Willow's breaths came out as pants, her boot clad feet pounding on the wooden flooring of the abandoned building. Her long auburn hair swayed behind her as she ran as fast as her feet could take her.
It was the set up for a badly written horror movie. This innocent girl runs from a murderous psychopath into an abandoned house. All she'd need to do is scream loudly, so he'd find her all the more quickly.
Willow huffed, irritated at the situation as she ducked behind what appeared to be a china cabinet. She peeked over the cabinet to see the shadow of whoever was chasing after her.
Despite not being able to see much in the dark, she could see her assailant was wearing a long trench coat and a hat akin to a mobster. It was very fitting seeing as how Willow was about to be straight up whacked.
A gasp caught in Willow's throat, realizing the man was coming towards her. Porcelain skin broke into a cold sweat, with Willow's heart pounding against her ribcage like a trapped bird. Time seemed to come to a standstill as the reverberating footsteps grew ever closer to Willow.
Fuck me! Willow retreated behind the china cabinet even more, hoping to whoever would listen that the wannabe serial murderer couldn't find her.
All that was missing to piece this into the perfect cheesy horror movie was creepy piano music accompanying the man's approach. It was a perfect scene: a young girl breaks her phone before entering the dangerous woodland, only to be attacked by a serial killer with no way to call for help. Except this wasn't a cheesy horror movie, and there wouldn't be a gorgeous, muscular man showing up out of nowhere to save her. She was on her own.
A beat passed and the attacker's footfalls grew closer and closer, his shadow coming so close it wasn't a shadow anymore. Willow's heart stopped and her breath hitched in her throat. The man was now in her line of sight, and all he had to do was turn and he would see her. She was frozen in place, not daring to blink.
Teal eyes stared intensely into his blisteringly hateful amber ones. Willow's scream was stuck in her throat, completely immobilized by fear that gripped her entire being. The world around Willow came to a screeching halt the moment she saw the glint of the gun the man held.
"Gotcha bitch," a wicked smile painted itself on his facial features, taking aim at the young girl's forehead. As he prepared to pull the trigger, only one thought came to Willow's mind; Welp, this is it! Images of her life from before flashed through her mind in an instant, memories racing too fast to catch or hold onto any specific moment. The deafening sound that followed the pull of the trigger was the last thing Willow heard. She was motionless on the ground, her eyes stretched wide in what would be panic if it wasn't for the hollow milkiness that had taken up residence where emotion once was.
Though Willow expected to feel nothing after her death, she could feel herself falling, as if she were slipping under the ground. Her spirit was torn from her body, her soul sinking deeper into the dirt. Suddenly, a terrible feeling of dread pushed its way into her gut.
"Wait, why am I sinking?" Willow asked no one in particular, "Aren't we supposed to rise up to Heaven when we die?"
She clenched her teeth together. Unless... The auburn haired girl soon found herself in a black void before plummeting down into the abyss, a shrill scream escaping her mouth as she flailed as if grabbing onto something would stop her fall. It was all in vain, however, because there was nothing in sight that could possibly hope to stop her fall into the fiery pit.
Willow's fall lasted a lifetime until the void opened its jaws, revealing a red gate with intricate swirling patterns. For a moment Willow thought she would land face-first into the doors, but thankfully the gate creaked open to allow her "safe" passage. She gasped as she noticed the ground coming up to meet her. Her screaming was then silenced by a grunt of pain when her face met the pavement with a harsh thud.
"Fuckin' Hell!" She cursed to herself while attempting to pry her face up from the ground.
"Literally," she said after freeing her head from the concrete, gazing around.
Creatures of all kinds were roaming about, all of them different shapes and sizes. Some were more human-esque, while others looked like some sort of chimera-like animal. Though not all of them carried animalistic familiarity - some of them were inanimate objects with faces and limbs, while others were an other-worldly sort of monstrous.
"Is this a fucking cosplay convention or something, and is that a pentagram?" Willow asked herself, lifting her now red gaze toward the sky. Sure enough, there was a giant pentagram in the sky which was a reddish color with no clouds in sight.
"What the fuck?" She gasped in horror when she gazed down at her hand, "I'm fucking grey? If my skin color's changed, then what else..."
Rising up to face the window of a small decrepit building, Willow realized she was facing a complete stranger with light blue hair and red eyes. She was staring at a monster that had terribly pale skin with red horns pointing inward at each other, a tail with a sharp point at the end, and pointy fangs. Willow gasped upon taking in her new appearance, even going as far as smacking her cheeks dramatically.
"Holy Hell, Batman! I'm fuckin' hot as a demon!" She exclaimed aloud.
The glow of a flashing something in her reflection prompted Willow to pry her eyes from her newfound beauty and towards a sign that said "Welcome to Hell". Willow hadn't needed the sign to know exactly where she was, but that didn't stop her from biting her lip in dread. She was in Hell, and when that began to sink in, she felt helpless. Willow had forgotten about having fangs in that moment and the blood dripping down her chin gave her a quick reminder.
"You new here, bitch?" A gruff voice sounded behind Willow causing her to jump. The blue haired girl's tail swayed back and forth involuntarily, like a cat ready to pounce on its prey.
Willow laid her slit eyes upon a muscular demon with tattered clothes. His eyes were tiny yellow dots with red where the whites should be. He had a black tail to match his horns. In his hand, he held a large chef's knife.
"You're on my terf, you know?" He said in a low tone, "maybe I should show you how things work down here!" He lunged at Willow, his knife drawn and ready to chop her into tiny pieces.
"Ah, fuck!" She cursed, Willow's tail snaked from behind her, extending out exponentially. Before either of them could even blink, the blade tipped appendage had dove itself straight through the demon's chest.
To Willow's utter shock, the goat demon still moved while hoisted in the air with a blade deep in his torso. Suddenly she remembered where she was, and realized that this man was also a demon.
At least this proves I can't die.
Her tail went limp and retracted, dropping the demon at last. He fell with a groan, writhing from the chest wound Willow had sported him. She couldn't help but to laugh at the demon's failed attempt at flaying her.
"Wow, you really showed me," Willow mocked, " remind me to never set foot on your terf again." Her lips parted into an evil grin, her fangs on full display. "Fucking goat freak." She flipped him off before leaving the injured demon to fend for himself.
"What was that back there?" She mumbled quietly to herself once she was out of earshot, grin dropping from her face completely. She grabbed her tail, examining it meticulously. Willow hissed when she pricked her finger on the pointed tip.
"Seriously, this is fucking insane. One moment you're breaking into someone's house. The next you're murdered, and wind up in Hell. Fuck my life."
Willow huffed after wandering around for what seemed like forever. She walked past demons attacking each other in the street without a care in the world. Demons calling out "he stole my purse", or "my baby". Willow walked right on by without a second glance. Her cold scarlet eyes were only focused on finding herself a home. "How hard is it to find a fucking place to stay in Hell, anyway?"
Finally Willow stumbled upon a building labeled "Ruth's Bar and Diner". Shrugging, Willow found herself walking into the lopsided establishment with chipped paint and wood planks falling from the ceiling. The wooden floors creaked as she walked. Willow had to dodge a demon throwing another into a wall, as well as duck when a beer bottle came rushing right towards her head.
"Hello?" Willow called out, "who owns this shithole?"
No sooner than Willow finished speaking, a tall woman at the bar turned to face her. She was at least seven feet tall with curly blonde hair that fell delicately around her shoulders. Her red, beady eyes were unnerving enough, but her grin was the most unsettling. Two rows of jagged teeth stood at attention, akin to a shark's. A long black dress accentuated the woman's body and showed off her tastefully-exposed cleavage. Long black gloves were worn to match, pulling the entire outfit together. Willow shrank away from the cloud of smoke emanating from the cigarette in the woman's hand as she bent down to her level.
"That would be me, my dear. Name's Ruth, and as you can see from the sign, I own this place. You're new here aren't you, sweetheart?" She was surprisingly welcoming, but before Willow could answer, Ruth shot another question her way. "What's the name?"
"Uh, my name's Willow, and yeah I'm new here," Willow couldn't hide her confusion. "Why are you being so nice to me? You're a demon."
"We're both demons, sweetheart," Ruth took a drag off her long cigarette. "Why be rude to someone just because you're perceived a certain way? Not everything is as simple as that, my dear."
"Right," Willow was skeptical, "can you just show me where to get a fucking room?"
"Of course," Ruth blew out a cloud of smoke as she pointed to the base of a spiraling staircase. "Just up the stairs, my dear. This "shithole" isn't just a bar, you know?"
"Uh… okay. Thanks, I guess."
Willow darted away from the strange woman and up the creaky staircase. Little to Willow's knowledge, Ruth followed her like a shadow without making a noise. It wasn't until Ruth's voice rang out behind her that she realized the demon woman had followed her.
"The room at the end of this hallway is yours. It's the one on the right side." Ruth explained. Willow tried not to show her bewilderment at the stealthy woman's presence. She merely nodded and bolted towards the room without another word, tightly slamming her door shut.
"What the fuck is up with that woman?" This "Ruth" was certainly leagues away from the first demon she had encountered, and stood worlds apart from the churls on the streets. "If I am in Hell and this isn't just a stupidly bad dream, then why would she be so nice to me if she's a demon?"
There was only one explanation Willow could come up with. If Ruth wasn't asking for payment and she was being overly nice, then there must be something she wanted. She was even nicer than the people Willow had known in the living world, so it only made sense that she was using her.
"Well, might as well look around. Using me or not, I think I'll be here for a while."
The room was larger than Willow expected. The walls had been painted with an elegant maroon, accented with dark brown wooden furniture. There was a bed, a couch, and a nightstand with a dimly lit lamp. A suitable place for long-term living, Willow surmised. Sure, if she looked up she could see the sky through cracks in the ceiling, but it was certainly better than begging on the streets. While the thin layer of dust coating everything and the occasional cobweb was mildly concerning, those were things she could fix over time.
"It's not so bad," Willow huffed, wasting no time plopping onto the bed. She was exhausted, and the events of the day-or had it been longer than a day?-still made her head spin. "I'm fucking exhausted. Why'd I have to die today? It's just my luck to not live past eighteen."
Willow was going to devise a game plan, a way to navigate her new life, but the bed sheets hugging her body were so inviting. She was surprised that demons could even feel tired, but she didn't waste time dwelling on the thought as she was lulled into sleep.
When Willow finally opened her eyes, she could see the sky was the same murky red shining through the cracked ceiling that it had been when she fell asleep. This confused Willow because she felt fully rested. Stretching, she noticed a plate on her bedside table. It had scrambled eggs, toast, and sausage links with a note beside it.
"Why would she do all this for me?" Willow questioned, knowing exactly who served her breakfast in bed. She grabbed the note cautiously, unfolding it.
You can't hope to live here in Hell without a job, my dear. Come see me after breakfast. I have a proposition for you.