I just wanted to share with everyone one of the entries I wrote for the Another, Another Faust Contest (BTW: Entries for this contest have to be email in to the contest by 1-31-10. Only a few short hours left.) I just wanted to share the one that I didn't enter. I wasn't sure it met the requirements of a deal with the devil, now that I think about it, it might have if the deal could be between Death and the Devil.
The Angel of Death walked the Earth searching for lost souls to save. So many these days, his job was becoming harder and harder. The lives of these humans were becoming more desperate with each passing day. It saddened him.
Satan stalked the Earth in search of lost souls to take. So many these days, his job had lost all of its challenge, it had become almost boring. These humans were desperate for creature comforts, greedily hoarding and wasteful. It would bring him joy, if not for the monotony.
One day, Death and Satan met, enemies on the battlefield, but away from the fighting, they had evolved into a grudging truce.
“I've found and saved two dozen souls today.” Death boasted, happy with his achievement.
“I've taken twice that many and then some.” Satan yawned with boredom, he could have had four times that many, but Purgatory was a nice place to make souls suffer too. Hell was too crowded anyway.
Death knew of Satan's truth, he'd stretched his number and Satan had underestimated. It didn't used to be that way.
Satan cracked his knuckles. “Would you like to make a friendly wager?” He hadn't played with Death lately, and maybe it was time for a game.
“What do you have in mind?” Death inquired, his face breaking into a smile, Satan may be ahead in the taking of souls, but Death was a great equalizer.
“Let's say that if I win, Death takes a holiday, one day for me to work my magic without the interference of the Angel.” Satan grinned with mischief, he thought he might really have Death this time. Of course, he'd have to cheat to win, but what the Hell, Death should expect it.
“And what will happen if I win?” Death inquired, Satan never played fair, and never gave up anything willingly.
“Same thing, I'll take a holiday.” Satan chuckled.
“What's the game?”
“The game is called 'To Steal A Soul'.” Satan's beady eyes were sharp as he awaited Death's answer.
“Satan, you know I'm in the business of saving souls, not putting them in jeopardy.” Death responded, Satan wasn't winning that easily.
“Okay, let's make it fair. I'll put three souls up for grabs, and all you have to do is get one of them to join you. If you convince just one, you get all three. If you can't convince a single soul, then I get to try to tempt a soul that you've claimed.” Satan watched Death carefully, to see if he agreed.
Death considered the possibilities, pondering what the catch could be, coming up blank.
“Alright, I'll play your game.” Death grimaced, he had to take a chance if he could save even one soul, he had to try. The Devil had him by the short hairs and Satan knew it.
“The wager is set then.” Satan said. “Who's soul are you wagering?”
“Your game, you get to tell first.” Death held up a hand, waiting to see what souls Satan had to wager.
“I'll make it easy, are all disgruntled souls, unhappy with their lot in life.” Satan grinned wickedly.
“I'll make it easy too, I'll wager one exceptionally happy soul.” Death smiled. “Where's the playing field?”
“Neutral ground, no where too infected with happiness or despair. Since it's my game, I think it's fair that I choose, seeing as I have the greatest amount to lose. I choose Middle Ground, Earth itself.”
Death knew there wasn't a place on the face of the Earth unaffected by despair; wars, disease, and disasters that set the course of life and it was beyond his control. His only hope was for the small things that brought happiness to the lives of humans.
As the game began, Death took the field and approached the first of Satan's cursed souls.
“My child,” Death began, “how can I offer you comfort? Why do you despair?”
The soul looked Death in the eye. He was young, barely 30 years, but his soul reeked of disdain.
“There is little to offer me,” the soul said. “I hunger after the all mighty dollar with never enough as a child. Can you give me my heart's desire? Can you fill my pockets?” The soul sneered at Death. “Satan has made promises that he's kept. I've always helped myself, easily. Leave me in peace, Angel, I have what I need.”
The second soul strolled boldly up to Death, grabbed him by his lapels, and yelled. “I've been cursed with illness, my whole family has suffered, why wasn't I granted peace and comfort when there was a chance?” He pushed Death away from him. “Leave me to Hell, I want no part of Heaven.”
The third soul was a sweet young woman and she held tears in her eyes. “Angel, if you had approached me when I was younger, I would have followed, I'm a good girl.” Then her eyes turned hard, cold, and distant. “But Satan has saved me from the abuser and the abuses.” She walked to Satan and ran her hand across his fevered cheek. “He has taken away those who've brought me pain. Could or would you have done the same?” She looked at Death, and shook her head. “I didn't think so.”
The Angel looked back upon the souls, and to the first he said, “You, money lover, will money bring you peace? Will your love of money serve you in the end? And, you who suffers from disease, did Satan take your disease away? Has he spared your family? And, you girl, did Satan bring your abusers to justice? Did his vengeance bring you peace? ” And Death looked around. “I thought not.”
The Angel of Death knew that he didn't have a chance with any of these souls, they were already lost. The poor souls gathered around Satan, eager for his touch and smile.
Satan glanced at Death. “Where's my soul to tempt, Angel?”
As Death stepped aside, revealed behind him was a little old lady, smiling happily with her pet Chihuahua. “This is my soul, a happy soul who has lived a happy life. She's earned everything she has needed in her life.” Death smiled at Satan, knowing he had before him an impossible steal.
Satan walked up to the little old lady, smiled and said, “Ma'am, I love Chihuahuas and I have two myself.” He patted the small dog who shivered in dread. Satan actually had Hellhounds, but what's a little white lie.
“Aren't they the sweetest little things?” She hugged her prized pet to her bosom.
“Ma'am, did you ask Death if you can bring little hmmm... I believe it's Roscoe, isn't it? Did you ask if Roscoe will be allowed to stay with you forever and always?”
The little old lady looked at Death, face falling with fear in her eyes. “Roscoe has to stay with me. I could never stand to lose him.”
Ah, Satan had played this one well, for The Angel couldn't bring Death to any creature before it's time.
The little old lady saw the answer in his eyes. She looked at the Angel one last time. “You know it's for the best really. He wouldn't want to be without me.” She walked to the other souls and joined their party.
Satan smiled at Death, the game was over. Death would have to take a holiday. “I win my friend.”
Death grimaced at Satan, “You may have won on this day my friend, but remember that souls can call for forgiveness at any time and then they're mine. The battle continues.” He smiled and turned away.
Satan knew the Angel was right, that was what gave the Devil nightmares. Everything could be lost with two little words. “Forgive me.” Before Death, souls could be boisterous, but upon it's occurrence, Death had the last word.
© Dottie Taylor