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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10. Nine

    I stare at the door of Mia’s room when the front door downstairs is opened and I hear the low mumble of Robb. I wonder how the hell I’m going to do this. I haven’t been able to plan the speech, even though Isaac ran through the basics with me, and as he sits in the chair at the desk, looking at me, I feel the tears film my eyes, taking my breath away.

    “It’ll be fine, Naomi,” Isaac assures me for the probably now fiftieth time at least. I nod once back, unable to believe him as I hear footsteps up the stairs coming towards the room.

    “Naomi?” Robb demands, walking in with Mia right behind him. “What the hell’s going on?” I’d phoned him about fifteen minutes ago asking him to come right over for a chat, and after about five rounds of assuring him I’m not breaking up with him, I can tell I’ve worried him something stupid simply by the way he’s out of breath and looking flushed, and the light has left his eyes.

    “Calm down, Robb,” Isaac says, standing up. “Everything’s fine.”

    “Naomi, tell me,” Robb breaths, standing right in front of me. I watch his worry lines settling in around his eyes, and I take a step away from him, my mouth turning to sandpaper, the words getting stuck. “You are breaking up with me, aren’t you?”

    “No!” I manage to choke out. He’s still on that one? “Robb, look, I’m not breaking up with you, I’m not ill, no one has died, I just… let me find the right words.” I watch him nod and his eyes never falter from me while I look away and down to the floor.

    “Then someone tell me what the hell is going on, because all sorts of shit has been going through my mind,” Robb says and I look up and watch him pocket his car keys.

    “It’s complicated,” I begin, sitting on the edge of the bed, deciding it’s probably just best to simply tell it how it is. “But… basically, after everyone left on my birthday, some guy showed up in my room, and he said all this shit…” I sigh, trailing off, unable to carry on for a minute, hearing just how stupid this is in my own ears.

    “Are you telling me he… don’t tell me…” Robb says, his forehead creasing.

    “No, Robb,” I automatically respond, knowing what he’s expecting without the need for him to voice it. I notice Mia staring at Isaac, the two of them silently speaking to each other in worry.

    “Then what did he want?” Robb asks.

    “He… he claimed to be Lucifer, you know, the Devil?” I say and watch as his expression lighten. He doesn’t say anything, instead silently wanting to know more. “Basically, he came into my room and told me that… when I was a baby, when my mum died, he appeared to my Dad in the car and offered him a deal, you know like the myths and stuff? It was like that, but the deal was that if he lets me and one of my parents live, when I turn eighteen, he will come and take me to Hell, and… and… marry me,” I explain in a small voice. I watch Robb’s eyebrows furrow in confusion. He either believes me, or he thinks me incredibly stupid and will probably call an ambulance. “And… basically, my Dad decided to live out of the two of them because he thought it would never happen, and he didn’t want Mum to suddenly find this out now. Anyway, the deal was made and Lucifer appeared in my room, telling me it’s time for me to go down to Hell and marry him, be Queen of Hell. I managed to make a deal with him yesterday so I get three months to live here on Earth before he comes back for me.” I decide to stop for a minute to let him react, and I watch him closely, the confusion riddled in his eyes.

     “So… wait,” Robb manages in a small voice, looking from me to Mia, then to Isaac and finally back to me. “The Devil… is real? All that shit is not made up? That’s what you’re trying to tell me?”

    “No, it’s all real, all of it,” I say, looking into my lap where my hands are rubbing together in nervousness.

    “And you’re telling me that your dad made a deal that included his daughter’s soul being sold to the Devil on her eighteenth birthday? And he, what, doesn’t have to give anything?” Robb demands, the anger and confusion finally coming to a head.

    “Basically,” I say.

    “And he made a deal for you to marry Satan?” Robb asks.

    “Yep,” I nod again.

    “So… let me figure this out,” Robb says, sighs and sinks himself onto the other chair on the opposite side of the room to me. “When your Mum died in the crash, the Devil came to your Dad and said he would let you and one of them live, if when you turn eighteen he can marry you and take you to Hell. Your Dad agreed and made it so it was him. Then Lucifer comes to you and somehow, you make yourself a deal giving yourself three months to live?”

    “You got it in one,” Isaac pipes up.

    “I’m missing something here,” Robb says and looks right at me. “Aren’t I?”

    I nod and say: “It means I have to die.” And with that, I watch him sink right down in the chair, putting his head in his hands. I know he’s fighting tears, I can feel it like a shot to the chest.

    “Fuck… what…. what the hell?” Robb curses into his hands and I watch his head shake in disbelief. That’s the sign I know I’ve been looking for to tell me that he believes it.

    “Robb, listen to me,” I say, suddenly finding some confidence. I watch him slowly take his hands away and look at me from his bent position in the chair. The tears are falling from his eyes with the realisation that I’m not lying, because as we both know: why would I lie about something like this? What would I have to gain from it?

    “What?” he asks.

    “We’re gonna get me out of it, the deal. We’re going to find a way, us three, we’re going to research it, find a loophole, find a way of keeping me out of hell,” I say and even I can hear the pure optimism coming from my voice, like I am beginning to believe that I might actually find a way out of this deal. Deep down maybe I do believe it: I have the three best people to help and I know they’ll be determined….well, I don’t have Robb on side, but I have no doubts he’ll do something to try and make me stay on Earth.

    “Naomi, have you listened to yourself?” Robb suddenly bursts out, standing from the chair. His tears are still falling, but in deep contrast, there’s a smirk on his face. “You just told me that both you… and your dad made a deal with the Devil for your soul. Meaning you have to die.”

    “I think I definitely heard that bit from my mouth, yeah,” I retort, watching his confused response.

    “And now you’re telling me that you’re… well, we are going to get you out of this deal,” Robb says with a laugh. “Naomi, think about that for one minute. You made a deal with the Devil. I’ve sat through enough of your show to know that you cannot get out of that. You cannot make a deal and then somehow get out of it. It won’t happen. You’ve sold your soul; well, your Dad did that bit, but your soul is his, he will take it. I hate to rain on the parade here, and you know I would do anything to keep you here because I love you, but Naomi, don’t get your hopes up. Please.” I watch the way he looks from Mia to Isaac and to me again, the disbelief in his voice and in his eyes. I look away to Mia for some backup, but all she does is just look to the floor.

    “None of you can honestly say that you think this shit is going to work. I mean, a deal with the Devil… seriously. A demon or angel, yeah, sure, maybe. But this is the Devil, Lucifer, Satan. This is some serious shit, guys,” Robb says with a deep sigh. I look into my lap, realising exactly what this is costing me: my life, my friends, my boyfriend, my family. I think about whether Dad even thought about any of that when striking the deal. I wonder if he ever thought of my seventeen years of life, that I would make friends, find love, have hobbies, have an education and an ambition, that I would want to go to university. I wonder if he thought about the fact I would find all that, only to have it ripped from me in one fell swoop.

    “This probably isn’t relevant and not the time, but I feel like Frodo Baggins,” I pipe up, still looking into my lap. I hear Isaac snort.

    “Frodo? Seriously, out of all the Hobbits, you feel like Frodo?” Isaac asks. Out of the four of us in the room, only Isaac and me are fans of the Tolkien world, we sometimes have twelve hours of Lord of the Rings film marathons – the extended editions, of course, because there are no other editions – and the other two only bond really out of their hatred of our geeky ways.

    “I hate him, but you know, being burdened with something you know you have to do but don’t want to; the fate is in my hands type thing? That, definitely that,” I say and look to Isaac who laughs. “What? It’s true!”

    “Comparing your deal with the Devil for your soul to Lord of the Rings? I love it,” Isaac laughs and I give him a small smile; the most I can handle doing at the moment.

    “Moving on,” Mia interrupts, looking between the two of us. “We need to start researching, finding something, at least one thing. We can’t just sit around doing nothing and talking about it. Robb, are you in or out?”

    I hear him scoff. “Of course I’m in,” Robb says. “I’m not letting her go without a fight.”

    “Good, we have three months to do this, and not a lot of knowledge to go on,” Mia says. “So, where do we start?”

    “Well, if it does or doesn’t work, I have three months where I can do my bucket list,” I say with a sigh, standing from the bed. It feels like something has suddenly dropped in my mind, like a weight has lifted since telling Robb. Mia and Isaac were right, of course, but something more than that, I don’t know, the feeling is strange, but it’s a good feeling.

    “You’re not going to die,” Robb appear in front of me, looking at me with a hint of certainty.

    “Well, if I do or don’t, I have three months to do my bucket list. If I don’t die, then at least I can say I’ve ticked off as much as possible, now, you have cigarettes?” I ask, knowing he does. I’ve always known he smokes, but he’s never broached the subject with me; he’s just a casual smoker, when things get rough, too much or whatever, I know he goes off to have one, and I’ve never mentioned I’ve known and he’s never told me, but he must know that I know. And now, I could use one. I’ve always wanted to try one, but never had the guts or the money to buy a box and try it for myself.

    “You know I do,” Robb says.

    “Bucket list thing, number one: try a cigarette,” I say. “Plus, I need one after that.”

    “That makes two of us,” Robb nods with a small smirk.

 

    Smoking is definitely not what it is all cracked up to be: I had been expecting this amazing feeling, the taste of course is disgusting, but I was expecting some kind of amazing taste, but it just tastes… literally like burning smoke. But with what’s just happened, it honestly does the job. After a couple of chokes of course.

    “We’ll get you out of this, you do know that?” Robb suddenly says, breaking the long silence. I take another smoke and look at him properly. I can see the worry settling into his face, carved little lines in his brow, the determination hiding in his eyes and the pure belief in his voice. Somehow, even though he’s my boyfriend, even though I love him more than anything and even though up until now, I have believed everything he has ever told me, this time, this one thing, I find that I don’t believe him. But to his face, I know I have to tell him the total opposite.

    “Yeah,” I say nonchalantly, blowing smoke from my mouth, deciding after this cigarette, I won’t be making a habit out of it. Still, one thing crossed from my bucket list I suppose.

    “Naomi, come on,” Robb sighs, destroying his fag in the ashtray on the outside table. I watch him as he approaches me, standing right in front of me, looking down into my eyes in the way he knows I will fall for, anything he asks, anything he says I’ll agree to. I take one more puff and blowing smoke out, I do the same and destroy the cigarette in the ashtray, ignoring him watching me. “Naomi, listen to me, stop, stop…” he stops me from moving by putting both his hands on my shoulders. He sighs and looks at me seriously, trying to figure out my reaction. “Talk to me,” he says.

    “About what, Robb, the fact that I have three months to live, to try and find a way out of this thing even though we all know what you said earlier is right: I’m doomed. I have been since my Dad made the deal, even the damn Devil knows that, that’s why he must have agreed to it, to fool me into false pretences. He’s not stupid, he’s Satan,” I say in what I hear to be an obvious tone, but as I watch him furrow his brows at me, I find myself laughing.

    “What’s funny?” he asks.

    “I don’t know, the whole thing,” I shrug, making him take his hands away from me. “I don’t know, I was expecting you to like, get pissed, yell at me, do something like that, not… not this calm thing you have going on right now.”

    He laughs for a second and then turns serious again. “Mad? Why would I get mad? I mean, finding out your fiancée is engaged to the Devil, yeah that’s pretty enraging. But not angry, no, just determined to get you out of it. Then I’ll be angry, once it’s all over with,” he says and it suddenly makes sense. Of course he’ll get pissed, I know Robb too well to know anything else. “But what I do wanna know: why didn’t you tell me? Why wait till now? Why tell me after these two?”

    I knew that question would be coming eventually. It had to. “Because I couldn’t tell you when you literally just asked me to marry you, I couldn’t do that to you. I needed my best friend, Robb, I needed Mia to know, and I needed Isaac’s nerdy brain to help. I didn’t know how to tell you, what to tell you. I needed their clear minds to help. I’m not even supposed to tell anyone about this. Lucifer put down ‘ground rules’ that included me not telling anyone and me not being with you.” I suddenly remember all at once. I just remembered the damn ‘ground rules’. Shit…

    No, you know what? No. This is my last three months, and I made a deal, which he cannot just take away from me for telling my best friends and boyfriend that I’m due to go to Hell. No. I don’t care.

    “Well, then, he can proverbially go to Hell,” Robb says, leaning towards me and kissing my lips. I feel the pure devastation and confusion riddled in his kiss, the tension between us obvious, and I notice he doesn’t put his hand on my arm, like he usually does when he kisses me, showing me that something is obviously not ringing right in his mind. Without the one gesture, I know full well things between us are never going to be right again, not until I go to Hell or the deal is done and I’m safe. I pull my head away from him and decide to at least try to lighten the mood: “You stink of smoke.”

    He gives me a small smile. “So do you. Now I know what you’ve been putting up with for two years.”

    I scoff and remain smiling: “Kind of, I knew you’d chewed gum or had a mint afterwards.”

    “Damn it, I thought I’d gotten away with it,” he smiles back.

    “Not quite,” I say and he nods, gesturing us back inside. “Robb, one thing.”

    He stops and looks at me as I hear Isaac and Mia coming down the stairs. “What?” Robb asks.

    “I… I made the deal to buy myself some time, I didn’t do it because I wanted to. I don’t wanna go down there, I don’t wanna die,” I say. “But I’m scared I have no choice or no other option.”

    He looks at me with a serious expression, the one I know that means he’s determined and serious more than anything. “I know you didn’t. You aren’t going anywhere, you hear me?”

    I can’t seem to answer him this time; whether it’s because I believe him or not, I don’t quite know, but what I do know is I’m certainly not going to Hell without a fight, if I do go at all.

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