Death Co: 10 (The Devil's Advocate)
10. The Devil’s Advocate
At the end of the austere hallway was a desk. Not an ornate, wood-carved, demonic symbol-ridden, functional piece of iconography, but a simple writing desk. It was brown wood, lighter than I would have imagined, and the man sitting behind it was equally unimpressive. Maybe they were going for a minimalistic tone, but I think it was more likely a budget issue. Lakes of fire and entire lands dedicated torture can’t come cheap, and office supplies are likely pretty low on the list.
“Excuse me, do you have an appointment?” said the shrewd man behind the desk. His hair had faded to merely a remnant of its former self, and the suit he wore looked like it was pulled from the budget bin at the requisition agency (a lot of bodies come through, seems a shame to waste all of that clothing right?).
“No, just thought I’d drop in, do some bargaining, you know, the usual.” What else does one do in the devil’s den? Half of me expected to leave with a magic fiddle, the other to only have half of me leave.
“Well that certainly won’t do. I’m afraid you’ll have to leave.” He lowered his gaze and returned to a crossword puzzle flattened meticulously on the desk.
“Who are you exactly?” His body stiffened at the annoyance of my presence. Clearly he had expected me to leave, or to at least know his title.
“I am the Devil’s advocate. His personal assistant in all matters with worlds inside and out of our own, and I specialize in dealing with pests such as you.” The speech was well rehearsed, and might have even been intimidating if the man wasn’t quaking behind what I was now sure was a grade school writing desk.
“Look, your peons out there couldn’t stop me, and you’re a lot smaller than they are. Why don’t we do this the easy way? You let me in and you get to go back to your crossword with both hands.”
“Oh? That’s how it’s going to be is it?” He dropped his pencil to the floor, a sign of great distress. “You requisition agents, always the same.”
Uh oh, ran through my head as my body was hoisted into the air by invisible hands. The Devil’s Advocate rose even taller. Fire gleamed from behind his cracked spectacles, sending beams of light cascading through the room. Deep red washed over everything, and I feared that somehow I might die again.
“I don’t like to do this you know. It’s wholly unpleasant, but you had to be rude.” The hands tightened around my body and throat. I didn’t need to breathe, but the inability to do so made me uncomfortable. “What to do with this one… I think a few years in the pit ought to teach you some manners.” A few years meant an eternity. Once in judgment, appeals were unheard of. There wasn’t even a process of placation, only a paper shredder.
“I’m here to make a bargain!” I choked out, spitting dust as I did so. Note to self, use lungs more, this is gross. Everything atrophies in death unless you use it, which is ironic, as half of us end up at desk jobs anyway. The slugs at corporate are a new level of apathy (well, not new if you consider slugs, but you get the idea).
“You think you’re the only one who comes here to bargain? What could you possibly have that he wants?! I’ve got more souls in my cookie jar than you could offer me in a lifetime!”
“How about a chance to cheat death?”
“Can’t be done, this is a waste of time, off to the pit with you.” The force beneath me turned me face down so that I could see the floor. From the smooth marble a crack emerged and grew into a chasm. Deep at the bottom there was a fading light, but the sound. The sound was unlike anything I have ever heard. It was suffering on an entirely new level. “Word of advice, make friends quick, and don’t drop the brimstone!” The Devil’s advocate cackled as fire licked up from the bottom of the pit.
This is the end. Burning in Hell & Doing the Right Thing, an autobiography by [Name Deleted]. There was a moment where I thought he might change his mind, and then I was falling. An eternity passed in a manner of seconds (and I would know), and then cold marble slapped me in the face. Blearily I looked up to see the Devil’s Advocate quavering in a corner.
“This one interests me, send him in…”