A makeup artist comes over and starts retouching my makeup.
When I'm done, I roll it up and shove it back at him. "Am I being tricked?"He looks down at the scroll in his hand in confusion. "What?"
"Tricked? Or something? Is there some new reality show I'm the star of? I can't imagine my mom would be a part of this, but maybe for enough money she would. Is this a joke? Some plot to make a fool of me or try to sway me to believe in God and demons and the supernatural?" I don't believe my own words. I've seen my mom, and she's well and truly missing from her body, but none of this makes sense. I feel trapped in some surreal alternate reality where nothing is right. Everything is wrong. This is wrong."I do not know what you mean by 'reality show' but I can assure you I would never associate myself with such a crass sounding thing. This is deadly real."My bravado is fading, because he doesn't look like the kind of man who plays pranks, and my mom doesn't look like she's faking a coma, and this hospital is entirely too real. I point to the paper in his hand. "That says my mom made a deal with a devil, that she traded her soul, and now the only way I can free her is to give you... me."
The man nods. "My brothers and I... we are in a bit of a predicament, and you are our only hope." He smiles as if he knows what that word means to me."And who are you and your brothers?" I look around for the cameras, for some evidence I'm being pranked. Maybe this guy escaped from the psych ward. That would explain a lot.
"Have you not figured it out yet?" His eyes change colors, becoming brighter. "We are the Princes of Hell. And you will be a Princess to one of us, and ultimately, Queen."
He nods. "Of hell. Though we have our own names for our world. Hell is a very mundane and human term that does not mean what you think it means.""She is not here in form," Asher says. "Only in spirit."
"Can I speak with her?" I ask.He shakes his head. "If she is awoken, she will suffer greatly. My father recently ordered that all souls be kept asleep during their time with us. It used to be standard practice that they remain awake, tortured and in misery. Some demons feed off that pain."
"That's barbaric." My voice trembles just imaging my mother, or anyone, enduring such a nightmarish existence."That is likely why the King ended it," Asher says, and I can hear in his voice a softening when he speaks of his father. "He had a change of heart near the end. I still... Never mind."