Hell and Styx #7: I’m Fine

Drum roll please…Hell and Styx #7!

And the conclusion to the first Wainscott scene. YAY!

It’s a shorter one this time. Backstory found in H+S #4, #5, and #6. These can be found on the Hell and Styx page in the upper right hand corner, as well as a description as to what in the heck this series is. Enjoy!

Hell and Styx #7: I’m Fine

Styx tripped into existence, a klutzy, prepubescent motion like a tower of bricks trying to catch itself as it was knocked over.

When he righted himself, he was standing next to the table, his elbow jammed against the coffee pot, too large and loud and real for the tiny room and the surreal conversation.

“Hell, goddamn,” he breathed, grabbing her and pulling her to her feet, into a lung-crushing hug.

Emotion crashed over Hell as the last hours replayed on fast-forward in her mind, over-exposed and badly edited. She clung to Styx, the one thing that made sense, her anchor. They were two magnets drawn back together, across continents, not of this world, made real by the other’s existing. Hell started to cry and Styx pulled her tighter and it felt like something else should happen between them but Hell didn’t know what so she remembered who she was and she pulled back, smoothing her hair, banishing the dampness from her cheeks, and finding a smile in her back pocket to wear. “Nice entrance.”

“You were pretty insistent with your—whatever that was.”

“You weren’t too calm-headed yourself.”

“I’m sorry about your father.” Styx’s hand shoved his hair off of his forehead reflexively. “And—everyone else.”

Hell managed a rueful laugh. “I’m invisible girl, remember?”

“You wish,” Styx said, flicking his gaze up and down her body. “You look like crap right now.”

Hell thought about a retort involving a rejection of his own hotness but wasn’t comfortable with lying in front of a priest.

Oh, God. Explaining. Lots of explaining needed to happen right now—

Styx’s face cracked open with laughter at Hell’s silence, his arms tallying a point scored with a sweeping gesture.

That was the idea, anyway.

The room wasn’t big enough for his look-I’m-a-bird arms-thrown-outward motion. Which wouldn’t be a problem in any other room, where he would pass effortlessly through pesky furniture. But here Styx was solid, a fact he hadn’t figured out yet—

His hand slammed against the murmuring coffee pot and sent it tumbling off the counter.

“Look, it’s you a minute ago.” Hell laughed. “We’re corporal here, Styx.”

“Got that,” Styx said, rubbing his hand, cursing under his breath. “Why?”

His gaze fell on a bemused Daniel Wainscott.

“Who are you?”

“Father Wainscott.” He held out his hand for a shake.

Styx ignored it, turning to Hell. “A priest?” He took in the stone walls, then rewound his flight into the room. “A church?”

“He can see us! And he makes us—real.”

“How?”

“No one knows.”

“Really?” Styx glared at Wainsott. “No one knows?”

Hell smacked him on the arm. “Focus. The guy’s fine. You think I can’t take care of myself?”

“I think I’ve done a damn good job making sure you can take care of yourself and a whole legion of orphan hellbeasts.” Hell nodded smugly. “I also think that jackass of a father might have done some permanent damage by dying.”

“I’m. Fine.”

Styx held her gaze, taking in the redness of her eyes, the streaks on her cheeks, the tousled rats nest that was her hair. “Sure.”

Hell glared at his doubt, turning her back on him and laying on the sarcasm. “Wainscott, meet my beloved partner Styx.”

“A pleasure to meet you.” Wainscott didn’t attempt another handshake.

Styx waved the man away. “Hell, can we go? You shouldn’t be out here so long, especially not when you’re like this.”

“Like what? You think I’m PMS-ing or something? I can handle myself, K? Chill. I don’t need a parent. Oh, wait! Haha. I guess that’s a good thing, seeing as I don’t have any! Have anything to say, kidnapper?”

It was the worst insult Hell ever used against Styx, powerful and devastating in its truth. Styx stepped back, trying to give Hell the air she needed to breathe, but he bumped into the counter. Claustrophobia bore down on both of them like synchronized armies. Hell just had time to look at Wainscott and say, “I’m sorry about your coffeepot,” before the intention rolled through her mind and she found herself in purgatory again, back in her old life of death.

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