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.
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.
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