Excerpt: Devil’s House

A small short story I’ve been tooling around with: A Work in Progress that was abandoned a few years back. I think I am going to try and pick it back up. 

 

Prologue
The Devil lived lonely on the top floor of the Chrysler Building. In the Devil’s House was the Devil’s Kitchen, the Devil’s Bed, the Devil’s Radio, and sitting lonely and cold atop the Devil’s Cold Fireplace was my lonely Soul. I wanted it back.

 Exit Frying Pan

The Devil’s House looked nothing like I imagined. I don’t quite know what I was expecting, maybe a little flair. Brimstone, or Maroon Velvet, or the tortured Souls of the Innocent. I didn’t even know I was in the right place when I dropped down from the roof of the Chrysler and through the window. This place looked like it belonged to a Brownstone family in Brooklyn, not to the Lord of Hell, the Fallen Angel and the Morning Star.

The Devil’s Kitchen had a GE stove and a brand-name ice-box, his bed was an colonial four-poster, his radio was playing something baroque. His fireplace was warm with embers. The only thing I was right about was my small soul swimming in a jar above the Devil’s hearth.

It was quite like a fish, and swam around its jar like a fishbowl. I don’t know if it recognized me, but I recognized it. There was a hole in my chest that needed it back.

I went to grab it, having to stretch a little to put my fingers around the bowl. When I had just started lifting it a Voice behind me said, “That’s not yet yours to take”. It sounded like sulfur jazz.

With that, I was pushed into the devil’s open hearth, catching only a glance of the angel-wing band around his finger and a small whiff of cinnamon aftershave. I fell for far too long.

Into Fire
Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil so that he could play his guitar. At the age of 27 he died alone in his room. The Devil came to collect.

I made my deal the same way he did, alone at a crossroads on midnight in a new moon sky. I wanted to forget my pain. I was 22.

I don’t remember his face, I just remember the Cinnamon and the Voice. A voice that burned the nose and a smell that tasted of chocolate. He told me that 10 years without pain was not a fair price for my soul.

I asked if he needed more

He said it was too much

I said I didn’t care

We made the deal.

I didn’t feel the pain anymore.

I didn’t feel the pain for 10 years.

Then the day came when the Devil would collect. I was ready, I had sold everything I owned and said my goodbyes to everyone left I ever loved. I waited in an empty room for the Devil to come and take me to Hell. He never did. I waited there until they turned my water off and my stomach shriveled to the size of a raisin. Though I wasted away and my lips were cracked and dry I did not die.

The Devil never came.

I went to jump off the roof.

I didn’t die.

So I took matters into my own hands. I found where the Devil lived, I found where he kept my Soul. If I wasn’t going to be collected and if I couldn’t die, I damn well wanted it back.

So I tried to steal it from the Devil.

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