Fantasy Fiction posted May 30, 2008 Chapters: -1- 2... 


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A young man summons a demon

A chapter in the book Ridding Yourself of Demons

The Demon Keeper

by snodlander

Scarth was lying on Paul's desk when he returned home, staring intently at the telephone. He glanced up at his master's approach, then returned to staring at the phone.

"What are you doing?" asked Paul, with a sigh.

"Want it sing," said Scarth. "Make it sing, Master. Pleeeeease?"

Scarth's voice was a high-pitched whine at the best of times, but when he tried to be ingratiating it made Paul want to rip his own ears off.

"Sing?"

"Yes, make it sing." Scarth made a horrible screeching sound. It was a moment before the penny dropped.

"Oh, ring! No, it'll ring when it wants to."

"Sing!" shouted Scarth, and hit the telephone with its tiny fist.

"Oi, stop that. Get off my desk."

"Want it sing!" shouted Scarth in reply.

"I told you to ... oh, wait." Paul screwed his eyes up in an effort to remember. "By the seven scrolls of the Beast of Torment, I adjure thee to get the hell off my desk, you retarded little pixie."

Scarth slunk off the desk and stared at the phone sullenly.

"Do we have to go through that every time?" asked Paul. "Can't you just do what I say, and assume I said the 'I adjure thee' bit? Do I really have to say it every time?"

Scarth shrugged. "Rules," he said, in a manner that suggested it was more than his job was worth to break them.

Scarth was a disappointment. It had sounded so cool when he had read the passage in that ancient book. A demon to act as your own personal slave. How many level two support desk technicians could say they had their own demon? Paul envisioned a huge, fire-breathing beast with glowing red eyes and voice like a horror movie trailer. Not quite the Balrog from Lord of the Rings, but something close, something impressive. Instead, Scarth appeared in the outline of the sigil Paul had chalked on his bedroom floor.

Scarth was only huge if you considered a three-feet length of string with a couple of knots in it 'huge'. His voice sounded like a gremlin on helium. And he didn't breathe fire. He didn't do anything very impressive, not counting the ability to fart a single note for ninety seconds solid. Paul should have researched it a little more thoroughly before performing the summoning spell. If Scarth had been such a kick-ass demon, surely Paul would have heard of him. He should have held out for a succubus, but it was too late now. He was stuck with the pathetic creature.

At first Paul tried to make the best of a bad job. After all, Scarth was a demon slave, bound to obey Paul's every command (providing, of course, Paul prefaced it with the correct form of words). His first and overwhelming desire was what every young man wanted, but Scarth was not only incredibly stupid, but centuries behind the times. He hadn't even heard of an X-Box 360, let alone known how to get one.

Paul tried the second item on his wish list. He had pointed out the new office temp. "See her? That's Lauryn. Isn't she gorgeous? I want you to make her love me. I mean, by the seven scrolls of the Beast of Torment, I adjure thee to make Lauryn love me, okay?"

Scarth bounded over the desks and leapt into Lauryn's hair. As she screamed, the demon repeatedly slammed her head into the photocopier, shouting, "Love Master! Love Master!" To be fair, Scarth probably had little experience in the art of seduction and romance, but he seemed to have a percussive approach to everything he did. Even making a cup of coffee had resulted in broken crockery, a dented kettle, and the sort of mess it normally takes six college students an evening to make.

"Scarth, I need to talk to you. Are you listening?"

"Yes, Master," he replied, staring at the telephone.

"Oh for crying out loud, by the seven scrolls of the Beast of Torment already, I adjure thee to leave the flaming phone alone and concentrate on me, you stupid little imp."

"Yes, Master."

"You remember that talk we had yesterday?"

"Talk," repeated the demon.

"Yes, you remember?"

The demon slowly nodded his head, then said, "No."

"We talked about things you mustn't do."

"Mustn't do."

"Yes. Remember the things you mustn't do? What were they?"

"Mustn't make Lauryn love you."

"No, I said you mustn't hurt Lauryn."

"Mustn't hurt Lauryn."

"Yes. What else?"

"Mustn't eat letters."

"Yes."

The demon screwed his already wrinkled face up in an effort to remember.

"Mustn't eat singing box."

That had been quite impressive, Paul had to admit. Scarth bounced around the room when the ice-cream van sounded its chimes, then rocketed across the street, scared off the driver and ate the entire contents of the freezer. Paul had no idea where such a huge amount of ice-cream could go, but Scarth was still lying under the Mr Whippy nozzle, guzzling more gallons than logic dictated should be possible, when Paul had dragged him away.

"That's right. And?"

"Mustn't disobey Master," he said, with an air of finality.

"No, Scarth, there was something else. What was it?"

"Nothing else," he said, his gaze shifting around the room, at the desk, at the chair, at the ceiling. Everywhere, in fact, except Paul's eyes.

"Scarth! What else mustn't we do?"

"Don't know, Master," he said in a tiny voice.

"Do you want me to use the invocation, Scarth? Do you?"

Scarth looked at his taloned feet and sadly shook his head.

Out of the corner of his eye, Paul registered the flashing blue light in the street outside.

"What else mustn't we do, Scarth?"

Scarth mumbled something unintelligible.

"What?"

"Mustn't make sacrifice to Lord Roath of the Inner Circle of Pain, Destroyer of Peace, Crusher of Souls."

There were men in uniform walking down the pathway.

"That's right. So, tell me, where's Mrs Henderson who lives next door?"

The doorbell chimed.

"Ice cream!" screamed Scarth, the yell dopplering as he sprinted to the doorway.


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