The Devil's Ambassador

Contributor: Marissa Halvorson

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Whimpers pierced the cold, dank air of the dark room. In the shadows cast by the dim light filtering through the bars, stood a woman. Dark hair tumbled down her shoulders in voluminous curls. A hood, attached to a black cloak, hid her face. She faced the room, where a man lay on his cot, whimpers caught in his damaged throat.

“Franklin Jae Lynford,” she called. Her voice rang out in the emptiness like bells echoing off the dark walls. Her rich voice held no trace of emotion.

The whimpers came to an abrupt halt, and the man uncurled himself and looked around. A thin sheen of sweat covered his face and soaked his shirt through. Bright with fever, his eyes darted from side to side. The woman stepped into the dim light.

A grimace twisted the man’s features as illness once again overtook him and he pushed himself away from her. The spasm lasted several seconds before he was able to look at her once more.

Finally, she removed her hood. Underneath, her skin glowed pale, her eyes red. A cruel smile warped her features, which would otherwise have been quite beautiful. She undid the clasp on her brooch and let her cloak fall as she stepped forward, toward the man. “Franklin Jae Lynford, you have been summoned.”

The man’s eyes widened, and he stumbled out of his cot, away from her. Her red gown swishing around her ankles as she moved, the woman laughed, a cold, cruel laugh. “You cannot run from your fate, Franklin. This is who you are.”

“Who are you?” Franklin’s voice rasped out, barely audible even in the silence of the room.

“Franklin, Franklin…you ought to know. You spent most of your life worshipping my master. Why, then, do you run from him now?”

“I have family,” Franklin gasped. “My children—they’re counting on me!”

“Be honest, Frank. Your family lost faith in you a long time ago…I believe it was after you murdered that poor woman…what was her name? If I recall correctly, Jane Kaikoura died on the night of December 24, 2001. Six years ago. Her family spent Christmas in mourning. Isn’t that right, Frank?”

Frank whimpered, deep in his throat. He covered his eyes, as if by acting like she wasn’t there, it would make her go away.

“Then, of course, you knew what would happen, so you ran. Am I right, Frank?”

Frank moaned and his fingers clutched at his face. “Stop. Please stop,” he groaned.

The woman smiled. She tossed her dark hair over her shoulder. “So, you ran, but you didn’t stop. Your murders continued all the way through the country as you traveled from place to place. I could list off every single one of your murders. How about it, Frank? Would you like to hear about your kills?”

Frank lifted his face, his eyes wide and full of unshed tears. “Please, no more. I know what I’ve done. I’ve changed, though, I swear!”

The woman threw back her head and laughed. “People don’t change, Frank. I know that better than anyone. Devlin summons you, Frank. Do you answer his summons?”

The tears in Frank’s eyes spilled over and poured down his unshaven cheeks. “No!” he cried. “You can’t take me!”

“Frank, you know what will happen if you do not answer the summons. Your life is over. You are dying. If you do not answer Devlin, you shall never have an afterlife. Devlin would be most disappointed. He might even be disappointed enough to appear here himself to…convince you.”

Frank’s face paled, rough stubble standing out against the white of his face. “I don’t want to go,” he whispered. “I don’t belong there. I’ve changed.”

The woman held out her hand and her cloak rose and draped itself over her shoulders. “The summons is not an option, Frank. Either you come, or we take you. Devlin takes you.”

Frank squeezed his eyes shut and clenched his fists tight. The woman watched his fists relaxed and he fell limp. “Alright.” He slumped against the wall. “Take me to hell.”

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I have been writing since I was ten and have been working towards publication of my novel. Occasionally I write short stories and flash fiction, and I'm hoping for publication of this one as my first.
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