“Kneel before me.”


“Kneel. Before. Me.”

Terror gripped my heart. Choking back tears, I lowered myself to my knees. One hand reached out to him—my son—but my body trembled and I grabbed the table for support instead. The floor was cold, colder than it should have been, as I prostrated myself before him. I crawled forward while tears freely fell from my eyes.

I’m so tired, I realised, and saw the hairy claws now protruding from my son’s feet. I sniffled, caught the scent of sulfur and ash, and sighed. I am so tired.

Summoning up my strength, I slammed a hand down and rose to my feet.

“Listen here, you might be a demonspawn from the ninth circle, but you are still MY son and you will NOT speak to me in that tone.”

With palpable electricity, I forced the harshest glare I could muster to meet his black-eyed scowl. Tense silence strangled several heartbeats before I saw that tell-tale twinkle in his eyes.

Raising my chin just a little, gauging the movement, I snapped a quick order: “Now get to your room and clean that blood off the walls.”

He raised fiery hackles at me, but I held fast. He snarled and bared fangs at me, but I refused to flinch.

Deflating slightly, and in a flourish of flame, he stomped away to his room.

As he passed me, between his grumpy growls, I heard him meekly reply: “Yes, mum…”

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