He ate like a wild beast, devouring meat off of chicken bones so swiftly he might have swallowed them had his attention wavered. Trisal, or Tristan as he went on earth, sucked his fingers between every other bite. Mesmerized by his shameless feat, I watched him use his teeth purposefully. He was an odd breed of demon living as a mortal man might.
It was too early to judge Tristan, but I had already begun. That's what angels did; we judged people. However, I did my best to avoid becoming narcissistic.
We had only met for the first time, in person, a few hours earlier. I hadn't been in the city long before then. I hadn't been on Earth for more than a few days. The loss of my halo was taking time to adjust to, but Trisal assured me it could be done. After all, he had lost his horns.
My new roommate had been a blunt instrument online, but sitting at the table with him, I saw it was more than an act. His persona was bigger. We were never shy toward one another in game, but I expected him to be far more reserved than I found that afternoon.
Was he not disgraced and cast out from his people as I was from my own? How was it that he seemed without a care in the world?
Should I have been disappointed or glad to find my friend was the same regardless of screens present?
"I didn't believe it," Tristan said as he finished with his last bone and dropped it to the paper plate beneath his sauce-covered hands.
His fingers were a mess of Buffalo sauce and ranch dip. Demons were known for their appetites, but I always assumed they favored screams over edible substances.
"Didn't believe what?" I asked, still in disbelief at how quickly he had eaten through enough food for three.
Tristan and I were slim, though he was at least an inch or two taller. I surely never ate as much as he did. I hardly ate half as much as he did, so I couldn't comprehend where he packed it in his belly, which appeared as small as mine. As an angel, I didn't need food. I could survive off of water and sunlight if I had to. Demons could nourish themselves with sleep if what I knew was correct, so Tristan hadn't any reason to engorge himself. Regardless, the banquet was meant as a unique gift. My unusual friend meant to welcome me to the city. Perhaps his appetite was enlarged by my company at his table—a hunger of joy.
Still, I questioned while watching him feast, what was I doing?
Tristan, after sucking his fingers, further answered me with a smile, "I couldn't believe that you came." He leaned back in his lawn chair before adding, "Most creatures talk, but you made the trip. I can't remember the last time one of your kind willingly came to earth. Demons come here often, but I was sure an angel would never give up the Overlands. "
"You made a strong argument," I told him and furthered a lie.
Looking around the disheveled apartment, too much distracted me from the conversation. Old take-out containers were stacked in corners like decorations. Dirty dishes littered every countertop. His laundry was sorted on the living room floor but unwashed.
Perhaps the oddest object in the immediate room might have been the bottle of lubricant, Big Jim's Slick Sex Sauce. I noticed it on the kitchen counter next to a jar of chunky peanut butter. The phallic-shaped bottle was half empty. Worse, despite everything else in the room, the lubricant gave off the most distinctive scent that made it impossible to ignore for long.
What was I doing?
"Did you see your room yet? I tried to clean it up," Tristan said and stood from his seat with a stretch.
His longer legs were an immediate fixation, perhaps even a turn-on. What I wouldn't have given to have his or greater stature.
"You're sure I can stay here?" I asked aloud, but I might have been questioning myself.
I would have been homeless had it not been for Tristan, but he knew not why I fell from the clouds. Cruel was I to tell him I decided to leave when my halo had been plucked.
Anything was better than homelessness. I knew that after spending days wandering the human world on my own. But dishonesty was a foul taste in an angel's mouth, mine especially.
"You can't exactly go back, can you? I wouldn't put you out," he joked and left me.
I watched him go over to the kitchen sink to wash his hands while I stood up to clear the garden table we had been sitting at in the dining room. There were so many bones on his paper plate it was gross. The flimsy dish nearly ripped in half from the weight of the wet remains.
I wasn't sure where to put the trash. There was a garbage bin, but it had been stuffed already. The longer I stood searching, the more I began to notice the hardwood floors were frost-biting cold under my bare feet. I wasn't living in the clouds anymore. I needed to invest in socks, and soon.
"Thank you. Thank you for doing this," I said and settled on dumping the trash into a grocery bag I left by the bin.
Fixing my garb to pull out some of the wrinkles, I went to stand next to Trisal.
He only looked at me with a smile and said, "Don't thank me til Friday. If you last that long. "
I like where you chose to start this story—it's a strong first chapter, setting up the premise and several questions right off the bat. The chapter answers enough of the questions to be satisfying, and leaves enough open for the reader to wonder about.
I like the bits of humor sprinkled in and appreciate that some of the more antiquated phrasing in the narration illustrates that the narrator is from a different, perhaps more traditional world.
I think if anything, in this opening chapter, I might want to know a little bit more about the narrator’s state of mind and how he came to the decision to stay with Tristan. The big question at the end of this chapter is what the narrator did to end up exiled, which is great, but I'm not sure immediately if it's desperation that has driven him to Tristan's home or if he wants to be there. It sounds like he was communicating with Tristan before he was exiled, but we also know he didn't actually choose to leave. I’m not 100% sure if his reactions to Tristan and his “what the hell am I doing here?” inner monologue is actual fear or just kind of initial discomfort at being in an unfamiliar place.
The only time I hit a snag reading was when it went from “Didn’t believe what?” to relative descriptions of the characters’ sizes and angels’ dietary needs (or lack thereof) to Tristan answering. I think you could probably find a better place to get that character description/angel lore in.
I am also curious exactly what scent Big Jim's Sex Sauce is giving off lol.