An Espresso Tale
Accipiter G. Goshawk
Enjoy, and let me know what you think in the comments below!
A huge thank you to ABK! I loved the narration and I greatly appreciated the review (I corrected the typos, thanks for the catch!)
Darkness had fallen on the moors and tonight no moon would shine over their shadowy curves.
In the shelter of a small alcove in the rock, Jason Finnemore waited. Every few seconds he peered nervously down at his watch, staring at the hands going round and round. Finally, after an age, they met at the top and he was off, creeping along the sides of the old forest, trying to remain invisible.
Fifteen minutes later, he reached the small elder grove not far from Devil’s Fall. He made his way to the centre of the clearing and lifted the rock he’d placed there a week earlier. He heaved a sigh of relief: all his supplies were intact and untouched. Ochre for the marking, candles for the summoning, a black ribbon for the binding and a compass to get it all right.
He immediately set to work, drawing elaborate sigils all around the centre of the grove, paying close attention to work outwards and to vacate the circles before closing them. The black band rested in the centre, ready for the subjugation spell. Once he’d finished tracing the ochre on the ground, he set the candles at the four cardinal points, each standing on a stone of a different colour.
Finally, he was ready. He stepped in the small circle of protection he had drawn for himself, and casting back his dark hood, raised his hands.
Then, he began to chant:
“Morf Htrae dna Emalf I nommus eeht,
Ot od ym gniddib rof sruoh eerht.
Lanrefni doolb dna desruc senob,
I wrad uoy won morf seirc dna snaom.
Rouy tra I deen ot evlos ym thglip,
Nioj em won, ni krad dna thgin!”
Flames blazed in the centre of the circle and immediately the strip of dark velvet whipped about, holding the portal and binding it to the summoner’s will. A bead of sweat ran down Jason’s cheek as he stared into the dark wound in the fabric of reality. From here he could see the Malebolge; he could hear the screams of the damned; he could smell the acrid stink of burned sulphur.
“Demons of the pit! I require your aid!” he declaimed in his best attempt at an impressive voice. “I need the services of one of your number for a delicate task.”
Suddenly, the horrid scene before him shifted and he found himself staring at the inside of a clean office. A desk appeared in front of the portal and succubus dressed as a secretary sat down.
“Welcome to Hell&Co. What can we do for you today, Mr. Finnemore?”
Jason paused, as light jazz began to play in the background.
“I…I require…the aid of one of your dark agents! Although I forfeit my soul, I will not-”
“Yes, we know Mr. Finnemore. We often receive calls like yours; we have a centuries-long experience after all… So, please: what services do you require?”
Jason stared dumbly at the smiling demoness.
“I…I need help with my…taxes,” he mumbled weakly.
“Taxes. Ok, no problem. There’s no need to be ashamed; you wouldn’t believe how many people ask for this sort of thing,” she said encouragingly. “I’ll call our expert up right away. Have a nice day!”
She disappeared in a puff of smoke and a portly demon appeared in her place. He was wearing a simple white shirt, black pants, a grey tie and glasses. Two little horns peeked out from between the patches of hair on his balding skull.
“Hello Mr. Finnemore, I’m Ted. It’s a pleasure to meet you. So, shall we get started?” he said, as he opened his briefcase and extracted a notepad.
“I…yes…ehm…sure,” mumbled Jason.
It took most of the night, but with Ted’s help, he was able to finish up the last forms by daybreak.
“Have a nice day, Mr. Finnemore,” called the demon as he retreated through the portal. “And remember to send form 7B down to the Infernal Administration Department. That way you won’t have to pay too much interest on your soul deposit.”
“Thank you,” said Jason and quickly left the clearing, clutching the forms tightly to his chest.-