“Only you can run. They stay with me forever. This is the price you pay for dancing with the Devil. Every action has a consequence and this is yours. Say your farewells. You will never see them again. Now run away. Or I’ll keep you too.”
Hell’s not too bad. I’ve been here for over ten years now since my father accidentally sold me to the Devil (okay so the actual selling was deliberate – but in his defence he thought he could get out of it). The Devil is an interesting guy. He makes his rounds of the seven levels, checking in on his Arch-Demons like a CEO would his managers. He laughed when I said this to him.
“Well people often make the connection so it doesn’t surprise me” – makes sense I suppose.
I don’t know why he wanted to keep me to be honest. I’m weak, a crybaby and I have no particular skills to speak of (unless you include speed reading comics and most people don’t).
“I wanted the company” he admitted when I asked him a few days later. When he said that, I felt bad for him. I didn’t even think about the Devil being lonely. But I guess he must be – King of Hell is a solitary title.
I stuck closer to him after that. I wanted to alleviate some of that loneliness. Back on Earth, I didn’t have anyone either, except my dad. But he would be out all the time doing who knows what – so I never saw much of him. So, in a way, the old man did me a favour. He gave me a companion – I didn’t know if I felt comfortable calling the Devil my friend just yet. I wasn’t as against it as I thought I should be though.
Days turned to months, turned to years and I continued to follow the Devil on his duties. I didn’t age and neither did he. I guess time works different in Hell.
I was reading in the castle’s study one evening when the Devil came to see me.
“He’s finally stepped over” He meant my father. I paused and looked up from my book. The Devil looked nervous.
“Did you want to see him?”
“Do I not have forever to visit? Why right now?”
“He’ll be going to the darkest level. He did a lot of things while you were gone. And he doesn’t want you to see him in there”
“So it’s now or never?” I stood as the Devil nodded.
“Then I’ll see him.”
The Devil took my hand and led me out of the castle and down to the rift between realms. A weary old man met me by the fissure.
“You look well”
“Yes well, mortal time will do that to a man.”
“As well as a life of crime”
“Yes, and that. How have you been, living down here? You seem happy”
“I am happy.”
“It seems that bringing you here was the best choice I could have made. I’m glad you didn’t see what I became”
I thought back to the happy memories I had in my limited time with the man in front of me and smiled,
“I am too”
The Devil stepped forward; our time was up. We’d lingered long enough. My father closed his eyes,
“I guess it’s time to atone for this life of mine” I nodded, crying freely. The Devil approached him and lay a hand on his shoulder.
“Thank you for giving me a friend” my father smiled and shook the Devil’s hand,
“Take good care of him”
My father waved goodbye, putting on a brave face as demonic hands pulled him through the fissure and into the abyss. I stood where he had been moments before and wept.
“Come” The Devil gestured to me and I followed him back inside the castle. I took his hand, revelling in my role as his lifelong friend.
The next day found us down in the library. We each sat across from the other, book in hand but thoughts not on what was written. We caught each other’s gaze and smiled, thanking my father for his sins.