“Hey Jackass!” Bryce bellowed, kicking his locker shut and nearly smashing his hand in the process.
“Bryce, how about you be my friend and carry my books to class?” Jack handed him a pair of textbooks and a notebook.
“Sure thing Jack,” Bryce smiled and took them from him without saying anything else.
Jack smiled and looked at the stunned faces of his classmates as he walked to his first class. His new friend trailed obediently behind him, carrying his books.
“Bryce, what the hell are you doing?” Jeannie said, dismay in her voice.
“Oh, Jeannie.” Jack laughed, “Stop pretending you don’t want to be around me.”
“Gross, I totally don’t want to be around you.” She crossed her arms, “Come on Bryce, you don’t even go to the same class.”
“I’m just carrying his books, what’s the big deal?” Bryce asked, “I’ll meet you later.”
“You’re doing what he says instead of walking me to class?” She spun on a heel and stalked away.
“Girls right?” Jack said, “Can’t live with ‘em.”
“Can’t shoot ‘em.” Bryce finished and they both laughed.
All day, Jack just had to nudge people with a suggestion and if he got his wording right they would do whatever he said. At first, he was confused as to why Jeannie hadn’t done what he said, but eventually, he realized the problem was that she hadn’t been pretending that she hated him. She really didn’t want to be anywhere near him.
It was challenging; he didn’t want to be seen actually giving commands, but if he wasn’t specific enough they wouldn’t do what he said at all. By the end of the day, he had the knack of being just specific enough to get what he wanted without anyone thinking he was making it happen.
“You’re really good at this,” Lorethla said, purring in his mind. “I can’t wait to see what you do next.”
The demon had been stroking his ego all day. He didn’t mind it, but he wished he could still see her. Jack did have plans, big plans.
“I am going to be a superhero.” He said, “I’m going to make everything better. With this power, I can get rid of crime. I can make politicians actually help people. I can do whatever I want.”
“Yes.” She said, “You can do whatever you want. I see great things in your future.”
There was a knock on the bathroom door, “Hey Jack, some of the rest of us might need to use the toilet sometime!” His sister said.
“Just go away, Amber!” He shouted back. It wasn’t that he hated her or anything, she was just so annoying.
“Of course, I can’t wait to see what you’re going to do!” Lorethla said, “You’re going to change the world!”
“I’m going to change the world.” He repeated softly to himself.
Jack searched through the matters of record, eyes lighting as he found what he was looking for. A man just released on bail, charged with possession of fentanyl with the intent to sell. Most drugs were fairly harmless, but fentanyl was a tool of murder in his opinion.
“This is the one, Lorethla.” He said, “This bastard is going to pay.”
“You’re so hot when you’re decisive.” She said, and he felt her phantom lips on his neck.
A polite knock on the door made him look up in annoyance. He sighed and minimized his browser tabs. “What is it?” He asked, voice not revealing his mood.
“Can I come in dear?” His mother asked, “I wanted to see how you were doing.”
“OK, mom.” He said, not wanting her to think anything was amiss.
The door opened and she walked in. He was shocked by her appearance; bags under her eyes and hair hanging in lank, unwashed disarray. She stood uncertainly in his doorway looking at the perfect tidiness of his room before looking at him.
“Jack, are you doing OK?” She asked.
“Of course mother.” He said, “Why wouldn’t I be?”
“Amber has been missing for two days.” She said, a catch in her voice, “You’ve barely come out of your room all weekend and I wanted to come and check on you.”
“She’s gone?” Jack frowned, “I talked to her just the other day. She was yelling at me to get out of the bathroom.”
His mom came into the room and pulled him into a hug. “Sweetie, we haven’t seen her since Saturday morning. The police are coming today to get information, we filed a missing person report.”
“I’m sure she’s just at a friend’s house or something.” He said, waving a hand vaguely.
‘You told her to go away.’ Lorethla whispered in his mind. ‘She obeyed.’
Jack froze for an instant, a cold feeling of dread shivered down his spine. He swallowed hard, not daring to reveal any guilt to his mother. Before anyone figured anything out, he could find her and make it right.
‘Necessary sacrifices Jack.’ Lorethla whispered, ‘If you’re going to change the world, you can’t expect it to happen without some growing pains. Don’t worry about her Jack, you don’t need her.’
He relaxed. Nobody would ever know, and after all, he really didn’t need her did he?