“I can grant you what you seek,” the demon tells me, “but you must give me something in return.”
Well, duh. But I suppose not every summoner can be expected to have actually done their research. You’d think they would, but I’ve spent enough time in customer service to know people are idiots. (Not that software QA is any better.)
“My firstborn,” I offer. Traditional, and I’m not planning on having kids anyway. Ha.
The demon grins, and I think he’s going to take it–but then he says, “No cheating. You cannot offer something you never intended to have in the first place.”
He grins wider. “But perhaps we can run with it. I hope you have no plans for the next one-tenth of the lunar cycle.”
And that’s how I end up magically pregnant with a half-demon child. I call out sick from work to give myself a long weekend, and spend most of my time feeling nauseous as I watch my stomach visibly growing of the course of the next three-ish days, praying to God that this’ll be worth it.
I doubt God’s listening, though.
The demon returns at the end of it all to claim his child; in return he hands me a knife, translucent black and humming with energy.
“You must remove your heart with that knife,” he tells me over the baby’s wailing.
“This isn’t what I asked for,” I respond, because demonic deals aside, I wasn’t looking for dark magic, dammit. I want the real stuff, the kind you don’t have to murder for, the kind that won’t inevitably make you a monster.
“There is no other way,” he says, and vanishes. My dark, dingy little apartment is a lot quieter now, and empty, and sad.
I put the knife in a drawer, and soon enough I go back to my boring job with boring people. I find bugs and I tell the programmers to fix them, eight hours a day, five days a week.
I find… bugs.
On Friday, I cut out my heart. I wrap it up and tuck into the little safe under my bed and try not to think of Edgar Allen Poe at night, or ever.
On Saturday, I go to the park; I drop some crumbs, take a walk, and come back to squash the ants that have gathered around them. It’s not much–but hey, who says I have to kill anything sentient to work magic? It’ll take a hell of a lot of bugs, but it’s not like they’re hard to find. The darkness will accumulate, but it’ll be slow. I have time.
It’s still not what I wanted, though.
On Sunday, I go to the park again, and return to find the demon and the baby making my apartment loud again.
“I will grant you the ability to cleanse yourself of the darkness if you’ll only teach me how to get this thing to stop screaming,” he says all in a rush, holding the crying baby out in front of him like it’s dangerous. Evidently the offering of a firstborn isn’t as traditional as I’d thought.
The demon looks like he’s about to cry, too. I grin.
“You have yourself a deal.”
Check out the other blog hop participants, too!
Secret by J. Q. Rose
Journal of Anah by J Lenni Dorner
The Vineyard at Mar Mozambique by Karen Lynn
Stealing Space by Barbara Lund
The Day I was Clever by Katharina Gerlach
Never kid a kidder by Angela Wooldridge
The Color Of… by Chris Makowski
Nightmare by Erica Damon
Pick Up Lines by Bill Bush
The Scorpius Gate by Sandra Fikes
V is for Vortex by Elizabeth McCleary
Deep Dive by Juneta Key