“I still do not see what is matter with lifting rock overhead? It worked for hundreds of years before you.”
Volnam whispered into Danny’s ear as he finished his third set of ten on a bench press machine at a gym he had looked up. It was one of those large gyms where no one would have any reason to actually know anyone else unless they came at the same time all week and decided to become work out partners. For his first two weeks Danny had a trainer but after that he decided that he would find everything he would need to know by looking it up on the Internet. Volnam would complain the whole time they were there. Usually he would talk about the waste of time it was or how this or that human male was too big and his head to small or how human women we unforgivably ugly or to skinny or to fat. Danny did tend to notice that for all his complaining about human women whenever Danny couldn’t hear his endless complaining the invisible imp was usually in the woman’s locker rooms or the showers. When asked about it he would proudly state that he was causing them to slip on soap or making them forget the combinations to their locks. Volnam did cause a lot of mischief while they were there, mostly pranks things to keep him occupied while Danny killed himself on machine after machine working every part of his body always on some sort of rotation upper body, lower body, large muscle groups and small muscle groups. Aside from conversations about how certain aspects of magic worked or why some could use it and others couldn’t or why some had a little spark and others could possess near god like power. But past the conversations there was no instruction of any sort of supernatural kind. Danny was getting bored but he was also finding that he had more energy. When he woke up in the mornings he was awake not drowsy and lethargic. As he got stronger he enjoyed working out more. It was becoming a self-feeding cycle. Every now and then Volnam would get a little too into his fun making and someone would get seriously injured but Danny didn’t care unless it got them kicked out of the gym like the time that a large muscle bound fool was eyeing a girl that Danny had also been eyeballing, the lager man made a few comments as to Danny’s sexual preference and the fact that he was a runt. Later on in the workout Danny heard a scream and almost dropped a dumbbell on his foot. When he located the source of the scream he saw the same large man had apparently dropped his bar across his chest with what Danny had counted up to around four hundred pounds on it. Others were all clustered around him helping him to get it off. Danny couldn’t help a small smile he turned to hide it from view, as he did he saw Volnam sitting on the pad for a triceps exercise machine.
Small furless fox head scrunched up into what Danny had decided by then had to be his largest smile. Volnam hopped to his feet and began to speak when Danny held up his hand for quite.
“You can tell me on the way home I’m done for tonight.”
The evening was cool; the breeze carried the feel of early autumn. Autumn was Danny’s favorite time of year. He thought about it as he walked down the street to the closest bus stop. Wasn’t it just about everybody’s favorite time of the year?
As they walked he could hear Volnam’s voice in his mind
“Can you hear me?”
“Yes I can hear you.”
Danny replied. He slightly grinning, knowing that he wasn’t supposed to respond out loud.
“Hhessssh” Volnam hissed out loud at him.
“Shouldn’t you do that in the mind speak?”
Danny asked in a fairly good rendition of abyssal or at least the form of abyssal that imps used when they were forced to resort to spoken conversation. Danny had learned that almost each type of demon had its own version of the language they were all abyssal and all about the same as if all the different races of man and each of their unique languages and someone else referring to them all as “human” On they walked and finally Volnam attempted the exercise again.
“Your body is strong to bad your mind does not follow, maybe there is machine in big muscle machine building to fix that hmm?”
Danny thought about it for a second and then realized that Volnam may have just hidden a complement in that statement and then started reading into it trying to figure out what the Imp would gain from it. More proof of the Imps teachings taking root.
“All things are done in an attempt to gain power over you, yours and everything else.”
Was the saying and Imps supposedly held to it like religion. It was also common practice amongst the different denizens of the abyss. Danny thought the phrase with the intent of Volnam hearing it. A second later and the Imp began to chuckle out loud and Danny knew that he herd it and understood why it was sent to him.
“You are not wise yet but you are paranoid and skeptical and these can lead to wisdom if they don’t kill you first.”
“So all in hell speak with their minds?”
Danny knew what that statement was going to do even before he thought it.
“It is not hell; I do not come from hell! Only they do, and they are not worth talking about! In the abyss and the between, yes all use the mind speak. Words and sounds are for great magics and creating fear. Neither of which you need to worry about. Still you sweat when you do child’s sentences in the mindspeak.”
Danny couldn’t argue the point as soon as he received the sentence and thought it through he realized that he was indeed sweating from the mental strain from sending and receiving the messages but at the same time he had been taught that a normal human would kill themselves if they tried to focus enough power to send a single syllable to another mind and that if he ever tried to send something to someone who was not ready, or if he wasn’t in complete control he could very well do long lasting or even permanent damage to the psyche of the of the person he was trying to contact. At first he was worried about accidentally killing someone and then he realized that he couldn’t even manage to strike up a conversation with Volnam he had to wait for Volnam to start one with him. His mind slaying days were still very very far away.
“Why is it that sometimes when you communicate with me mentally you sound like an idiot and other times you sound like you speak great English?” Danny asked as they walked.
“I don’t speak stupid human tongues when in the mindspeak, you hear thoughts pure thoughts and your mind translates them to something it can understand. If you hear me as an idiot then you must be… slow today. Maybe too much exercise has made your mind stupid? My mind is sharp”
“Well whatever it is, today you sound like an idiot Indian from one of those old movies where the director didn’t realize that they were being raciest.”
They made it to the bus stop and stood next to the bent metal pole that declared this place a stop. The area wasn’t great but Danny didn’t have the money to pay for a gym membership in a really nice area either. Besides nothing had ever happened to make him feel that he needed to find a better place. There were people walking around all hours of the day and night. None were wearing anything close to business suits, most wore sweat yellowed undershirts and pants or shorts that were way too large to actually fit right. Most of the females were wearing things that their mothers should have taught them were not appropriate, if they even have mothers he thought to himself.
“I listen to that man there.”
Volnam thought to Danny, there was a slight breeze that pulled Danny’s gaze to the intended man.
“He looks at the female over there and he is filled with lust and dark thoughts, he would
hurt her and take her.”
The breeze that was directing Danny to look at the man died away.
“I listen to you when you look at her and you wonder about if she has a mother?”
“What’s your point? You have a mother don’t you?”
Again Danny slipped into vocal communication and again he was greeted with one of the most annoying hissing sounds he had ever heard. In truth the telepathy was starting to give him a real headache but he knew that was not an excuse his demonic tutor was going to except. The evening breeze was starting to pick up and that made the skin on the back of his neck prickle. The hiss made the same skin crawl.
“Shouldn’t you be making that damned hiss in the mind speak he asked silently.”
The amused Imp sent the message with a feeling of mirth and joy, something that Danny was far from being able to do. For Danny telepathy was like talking in a chat room online, it was almost impossible for him to get any feeling through or tell a joke and have it come across correctly but he also had built up a theory that the reason a lot of the emotion he would attempt to send through would not come out correctly on the other side was simply because of what he was communicating with. If you don’t feel a certain emotion could you be open to it from one who does? He looked down to where he knew his dark tutor to be. Although he could not see him, he could see something. It was so hard to make out anything as real. It was like Volnam wrapped himself in a blanket of transparent heat waves and wind and nothing at all. If he stared hard Danny could make out a spot where there was some wavering nothing. That was really the only way for it to be explained as far as he could reason it to himself.
“It loses something in the translation”
Volnam whispered. Danny looked his way again turning a double take on the nothing spot. Volnam was smart he finally noticed that the worse something got for Danny the worse he got at it and the less he learned. So the flying rat would only push certain lessons so hard before backing off and moving to another topic of instruction. As long as the topics were varied Danny would attempt to at least soak up the theory behind whatever Volnam wanted to put before him.
“We do much talking much whispering always mind speaking never practicing.”
Volnam was still whispering. But there was no one around; the headache was starting to go away. It usually went away quickly once he took a break. It was a new direction that Volnam was taking this
time usually theories and stories were all he was willing to get into, always saying that Danny was too weak in the body to attempt anything more than mind speak and citing the many headaches as his mind still being too weak for that.
“You have lighter? Small pocket torch? Bring it out, I use the mind speak now but you talk
back with flat fanged mouth.”
Having flat fangs or no fangs was supposed to be a huge insult but Danny wanted to laugh at him every time he threw it his way. He reached into his pocket and pulled out the small plastic lighter that Volnam insisted he begin carrying shortly after he got out of the hospital. He looked at it then at the blank spot where Volnam was or used to be. He didn’t seem to be there anymore. As Danny stared harder at the spot where he used to be.
“You looking for something?”
he heard the voice a fraction on an inch from his ear, felt the hot breath on the side of his neck and screamed and almost fell over into the street.
Volnam laughed loudly but now in Danny’s mind using Telepathy.
“Warlock!” the demon laughed “some of the most powerful mortals in existence, the only mortals that can become more than mortal. Beings that the very greatest demons can learn to fear.”
Now there was padding of feet and Danny could picture the Imp dancing back and forth on the ground behind him as he laughed.
“You are still afraid of your own shadow more afraid of the shadows of others.”
Danny still heard the padding of the feet and quickly as he could kicked his foot out behind him and felt it connect. The demon gasped as the foot that caught him square in the center of his small chest blasted the air from his lungs and sent him back into the dirt of the lot behind the bus stop. Now it was Danny laughing as the Imp sputtered in Rage no more hopping about no more noise because Danny was still listening for it. It was later in the night and the dark mist that formed whenever Volnam was outside had finally caught up to them it seemed to take much longer to get to them in the city than it did in more rural areas such as where Danny’s house was.
“Yes yes fine fine we both have laugh now were even for now.”
Volnam wrapped his tail around Danny’s ankle and left it there an sign of a kind of truce letting Danny know where he was, not being able to sneak up on him when he was hiding in plain sight.
“Ok bring the flame stare at it in your soft pink hand do not burn yourself that comes later.”
Volnam was speaking telepathically again his voice was calm and sharp it helped to confirm Danny that they were in fact in the student teacher capacity again. Danny brought up the lighter and flicked it the flame came on and he stared at it as he was told.
“See the colors the red and the yellow the orange the clear in the center where it burns the hottest.”
Volnam’s voice was still calm in Danny’s mind. He listened to the voice he did notice the differences in the colors of the flame.
“Good you are doing well now try to understand what I am going to do with you I will explain what you need to do but it will be different than using the words as I am now doing there are other ways the mind speak can work Ideas and feelings colors and emotions can also come into play it is very complicated don’t try to sort out this thing I will do only understand it as it comes.”
Volnam was now communicating with Danny as if a grandfather might explain an ancient family secret to an only grandson. Calm patient even compassionate. He didn’t like it, Danny was beginning to feel like the Demon was setting him up to scare him out into the street again soon a mental scream would come and scare him out in front of the bus that was now beginning to seem like it was never going to come.
Danny didn’t answer only left his mind calm and as receptive as he could, he wanted this to work whatever it was.
“… … …”
it was over then Danny wasn’t sure what it was or how it happened but whatever it was that Volnam was going to do he did it and Danny didn’t even realize it until it was over he looked down at the flame coming from the small lighter and he just simply understood it in ways that he didn’t before. He felt like he was looking at fire for the first time or like he had always seen it but it was behind a curtain or a thick fog and now that fog was gone the curtain was thrown back and now he was seeing it unclouded.
“Very good now stay focused on the fire stay at the center of the clearest part of the flame.”
“Very carefully enslave the fire to your will. Make it yours, it already is isn’t it? You created it you pulled it from your pocket and let it breathe without you to free it, it would be locked away in that prison forever or worse it could belong to someone else and who would understand it and command it as completely as you do?”
Everything Volnam was saying was making sense to Danny he wasn’t sure how or why but somehow this small flame was his and it owed everything to him.
“If someone else had this fire it would be used to light a cigarette or burn garbage but Asmodan has this fire and with this flame he can learn things that will one day change the course of worlds enslave them as he will enslave it. Yes look at the clear center of the fire and command it. Make it do what you will it to do. Change it. Command it to become purple. It is yours it must do as you command. That is the order of things is it not?”
Volnam stopped speaking but did not leave Danny’s mind he could still feel him there listening to the quite calm that was Danny’s mind at that moment. He waited and then he began to issue his command to the flame he used the mind speak only instead of words like he would use in his practices with Volnam he instead sent his an image along with the force of his will and as he did he felt a slight resistance as if the fire were telling him no, telling him he did not have the right or the power to command it to change or be anything other than what it already was. Danny ignored this and pushed harder insisted that the core the clear center of the flame darken and shift to green. Not purple as Volnam had insisted, this was his exercise after all and he wanted a green flame. Still the small fire seemed to argue with him to resist him, he began to get irritated with it. With that irritation the anger came and with the blessed anger came the power as it always had lately. Finally there was a pop in his mind as if a small but significant barrier had given way in his mind and the lighter in his hand flared the half inch flame leaped up to a foot tall blaze for just a second and then died out completely. Danny dropped the lighter and brought his hand up to shield his face but through the shock of the sudden explosion of fire in his hand he was smiling.
The foot tall flare from the lighter was green._