The altar felt smooth beneath her hands, the marble’s cool caress a blessing despite its many chips. Parts crumbled at her touch; she didn’t notice. Even the scuffling of nervous feet behind did not break the trance. It was only the accompanying voice that finally drew her attention.
“Miss Idée?” It called out, the very name stabbing at her heart, a point of marking out the incomplete ceremony. Or, more so, that was how she took it. The chances of Hindermost acting so malicious were doubtful, after all. He did not own the capacity for evil.
His footfalls came to a halt as though he overheard her thoughts, shifting silently upon the dusty floor. He was kind for a demon, but foolish in manner. Surprising was that he was too powerful to take for her own. Perhaps it was a frivolous notion, that the weak could only frolic with the weak, but society’s upturned nose had a way of keeping demons in line. Her own lover – soon-to-be husband – was on the same level as she, feasting on mere slivers of power, and yet… he was kind, calm and patient. What more could she hope for? A more punctual man… maybe, but one needed to love in spite of flaws.
“What do you want?” she finally answered, her soft voice still echoing between the chapel’s walls. Her red hair fell before her eyes as she turned and felt suddenly small when faced with the size of the room.
“I thought you said there would be a summoning, Miss.” He replied, huddled in the middle of the floor. He didn’t meet her eyes, instead tamely licking the dirt from his hands as though trying to find excuse to occupy his vision.
“There is,” she said flatly, “They’re coming now.”
He looked about to protest, but a strange humming filled the room. His frightened squeal drowned it out for a few seconds - the demon shortly bounding behind an overturned pew – but when the sound returned, its magnificence could not be denied.
One by one, they appeared, stolen from the depths of dreams.
“There’s so many,” Hindermost whispered.
“There should be more, but alas, I am not strong enough.”
It was only a handful, a meagre sum, but it would do. Witnesses were all they needed.
As the humans began to gain consciousness in the demon world, she threw her arms out in welcome.
“Thank you all for attending! I trust-…”
“Miss... Miss Idée!” Hindermost interrupted. He had teleported himself next to her, it seemed.
“What?” she hissed, hands dropping to her sides.
“They’re not ready, Miss.”
She looked at him quizzically before he continued,
“The humans are still in their nightwear. We must give them a chance to change, look their best.”
Idée pondered the idea. He did hold a valid point, after all.
“You’ll fix this for me, Hindermost?”
“If that’s what you desire.” He seemed more distressed than normal, but she waved him forth with warm wishes of gratitude. His hands wrung as he did her bidding, scuttling across the debris. He tripped over his own two feet on many occasions, but picked himself up with the same vigour.
“Come with me, humans! This way!” he called as he galloped towards the door, a hand held behind to beckon them closer.