The night that we met, I didn’t tell him what I wanted him to do, but I told him that I wanted him to do something for me. I couldn’t promise him that it wouldn’t hurt, but I promised him that it would feel good, after a while. His glance was curious, yet cautious, as if he knew that he should turn me down, but couldn’t quite bear to do so. He licked his lips, like he knew how delicious I could make his days if he did what I wanted. It was dangerous, and so was I, but I was too good for him to care.
Above all things, Brendan craved control. He had always felt left behind, forgotten, overlooked and undervalued, and I suppose that made him hungry for power in a way that he couldn’t control. He had tried to pretend that he didn’t care, and that he was satisfied with his life just as it was, but I could see the glint of ambition that still remained in his eyes, and I knew I could put it to good use.
He reminded me of my Father. Not because they were similar, it wasn’t that at all, but because he reminded me of the kind of men my Father had associated with when I was a little girl. I’d come home from school and there would always be some guy, sitting miserably in our living room, complaining about his lot in life. He’d turn them around, give them something to live for, something to believe in, and they all went on to do great things. The second I saw Brendan, I knew that he had the same potential.
My methods weren’t exactly the same as my Father’s, but things seemed to work out for me anyway. I just wanted to make my Father proud. It had been my only dream since he was taken away from me, and with Brendan, I could tell that I was finally close.
I let him think he had control of me. If you want control, you have to give it up, or at least convince someone that you have. I’d fawn over him, flutter my eyelashes, make a show of him in my very best baby voice.
“Oh Daddy, you’re so strong.” I’d coo, at the very littlest things he’d do, and he couldn’t get enough of it. “Oh Daddy, I can’t live without you.” He was addicted. It’s all about getting them hooked, you know? Everyone has a vice and the trick is to become that vice.
He thought that he was lucky to meet me, but I leave nothing to chance. He was always going to meet me, I made sure of that. I’d watched him for months, making notes on the downtrodden frown he’d wear, how it worsened with each day, with the storm clouds that followed him growing heavier each time he left the house. He liked to drink in the same pub every night, and he’d rant and rave about all the things that bothered him, but he could tell that nobody was really listening.
It was all too easy. You take a lonely, bitter man, bring a little sunshine into his life, and he’ll die for you, if you ask him too, kill for you without a second thought. I shone above him, like the sun, smiling across the bar from him, watching him smile for the first time in weeks as he realised I was looking at him.
It didn’t take long to wrap him around my little finger. All I had to do was listen, nod and smile. Pretty soon, he would die for me, if I asked him too, kill for me without a second thought, but I didn’t ask him to do either. I asked him to keep hold of something for me.
It was just a little thing. Just a little favour for Daddy’s little sunbeam. I knew that he would do it, but frankly, I enjoyed watching him want to do it. I liked to watch him beg when I’d say “I don’t know Daddy, maybe it’s too much…” He’d plead with me to let him help, and it was divine. I’d um and ah, watching the man twist himself in knots with his desperation to prove himself and please me, and just when I could see him close to breaking, I’d relent, knowing that with each moment, his will was breaking, and there would be no going back.
I asked him to keep the pendant at first, around his neck, all the time. He swore to me that he would, and I watched as it dug deep inside of his mind. He didn’t know what it was, of course, so he had no way to prepare for what it would do, and that was half the fun (for me, anyway).
I’d stay up and watch him writhing in the bed, tormented and tortured by the terror of the visions I was planting in his head. Some might say I was being cruel, but it builds character.
My Father used to do this for a few nights, but I kept Brendan under the pendant’s spell for two whole weeks, and by the end, he was terrified to sleep, and a blubbering mess when he was awake, but one coy glance from me and he’d do his best to fake a smile. He wanted to impress me, make a show of himself, but both of us knew that he was falling apart inside, and I was only just getting started.
I put up my Father’s old mirror in the bedroom, high above the bed on the ceiling, and as he tried to get to sleep, I’d stare up into it, knowing that he’d stare too. It made a madman of him. He’d stare up at our reflection, his eyes heavy as the night wore on, and just as he was on the cusp of sleep, a ghostly hand would creep onto his reflected shoulder, or grip around the neck of his reflection, and he’d jump, suddenly wide awake as he searched the bed for what he was so sure he’d seen. That would go on for a few hours every night before his weak, little human body just gave in, and it was very entertaining.
I didn’t just want to freak him out a little, or even just break him. I needed him to be totally destroyed, mine to toy with entirely, and so, it was necessary to play with my food a little.
I would whisper to him as night fell.
“Astaroth.” He’d stare up at our reflection, his eyes wide and frightened, but he didn’t want me to stop, I could tell. “Come home to me Astaroth.” He didn’t know what it meant but the more I said it, the more he’d see in the mirror. I would watch the reflection with him, whispering, dropping kisses softly on his neck as I spoke, skeletal fingers wrapping around the throat of his reflection, and all he could do was whimper and cry.
I left the pendant around his neck, watching him weep every night as the nightmares chased him wherever he went, and as morning came, I would kiss his tear stained cheek, and ask him if he thought he was ready. He would always tell me that he was, despite me not even explaining what I needed him to be ready for. It didn’t matter to him, I suppose. He adored me, I’d made sure of that, but it wasn’t enough. There was something more I needed from him, and I needed him to really beg for it.
I told him to go off into the village and show me that he was worthy, and he came back with the head of a local police officer. I told him to find me somewhere safe, and we went on the run, making a little home in a new hotel room every few days, watching his face flash across the news broadcasts as the population began to panic. I told him to amuse me and he robbed a bank, bringing me home piles of bank notes and a handful of coins. I kissed him, letting him push me up against the thin walls of the hotel bedroom, hearing a little sob escape his lips as he sighed in ecstasy.
There’s always a part of them left, you see. I can take them to the edge, make them do things they wouldn’t believe, and they can’t stop themselves, but there is always a tiny little sliver of them left inside, a little part that doesn’t lose their mind, that is terrified of what they’ve become. If I ever loved him, that was the part I loved the most.
Last night, he came home, his hood low over his eyes, blood dripping slowly down his nails onto the hotel carpet, and he dropped to his knees before me. I rolled my eyes but held him close, listening as he sobbed against my knees, shaking, as he tried to swallow the few seconds where that small part of him would question what he’d done.
“Are you ready, Daddy?” I whispered, watching him look up at me with tear filled eyes and nod repeatedly. He clung to my dress, big puppy dog eyes pleading with me as the sky grew dark outside.
I couldn’t tell whether he agreed because he thought it would bring him relief from my torment, or because he truly craved the power I promised he would have if he didn’t deny me, but either way, I had played with him enough, and I was ready to take things to the next level.
I had tried with other men before, and I’d always got close, but never quite made it, but Brendan was something special, I was sure of it. In the end, I didn’t tell him how things would end. He didn’t need to know, and he’d be happier not knowing. Why couldn’t his last moments be a little joyful?
I placed the mirror before us, propping it up on the dresser and laughing to myself at the trouble he’d had carrying it to each of our secret hideaways. He held onto me, his arms tightly gripped around my legs as he sat, defeated by my side, staring into the mirror with me.
I had promised him power would pulse from his fingertips, and it wasn’t a lie. I promised him that he’d have control, and that was a lie, but it didn’t matter. He was too weak to stop me, and too weak to stop him. My Father grinned from behind our reflections, pulling Brendan towards him and prising his jaw open. I smiled back at my Father, watching him tear the pendant from his own throat and force it down the throat of the helpless, sobbing man in the mirror, while Brendan knelt silently beside me, clinging weakly to my waist.
His grip weakened as I watched him weaken in the mirror, blood splattered across the glass as my Father’s jaws closed around the last of his body, swallowing the last few bites with a smile.
“Hello Astaroth.” I whispered, looking away from the mirror and down to the man by my side with a hopeful smile.
“Hello my darling.” Brendan snarled, standing with a grin and pulling the pendant from his neck. He threw it against the mirror, watching the glass shatter as the pendant fell to the ground with a clatter. A low growl left his lips, and his green eyes were now red. At last, my little puppy dog was a great man, or, to be more specific, a great demon in a weak man’s body.
My Daddy was home, at last.