"You smell like sewage." 

"Hot garbage, if you want to be technical."

The brown mutt smacked its lips, gobbling down the half-eaten remains of some chili-cheese fries. An elegantly dressed woman with pale skin and skeletal markings etched into her flesh stared at the canine with disdain. She shrieked as a bit of garbage splatted against her dress, fervently trying to get what had once been food out of the lacy material of her skirt. It billowed and Howl always thought it was a bit over the top, but who was she to judge? 

"You know, sacrificing your humanity was more of a technicality. It doesn't mean you have to act like some mangy mutt."

"Bold to imply I'm acting-- and far be it from you to tell me how to behave. I didn't throw myself into a lake after being stood up at the altar."

"As if anyone would consider marrying you in the first place..."

"No, not anymore."

The woman's delicate features softened, turning sad. 

"Howl, I--"

"No. No more apologies. The powers that be wanted a sacrifice and they got it. I find the idea of eternal damnation for a moment of weakness appalling. I would do it all a thousand times over if it meant saving your soul."

"...I left you behind."

The dog remained silent for a moment, beginning to cough softly. The coughs grew increasingly loud, choking and retching sounds beginning to accompany the initial wheezing. Long and spindly fingers stretched out from its maw, attached to slender hands and downright gangly arms. The purple haired woman watched with a slight frown, averting her gaze at the sound of ripping and rapidly mending flesh. She'd never been able to watch the grisly transformation in its entirety. What seemed an eternity passed before she looked back. Where the dog stood there was now a tall but misshapen figure. Her joints seemed to bend in the wrong direction, her spine jutting too closely to her ebon skin. Her fingers were bent, her elbows and knees knobby. Her long black was was stringy and downright greasy. When she smiled, her saliva covered fangs shone, the dull grey of her eyes shimmering in the light of the setting sun.

"And I dragged your ass back kicking and screaming. The dark lord wanted a human soul, and he got one."

"But don't you ever wonder...? What exactly you've given up? When this purgatory is over, what will happen to you?"

Grey eyes darkened, and the pointed smile turned grim.

"The powers that be gave up their stakes on me. They got my humanity. What was left over...," she trailed off, brushing a hand through her slick hair. "Well, there was nothing about that in the contract, was there?"

The banshee didn't look comforted.

"You're my best friend. I don't know... I don't know what this is, what you are. I don't know how they could strip away your being and leave... THIS behind. All I know is... I've doomed both of us, haven't I?"

"Can you really call it eternal suffering in the company of friends?"

"I suppose not."