The Trickery of a Masked Demon

by Ren Nightshade

I married a masked demon. That’s the only way to explain how I married such a man. There’s absolutely no other way. If I’m being honest, I should have seen through his mask in the beginning. All the signs were there. He was a stain, and I was bleach. I’m a Taurus and he’s an Aquarius. His name literally means “be cautious.” And yet, somehow, I still fell in love with him. I should have known better.

“I want a divorce,” I said. My hand noticeably trembling as I readjusted my grip on my empty suitcase.

Aconite slammed his fist into the hardwood of the mahogany coffee table, adding another bruise to its gallery of hills and valleys. It was the sole survivor of our eight-year-old wedding gifts, a sign of good luck for our marriage, or at least it should have been. Now it served better as the punching bag for every one of his tantrums.

“Why?” he said, throwing the crystal that rested on the table to the floor.

The glass shattered—a perfect semblance to our marriage.

I sighed. “Aconite, look, there’s nothing between the two of us anymore. You don’t love me, obviously. I mean,” I stammered with a chuckle. “You’re sleeping with another woman. You even had the gall to move her into our condo on Valentine’s Day!”

He stepped back, surprised by my accusation. As he did, his mistress pranced down the glass stairs, her red-bottom heels clinking like the champagne glasses at our wedding reception. The makeup she spent hours slathering across her face was as thick as the icing on our wedding cake. And her perfume was a perfect replica of the fragrance Aconite bought me on our 4th anniversary.

A wave of nausea washed over me as the scent smothered the room.

What did he see in her? He always told me I was his only one, and that I deserved only the best—I suppose that was just another one of his lies. He used me up, and now I have nothing left for him to steal. I should have known the moment my grandfather passed away, leaving me his company and riches, and the moment Aconite stopped acting like he loved me would be one and the same.

“Hey babe, we should get going, the reservation at that 5-star sushi place is in ten minutes. We’ll be late,” his mistress said, holding the door open for him.

Her very presence felt like drowning in a swimming pool. Lowering my gaze to my empty suitcase, I gripped its handle anxiously. 

Maybe I should just let him go. I don’t need to divorce him. He still treats me well enough…

Aconite growled from behind his mask, his gaze turning into a cold knife to sharpen on his mistress, then his watch.

“Look, babe, we can talk this all out when I get back. For now, I’ve got to go.” He then readjusted his suit and turned, taking extra care not to scuff his new pair of Louis Vuitton’s. He walked to the door, stopping in the threshold to taint me with more of his demonic whispers. “You know, I still love you, and I need you. So just wait for me, okay?”

Lifting my hazel eyes to his deceitful gray ones, my pulse quickened with every deafening tick of the clock. My hand stuck to the handle as I took a deep inhale, building courage.

I’m not his tool anymore. He’s already taken everything, now it’s my turn. 

“No,” I said, shaking my head.

“What?” he growled, the wood crying as his hand grasped the doorframe. 

“I don’t love you, and I don’t need you.” The words freed me, and in much the same way, they shackled me.  There was no turning back now. I dropped my suitcase, squared my shoulders, and stood a bit straighter. “I don’t love you, and I don’t need you, Aconite. You are leaving whether you agree to it or not. I’ve had enough of you taking everything from me. You took my name, my money, and more than anything, you stole my heart.”

“So, what’s the problem? If I have your heart, why are you leaving?” he said, trying to reason with me.

“You stole my heart and broke it. But that all ends today!” I marched towards him not stopping until we stood face to face. “I want a divorce,” I said, shoving him with all the force I could manage. “Oh, and I’m not leaving my house, you’re leaving!”

He stumbled back through the threshold of the door. His perfect mask disintegrated, revealing the demon he’d shown me many times over the eight years of marriage we shared. His mendacious warm smile dissolved into a gruesome scowl, his cold gray eyes narrowed into a bone-chilling glare, and his hands gathered into fully capable fists.

He ground his teeth, repositioning himself before me. “You’re going to regret this.”

Lifting my hand, I caressed the door. It used to be so heavy, but now, it felt light as a feather.

I suppose I’m ready for this after all. Smiling, I tilted my head. “No, I don’t think I’ll ever regret anything as much as the eight years I’ve wasted on you, Aconite. Goodbye,” I said, slamming the door in his face.

In the time that followed, I heard his fists beating at the door and thrashing the knob, but the auto-lock he had installed ensured my safety. He even threw his body against the door, but it wouldn’t budge. He was the one who insisted we have it specially made to withstand potential robbers, all to protect the money he loved so much.

“Let me in, now! You can’t do this,” he hissed, cursing my name and pleading.

Collapsing into my leather love seat, I took up a glass of champagne and toasted to myself, letting its cushions swallow me whole.”Sorry, but I have no time for masked demons anymore.”

Tivona McAllister (Ren Nightshade)  studies creative writing at Full Sail University. She lives in Ohio with her family. In her spare time, she enjoys reading books of various mediums, watching anime, and crocheting.