella to suffer either. While I’d never been tortured myself, I knew that even minutes of something unpleasant could feel like hours, depending on the severity of the situation.

Taking another deep breath, I sighed heavily and spoke up again, using my affectionate pet-name for her. “Let’s go inside, Ren.”

She nodded in agreement, her hands and legs trembling as she grabbed her purse and attempted to stand up. I offered my support, since it was obvious she was struggling on her own, helping her walk up to the house.

The front porch was only about five feet wide and two feet deep, from door to stairs, the overhanging roof just big enough to allow someone to be comfortably out of the rain if they were waiting outside. The window on the right side of the door peeked into the kitchen, whereas the left one looked into the living room.

Granted, the front windows had sheer white curtains hanging over them, preventing anyone from seeing inside during the day, and allowing them to only see shadows at night. The only other way to see into the house from the front was through the door, which had a decorative half-circle window near the top.

Although, it would take a taller person, standing on their tiptoes, to actually see into the house.

I carefully escorted Serenity inside, keeping my thoughts controlled, and helped her sit down at the kitchen table. Realizing from the scent that the soup was beginning to burn slightly, I went ahead and turned off the stove entirely, glancing at the clock as I did so.

It was just after 7 PM, which meant it would be dark soon, given the time of the year.

In a way, I was almost glad the victim was Gabriella…

Or rather, I was thankful I’d been given the opportunity to meet her at least once. It could be difficult for me to help in a situation when I didn’t have much to go on, but coming into close proximity to her allowed me to nail down the most important thing that would help me find her.

Her scent.

Just thinking about it was enough to almost expose me again. I could feel the base of my hairs rise slightly, being well familiar with the sensation, knowing my hair would begin rapidly turning white if I wasn’t careful with my thoughts.

“Do you feel like eating?” I asked gently, trying to distract myself.

I began preparing a bowl even if she said no, since I hadn’t eaten yet myself. When she mumbled that she wasn’t hungry, I added a few extra scoops, considering I ate a ton more than her. I then sat down at the table and began working on my dinner while Serenity stared into space.

I suspected she was beginning to feel numb as it settled in that there wasn’t any hope for her friend – her best friend. It was actually kind of amazing how close two people could become in such a short amount of time, but they really hit it off. If it wasn’t for the fact that they looked so different, someone might even think they were sisters by how comfortable they were with each other. As it was, most people would probably be shocked to discover they weren’t childhood friends or something similar.

Unexpectedly, Serenity bolted from her seat, almost knocking over her chair. “I’m going to try to find her,” she announced, not waiting for a reply. “I know I probably won’t be able to, but I have to try. I can’t just sit here and do nothing.”

I nodded to indicate I understood, not about to suggest she do anything different. This case wasn’t at all like the others. Plus, this was good for me too. It meant I could go searching for her sooner without having to worry about Serenity wondering where I’d disappeared to.

“Okay,” I said in agreement. “Just be careful…” My voice trailed off. I hoped she wouldn’t be upset that I wasn’t offering to go. On the one hand, I was still in high school, but on the other hand, I was legally an adult now, so it wasn’t like she’d be bringing a kid along.

Serenity seemed surprised by my response though, looking like she didn’t expect me to agree so easily. She then dashed around the edge of the table and nearly tackled me in my chair with a hug. “I will, I promise. I’ll have my gun and mace. I love you.”

“I love you too,” I whispered simply, holding her thin athletic form in my arms, knowing there was a small part of me that meant that more deeply than I probably should.

She gave me a quick kiss on the temple, and then grabbed her things to head out the door.

I ate more quickly when I heard her car engine start and the tires began kicking up gravel in her rush to get on the road.

“Now,” I said to myself, taking my last bite and standing up. “Time to hunt.”

Heading to the backdoor, I allowed myself to fully transform as I stepped outside, my softly glowing yellow irises allowing me to see as clearly in the twilight as if it was the middle of the day. I then took off my shirt in preparation for what would soon come from my rapidly restructuring back muscles.

A second later, and a pair of lightweight bat-like wings, spanning a good twenty feet if I stretched them out to the sides, burst from my upper back and I instantly leapt into the air to take flight. I had no idea where to even begin looking, beyond the forest, so I just focused on my senses of smell and hearing while flying as fast as I could around the edge of the city where there were still a lot of trees. I was glad my ability to home in on a scent was so powerful, because within a matter of minutes I’d captured Gabriella’s aroma, even despite the plethora of other odors vying for my attention.

She was at least ten miles away, and I could smell that the chase was already on. Her sweet scent was stronger than usual from her sweating, ironically making it easier for me to pick up on it, and it was also tainted with terror.

Just like other emotions, fear had a distinct scent.

“I’m coming for you,” I whispered, quickly changing my trajectory in the air.

 While flying was much faster than running, it still took me a few minutes to find the general location of her whereabouts. However, once I was close enough, I could hear her too. She was running as fast as she could, although oddly, as if she didn’t have arms.

I doubted she was sincerely lacking them though, because I didn’t smell any blood. But her breathing was panicked, and I knew her mind was probably escalated beyond words as she literally ran for her life. There was someone chasing her too, running smoothly like they were holding themselves back. I suspected the predator had great endurance, significantly more than his prey.

Quickly dropping into the trees below, I slammed into the ground, dropping onto one knee from the impact before rising again to continue the chase on foot. However, I didn’t have to go far before I was already almost on her location.

Just as she was about to come into sight, I heard her trip and fall hard on her front, coughing and gasping from having the wind knocked out of her. She then abruptly screamed as her assailant caught up to her, crouching down and flipping her over while laughing, like he was having the time of his life.

Enraged, I silently burst through the foliage just in time to see that the serial killer had the tip of a knife just beginning to draw blood on her partially exposed breast. I realized the reason why she couldn’t defend herself was because she had her arms bound behind her back with a series of leather straps, like some kind of weird bondage fetish.

However, between the panicked look in her eyes, the terror as she screamed, the vulnerability of her body – I caught a glimpse of why this bastard was aroused by torturing his victims. It was everything that excited a predator, and I felt ashamed that her vulnerability even excited me a little…minus the panic and terror.

It was time to end this. Now.

Rapidly, in one swift motion, I closed the distance between me and my prey, grabbing him by the throat and yanking him off his feet into the air. In his shock, he reflexively tried to stab me with his blade, but I instead snagged the back of his hand like lightning and shoved the knife straight into his heart with my inhuman strength.

He didn’t even have time to scream before the life was rapidly fading from his panicked eyes, not that he would have been able to make much noise anyway with my grip around his neck. A few seconds later, and I tossed him to the side, his body strewn awkwardly on the ground.

I then focused on the vulnerable girl lying before me, her short red hair strewn against the dirt in chaotic strands. My attack happened fast enough that I watched as her emerald eyes visibly registered that the monster who had been torturing her had unexpectedly been replaced with another. However, instead of screaming, she began crying in devastation.

I could smell it.

I could smell the brief hope she experienced leave her body as she accepted that she was going to die one way or another. She closed her eyes and turned her head away, her beautiful face twisted in grief as she sobbed.

Moved by her tears, I slowly knelt down, positioning myself so that my legs were straddling her thighs, though I wasn’t actually touching her. I then reached out with a clawed hand, my black fingernails dangerously sharp, and gently touched the top of her torn blue shirt.

She flinched from the contact, sensing my fingers. “Please,” she whimpered. “Please don’t.”

Realizing what she must think my intentions were, I gently grabbed her shirt at the chest and pulled it up to prevent her from being exposed any more than she already was. Her bra was missing, likely removed by the perp, but her torn shirt still mostly covered her up. The next biggest exposure was around her waist. She had white jeans on, but they were unbuttoned, revealing her pale pink underwear, held up only by their tightness around her butt and thighs.

The visible skin I could see on her arms and torso was already heavily bruised in most spots, except for her face surprisingly, yet I still didn’t smell any blood on her other than the small cut on her chest.

Deciding to respond, I spoke quietly.

“I’m not going to hurt you,” I whispered.

However, despite my words, she began crying even harder, and I could smell that there was just a hint of hope lingering around her again – just a hint, since she knew I might be lying.

To emphasize my point, I concentrated hard in order to force my black fingernails to return to a normal shape. I then slowly reached down and buttoned her pants back up, carefully pulling the zipper to the top. I could smell the hope strengthen, although her fierce sobbing didn’t let up.

I then carefully moved to her side, sitting beside her and cautiously placing my hand beneath her neck, gently pulling her up into a sitting position. Gabriella was still a complete mess emotionally, unable to see through her tear-filled eyes, so I lifted her into my lap and rested her head against my bare chest while I began working on freeing her arms from their bonds.

As the last strap fell to the ground, she slowly pulled her arms in front of herself and let them lay limp in her lap.

I wasn’t sure why I was staying at this point. I really couldn’t afford for her to find out who I was, but something about her vulnerability did more than just entice me.

I was beginning to feel an emotion I had only previously felt for Serenity, although it was obviously a little different since there wasn’t a complicated set of emotions hidden behind it. But as I held her, I slowly began to realize that I wasn’t going to be able to leave her side unless she asked me to.

Because I wanted to feel that emotion, without the extra shameful stuff associated with feeling it for the wrong person.

Technically, there was no reason why I couldn’t love Serenity, but with her being so much older than me, and with all the teasing I endured in middle school, it felt like I shouldn’t even think that way.

But then again, with our families being so close, under different circumstances it was possible we might have become more than friends one day anyway…

‘No,’ I silently chastised myself. ‘She can’t know my secret. No one can.’

Without warning, I slipped my hand underneath the girl’s knees and abruptly stood, causing her to gasp. Her entire body was trembling as I began moving, but I ignored it, instead focusing on walking back the way she and her attacker had come. I could smell gasoline in the air, and after walking almost half a mile I found a white box-van parked at the edge of an abandoned street.

Identifying a more feminine smell amongst the others, my nose picked out the scent of lip gloss in the van – I suspected it might mean her purse was there too. With my wing, which was very much like a large bony hand with webbed fingers, I reached out and opened the side door, before reaching inside and hooking the purse’s strap with the tip of my wing’s finger.

I then held it open with both wings in front of us, carefully sticking my hand inside while continuing to support her legs in the crook of my arm. She was still trembling, her eyes closed with her arms wrapped tightly around herself now.

Finding her phone, which had been turned off, I powered it on and waited for it to load. The sudden bright screen caused my pupils to shift their shape slightly, and I noticed from the corner of my eye that the light prompted her to open hers as well, to see what I was doing.

I quickly dialed the number to call the police the moment I could. However, I then hesitated just as I was about to start the call, deciding to speak to Gabriella for the second time. I glanced at her as I began, seeing that she had been eyeing me, before abruptly looking away when I made eye contact.

“Just to get our story straight. Obviously, someone rescued you, killing your would-be murderer, but you didn’t see who it was…” I paused. “Or what it was. Understood?”

She nodded quickly, still looking away.

Satisfied, I gestured with my hand. “Take the phone,” I instructed.

She slowly complied, and then upon seeing the number on the screen, she hit the appropriate button and held it up to her ear, still averting her gaze. The call barely rang once.

“What’s your emergency?” a female voice asked abruptly.

Gabriella hesitated as she tried to speak clearly. “Umm…I need help. I’m…I was…kidnapped.”

“Do you know where you are?” the woman asked in a quieter tone.

Gabriella shook her head, as if forgetting that the person on the other line couldn’t actually see her. “No. I’m outside.”

“Can I use your phone’s GPS to find you?” she requested.

Gabriella looked up at me then, as if she wasn’t sure if she needed my permission, so I nodded in response. She replied slowly. “Umm, yes.”

After a few seconds, the dispatcher spoke again. “Okay, sweetie. The police are on their way.” She then lowered her voice. “Is your kidnapper near you?”

Gabriella shook her head a second time, prompting me to smirk at her for gesturing again as if the woman could actually see her nonverbal responses. Her face flushed when she realized why I was suddenly grinning.

Sounding embarrassed, she tried to focus on answering the dispatcher. “N-No. He’s dead.”

There was a brief pause on the phone, before the woman finally responded. “How did he die?” she asked cautiously.

Gabriella glanced at me again as she replied. “Umm, someone saved me.”

The woman’s voice sounded urgent again. “Is that person with you now?”

I quickly shook my head, even though she should know the right answer, not wanting to even chance Gabriella giving them any indication that she’d spent any time with me.

Nevertheless, she hesitated in her response. “N-No…I’m by myself.”

“Okay, sweetie. The police should be there soon. I’m going to stay on the phone with you until they arrive, alright?”

Gabriella glanced at me again, as if wondering what she should say, but I had turned my head away from her.

In the distance, I could hear a rapidly approaching vehicle speeding down the road. I doubted it was a police car, because it didn’t have any sirens running. However, I could hear a scanner in the vehicle spouting out police codes.

There was also something familiar about the sound of the engine – a clanking sound, as if one of the bolts holding the engine was loose.

Snapping my head to look at Gabriella, I held out my hand for her to give me the phone, her knees still in the crook of my arm. She complied immediately, and I hung up on the dispatcher. I then slowly lowered her to her feet, but when her knees buckled underneath her, I lowered her to the ground instead.

I quickly replied to her confused expression. “Like I said. No one. Don’t even tell your friend. Understand?”

She nodded slowly, just as confused as before, but then she heard the car approaching too. As she looked away, I used the opportunity to silently disappear into the trees. The sudden headlights on Gabriella’s face caused her to shield her eyes, and she then looked back toward where I had been standing. When she realized I was gone, she quickly looked all around, seeming to search for me urgently as the car slammed on its breaks.

I watched as Serenity jumped out of the vehicle, gun in hand, and began running up to Gabriella with it pointed at the ground to the side. “Where is he?” she demanded.

“W-Who?” Gabriella asked, sounding scared.

Serenity looked at her in confusion for a second, before clarifying. “The serial killer.”

“He’s dead,” she replied quickly.

It took Serenity a second to register her words, visibly relaxing a little. “Are you sure?”

Gabriella nodded in response, and Serenity hesitantly holstered her gun, glancing around one last time before kneeling down and wrapping her arms around her friend. They both began crying again.

“Oh Gabriella! I was so worried! I’m so glad you’re safe!”

I could finally hear sirens in the distance and decided to get ready to leave before a ton of police showed up. I waited a few more minutes while she and Gabriella sobbed together, before finally dashing further into the forest.

Finding a good spot where the canopy above was thinner, I quickly climbed to the top of a tree, as far as the branches would support me, and then leapt high into the air to take flight.

Once I was high above the forest below, I continued to scan the area for a while longer for any signs of danger, before finally heading home. On my way, I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket, only to pull it out and see that Serenity was calling. Of course, I couldn’t exactly answer it while flying, so I let it ring until the call dropped.

Later on, I would just tell her I was in the shower or something.

Speaking of which, I sincerely did need to take a shower. Something about killing people always made me feel really dirty, even when no blood got on me. Certainly, slaughtering this serial killer hadn’t been my first time, although I had never taken the life of someone innocent. Thus far, I’d only killed people who had committed murder at least once, viewing it as an eye for an eye.

And I never felt remorse for slaughtering a murderer, although I did always feel filthy afterward.

Dropping into our secluded backyard, I allowed my body to quickly deconstruct my wings and turn back into my human form. I was glad our house was surrounded by trees without any close neighbors. Otherwise, it would be difficult for me to come and go in this manner.

I then dashed inside and quickly got in the shower to begin rinsing off, in order to get rid of the sensation that was beginning to plague my mind. Unexpectedly, it was washing my hands thoroughly and roughly that seemed to help.

Satisfied that they were clean – and that my conscience felt clean – I let the water cascade down the back of my neck and along my spine. After a moment, a deep sigh escaped my chest and I felt my muscles finally relax.

I was glad Gabriella was safe, and that she would probably recover without any physical scarring. However, I knew she might be mentally scarred for life, depending on what she had endured prior to me rescuing her.

Sighing again, I sat down in the shower and tried to clear my thoughts of her, because thinking about the hot redhead was both arousing me and making me pissed again. For one, part of me just felt wrong about jerking off right now, but then I was sincerely pissed at the dead man who might have taken advantage of her, beyond just touching her.

I wanted to stab him in the heart again. I almost wished I had killed him more slowly. Made him suffer more before he died.

‘Stop,’ I chastised myself in my thoughts. ‘She’s not yours. And she never will be. Just stop it. She’s alive. You did a good thing. Now move on.’

I cleared my mind again, and remained like that for a long time, letting the sensation of the water running over me be my only thought. This was the fourth time I had killed someone, with the last three times all happening within the last three years – because that’s about how long Serenity had been a detective. Prior to that, the first and only other time that I’d killed someone, it had been truly an accident when I stumbled upon the scene. At least, an accident in the sense that I hadn’t gone looking for it, knowing what I would find.

Although, me killing the murderer certainly wasn’t an accident. It was also the only time I’d been too late to save the victim, and thus the only time I’d killed out of revenge instead of defense.

At the time, I’d only been nine years old, with the incident happening nine years ago. There had been a full moon that night, which meant I was struggling to sleep, as usual – that always seemed to happen once a month, as if the moon wanted me to come out to play. Or, at least, that’s what my nine-year-old self thought.

I snuck out of the house at about 2 AM, only to have my nose catch the trail of some weird smells that confused me. Within thirty minutes of running on foot, I’d discovered the source, shocked by the scene I stumbled upon.

I’d never been a fan of scary movies, since being afraid or startled could make me transform, so it had been especially traumatizing to discover a horror scene in real life.

Except that was the difference – it was real life. It wasn’t a movie, it wasn’t pretend, and I wasn’t helpless to change the plot unfolding before me. Nevertheless, even though I prevented the monster from dealing the finishing blow, the pregnant woman still died in my small arms just before the paramedics arrived.

Traumatizing indeed, for a nine-year-old, human or not. I didn’t return home that night for almost three hours, and even then, I didn’t act normal for months. Everyone knew something was wrong, but I wasn’t willing to share with any of them what I’d experienced. Nevertheless, the extra affection I got from my mom, as well as Serenity and her mom, were what helped me eventually recover.

Unexpectedly, I heard Serenity’s car pull up to the house, which snapped me out of my trance, prompting me to realize the water had long since gotten cold. Extreme temperatures didn’t bother me as much as it seemed to bother normal people, so it wasn’t unusual for me to not notice the cold water. I certainly could tell that there was a temperature difference when I was paying attention, so I preferred hot showers like anyone else. But, whether scalding hot or freezing cold, the extremes were easily bearable.

I quickly turned the water off and jumped out.

After drying off, I glanced at my phone to see that I’d showered for over an hour and a half.

I grimaced, as I mumbled to myself. “Well, hopefully she won’t be too pissed I used up all the hot water.” Although, I knew it should be warm again within an hour, so it wasn’t like it was the end of the world.

Quickly brushing my short hair, I then got dressed in black gym shorts and a dark gray t-shirt, before exiting the bathroom to head downstairs when I heard the front door crack open.

However, just as I took the first step, I realized there was a second heartbeat with my housemate – a heartbeat that was pounding rather quickly. Serenity appeared in the doorway, catching sight of me frozen at the top of the stairs.

“Oh, hey! I tried calling you. They found her!” she announced.

I only nodded, trying to smile as Gabriella stepped into sight, looking straight down, her face actively turning red…