Hand of Fate
John Davidson died at 2.30 am on a Monday morning.
When he opened his eyes he was sitting in front of a desk - a white
marble desk that shone with its own inner light. John was transfixed,
tilting his head from side to side to catch the glittering patterns of
light and shade, and was only stopped in his reverie by a discreet
cough from across the desk.
"When you're quite finished?" a voice said.
John looked up into a pair of piercing green eyes and a sardonic grin.
The owner of the grin was wearing the sharpest suit John had ever seen
and the gold band of his watch gleamed as he rolled a hand over the
computer keyboard in front of him. John was so taken with the suit that
it took him several seconds to notice the talons. And the horns.
"So what have we got here?" the demon said.
John knew he was a demon - the badge at his lapel said so -
Balligrampus, Assistant Deputy Demon, Substation 3933 level 46. John
watched as the talons rattled across the keyboard.
"Nothing for pride, nothing for gluttony, nothing for envy." The demon
looked up and gave John a wink, "Looks like you might have come to the
wrong place, son."
"Nothing for sloth, nothing for avarice."
The demon looked up and this time it was more a smirk than a grin that
crossed his face.
"That just leaves theft and fornication. Want to guess where you stand
- I'll bet five years that it's theft."
John tried to speak and found that his throat was constricted, as if he
had been screaming for a long, long time. He managed to work some spit
around his mouth and finally was able to speak.
"This isn't quite what I expected, you know."
The demon laughed, a great booming thing that sent the walls
"What? You wanted fire and brimstone maybe? The big guy himself and a
great black ledger? Maybe you have come to the right place after all -
you've got an exaggerated view of your own importance."
The demon pulled back his sleeves revealing a line of red, almost
burnt, flesh, as he turned once more to the keyboard.
"We've moved with the times. Wonderful things these. I was fifteen
years on sub-level 94 looking for a file before we went online. Mind
you, we had a hell of job entering the historical data - but then
again, we've got plenty of accountants and bureaucrats."
The demon leaned forward towards John and adopted a conspiratorial
"They always get a massive shock, you know - forty years in the
corridors of some parliament or corporation, a peaceful death in their
sleep, and they turn up here for more of the same when they were hoping
for the harps and celestial choir crap. None of them seem to realise
that there's a price to pay for oiling the gears of power. It all
builds up you know - over the years."
"Is that why I'm here? John asked. "Just because I worked in local
"I'm not sure. Lets just pull up the rest of your file."
The demon's eyes had begun to burn with a gold flame as page after page
of information scrolled up the screen.
"December 29th 1970, 12.30 am - masturbation - into a sock?" The demon
laughed again, but this time it was a cold hard thing, and the hackles
at the back of John's neck began to rise.
"January 2nd 1971 - masturbation - twelve times - in a day? You must
have been kind of desperate?"
John didn't get a chance to reply, but he didn't think he had anything
to say as the demon recited every single piece of sexual activity in
"March 15th 1981 2 PM, twice at 2,30, and again at 5 PM - Lust. March
15th 1981 7.30 PM - Masturbation. I think we're beginning to see a
pattern here. Let's see."
The demon punched several keys, and his eyes blazed as the result came
"Nineteen thousand, two hundred and thirty three counts of
masturbation. Congratulations, John - I think you've got the
Talons rattled on keys as another screen was called up.
"The going rate is a week for each offence," the demon said. "I'm sorry
about that, but there are so many self-abusers around these days that
we've had to get tough on you. I make that three hundred and seventy
years, give or take a week. Minus the five I owe you, that makes three
hundred and sixty five years - a nice round number. Have a nice
The room faded, but not before John saw the smile spread across the
demon's face and a thin blood-red tongue flick out to lick fleshy
He was in a bedroom - an opulent chamber bedecked in silk and velvet. A
woman lay on the bed, her bare buttocks pointing invitingly at him, the
lips of her vulva glistening and wet.
His erection was sudden and painful, the head of his prick throbbing
with a dry heat that coursed through him, every nerve howling.
His right hand began to move to his penis, gently, ready to caress his
trusty friend. It never made it.
Wiry, course hairs sprouted from his palm, each bringing with it a
smear of blood and a flash of pain. Great horny warts sprung along the
back of his hand, ridges of coarse flesh that writhed and bubbled like
a thousand worms under the skin.
Blackness began to creep in at the edges of his sight.
The last thing John saw before the blindness took him and the screaming
started was the deformed mass his hand had become grab hold of his
penis and start to pump.
Copyright William Meikle 2001