This flash piece involves Phoebus, an Aresian, and their practices with daimons. It's pre-Fighting Gravity.
An Aresian Ritual
Phoebus’s heart raced as he reclined on the metallic table. The light above his head flickered before solidifying into a white glow. His gaze fell toward the darkened windows hovering to his left. Would his mother be there watching him? She said she’d come.
He swallowed hard and wiped his sweaty palms upon his white trousers. Footsteps clomped closer, and he sucked in a shallow breath.
“Are you ready?” The Aresian male’s gloves popped against his flesh when he put them on.
“Do I have a choice?” Phoebus placed his hands against the table. Metal clanked above them, his ankles, his waist, and his neck.
“It’s not that bad, but we must take precautions.” The Aresian checked the restraints. His head bobbed toward the unseen spectators behind the glass.
The metal felt cold against his flesh. The Aresian pressed a gloved hand above Phoebus’s chest. Would he hear the rapid pounding of his heart? The frightened breaths?
His father had died from this procedure.
Would he be next?
Phoebus’s pulse brushed against the neck restraint as two Aresian females entered the room. Pinpricks flowed over his arms. He squeezed his eyelids shut as his fingertips went numb. “Please, don’t do this.”
“Remain still. You’ll feel a pinch.”
Phoebus opened his eyes as the needle jammed into his chest over his heart. His scream echoed in the small room. His chest felt like it was on fire. His body arched against the metal restraints, but didn’t budge them. The burn singed through his body until he thought he would pass out.
Then the male extracted the needle. “Give it a minute.”
Phoebus could barely hear the words. His voice rasped from his parched throat. The flames slowed and stopped lapping his flesh from the inside out. He gasped for air as the three other Aresians in the room backed away from him.
“What? What is it?” Fear spiked, and he was certain his heart would give out.
“The mark,” the male said and pointed at it.
The restraints disappeared into the table, and Phoebus bolted upright into a sitting position. He stared at the symbol upon his chest, and his being wanted to sink into the table, if he could. A serpent swirled around the dagger over his heart. The executioner daimon. His worst fears were realized.
“No, it can’t be.”
“Congratulations, Phoebus.” The male grinned at him, his red eyes blaring with the thrill of seeing this particular mark.
“It can’t be,” he repeated.
Hello, Phoebus, the daimon said into his mind. We’ll get to know each other very well. Are you ready?