It was a light green, brightly glowing orb. He held it between his hands, never actually touching it, letting it float there. His wide set blue eyes bore into me, watching me stare at the orb.
“What’s the catch?” I asked, folding my arms over my chest. I was betting it was something I wouldn’t want to do. It seemed like an odd thing, for him to be standing there in my kitchen, looking at me with that strange glint in his eyes.
A laugh came from his lips, a laugh that just sounded wrong to be coming from this red-skinned devil. His black tattoos that covered the majority of his body seemed to glow a black aura all around him, and I took a step back. “You know me to well, don’t you, Love?” he asked, smirking over at me.
I cleared my throat and narrowed my eyes. “I’ve been on the receiving end of your deals before,” I reminded him, and nodded towards the orb that hung in the air between his hands. My soul, crystalline and sea green, still looked in the same pristine condition that it was in when I left sold it to him. Just being close to it gave me hope that I didn’t want to feel. If I could feel hope, I could feel the crushing feeling of it being taken away from me, of being let down, and I hated it. If this manipulative bastard thought he could mold me like this, he had another thing coming.
Lou nodded, looking down at my soul as well, as if it could have changed in the minutes he’d been standing there. “So you have,” he said. “This would be the last time I contacted you. You’d be free of me and any like me. I’d make sure of it.”
He seemed different, somehow. Not with his usual smooth talking charm. I usually couldn’t get this many words in with him around. Years ago, I’d thought that I wanted something so badly, I made a deal with him. At the time, Lou had been in some sort of devil training program and had to acquire as many souls as he could to complete it and get his wings. I’d been one of his lucky targets, at a low point in my life, and in the mood to make a deal. Turns out, you can climb many impossible seeming mountains in your life if you’re not feeling the weight of your soul keeping you down.
“What’s wrong, Lou?” I asked, still eyeing him cautiously. “What do you want?”
He considered this, seemingly trapped in his own thoughts. I said his name again, and his eyes met mine, his face falling. “I need a favor.” I stayed silent, but raised my eyebrows, waiting to hear what this favor was that he needed. “I need you to kill me.”
The room suddenly seemed cold, despite the heat emanating off of Lou. I ran a hand over my arms to warm them up. There was a long, painful silence between us, and he coughed awkwardly. “Darcy?” he asked, tilting his head. “Did you hear me? I said I need–”
“I heard what you said,” I interrupted, swallowing. Being in this close proximity with my soul was making me have feelings, and I was about to throw the damn thing outside, if I thought it would do me any good. He’d just call it back into the room, and we’d be back where we started. “Why, exactly, do you need me to do that?”
Lou led me over to a chair at my kitchen table, helping me sit as if I were an invalid. “The only way for me to stop being a demon is to be killed,” he told me, putting a red hand on top of mine, trying to endear me to him.
I looked up, and saw my soul-orb still floating in the middle of my kitchen, holding itself in the air right where he’d left it. Lou touched my chin, drawing my attention back to him. “Will you help me, Darcy Love? You’re the only human I can count on.”
I tapped my finger on the table, trying to think this through. I would be fun to kill a devil.
He let the silence linger as I contemplated this, and then he sighed, looking resigned. “Please.”
“Ooh,” I hissed, feeling a smirk tug on my lips. “Did you just use the ‘P’ word? Devil-hood must be pretty bad, if you’re coming to me and saying please.” He didn’t respond. “Lou, what happens to you if I do this? You stop being a demon and become a…?”
“A ghost, essentially. A wayward spirit.”
“And why do you want to be a wayward spirit?” For someone who wanted my help, he was certainly not being forthcoming with information.
Lou let out a long breath, and looked up to meet my eyes again. “I have my reasons,” he finally said. “Being a demon was not all that I’ve wanted, and now that I’m figuring that out… Well. Will you do it, Darcy?”
I took a moment to collect my thoughts, and I sighed softly. “Why me?”
He shrugged, and sat back in the chair he’d claimed for himself. It was almost as if he was comfortable here, in my kitchen, as if he belonged there. “Of all the people who’ve given me their soul, you’re the only one who actually thrived, who didn’t flounder and beg for it back or to be killed or something. People aren’t supposed to be able to live without a soul, and they especially aren’t supposed to succeed at everything. You’re the only one I can trust with this.”
Ugh. I rolled my eyes and crossed my arms over my chest again. He wasn’t wrong. Everything that had happened to me never would have happened if I had had my soul weighing me down. “That’s nice,” I smirked. “I don’t know why you’d think I’d want my soul back. Life is so much easier without emotions and morals and caring about shit. No deal.”
There was a moment that I looked at him and thought I saw tears in his eyes, but after that moment was gone, so were the tears. Whatever he wanted to shed his demon-hood for was important. “Please,” he said again, and this time his voice was raw sounding, emotional. “Please, I can’t do it anymore. There’s a dagger that’s kept in the museum’s basement. It’s an ancient relic, it would end my life as I know it right now. Please.”
“So let me get this straight. You want me to sneak into the museum, steal the dagger, and kill you, then return this relic back to the museum. All in exchange for the soul that I don’t even want. Am I understanding you?”
Lou was nodding. “That’s the gist of it. I could even…convince the museum curator to hand over the relic. You just have to be the one who does it. You have no soul, you won’t feel guilty about it.”
Ah, yes, that was another perk of not having a soul. There was no guilt to be had. Why in the world would I want to give all of this up? Lou raised his eyes to me, and they looked so sad that I groaned. “Ugh. Fine. You get the dagger, I’ll kill you. But I’m not going to be nice about it. It’s going to hurt. Dammit.”
Lou showed up at my home the next day, a messenger bag slung over his shoulder. I’d perched in my laz-e-boy, my legs crossed, watching him. I still couldn’t figure out why I’d done this, though part of me assumed it was the humanitarian that I’d been before making a deal with him that was coming out again while that damned soul orb was in my kitchen. Thankfully, it’d been gone while Lou went on his quest to retrieve the dagger, and I’d had some time to think. Not enough time to figure out a way to not kill Lou after I’d promised I’d do it, but time none-the-less.
He gave me the hint of a smile and reached into the bag, pulling out a sheathed dagger. It was short and straight and didn’t look like much, but somehow I trusted that this was the ancient demon killing dagger that would eventually take Lou’s life. After all, I wasn’t losing anything by it being the wrong one. It was Lou who wanted this to work so badly. He handed it over to me by the handle, and regarded me carefully. “You’re sure about this?”
I shrugged and stood, my hand outstretched to receive it. “I’m not the one who’s going losing their life,” I said, my eyes meeting his. “Are you sure about this?”
A grin spread over his black, thin lips, and he nodded. “This is the only thing I’ve been sure of in my entire life,” he told me.
Alright then. I unsheathed the dagger and watched it glint in the light of my ceiling fan. Lou stood before me, and he held his arms out at his sides, making a sacrificial gesture to me. A girl could get used to this, I thought, smirking.
“Thank you,” Lou whispered, as I raised the dagger and thrust it through his heart. He winced, but didn’t cry out, and after a few seconds of holding that position, his body fell to the floor into a heap of ash. Above him hung a black soul orb, flickering with every turn of the fan above it. I reached out and took it, pushing it into my body, and smiled to myself as I watched the hand on my skin begin to turn crimson.
This was going to be fun.