The Deal

"The devil was a liar from the beginning." - Joseph B. Wirthlin


1. Lust

I slink through the darkness. I can smell her desperation, the scent of her turmoil coiling through the air like thousands of tiny serpents. An empty bottle of pills lies on the grimy mattress beside her and tears streak down her face. I watch as she grasps a razor in her trembling hands and presses it against the porcelain skin of her arm. But she is weak, the blade lingers at the surface of her skin and she is too cowardly to plunge it any deeper.

She winces as a someone bangs on the door and yells in a voice made hoarse by years of poison and smoke, "You finished in there Sugar? Well, you better be, because I'm sending up your next customer!" Fresh tears roll over her heavily blushed cheeks and she gathers the filthy bedclothes around her naked form, as if to shield herself from the leering eyes and pawing hands of the men who pay her visits. She is utterly despondent. She is entirely alone. She is completely lugubrious. She is perfect. 

I manifest myself above her and force myself into their realm on an avalanche of burning hellfire. I pause for a second, relishing the moment before the negotiations begin, the moment where anything is possible, the moment when I am king. I ease myself down towards her, flittering through the shadows and the darkness, gradually tightening my grip around her. Then I engulf her, I fill every nook and cranny until she is consumed by my very being, billowing like smoke until I form a murky second skin. Blurring the divide between her and I, I and her until we are one and the same. Now for the good part.

I part my lips and take on the voice of her dearest friend, her most trusted advisor, her most passionate lover. I take on the voice of her teacher, her helper, her mother. I take on the voice of all she has ever loved and trusted and begin to speak. 

"What is your deepest desire?" I question, my voice slithering around the room, "Money? Power? Sex? What do you want most in the world?" I can see the disbelief in her eyes as they dart around, taking me in. I persist, eager to draw her into the depths of temptation. "Do you crave success? Have a hankering for happiness? Or do you just want to be loved? Because I can give it to you, whatever it is." She gives out a little gasp, even from under the layers of trance she comprehends the infinite possibility. "Think about that: myriads of possibilities, anything accessible, the entire world at your finger tips. With my help, you can do anything, be anyone and have everything you want. I can give you anything. Anything at all." I paint a welcoming smile across my face and twinkle my eyes with kindness and reassurance. I am the ultimate sales person, and everyone just keeps on buying. I send a gentle wave of warmth over her and I feel a surge of triumph as I see her eyes glaze over with pleasure. This is going to be easy.

"I could make you so beautiful that your face alone could bring someone to tears." I begin, Beauty always being a safe start, "An exquisite spectacle, resplendent in infinite artistry. So flawless that you would be dubbed a wonder of the world. You would inspire great works of art and music and your beauty would be reverenced until the end of time. You would never need to hide behind the facade of make up. You would be looked upon as a sublime God; men and women alike would fall at your feet in worship of your pulchritude." I say, and her eyes shine at the notion. Changing tact, I judge from her meagre surroundings that Wealth might be her weakness.

"I could give you all the wealth of the world. You would have anything you wanted at your beck and call. You would never have to work again and neither would your children, or your children's children. A life of luxury would unfurl at your feet. Private jets, swimming pools and designer clothes." I whisper, coaxing out her greed like a snail from a shell. "You would never need to worry about money ever again, as your supply would be everlasting. " Her mouth falls open a little and her words catch in her throat, still muffled by my spell. 

"I could bestow gifts upon you, talents that you can't even imagine. You could become the greatest musician in all of history, surpassing Mozart and Bach with ease. You could be unequalled in any sport. You could be the most successful author in the world, or the leading artist, doctor, lawyer or scientist. What do you love to do? You could be the best at that in the universe, the very epitome, the peak. I could make you outstanding. I could make you a superlative, superior from your species. Unparalleled, unsurpassed, undefeated." With each new offer her euphoria grows until I nearly gag from her joy. In me she sees a way out. An escape from her cruel reality, her harsh existence. In me she sees salvation. Little does she know of the damnation that awaits.

She is entirely under my spell, but something is missing. The final piece of the puzzle, the final link in the chain that will bind her soul in hell. I gaze deep into her eyes, tasting her thoughts, intentions and aspirations. I sift through dreams of happiness and love, trawling through worlds of daydreams and imaginings. Until I find what I am looking for. A dark mass, like a bloated corpse, festering in the very core of her being. Charring and blackening her pureness like ink, eating away at all that it is good. Hatred. Murder it is then, I think to myself, before tying the knot in her hangman's noose.

"I could kill someone," I say, watching her reaction with relish. "I could eradicate someone from existence. Someone you despise to the core of your being, or someone who just gets on your nerves. I could wipe them from the face of the earth. They would never had existed, never even been a possibility." Her eagerness is written all over her face and her mind is echoing with the same voice, rasping over and over: "Sugar, are you finished in there, because I'm sending up the next one. You better be finished or so help me I will smash your goddamn brains in. Smile Sugar! People don't pay good money for you to be gloomy as hell all day. You shut up and do your job. Sugar you better be not have another unhappy customer or I swear to God I will kill you, you dirty bitch... dirty bitch... dirty bitch..." 

I grin, this is just so easy, and continuing my sermon I set her fate in stone. "Or I could kill them, horribly. Maybe they suddenly had the urge to hurl themselves off a bridge or under a train, or perhaps they were mauled by wild animals. There are so many things I can do to make them suffer." I have made up her mind, she is enraptured. I have trapped her in an impenetrable cage of words and kindness. And she will never escape.

"I could give you all this, and more. For a small price. Let's make a deal." I hiss, dropping all pretences, "I give you whatever you ask for. And, just one tiny thing, you sign away your soul to me. It's a pitiful price to pay. Wholly insignificant and small. A minute demand for what I'm about to give you." She is so caught up in the idea she gives not a single thought to the consequences and I produce the contract and brandish it in front of her. 

"Your wildest dreams, your hopes and desires, your ambitions and devotions. Everything you've ever wanted. And it can be yours. You can trust me, you have my word. Whatever you want. Just sign along this line, simple." She grabs greedily for the pen and scrawls her name across the dotted line and I feel an ecstatic surge of emotion.

Before the ink has dried she is writhing on the floor and screaming, she has eaten the forbidden fruit and fallen from grace. I feed off her soul, basking in its pure light, dragging it out of the husk of meat it inhabits. The writhing calms to twitching which slowly fades to stillness and I smile in the appreciation of a job well done. Conjuring up wings of hellfire I depart, unable to contain my mirth.

"Congratulations, you've made your deal." I laugh, before leaving their realm and returning to Hell.

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