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Short Story: The Devil is in the Details

Tessa Schlesinger was born with ink in her genes. She is a teller of stories, an author, a poet, and a writer.

The devil is a beautiul woman...

The devil is a beautiul woman...

The devil doesn’t exist, of course, so I don’t know exactly who the pact was with. Suffice to say, the details were clear cut. I didn’t have to give my heart - or my soul - for that matter. I just owed a certain number of years in service and that sounded a pretty good deal, I felt. Initially, anyway.

It started off on a hot, humid day. The dust was in my nostrils from the dirt road I was walking on. My Chevy had broken down and I was in no mood for human company. Perhaps that’s why the whole thing started.

I’d been walking for three miles when I felt the presence of something behind me. It wasn’t a good feeling, and for the first time, it occurred to me that I was alone on a very long road with no sign of intelligent – or helpful – life around me. I turned but saw nothing.

I walked on, now more aware of my solitariness, my flesh getting that cold feeling when we know we are not alone, but not having proof of anything else. The day seemed colder, too, the hot humidity seeming to slink away to places more accommodating.

A mile or so from that point, I knew there was something there and I turned once more. She was behind me, walking in step with me and gazed at me mockingly. She was something. They say God is beautiful. They haven’t seen the devil yet.

Stuck in the middle of nowhere.

Stuck in the middle of nowhere.

‘Oh,’ she said, ’you noticed. I was wondering how long it would be.’

‘Who are you?’ I asked.

‘Your every desire,’ she said.

She was a smoothie, all right.

The cold was disappearing now. I guess I was getting acclimatised and I began to take an interest in the proceedings.

‘Anything I can do for you?’ I asked, knowing full well the outcome of that.

‘I rather thought it was what I could do for you.’

‘Well, get that heap of metal working for a start,’ I said. In retrospect, it seems such a small thing to have asked. The price I have to pay now seems enormous.

It didn’t take a minute. Before me stood my Chevy, all new, all its working parts just the way they should be.

‘Hop in, I said, ever the cavalier gentleman.

‘We need to discuss payment,’ she said.

‘Yeah, yeah, how much. My immortal soul?’ I asked, and for a moment, just a moment, I felt the dread. A cold and creeping dread, I might say. Why is it that when we are in the moment of a miracle, we never think about what we’re doing.

‘No, just a year’s service for each year I supply services to you.’

‘Is that all?’ I asked.

‘Yeah, yeah,’ she said and was gone.

The road seemed drearier after that. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it then, but I understand now.

The car took me to the next town where I bartered it for a battered Ferrari, drove some miles out of town, did the conversion bit and continued down the road in a brand new model.

The next big city was Los Angeles and it wasn’t too long before I found a buyer for my red convertible. It was good money. No questions asked about licence papers, no lies told in return. Just a car for sale. Los Angeles is a city where the blurry borders between the night side and the light side make that sort of transaction possible.

I flourished.

Then, within a year and a bit, I found out there was a contract on my head, a killer taking pot shots at me. I wasn’t happy. I sought the devil and I found her.

‘Hey, what’s happening here?’ Once more I felt that cold come close. It’s a horrible, terrible cold. I felt the gooseflesh but a man must be a man, take the good with the bad.

‘Oh, payback time,’ she said.

‘Payback time?’ I’ve hardly started, I said. ‘What’s with the guys trying to wipe me out?’

‘Oh, remember the cars you sold them? Well, cars only last a year, then revert to what they were. Slowly, naturally, but, well………….’

She left it in the air, but I got the gist. Time to skip town for a while.

‘So I’ve had a year of high living – and now I must pay with my life?’ I paused. ‘That doesn’t sound like a good deal at all.’ I thought it expedient then to ask what the one year’s (and a bit) payback would be.

‘Oh, you lucky boy,’ she said. ‘You get to be my personal companion.’

Well, I should have been happy, I guess. The Devil is a beautiful woman but there’s more to it than that. There’s the other side of her.

I’ve got another 6 months of my contract. I’m not renewing it.

© 2019 Tessa Schlesinger


Jay C OBrien from Houston, TX USA on March 26, 2019:


Tessa Schlesinger (author) on March 26, 2019:

The story is simply fantasy, imagination,like any fairytale. The humour is in the fact that it plays on the tropes that are aligned with the topic Perhaps the story isn't for you. Nevermind. Thank you for reading it. I truly appreciate it. Thank you.

Essentally, he doesn't know who he has the pact with...

Jay C OBrien from Houston, TX USA on March 26, 2019:

OK, everyone is different and has their opinion. The devil does not exist and there was no pact. The guy is having a hallucination. The story is a projection of what is in self. Was the hallucination from natural mental illness or induced from drugs? There is no humor in this.

Tessa Schlesinger (author) on March 25, 2019:

Yes, clearly you read the first line. But what has your response to the story got to do with a story about a guy who made a pact with a devil and suffered with the consequences. I don't understand.

I don't do the spiriutal and guru stuff. I'm a hard-coreatheist. And my story has nothing to do with the meanign of life. It is a humorous story, and you seem to have missed out on the humour.

Jay C OBrien from Houston, TX USA on March 25, 2019:

First line, "The devil doesn’t exist, of course, so I don’t know exactly who the pact was with."

True, the devil does not exist.

What we make of our lives (however we started) is from within us. We each create our own lives. Thus we are co-creators.

We are all held responsible for how we react to others (other co-creators.)

Tessa Schlesinger (author) on March 25, 2019:

Wow. I don't see how on earth you arrived at co-creators about the existence of the devil from the above. I am seriously missing something. Thanks.

Jay C OBrien from Houston, TX USA on March 24, 2019:

Yes I read and quoted from it. This is what I get out of the fiction story.

Tessa Schlesinger (author) on March 24, 2019:

Just curious if you read the story. It was fiction.

Jay C OBrien from Houston, TX USA on March 24, 2019:

"The devil doesn’t exist, of course, so I don’t know exactly who the pact was with." We are co-creators. We create from within ourselves both good and less good (evil). The devil is one's shadow self, a projection. Most choices in life are pretty clear. You can always change your mind, so there is no pact with a side.

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