Chapter 1:

The Gloves That Decide The Rest of Your Life

Destiny Destroyers

“Come on, come on, stay down…”

Ulrich looked at himself in the mirror. For once, his wiry black hair was staying down, especially the two spikes at the end that looked like devil horns. It took several bottles of soap and hair products, but it seemed to be working.

“Yo, Mina! You seeing this?”

And just as the excitement crossed his face, his hair sprang back to life.

“God dammit!” He yelled. “Okay, Mina. Got anything else?”

“Let’s see…nope, got through everything I managed to snag from my mom’s place. Pretty sure you’re just destined to be a demon forever. Sorry, dude.”

Ulrich looked at Mina, with her bleached blonde hair and midnight blue shirt with a spider-web pattern on it, glancing into her small bag of styling products. “Nope. Still nothing.”

Just then, the TV suddenly changed from the music video of Silverbackz Feel Great Inc. to a serious looking old man.

“We have just received the news that the demonic attacks have reached the shores of the United States. An hour ago in Alabama, several demonic creatures came from the sky, and roughly ten thousand people are confirmed to be missing. So if anyone has any loved ones in the area, contacting them would be advised.”

“Damn, they’re getting pretty close.” Mina muttered under her breath.

“The what? Demons?” Ulrich asked.

“What, you don’t know?” Mina asked. “You really are out of it, huh? Basically, portals started opening up in the sky in a bunch of places, and these purple monsters start coming out and start either killing or kidnapping people. It’s been about two weeks since the first one in India, and since then they’ve hit Ireland, Uruguay, Taiwan, Libya, and Spain.”

“So what, they just happen?”

“Seems like it.” Mina nodded. From what I know, nobodies been able to contain them yet.”

Just as she finished her explanation, a knock was heard at the door.

Mina answered it and standing at the door was a woman she had never seen before. Long blonde hair that went down to her waist, and a dark blue shirt with two gold spirals not quite meeting, along with some simple jeans. Honestly, the strangest part of her outfit were the regal white gloves she was wearing, with a black stripe in the middle.

“Hello, is this the residence of Ulrich Hart?” She asked in a strange accent. Sounded somewhat Scandinavian, but he couldn’t really tell.

“It is, yeah.” Mina nodded. “Why, you need him?”

“Yes please. It will only be for a moment.”

Ulrich went up to the door, and the girl took a small picture out of her leather purse.

A picture of Gene Bennet, because of course it was.

“Excuse me, I’ve been told you know this man. Could you tell me where he lives?”

“Yeah. He lives about six doors down to the right.”

“I’ll take ya.” Mina said calmly. “Laters, Ulrich.”

“Laters.” Ulrich replied.

“Oh, and by the way, your mother wishes to speak with you.”

Ulrich sighed, looking out at the blazing July Florida heat. As awful as the idea of heading out in it sounded, it was probably important.

He took a step outside, almost slipping on something just outside his house. He looked down, and on the ground was another pair of gloves. They looked identical to what the girl was wearing. He picked it up, and they looked like something royalty would wear. All soft, thin, and elegant. He tried calling out to Mina and the girl, but they were already in Gene’s house.

Just what were these? Was this girl involved with some weird cult or something? He considered going over himself, but figured Gene and Mina were smart enough to figure out any weird shit if they could. Probably. These gloves looked expensive, anyway. So she’d probably come back if she really wanted them. But the gloves looked nice, so it wouldn’t hurt to try them on.

And just as he slipped them on, it felt like the entire universe punched him in the head. His hands became deathly cold, as if they were about to fall off.

Ulrich went back into his house, running inside and flinging the gloves on his bed. Something shady was definitely happening, but the two of them were smart enough to figure it out. He took out his flip phone, sending a quick text to Mina.

‘Hey, what’s up with the girl?’

A few seconds later, the reply came.

‘Messenger from Iceland. College scout or smthn.’

‘Anything weird about her? Because she dropped some gloves and they’re really cold on the inside.’

‘Probably a culture thing, don’t worry about it.’

Ulrich sighed, putting his phone back inside his pocket. Time to head to his mom’s place.

He entered the Green Metal motor shop, enthusiastically being met with an “Ulrich! How ya doin?” By the owner, his mother, wearing a Scroober-Doo t-shirt and short dirty blonde hair.

“Doing pretty good,” Ulrich nodded.

“Nice. You get started on packing for college?”

“Not yet. I don’t leave for another three weeks, anyway.”

“Yeah, makes sense.” She nodded with her eyes closed. “Anyway, that Swedish girl find you?”

“Yeah, Mina’s taking care of her. Anyway, what you need me for?” Looking around, there was only one guy by the magazines he’d get berated for looking at.

“Hm? Oh yeah, I got something for you.”

She shot the register open, and inside it was a black credit card. She casually tossed it towards him.

“Consider that your severance package! Should be about ten grand in there.”

Ulrich stared at the card for a few seconds. “It’s all mine?” He asked, his voice shaking.

“Yeah, for whatever you wanna get in Colorado. A nice date, seeing your dad, whatever.”

“Oh yeah, dad.” Ulrich whispered under his breath. “He doing okay?”

“Last time I talked to him, anyway. He’s teaching at that university you’re going to, and doesn’t seem to be doing much besides that. But he’s excited to see you after…”

“Twelve years?” Ulrich asked.

“Twelve? Damn” She muttered. Well he managed to pick some stuff up for you. The new Fatal Fantasy game, some enhanced bundle.”

“Wait, really?”

The conversation was ready to continue, but an awkward cough was heard behind them, with the man behind him holding some air fresheners and dirty magazines, which Ulrich took as a sign to leave.

When he took a step through the door, he texted Mina again.

‘Any updates on that girl?’

‘Yeah, she’ll come for the gloves later. I’m home rn, I wasn’t allowed to listen to the talks.’

With nothing left to do, Ulrich lay on the couch and turned on the TV. Most of the channels were just talking about the attacks, so he just flicked through until he finally found something unrelated. The only thing that seemed to not be showing was Animation Network of all things, so he just watched Zen 10 until he found himself nodding off.

He woke up to some kind of crashing noise. He checked outside, and it was dark. Really dark. He looked at the clock. 4PM. In July.

He ran towards the window, and outside was a dark indigo portal blocking out the sky, getting bigger by the second. This had to be the demonic attacks Mina was talking about, right? There wasn’t any other explanation.

Against all better judgement, he stepped outside, joining roughly fifty other people, all fixated on the portal in the sky.

Then a series of small purple orbs started raining onto the road. As soon as they hit the ground, they started forming together. The particles quickly turned into small impish creatures, about half the size of a human. All hunched back, claws for hands, and eyes the colour of toxic waste.

Ulrich tried moving, but his legs were frozen solid as the demons approached the crowd. Nobody else seemed to be able to move, so Ulrich watched as they approached the man in front, a man in a Hawaiian shirt.

And with a single flash of a demons claw, he was impaled.

This sent a shockwave through Ulrich, allowing his feet to move again. This seemed to hit the rest of the town, too. Ulrich watched as they all ran in different directions.

The demons quickly started taking victims. They had mouths but didn’t eat. Any reason they had to be doing this seemed to be unknown, and unimportant to figure out anyway.

Ulrich just ran. His mom had a shotgun in the back of the shop, so she had the best chance of surviving this out of anyone.

He was almost at the store, turning around the corner when he ran right into a demon. It felt gooey as he bumped into it, springing him back as he fell to the ground. The demon stood for a second, as if it was regaining it’s senses. But it was only a few seconds before it pounced on Ulrich.

And then it froze. The ice-covered claw was barely brushing against his chest. One second longer, and he’d be impaled. He looked up, and the Icelandic girl was behind him, ice vapour seeping from her gloved hand.

“You. The gloves. You have them, don’t you?”