Five and Daemon
Miss Lucy laughed.
“Just having a bit of fun. I was bored.” Lucy shrugged.
“What’s going on?” Johnny had forgotten Fran was in the room until she spoke from near the rack of jackets. “And who is ‘Luc’?” Johnny pointed at Miss Lucy.
“Him.” Fran walked over to stand next to Cerise.
“Him? That’s Miss Lucy. And she is not a him!” Johnny half-smiled.
“Miss Lucy is a disguise. And you probably know Luc by his full name.” He leveled his gaze at Miss Lucy, who had removed her glasses and set them on the glass top of the counter. “Why don’t you drop the nonsense, Luc, and show us who you really are?” Miss Lucy dipped her head.
“As you wish.” Black smoke swirled around the woman, completely obscuring her. The cloud spun and billowed, and exploded outward with a flash of red light. Standing where Lucy had been was a man. Taller than Johnny, he had silver-blonde hair and pale blue eyes. He was dressed in a neat pinstripe suit and white shirt with matching tie and pocket square. Pinned to his lapel was a bright red trident.
“But- but- who are you?” Fran stammered. She was staring at the man who had taken Miss Lucy’s place. Johnny turned his head to look at her.
“Fran, may I introduce Lucifer.” Fran’s mouth opened in a silent “oh”. She glanced between Johnny and Lucifer. She opened and closed her mouth several times before she was able to say anything.
“Are you telling me that Miss Lucy is the devil? Satan?” Johnny shrugged. Lucifer waved an elegant hand.
“I have always hated that name,” he said. His voice was mellow and pleasant. “I much prefer being the Morning Star. And the devil? Well, I am devilishly good-looking, if I do say so myself.” Fran began to back away slowly. Lucifer smiled at her, and held out his hand.
“Now, Fran, don’t run away. After all the time I have been here, what do you think I’m going to do?” Fran looked at the offered hand as if it would turn into a serpent and bite.
“You’ll damn my soul to hell for eternity,” she whispered. Lucifer laughed at her words. He looked at Johnny, eyebrows raised.
“If only they knew, eh?” Johnny shrugged, but didn’t answer. Lucifer became serious. “I’m not really hurting anyone, you know. And it does get boring, being banished and all. Can’t I just have a little fun for once?” Johnny shook his head.
“Nuh-uh, sorry, Luc. Wish I could, but rules is rules. You know that. You are going to clear out and take all of your little friends with you.”
“And if I refuse, I suppose you are going to make me?” Johnny just stood in front of Lucifer, arms crossed. “Yes? You and what army, as they say? Because I do have an army, you know.” He gestured, and a low sound began to build in the room. It sounded like a thousand claws scratching wood. The daemonflash was so strong, even Johnny and Fran could see it leap from item to item in the store. The flashes began to pop as a large group of varied demons began to appear. They scampered, slithered, and slid to group behind Lucifer. Johnny watched as the horde shuffled and snorted, some pawing the floor, others tossing horned heads or showing gleaming teeth.
“Imps, sprites, and some specters? What are they going to do? Tickle us to death?” Johnny reached into his pocket and pulled out the silver yo-yo. He began to roll it up and down on its string. Swish- out. Hiss-back. Fran could feel a tingle across the back of her neck that raised the fine hairs there, like a build-up of static electricity. It got stronger with each roll of the shiny toy. The demons behind Lucifer were watching the silver blur as it rode its string. They were feeling the energy building, also. Some began to shift more nervously, and several backed up a step or two. A couple of the specters floated toward the ceiling, nothing more than pale gray wisps of fog that drifted upward. Lucifer raised one hand and snapped his fingers. All the motion behind him stopped immediately. There was no sound in the room except the swish-hiss of the yo-yo.
“Like I said, Luc,” Johnny said. “Time to close up shop and move on. Nothing more to see here.” Lucifer raised one pale eyebrow.
“Oh, but I like it here,” Lucifer returned. “I think Miss Lucy could have a long and prosperous career in the secondhand business. And if a few of these pets find homes in the process, well, that’s just an added bonus.” He reached down to scratch the head of a small imp that looked like a cross between a housecat and an armadillo. The creature closed its eyes and made a sound like a diesel engine idling. Lucifer stretched both arms out in front of him, palms facing each other. One side of his mouth curled up in a half-smile. A small sphere of blood red formed between Lucifer’s palms. He pulled them apart a bit wider and the sphere began to flare and flicker, as if it were made of fire.
“Uh, Johnny…” Cerise began. Johnny shook his head once. The yo-yo began moving faster, until it was almost a blur of reflected light speeding up and down from Johnny’s hand. Lucifer dropped his right hand to his side and flicked the fingers of his left toward Johnny. The ball of light sped across the distance almost too fast to be seen. The yo-yo was at its farthest distance from Johnny’s hand and he snapped the string to bring it back, but he was just a bit too slow. The ball of red crashed into the metallic silver and there was a crackling sound that was both heard and felt. Johnny dropped the string of the yo-yo with a yelp as the red light sped up to his hand. The yo-yo lay on the floor, a blackened, smoldering piece of burnt plastic. Lucifer began building another ball of fire. Cerise looked up a Johnny, who was staring at the remains of the yo-yo.
“Johnny, don’t you think maybe we should…”
“Run!” Johnny yelled, and turned toward the door. The three dived for it together as both the flame ball and the horde of demons hurtled toward them.
(Copyright 2015 M.A. Kropp)
A collection of six short fantasy stories set in varied worlds of magic and mayhem. Learn more here.
A short novelette set in a dystopian Earth after the final envinronmental collapse. Sam is a genetically engineered chameleon who may hold the key to mankind’s survival. Learn more here.
Coming in mid-August, Circle Unbroken, a science fiction novel. After five years away, Kaili is coming home for the ceremony to install her sister as head of the family business. When an old rivalry threatens the family, Kaili and her partner need to use all their skills to save the sisters’ lives. Learn more here.