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The Bargain

A soul’s worth

By Jessica MillerPublished 3 years ago 8 min read
The Bargain
Photo by Kan Tri on Unsplash

I was having a nightmare. That had to be it. Squeezing my eyes closed, I shut out the unbelievable around me and worked to steady my panting breaths. It wasn’t real. I knew it wasn’t. It couldn’t be.

Reaching up, I pinched myself as hard as I could and winced from the pain. That oughta do it. Just as I was opening my eyes, a whimpered moan came from beside me. I stiffened. No. This wasn’t happening. I refused to believe it!

Blinking my eyes rapidly, my breathing sped back up as I noticed the bodies surrounding me were now starting to move. At least they weren’t dead, I guess. I hadn’t been sure before and I had no desire to reach over and try to find out.

More moans and gasps were heard as more of the women woke up and started to really pay attention to our surroundings. I had already catalogued everything and I was in such a state of shock that I had no idea what to do. I wanted to open my mouth and start screaming. I wanted to rip the eyes out of my head so I couldn’t see anything else. I wanted to wake the hell up!

Someone must have heard my thoughts, because that’s when the screaming started. My hands curled into fists and I scurried as far as I could to get away from the thing that was plodding its way towards us.

I couldn’t even begin to describe it. To me, all I could picture was one of those toads that were covered in poisoned warts. Except this thing had hair all over its massive body. Bumps and pustules ran over almost every available patch of hairy skin and its overblown eyes looked like something out of a cartoon. Except he didn’t have the standard two. Nope, this bastard had a ring of eyes surrounding the melted slough of skin that was his face. How did I know he was a he, you ask? Because it, he, was naked. And close enough to human that there was no mistaking his groin region.

Shuddering, I sucked in a deep breath as his three legs finally stopped before us and one of his multitude of spindly arms reached out and struck the bars that stood between us and the horrid nightmares on the other side of the cage.

He roared something at us and it made even the loudest of screamers silent. My body was shaking with adrenaline and horror and everywhere I looked there were more and more monsters surrounding us, studying us. What had happened? Where the hell was I?

I shuddered as I made eye contact with what looked like an upright, maroon pig with six inch tusks and tiny beady eyes. I leaned my head back against the bars behind me and almost screamed as someone grasped at my tangled hair. Jerking forward, I slammed into the woman in front of me and tried desperately to get away from the hand now stretching between the bars to try to reach me.

I didn’t want to turn around and see another horror. The woman I slammed into was rocking back and forth and whispering, “It’s a dream. It’s a dream, it’s a dream, it’s a dream.” I couldn’t blame her. If only we would wake up.

“Hello, my lovelies.” A deep, melodious voice murmured. The sounds from the monsters gradually fell away as I looked up and stared at the most inhumanly beautiful man I had ever seen. There’s no way to describe him with words. His appearance was constantly changing, his features almost blurring as they moved from one exotic extreme to another. The only feature that remained the same was his eyes. His very bright, very familiar amethyst eyes. I gasped.

He turned toward the sound and studied me for a moment before nodding. “Yes, Diana, wasn’t it? I remember you too.”

I violently shook my head and pushed to my feet. “It was a dream. YOU were a dream.”

He threw back his head and laughed. A deep, rolling chuckle that sounded like ocean tides crashing together. I held my ground as I waited for him to speak. At least I knew this was just a dream though. He couldn’t possibly be any more real than the last time I saw him.

He smiled at me, showcasing a perfect set of dimples before they faded away and became a ruggedly good looking man with sun weathered features. That too began to fade as he responded. “I came to you in a dream, yes, but only at your behest. Don’t you remember? You wrote down my invitation in your journal.”

I swallowed as I tried to remember back that far. It was true, I think. Back then I was all about the drama and making asinine statements that would get me more attention. And I had been swamped in debt with no way to take care of it. I remember my journals. I mentally flipped through them to find the entry that he’s referring to, and I knew the instant that it comes back to me that I was wrong. Maybe this isn’t a dream. Maybe...

“Ah, I see you do remember that lovely little black book then, don’t you? I have it around here somewhere. Proof of the deal you made. I upheld my end of the bargain. Now it’s time for you to uphold yours.”

“Bargain?” I whispered roughly. Oh God. Please don’t let this be real.

“You asked for enough money to get out of debt, and I provided, did I not?”

Shaking my head rapidly, I said, “My uncle died. I inherited $20000. You had nothing to do with it!”

He chuckled softly, then shot me a wickedly malicious grin. “Silly thing. Did you really think your uncle just happened to die right when you needed it? Or that he would leave YOU that money instead of his own children? No, my dear. That was all me.”

A bone deep cold slithered through my body and tremors ran through me as I thought about what that meant. Oh, God. Oh, God, oh God, oh God! I forced myself to calm down and make sure my voice was steady, before whispering, “You have no proof.”

His eyes flashed with anger for a moment, before he clapped his hands and suddenly my journal, my little black book of secrets materialized in front of him. I gasped, shock bolting through me like a lightning strike.

He casually flipped through the pages one by one, murmuring things like, “You’ve been quite the naughty one haven’t you, Diana? Hmm...ah, here we are.”

Holding the book out to me as if to pass it to me, instead he forced the passage in my face. I read the damning words one more time I would sell my soul to the Devil himself if he could get me out of this money mess I’m drowning in.

I shuddered. It wasn’t real. Meeting him, having that conversation, shaking his hand. It had been a dream. Just a dream. Just like this one was. There’s no such thing as the Devil. Meeting his eyes, I ignored his self satisfied smirk and said, “I want to wake up now.”

He laughed. “You already know this isn’t a dream, Diana. You died last night. Now, you belong to me.”

I sold my soul for a measly $20000. As horror gripped me and terror such as I’ve never felt before poured into me, I spun around and caught glimpses of all the monstrous forms surrounding me.

“Get a good look, my dear. You’ll be one of them eventually. All humans start out normal looking. Sooner or later, depending on how much you sinned, you will manifest your evil as well. Now come along, I have a nice lava pit that needs scrubbing, it’ll be your very own warm welcome to Hell.”

His cruel laughter echoed in my ears as he reached through the bars, grabbed my body and yanked me to him. For a moment, I was incorporeal and passed right through the metal. What? How had he...

He studied me silently for a moment and then reached out and dug his hand INTO my chest. I screamed, watching in horror as he pulled my heart right out. He then dropped it at his feet like a badly used tissue. “Don’t cling to this form, Diana. You are no more than a soul here. Your body is gone. Once you learn that, your sense of pain will lessen significantly. That’s the one bit of mercy I’ll ever give you. Now keep up, as you can see, I have many more souls to deal with today.”

He turned and strolled away, leaving me to stare after him and quickly throw a glance over my shoulder at the other women. I wondered briefly what they had done, what they had sold themselves for. And as I began to cry silently, my feet lifting of their own accord to follow in the Devil’s footsteps, I made one final prayer.

Please God, please forgive me.


About the Creator

Jessica Miller

Where do I start? I have been writing stories my whole life, it feels like. I remember being around 11 when I found books. And it’s all been amazing since then. I get to read, I get to write. I get to see the world through many lenses.

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