Flash Fiction Friday: What The Hell?

This weeks prompt was to write a story under 900 words where you make a deal with the devil. Hundreds of cliche crossroads stories came to mind and I smothered them all swiftly, deciding to take a more…philosophical route I suppose. Enjoy!

What The Hell?
When all was said and done, he appeared. Not in some grand flash of brilliance. Not in the way you’d expect from a B level horror flick with clouds engulfing all remaining moonlight and the ground rotting beneath you. No flames. No huge pit suddenly appearing in the ground with him climbing from it in some flaming brilliance.

Nothing. He stepped in from just outside my peripheral vision as if he’d been standing there the entire time. Ever noticed how Batman just pops up on people? Yea, something like that. For such a serious occasion, he was dressed quite casually: Khakis, loafers, and a shirt that read “SOMETHING AMAZINGLY CLEVER AND POSSIBLY IRONIC”. For nearly extinct plants, old family photos, and a bit of my blood, I was expecting at least a shirt and tie.

His voice was surprisingly subtle when he finally spoke. “Can we take a seat over here?” It was a sweet-talk-you-right-over-a-cliff type voice. I found myself walking over to two conspicuously placed chairs on the side of the road with a table in between. They definitely weren’t there a couple minutes ago. Sad that it took the unexplained appearance of furniture to do so, but I began to believe this was the real deal. We both took a seat and a woman in waitress wear you’d catch in an early 80s diner walked up to us.

“Coffee please.” That unexpected aloof tone again. The coffee began to form on the table as the waitress wrote it in her notepad. He stared at me with a smirk as the waitress turned and waited for my order.

“Nothing, thanks.” The smirk immediately disappeared as the woman walked away.

“Not impressed?” He grabbed his coffee and sipped, watching me over the rim of the seemingly well aged black mug.

“Why not simply make the coffee appear? Why the waitress?”

“I’m a fan of the era. Believe it or not I don’t get to make this trip often, so allow me to indulge a bit.” He placed his cup down on the table and leaned back in his chair, crossing his legs matter-of-factly.

“Fine, whatever. Can we get to business?” That brought that devious smirk right back. A black journal appeared in his hands along with a pen and he prepped himself to write.

“What can I do for you Carmen?” When he spoke my name it was as if it was amplified in my hearing. It seemed to echo around and around for a few seconds.

“I actually don’t want to make a deal.” He looked up from the journal, letting his pen-equipped hand fall to the armrest.

“Don’t think I don’t appreciate the effort, I love an impromptu vacation, but what am I doing here then? It must have taken you a few months to find everything to bring me here, plus the harm to yourself. I can’t imagine you simply wanted to be blessed with my pleasant company.”

“I have a theory.” His journal snapped shut, his legs uncrossed, and air exited his lungs in a huff.

“As does everyone.” He lit a cigarette I didn’t even catch him materialize and then crossed his legs again. “Speak.”

“Its that easy?” He cut his eyes at me and a sense of dread fell over me. The feeling grabbed hold of my lungs and my breathing stopped. I began to sweat from my brow and my hands suddenly became clammy. Then, he looked away and the feeling passed.

“I’m not exactly booked in a five star suite sweetheart. You went through the trouble. I can spare a few minutes.”

“Well, I believe there’s truly no definite ‘evil’ to ‘good’ when it comes to God and his angels.” I paused, watching his face for any reaction. When it seemed there would be none, I continued. “I think God developed a plan to sway the good in people after realizing, when left to their own devices, their curiosity would develop into greed and chaos would ensue.”

At the last sentence, he brought his eyes to level with mine and held his cigarette at bay. “That’s quite an interesting theory, to be sure. You’ll be proud to know that its a first for me personally. I’ll have to ask around when I get back.”

“I’m not done.”

“Oh I figured. What was this ‘plan’?”

“Somehow, it came up that there must be a counter to God. Most likely, Lucifer, the most selfless of the angels, decided he’d play the role of all encompassing ‘evil’. This way, humans have things to place faith in and place blame upon.” I noticed a slight flinch in his smirk and continued on. “Angels come down to earth and influence us with contradicting stories and texts, essentially scaring most straight. Earth itself is the true Hell.”

“The Bible?” He asked as he lifted the coffee to his lips.

“There are better stories written than that.” He laughed at this suddenly, wasting some coffee on this shirt. As he attempted to wipe it away I caught the tail end of his muttering as he said ‘…get a kick out of that’.

“Well, that’s quite the cute theory but I only deal in deals. I’m not an information broker. Today at least.”

“Make me a deal then.” I gazed into his dark eyes and he returned my gaze, showing no kind of emotion. There was a long pause that lasted maybe only a few seconds but felt like hours.

“If you’re wrong. I kill you here.”

“I’ve got nothing to lose in this world. Deal.”

“Then we must shake on it.” We both stood and the coffee cup and furniture disappeared. I held my hand out to him, my life being weighed against the validity of a theory I’d spent years pondering over. I’d given up on life long ago, this was all I had left. I truly have nothing to lose.

He took my hand and yanked me in close with a devious grin on his face. He took his free hand and ran it through my long black hair. I closed my eyes and held my breath, waiting for one of those cliche movie moments to happen. Fire, brimstone, darkness. He let go of my hand and I opened my eyes to the 80s waitress.

“Change your mind about ordering sweety?”

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4 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Friday: What The Hell?

  1. Well done, Charles… a good balance of dialogue and narrative… I liked the flow.Interesting theory (she said, stepping into a vast theological minefield), however… if there was only good, humans would not need an entity to blame anything on.Of course, the real argument is that you can't have only good because then there is no balance. There must always be an opposite, right? Okay… stop, Veronica…. :)A very entertaining story. Thank you.

  2. I really enjoyed this, Charles. Nothing cliched about this one, for certain. Just a nice, quiet and civilized 'sit-down' between the two of them. And the theory is interesting and does have a great deal of logic behind it. There can be no happy unless there has been sad, there can be no sense of full unless there has been a sense of empty, and there certainly can be no sense of good unless there has been, or is, a sense of evil. I love the way you personified the devil. Just a regular kind of guy who appreciates a certain period of time, and tries to make his companion comfortable while they chat. Yet, there is also the dark, sinister side and the power behind him. Also, there is the sense that Carmen has no fear and really believes there is nothing left to lose and puts it all on the line. Well done. I really like the quite matter-of-fact style of dialogue and storyline. This is a terrific read.

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