A Demon is a Girl's Best Friend

By Michele Bardsley

I knew something was amiss at Renee’s house when I walked into the living room and saw her removing the left leg from her husband’s corpse. His Armani suit tore like tissue paper. Of course, a rotating saw will do that even to good material. Once she’d finished detaching the leg, Gary was in six pieces.

I put my purse on the couch and slipped off my shoes. They were new and body fluids were hell to clean off Italian leather. I considered the red and scaly appearance of my best friend. Big black horns poked through the glossy locks of her blonde hair and her eyes glowed obsidian black. Whoa. Gary must’ve really pissed her off to make her lose human form.

Renee turned off the saw. “I said I was going to kill him, Dee.”

“You’ve said that before. I thought you meant it figuratively.”

“I was procrastinating.” In that odd shifting I’ve seen her do so many times, she shimmered red then gold then black then viola!, she returned to the petite beauty I’d met in college.

Bloodstains soaked what was left of her white pantsuit. I know it was inappropriate to think it, but I was glad she’d ruined it. I’ve always envied that outfit. Renee had a cover-model-flat stomach and bikini-perfect hips. No woman should be able to wear white and look good.

When she turned into a demon, her clothing shredded. I’ve told her a million times that she shouldn’t wear Versaci if she woke up in a bad mood. Renee in a bad mood was like dealing with a three-year-old in a temper tantrum, if the toddler had otherworldly powers and a taste for death.

I looked at the mess. “I suppose this means lunch is off. It took forever to get those reservations, you know.”

“I’m sorry,” soothed Renee. “I’ll make it up to you.”

“Don’t think for a second I’m going to use that saw.” I showed her my hands. “I just got my nails done and you know how hard it is to book with Monique.”

Renee squinted at my fingernails. “They’re lovely. Are those tulips on the pinkie nails?”

I grinned. “Silly, isn’t it?”

“Not at all. Here.” She handed me a severed arm. “The garbage bags are near the fireplace.”

“Ew!” I tossed the jagged limb into a bag. It was like heaving a cold piece of meat. “We should burn the body or sink it in the deepest part of the ocean. Maybe both.” I looked at poor dead Gary. He reminded me of a wooden puppet that had yet to be put together. “You have blood all over the living room.”

“I’ll have to burn down the house, too.”

“It does seem like the best way.” I looked at Gary’s decapitated head and studied the jagged crack between his eyes. Renee’s favorite death tool: direct blast to the skull. “What, exactly, did he do?”

“He went to see her again.”

I rolled my eyes. Here we go. Renee, who had a demon name I couldn’t pronounce, was sorta like a succubus. She explained it to me once, how it all worked. During that lecture about her particular demon kind, she’d said she had the ability to attract any male she wanted. The purpose was to mate with men so she could have little demon babies. In all the years I’ve known her, she’s never gotten pregnant. I suspected she liked the sex—and I think, like most females, she wanted a long-term relationship with a decent guy.

So, the up side was that Renee brought unbelievable sexual ecstasy to her partners and the down side was that she was insanely jealous. What she possessed, no other woman would have, period.

“Do you have proof this time?” I grabbed Gary’s other arm by the sleeve and slung it into the garbage bag. I’ve helped Renee clean up her messes before, but this ick fest really took the prize. “All you know is that he was meeting some woman named Debra.”

“Jewelry was involved,” said Renee.

Like most demons, Renee had a thing for sparklies. Her jewelry collection rivaled the Queen of England’s and she took her trinkets, particularly those with diamonds, very seriously.

“It’s such a shame. Today was your one-year anniversary,” I said, debating whether or not I had the courage to pick up Gary’s head with my hands. “Wasn’t he taking you to Tambellini’s?”

“Yes.” A note of regret tinged the word.

“It’s too bad we have to leave the country. We could’ve dined there tonight. That’s two reservations gone to waste.” I picked up the fireplace poker and used it to roll Gary’s head around. Spearing his eye was too gross to contemplate and shoving the poker up his neck like a fleshy Popsicle had no appeal, either.

“I can’t get his knee to bend enough to fit in the sack.” Renee attempted to fold the limb in half. She sighed. “I need to use the saw again.”

“Why didn’t you just...” I wiggled my fingers in zapping motions. “And get rid of the body?”

“I used up too much energy on the kill. I shouldn’t have wasted it. I think Gary would’ve died of a heart attack anyway. You should’ve seen his face after I changed.” She picked up the machine, but before she hit the “on” button, the doorbell rang.

We froze and stared at each other.

“The gardener?”

She shook her head. “All the staff is off today.”

The doorbell rang again.

“I’ll answer it.” I dropped the poker, checked my clothing for blood, found none, and tiptoed over the carpet until I got to the marble floor of the foyer.

I took a deep breath, plastered my there’s-not-a-dead-man-in-here smile on my face, and opened the door.

“Miz Rivers?”

“Uh ... yes?”

“Delivery for you. Sign here, please.”

I signed the proffered clipboard and the young man handed me a sack with Sandoise’s Fine Jewelry emblazoned on it. My heart sunk to my toes. Jewelry was involved, all right. Dare I think that Debra was a sales associate?

I hurried to the living room. “Renee.” I showed her the sack. The confused expression on her face turned to horror.

“Oh, no! You don’t think...” She rose, jumped over Gary’s torso, and grabbed the bag. The long slender box confirmed our fears. She stared it for a long moment then opened it. The pop-click echoed in the room.

“A diamond pendant.” Renee showed me the 3-carat teardrop diamond dangling from a gold chain. “It was for me. Then Debra was—”

“Happy because she got a huge commission.” I clucked sympathetically. “Maybe you should have believed him when he said there wasn’t anyone else.”

“You know I have trust issues.” Renee put on the pendant and tossed the box onto the couch. “I was so sure he screwing someone else. He just ... then there was the ... oh hell, I was wrong.”

“There’s nothing to be done now.” I picked up the poker. “Let’s get finished with dear departed Gary so we can get out of here.”

“I was thinking we should go to Europe, maybe to the apartment in Paris.”

“What about Rennie?”

“That was three years ago and we disposed of him perfectly.”

“Yeah, but the acid ruined my Ferragamos.”

“Would you stop whining about that? I bought you three new pairs—in season, which cost a fortune.” Renee caressed the diamond around her neck and sighed. “I think I might’ve killed the perfect man.”

“You’ve killed a lot of men—none perfect.” I used the poker to roll Gary’s head toward the garbage bag. “Forget France. How about the Bahamas?”

“Michael.”

“Damn it.” I took a deep breath, grabbed Gary’s hair and dropped his head into the sack. “Staying in the U.S. is risky. Remember what happened in Nevada?”

“Trent,” we said together and laughed.

“I’m just glad you killed him before you whacked off his penis.” I shook my head. “But I’m not sure the girl he’d been screwing appreciated the taste when you shoved it down her throat.”

“She was mouthing it just fine when I came home early and caught them in my bed.”

I heard the irritation in her voice, and the hurt was there, too. She had loved Trent—as much as a demon had the ability to love. I think she had loved Gary, too, but like I said, she was über suspicious and off-the-charts jealous.

It took another hour for Renee to cut her dead husband into more manageable pieces. Once we had him bagged, Renee and I sat on the couch and stared at the mess. Carving a corpse was untidy work.

“Where are we taking him?” I asked.

“Considering he wasn’t a cheatin’, lyin’ louse, I guess I owe him a proper burial.”

“I know you were fond of him, but rules are rules. No burials.”

“God, I hate forensics. These days, they can find DNA on a gnat’s ass.”

I looked at the blood-soaked carpet and sighed. “You’d think having evil powers would help in situations like these.”

“Yeah, well, we all have our limits. C’mon. We need to torch this place.” Renee rose from the couch. “I found an exotic pet store a few weeks ago. They sell piranha.”

I grinned. “Those little devils love fresh meat.”

“Sure do. There’s plenty of gasoline in the garage, but first, I need to get my jewelry.”

See what I mean? She loves jewelry and still has every piece given to her, including the class ring she liberated from my jerk-off college boyfriend.

Renee and I met our junior year of college. I didn’t know it at the time, but she’d only enrolled in at the university to find sexual partners and do the begattin’ thing. Turned out, she liked school, and decided to go for a degree.

When my boyfriend started knocking me around, Renee took it personally. The night I tried to break up with the prick was the night he tried to kill me. Instead of saying, “Okay, Dee, let’s call it quits,” he raped me and strangled me and left me for dead.

So, Renee sliced off his face and hands with a cheese grater then strangled him with a piano wire. She dumped his sorry ass into Lake Erie where he’s probably still floating around. She could’ve fried him in nothing flat, but she wanted him to suffer like I had suffered.

After I’d recovered from his brutality, three long weeks in the hospital, Renee told me what she’d done and revealed her terrifying secret. When she morphed into a demon, I freaked out. I mean, what would you do if a dainty girl turned in a red version of the Hulk, complete with scales, tail, horns, and black eyes? On the other hand, the cool factor was very high. How many people can boast they hang out with a demon?

None, according to Renee. Demons didn’t hang out together. They liked fighting and killing each other and when they weren’t doing that, they were figuring out ways to fight and kill humans. Yeah, maybe it was weird for a human to befriend a demon, but Renee and I had managed just fine.

We dragged the Gary-filled bags to my Range Rover and shoved them into the back. Then I got the gasoline cans and drenched the living room. Renee flung a lit match onto the carpet and we hurried out, scrambling into the Rover. The precious jewelry box with all her treasures was safely tucked into her oversized purse.

“We’ve never been to Canada,” she said.

“You hate snow.”

“I hate everything. I’m a demon.”

I glanced at her, at her hopeful crooked smile, and caved. I hate snow, too, but what the hell. I’d go anywhere, even Canada, for Renee. After all, she’d proven time and time again that a demon is a girl’s best friend.

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