Write a scene involving an interrogation, at some point a secret is revealed about the interrogator, giving the power to the interrogated.
The Devil was in my bedroom last night. Something knocked the lamp off the dresser, and, before I thought about it, I was awake and shouting at the cat, “Lucifer, you furry bastard, this means war!” Almost immediately, I felt the hot, sulfurous breath behind me and felt the Devil’s scaly fingers reach out to touch me. The night in my room had thickened and deepened to something even blacker than a Spinal Tap album cover.
Tip #1 for negotiating with the Devil – Don’t name your cat Lucifer, no matter how much the damn thing resembles the anti-Christ. It can lead to accidental summoning, and you don’t want to start your negotiation off-balance.
I switched on the light, and his ugly horned head snapped away, but I saw the flames that always burn behind his eyes still threatening to leap out and consume everything in his gaze. “Hello, mortal,” he began. “Why have you summoned me?”
“It … it was an accident.”
He waved a cloven hoof dismissively, “There are no accidents. Everyone finds something they want from eventually. What are your aspirations? Any competitors I could neutralize for you?”
My mind was a blank. I babbled something about just wanting to be left alone.
“Hmmm, ambition isn’t your thing, eh?” He thought for a second, then, like the dry crack of a hanging victim’s neck, he snapped his fingers as inspiration struck. He leaned in close, his lips pulled back to reveal his sharpened teeth. “What do you fear?” he hissed.
Before I could think, a whisper escaped my lips. “Death.”
Satan licked his lips greedily, and his hand strayed to the pouch on his hip that I knew contained his most recent harvest of souls. “Death will come for you, eventually it comes for all mortals, but perhaps, for a small price, I could offer … an extension?”
I didn’t say anything, but he knew with a little push he had a deal.
Snarling, he leapt on top of me, his fingers digging painfully into my chest. “I could take you tonight, but for the price of your insignificant soul, I will let you live another 20 years.”
Tip #2 for negotiating with the Devil – Be specific, health is an important stipulation. There’s nothing worse than 20 years spent in a hospital bed with cancer of the everything (trust me, I found that out the hard way).
I managed a shaky whisper, “Twenty healthy years and I’ll do it.”
I could see the Satan’s eyes grow wider in anticipation of the taste of a fresh soul. His fingers twitched as he reached for me. He paused. “Your soul seems familiar, have we had dealings before?”
“I’m Buddhist, maybe in a previous life?” I was kind of disappointed. He didn’t even crack a smile.
Tip #3 for negotiating with the Devil – The Devil recognizes people by their souls. If you find yourself soulless, you have nothing of interest to him and you’ll never get his attention again.
The pain of losing a good soul was searing, like being boiled in a vat of acid. Once it was over, Satan stood at the end of the bed, holding my soul up to the light, salivating noisily as he prepared for his first taste.
Tip #4 for negotiating with the Devil – His only weakness is in those moments immediately after he harvests a new soul. He is transfixed and unaware of his surroundings. Make your move then or suffer the consequences.
“Goodbye for now, mortal. I’ll see you in 20 years.” He winked at me as he disappeared back to his fiery kingdom.
“Just in time to negotiate a new deal” I thought as I felt my new soul that I had plucked from his pouch slide into place.
SPOOKY: Uh-oh…this is close enough to the screenplay I’m working on that I’d better hurry up and get the thing finished and registered (okay, there are some extremely important differences, but the tone couldn’t be more spot-on). Anyway, I’m not sure our hero has really turned the tables here or anything, and I’ll admit I was really waiting to see him own the Devil here. For me, the difference in scale between a temporary reprieve and a full-scale beatdown is important here, especially since we’ve got so few of you left.
BEAU: Heh heh. I like this a lot. The writing style is engaging. The dialogue is fairly terse but conveys its intentions well. “Cancer of the everything” is a great line. A very original piece that has an unexpected ending that still rings true.
I’m having a hard time with this one. Both Big Mak’s and Carter Hayes’ are written extremely well and I wish I could give both people immunity. But I have to give the slight edge to negotiating with the devil.
Winner – Immunity
I got really engrossed in this challenge, and I was really pleased with the way this entry turned out. As an added bonus, I’m safe for another week. See you after the next challenge.