Sun, Apr 14, 5:58 AM CDT

Writers Contest

Open Theme

Entry #12

Take It Back!

I adjusted my position on my stool, uncomfortable to say the least. This was not my type of setting anymore. I avoided dark and dingy night clubs like this. I hadn’t craved deep bass thrumming through my bones in nearly a decade. Why did he want to meet here of all places?

“Because this is where we met the first time,” a voice next to me spoke.

He drew up a stool next to mine and sat down heavily, waving at the bartender to pour him something or other. Whatever it would be, it would taste foul.

My back was rigid and rod-straight as my companion stared at me. I could see him in the corner of my eye, though I dared not look directly at him. If I did that, I’d be swallowed in the hallucination again. I’d see what everyone else saw. He would look like a young man with a roguish smile and brilliant eyes, light enough of a brown to almost be gold. His hair might look chestnut with blonde highlights, and it might be cut short or styled long across his forehead, a lock purposely out of place here or there, tempting errant fingers to smooth it back into place if they dared.

I didn’t dare. I’d fallen for that once, long ago. I wouldn’t fall again.

“Why are we meeting at all,” I finally quipped in a very displeased voice. I didn’t want to be here. I didn’t want to be sitting next to him. I wasn’t supposed to be, that hadn’t been the deal.

“Because I have something I must return to you.”

Was it just me or did his voice sound…weary? Tired? Exhausted beyond measure, if I replayed it in my mind’s ears.

“I am,” he said, and I saw him wipe a hand across his excellently cut visage. “I am tired. And I am exhausted. Far beyond belief.”

Then he sighed, downed the amber liquid the bartender had placed in front of him, and turned to face me completely. I could see his white shirt, how he had it unbuttoned at the neck like a real chump. He wore a cross of all things, on a shining chain too thick for his million dollar playboy façade.

“Listen, you little…” he started, and I squirmed at the violence in his voice. Then he sighed and started again. “Listen. We agreed that I would take this off your hands, and that we’d never see each other again.”

Suddenly he was sliding a small box of carved and aged wood towards me. I recognized that box, I knew what it held, and my eyes went wide with that recognition. What was he talking about? How could he be doing this to me?

“I’ve changed my mind. I don’t want it. You can have it back.”

He was leaning in now, and I could smell the expensive whiskey on his breath as he spoke against my cheek. Could he sense how I trembled, I wondered. It didn’t matter if he saw it. I knew he would feel it. He was the King of Fear after all, wasn’t he?

“I promised you a lifetime full of boredom and mundanity and quietude. Just the way you wanted it. Just the way you begged for it to be. And I delivered, didn’t I? Haven’t you had that bored lifestyle you craved? Didn’t I take all the chaos and the drama away?”

I nodded slowly, my wide and terrified eyes never leaving the box.

“Well I have to say, I never expected what I got.” He gestured to the box and shook his head, actions I only saw from my peripheral vision. “I never expected…this.”

Then he turned to look at me again. His face was too close. I could feel the heat radiating from his body as if he were a patio heater and I were but a patron wanting the comforts of indoors while still being outside. It was a silly combination, and yet here it was. Here he was, radiating waves of fever-hot heat against my arm. Adding to that was the sight of the box, its dark carvings almost seeming to move in the pulsating laser beams of the night club.

“Listen. I don’t do this, whatever this is,” he whispered.

His hand gestured and waved around towards me, as if I were something he was disgusted with. I knew in truth it was the act of meeting me, of having to come here and talk to someone like me. I wasn’t his type of time filler. He preferred crazy to calm, cacophonous to quiet. I had nothing to offer him, and my hope had been that I never would.

“It’s too late,” he said, continuing to read my mind without my permission. What was permission to the Devil, if not just another rule of consent to be broken? “What’s done is done. I renege on our deal. I give you back everything I took from you. It’s all in there, just like when you gave it to me.

“But I gave it to you,” I whispered softly, even as my hand slowly came to rest over the box. “You said you would take it, and everything…bad…that went with it. You said…you said…”

He snarled at me. I looked at him, directly this time, and saw the sight I had seen once before. His curled lips twisting over sharpened and pointed teeth, his red skin emblazoned with fiery runes beneath his human clothing.

“I don’t want it! This thing you gave me? It’s too much! Do you know what Hell you’ve put me through, giving it to me? Take it back! Take back your soul!”

((Word count - 950 - Directly inspired by a story prompt for flash fiction found on a random site!))

Word Count: 1056
Hours Spent: 1

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