To Hell and Back (Paranormal/Historical Fiction/Gay Romance)

Chicago , 1952

Anyone who knew John Joseph Cromwell Sr. knew that he was the most pious, anti-immigration, and most importantly, anti-demon senator that the United States had ever seen in its 176  years of existing. A church-goer for all of his fifty-six years, Cromwell made sure to preach about the evils of demons until his voice grew hoarse. Thirty years back, he was labeled a ‘quack’ and ‘insane.’ Now he was adored by many all over the country.

Now this senator had a son; one that took after him in name and in face. This son was currently outside his father’s office, staring impatiently at his watch.

Ten minutes til one…that couldn’t be right. 

 He sighed and slumped into his chair, waiting for his father to finally call him into his office. When he heard the door finally open, he leaped to his feet.

“Hello, father,” John said with a half-smile. His father did not return it.

“Why weren’t you at the meeting yesterday?” the father demanded. Before his son could answer, he cut him off. “No, I don’t want to hear excuses. Do you realize that I’m running for president now?”

“Yes sir.” came John’s reply.

“And you understand what that means, right? You’re supposed to help me with this campaign! I can’t have you running off to God knows where.”

John frowned. And there it was. Did he dare tell the truth? Taking a deep breath he said, “I was just spending the afternoon with Wendell.”

The old man took a sip of his water before sitting down in his velvet chair. “Wendell?” his lips tightened with disapproval. “Well, if you can’t keep to schedule, you can’t be seeing that Wendell,” he scolded as though the man before him were still a young child.

John opened his mouth to protest, but quickly closed it as he thought better of it. With the campaign and all, his old man was known to have sudden angry outbursts which seemed to increased everyday. Instead, John just shrugged his shoulders a bit and said, “I’ll try to be more on time.”

Cromwell Sr. grunted, not believing a single word that his son said. Of course that was to be expected.

His son was a half-demon after all.

Yes, the righteous, pious, reverend John Joseph Cromwell Sr. had a half-demon son. It was a bit of twisted irony that no one else thankfully knew. As radical as Cromwell Sr. was, that did not stop him from being a huge hypocrite. The man in his youth had often frequented prostitute houses–many which were filled with succubi. His sins soon finally caught up with him; the succubus he fancied’s belly  swelled with life in the following months. While he could have abandoned the demon and their spawn at any time,  he stayed and cared for the two of them whenever he could. Of course, it wasn’t out of love or affection, but rather just to make sure that the wretched female didn’t go off blabbing about their affairs. After all, he had had a reputation to keep.

Cromwell Sr. swore he saw the boy’s mother in him, and that disgusted him to no end.

“John, at tomorrow’s rally, I’m going to talk about the dangers of cambions and their evil soulswapping methods.”

Better act interested. “You are? Is the police any closer to catching that soulswapper known as ‘Shy Pete?'”

“Unfortunately not. It’s madness that the person who does business with a soulswapper can’t be criminally charged though. As president, I’ll make sure that’s changed. Both the buyer and the soulswapper should be criminally charged. Of course, when I’m president, there won’t be any more soulswappers on the streets anyway. All those dirty, filthy cambions will be sent underground where they belong.”

John chewed on his lip a bit. “Is that all you have for me today, father?”

Cromwell Sr. glared. “…That’s all I have for you for now, yes. Remember to be on time for the rally tomorrow, followed by the meeting afterwards,” the father said to his son. John only gave a small nod and walked out. Just outside the building, Wendell was waiting.

“‘Bout time you got out of there. Your old man gave you a hard time, didn’t he?” Wendell asked.

“Not as much as you think,” John muttered as he started to walk with the other. “Just yelled at me for being with you rather than helping him with his stupid campaign.”

“He is running for president,” Wendell said. “It’s only natural that he wants his son’s support.”

It didn’t take long for the venomous effects of Cromwell Sr.’s campaign to greet them. Just right outside the bakery next to Wendell’s apartment were a group of angry men and women. In their hands were various anti-demon signs.

“Come out, you cambion scum!” one of the men shouted to the bakery door.

“You can’t hide in there forever!” screeched another.

Wendell frowned. “So it seems Charlie’s one of them. You would think that folks around here would leave him alone since he’s never hurt no one and he’s been a good baker for years.”

“Yeah…” John looked away from the crowd. That could happen to him at any moment. He had to keep his guard up.  “It’s just harsh, you know? Cambions can’t help that they’re half demon.” He made sure to keep his voice down as they entered the apartment.

“Mhm. Feel bad for the lot of them. Most of them today were just kids when their demon mom or dad was ripped away from them. ……You think that that was a good idea?”

“Hmm?”

“Sending all the purebred demons back to hell. You think that was a good idea?”

“Wendell, I was a little ankle-bitter when that went down. I don’t know if that was right or wrong. All I know is that it was a miracle.”

Despite the fact that Wendell’s place only had three rooms (a bedroom, a living room, and a bathroom), John found it to be more comfortable than his own gargantuan home. As soon as the front door shut, Wendell’s hands wrapped around John’s waist, pulling him closer.

“Don’t need to worry about him here,” Wendell breathed against the other’s lips. “It’s just us now…we can relax…”

John only grinned against his lover’s lips and kissed him. For a few hours, he could pretend he wasn’t John Joseph  Cromwell Jr., the son of the most adored anti-demon presidential candidate. No, he was just John. Forbidden as his relationship might be with Wendell, he just didn’t care. His father’s attempt to mold him into the perfect replica of himself had failed.

“The senator’s son is a good kisser,” Wendell said with a grin after he pulled back. “Who would’ve known?”

“Tch…” John went over to the couch and laid down. “You’ve known me for six months and you’re just now saying that?”

Wendell shrugged. “Guess so.” He walked over to the couch John was laying on and joined him. “Never asked you, but how do you feel about your father running for president?”

It was John’s turn to shrug his shoulders. “Never really gave it much thought, you know? He does what he wants, and I do what I want. Just trying to stay on his good side.”

“Well, his son having a relationship with another man is certainly not going to help his campaign if someone were to ever find out.”

“They’d have me committed to an asylum. Probably locked away and forgotten about.”

Wendell chuckled. “Can’t say I disagree with you there. Your father doesn’t seem to be beneath that at all. Can see him now: ‘Oh I had no idea that my son was sick! While that is unfortunate, I’m currently having him placed in the best care!'”

“You don’t even hang around him and you imitate him pretty well,” John said with a small smile and poured himself a glass of wine from a bottle that had just been within his grasp. After downing the glass’s contents, he shook his head. “Christ, wish I could just get my own place, but he won’t let me move out.”

“Yeah, been wonderin’ why you don’t just get your own place..” Wendell moved to wrap his arms around his lover. “Any idea why? I mean, it’s not like you’ve never disobeyed him before.”

“I don’t even know the answer to that myself, Wen,” John lied, pouring himself another glass. He very well knew why he couldn’t move out; his father didn’t trust his half demon son on his own for more than a day or so.

“Are you doing anything tonight?” Wendell suddenly asked.

“No..”

“Then meet me at Evan’s. You look like you can use a stronger drink.”

“Last time I went out for a drink with you, you had to carry me all the way home and explain to my father what happened. That wasn’t a very good first impression you gave him. He still hates you.”

“Well fine, I’ll show up to your doorstep with flowers too to apologize for anything that might happen to you later,” Wendell teased, giving a quick peck on his lover’s lips.

~~~

Nighttime came rather quickly, yet the city refused to bow to the darkness. Shops and skyscrapers remained alight, glowing brighter than the stars at night. The city never slept–that much was true. However, among the chatter and noise of the city, there were a few places that remained silent and within the shadows. Evan’s bar happened to be one of those places. It was a place where men who preferred the company of men could express themselves without worry. Such places tried to remain as hidden to the public as possible, masking themselves as nothing more than shady apartment homes so as to not raise suspicion.

John found himself waiting in the alley where the bar was located, checking his watch every now and then. Ten o’ clock and still no Wendell. Where on earth could he be? Perhaps he should just wait inside…

Before he could ponder the thought anymore, suddenly, something…someone strong grabbed him from behind.

“What the hell? Let me go!” the half demon cried out. He squirmed in the grasp. But nothing worked. With how tight he was being held, it became increasingly hard to breathe. Just when his vision had begun to fail, he heard a voice; a voice that would soon make his blood run cold and his heart shatter.

“Hey now, don’t hold him all that tight. After all, our client wants the body in perfect condition,” Wendell said and fully came into John’s sight.

“W-Wendell?”

 Before John could say anything else, he felt something hard smack him in the face, and his entire world went dark.

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