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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32. Thirty-One

    “Our last day of freedom before college.” Mia says with a long sigh. It’s ridiculously hot outside for September so we’re both sitting in the garden, drinking tea and chatting.

    “It’s gonna be weird getting up early again. Ugh,” I complain, leaning my head back and relaxing.

    “Yep, but I’ve been practicing already, getting up at seven the past two mornings,” Mia chuckles. “It’s disgusting and inhumane, but it’s what we gotta do.”

    I laugh. “You up at seven? Get the fuck out,” I joke.

    “Means I get stuff done earlier, means I have more time to sit out here and sunbathe.”

    “Fair play,” I nod in agreement.

    “So, changing topic and going serious on you, Nay. It’s now five days to go. What’s happening?” Mia asks, taking a sip of tea and looking at me with serious eyes.

    “Not a lot,” I say, keeping my voice even. I take a sip of tea. “It’s not really… we’re not talking about it.”

    “Not since he did his secret confession?” Mia asks; I’d told her what Robb said the other night when I was supposed to not hear.

    “No, nothing. Not one word of it, not that I expected there to be. He doesn’t want to acknowledge it because he doesn’t know how to deal with it,” I say. “Especially with like less than a week to go, we’re acting like it doesn’t exist. I’m trying to act normal yet live like the eighth could be my last day on earth.”

    “Which you think…?” she asks.

    “Which I think it could well be,” I say. “He wouldn’t just stop appearing if he wasn’t going to take me to Hell, would he? He’s too cocky for that.”

    “You never know, chook, you never know,” Mia sings.

    “Did you… did you just call me chook?” I scoff.

    “Absolutely,” she nods.

    “What the… not even gonna ask,” I shake my head and sit back, looking at the sky.

    “It’s Australian slang, Nay. Watch some Neighbours and you’ll be fine,” she smirks.

    “You watch too much TV,” I joke, knowing in comparison I watch more than she does. I suddenly think of something. “Mia?”

    “Yep?” she asks, drinking more tea.

    “Will you… if I die, if I get taken to Hell, will you do something for me?” I ask.

    She sighs and puts her empty mug on the table. “Nay, you are not…” she stops speaking, and by the look of pain on her face I can tell she’s realised she can’t deny that I might really, actually going to Hell in five days. “Of course.”

    “If I die, I need you to make sure that Robb’s looked after. I need you to make sure he doesn’t do anything stupid,” I say, pausing to drain off the last of my tea. I feel it heat up my throat and run down my body, heating every part of me.

    “Stupid? What’s he gonna do, Nay?” Mia sighs, obviously not getting the hint.

    “I don’t know, Mia, he can’t deal with it now, so what’s he gonna be like once I’m gone? He’ll try doing something completely idiotic. He’s probably going to try and strike a deal himself, or kill himself, or summon some sort of Devil or Demon or something. You know what he’s like. I don’t want him lingering on it or thinking he needs to do something to stop it or bring me back or whatever. I need him to try and move on with his life,” I say. “I need him to not forget about me, but to just… I dunno, accept it. I need you to help him do it.”

    “How do you think we can help him, Nay? He’s damn determined with everything, Hell knows what he’s gonna be like when you go. I don’t know if I can handle him, let alone him trying to damn well kill himself,” Mia sighs, getting more and more annoyed.

    “Mia, would you just listen to me?” I demand. “If you don’t do anything else for me if I die, then at least help me out with this. I want Robb to just damn well accept that I’m gone. I don’t care if he never sets eyes on another woman or if he sleeps his way around damn England when I go, I just do not want him to think it’s a damn good idea to try and get himself killed or into Hell to join me. I don’t want or need that shit, okay? I just need you and Isaac to keep him on the straight and narrow. Damn it, let him buy himself a sports car or get my name tattooed on his foot, I don’t care. I just need him to keep on living and to accept that I’m gone. Preferably not having a midlife crisis at twenty, but try and keep him in college, get him to go to uni or get a job. Please? That is my dying wish,” I plead. She looks at me for a full minute, sighing and contemplating it.

    “Of course I can,” she eventually says. “But, Nay, you know as much as I do that you are his world, and in his world you are the one and only. If he wants to do something stupid to join you down there, there is nothing Isaac or I can do about it. You know there isn’t. He’s just as stubborn as you are.”

    “Thank you,” I say, ignoring her choice words at the end. “It means a lot.”

    “It’s what best friends are for and all that sentimental crap,” she smirks. “You haven’t seen Lucifer since two weeks ago?”

    “Nope,” I shake my head, leaning back in the chair. “I don’t know whether to be happy about that or not.”

    “You’ll be happy about it, I’m not getting into that shit again, Naomi,” Mia warns.

    “I don’t mean like that; jeez,” I say, rolling my eyes. “I mean, as in, I don’t know whether not seeing him around is good for me in terms of the deal or not good for me. He could be playing with my head by not being here. Jesus, Mia.”

    “Hmm,” she muses. “You might have meant it like that, but at the end of the day, Nay, you still love him. I can see it. He’s right under your skin.”

    “I don’t love him, okay?” I snap automatically as if on the defence. “I just… there is something about him that I don’t hate.”

    Mia scoffs and shakes her head. “Your life, your heart and everything. I’m just here to wipe up the tears and mess you leave yourself.”

    “Fuck you, I’d do the same for you, actually, I distinctly remember the last time you had a heartbreak…”

    “All right, all right, enough of that,” she cuts me off and we both laugh.

    “Love ya really, biatch,” I laugh.

    “I know you do,” she giggles.

 

    I’m sitting in sociology with Mia and Isaac the next day, the last lesson of a very, very long day.

    “So, fifteen minutes to go and then we’ll have done the first day of our last year of college,” Isaac sighs, finishing off his essay. Yeah, we’ve had to do an essay on our first day back.

    “Don’t bloody tell me you’ve finished already,” Mia scoffs in disgust. I scribble down the start of my conclusion.

    “I won’t tell you then,” Isaac mocks.

    “Nearly… nearly done,” I urge myself, concluding my point about the functionalist view on crime and stuff. I write the last sentence, when suddenly, my entire page goes blurry. It’s like the words are dancing on the page, but they aren’t even words anymore, they’re just scribbles, lines on the page moving around to the tune of the stars dancing around them.

    “Nay?” Isaac’s voice sounds far away, like he’s at the surface and I’m beneath the water, waiting to be saved. “Nay!”

    I feel something cool and blank slamming into my cheek, but I don’t feel the pain. I see the blackness come over me in an instant.

 

    “Naomi?”

    My eyes open and I find myself engulfed in complete pitch black. How is this even possible? How can I be awake but in nothing?

    “Naomi?”

    I turn to the voice, knowing that Scottish accent even when knocked out.

    “What have you done to me? Where am I?” I demand before I even see him.

    “I made you faint. A quick drop in blood pressure won’t do you any harm for a while,” he says with a smile on his face. “Don’t worry your pretty little mind, Naomi, time goes slower here than in your reality. You’ll only be out of consciousness for a minute or two, while you’ll be here as long as I need you to be.”

    “What could you possibly want so badly that you’ve knocked me out in the middle of my damn lesson for?” I demand, feeling absolutely fine and dandy here. I suppose if he’s dropped my pressure, I’ll only feel it when I wake up in reality. Wait…what the hell am I talking about? Jeez, this is weird.

    “As you are fully aware, the deal we made is up in four more days, Naomi,” Lucifer says.

    “And you told me… quite a few times now that the deal is void,” I say.

    “And I still wish for you, Naomi,” Lucifer says. “You do not realise just how important to me you really are, do you?”

    “I’m not important to you,” I defend. “Just say what you need to say and send me back up to my lesson will you?”

    “You are important to me, Naomi, have you not been listening to me for the past three months? Over and over, and I believe even over and over again I’ve told you how important to me you are, how much I wish for you to come to Hell with me, to wed me and help me,” Lucifer says, his arms outstretched in almost a questioning way. I roll my eyes and fold my arms in an attempt to look bored. “I will prove it to you, Naomi, you will see.”

    “That’s what you lowered my damned blood pressure for and brought me here to tell me? That you’re going to prove this bullshit to me?” I scoff.

    “Basically,” Lucifer nods once. He takes a step forward towards me, so I take a step back. “But here is the bulk of it, Naomi: the deal we made, it will be up in four days. I want you, whether the deal is there or not. I always get what I want, Naomi. I will prove to you just how important you are to me soon, whether you like it or not. As I have said to you numerous times before: people play my game and they give me what I want because I gave them something. You will soon learn that, Naomi, whether you wish to or not.”

 

    “Naomi? Goddamn you, Nay, wake the fuck up!” I hear Isaac’s voice yelling.

    “She’s breathing you complete imbecile!” Mia yells. “Thank God Robb isn’t here.”

    “I’m fine,” I wake up, slapping Isaac’s hand away from my head. Like Lucifer said, I’m completely fine. “I just feel a bit light-headed. I need water.”

    “Here,” Mia thrusts a water bottle into my hand and I take it and sit. It’s only now that I realise I’m on a sofa in the reception.

     “You guys dragged me down here?” I question, taking a sip.

    “Well, yeah, we weren’t going to just leave you in the chair, were we?” Isaac scoffs. “How’re you feeling?”

    “Fine, just a little light headed,” I say with a nod. “I’m absolutely fine, I just…it must have been hunger or a drop in blood pressure or something.”

    Mia glares at me for a minute. “You did go a bit pale. Just stay there for a few, okay?”

    “No one phoned Robb, did they?” I ask, knowing he would go ape-shit.

    “No,” Mia shakes her head.

    “Good,” I nod, taking more water. I’d tell them both the truth, but I can see the first aid lady sorting someone else out.

    “How’re you feeling now, Naomi?” the first aid lady turns around.

    “Fine, thanks,” I say.

    “Stay as long as you need to. Your colour’s come back,” she says.

    “I think I’ll be fine, thank you,” I say, getting up from the sofa and grab my bag. I keep sipping the water as we walk out the room and onto the chairs down the corridor.

    “You all right?” Mia asks, putting a hand on my arm as I sit down.

    “Yeah, I’m fine,” I nod. “You wanna know what it was?”

    “Well, yeah,” Isaac scoffs.

    “I blacked out, and I woke up in complete pitch black, it was just… nothing. But then Lucifer turned up,” I explain and watch their faces.

    “He knocked you out? For what?” Isaac demands.

    “He gave me a sudden drop in blood pressure,” I explain. “He wanted to tell me that he’ll get me, whether I like it or not soon, whether it be in four days or four weeks, he said no matter what happens, he’ll get what he wants and he’ll prove to me how important he seems to think I am to him. Literally, he knocked me out for that.” I roll my eyes, taking another sip of water. “Guys, if I’m completely honest, I don’t think the deal was ever voided, not by him, not by me and not by anything we ever tried. I think I’m doomed and he’s going to turn up on Sunday and take me, whether I like it or not. Ironically, it’s a fucking Sunday.”

    “Nay, I don’t know what to say anymore,” Mia sighs and sits down beside me, practically sinking down in the chair.

    “There is nothing to say,” I shrug. “The eighth of September is going to come whether we all like it or not, and one way or another things will change. Either I die and go with Lucifer, or I don’t die, Lucifer doesn’t turn up and…life will go on. But either way, shit is going to change for good.”

    “You make it sound so… final,” Isaac says, looking between Mia and I.

    “That’s because it is,” I say, narrowing my eyes and looking at him. Since Robb and I got married, this has been going around and around in my mind: even if the good scenario happens and I don’t end up dying and going to Hell next week, then things will change. I will be different, and everything around me will be different. My relationship with Robb will change, my relationship with my Dad will inevitably change, even my friendships with Mia and Isaac will change. Everything changed for me the day Lucifer popped into my room on my birthday and it will never be the same again, whether I die or not.

    “Don’t be like that,” Mia sighs.

    “Why not? It’s the truth,” I say, finishing off the water and taking the bottle to the bin and returning to the chair.

    “We won’t change,” Isaac says. “The four of us won’t change.”

    I look at him and give him a small smile. “You mean the three of us won’t change.”

    “There are four of…”

    “Robb’s already changed,” I say. “Nothing has been the same with us since I told him the truth, Isaac. Nothing will be the same between the two of us ever again.”

    “Don’t say that, Nay,” Isaac shakes his head and I shrug in response. “It might have changed, but it’s brought the two of you closer, it’s made you both stronger. Hell, you’re married now.”

    I nod in agreement. “Yeah, but nothing will be the same. There will forever be this… shadow between us, like the elephant in the room. Like, I’ll forever be thinking ‘what if’ or ‘what if that hadn’t have happened’. He’ll always be thinking about how Lucifer came into my life and wondering if he’ll ever be out of it again. It’ll forever haunt us, Isaac. All four of us, my dad as well. It will never end.”

    “It will end,” Isaac refuses to back down. I sigh and roll my eyes, sinking back in the chair.

    “It might end physically, but it will forever haunt us,” I say. “I’m warning you now.”

    “Then we won’t let it,” he carries on. I look at Mia through the side of my eyes; she’s staring ahead, listening but keeping well out of it. I don’t know what she’s thinking about it. I know yesterday she’d accepted that I might be going to Hell, but I know at the same time there’s still some hope in her that this is all just a bunch of bullshit and this time in seven days I’ll be fine and dandy, and this will be history to us. I know that she knows as well as I do that everything will change forever after the eighth. We both know it and we both hate the thought of it. It’s just Isaac that is showing his pure optimism about it all. I roll my eyes and keep silent. There’s no winning with him over this.

    “You’re too much like Robb,” I mutter, and then deciding to keep silent.

    “You bet your sweet Deal I am,” Isaac scoffs and I find myself chuckling at his phrase. “Lucky I am too, otherwise shit would be worse.”

    “You’re also up your own arse,” Mia adds.

    “Then you must be with me, if I am,” he says.

    “Oh, wow, you’re disgusting,” I frown.

    “Guilty,” he chuckle to himself. I laugh and look between them, remembering way back when the Devil stood in front of me and told me that ‘deals with him are not done lightly’. I remember what he said, word-for-word: ‘I cannot be tricked, I cannot be played. People play my game, they give me what I want in return for what I gave them.’

    Lucifer was right. Of course he was, he’s the damn Devil, but everything he’s said: he gets what he wants, deals aren’t done lightly with him, that I’m his… it’s all right. I’m done, I’m royally screwed. He has me around his finger and there’s nothing I can do about it.

    In four days the deal may be up, and I might go to Hell, or I might not. But the reality of my life is that I will be going to Hell with the Devil. One day, and eventually, I will be doomed. But whether that’s in four days, I don’t honestly know. But whatever happens; I am Lucifer’s, truly and forever, and whether I like it or not.

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