Monday, December 31, 2012

Suspect Two


The fire alarm had this weak, metallic rattle to it.  It sounded kind of tired.

It was loud enough to be heard, but not loud enough to make everyone jump up and panic.  So as I reentered the main room, I saw a bunch of people looking around in confusion, unsure of whether or not they were actually supposed to evacuate the building. 

My parents had just stood up when another orange Low-Order Demon appeared on the far side of the room.  He was holding what appeared to be a cigarette lighter and a can of bug spray.  He ran toward the closest group of people and, before anybody realized what he was doing, he'd flipped the lighter on and shot bug spray at the flame.  A little stream of fire erupted...right into Quinn Madsen's face.  It was a beautiful thing.  He'd beaten me to death with a hoe, so I thought I had the right to enjoy his screams of agony for a few moments. 

But the demon was moving fast, dodging between people and wreaking as much havoc as possible.  In between people, he set the carpet and the curtains on fire.  If I let him continue much longer, he might actually succeed in burning the whole building down and killing my parents.   I stopped listening so intently to Quinn's howls of anguish and darted across the room, heading directly for the source of the chaos. 

He saw me coming.  What he didn't see coming was the folding chair that I plucked from the ground as I ran, swung over my head, and brought down on his face.  He collapsed instantly, dropping both the lighter and the bug spray.  Dazed, he stared up at me. 

Triumphantly, I allowed myself a snarky remark before I dispatched the little bastard.  I frowned down at him disapprovingly.  "A demon using fire?" I chided.  "How unoriginal."

And I swung the chair down into the top of his skull.

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Interrogation


I charged at a flat-out run...or as close as I could get to a flat-out run with all those people in the way.  I pushed my next-door neighbor aside a little too roughly, hopped a row of chairs, narrowly avoided colliding with my aunt, and darted around the corner where I'd seen the demonic head. 

Sure enough, a few feet away was a short Low Order Demon with orange skin.  He'd apparently managed to find himself some clothes.   This may have made his appearance more family friendly, but I think it made it weirder too.  He was a demon.  Wearing a plaid flannel shirt and a pair of khaki cargo pants.  And the rest of him was orange.

He immediately recognized me and took off down the hall.  He'd just barely made it to the exit when I tackled him.  His head hit the door's push bar and we tumbled outside, down a small flight of concrete steps, and into a mostly empty parking lot behind the funeral home.

I grabbed him by the collar of his weird flannel and pressed him against the side of the building, letting his feet dangle a few inches off the ground.  It was a cool thing badasses did in movies, and until recently it was something I wouldn't have even dared to attempt.  I guess being the Devil had some unexpected perks.

"Where's your friend?" I growled.

The demon squirmed uncomfortably.  Even though he was hellspawn and innately evil, I couldn't help but think how much he looked like a toddler who was about to wet his pants.

"Where the fuck is he?" I shouted.  I readjusted my grip so that my hand was now around his neck...and squeezing.

"I don't know," he wheezed.

"Bullshit," I barked.  "You two came here to murder my family.  Tell me where he is and how he's going to do it."

The ugly little demon actually smiled.  "I don't know," he repeated.  "He said he was going to improvise.  My job was just to be the bait...to distract you."

I clenched my fist in anger, essentially ripping the bastard's throat out.  Then, just in case he didn't need to breathe to live, I teleported both of us back to the Department of Enforcement.  Then I immediately teleported back to the parking lot. 

I was pissed, and I didn't much care at that moment whether he lived or died, but I needed to make sure that if he did live, he wasn't getting back to the land of the living. 

One down, one to go.  I walked back up the steps into the funeral home and pulled the first fire alarm I could find.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Scanning the Crowd


Quinn was walking into the home with his parents and what appeared to be his older sister.  He looked uncomfortable and...what's the word...not under arrest.

Did he get away with murder?  Did Mike and Jessie get away with it too?  Was nobody going to jail for beating me to death with an assortment of gardening tools?

I reminded myself to stay focused.  If I didn't find those Low Order Demons soon, everybody in here could die.  If Quinn died, well, that would just be too bad.  But the vast majority of the people attending my funeral did not deserve to be slaughtered by hellspawn.

I began to feel like I'd come here very unequipped information-wise.  What was I looking for?  It seemed like a Low Order Demon would stick out around here, so maybe I should be watching for some kind of disguise.  Could demons possess people?  Did that mean that anybody could be the culprit?  Were there any kind of limitations on my powers since I wasn't in Hell anymore?  How would I be able to stop the demons if I found them?  I could still teleport.  Did that mean I could do everything else, too?

The funeral was about to start.  I was about to panic.  And then, on the opposite side of the room, I saw a head poke around a corner, take a quick look at the scene, and then disappear.  The head appeared to be covered in orange skin.

I caused a bit of a commotion by suddenly taking off at full speed across the room.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Hollis Funeral Home


I used my dad's computer to Google the location of the Hollis Funeral Home.  I'd never been there before, but it was about three blocks away from the piano teacher my mom made me go to for a few months when I was ten.  So I teleported to my old piano teacher's house and took off on foot for the funeral home.

It felt good to run.  Until recently, I'd had an awkward adolescent body.  But now, I had a fully-grown adult body, and a large one at that.  All my muscles seemed to know exactly what I required of them and they performed accordingly.  Plus I had that whole telekinetic power boost thing, so when I sprinted down the street, I felt like a fucking force of nature.  I'd felt this way in Hell, too, but the feeling was intensified because my surroundings were semi-familiar and decidedly not supernatural.

I burst into the Hollis Funeral Home in a very loud and disrespectful manner--but it was my funeral, so I wasn't offended by my irreverence.  I was a few minutes early, and I used the time I had to dodge people's judgmental glares and scan the small gathering for people--or demons, really--that didn't belong.

My parents were here, of course, looking understandably devastated.  I considered saying something to them to reassure them that I was okay, but I couldn't come up with a way to make it not freaky-sounding.  "Hi, I know you don't recognize me, but I'm your son, and I'm okay.  I'm the King of Hell now, and I'm here to protect you from some demons that are trying to kill everyone."

Yeah.  I decided that maybe I'd just let my parents grieve and focus my efforts on keeping them alive.

Soft sounds from near the door indicated that a few more people were entering the home.  I turned to look.  And I saw him.

Him.

Quinn Madsen.

One of my murderers.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Back Home


I did it.

I had successfully teleported to precisely where I'd intended to go--and it was a completely different part of the universe, or maybe part of a different universe.  I hadn't just jumped from one location in Hell to another location in Hell--I went all the way back to the house I grew up in.

Astonished at the ease of my success and enthralled by the comfortable environment of my former home, I wandered around the house in awe for a few moments, taking in every detail of my surroundings.  Then, slowly, I began to remember my objective.  The reason I'd come here.

My family and friends were in danger.

I didn't have a lot of information to go on.  All I really knew is that two Low Order Demons had been dispatched to raid my funeral and, I'd assumed, kill the people I cared about.

I briefly wondered what would motivate someone to do that.  But then I remembered that demons were personifications of evil and that they all seemed batshit and power hungry to boot.  And I didn't want to waste time that I could spend saving my loved ones on worrying about demonic motives.

I searched the house for information about my funeral.  I found my obituary and read it hungrily--a very surreal experience.  The last paragraph mentioned that my funeral would be held at 11:30 AM on Sunday, March 11th at the Hollis Funeral Home.

Okay, so I knew the time and place, but I had no reference for the time.  There seemed to be no real concept of days in Hell (I suddenly realized I hadn't slept since I died) and Gus had said that time moved at a different speed down there.  So what day was it?

I looked around helplessly.  The calendar on the wall at least told me I was in the right month, but it didn't help with the specific date.   I pulled out the cell phone I'd gotten in Hell to check the date there--if it could even be relied on to have the right date for the realm of the living.  The whole screen was taken up by an animation of flames.  None of the buttons did anything to change it.  Maybe my Hell Phone didn't work outside of Hell?

I finally found my dad's laptop open on his desk.  I moused over the clock in the corner and it gave me the date--March 11th.  My funeral was today.

Actually, my funeral was in less than twenty minutes.

Fuck.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Departure


Gus was now in charge of Hell.  Or, more accurately, he was about to be.  The way he'd explained it, the spell worked only in my absence.  When I departed, he would instantly be granted the ability to sign Satanic Orders (which apparently are extremely difficult to forge) and all debts to me would be transferred to him--which meant that, for example, Vilnius would be his puppet until I got back.  He would remain fully human and acquire no telekinetic powers, but otherwise, he'd pretty much be the Devil.

He was not happy.  But he understood. 

He frowned at me as I prepared myself to jump back to the realm of the living.  "I have a bad feeling about this, sir," he said glumly.

"About what I'm doing or about what you're doing?" I asked. 

He gave a halfhearted shrug.  "Mostly just everything."

"You'll be fine," I assured him with confidence, closing my eyes.  "I'll be back soon." 

"Good luck, Boss-man," he said.

I nodded in acknowledgement, focused as wholly as I could on my parents' house, and willed myself to return to the place I'd been so many times.  I experienced, for the first time, the sensations that accompany an intentional journey between the land of the dead and the realm of the living. 

It felt...weird.

Something that seemed like air but probably wasn't rushed through my body and I felt momentarily separated from it.  My flesh was chillingly cold but my consciousness felt unpleasantly warm.  There was a brief burst of disorientation, nausea and vertigo, followed by a second rush of pseudo-air, and then I was standing.

I opened my eyes.  I was staring at a portrait of my family taken a few years ago.  It was hanging on the wall in my parents' living room. 

Holy shit--I was home.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Preparing for the Interregnum


Wait!" Gus shouted, breaking my concentration.  I opened my eyes and glared at him.

"Sorry," he said more calmly.  "Um, Boss-man, sir, with all due respect, you probably shouldn't go just yet."

"Why not?" I asked.

"Because if it takes you an hour to find those demons and stop them, it could be days down here," he explained.  "You need a temporary replacement to keep some order while you're gone."

"Oh," I said.  "Yeah, okay.  Um...you're in charge."

"Me?" Gus was taken aback.  "No, I didn't mean me.  I meant maybe him," he said with a nod toward Jorge.

"Sure," Jorge said with an odd smirk.  "I'll do it."

"No offense, man," I told him, "but I don't actually know you that well just yet.  I'm more comfortable with my loyal sidekick here holding the reins."  Jorge silently put his hands up as though he were voluntarily withdrawing his name from consideration.

I patted Gus reassuringly on the shoulder.  "You'll be fine.  Now what do we have to do, is there some kind of spell?"

Gus hung his head.  "Yeah, there's a spell.  But for the record, I am one hundred percent against this.  And I'm totally uncomfortable with it to boot."

I smiled thinly.  "There is quite literally no one else I can trust, Gus.  I can't just let my friends and family get butchered, so I kind of need you to do this.  Not as an option."

He sighed heavily.  "Okay, but just so long as I'm on the record saying how terrible of an idea this is."

"Noted," I replied tersely.  "Now let's get this spell over with so I can go."

"I need a mortar and pestle and a few ounces of your blood and we can get started," Gus murmured glumly.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Going Upstairs


"Whoa," I said sharply.  Wyver now had my undivided attention.  "They're going to kill everyone at my funeral?"

"That is what they said, sir," Wyver said mutedly, still not looking up at me.

"Wait--what day is it?" I glanced wildly at Gus.  "How long have I been down here?  Hasn't my funeral happened already?"

Gus shook his head sympathetically.  "Doubtful.  Time moves much more...sluggishly in the pit.  Part of the torture of Hell is that the pain always lasts longer than you expect because time passes more slowly than you're used to."  He glanced upward as though he were checking a clock in the world of the living.  "You might have only been dead for 24 hours up there.  Who knows?"

"So those two demons are going upstairs to crash my funeral and kill everything?  Can they even get up there?"

Gus shrugged.  "I'm not personally aware of the spell they were talking about, but rumors of spells like that have been around since way before I got tossed down here.  It might be legit."

I felt the uneasy sensation of my blood pumping hard in every part of my body--including the tips of my ears.  "Okay, so how do I get this spell?" I asked.

"You don't need it," Gus said, placing what must have been meant as an encouraging hand on my shoulder.  "You're the motherfucking Devil."

That wasn't particularly helpful.  "Okay," I said curtly.  "Meaning what?"

"You can teleport to anywhere you've been before," Gus reminded me.  "Demons have trouble getting upstairs because they were born down here.  You were born up there.  You should be able to teleport back."

"Okay," I sighed, psyching myself up.  "That makes sense.  I'm gonna go kick some LOD ass then." 

I closed my eyes and focused on my parents' house.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Jorge's Office


Gus said Jorge needed to talk to me now. 

But I really, really wanted to enhance my supernatural powers.  I'd just repealed the Satanic Order that Kivra had made me sign, but I realized that, sooner or later, I'd have to stand up to her in person.

And for that, I'd need a little more oomph.

So I closed my eyes, focused as intensely as I could, and practiced teleporting.  I intended to teleport straight into Azraal's old office, which Jorge had recently settled into.  I failed.  But I did find myself standing in the middle of a barren wasteland of fire-tinged stone--within shouting distance of the front door to the Department of Transportation. 

I tried it again, and I found that this time it came a little more easily.  I'd missed my mark again, but I was standing right outside the door to Jorge's office.  I couldn't complain about my less-than-perfect success, because until then I hadn't really had any kind of success at all.

I opened the door and entered a room full of worried faces.  Jorge, Gus, and an LOD that I presumed to be Jorge's new aide all looked at me with the same somber expression.  The expression that says, "Oh, he is not going to like this."

"What's going on?" I asked.

Jorge, who was seated behind the desk, cleared his throat.  "Sir," he began, "two of my Low-Order Demons have gone AWOL.  In the course of my investigation into the whereabouts of my employees, I met this LOD who bunks next to them in the barracks."  He motioned toward the LOD, who, it appeared, was not actually his aide.  "Tell him what you told me, Wyver."

With his head angled downward in either fear or respect, Wyver stepped forward.  "Sir, I heard them talking yesterday.  They said they'd found a spell that would allow them to teleport into the world of the living."

"Oh," I said, impressed.  This did seem kind of important.  "So is that where they went?"

"I think so," Wyver nodded.  "They were talking about someone--I'm not sure who--who gave them the spell and wanted them to use it to go to your funeral, sir, and slaughter everyone there."

Monday, November 12, 2012

Sylnie's Selection


I quickly typed up a brief paragraph on my computer that stated that I was repealing Satanic Order Number 53464552.  No matter how I worded it, it sounded forced and fickle and frivolous.  But I was determined to keep Kivra from pushing me around, so I felt the need to stand up to her now before she got me totally under her sexy heel.

I printed it out and signed it.  Then I scanned it and sent copies to the Personnel Department.  And the Department of Torture.  And the Department of Enforcement.  And I sat back in my chair, thoroughly proud of myself for standing up to a bully, even if it was after I'd caved in person. 

There was a knock on the rear entrance to my office.  "Sir, it's me," Sylnie called softly.

"Sure, come in," I said.  I turned to watch her enter and my jaw dropped. 

She smiled at my reaction.  "You like it?" she asked hopefully.

"An entire warehouse full of clothes," I murmured, "and you picked this?"

She frowned.  "You don't like it?"

I stared at her.  She was wearing a sexy French maid outfit that looked like it came from the set of a bad porno.  She looked fantastic in it, of course, and it gave her cleavage so deep it appeared to be endless.  "I love it," I admitted.  "But I'm not sure it's any less distracting than you going around naked."

My phone rang.

God, her boobs were enormous.

My phone rang.

I wasn't even a butt guy, but hers looked positively juicy in that little skirt.

My phone rang.

"Your phone's ringing," Sylnie said.

"Yes it is," I said, still half-entranced, as I blindly groped for it on the desk.  I brought it to my ear.  "Hello?"

"Boss-man?" Gus said.  "Listen, I'm here with Jorge and he has something that you're definitely going to want to hear."

"Okay," I said.  I was beginning to notice that the white fabric in Sylnie's outfit was thin enough to be semi-transparent.  "Uh, give me like ten minutes."

"I think you want to hear this now," Gus said with uncharacteristic forcefulness.  

Friday, October 26, 2012

The First Order of Business


Sylnie beamed.  "Great!  What do you want me to do?"

I stared at her, my eyes dropping from her face to her nakedness.  "Hold that thought," I said, and I reached for my cell phone.  I dialed Gus.

"Boss-man," Gus answered.  "Everything okay?"

"Yeah," I replied.  "So listen--I got myself a receptionist, but she's kind of...distracting.  Where does one acquire clothing in Hell?"

Gus sighed.  "Are you in your office?" he asked.

I nodded.  Then I realized I was on the phone.  "Yes," I said.

"Go out the back door, go down the hallway to your left, and look for a door that says Staff Wardrobe Storage.  You'll probably find what you need there," he said confidently. 

"Thanks," I said.

"Who's the recep--" he began, but I hung up.

"Follow me," I said to Sylnie, and led her into the hallway behind the office.  Like many hallways in Hell, this one appeared interminable and was very poorly lit.  Eventually, however, we located the door Gus had described and opened it.  Inside was what appeared to be racks and piles of every kind of clothing collected over the last few millennia.

"Wow," Sylnie said, her eyes wide.  "That's a lot of clothes."

"Yep," I said.  I motioned for her to step inside.  "Go nuts.  Come find me when you have something you want to wear."

"Why do I have to wear anything?" she asked.  She seemed genuinely confused.

I openly stared at her chest for about the sixtieth time since meeting her.  "Uh...just...just find something you like and put it on," I begged.  And I hurried back to my office. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sylnie


"Hi," I said awkwardly as I hung up on Gus.  "Um...how can I help you?"

"Hi," the chubby, puke-green demon said shyly.  Her voice had this sweet, pinched quality to it that made her sound almost childish.  

"Do you remember me?  I was the receptionist at--"

"Yeah, no, I definitely remember you," I interrupted clumsily.  I stood up and approached her, extending my hand for a shake.  "Uh, I'm Jason--I mean, the Devil."

She shook my hand lightly.  "I'm Sylnie.  Nice to meet you," she said pleasantly. 

"The niceness is all mine," I replied lamely.  She smiled in amusement but managed not to laugh at me.  "So what brings you here, Sylnie?"

"The new Director of Transportation," she said.

"Ah, Jorge!" I responded proudly.  "What do you think of him so far?"

She smiled weakly.  "He's...decisive.  He's made some big changes already.  He's called it 'streamlining' and 'trimming the fat' and 'cleaning house.'  Anyway, now there are a bunch of us who don't actually have anything to do now, so I was hoping I could come work for your office."

I swallowed.  Sylnie wanted to work for me?  How would I be able to focus with her enormous bare boobs around me all the time?  "You want to work for me?" I repeated.

She looked down.  "Well, I thought we had kind of a connection earlier at the Department of Transportation, so I thought...."  It was hard to tell because of her green skin, but based on her body language, I guessed that she was blushing. 

Sylnie thought we had a connection. 

"Sure!" I exulted.  "I could totally use a receptionist!"

Monday, October 22, 2012

Three Hundred Demons


I sat in dejection for a moment.  Then I reached for my cell phone and dialed Gus' number.

He picked up after the first ring.  "Jorge's settling in nicely, Boss-man," he said.  "I think he might have a real knack for this."

"Hey, why would Kivra need three hundred more demons?" I asked.

"What?" he sounded worried.  "You didn't give her three hundred more demons, did you?"

I swallowed.  "She...may have talked me into it," I admitted. 

"Sir, Kivra is the head of the largest department.  Sure, there's a lot of torturing to do, but they have all of eternity to get the job done.  I would be concerned about what she might need three hundred demons for.  I really doubt she's going to put them to work torturing humans."

"So, what, she's going to build an army to take over Hell?" I asked.

"Could be," he replied.  His tone of voice implied he'd just shrugged.  "But Kivra casts a wide net when it comes to ambition.  She could be planning something even crazier and even worse."

"So what can I do?" I asked.  "She made me sign a Satanic Order."

"Just make a new one reversing your decision," Gus said.

"I can do that?" I replied, incredulous.  "That seems...silly."

"Dude, you're the Devil.  This is not a democratic process.  The masses of damned souls and demons you rule over are one hundred percent subject to your every whim.  You can change your mind whenever the hell you feel like it.  And the only thing they can do about it--"

"--is mount a rebellion?" I finished dryly.

"Yeah, pretty much," he replied darkly.

Just then the door to my office opened softly.  I glanced up to see the exceptionally large-breasted receptionist from the Department of Transportation enter, looking strangely demure. 

"Gus?" I said, unable to tear my eyes away from her naked body, "I think I'll have to call you back."

Friday, October 19, 2012

Satanic Order


"What do you want, Kivra?" I asked waveringly.  Her nipples were...alluring.

"Remember those three hundred demons I asked you to transfer back into my department?" she asked, walking around the desk to get uncomfortably close to me.  As she approached, she slid a piece of legal-size paper onto my desk.

I quickly adjusted the way I was sitting to obscure the fact that the crotch of my pants was starting to bulge.  "Yes," I said.

She leaned over me, her hands clamped on the armrests of my chair.  Those glorious breasts were inches away from my face.  I'd never touched a naked breast before.  I knew she was trying to make a power play, and I knew I needed to focus, but her body was making it so difficult....

"I don't have them back in my department yet," she snarled sweetly.  She heaved a deep sigh, pretending not to notice the way it made her chest swell in front of me.  "You haven't signed a Satanic Order for their transfer."

I didn't want to.  I didn't trust Kivra.  I didn't want her to have three hundred more demons at her command--a command she might use to overthrow me.  But her fingers played so gently along my arm.

"I'm not sure you need three hundred more demons," I said weakly.

She curled her lip.  "Okay, fuck subtlety," she grunted disinterestedly.  She reached around behind my head, planted her hand at the base of my skull, and roughly shoved my face into her cleavage.

"What the fuck!" I shouted--though the sound was muffled by the abundant soft flesh around my mouth.

"Here's how it's going to work, ," she growled.  Why was her growl so sexy?  "You're going to sign that paper in blood so that I can get my demons back, and you're going to do it right now.  And if you find some courage in that fucking useless echo chamber of yours to try and refuse, I will turn this pleasant pressure on your dick into an excruciating agony of a duration to be determined by how much I enjoyment I derive from watching you writhe and squirm like a helpless fucking maggot."

Her hand did indeed feel pleasant on my crotch.  I imagined it could very easily feel very different.

"Okay," I said hoarsely.  "Uh, here, let me sign it."

A moment later, Kivra was walking out of my office, signed Satanic Order in hand, wagging her juicy little ass tauntingly at me as she left.

I felt powerless.  I felt unsatisfied.  I felt stupid.  I felt weak.

"I should've set her eyeballs on fire," I grumbled to myself.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Moment Alone


Gus and Jorge had departed to meet up with General Gavsot's men.  Alone in my office, I sat importantly behind my desk. 

I'd trapped Vilnius in a spell that pretty much made him my bitch.  I'd taken on Azraal, gotten captured, pulled off a nearly impossible escape, and got him locked up.  Now I was making important decisions and hand-picking my lieutenants.  I was running things.  I was powerful.  I was the fuckin' Devil.

I sighed.  I was in Hell, but if I didn't know any better, I might think that I was actually happy.

Then my office door opened and that happiness and feeling of control was gone.  Like it had never been there at all.

"How's my favorite virginal devil?" Kivra said with such syrupy sarcasm that I felt myself blush shamefully.

She was, as always, naked.  And she was, as always, smoking hot.  And I suppose spending thousands of years walking around nude with that body had given her no shortage of confidence.  She approached my desk, swinging her hips in a walk that was so sexual that I had a hard time believing she hadn't been practicing it over the centuries.

I tried not to stare at her firm, pleasantly round breasts.  But if I wasn't doing that, I was staring at her bare crotch, which either didn't grow hair (considering she had a bunch of horns on her head instead of flowing locks) or she kept meticulously shaven.  And when I was trying not to stare at that, I was staring at the slender curves of her strong thighs.  And when I wasn't ogling those, I was admiring the smooth, athletic tone of her belly.  And when I wasn't drooling over that, I was attempting to make eye contact.

Making eye contact with Kivra always felt like a mistake.

She effortlessly put me completely off my guard.  All the control I thought I'd gained over my circumstances down here in Hell vanished.  I felt helpless to her impressive feminine--and demonic--wiles. 

And she knew it.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Breaking it Down


"This is a job interview?" Jorge said cautiously.  "I don't think I understand."

I leaned forward across my desk.  "Jorge," I said.  "You know you're dead, right?  This is Hell."

He swallowed nervously.  "Okay, I'm prepared to accept that part, but the job interview thing is what's really throwing me for a loop here."

I shrugged.  "Let me break it down for you as simply as I can," I began.  I paused and gave him a sympathetic wince.  "Even the short version seems kind of complicated, but here goes:  Until recently, I was human like you, until the devil tricked me into taking his spot.  So now I'm the Devil, but my rule has been under threat since the moment it began.  I recently managed to defeat and imprison one of my opponents, who held a position of moderate power in Hell's infrastructure.  I need to install someone in that position who I can rely on to be loyal to me, and I just plain don't trust demons, so I thought I'd try giving the job to a human."

Jorge was shaking his head with what seemed to be dumbfounded incredulity, but he was paying close attention nonetheless.
"So the bottom line is that I want to put you in charge of Hell's Department of Transportation, so that you could head an organization that mostly handles prisoner transfers from one area of the pit to another.  This would be done to spare you the tortures of fire and brimstone, et cetera et cetera, that the overwhelming majority of humankind is subjected to down here.  In return, I'd like your allegiance and your help when requested in the extremely likely chance that I'll need to defend myself against various demonic rebels, usurpers, revolutionaries and mutineers."  I stood and moved around my desk to offer him a handshake.

He slumped in his chair and gazed up at me appraisingly.  "It's a good deal," I prompted.

"I don't have to surrender my soul or anything?" he asked.

"No, no," I said quickly.  "Your soul, your essence, your immortal spirit, whatever it is, you can keep all that crap.  I don't want it.  I just need a friend.  A friend who knows how to run a business"--I paused to reconsider--"or a business-like thing that doesn't make any money but definitely could improve by being run by someone who knows how to run a business.  And a friend who, because he's human, might naturally take the same sides of issues that I would." 

He took my hand like he was putting his fingers into a mousetrap and shook slowly.

I smiled.  "Great.  Gus," I barked, "Will you help this fine young gentleman get set up in his new post?"

"Would you like me to call General Gavsot for an armed escort?" Gus asked dutifully.

"Legitimize Jorge's power?" I asked.  "Great idea.  Do it."

I felt like I was in charge.  This was actually pretty awesome.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Candidate #11

I'd been through half of Winston's files so far, and I hadn't seen many candidates that I liked.  I needed someone strong, loyal, and not too evil.  Most of these people were too pathetic or too corrupt.  I'd passed on the Bangladeshi slave trader, the mid-level Russian mobster, the backstabbing Swedish gymnast and the Kenyan thief.  Currently entering my office was Jorge Campos, the 28-year-old Chilean slumlord.

Immediately, I was impressed with his physique.  He appeared to have died in his sleep (or perhaps while working out) because he'd arrived in a tight t-shirt and sweatpants.  He wasn't massive, but he was clearly muscular, and he moved smoothly enough to surmise that he'd learned how to use those muscles. 

"Jorge Campos," I said solemnly, opening his file on my computer.

He was also the first person who seemed relatively unafraid.  He only nodded when I said his name as though I were taking attendance.

"So you inherited your father's building when he died and managed to grow his business into six different apartment buildings across western Santiago," I summarized.

"Yes," he said.  Actually, he said, "Si," but I'd understood him in English, as I had the Bangladeshi, the Russian, the Swede and the Kenyan.  I'd thought for a moment that knowing every language was one of my Devil superpowers, but judging from Gus's ability to understand, I'd guessed that maybe there was simply no language barrier in Hell.

"And you managed to do that by cutting costs drastically--costs like maintenance, heating, and occasionally plumbing, all the while managing to cleverly skirt around the city's ordinances," I concluded.

A small, proud smile flashed across his face for a fleeting moment.  Then he said, "That's correct."

I smiled broadly.  "Well aren't you a scumbag!" I exulted.

He appeared confused.  "What do you mean?" he asked.

"This is now a job interview," I said.  "Let's talk, Jorge."

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Candidate #1


"Joseph Stoudt," I said.  It wasn't a question.  And it wasn't really a statement, either.  I just enjoyed fucking with him, making him wonder what he was supposed to say.

He was a pretty big guy.  Maybe a little extra body fat, but he looked like he could've played rugby.  Of course, I knew from his file that he was actually not very athletic, but he just seemed like he'd look in place in a team photo of a beefy, sweaty, muddy rugby team.

"Yes?" he answered fearfully.

I'd been staring at the computer screen, but I suddenly whipped my head around to give him a narrow-eyed glare.  "I wasn't talking to you," I snarled.  And I calmly resumed reading through his file as he probably pissed himself. 

Maybe this Devil gig had some perks. 

"I see you've had a little embezzling problem," I said disapprovingly.

He swallowed.  "I did, but the reason I--"

"Which was necessary to maintain your gambling problem," I continued, ignoring him.

"Who goes to Hell for gambling?" he blubbered hopelessly.

"Which, of course, you only started to fund your cocaine problem," I added.

"Sure, I did coke, but--"

"And you only started on the cocaine because the alcohol wasn't enough to make you forget your guilt over your little brother's death, which, by the way," I said with a meaningful gaze, "was entirely your fault."

He hung his head, and, instead of pissing himself, he sobbed.  I'm not sure if that was out of guilt or fear.  Either way, he seemed like a little too much of a loser for my purposes.  Plus he was just plain weak.

"You're dismissed, Joseph," I announced with a wave of my hand.  "Go back to the waiting room to await your sentencing."
He seemed grateful.  He scurried out.  I glanced at Gus, who was observing quietly in a corner.  "Call the next one," I said.

Monday, October 8, 2012

File Transfer


For the first time since I'd become the Devil, I actually felt like I was in charge.  This was because I was now dealing with fresh-off-the-boat humans.  They had no idea that I was a new ruler of the Underworld.  They had no idea that I was busy fighting off numerous usurpers and insurgents.  They had no idea that I was really just a 17-year-old kid in a devil suit.  I could tell as soon as each of them walked fearfully into my office that I scared the shit out of them. 

This was a feeling I relished.  I finally felt in control.  I felt unchallenged.  I felt strong.  I felt awesome.

I'd instructed Winston to send me the files for the twenty most physically fit humans in my massive waiting room.  He'd breathed a loud sigh over the phone and asked "Hard copy or soft copy?" with his usual lifeless tone. 

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"Do you want me to print them out, or can I just email them?"

I imagined myself lifting up a bulging manila file folder, and flipping menacingly through the pages while inquiring deep into the lives and misdeeds of my twenty candidates.  "Print them out," I said, grinning.

"Very well," he replied.  "I'll have Dramien drop them off in your office in a few minutes."

"Uh, no," I said quickly, before he could hang up.  Dramien didn't like me, and he didn't bother to mask his contempt.  He also went around naked, like most demons, and I didn't feel like seeing his hairy chest or dangling genitalia.  "Bring them yourself."

Winston sighed.  "Really?  You know, I do have work I need to--"

"Email will be fine," I said curtly, and hung up.  I didn't really want to deal with Winston in person, either. 

And that was why, with 30-year-old, recently deceased Joe Stoudt sitting in front of me, I did my best to menacingly scroll through his information on my computer screen.  

Friday, October 5, 2012

Gratitude


I couldn't believe Azraal's body language.  The cocksure demon who'd gloated over his victory a few minutes earlier had seemingly accepted his defeat and sat pitifully in this hellish jail cell, looking weak and humbled.

"He'll be basically human for the next few hours," Gavsot's soldier said, sensing my curiosity.  "He'll have limited strength and no telepathic abilities whatsoever.  Every five hours a guard will stab him again with that same potion, effectively rendering him powerless until we choose to release him."

"What's in the potion?" I asked.

The guard began to explain, but General Gavsot interrupted him.  "You don't want to know," he said simply.  Then he motioned for us to leave the cell.  When I stepped into the dark, winding hallway and the cell door closed behind me, I suddenly realized that our crazy little plan had actually been a success.

"General Gavsot," I said authoritatively.  "I want to thank you for your assistance.  One of the greatest threats to my reign has been captured, and I couldn't have done it without you."

Gavsot gave a stiff, formal bow.  "Of course."  I thought I detected a slight tone of respect in his curt response.

"If you'd like some more heads to bust," I added, "perhaps you'd like to keep the Department of Transportation in line for a while.  You know, make sure they don't try to mount a rescue?"

"With pleasure," he replied, and turned as though he was about to get started on his new assignment immediately.  Then he stopped.

"If I might make a suggestion, my Lord," he said hesitantly, speaking with what sounded like my formal title.

It took me a moment to realize he was asking a question.  "Uh, yeah, of course," I said.  "What's your suggestion?"

"You may want to consider installing a new Director for the now-headless Department of Transportation," General Gavsot said.  "One of your supporters."

"Oh," I said.  "Yeah, that sounds like a good idea.  Thanks."

Gavsot gave another quick bow and headed off down the corridor.  I glanced at Gus.  "So should I find a new Director?" I asked.

Gus shrugged.  "Gavsot's right," he admitted.  "But you kind of have a problem."  I raised my eyebrows to prompt him to speak further. 

"You don't have any supporters to install as a Director," he said candidly.

I chuckled.  "Yeah.  Well, I guess I'll have to find one."

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Azraal's Cell


Gavsot and his soldier had teleported me and Gus to a room I was not familiar with, but I assumed it must be somewhere deep in the Department of Enforcement.  It was small and seemed to have been crudely assembled with mortar and large, oddly shaped slabs of gray stone.  The room was featureless and austere. 

In the center, a pair of ugly pit guards were busily tangling the still-unconscious Azraal in a complicated set of shackles.  When they'd finished, their prisoner would have had the freedom to move in a circle about two feet in diameter--had he been awake.  Instead, he lay limply crumpled in a loose bundle of chains. 

"So...you just chain him up in here and he'll stay put?" I said.  I felt stupid saying it, but I wanted to understand how my enemy was going to remain powerless and confined safely to this small room.

Gavsot nodded.  "Yes."

"Did you already perform that spell you were talking about?" I asked. 

Gavsot shook his head.  "Not yet."

"Then when will you--"  The rest of my question was drowned out by Azraal's waking scream of rage.  He was writhing against his restraints and the thick chains--unbelievably--were already beginning to bend.

General Gavsot reacted quickly.  He grabbed a long spear that was standing by the door, dipped it in a bucket of a red, frothy liquid, and swiftly drove the spear into Azraal's belly.  Azraal's scream of rage became a cry of anguish, and he slowly relaxed, hanging his head in dejection.  "Limiting spell," he muttered bitterly.  "You fuckers."

Monday, October 1, 2012

Escape


General Gavsot and his remaining soldier teleported Azraal's body back to the Department of Enforcement (presumably) and quickly returned for the bodies of their unconscious comrades.  Seconds later, they reappeared.  Gavsot put his hand on my shoulder.

"Wait!" I said.  "I want to try teleporting."

Gavsot gave a slight shrug, which I interpreted to mean, "Okay, but hurry up."

I closed my eyes, pictured the front door of the Department of Enforcement, and tried to access whatever part of my brain that my telepathy came from.  I focused as hard as I possibly could on making myself appear in the spot I was envisioning.  I had my eyes squeezed so tightly in concentration that I'm a little surprised I didn't pop a blood vessel.

"Boss-man," came Gus's strained stage whisper.  "Maybe we should leave the experimentation for another time.  Azraal's guys should be coming after us any second now."

It was true.  I could hear them organizing themselves just behind the door.  "I can get this," I murmured, trying to refocus my efforts and block out all distractions.  "I feel like I'm so close...."

With a sudden bang, the door to the Department of Transportation burst open so violently it nearly came off its hinges.  My concentration broken, I glanced back toward the noise and saw at least a dozen of Azraal's guard squad charging toward us.

I nodded abashedly to Gavsot.  "Fuck it, just take me," I said, and we were gone.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Knife Fight


It seemed as though the showdown taking place directly above my fragile rib cage was boiling down to Azraal versus Gavsot.  They seemed to be the heaviest hitters, and they were the only two who had yet to take any kind of wound.  Each had a blood-dipped knife that could render the other temporarily incapacitated, each was expending as much force as possible to drive that knife into the other's flesh while keeping the other's efforts from success, and each was grunting and straining at the most extreme reaches of their strength and their endurance.

I figured, since I was just laying there uselessly and getting smushed, I might as well do something to tip the scales.  I reached up, grabbed Gavsot's knife-wielding wrist, and yanked down as hard as I could.  To my surprise, that helped.  A lot.  Gavsot's knife went through Azraal's eyeball.  Azraal screamed briefly, but it faded as the bloodstained knife took effect.

General Gavsot stood and extended a hand towards me.  I gripped his wrist and he fluidly slid me out from under Azraal's body and lifted me to my feet.  "Good work," he said.

"Thanks," I replied.  Then it occurred to me that I was supposed to be the supreme ruler around here.  "Uh, you too," I added.
He nodded to his one still-conscious soldier.  "Let's get him back and work the spell before he wakes up." 

Gus sidled up next to me as we watched the soldiers scoop up Azraal's inert form.  "So...you were in there a bit longer than we expected."

"Yeah," I said.  "The perfect plan hit a snag or two."

"A snag?" Gus prompted.

I shrugged.  "Or two," I answered vaguely.  " Um...we should go before Azraal's goons decide to stage a rescue operation."

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Outside


I positively erupted through the main doors of the Department of Transportation.

Still moving as quickly as I could, but stumbling from my last leap to freedom, I barreled clumsily out in the stifling, stagnant, open air of Hell.  I started to speak, to inform my allies that our enemy was hot on my heels, but before I could eke out a single word, the enemy was on my heels.  He'd dived after me and quite literally grabbed at my ankles.  He failed to get a substantial hold, but he knocked my feet sideways and I collapsed.

Instantly, I was on the bottom of a pileup.

Azraal had thrown himself on top of me and two of General Gavsot's elite soldiers had dutifully attempted to pull him off.  The General himself had then leaped into the fray himself, wielding the blood-dipped knife.  Gus was wisely standing clear and anxiously awaiting an outcome.

Luckily, Azraal regarded the demons in the pile on top of him as more of a threat than the demonized human in the pile beneath him, so rather than stabbing me with his own blood-dipped knife, he took a moment to hack and slash at Gavsot's men.  He got in some pretty good hits.  He cut two of the demons deeply enough for the spell to work.  I don't know if demons can actually pass out, but if a human had done what those demons did, it would have been called passing out. 

Gavsot's other two soldiers came to help out, rolling the unconscious bodies of their comrades out of the way.  But I was still being squashed by four big guys who were all trying to kill something.  It was not comfortable. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Home Stretch


"Somebody cover that fucking door!" Azraal shouted volcanically as rushed toward me.  Apparently he'd gathered his forces on the fourth floor to guard against my escape and I'd circumvented them completely.  The only person I could see between me and the front door was the big-breasted receptionist, who still sat in her chair in the entry way as though she were patiently waiting for the desk to be returned to its proper place. 

With a wave of my hand, I sent pieces of the floors, the walls and the ceiling hurtling chaotically across the paths of my charging adversaries.  It took a few of them down, but Azraal was a little more badass and a lot more determined than his cohorts, so he extricated himself from the commotion almost as easily as though it weren't even happening. 

I was going to get away with it.  I had headed into enemy territory, gotten captured, and now I was about to escape.  I felt awesome.  Even though these guys were chasing me, I was giving them hell for it, and I would easily reach the door before they could overtake me.  I suddenly felt like the ultimate personification of badassery.  As I cut across the reception area and came within twenty feet of the door, I even felt courageous enough to flash a quick wink at the exceptionally well-endowed demon who'd been so distracting when I first came in.  She smiled at me and that fed my ego a little more.  I grinned back as charmingly as I could and quickly refocused my attention on escaping.  I was ten feet away from freedom when Azraal materialized in front of the door.

Shit.  I forgot he could do that teleportation thing. 

I tried to stop, but my momentum kept me hurtling forward.  I saw a flash of the dagger and his hand went up. When his arm snapped forward, I managed to redirect some of that momentum to one side.  The knife whistled harmlessly past my shoulder.  I seamlessly transitioned into a sideways dive and perfectly executed an illegal slide tackle, bringing a very disappointed Azraal down on top of me.  I shoved his tumbling body to the side, threw a quick elbow in his face, and lunged for the door.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Going Down


Azraal had literally dived for the desk.  He'd just barely made it in one desperate bound, too.  He caught himself on the desk, one hand clapped on the corner and the other reaching wildly across the surface, groping for the dagger.

As he turned to throw the knife at me, I focused again, and channeled Left Ear from the Italian Job.  I mentally ripped a hole in every floor of the building and the ceiling above me, and then forced it to become a reality. 

As Azraal spun and hurled the dagger, a chunk of the ceiling above me came loose in a jagged little circle around where the meat hook was mounted.  Simultaneously, the floor beneath my head crumbled, leaving just enough of a hole for my body to fall through.  I'd done it just in time, too, because as I fell, I felt the knife clang off of the meat hook just before I disappeared beneath the floor.  It sent agonizing vibrations along the hook and into my bloody feet, but it was a small price to pay for avoiding its poison.

I hurtled down three floors and collapsed painfully on the ground level.  I was aware, in the back of my mind, that this would probably have killed me if I'd still been completely human.  Instead, I was simply in an intense amount of pain. 

"He's on the ground floor!" I heard Azraal bellow from above me.  "Get him, you dumbfucks!"  I heard some rumbling and considered that perhaps some of the more powerful demons on the fourth floor were about to attempt the stunt I'd just pulled. 

I sat up, hurriedly but gingerly pulled the hook out of my feet, and tossed it aside.  I got to my feet, wincing at the pain, and, realizing that my fate depended heavily on my ability to quit worrying about the pain and just fucking move, I limped forward as fast as I could. 

Azraal erupted through the ceiling behind me, and a few of his security goons were only seconds behind him.  He still had the knife and an unwounded pair of feet.  He was coming fast.  

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Last Resort


My mind scrambled to find an escape plan as Azraal brought the glass of his blood over from the desk. 

General Gavsot had politely but firmly refused to mount a full assault on Azraal's Department.  He would only wait for me at the entrance.  Gus, however loyal to me he might be, was pretty powerless.  And I had no other friends down here, unless I counted Kivra as an ally.  And even though she'd shown up to miraculously save me from Azraal once before, it seemed that her victory had been due to a tense standoff.  Now we were in Azraal's territory, surrounded by his goons, and his confidence had grown.  Even if I could expect Kivra to swoop in to help--which seemed unlikely--the strategy she'd used last time would no longer fly.

I was on my own.  I was also out of time.  Azraal was bringing the glass to my lips with one hand and pinching my nostrils closed with the other.

So I just did whatever.  I closed my eyes, focused on my desperation, and released its energy.  It sent out a little pulse of something.  The glass shattered in Azraal's hand and the ropes around my arms burst.  It wasn't much, but at least it gave me something to work with.

A brief look of alarm flashed across Azraal's face, but he recovered swiftly, lunging for his desk.  The knife he'd used to subdue me sat by his computer keyboard.  I needed to act just as quickly.  I still hung painfully from the meat hook, but at least now my hands were free, leaving my telekinetic capabilities a little more open.

And then I was suddenly struck with inspiration--I'd do it like the Italian Job.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Captive


I was hanging upside down.

This was the first thing I noticed when I groggily opened my eyes.  I was still in Azraal's office, but I seemed to be hanging from the ceiling in the approximate center of the room.

The second thing I noticed was that my feet were in extreme, excruciating, blinding, unbelievably crippling pain.  I realized that I was hanging from some kind of meat hook that Azraal had mounted on the ceiling, and he'd impaled both my feet on it.  A thin trickle of blood was running down my face, up my cheek, and into my eye.  I blinked, but that didn't help much.

I initially tried to make any kind of movement to free myself, but I quickly realized that my arms were bound uselessly at my sides and even the tiniest squirm sent fresh jolts of pain from my feet all the way down my body. 

I heard movement from the corner of the room.  Azraal approached slowly, drinking a thick red liquid from a shot glass.  I was pretty sure it was my blood.

"Oh, good, you're awake," he said tiredly, stopping to stand a few feet in front of me.  I was hung low enough that I had a good view of his ribs.  Straining to see his face was both difficult and painful.  "I've just been finishing off this glass of Giles blood.  Now it's your turn to drink." 

He picked up another shot glass from his desk.  It contained a small amount of what I assumed was his blood.  Once I drank it, he would assume my title and my powers and I'd be just another hopeless human in the merciless cavity of Hell.

Now what?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Azraal's Office


I opened the door to Azraal's office and stepped inside.  I held the knife in front of me, ready to strike as soon as he moved toward me.

He was standing in one corner of the room, looking very calm.  His arms were at his sides in a pose of cool relaxation that was completed by the lit cigarette held loosely in his left hand.  "I see you've come armed," he said, nodding toward my knife.  "Do you plan to kill me with that thing?" he teased.

I stepped forward hesitantly.  "This isn't just an ordinary knife," I said, trying to keep my voice firm.  It trembled a little bit.  I think my hand did too.  My attempt at bravado was pretty transparent. 

He strolled casually over to his desk, widening his eyes and raising his eyebrows in an absurd caricature of fear.  "Ooh," he taunted.  "So you plan to kill me with an extraordinary knife.  How terrifying."  He leaned forward, rested his palms on the desk and gave me a sarcastic glare.  "I'm at your mercy.  You have my undivided attention."

I stepped forward a little more.  I was maybe eight feet away from him, still holding the knife in front of me and wondering how close I should get before I tried to stab him.  The fleeing in terror phase of the plan was sounding really good right about now and I wanted to hurry up and get there.

"This is no ordinary knife," I explained, "because--"

With an efficient swiftness that contrasted sharply with his earlier body language, Azraal plucked a small dagger from his desk and threw it violently.  His accuracy across such a short distance made it impossible for me to dodge, and the blade buried itself two inches deep in my chest, just below my collar bone.  It was so surprising that I didn't even make a sound when it split open my flesh.

"Because it's dipped in human blood?" Azraal finished dryly.  "I'm betting you didn't know this little sweetheart of a spell could be used against you, did you?"

My vision started to go a little blurry and I began to have trouble determining which direction was down.  Azraal stepped around the desk and grinned at me.  "You're part demon now," he told me, almost laughing.  "Ever since you drank your great-grandaddy's blood, you've been some weird human-demon hybrid mutant thing."  He spoke the last word with such disdain that, even though he was not someone whose opinions I trusted or valued, I was somehow still offended. 

I crumpled clumsily to the floor.  Azraal stood over me, chuckling to himself.  "I love it when you try to plan things out so carefully," he mused, "And then somebody comes along and just makes everything so much easier."

And then I passed out.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Fourth Floor


I raced down the hallway with a couple of the other security guards on my tail. 

That's just an expression.  I may be the devil, but my body is basically human.  I do not have a tail.  But if I had one, some of the goons chasing me may have been able to grab hold of it.

Near the end of the tiled hallway was a pair of double doors labeled "stairs."  As I burst through them into the stairwell, I was struck by how familiar the dull echoing of my movements was in the empty space.  It was just like every stairwell I'd ever used in a school.  But I was in Hell.

Bizarre.  Or maybe meaningful.  I wasn't sure.  I also didn't have a whole lot of time to reflect on the coincidence of this part of hell feeling exactly like my high school.

I hurried up the stairs with a growing number of demons chasing me.  General Gavsot had said that Azraal's office was on the fourth floor.  As I crashed through the doors into the blandly carpeted hallway on Azraal's floor, I wondered if it would be safe to assume that he now knew I was coming.

I sensed the noise die down behind me and turned.  The dozen-or-so demons that had been chasing me seconds earlier were now gathering in the hallway, blocking any effort I could make to return to the stairs.  The big gray one I'd nearly castrated stood in the front of the group, crossed his massive arms, and smirked.

I turned the opposite direction and stared at the last door at the end of the hall.  On the translucent glass was etched "Azraal - Director of Transportation." 

I was pretty sure that he was expecting me.  Especially when I heard him say, "Come on in!" from behind the door.  

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Grabbing it by the Balls


The hulking gray demon grinned at me.  "What's the matter?" he teased.  "Disappointed that your plan failed so quickly?"

"That's a matter of opinion," I said.  I suddenly reached out, gripped his penis and his testicles with both hands, and squeezed.  Hard.  And for good measure, I also lit his genitals on fire.

Gotta give the guy some credit.  For the first few seconds, he only gritted his teeth and glowered down at me.  But, eventually, he couldn't withstand the pain.  He screamed.

It was probably the worst sound I'd ever heard.  It was low, throaty and raw, growing into a terrible crescendo that added elements of hoarse shrieking and animalistic roaring.  The volume became almost as unbearable as the pain in his loins surely must have been. 

He finally released his hold on my shoulders to grip my arms and tear them from his crotch.  So I dug my fingers in deeper.  Rather than have me tear his genitalia into flaming, bloody chunks, he began trying to pry each of my fingers loose, one at a time.  I slipped one hand out and let him focus on the other.  With my free hand, I waved toward the front desk, and--taking care not to glance at the receptionist's impressive rack--I brought the entire, massive thing hurtling across the room toward us. 

The demon was so distracted by prying my index finger from between his testicles that he didn't see it coming.  The desk collided solidly with his huge frame and I sent them both flying into the wall. 

Suddenly, I was free.  

Monday, August 20, 2012

Under Pressure


The demon who'd tackled me had grabbed me around the ribs to take me down.  When we hit the ground, my lower body was pinned under him, but my arms and torso were free.  I squirmed and writhed frantically to get free.

"Hey," the demon cooed mockingly.  He sounded like he was talking to a child.  Or maybe a kitten.  "Hey, where you going, little guy?"  He roughly turned me over and, sat on my legs, and held me down by the shoulders. 

He was big.  Easily the biggest of the five.  His arms looked like they had armor plating instead of muscles.  His flesh was dark, steely gray.  He was dense, bulky, and--I learned as I tried to wriggle free--deceptively fast.  Gavsot was a beast.  Azraal was a badass. This guy dwarfed them both.  And I'm pretty sure he considered himself a big fish in a huge pond.

He smiled down at me, baring small, angular teeth.  "We haven't met," he hissed tauntingly.  "But I know all about you.  Granddaddy ran off and left you in charge and since then this whole place has been spiraling out of control.  So let's go see Azraal," he suggested.  "Establish some stability under new leadership.  What do you say?"

The whole time he was speaking, I was struggling uselessly against him, searching for any kind of weakness.  I couldn't slide out from under his arms.  His body kept my legs pinned.  He even shrugged off the blast of fire I shot directly at his face.  I punched at his stomach, kicked in futility, and brought a chunk of ceiling down across his shoulders to no avail. 

Then it occurred to me--he was naked.  No matter how big a guy is, there's one great spot to hit him that's especially vulnerable when he's unclothed. 

So for the first time, I decided I was going to touch somebody else's penis.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Escaping Security


I sprinted toward a hallway that appeared empty.  Two of the security demons on opposite sides of the hallway adjusted their angles to cut me off before I could reach it. 

The body I'd had since becoming the Devil was big and fast and strong--much more powerful than the adolescent body I was used to.  I felt my adrenaline surging and my confidence building as I rushed on a collision course with two badass demons. 

The one approaching from my left reached me first.  He threw an arm out to clothesline me, with his other arm swinging wide, apparently to grab me from behind.  I ducked under the arm in front of me, pivoted, pressed my hand against his face, and, with a simple thought, shot a burst of fire from my palm.  The demon fell off to one side, screaming.  I glanced back briefly and saw his entire head engulfed in flames. 

The demon from the right beat me to the hallway and blocked its entrance with his body.  He thrust his hands forward and sent a huge fireball rolling toward me.  I tried to push it back toward him, but he was strong.  I only managed to deflect it to one side.  It continued past me, and I gathered from the noise that it took out another of the demons that was chasing me. 

I charged the demon blocking the hallway.  He stood firm.  Then he caused the floor to erupt in front of him, sending heavy chunks of tile flying upward.  He held them suspended, giving him a protective wall of sharp broken tile.  The intent, I think, was to slow me down.  Instead, I ducked, powered through the floating debris with my shoulder, plucked a hefty chunk from the air with a free hand, spun, and let the tile fly from my fingers.  I sent it spinning and hurtling at his head from only a few feet away.  He tried to dive to the side, but the tile caught him in the neck.  Blood exploded from just below his jaw line and he fell screaming.  Without breaking my stride, I leaped over him to enter the hallway--

--and I was roughly tackled from behind.

Damn.  I was so close.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Reception


Great.  Heading into a building full of middle-management demons with no clothes on...all of whom want to capture me.

"Okay," I announced with a deep breath.  "Here goes."  I nodded toward the four beastly-looking Enforcment demons standing around Gavsot.  "Be ready, guys," I advised.

I calmly walked toward the front door, pulled it open, and stepped inside onto a recently-buffed off-white tile floor.  In front of me was a wide reception desk with a large faux-wood mounting on the wall behind it that featured the words "Department of Transportation" in a stylized font.

The demon behind the desk glanced up.  Her skin was an ugly puke-green color, but her features were actually quite pleasant.  As I walked closer and could see over the desk, I realized that, of course, she was naked.  She was also somewhat overweight.  And her breasts were enormous.

I'm ashamed to say it, but considering that I was a seventeen-year-old virgin high schooler in a badass demon's body, it shouldn't be too surprising--I stopped and stared.  I'd never seen a pair of boobs that huge in person, and they required my undivided attention. 

Unfortunately, the demon whose bosom I was ogling recognized me.  Her eyes went wide (probably not as wide as mine, though) and her arm disappeared beneath the desk.  Apparently there was some kind of alarm there.

I'd only really been staring for a few seconds, but it was enough time for her to alert security.  And when I finally snapped out of my titty-trance, I realized that five big, muscular demons were hurrying toward me.

The receptionist might have been a Low Order Demon.  These guys looked like any one of them could kick Jason Bourne's ass.

"Fuck," I muttered.  I glanced around, picked a direction that didn't have a huge demon in the way, and began running.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Going In


I stood facing a four-story office building facade that jutted somewhat lopsidedly out of the blood-red stone wall in front of me.  The wall extended left, right, and upward beyond the edge of my sight.  I stared numbly.

I was holding the two knives that were stained with Frank Delaney's blood.  General Gavsot roughly pried one from my grip.  "Azraal's office is on the fourth floor.  It is the last door at the end of the hall to the right."  He handed the knife to one of the four Enforcement demons behind him.

I glanced at Gus.  He shrugged.  "I guess you could still back out," he suggested weakly.

"I feel like I should be wearing body armor or something," I said.

"Your death is unlikely," Gavsot said.  "It is being stripped of your powers and made to endure endless torture that you should fear.  Armor will not help prevent that."

I shot him a frown.  "That's...not reassuring.  But thanks for trying," I added sarcastically.

"Go in fast," Gus advised hurriedly.  "Don't stop moving.  Use your telekinesis to keep the LODs away from you.  Confront Azraal, make sure he's after you, and then haul ass out of there."

"Wait," I said, waving my hand in an attempt to interrupt him.  "What the hell is an LOD?"

"Low-Order Demon," Gavsot said.

"The fuck is that?!" I spat.  I felt like something really important was being sprung on me at the last moment.

"They're the spawn of two demons," Gus explained.  "Usually not very powerful as far as telekinesis goes, usually not quite as physically, uh, imposing as your basic demons.  Most of them are torturers, but some of the lazier ones find desk work in some departments.  Paper-pushers."

"So I'm heading into a building full of demonic bureaucrats?" I summarized.

"Pretty much," Gus nodded.

"Gus," I sighed, "Are they naked?"

"Naturally," he replied.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Punishing the Wicked


The waiting room was playing REO Speedwagon.

"Gus," I whispered (because you whisper in waiting rooms) as he stepped inside, "Hand me those knives General Gavsot gave us."  He quickly gave me the two short daggers he'd been carrying since we left the Department of Enforcement.

"Okay," Gus said.  "Stab a couple of these poor schmucks and let's get the hell out of here."

I walked over to an elderly man leafing through a copy of Brimstone Weekly.  "Name," I said authoritatively.

He looked up in surprise.  "Frank," he said.  "Delaney."

I reached into my pocket and pulled out my cell phone.  "What are you doing?" Gus hissed.  He sounded exasperated. 

"I'm calling Winston to see what this guy did before I stab him," I replied.

Gus' eyes bulged.  "Dude!  He's in Hell!  He did bad stuff to get here, man!  Everybody in this room is gonna get tortured way worse than a little stab in the gut, so you might as well not worry about who did what right now!"

"Maybe so," I shrugged. "But I'm not a stabby kind of guy.  I'd at least like to know I'm punishing a murderer instead of a guy who didn't pay his taxes."

The phone rang.  "Yes, sir?" came the melancholy answer.

"Winston," I said smoothly.  "I need to know the worst offense committed by a recently deceased man named Frank Delaney."

"Hang on," Winston said with glum cooperation.  I heard the clicking of a few keys.  Then, "It appears that Mr. Delaney cheated on his wife with four other women over a twenty-two year period."

"That's the worst he did?" I asked.

"Yes," he replied.

"Make sure that wherever you assign him, it's somewhere with only male demons." I said.  "I don't want this man to see another woman for at least twenty-two years."

"Consider it done, sir," Winston agreed miserably.

"Thank you, Winston," I said, and hung up.  I looked down at Mr. Delaney, who was looking up at me in fear.

"Well, Frank," I sighed. "You're not exactly a mass murderer, but you are kind of a scumbag, aren't you?"  He opened his mouth to answer, but before he could speak I whipped out the daggers and drove them deep into his flesh, one through each thigh.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Way Back


The walk back to my office was long.

"I really think I need to learn this teleportation stuff," I said wearily.  "Walking all over Hell is getting pretty annoying."

Gus shrugged.  "You can try teleporting if you want, of course," he said.  "But it's not like your telekinesis.  Telepathic manipulation is much easier with things you can see.  Ripping open the wall and setting the air on fire is relatively simple.  Altering the contents of a room a mile away by adding yourself to it is much more difficult."

"Well, I won't know until I try," I reasoned.  "Here goes nothing."  I concentrated and attempted to will myself back to my office.  I squeezed my eyes shut.

I opened them.  Gus smiled at me and waved.  "Hi," he said.  "You didn't go anywhere.  Your body looked a little transparent for a second like it meant to go somewhere, though.  Some might say that's half the battle."

"That took a lot out of me," I panted.  "I think that was more exhausting than walking all the way back from the Department of Enforcement."

"Well," Gus said, "at least the Department of Transportation is a little closer."  He pointed to the door we'd arrived at labeled Waiting Room and opened it for me, stepping to one side to allow me to enter first.

And there I was, back where I started.  

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Reviewing the Plan

"So let me quick run through this to make sure I have it right," I said, beginning to get annoyed, but worrying that if I got too uppity the demon in front of me would start ripping my limbs off.  "I go into the Department of Transportation carrying a knife dipped in human blood, which I'm going to attempt to stab Azraal with.  My attempt will fail, Azraal will kick my ass, and this is all according to plan?"

"You only need to succeed enough to convince Azraal that your plan was to bring him down on your own," Gavsot corrected me calmly.  "If you come close enough to succeeding to be a threat, he will consider your effort to be legitimate and without guile.  Once you fail, you must flee the department on foot.  He will follow you with the hope of capturing you in his own territory and making it easier for him to strip you of your title and assume control of Hell."

I was starting to understand.  "So while he's chasing me," I finished, "You and your men jump out and stab him for real?"

"Precisely," the General said.  He seemed pleased.  "You are both the bait and the diversion."

"If this backfires," Gus reminded me warily, "Azraal becomes the new Devil and you're stuck in Hell as a powerless human just like any of the other tortured souls down here."

Gavsot shrugged as if to acknowledge Gus' remark but dismiss it as unimportant.  I thought for a moment and then said, "General Gavsot--where will your ambush be set up?  I take it storming the Department of Transportation in full force would require too much manpower?"

"Demonpower," Gus mumbled to himself.

Gavsot looked grave.  "I could attack in full force," he said sternly.  "I do not wish to.  It is unwise to consolidate all military power in the same place."  His tone of voice made it seem like if I asked for too much backup, he would withdraw his support and leave me out in the cold. 

"Okay," I said nervously.  "Surgical strike it is.  So where will the ambush be set up?"

"Directly outside the gates of the Department of Transportation," Gavsot said.  "You must survive long enough to escape the building."

I swallowed.  "Okay.  Let's do it."