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The Bargain
by Shrapnel

        Joel paced back and forth in his room, taking a nervous drag from his cigarette. He could feel it, they were coming for him, they knew he could feel it and they took painfully long.

        He thought about that night a little over three years ago when he received the box in the mail. There was no return address and no note, just the wrapping around it. He spent most of his time alone after that, examining the object, running his paws over it's gold and wooden surface, but it wasn't until some time later that he realized that it wasn't just a solid cube, it had moving parts. It was some kind of puzzle.

        He spent his time alone, reconfiguring it and moving it around, trying to figure it out. When he finally did, it brought hell. Within moments he was suspended by hooks and chains, hanging in the center of what used to be his bedroom, but was now all blue and gray stone with a white, glowing doorway. Out of the doorway came these... demons.

        Five of them appeared. One was short and blubbery, his eyes hidden behind black glasses, his fat belly sliced open with his viscera just visible, around his waist were various cutting tools and pliers. The next carried a small, silver canister in one hand, his face, arms and torso wrapped tightly in barbed wire, and he wore a long, leather skirt. The third wore only a black leather loin cloth and bra, her head shaved, save for a strip of long flowing hair down a straight line from the front to the back of her head. On her face, covering over her mouth and nose was the snout of a horse skull, attached to her face with metal hooks. Standing aside from her was one who towered over the others, his face twisted and warped with nothing recognisable except for his mouth, which was horribly left agape with hooks and chains, leaving his teeth and gums visible, and chattering endlessly. They all took position around him while a fifth one walked through, his head scarred in a grid with pins at each cross-section. He wore a black skirt and had slices of his torso exposed, and barbed hooks through each of his fingers.

        "Wh-who are you? what's going on?"

        He said, stuttering and trying to look around, were it not for the hooks holding his head in place.

        "Angels, or demons. It matters not who we are. We are here for you, Joel Calley. Leviathan has seen potential in you and has selected you to be one of us. It's an honor that is not bestowed upon just anyone."

        The male with the pins in his head spoke, as he approached Joel. Joel could only hang there helplessly.

        "If... if it's such an honor, why am I in chains?"

        "Because one must know suffering before being able to truly understand it. Besides, you may have the potential, but you lack guidance. That is why we are here, to show you the way. However, if you should fail then you will be turned over to us for our own amusement."

        Joel let out a yelp as the chains were released and he fell to his knees. He gasped and held on to his arms, but felt no wounds. Upon examination, he could find no wounds at all. He looked up to the demons around him, then to the one who spoke.

        "What if... What if I don't want to?"

        The pinhead demon smiled and said:

        "You opened the box, you brought us here, so we take you back with us."

        The female demon chuckled softly and spoke:

        "If you choose not to, you suffer. If you choose to and fail us, you suffer. Anyway you look at it, your future is with us."

        Joel slowly got back to his feet and looked to the male demon with the pins infront of him. He was silent for a while, thinking of what they were asking. He was quiet for only a moment, but here, like this, with these.... things, watching him, he felt like it was days before he spoke again.

        "What... do I have to do?"

        Souls. They wanted him to bring them souls. "There is no time limit save for however long my patience with you lasts." That's what he said. They gave him the means to do it, gave him a small bit of Leviathans gifts, but it didn't help him much. In those three years following, he had barely brought any souls to them. He knew he had fallen behind, and he knew he they wouldn't be pleased. He tried alot of things: Seduction, conversion, trickery. Hell, he even went down to Georgia and challenged a kid to a fiddle contest, and that didn't work!

        They were coming, and it was time for him to answer to them. There were no chains this time, just the white light and door, splitting his wall open and leaving him bathed in the light. It was jut the pinhead coming through this time, and he didn't look happy.

        "Three souls... in three years. Your future is looking very bleak Joel Calley. We give you the means to do this, and we give you the time, and you show no progress. Leviathan is not pleased."

        Joel felt his blood racing as he backed up from the demon and tried to explain.

        "Well... you left it a little open, you didn't really..."

        "SILENCE! I'll have no excuses from you!"

        "You have run out of time Joel." The fat demon said, coming from around a corner. The barbed wire demon walking in from the darkness. Joel could feel the fur on the back of his neck stand on end as he heard the chattering of teeth from behind him, looking over his shoulder for a moment before turning to see the female demon standing beside the pin headed demon and spoke.

        "You waist your talents and your time on a single person while everything else you do falls to the sin of chaos."

        The male beside her steps towards Joel and speaks again.

        "I have lost my patience with you, but our Lord Leviathan sees potential in you, so you have more time... for now. Be warned however Joel, Leviathan does not deal in mercy for long, only in order, and suffering. Pray to him that it is not I who will show you the path to damnation."

        Then they were gone, everything back to normal. The box sat on his desk, mocking him. With shaky paws, he lit up another cigarette and took a long, slow drag.

        "...I wonder what Rick's up to?"

Concession, Phase IV: Angelizer is 2006-2008 Immelmann (immelmann42@gmail.com)
Please do not copy or redistribute without permission under penalty of involuntary sex change.