The first thing that he noticed when he descended the stairs to the basement was the smell. It was a pungent aroma that was as recognisable to him as it would be to anyone else in his line of work. It was the smell of death.
His eyes hadn't yet adjusted to the darkness yet but his hearing had no such trouble. The sounds of scurrying rats pierced the silence of the room, as well as the sounds of flesh being gnawed upon at the opposite side of the basement.
As his eyes become more accustomed, the only light available is from the doorway at the top of the stairs, he begins to make out the small outlines of the rats that reside within, the small furry creatures appearing to be in constant movement as if afraid to be still for more than a moment.
He can also make out another outline, the outline that brought him to this deserted house. It was an outline that he had to see in more detail and yet he would like nothing more than pretend it didn't exist.
As he gets closer and the outline becomes clearer, he can no longer stand the assault to his senses and rushes to the corner of the room, emptying the contents of his stomach onto the basement floor.
After collecting himself and wiping his mouth with the back of his right hand, he turns once more to face the outline, now recognisable to him as a body. He moves forward with determination, knowing that if he falters even once more he would turn an runs away, never to return and never to be found.
The body was human, anything demon would have left nothing more than dust or residue. He can also tell it was female going by the size of the body and the clothing she was wearing.
He ignores his gagging reflex as the face becomes more visible to him as he approaches, the vermin had been feasting upon the body for some time and made her a truly revolting sight to behold. He can tell their hair was light in colour but nothing more; the light levels not enough to distinguish anything else.
As he moves slightly to his right, what little light there was reflects off something around her wrist. As he moves closer to inspect the object he has to hold back a sob when he recognises the object; a bracelet that he hadn't seen in years.
Not wanting to believe his own eyes, but needing to know nonetheless, he removes the bracelet with great care, as though the body was nothing more than asleep and he didn't wish to disturb them. He takes a step or two back, closer to the source of illumination as he turns the bracelet over. To his horror, on the back of the bracelet is an inscription, one that he himself had placed there. His eyes are filled with tears but he doesn't need to see to know what it says; 'Love Always'.
A noise behind him causes him to spin round and locate the source. At the top of the stairs is his oldest friend, the light behind her causing her hair to appear to him like a flaming halo. She takes a step, her intentions clear, but he stops her with a gesture and a single word filled with emotion, "don't."
She says nothing in reply but adheres to his wish and stops her descent. She notices a thin metal chain just above her right shoulder and, on a hunch, pulls it and the basement is suddenly bathed in light.
Her strangled cry tears at his soul, as he knows she can now see the body of their friend in full Technicolor. He watches helplessly as her knees give way and she begins to fall down the stairs, unable to move from his position.
In a flash, her girlfriend is there, supporting her both physically and emotionally as she cries her heart out onto her shoulder. She too is horrified by the sight before her, but she puts her feelings aside in favour of helping her love, knowing that she'll be that way for some time to come.
She locks eyes with him, silently communicating as neither trust their voices at that point. He nods his head slightly in answer to her question then gestures that she take her girlfriend out of the basement. She nods in acceptance and gathers her love in her arms before turning round and leaving.
While he wants nothing more than to follow them, he forces himself to turn round. His eyes betray him and gaze upon the mutilated corpse that was once one of God's most beautiful creatures. He forces himself to look up, as he knows he would be unable to do so if he waited any longer.
What he sees causes him to physically shake with anger, a maelstrom of emotions coursing through his veins. On the wall is a message, written in his departed friend's blood and meant for him; 'X, B was the appetiser; you're the main course. See you soon lover, F.'