Inside Sheoul, the demon realm sometimes called Hell, evil was everywhere.
It dripped off the sides of the sheer rock walls in streaks of black acid that ate into the stone with a hiss. It wafted through the humid air on tendrils of mist that reeked of sulfur and decaying flesh. And, as Vex watched, it oozed like toothpaste from out of a fissure in midair that only people like her could see.
Her purple-tipped black hair, already short and spiky, stood even more on end as the thing squeezing out of the fissure, a dead demon’s soul, popped free of whatever realm and mystical enclosure it had been inside. The toothpastey glob took a transparent, vaguely humanoid shape, but its glowing crimson eyes were sharp and clear. A malevolent wave of rage and hate rolled off the soul, and Vex backed away, even though escape was impossible for her.
She was what her parents had called a daemani, a demon soul magnet, a person to whom souls stuck like glue. According to them, most daemanis couldn’t prevent it from happening, and that was a serious pain in the ass. If a demon died near Vex, not even the Grim Reaper’s personaldaemanis, creatures calledgriminions, had a chance to collect the soul before it got sucked into her and stored as a glyph on her skin.
The demon shrieked, a sound only she or another soul-sensitive person could hear, as it struggled to keep from being sucked into the prison of her body. In a futile attempt to avoid the inevitable, she fled, her booted feet nimbly negotiating the rock shard-strewn ground that was all too common in this part of Sheoul.
But no matter how fast she ran, every time she looked over her shoulder, the distance between her and the soul had decreased. Closer. Closer.