I write dark urban fantasy. I do not write about vampires. I set my stories in the near/far future and write about a California overrun with devils. I do not write about demons. A demon can be anything–it can sing in a nightclub, or wear jimmy choos. It can be a hot chick with a nasty temper. I can be Alexikakos, a Greek term meaning “evil used in the service of good”.
A devil is a whole other something. A devil has a history, many histories, many stories, none of them ending well, as recorded in religious text and mythologies. A devil is evil–see? It’s written right there in the name.
I was raised Catholic and had a healthy fear of the word, alone, by the time I was ten. My mother owned an enormous “children’s bible” which, as it’s center piece, had a two page illustration of the temptation of Christ with a big, red, goateed devil flying away across the desert. How I feared that picture. Every time I picked up the bible, I was terrified that the book would open itself to that page and I would be forced to glimpse those cloven hooves and stunted horns.
I also had a HUGE imagination that tended to do its best work turning my fears into full-blown, horrific nightmares. By the time I was sixteen, I was a nervous, insomnious wreck. By the time I was sixteen, I was afraid of my own shadow. I was afraid of being overrun by something without when it was in fact, within.
It was many years before I learned to live with my shadow.
So, for me, writing about devils, now, is a way to reclaim all those nights given over to fear–all that wasted time being afraid of nothing, but what I had created in my own head.
And, the funniest thing happened; when I began writing The Fade Tales, I had a hard time making my devils scary enough. Creepy, yes. Dark, yes. Ridiculous and strange, yes. But, where was that gut knot of fear that I had when my children’s bible fell open to that center illustration? It came as a shock when a recent reader mentioned: “well, yeh, it’s kinda scary, Jas.” Hmmm?
Well, as you can see from the tiny excerpt below: so NOT scary.
excerpt from: The Fade Tales, pt one.
The pit devil fell to his backside, stunned by the weight of such heady truths. “My Lord,” he whispered. “You are unwell.”
“I am fine.” In fact, despite the pounding headache, Senciner felt stronger than he had in ages. “We shall liberate ourselves from beneath the heel of the ancient horned one! We shall triumph in the Upper Realm and create the new House of Dark there!”
“Let us be away from here,” Nivean cried. “For the Hidden Histories warn of the terrible effect the light has upon devilkind. That it brings about…”
“What have I, a true devil lord, to fear in the light?” Senciner demanded. “For even my brother, Phage, traveled to the Upper realm and returned unscathed.”
Nivean held up an admonitory claw. “The incomparable Lord Phage traveled to the Nether realm,” he said. “It is written in the Hidden Histories that only the greatest devil lords, Belial and Azazel, traveled to the Upper Realm using the light to poison their shades. ‘Like calls to like’, the Lord of Flies wrote, and a shade thus polluted would be forced into the deadly realms belonging to the light, where no devil might survive unprotected by ancient sigils, now lost to our race.”
Senciner reached out and grabbed the barrel of Nivean’s snout, cutting off any further discourse. “Heed me slave,” he hissed. “No one may debate history with the last living historian in the Abyss!”
“Gnat id not my intend,” Nivean replied.