Andy MacDonald’s Deal with the Devil

Demon Lord

Andy MacDonald’s Deal with the Devil

Andy MacDonald didn’t do small-scale anything. His first car was a monster truck. His first house was a sprawling mansion. The man super-sized everything and then went back for more. His first wedding was lavish; his subsequent weddings were extravagant and ostentatious. The matching divorces were loud and protracted affairs that usually ended in court after all the sordid details had been thoroughly dragged through the papers.

So when Andy MacDonald decided to play a prank to scare his current ex-wife and her lover—who also happened to be her divorce lawyer—you better believe it was going to be big. He hired actors, rented out an old warehouse, and invested in the best special effects team in town. But as he watched them rehearse, Andy still felt like something was missing. After ranting at the crew for half an hour, Andy stormed out of the warehouse and went for a walk to cool his head. You might suspect that Andy spent a lot of time walking. You’d be right.

Out on this particular walk, Andy came across an old bookstore, tucked down a side street near the waterfront. The weather-worn sign out front read Rare Books and Other Curiosities. Andy grinned. This place would have what he was looking for. He opened the door and stepped inside.

Books lined the walls from floor to ceiling, interspersed here and there with strange knickknacks, like the collection of bird skulls in the front window or the amber-coloured bottles filled with odd shapes that sat on the counter. Andy’s grin got bigger. This place was perfect.

“Can I help you?” An ancient-looking man poked his head out from behind a stack of books.

“Yes,” said Andy. He gestured at the bird skulls and the bottles. “I’d like to purchase these. And any other odd, occult-like stuff you having lying around.”

The old man dipped his head. “Of course, sir.”

Twenty minutes later, Andy and the old man had amassed quite a collection of curiosities. Andy was impressed with how much stuff the old man had managed to jam into his tiny shop. He waited by the counter as the old man shuffled around in the back room. He’d said he had one more thing Andy might want.

The old man emerged, clutching a large, dusty, leather-bound book. He brushed the dust off with the handkerchief he kept in his pocket, then handed it to Andy. The cover was inscribed with a bunch of weird symbols. Andy had to open it to see the title.

“The Book of Lost Spells and Dark Magicks.” Andy laughed. The book was the perfect finishing touch. The archaic language of its spells would definitely add that missing piece he’d been looking for. “Yes, I’ll take this too,” he said, plunking the book on the counter beside all his other loot.

Although he had to send a car to collect the rest of his purchases, Andy decided to take the book with him. He grabbed a double espresso and found a bench on the boardwalk, where he could flip through the book while keeping an eye out for the next Mrs. Andy MacDonald frolicking in the waves.

Three nights later, the prank was ready for execution. Andy invited his new lady friend to watch from the control room while he donned his costume of silky black robes. He made a mental note to consider silk for the suit at his next wedding, planted a kiss on his future wife’s cheek, and went to take his place on the set.

He’d asked his ex and her boyfriend to meet him here, claiming he was ready to settle. He said he was thinking of converting the warehouse into an exclusive spa and was meeting with the architect, but they could come at 8:00 p.m. and just let themselves in. The cameras caught their car pull up at 7:58 p.m. Andy’s heart pounded with anticipation. This was going to be the best prank he’d ever pulled. Even better than the time he’d kidnapped his rival team’s mascot in his first year at college. That poor guy never knew what hit him. Andy chuckled to himself and pulled up his black silk hood.

When his ex and her boyfriend walked in, the pretend ritual was already underway.

“Andy?” His ex sounded scared and uncertain. Perfect.

“Seize them!” Andy commanded. On cue, four of his cloaked actors grabbed the former Mrs. Andy MacDonald and her lawyer, dragging them to the perfect vantage point, where they were tied to a metal support beam.

“You’re just in time,” Andy said. “I am about to raise hell.” He shot his ex a look. “That’ll teach you to run off with your lawyer.”

“But you cheated on me,” his ex sputtered incredulously.

“Silence!” Andy turned and waved his hands at his crew. They began to chant. Andy opened his favourite prop to the page he had marked and started to read.

“Darkest lord of darkest night, uncloak yourself before my sight.
A sacrifice of virgin tears now brings to life our darkest fears.
Feathers from the purest dove that you might join us up above.
I offer now my soul to keep in exchange for all you reap.
Darkest lord of darkest night, uncloak yourself before my sight.”

Right on cue, smoke and green flames erupted from the circle marked in the center of the room. Even Andy was impressed. Then a tall, dark figure stepped from the circle. The horns looked fantastic and the cloven hoofs in place of feet were a great touch.

The demon looked at Andy. “I have come as you commanded, human. What would you have me do?”

It was all going so well. Andy glanced over at his ex. He couldn’t decide if she looked frightened or awestruck. Maybe it was a bit of both. He wondered what the next Mrs. Andy MacDonald was thinking up in the control room. Now it was time for the climax. Andy faced his demon and opened his mouth just as the room went completely black.

When the lights flashed back on, a larger, more sinister shape stood behind Andy’s demon. It also had horns and cloven feet. And what looked like wings folded behind its back. As Andy watched in horror, the unexpected demon decapitated Andy’s demon in one effortless motion. Andy’s jaw hung open and his crew started to scream and run around in panic. This was definitely not part of the plan.

Andy looked down at the book, then back up at the demon. It had never occurred to him the book might be real.

“Puny human!” The demon’s voice thundered. “Why have you disturbed my slumber?” The demon looked at the altar, where the sacrificial items lay. It knocked them to the ground. “What sort of game do you play? Those are not virgin tears and these—” The demon pointed to the feathers now floating the air. “Are obviously from a pillow.”

“Shit,” said Andy MacDonald as the demon took a step toward him. Andy turned to run, but got caught in his silk robes and tripped. It was spectacular. Even Andy would have been impressed if he’d seen himself fall. He went head first into a metal support post, knocking himself unconscious.

When he woke up several hours later, the warehouse was empty. Sitting on top of his book of rituals were his divorce papers and a note from his ex.

Better sign these or I’ll have to unleash my demon, it said.

Andy never knew if the demon he saw that night was real, but he decided to take a break from married life then and there. Just in case.

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This is my response to this week’s Prompted challenge over at Tipsy Lit. We had to write about a joke gone wrong in under 1500 words.

prompted-button

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Image credit: chevsydeviantART

Trifextra: Morning Star

devil

Morning Star

I watched him strike the match. Saw black wings unfurl, beating like my heart.

Drawn in like a toy on a string, I chose not to see his darkness until it eclipsed me.

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This is my submission for this weekend’s Trifextra challenge, in which we had to write 33 words inspired by the Rolling Stones song Sympathy for the Devil, which just happens to be my favourite Stones song ever.

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Image credit: Andrew Festiov / Photoxpress.com

 

H is for…

Letter H

Happy September!

Today I’m going to share three fabulous words that begin with the letter H. But first, I want to remind everyone that the speakeasy is re-launching next week! So if you enjoy reading and/or writing flash fiction, you should pay us a visit and sign up for the mailing list. I promise you won’t regret it.

Okay, on to our first H word. This word stands out for me because, as a child, I always heard people refer to the Harbingers of Spring when talking about the birds coming back. But, for the longest time, I thought Harbinger was actually a type of bird!

Harbinger (noun)

Etymology:  First appears in the late 1400s as herbengar, to refer to someone sent ahead to arrange lodgings. Comes from the Middle English herberger, meaning provider of shelter or innkeeper, which comes from the Old French herbergeor/herbergier, meaning to provide lodging (with the root herber, meaning lodging or shelter). This, in turn, comes from the Old High German heriberga, meaning army shelter, which is a combination of the words heri, meaning army, and berga, meaning shelter.

Definition:  A person or thing that announces or signals the approach of someone or something else; a forerunner of something.

Example:  Damian stopped in his tracks when Cerberus appeared before him. Everyone knew the three-headed dog was the harbinger of Damian’s father.

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This next word is fun to say out loud, plus it really sounds like what it’s describing.

Histrionic (adjective)

Etymology:  First appears in the 1640s. Comes from the Latin histrionicus, meaning pertaining to an actor, which comes from the Etruscan word histrio, meaning actor.

Definition:  Theatrical or dramatically exaggerated behaviour; of or concerning actors or acting.

Example:  “Damian, don’t be so histrionic. Even human parents have rules about when their kids are allowed to borrow their vehicles.”

 

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And for this week’s bonus word, I realized that I couldn’t let H go by without covering Canada’s national sport.

Hockey (noun)

Etymology:  First appears in an isolated reference in Ireland in the 1520s, but is not recorded again until the 1830s. Origins are uncertain, but it may come from the Middle French word hoquet, which refers to a shepherd’s staff. Hoquet come from the Old French hoc, meaning hook.

Definition:  A game typically played on ice between two teams, each with six players, in which players try to shoot a puck into the opposing team’s net using sticks with a flat, hooked end; any variation of this game, such as field hockey or street hockey.

Example:  The Devil got behind the wheel of his Smart Car. “Come on Damian. If we hurry, we can still catch the first hockey game of the season.”

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Once again, etymological information and definitions come from the Oxford Dictionary of Etymological English, the Oxford Dictionaries Online and the Online Etymology Dictionary.

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Image credit: Google Images

What’s In A Noun? Part 2

Little devils

Welcome to the second part of my discussion on nouns. If you haven’t already, you should check out What’s In A Noun? Part 1 to learn about the different types of nouns.

Today, we’re going to look at the properties of nouns.

Nouns have two main properties (case and number) and two that some consider relevant (gender and person), while others don’t. I’ll cover all four, and you can make up your own mind.

1. Case

The property of case indicates the relationship between a noun or pronoun and the other words in a sentence. There are two noun cases: common and genitive. The common case is typically broken down into nominative and objective.

Common Case: nominative
The nominative case refers to the person, place or thing acting as the subject in a sentence or clause. It usually precedes the verb and always governs it.

  • The Hellspawn threw a huge tantrum in the grocery store.

Common Case: objective
The objectives case refers to the person or thing acting as an object in a sentence or clause. In this role, the noun will never be the subject of the verb that follows.

  • The embarrassed mother put the boxes of Count Chocula back on the shelf.

Genitive Case
The genitive case is also called the possessive, and it is used to indicate several different functions. Most commonly, it indicates possession, but it can also indicate a relationship, a description, agency, or the role of a subject or object. It is formed by adding either an ’s or an apostrophe to the end of the word. (See my post on apostrophes for more info on this oft-misused piece of punctuation.)

  • Beelzebub’s mother told him to stop playing with his flies and come for dinner. (possessive — his mother)
    This is Mr. Mephistopheles, Hell’s representative. (agency — he represents Hell)
  • The demon’s application was rejected. He shouldn’t have used a red pen. (role of the subject — the demon applied)

2. Number
Shockingly, the property of number indicates whether we are referring to one object or more in a sentence. Typically, it is formed by adding an “s” or “es” to the end of a word — though sometimes forming a plural in English can be a little more, um, unique (datum, data; sarcophagus, sarcophagi). But that’s a whole other topic! Here are some simple examples of the number case:

  • evil, evils
  • flame, flames
  • crash, crashes
  • hex, hexes

3. Gender
While English does not really have gender, in the way that some other languages do (French and German, for example), some English nouns are used almost exclusively to indicate the masculine or feminine and would accompany a gender-appropriate pronoun. Here are some examples:

  • Masculine: uncle, brother, rooster, bull, lad
  • Feminine: aunt, sister, hen, cow, lass

4. Person
The property of person refers to what person the noun refers to. Is it first person, second person or third person? Here are some examples:

  • First person: I, the Lord of Darkness, don’t want to go to bed!
  • Second person: You, little devil, would be wise to get upstairs right now.
  • Third person: She, mother of demons, just wanted ten minutes of quiet.

And there you have it, the properties of nouns in a large nutshell.

As an aside, I want to note that there are a few other roles that nouns can play. I have already discussed appositives in a previous post. Nouns can also sometimes act as adjectives, verbs and occasionally as adverbs — this is known as functional variation.

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Image credit: Antonina Vesna Photoxpress.com

Covenant

Crow

Covenant

Who could that be at this hour? Faustine wondered, glancing at the clock. No reasonable person would turn up on the doorstep at five in the morning.

Faustine stepped into her slippers, pulled her robe snugly around her neck and went to open the door.

No one stood on the threshold. No one stood in the laneway. She leaned out to peer around in the creeping light of dawn. Fingers of purple and gold light trailed across the sky, casting strange shadows. And then she saw them.

Two large black crows were perched solemnly in the tree outside the house.

“Oh shit,” said Faustine.

She closed the door and ran to the kitchen. The corkboard was full of notes and pictures and appointment reminder cards. She shuffled through the tiny paperwork, knocking thumbtacks to the floor in her haste. Finally, she found what she was looking for. It was innocuous. Just a little red square of paper with a date scribbled on it and the words “Non-Negotiable” stamped beneath the date in big black letters.

Faustine looked at the date, then looked at her calendar.

“Oh shit,” she said again.

She wondered how the time had got away from her. On the mantel in her living room sat all her awards and trophies. Their gold plaques glimmered as the rising sun caught their edges. She wandered down the hallway to her bedroom. Pictures of her exploits lined the walls, perfect moments captured forever.

Outside, the crows began to call out.

Faustine opened her closet doors. So many beautiful clothes to choose from, she thought. She settled on a dress made of the finest emerald-green silk, dressing carefully so as not to pull the fabric. Next, she fixed her hair, brushing it until it gleamed like polished ebony. Then she sat at her vanity and applied a little make-up – the effect was subtle but powerful. Finally, she added jewellery. A necklace of white gold sprinkled with diamonds, earrings to match, and an antique silver wristwatch in the Art Deco style. She paused to admire her finished self in the mirror.

The crows were cawing loudly now. From the sound of it, there must have been dozens out there. A murder of crows, Faustine thought, a sardonic smile twisting the corners of her mouth. She walked back down the hallway to the front door.

She turned at the threshold of her house, drinking in its perfection for one last time. No regrets, she told herself. A deal’s a deal.

Faustine stepped outside and let the crows escort her to her new home.

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This is my submission for this week’s  Speakeasy challenge #94. Submissions must be under 1000 words and must begin with the following line:  Who could that be at this hour?

In addition, submissions must reference the photo prompt, which is the following image:

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Crow image credit: © Vetea TOOMARU / Photoxpress.com