Time to Torment

It’s like no one cares about my side of the story, just because I’m a demon. Humans are biased like that. There’s billions and billions of them going about their little lives; they’re the metaphorical center of the metaphysical cosmos; yet they just don’t give a damn about any of the rest of us stuck on the outer planes of existence. They just want to use us for their own purposes, never mind that we’ve all got jobs of our own to do.

Just last Tuesday I was going about my business on a normal workday. Pride cometh before a fall, I guess, because I was feeling pretty smug about how I’d already tormented 22 souls that day and it wasn’t even my lunch break yet. I figured that I would be able to hit my 30 soul daily quota by mid afternoon and then knock off early, or maybe even get ahead for the week.

I was contemplating my options for a relaxing lunch when I smelled a whiff of sacrificial virgin and heard that goddam little warlock whispering my True Name into the aether. The invocation whooshed me through the Veils of Reality, and the next thing I knew I was stuck in the middle of a summoning circle somewhere in the Material Realm, with an old warlock and what I assumed was his young apprentice looking in on me and a struggling sacrifice tied down to rings set in the floor.

Goddammit, I thought to myself, I’m going to have to work late tonight if I don’t get out of this circle quick.

The problem was, that warlock knew his business. The circle was perfect and tight, but that was the easy bit—even a talented child can draw with chalk. No, the impressive part was how that son of a bitch had synchronized his summoning with my work schedule. He’d yanked me out of my cubicle at lunch time, and that devious little bastard had strapped down one of the most delectable virgins I’d ever smelled there in the circle with me. My mouth watered as that jerk greeted me.

“Welcome to the Material Realm, Mighty Beza’al!” He was standing oh so close to the perimeter of the circle, but I knew better than to try to snatch him while the barrier held. He gestured toward the struggling sacrifice. “Please accept this morsel as a token of my goodwill!”

My stomach growled at the prospect, but I knew better than to take the bait.

“Fuck you, mister,” I answered him. “I don’t want to be bound to your service, so I’m damn sure not eating your offering.”

The old bastard smiled at that.

“Very well,” he said, “we’ll just have to wait.” Then he arched his fingertips together in front of his face in a classic evil warlock pose as he watched me.

Shit, I thought. I was going to be in a hell of a lot of trouble if I didn’t torment eight more souls by the close of business. I couldn’t afford to hang out in the goddam summoning circle all day, but as I probed its perimeter I also realized that I wasn’t going to be able to escape it, either.

Then the virgin stopped struggling and began wailing.

“Simon, if you ever loved me, save me! Oh please, Simon! Please!”

Apparently the pimply looking apprentice was Simon, because he is twitched in response to the pleas. His face revealed his struggle to remain silent as his master leered right up to the edge of the quivering power and answered the cries.

“Silence, fool! You shall remain there until the demon hungers. Simon was only serving me in seducing you—“

At that point the apprentice’s face spasmed with anger. In a flurry, he struck his master on the back of the head. Simon was a spindly guy, and his blows didn’t seem to do any real harm—but as the old man whirled around to discipline his apprentice, one of his hands flicked across the edge of the circle. It was all of an opening I needed.

I laughed as I flowed out of my brief prison.

“Who’s the master now, human?” I asked as I hefted up the warlock with one of my paws and the apprentice with the other. There was no answer to my question, which was just as well because I was hungry and wanted a snack. I just munched a little of each of them—you know, not enough to kill them, but enough to both tide me over and to cause each of them immense pain. You might even say that my nibbles caused them torment, because I damn well counted those two against my quota. Then I turned to face the unwilling sacrifice sobbing in terror.

“As for you, human, I’ve decided that I shall let you live. I know that memories of this meeting will . . . torment you for the rest of you days.”

Cha-ching! Another tormenting done!

I got back to work with plenty of time to spare and three torments to the good.

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