Dance with the Devil: Book One of the Devil's Gospel

You’ve been dancing the Devil’s game for seventeen years, and now he’s come to claim what is his…

Turning eighteen is a huge milestone for anyone, but for Naomi Burns, it means more than just being able to buy a drink in a pub. On the night of the eighteenth birthday party, she gets a visit from a strange being, claiming to be engaged to her, and now he wants to take her back to his home so he can get what he was promised: to marry her.
The thing is, the creature claims to be Lucifer, the Devil, and apparently he made a deal seventeen years ago that involves Naomi marrying him when she turns eighteen.
Naomi’s determined to get out of the deal, and she’s on borrowed time to change it. Not only has she got to figure out how to get out of the deal, she’s got to find a way to tell her best friends and boyfriend that she is now engaged to the creature from legends, the Devil himself, and that her new home is apparently Hell.

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5. Four

    I watch Dad’s face as he passes me a cup of tea at the dining table. Neither of us has said a word since I told him we need to talk, but I can tell he knows what this is all about. I can tell by the way he hasn’t said a word at all, and the way his eyes fell to the ground as soon as I told him we needed to talk. It’s like he had forgotten all about it until now, until I mentioned it. I wonder why he has all the answers.

    “Thanks,” I say, holding the mug in my hands so they warm up. It’s like the Devil and everything he’s just said to me has made everything in my being turn cold, ice cold.

    “What’s going on, honey?” he asks, sitting down opposite me with his own mug, leaving it in front of him to cool down.

    “Dad… jeez, I don’t even know where to begin with this…” I sigh, putting my mug down and looking at my Dad.

    “Start at the beginning, just say it,” he says and in that tone, I can’t even describe it, but I know for certain he knows exactly what I’m on about.

    “I went into my room to find a man standing there, and he claimed to call himself Lucifer,” I explain slowly and watch my Dad’s expression, smooth, even and unreadable. “He claimed to be the Devil. Apparently a deal was struck with him… seventeen years ago. A deal that meant when I turn eighteen I have to marry him… apparently I have to marry the Devil, Dad.”

    He stops watching me and he looks at the table. He knows something. Lucifer was right; my Dad knows something.

    “Lucifer… he told me that I have to die here, on Earth, because I have to go live in Hell with him, marry him there,” I add. “Dad, what the hell? What is going on?” I watch his eyes scan the table below him, his mouth open a little as if he’s going to say something, but no words come out. His eyes show me everything I need to know; I know him far too well to determine what he means in that look. It was him; he did it, he made the deal. I know it was him, I know.

 

    “I…” he starts, but stops and looks up at me for a moment, then looks back down at the table beneath him.

    “What did you make the deal for, Dad?” I ask and he freezes like ice. He wasn’t expecting me to work it out. “I know you did, I knew it had something to do with you, and I know it was you who made the deal. So tell me, Dad, please, why and how did you make a deal with the Devil for basically my life?”

    He finally, finally looks up and meets my look. I can feel the heat of the tears working their way into and glazing over my eyes as he looks at me – every single moment he’s looking at me is another river of tears working their way over my eyes and willing themselves a pass down my face.

    “It wasn’t… it wasn’t supposed to be like that,” he says, practically pleading with me. “I…” he stops speaking and looks to the side, obviously unable to carry on.

    My heart sinks like an anchor; he’s my Dad… the only parent I have living, the one person I’ve been able to count on since I can remember, the one person who loves me no matter what I do or say, the one person who will practically move heaven, hell, earth, people for me, the man who I look to for advice on anything and everything and will always have the answer. My Dad… but yet he sold my life, my entire life, to the Devil.

    “Dad… please, just tell me,” I plead, trying to furrow my eyebrows, trying so hard to show him that I’m not as angry with him as he must think I am, I just merely want the details… and then I’ll get angry.

    He looks back towards me and I can tell he’s looking over my shoulder, but that’s good enough, at least it’s in my direction I suppose. “I… the deal was for your life. He would let you live for eighteen years, and he would let one of your parents live, if he could marry you when you turn eighteen.”

    I let that sink in for a moment as the words resound in my mind: ‘he would let you live for eighteen years, and he would let one of your parents live, if he could marry you when you turn eighteen.’ The Devil let one of my parents live, and I get eighteen years, then he would marry me? That doesn’t make sense.

    So something must have happened… when I was a year old. My mum died when I was a year old… that… wait… that must have been it. That’s how Mum really died; it must have been. When the deal was struck; there’s no other viable way or explanation.

    “So, this deal… it was struck when Mum died, didn’t it? The maths adds up. He let one of my parents live; that is how Mum died, isn’t it? What happened, Dad?” I ask. His eyes move ever so slightly until we’re looking at each other again. I watch his eyes film over with tears and in that I can see the regret, the upset and the shame. It’s all I can do to not to get up and throw my arms around him and tell him that it’s okay, that he doesn’t need to be upset, ashamed or full of regret, because he’s my Dad. But then I suddenly remember the full extent of what we’re talking about, the fact that he sold both my life and my mother’s life to the Devil, and I stay in my seat.

     “Do you really want the full story, Naomi? Do you really want that?” Dad asks.

     “Yes,” I say automatically, not really believing that I would honestly go to Hell – literally – and marry the Devil without knowing the full story of what led me there.

     Dad sighs and nods, taking a breath and then starting the story: “Yes, it was then. You were a year old, and we were driving back from picking your Mother up from work. We could only afford one car.” He smirks a little from the memory of the car. There must have been some kind of inside joke there or something. I watch his eyes move to the middle of space; they glaze over a little as he must be relaying the memory in his mind. “You were in the back seat in your car seat. I remember you singing away as we drove, you loved the car, your mother used to have to drive you around the block if you wouldn’t stop crying. Anyway; we were driving along the main road and suddenly, out of nowhere, I could see a car speeding up behind us. I couldn’t swerve quick enough, and…before I knew it, the car was out of my control. We hit a crash barrier, you were screaming, so was your mother…the next thing I knew I woke up and there was no baby screaming, your mother was as still as a statue. I didn’t know what the hell to do, Naomi,” he cries, the tears leaking from his eyes, staining his cheeks with the memory.

     “That was when a man appeared…he looked like your Granddad, who’d been dead for a year already by that time – he’d lived to see you when you were born, and then he died a week later. I thought I was dead, because how could he be appearing to me? He was watching you in the back seat. He…he then turned to me and told me that I had a choice to make that moment; I could let everyone in the car with me die, including myself, die, or I could make a deal with him that involved an option of someone living,” Dad explains slowly. I blink and a stray tear I didn’t even know was in my eye leaks down my cheek, taking with it the truth I know in the back of my mind with it. I can add what he’s told me already together and guess the rest of the story myself, but somehow, for it to make sense, I need to hear it. I need to hear him say it to me properly and I need the gaps filled in.

     “He gave me the option for the deal: he can let you and one parent live, but when you turn eighteen he will come for you and marry you or the other deal was that both your mother and I live and he takes you to Hell with him to raise you and then wed you as soon as you turn eighteen. It was…it was an obvious option, Naomi, I couldn’t live with you down there. I didn’t want that…that thing raising you to make you his. I would rather it happen like this. I couldn’t just let you die either, you are my daughter, and other than your mother, the only other love in my life. I love you too much to watch you die at a year old, I love you too much for that, Naomi, and I know you probably think it’s selfish, and I respect that of you, but…I couldn’t let you…I couldn’t,” he chokes out and looks down at the table as his whole body quivers with the tears. I look down at the table beneath me, hoping it will have some kind plan, some kind of answer for me, but of course it doesn’t.

 

     “Dad, why did you choose you? Why didn’t you try and bargain for both you and Mum?” I ask, which is kind of a horrible question, really, but I want to know the answer. If I’m going to Hell – dying – and marrying someone that isn’t Robb, I want to know every single detail of why I’m doing it.

      “I… because I knew that if this happened, if he came back to try and get you, that I would know why and I would suffer the consequences of my actions. I wouldn’t wish the sudden death of you on her, I wouldn’t want her to not understand what was going on. I would rather suffer the consequences and live through it than die and have this thrust upon both you and your mother without knowing,” Dad explains, not looking at me as he does. I nod and watch him; he keeps staring at the wood of the table.

     “Daddy, look at me,” I say, my expression softening. He knows I will only call him Daddy when I’m in need of comfort, and he is put down as that on my phone, or jokingly when I want something. He finally looks back up from the table to me and I show him a small smile, the biggest one I can find to show right now, but it’s enough because I watch his features smooth out a little. “It’s okay.”

     He sighs deeply. “No, Naomi, it isn’t. This shouldn’t be happening, and this shouldn’t be happening to you. If anything, you should be saying this to me about Robb, that he’s asked you to marry him, or something of the like. You shouldn’t be here telling me that the damn fucking Devil has appeared to try and take you away. This should be some kind of book or film, not real life. I can’t believe… I am so sorry, I am so, so sorry. You are my daughter; I should be protecting you, not giving you up.”

     “Daddy, this is not the end,” I assure him, sniffing the last of my tears away. He suddenly stops and looks at me seriously. “I’m not going anywhere.”

     “What do you mean, Naomi?”

      “I’m going to get out of the deal,” I decide, though what I don’t add is that I really don’t know how that’s going to work, but what I do know is that I’m not going to Hell, and I’m certainly not marrying the Devil.

 

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