FLASH FICTION FRIDAY – F3 – CYCLE 69 – MEPHISTO EDITION: DANCING WITH THE DEVIL

This week those dark souls over at Flash Fiction Friday thought it would be fun to to make a deal with ol’ Scratch himself.  Tales of bargaining with the dark one are as old as written history…  do you trade your mortal soul for money, power, fame, or for the love of your life? What if your soul isn’t all he wants? Do you give the devil his due… or, do you conjure up a trick to take your due?

Dust off that coal black soul of yours and put pen to paper, ladies and gentlemen!

Prompt:  Write a little tale of how you ‘dealt with the devil’!
Length:  900 Words
Style:  Open Genre
Deadline: Wednesday, 29 February 2012 – 9:00 PM EST
 

~~**~~

DANCING WITH THE DEVIL

By Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw

Peering through the lens of the Leica Monovid, I study the movement of the flag on the rooftop of the Russian Embassy from my top floor vantage point of the safe house in the Palace Gardens Terrace.  I set the monocular down and make a final adjustment to the rifle’s scope, trained on the black Bentley parked in front of the embassy.

Glancing at the turquoise Corum chronograph strapped to my right wrist, I note that I still have half an hour before Dimitri leaves the embassy… for the last time if my aim is as good as it has been for the last seventeen hits.   I settle myself down on the window’s bench seat and reach in my jacket pocket for the ever present Gitanes.

“Those things will kill you, Nikki… or do you prefer Miss Ice?”

Before the thought has finished forming in my head, I am out of the seat and the Sig Sauer P226 that had been nestled in the underarm holster on my right side is trained unwaveringly at the head of the tall figure standing in the bedroom doorway.

“You’ve got about three seconds before your brains are splattered all over the wall!”

The man laughs and raises his hands, palms open.  He takes another step in to the room.

“You can’t kill Dimitri.”  His voice is firm and matter-of-fact; there is no trace of threat in it and the look in his eyes is neutral.

“I can… and I will… in exactly…” a quick glance at my wrist… “twenty-nine minutes.  The only question right now is… will he be my only victim today.   Who are you?”

Another low chuckle… a flash of humour in his eyes… and then, another flash… his eyes are dead serious.

“I’m the Devil, Nikki… Satan, Beelzebub, Lucifer, Abaddon… take your pick.  And, though I hate repeating myself… I will.  You cannot kill Dimitri.”

“Why not?  If you really are the ‘Devil’, then you know what he has done… and why he must die!”

“And die he will, child.  But, alas… not today… and not by you; I really must insist on this.  Dimitri belongs to me.  I have… plans… for Dimitri.  Unpleasant plans, I might add… most unpleasant!”  A quick hardness has crept into the man’s… Satan’s… voice.  I take a deep breath.

“And you plan to stop me, I suppose?  How do I even know you are the Devil?  I didn’t know Satan shopped Armani.”  I raise the Sig back up from its lowered position by my side.

“Look in the mirror, Nikki.”  He gestures to the mirror over the bureau to my left.  As I turn my head I hear him snap his fingers and a moment later, a smoky, sulfurous scent reaches my nostrils.

But it is the movement in the mirror that has my full attention.  My heartbeat slows almost to a stop as the images unfold in the mirror… the horrors from that day six years ago… and I am dimly aware as each expiration from my lungs slowly flows from my suddenly dry mouth and over my lips.

It is some minutes before I can speak.

“Okay… you’re Satan.  You also know…” … tilting my head back at the mirror… “ … that you can’t stop me from killing Dmitri.”  I turn back to the window.

“Wait, Nikki… a bargain… a deal… a trade… something you want even more than simple revenge.”

I turn back around… eyes blazing.

“Simple revenge?  After what he did?!”  I spit the words out.  “There’s nothing simple about it.  Now, either kill me… which I don’t think you can… or get the hell out of here!”

“A poor choice of words.  My apologies.”  I stop.  The sincerity in his voice is unmistakable.

“What could you possibly offer me that I would be interested in… besides killing that piece of filth out there?”

“Anything, Nikki… anything at all.  You name it… it is yours.  Cross my heart.”  A wry smile touches his mouth.

I stare back at him, thinking.  The minutes drag out.

“Anything?”

“Anything!”

“Swear it?”

 “Swear it!” 

Satan crosses the short distance between us.  He extends his right arm, pushing the sleeve up.  A flash of a well-manicured nail… a line of crimson appears on his wrist.  He looks at me.  I pull the small Swiss Army knife from my pants pocket, flicking the blade open.  A moment later, a matching line of crimson appears on my left wrist.

Our wrists meet… a bargain is made… sealed in blood… inviolate… by even Satan himself.

“I want a soul… one soul.  Give me that and Dimitri lives.” 

 “A soul?  That is all?  It is yours.”

 “Any soul?  No matter? “

 “Any soul… you have my word.” 

“I want your soul.”  I lock eyes with the Devil.

“Mine?  Impossi…”

I hold up my wrist… our blood mixed… evidence of his vow.

“Anima mea… anima mea… anima mea…” 

I speak the words slowly, in the old tongue.

As I watch, the light slowly dims in Satan’s eyes.  A few minutes later, it is a mortal who stands before me.

Wordlessly, I turn and walk back to the table in front of the window, lowering my face to the eyepiece of the scope.  The front door of the embassy opens.

“Right on time.  Excuse me… I’ve a monster to kill.”

A small smile curves the corners of my mouth as I settle in the chair and take the rifle in my hands.

“Close the door on your way out, will you?”

~~finis~~

28 February 2012
Portland, Oregon 
 
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About VeronicaThePajamaThief

Bio: Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw Born in Lisboa, Portugal to parents of Portuguese/Russian descent, Veronica Marie and her wife, Christina Anne, call the Pacific Northwest home, where the couple are “still very much on honeymoon!” When not teaching and finishing her own studies for a Masters in Sociology, Veronica writes fiction, primarily noir - "I love dark!". Her long fascination with noir fiction prompted Veronica to try her own hand at writing fiction several years ago. She has been published in Pulp Metal Magazine, The Lost Children: A Charity Anthology, the horror anthology 100 Horrors, from Cruentus Libri Press, Nightfalls: an End of the World anthology, Drunk On The Moon 2: A Roman Dalton anthology and Gloves Off: Near To the Knuckle's debut anthology. Veronica has also appeared in the inaugural issue of Literary Orphans magazine and her horror/urban fantasy short story SOUL TAKER was recently chosen for inclusion in Lily Childs' february femmes fatales, an urban fantasy/horror anthology. Veronica counts among her mentors - Carole A Parker, Lily Childs, Paul D Brazill, Richard Godwin, Joyce Juzwik and Vicki Abelson. She is currently working on the third draft of her first novel – a memoir – as well the second draft of her first fiction novel, a fantasy novel and the publication of a collection of her flash fiction and short stories. Lily's The Feardom and Vicki Abelson's Women Who Write Facebook writing group have both been a tremendous source of support and inspiration for Veronica. Veronica’s writings can be found athttp://veronicathepajamathief.blogspot.com/ andhttp://veronicathepajamathiefwritespoetry.blogspot.com/, andhttps://veronicathepajamathief.wordpress.com/
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13 Responses to FLASH FICTION FRIDAY – F3 – CYCLE 69 – MEPHISTO EDITION: DANCING WITH THE DEVIL

  1. Ray Yanek says:

    Hmmm, although Ms. Ice seems to have beat the devil here, I still wonder-did she really? Or did she play right into his hands? Loved that aspect of the story, Veronica. Very nice.

    • Are you up on your Latin, Ray? That should answer any lingering questions? 🙂

      I love that people are going to take away different interpretations from this story.

      By the way… this is the very first story with my hit-woman character. What do you think of Nikki so far?

  2. Thank you for stopping by and reading my story, Ray… I truly appreciate your support and encouragement.

  3. Extremely well written, a mixture of ice and tension that sets the atmosphere perfectly. I want to see more of Nikki, Veronica.

    • Thank you very much, Richard… your comments and critique mean a great deal to me.

      I have been playing around with some ideas for a hit-woman story, some journal notes, but haven’t actually sat down and started a story. When I saw Doc’s prompt for this week’s flash fiction, I knew immediately what I was going to write… a story with mostly dialogue… only two characters… the devil and… ?

      That is when the light bulb went off in my head! NIKKI! Perfect! Took me about 90 minutes to write the story… god, I LOVE when that happens! Lol!

      I will definitely be doing more of Nikki Ice… now that the ‘ice’ has been broken, so to speak. Haha!

  4. Pingback: F3 – Cycle 69 – Mephisto Edition – The Stories | Flash Fiction Friday

  5. Ray Yanek says:

    Actually, my Latin is a little rusty, but the I’m guessing the Latin lines mean “My soul”? That does answer my question, sort of… 🙂 It is the Satan though, so one never knows!

    But yes, I like Nikki. Obviously she’s tough and hardened and mysterious. I want to know with just what happened those six years ago. I found the most interesting thing though, was her response to Satan. She shows no fear and she obviously has some connections to the occult if she can pull off something like this–and that, I think, is the interesting part that will make people want to read more.

    People like, you know…me!

    • Thank you, Ray… I appreciate your comments very much!

      “Anima mea’ translates to ‘your soul is mine’. Yes, Nikki does have some knowledge of the occult… forbidden knowledge, which if Satan had been aware of, he would never have made the bargain with Nikki. Her… oh, but I don’t want to give away any more… not just yet.

      “Tough, hardened, and mysterious’… yes, that describes Nikki quite well.

      What happened six years ago?

      We’ll have to wait and see, won’t we? 🙂

      I do so hope people will want to read more… there is more of Nikki to tell.

  6. K. V. Hardy says:

    Oh nicely done, Veronica. Indeed, who is the devil?

    • Thank you, Ingrid!

      Turns out the Devil doesn’t wear Prada… he wears Armani! 😀

      so, who is this devil person? He does look very nice in Armani… strong, confident, wordly… I daresay though, he has met his match in Nikki! Lol!

      I was so tempted to make the devil a female, but all I could think of was Meryl Streep… didn’t want to go there… haha! She might have been too much for my Nikki!

  7. Thomas Pluck says:

    Nice trick on the devil! I can see Miss Ice collecting souls for a long long time…

  8. J.F. Juzwik says:

    Smart lady, and truly fearless. It isn’t as if she doesn’t really believe it’s Satan. She knows, and still makes a bargain, with the betrayor of all betrayors, and still comes out on top. Brilliant piece, and I want to know more about her as well. She’s tough and cold, sure, but something in her still feels. Why the need for revenge? What horrific event occurred all those years ago that still demands her revenge? The desire for revenge shows caring. I like that trait in her. A ‘cold as ice’ killer, yet still a feeling human–somewhere deep down. Great job, and please let us see more of Nikki–SOON! Superb!

    • Thank you, Joyce! I am thrilled at your comments… they made my whole day!

      I am so glad you like Nikki, and yes… I will be writing more of her. Nikki Ice will be one of the major characters in this year’s NaNoWriMo competition, but I hope to write more of her before than. I will try and not make everyone wait too long.

      I realize that this story has left a lot of questions unanswered about Nikki. I believe a story I have in mind now will answer many of those… there is a lot of backstory for Miss Ice.

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting my story. Your support and encouragement mean a great deal to me, Joyce!

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