Our prompts were: lost and found, off limits.
This is just a little piece of Gothic Horror. And when the word count came in at 664, of course, we had to add two words so that the count would be 666, the Number of the Beast.
We both like Lucifer on TV, so whenever we write Satan into a story, we see and hear the actor Tom Ellis in the character. It was fun to imagine that tall, dark eminence as a cherubic child.
HELL TO PAY
“He’s all yours!” The matron plopped the boy on the counter. “It’s the end of my shift and I’ve got a train to catch.” She adjusted her clothing, picked up her purse, and waddled off.
“Hey, wait. What am I supposed to with him?” I called after her.
“He’s lost. Someone found him. You work for Lost and Found, so he’s your problem.”
Retrieving the child from the counter, I deposited him on the table next to me, among the various cell phones, umbrellas and sunglasses.
The boy dangled his legs over the edge, kicking them into the air for a few minutes before picking up a particularly gaudy cell phone out of one of the bins.
I slapped the boy’s hand, growling, “That’s off limits, kid!”
“Ow!” the boy squealed. “That hurt!”
“Ah, so you can talk,” I said, snatching the phone from his grubby hands. I tossed it back into the box, then moved everything out of his reach. “I got plans for all of that.” This stuff’ll fetch a nice price on eBay, I thought.
“So, what’re your parents’ names, brat?”
“Which one?” the boy asked, tilting his head.
I rolled my eyes. “Fine!” Great. The kid’s a smartass. “What’s your dad’s name?”
The kid lifted one eyebrow and pointed toward the ceiling. “You know. God the Father.”
“Argh! People will think I’m crazy if I just announce that I’ve got the Son of God at Lost & Found.” I pinched the bridge of my nose, then pushed my glasses back up and tried again. “Who do you think you are, kid? Jesus?”
The boy shook his head, golden curls bouncing across his face. “Jesus? Don’t make me laugh. No. I’m the Morningstar. That upstart Jesus came way later.”
“Morningstar? What in the hell kind of name is that?”
“Hell? Now, that’s funny.” The boy chuckled. “Dude, that’s home sweet home for me.” He crossed his chubby little arms. “You probably know me better by my full name.” The kid paused long enough to smirk at me. “Lucifer Morningstar?”
“Lucifer? As in the Devil? Satan?” I barely contained my laughter. This little kid thinks he’s the Devil, huh? I’ll put the fear of the Devil in him, all right.
“Look, kid, I don’t know what meds you’re on, but I need your name so I can find your parents.” I shook my finger at him. “If not, I might have to see what kind of price I can get for you. Maybe I’ll sell you to the highest bidder. Find you a new mommy and daddy. Some people get off on hurting little boys like you.” Take that, you smartass!
The child’s face lit up. “Now that’s an excellent idea. But that’s something for tomorrow. Today’s all about you, Jordan Fletcher.”
“Hey! How’d you know my name?”
“Isn’t it obvious? You’re the reason I’m here. You need to pay for all the things you’ve stolen since you started here. After all, ‘Thou shall not steal’ is one of the big no-nos.”
My skin crawled. Goosebumps raced up my arms.
Wow. The kid’s good. For a second there, I actually believed him.
“Look, kid, you a-ain’t the Devil.” Dammit, why is my voice shaking? Taking a deep breath to calm my nerves, I continued. “I’m sure the Devil’s got better things to do than worry about a petty thief like me. I ain’t hurtin’ nobody.”
“Normally, that would be true,” the little boy said with a wink, “but since Dad’s been busy with all the wars and atrocities, I thought I’d pick up some of the slack. Handle some of the…smaller details.”
The child stood up on the table, a smug grin on his face. His eyes glowed a blood red.
Waves of heat rushed over my body, followed by pain lancing through my feet. Looking down, I was horrified to see my legs had spontaneously combusted.
The child smiled, waving as the flames engulfed me.
“Welcome to Hell, Jordan Fletcher.”