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Birthday Party Parlor Tricks

by Joshua Mason about a month ago in Horror

It's time to cash in the check

Birthday Party Parlor Tricks
Photo by Ybrayym Esenov on Unsplash

This story was written as a direct sequel to "A Demon for Halloween". With that I'm going to post a link to that story because otherwise this one doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

This Halloween with Malzaton was going to be the best Halloween ever. We spent much of the rest of the early morning at the lake hashing out the details of him working at my haunted house. He first shrunk himself down to only ten feet tall. Because simply put having something that was about twenty five feet roaring at people would probably cause real panic not just Halloween panic. Before the sun came up we headed back to my house with Malzaton just running beside my car. I tried to get him to shrink down enough to get in the car but he refused. So I just had to hope nobody saw him.

Once we arrived at my house I set him up on the outside by my garage. A few hours later as I was finishing up the outside decorations of my house I checked on Malzaton to see how he was doing, "How are you doing there big guy? You look a little bored."

Malzaton shifted on his haunches groaning, "When do the other humans come? I'm ready to do this thing you call scaring so that I can go home. Also you're certain I'm not allowed to eat any of them? Or torture a few? Something that actually uses some of this great power that you have summoned."

I laughed shaking my head, "No eating or torture. We don't do those things these days. We settle our disputes with guns and lawsuits. If I could somehow teach you to be the world's greatest lawyer then you could really torture some people. But sadly I only have you for one night. So no you just roar really loud at people. Breathe some fire into the sky. Stomp some. You want to make people feel the same way that you wanted me to feel. But about two degrees down from that. You've still got like five hours before things really start. So take a nap or something if you want."

Malzaton growled at me. I could see his fingers twitching in irritation but then I heard the oddest thing. He was counting down from ten. I started laughing loudly, "Are you kidding me? A demon using anger management techniques? Even if this haunted house is a bust this is still the best day ever." I walked off laughing to myself even though I could feel the rage directed at my back.

The rest of the day went by in a flash. I finished decorating the inside of my house with skeletons, some fake eyeballs, and a few little bits of magic that would poof and pop out something that looked somewhat like a ghost. I donned my Halloween costume of a creepy old necromancer. No makeup needed with a little bit of glamour magic to age up some. I stepped outside as the sun was setting and waited for the people to start walking through.

Within the hour people started coming through my neighborhood. I could already hear all the different effects going off down the road. So I looked at Malzaton, "You're up, big guy. I want you to drown out the racket down the street."

Malzaton sighed and raised his head up to the sky letting out a roar of such ferocity that the earth itself shook. He kept going for a solid fifteen seconds. I could actually see the sides of my house starting to crack a little along the foundation before he stopped, "Was that acceptable?"

I clapped gleefully, "Oh my god yes! That was beautiful man! That was sure to get everyone's attention."

Sure enough within thirty minutes my yard is full of people all staring at Malzaton. He started stomping and roaring again though quieter this time. He blows some fire into the air and scoops some of it back into his hand in the form of a fireball. Which he does a little light show with before squashing the flame in his hand. The people are mesmerized watching everything. You can feel the tension and fear in all of them so palpable Malzaton could have scooped it out of the air. I looked over at him during all of this and realized something weird. He seemed uncomfortable, truly genuinely uncomfortable. I step out into everyone's view getting their attention, "Hey there folks. Go check out the inside. It's even spookier than this big thing here." As soon as people have headed into the house I turn to Malzaton, "Hey are you okay? Those people were scared man. You did it! That was perfect! So why does it seem like you're not having a good time? Talk to me."

Malzaton growled at me, "All of these humans staring at me like I'm something for their amusement. It upsets me. I am a Demon! I make humans bow before me and pray for their lives. Willing to give up anything if it means me not killing them. This is… I don't even know the word."

I sighed, scratching the back of my head, "Humiliating? I think that might be the word you're looking for. Well now I feel like an asshole. Probably because I've been one. Alright listen. You did what I wanted. Go back to the lake and go back home. I won't humiliate you any further. That wasn't what I wanted for tonight. I don't know if it means anything but I am sorry Malzaton. You are freed from our contract. Please don't kill anyone and head on home." I felt the bond of magic between us break and immediately Malzaton took off at blinding speed back to the lake. Well this had been the best Halloween ever. The rest of the evening went on fine though people were confused as to how something so large had just disappeared. I won best of show for that Halloween but it was a hollow victory. Unlike my ancestors I try not to be a terrible person to the demons I summon. But you live and you learn.

Now before I say this next part let me say something you all may not be aware of. Mages live for a long time. Like a really long time. Make new identities numerous times long time. With that said, seven hundred years passed from that Halloween with really nothing interesting happening. At this point I was in my prime. I was on my tenth identity at this point. And I'm sad to say I had forgotten all about that night. Not the lesson I learned but more importantly that I had a blank check favor open to one of the most terrifying demons in all of Hell.

So you can imagine my shock when I'm in the middle of adding more knowledge to my grimoire and then suddenly I'm hearing the whisper of my name being said three times. Next thing I know I'm standing in the plains of Hell in front of Malzaton. As soon as I see him my mind instantly reminds me why we chose to forget about this. It filled me with terror beyond anything else I had ever known or encountered. Wow I really was dumb in my youth. Malzaton grinned at me in all his splendor. His body was so much more horrifying to gaze upon when he wasn't having himself changed to adjust to the human world. Here he is a giant of truly epic proportion with a presence to match. Here in his domain I was nothing more than an ant to him.

I looked straight up putting on my bravest face, "Hey there Malzaton. Long time no see. How you been? Crushing all the other demons I'm sure. So what's up?"

Malzaton shrinks himself so that he is my height and looks me in the eye, "It is time human. It is time for you to fulfill your end of our arrangement. Come with me." With that he turned on his heel and started walking across the plains.

I'm quick behind him, fully aware that as long as I'm close I'll be safe but if I stray too far away there are any number of small demons who would attack me and try to drain my power for their own. I said before I had been to Hell once. The most important lesson I learned was that here I'm nothing. About the only thing I could maybe fight was an imp. Malzaton remained silent as we walked. I wanted to ask where we were going but honestly I was too scared to. After what felt like an hour, though given the way time works in other planes, who knows how long it had been, we came to a large cave entrance on the side of a mountain.

Malzaton led us further and further into the cave. The whole time my mind is coming up with every possibility for what terrible thing was going to happen to me. Eventually we come out into a large cavern that looks like it has been decked out for a party. Oh god they were going to kill me as entertainment and then give my corpse to the demon of honor for the evening. Malzaton finally turned back to me, "You're tonight's entertainer. You'll be doing some magic tricks."

I blinked in shock. I know I hadn't heard him correctly, "Excuse me? Did you say magic tricks? Like disappearing cards and the like?"

Malzaton shook his head, "No no. Show us all the cute little tricks you've learned since I last saw you. Impress me. Or I'm devouring your soul. I mean it is my party and you can't have a party without entertainment right?" With that he handed me a traditional magician's outfit and told me to go change.

I went off in the direction he gestured while silently stewing over what he had said. Cute little tricks? I didn't even care about the whole soul devouring thing. I was more angry at how I was just dismissed. Back in the human world I could level nations with but a wave of my hand and I'm here in Hell to act as a state magician but with real magic. He wanted me to impress him. Oh I would impress him alright.

I got changed and then just loitered around waiting to be called up. There were introductions of the various demons who were in attendance. Apparently it was Malzaton's birthday. I didn't even know demons had birthdays. If I survived I would have to put that down in the grimoire. Eventually I was called up as literally just the entertainment. Not even my name. I started off slow, showing off some of my weaker spells. Fireballs and tornadoes. Earthquakes and a small rain shower. I could already feel I was losing the crowd. Everyone's a critic, am I right? I started ramping it up making bigger and bigger displays. Soon the whole room was a swirling mess of elemental energy. That was when I went for the finale. I gathered all of that latent energy into a tiny compact ball. The tighter I pulled it in, the more force it would explode outward with. Nothing more than a pitiful mortal attempt to recreate the big bang. But it put out a lot of power. I kept squeezing it tighter and tighter in my hands till it was half the size of a marble. I grinned at the crowd specifically at Malzaton, "Prepare to be impressed." With that I flicked the ball of energy at him expecting it to hit with enough force to at least annoy him. But no he caught it with two fingers and ate it! He just ate it!

With that Malzaton started to cackle, "Such a tiny thing! You thought that you could attack me with that. And that it would mean anything. Such a foolish mortal!" With that the whole room began to laugh. Loud, raucous laughter. The type you hear when people are mocking someone.

I could feel my skin heating and my blood starting to boil. If I was going to die here I might as well go out swinging. I raised my hands and started to chant when Malzaton stood up, "Wait! Tell me what do you feel at this moment? Tell me mage!"

I growled spitting back at him, "What do I feel? I feel humiliated is what I feel. I feel like you're just toying with me. And you know what!" I stopped. The heat in me started to die down and I sighed, "This is what you wanted. You wanted me to feel the same way you did. Well you did. So congratulations."

With that Malzaton chuckled and walked up to me extending a hand, "Then call us even mage. You let me free as soon as you realized your error and now that you've known my pain I shall let you free."

I took his hand shaking it, "Wait really? That was it? No soul devouring? I have to ask. Why?"

Malzaton grinned wide at me, "Don't get too big of a head but I have to admit upon our first meeting you impressed me. Being able to restrain me even in the human world is no small feat. And you did it with ease. Also you showed kindness when you didn't have to. Now let us enjoy the real entertainment of the night together."

With that the party took a bit of a different turn that drives my story into territory that I swore I would never tell another soul. So with that take away this one lesson. Sometimes an act of kindness can literally save your life. It did mine at least.

This sequel to "A Demon for Halloween" was written upon request. It took me a while to figure out the plot for it but I'm glad I did. If you enjoyed this story then please leave a like, subscribe, and feel free to leave a tip. Till next time.

Horror

Joshua Mason

I write because I'm always drifting off to other lands in my mind. I hope you enjoy my disjointed stream of consciousness. Please subscribe, like, and if I'm doing especially well please tip.

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