“Not again.” Dola rolled over and felt the world roll with her as she turned to look down the narrow, cluttered hallway of her one bedroom apartment to see a strange blob that nearly looked like a man holding a plate of what smelled like the inside of a dumpster.
The blob man was walking towards her, the smell of the dumpster plate was getting closer and Dola was seconds away from losing the breakfast that she’d yet to have.
The man walked close enough where Dola’s throbbing eyes and aching brain could work together well enough to make out his face. He looked like he stepped out of a high fantasy novel. This man had sharp features, long pale hair, he wore gold wireframe glasses over eyes that were such a bright brown they almost looked gold. He had a tall lean build that was draped in a perfectly tailored tan gingham suit, and he even had the soft british accent that everyone in fantasy movies had for some reason.
She felt sick again. What had she done?
“Are you hungry? I’ve made what your people call ‘eggs’?” He said it like a question as Dola stared at him in quiet horror.
“Not again.” She repeated, pressing her hand to her throbbing head, “This cannot be happening again.”
The man stared at her with a patient and confused smile before he seemed to take in her disheveled state. Realization dawned on his face and quickly morphed into embarrassed horror, “Oh! I think mayhaps you’ve misunderstood the situation!” He blurted, stumbling back and turning away so quickly that he nearly tripped over the pile of discarded layers of clothes from the night before that she’d tossed next to her bed.
“Nothing happened between us!” He blurted in a rush before smoothing himself out. “You see,” he cleared his throat before making an effort to speak softly, still looking away from her while she clutched her head in existential crisis, “we met in a bar last night, we chatted for a bit and I asked you if you were happy with your life, as you looked so terribly dejected. You told me you were lonely and sad and wanted to leave your job, so I offered you the deal of a lifetime. I offered to give you magical powers in exchange for my organization holding onto your soul.
You signed the contract looking very amused about it all and now I am assigned to help you, to support you in your endeavors, to protect you and serve you, to be whomever you need, my liege.” The man finished with a sweeping, elegant bow, his hair tumbling over his shoulder with the movement. “I am at your service.” He said with a regal smile.
“You don’t understand-” Dola blurted, feeling more sick by the moment, but this man didn’t seem too keen to listen as he met her with a gentle understanding smile.
“I understand that this must all be very shocking for you, but I promise it will be rewarding. Your only job now is to use your powers to help people on Earth through their hardships without them knowing. It will be hard at times, but I will support you. My name is Eirlin, my liege and I am here to guide and support you through this difficult time as you grow accustomed to your powers and beyond.” He dipped his head into another deep and meaningful bow as Dola gaped at the top of his scalp from where she sat in the middle of the nest of blankets on her bed. Her stomach churned, she pinched her eyes shut hoping that it was all just a weird dream.
This was bad, this was really, really bad.
“I will help you through this, we will take it slow and I will answer any and all of your questions. You will never want for anything ever again, or need anything out of reach, nor will you ever be lonely or financially unwell as our organization pays handsomely. Don’t you worry, my liege you are in good ha-”
“Who in the hell is this?” Eirlin had been speaking so much that she hadn’t even heard the door to her apartment open and shut.
Dola’s eyes snapped open in horror to see the man she’d lived with here everyday for the last year standing at the end of the hallway in the doorway with an armful of groceries glaring daggers into Eirlin. It didn’t take a genius to figure out that they were both weird magic-y men.
While Eirlin was all light and grace, Fylson was a streak of lightning. They might have shared a similar build and angular faces, but Fylson sported stark white hair, black ripped jeans, leather jackets and a frown that never left his sour face. A frown that was approaching rapidly as he marched down the hallway and looked between Eirlin and herself.
This was an argument waiting to happen. Just what a hangover needed.
“Fylson! It’s not what you think!” She blurted, rushing to her feet despite her entire body’s protest against it.
“Oh?” He drew back with mock belief, “It’s not? Because it looks like you sold your soul to this clown even though I’m supposed to be your familiar.” He scowled at Eirlin like it was his fault.
“Oh.” Dola blinked looking between the two, “Then maybe it is what it looks like.”
“What the hell!” Fylson tossed his head back in frustration and let the groceries hit the floor. Tomatoes rolled across the hallway, eggs cracked and soaked through the brown paper bag, mystery glass shattered.
“The important thing is that I didn’t mean to do it.” She pointed out, but from the glare she got in return, she didn’t think that anyone in the room thought it was a strong argument. Not Eirlin who looked confused and not Fylson whose veins were popping out of the side of his neck.
“I’m sorry-” Eirlin finally spoke, looking all of a sudden like he’d just returned from a long journey to find that his family moved away without telling him, “Fylson?” Eirlin repeated looking from Dola to Fylsoin gobsmacked confusion, “Fylson as in Fylson Thebrors of my graduating class?” Eirlin looked like he was dizzy, “I don’t understand.” Eirlin looked between the two settling his stunned gaze on Dola, “You have two contracts? That is simply impossible.” He stammered looking as sick as she felt.
“Impossible.” Fylson scoffed, “Everything about Dola is impossible. She went out yesterday because she was mad that it was her turn to do the dishes, now I come back and you’re here. This is some bull-”
“It is your job as her familiar to do her errands without complaint!” Eirlin looked more upset by that than anything else that had happened so far.
“Ugh, I forgot you were such a goody two shoes.” Fylson rolled his eyes, “Tell me, when you graduated top of the class did they put that stick up your butt then or was it there before?”
“I suppose you would never know as you were at the bottom of the class.” Eirlin sneered, looking offended, realizing that it wasn’t the best comeback even as it left his mouth.
“And yet I still got hired before you, crazy world.” Fylson barked a cruel laugh.
The two went back and forth while Dola stood to the side with her eyes pinched shut trying to piece together what happened.
All she could muster were bits and pieces; a handsome face, a bottle of tequila, a contract, her amusement when she signed it thinking how shocked he’d be when the contract didn’t work, how shocked she was when it did and then all she remembered was the smell of old urine from where she sat on the bar’s bathroom floor clutching to the toilet for dear life as the threat of being ill rolled through her and her new companion tried to hold back her hair..
How did she sell her soul twice?! It must have been a glitch in the matrix… Or maybe-
“I died once.” Dola heard herself blurt it, and whatever argument the two magic-y men in her room were having was cut short as the room fell into silence.
“What?” They asked in unison, staring at her with mirror expressions of confusion and shock.
“I was at an amusement park and there were mozzarella sticks,” Dola admitted feeling the terror of the moment all over again, “I got too excited. Didn’t chew enough. Half of the mozzarella stick was in my windpipe and the other half was in my mouth, next thing i knew I was being woken up and told that I had been legally dead for a minute, I was lucky that the park mascot was training to be a medical professional or I would have been a goner..” It was a dark memory.
“That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.” Fylson deadpanned after a long moment. Dola reeled back in shock.
“You weren’t there! You wouldn’t know how scary it was!”
“It’s my understanding that human youth often accidentally harm themselves in their excitement to experience life. It is nothing to be ashamed of, my Liege. I’m sure it was scary to think of blinking out of existence like that at a young age.” Eirlin stood up for her, and she appreciated that. It had been a scary moment.
“I bet she was like 30 when it happened.” Fylson snorted with smug amusement and Dola blanched.
“Asshole.” She muttered.
“I’m right aren’t I!?” He laughed even harder now… She had, in fact, been 31 when it happened, it was at her niece’s birthday party. It wasn’t funny and it was even less funny that he had guessed so close to the truth.
“It is rude of you to speak to your liege in such a fashion!” Eirlin looked scandalized as he stared at Fylson in open disapproval, “You will receive marks against you in your file!” He warned.
“You will receive marks against you in your file!” Fylson mocked in a squeaky, whiney voice, “That’s you, that’s how you sound.”
The two looked poised to launch into another round of arguments when Dola stomped her bare foot on the ground.
“Enough!” Stop fighting!” She demanded and almost instantly they stopped as she knew they would have to, per the contract.
She could feel her energy leaving from the force of the command and her head screaming from her yelling, but she couldn’t, wouldn’t, take the arguing with this hangover.
“Clearly it is an error.” She sighed, easing herself back down to sit on the bed, “We’ll go to your boss and sort it out. Do you guys have a hotline for things like that or something? A suggestion box?” She asked, as they gawked at her, the fight leaving them both for other reasons now.
“W-well yes, but it’s tedious.” Eirlin stammered, flustered. This was his first job… He’d spent so much time in school, studying to be the perfect familiar and now he finally got a chance and there was a chance that he was going to lose his spot to the bottom of his Entry Year’s graduating class? Not if he could help it. All he had to do was stick around long enough for Dola to realize that he was the better familiar so that Fylson could be kicked to the curb where he belonged.
“It’s a lot of paperwork and a lot of waiting. Two things you hate.” Fylson pointed out. Unlike Eirlin, this hadn’t been his first job, far from it actually, but this had been the first job where he hadn’t been fired and forcibly replaced thanks to his less than sunny disposition. They might have argued often and maybe he wasn’t the most accommodating familiar, but Fylson quite liked working with Dola. Now it seemed the tight ass from a school he went to centuries ago was going to snatch it all away… No way was he letting that happen.
“Ugh, you’re right, that sounds awful.” Dola groaned the thought of the paperwork knocking the wind of doing the right thing right out of her sails. She did hate paperwork. That was often why she got Fylson to take care of the bills and stuff.
“I don’t see why we can’t all try and make it work. There will be less work for all of us if we work together. The higher ups have so many cases to look over that I doubt they’d ever even notice.” Eirlin pointed out trying not to sound too eager, as Fylson nodded in agreement.
Dola considered it. Fylson was good at his actual job, but when it came to following orders he grumbled every step of the way and argued about things so much that for the most part Dola still did most things for herself. She figured that maybe having someone around who was actually pleasant would be a nice change of pace.
“It didn’t seem like you guys got along just a second ago. Are you sure you’re okay with that?” Dola asked, still too hungover and still a touch drunk enough to think too much about it.
Eirlin and Fylson looked to one another with a steel in their eyes that they both understood. This was a gig that neither of them wanted to give up. One of them would back down, and they were both certain that it wouldn’t be them.