The Devil's Favor
He sold his soul...but now the Devil needs a favor.
My breath catches in my throat and tears run down my cheeks. I can barely breath with all the smoke surrounding me. Last time I felt like this was when I sold my soul to the devil himself. I can only imagine that he’s calling in on that debt now. I really thought I had a little bit longer to enjoy my spoils. Sure, my soul was no longer my own, but I had a great life right now: a nice cushy job, a fantastic wife, a two kids. I really wanted to see them grow up at the very least, but if it’s time for Satan to claim me then I can’t really argue with him.
I cough some more as the smoke clears and he speaks, “Jake, sorry to come so soon. I…”
I interrupt him. “Yeah, yeah, I know. It’s time for me to repay the debt I incurred when I sold you my soul. Blah, blah blah. Let’s get on with it. Can I have a day to say goodbye and get a few things in order at least?”
“Well, actually Jake you can have all the time you want. See, I need a favor from YOU.” He chuckled sardonically. “How ironic huh?”
“Wait. What?” I think the smoke effected my head because I must be hearing things.
“Exactly what I said. So, in order to get that favor I’m going to offer you your soul back. Sounds fair right?”
“Okay, okay what’s the catch. Because last time I had to bring in a damn lawyer from HELL just to make sure you weren’t adding in any loophole and if you recall I’m being literal.” I’m getting suspicious. This seems to easy to be real.
“Well the catch is really in the favor honestly. It’s not exactly going to be easy and you don’t get your soul until we’re done.” I knew there was going to be a catch. There always is with this guy. Why the hell did I even get tangled up with him in the first place? “See since you don’t have your soul but are still a living human it affords you certain…liberties. When it comes to both heaven and hell as well as here on Earth. I need someone with those liberties.” He was being rather close-mouthed about the specifics.
“Okay so what exactly are those liberties?” I swear talking to this guy it like pulling teeth. From a shark. A very hungry shark.
“Nothing big it just allows you easy entrance to all three worlds without detection. So long as you are shown the way of course.” He grinned.
“Great so you’re going to probably show me how to get into heaven I’m assuming. Right?”
“Actually no…” Oh boy this isn’t going to be good. “You see I’m locked out of Hell. I can’t even get into my own backdoor. My specific energy has been blocked until someone unlocks the hypothetical front door for me.” He smirked at me. “That’s where you come in.”
I crack up laughing. “I have to let you into your own domain? Oh, shit this is priceless!” I can’t talk anymore I just keep laughing.
“This isn’t funny!” Satan yelled. “If I’m gone for to long things could get messy and fast not just in Hell but on Earth and Heaven as well. Where do you think the overflow of people not getting sorted is going to go?!”
Shit. I didn’t know that. Alright so this is serious. “I’m sorry I really didn’t know the how bad this was. What do I have to do?”
He nodded at my apology. “Here’s the deal, I can MAKE a portal to one of the back entries. I just can’t enter it or make one to the front gate. The closest one is about a two mile walk but it’s not the safest route. The best bet for you as a human is a four mile walk through one of the safest areas in hell and if you’re careful you can avoid most of the demons in there. If you’re LUCKY you may run into one who knows my dilemma. If that’s the case they’ll be able to help you.”
“Anyone in particular I should look for?”
“Well there is Lucy…”
“Lucinda. She likes Lucy though. Actually, today is her patrol day for that section so you may be in luck. She’s one of my rare few who seem to like humans.” Lucifer explained. I sighed.
“Well that’s just great so how to we even open this backdoor anyways?” He grinned at my question.
“Now that’s easy! Well for me anyways you on the other hand…well going by you hacking fit from my entrance you might want to open some windows before I start.” He winks at me and laughs as a start to run to the few windows that open in my kitchen. I even turn on the fan above the stove for good measure. I frown at the counter as I remember the sandwich I was in the middle of making. Guess no lunch for me. Lucifer starts chanting as I remember I need to ask before I leave what’s he going to tell my family this time. Last time he had to tell my mom that he was from my school and it was a trip I forgot to mention. The soul extraction process took a couple days.
“Hey when you’re done what story are you going to tell my wife and kids?” I ask over his chanting. His eyes glance over at me in acknowledgment but continues his chanting as smoke starting filling the room. Soon after a glowing red spark appears in the smoke. The spark grew into a large portal and finally the Devils chanting came to a halt.
“I’m going to leave them a voicemail saying I’m from one of the other divisions of your company. I’ll request your help personally and have you write a note saying that you left to take care of the matter and will be back soon.” Lucifer grinned at his own ingenuity.
“OH COME ON! A third grader could of thought of that excuse!” I yelled.
“Well sometimes all that’s required is a simple solution.” He just shrugged at me. “Now we have to hurry this won’t stay open for too long.”
“Fine,” I dropped it. “But what do I do when I get in there? You’re kinda sending me in here blind dammit.” I cursed my luck and my lack of sandwich.
“No need to swear at me Jake.” He’s SCOLDING me? “That’s the easy AND the hard part. Just follow the path until you reach the gate then lift the bar which will undo the lock. It’s that simple. The trick will be avoiding the demons and well it’s a four mile walk and that’s a very boring sector. Not much scenery just a lot of screaming people.”
“So it’s the torture sector? Is that what you’re telling me?” I can’t believe this.
“Yep. Pretty much. Some people have been there for hundreds of years I usually cap it at seven hundred though.” Lucifer laughed.
“Yeah you’re one sick man.”
“Okay,” Lucifer clapped his hands together. “Time to go!” And he shoved me in.
“Damn you!” I screamed as I fell through the glowing portal. I landed on my back with a crack. It took me a few minutes to get my bearings but by the time I came to the portal I was just carelessly shoved through was gone, and I was officially in Hell. Again. This time though I was on a mission and not here as a guest.
“Well, well, well boys what have we here?” A squeaky voice questioned.
“Looks like a human to me.” Another answered this one much deeper.
“Well you know what I think he looks like?” A third raspy one asked. “Fresh meat!” He didn’t wait for an answer before answering himself. I found that disturbing, but this was Hell after all. I scrambled to my feet and got a good look at the three. I’m not sure which one had which voice but one was a red demon with one eye covered in tentacles, another looked almost human except his head was just a skull with two blue eyes still inside, the final one resembled a centipede made entirely out of bones.
Tentacle boy reached out for me a mouth gaping open from the center of him. I backed away only to find that Blue Eyes had moved behind me. He let out a raspy laugh as he grabbed my arms. Guess I know who thinks I’m meat now. I could feel the chill of his hands even through my thick shirt. It sent shivers down my spine.
As I heard the clicking of the bones the made up the Centipede coming towards me and my body got colder from the touch of Blue Eyes I whispered an apology to Lucifer, “Sorry old friend…”
“HEY! Where did that guy come from?!” Someone shouted behind the group and all at once they backed away and a female looking demon walked through them. Her blue skin stood out against the red glow of hell. Other than her skin and her horns she looked human.
“Umm…” Really guys you all saw me fall through the portal and none of you will answer her? Wait…
“I fell through a portal miss. Lucifer sent me. Am I right in guessing you’re Lucy?” I speak up since no one else will.
“Oh, so you’re the one the boss sent to solve his little dilemma. Well aren’t you a cutie!” She winked at me and extended her hand out to me.
“Umm, yeah that’s me.” I grabbed her hand thinking she was going to shake it. Instead she pulled me to her and kissed me on the cheek. What the hell! “Hey lady look I’m married and I may have given up my soul but I’m loyal to my wife despite that so can you not?”
“Oh fine. I’ll try to be good, but don’t expect much. I’m a demon remember?” She winked again. Lucifer wasn’t kidding when he said she liked humans. Well four miles shouldn’t take to long right?
“Lets just go. I really want to get home I was kinda busy when Lucifer dropped in and never did finish making my sandwich.” I start walking in what looks to be the right direction. It was the only path I could see in any direction and he did say to just follow the path.
“Someone’s grouchy…” My demoness companion pouted. She seemed so familiar but I couldn’t put my finger on it.
“No, it’s called attacked by demons on an empty stomach.” I replied with a glare.
She rolled her eyes and as I looked forward again I felt a smack on my ass, “Cheer up! You’re in Hell! You should’ve expected as much Cutie!”
I didn’t squeak. I did not squeak. I let out a manly yell.
“Oh, what a cute squeak!”
“I didn’t squeak!” Dammit. Okay I squeaked but a demoness just smacked my ass. A demoness is hitting on me. That’s terrifying. “So about how long do you think it’ll take to get to the gate anyway?”
“Well I’ve got a few tricks for getting around so it should only take about fifteen minutes.” She shrugged at my question and looked confused when my jaw dropped. “What?”
“That’s really fast for normal humans. More than twice as fast I think.” I explain my shock to her. She just shrugged again.
“That’s what I mean by a few tricks. I can make internal portals that’ll skip about a mile and a half but I can only make two.” Well that explains it. She starts chanting under her breath and a minute later a blue portal appears. “Coming Cutie?” She asks as she steps through.
I walk through after her and find that we’re in another area entirely just like she said. This area is loud though just like Lucifer warned me about. There’s so much screaming I can hardly think. I cover my ears but even that doesn’t block out the sound. Lucy looks just as disturbed as I am. Her mouth is moving but I can’t hear her. I can only assume she was chanting again though because another blue portal popped up. This one was a lot paler though like it wasn’t as strong.
She shot through it without a glance back at me. I didn’t waste any time though as I followed her. I heard someone screaming for their mom before I was all the way through. I landed right behind the demoness who was shaking her head as though she was trying to get water out of her ears. I felt like doing the same. It wouldn’t work though.
“You okay?” I couldn’t help but ask her as we started walking the final mile to the front gate.
“Yeah, I just really hate that sector and I already had to go through it once today, only earlier I had to walk. So, the faster I got out of there the better.” She shook her head almost sadly not looking me in the eye.
I looked at her oddly, “I thought all demons liked torture and suffering?” She just shook her head before taking a breath.
“Nope! Not all of us, but that’s really not the point we have a job to do and another mile to go! So, come on Cutie!” She grabbed my hand and began dragging me along.
“Hey! I have a name you know! It’s Jake!” I yell at her but I’m pretty sure she didn’t care because she just told me Cutie fits me better. I roll my eye and pull my hand out of hers, “And remember I’m married!”
“And remember I’m a demon!” She sang and started skipping down the path. I smack my forehead and give up. There’s really no arguing with a demon after all. I learned that with Lucifer when I sold him my soul.
We walked in silence for a little bit and I started to see the gates come into sight. When books describe them as the black gates of Hell they really aren’t kidding. They’re twisted and seem to suck the light from the surrounding area.
“Hey Cutie?” Lucy broke the silence as the gates fully came into view.
“It’s Jake. What’s up?”
“Wanna race?” She grinned at me as she asked.
“Race? I can’t even stand a chance in speed you know that! You’re a demon as you keep reminding me!” I once again yelled at her. I almost feel bad for yelling at her so much but it bounces right off her likes it’s nothing. Almost like someone else I know.
“I’ll only use human speed, so it’ll be fair, don’t worry. Com’on, it’ll be fun!” She insisted. I guess I’ll humor her it’ll only get us there faster anyways.
“Alright you’re on. First one to the gate wins.” I agree almost reluctantly. It’s been awhile since I had really done any running. This might not be to pleasant.
“Mmk what do you want if you win?” She giggled as she looked at me and asked. I’m pretty sure I looked very confused because I felt very confused at that point. She full out started laughing as she looked at me. “Well?” She asked again.
“I just want to go home and eat a damn sandwich.” I explained exasperated. That much should have been obvious. “What would you want then?” I asked figuring I’m going to regret the answer.
“You’ll see.” She winked. “You ready?
“Ready.” I said getting into running position.
We both took off and surprisingly I was ahead. I guess I wasn’t as out of shape as I thought. I picked up more speed. My eyes fastened on the black gate that was quickly coming closer. Then I stumbled. Lucy pulled ahead of me in a burst of speed. I watched the back of her get further and further from me as I was unable to regain my previous lead. I lost.
“I win!” the blue Demoness shrieked as she touched the gate laughing breathlessly. I catch up to her and place my hands on my knees trying to catch my own breath. She cheered again and I can’t seem to figure out how she still has that much energy. Unless she’s back to using demonic energy. That’s most likely.
“Alright, alright so what do you want?” I ask her once I can get a breath in all the way.
“Well, first finish your job and then we’ll settle that.” She waves her hand at me and the gate. I shake my head and look at the gate. It looks easy enough there’s a bar just like Lucifer said. I lift it up and smoke comes pouring out around the gate. I step back as the gate opens. The ruler of Hell himself steps through and looks over at me and smirks.
“Great job Jake! Only took you three days! I honestly though it was going to take the full week I had originally planned for.” He nodded at me with a grin. “Ah! And I see you’ve found Lucinda! Fantastic! That must be what made you’re trip so much faster and left you without a scratch to boot!” He laughed.
“Yeah, yeah good to see you too Lucifer, glad you’re back where you belong. Now about my soul so I can get home?” I ask impatiently. I’m really hungry.
“So impatient. Here that’s simple.” He held out his hand and a glowing green orb sat in his palm. He then proceeded to slam it into my chest.
“OW! What the hell!” I yelled. “That hurts!”
“Hold still or it won’t stick!” He shouted back at me. “There you’re done.” The pain subsided and I felt… Lighter, somehow. It was hard to describe getting your soul back.
“Thanks’ Luc, now can you send me home. I’m not trying to be rude but I am really hungry and it’s starting to piss me off” I can easily talk to him like this after all the shit he’s put me through. I know he won’t do anything about it. It amuses him.
“Oh, they have a word for that you know. It called Hangry.” He laughed and started chanting. I knew better by this point and didn’t stand to close. I went to stand by the gates where Lucinda was standing looking almost gleeful.
“Guess you got your soul back huh?” She asked but I don’t think she really wanted an answer because as soon as I looked at her she kissed me. It only lasted a couple seconds. When she pulled away she grinned at me and said, “By the way that’s what I get for winning our race.”
“Did you forget I’m MARRIED?” I yelled the last word to try to get it through her head.
“I’m still a demon.” She winked.
I sighed and looked back over to where Lucifer had opened the portal. “Thanks for helping me Lucy.” I let it go again. She’s right. She’s a demon.
“No need to thank me. I had fun. Bye Cutie!” She smiled and waved. I waved over my shoulder as I stepped through the portal.
I appeared in my car at work. I drove home after getting something out of the vending machine to tide me over. As I pull in the driveway I couldn’t help the nagging feeling that Lucy reminded me of someone. I put it out of my mind as my kids ran out of the house and gave me hugs.
I hugged them back and talked with them about what I missed as we walked into the house. It wasn’t too uncommon for me to have to make sudden trips like this so they weren’t bothered.
“Honey I’m back!” I yell as after getting my shoes off. My wife pops her head out of the kitchen doorway a little bit of flour on her cheek.
“Oh, hey Cutie, you’re just in time! I’m just finishing up dinner!”