Author's Note: Inspired by the tale of Little Red Riding Hood. First installment in a five chapter story. As always there might be mistakes since I cannot write anything during the day when my brain actually works. I own nothing except what's in my head.
What big ears you have.
Monotonous. Imposing. Velvety. Those were the first words that came to mind when he first heard that disembodied voice. Most would turn away and try to forget what they had heard. It was the voice of something sinister. It carried the tones of something who made its home in the darkest of shadows. The eerie articulations would instill fear into most who heard them. It was the kind of voice that would seep into the subconscious and plague the dreams of anyone who heard it. Only those who were truly desperate for an escape would see these caliginous vocalizations as a saving grace to pull them from the darkness they were subjected to. The God-fearing people would have known that this was not the way. They would have told anyone to seek help elsewhere, to seek help from a higher power who would lead them down a path of light. He had tried that. It had failed him. He might not be fond of the physical darkness, but the tenebrous tones that beckoned him were his last chance.
Any and all hope Alois had was now put in the being who was beckoning him. He was like a helpless butterfly who, unknowingly, was wandering straight into the spider's web only to be devoured. It would not be a fast process. It would not be something that would happen instantaneously. Before the kill could be made, he had to get himself tangled deeper and deeper into the web that would slowly be forming around him. By the time he realized what he had gotten himself into, it would have been too late. It was just like playing with fire; dangerous yet tempting. One would not get burned if they did not get too close to the flame, correct? Unfortunately, like a flame, the tempter drawing him in used everything he had to lull his prey into a false sense of security. Unfortunately for the lost soul, none of these metaphors came to mind.
Their contract had been formed, his life had changed. He was no longer at the mercy of that vile old man who would do unspeakable things to the boy. He no longer had to live a life of false hopes and dreams. The mask he put on every single day was allowed to fall. He was finally free. Alois had his whole life ahead of him. He could do what ever he wished, become what ever he wanted. The possibilities were endless. It was all because of that voice on an unusually dark night. From that point forward, those dull articulations were one of his favourite sounds in the world. It was like music to his ears. Alois had never been exposed to much music until coming to the Trancy estate, but nothing could beat the smooth tenor that belong to Claude. It was the voice that had brought him into the light. His was the voice that made young Alois feel safe. Just listening to Claude could calm him even after waking from the most horrific of nightmares. Claude's voice was something he had gotten used to hearing day after day. It was only natural he had become addicted to hearing them. Hearing Claude speak made the boy feel safe. Having a reminder that there was at least one being in this pitiful world who cared for him was enough to keep him going from one day to the next.
Who would have ever guessed a voice could mean so much? Dull and ordinary it may be, but Alois knew there was more to it than that. He had not once seen Claude express any type of emotion, but he liked to dream that with each bout of anger or flash of pleasure those monotonous patterns of speech would come alive. There was a fire in Claude, that Alois was sure of. How to unleash its fury was something of a mystery to the boy. It was a puzzle he was willing to take the time and care to solve. He often became bored with problems like this after having so many failed attempts or hitting too many dead ends. Alois had made up his mind. He would not give up on this. Until he found out what the key to that tightly sealed door was, Alois would continue to take what he was given. The voice of his saviour was definitely something he could come to truly love. It kept him sane. It kept him grounded. It was the one constant thing he wanted in his life until his dying day. He knew it would be the last thing he would hear, even if the being it belonged to would be the one to take his very soul. Alois was perfectly fine with that.
All the better to hear you with, my dear.
Pompous. Dynamic. Desperate. Sullen. Charming, curious, angry, frustrated. The list of adjectives that could be used to describe the voice of his master was an endless one. He would change his whole demeanor at the blink of an eye. It was funny how humans were in a constant state of flux. Emotions were what drove them. Feelings fueled them. It was a never ending cycle that had been passed down generation after generation. If there was one thing every human on this pitiful planet had in common, it was that they would let these feelings take a hold of them and govern how they lived their lives. He often scoffed at these things, but without them, demons like Claude would not have any naive fools who they could make contracts with for one reason and one reason only; a source of food.
He would wait in the darkness watching the world pass by. Every soul out there tempted him to take it. Some were more enticing than others. Some were ones that Claude would have no problem handing off to a lesser demon. He was the kind who would only go for the best of the best. Those were the souls that usually called out to him. Those people were the ones who were so desperate for someone to grant what ever wish they may have that they would willingly give up their soul. A demon could form a contract with them, essentially taking them under their wing. They would give a human what they most desired in return for one thing. Contracted demons like Claude had the ability to ensnare their prey and slowly draw them in, shaping the human soul to their liking before consuming it. People like these were how demons could continue to live. One would think the human race would have figured this out by now. Unfortunately for them, they had not. They were just too full of themselves to give a damn about anything or anyone else. If they wanted revenge, they would get it. If they wanted money, they would get it. The human race was greedy, vile, and all around obnoxious. It was surprising that there were any decent souls left on Earth with the way society was progressing.
Alois Trancy was nothing more than a tortured soul crying out to anyone who would listen. Without giving it a second thought, the boy had no problem submitting himself to the likes of a demon for the promise of a brief period of time where he could have a life he wanted. Then it would be over and Claude would have to go find himself another meal. The sole reason he had reached out to the boy was because of the purity of his soul. It was not often a demon like himself was able to come across a find such as this. It would have been stupid of him not to form a contract with the young human. Every time Claude set eyes on his quarry there was a primal instinct pushing and prodding him to end the boy's life right then and there to claim what was rightfully his. His ability to resist this pull was a strong one, but, like everything else in the world, it would not last forever.
Claude would wait patiently until the day came for him to devour the tortured soul of Alois Trancy. Most would say that was his greatest dream, the one wish he hoped to have fulfilled one day. Demons did not have dreams. They only had a desire to satisfy the hunger raging within the very core of their being. The sound of a perturbed cry for help sent his predatory instincts into overdrive. It made his mouth water and his cold eyes settle on his prize. Those first utterances were a promise to a hellion. They were a declaration that once an individual was bound to them in an everlasting bond, they would one day be able to pry the succulent soul from their dying body. It was a tedious process that often frustrated any demon who had taken the initiative to bind themselves to the likes of a lowly creature.
Only something as pathetic as a human would put their trust, and life, into the claws of a demon. They felt safe and secure, safe from any danger. They thought they were invincible with a creature like Claude at their side, doing anything and everything they asked of their demon. What callow assumptions. Everything a demon did was to lead their prey into thinking that they could do anything, be anything, without anyone getting in the way. Humans loved power and when they made a contract with a devil, they thought they had control over something so dark and sinister that even the most evil people would not fully understand. Unbeknownst to them, they were nothing more than a puppet who was under the mercy of a power much greater than their own. In the end, nothing they did mattered. They could beg, cry, even lash out in fits of pure anger. None of that would stop their torturer's advances. Those last pleading wails and dying gasps were the sweetest sound any demon could hear. Only the best of souls brought on a strange sensation that could only be described as anticipation, elation, and urgency all rolled into one rare feeling. Alois' last breaths would be no exception.