Short Story Sunday: “The Compact”

“The Compact”

Medieval Demon on Horse

Albargon, Lord of the Mists, Harrower of Souls, Stalker from the Hidden Places thundered from inside the circle. “Who calls me with no fear in his voice?”

Alex took a deep breath, steadied himself. “I–I called you. As the Compact allows.”

The demon lord towered over the human stripling in grubby jeans and an oversized t-shirt. He tested the summoning circle etched painstakingly in the floorboards and found it stout. A few flakes of plaster fell from a crack in the ceiling of the room

He shook his great horned head. Where he was did not matter. All that mattered were the summoning and the boy who summoned him. “And why have you called me, stripling?”

Alex did not quail, though his answer was nearly inaudible. “Because I have no one else.”

“Ah! You seek vengeance? Power?” He smiled, all graciousness now, and pressed his will against the young man’s mind searching for that bright beacon of desire. He found it. Examined it. Saw the faces of a mother and father long gone. Heard the sobs the boy held until he was alone in his ramshackle room. Felt the keen longing to be anything but alone, to belong somewhere. To be want–no.

For the first time in his long existence, Albargon, Lord of the Mists, Harrower of Souls, Stalker from the Hidden Places was taken aback. He sat heavily on the floor, goat’s legs crossed, and chuffed a small cloud of brimstone from his nostrils. An arm’s length from him, Alex wouldn’t look up. A single tear landed on the floor, across the boundary line of the summoning circle. The demon lord felt the circle waver and collapse and, for a moment, he wanted nothing more than to rend the boy into pieces and drink his heart’s blood.

But he didn’t. He couldn’t. He knew Alex’s desire, knew it was in his power to grant it. The Compact bound him to the bargain. More, Albargon actually wanted to grant this request. He cleared his throat, a rumbling like rocks sliding down a distant accursed mountain. Alex scoured the tears from his eyes with his forearm and looked at the demon lord. The question was plain in his gaze. He didn’t even have to say a word.

Albargon, Lord of the Mists, Harrower of Souls, Stalker from the Hidden Places smiled, the first honest smile that had ever crossed his face in countless lost years, and nodded to Alex. The boy sat across from him, cross legged, placed a box between them. Opened it.

“The game is called ‘Emergency’. It’s my favorite television show. You know television?”

The demon lord scoffed. “Mortal Alex, I shall tell you stories of what I know. Now, are there dice?”

“No. There’s a spinner, only mine doesn’t work so well. It gets stuck, so be careful…”

And so Albargon, Lord of the Mists, Harrower of Souls, Stalker from the Hidden Places found himself playing his first board game in the bedroom of his first friend.

———

This is my first foray into writing a story longer than 100 words. I had originally set the limit at 250 words, but 500 seemed a better limit. Eventually, my goal is ten times that, so I might as well stretch my writing brains, right? Share it at all your sharable places, if you like, and leave comments in the comment place.

Oh, and this one wasn’t inspired by the picture. I found one that more or less went with the story later. I kind of think Albargon looked good in his medieval days!

(Photo Credit: peacay on Flickr)

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