Monday, October 17, 2011

Crossroads (Part 1 of 3)

He left the BMW sitting beneath a crooked street lamp next to an ancient pump, the keys dangling from the ignition. The attendant smiled a patient smile and asked how much.

“Just fill it up,” he said, with a wave of his hand. He had no intention of paying the man, or using the fuel that would fill his empty tank. He had somewhere else to be, and he had no desire to return to his old life. He’d forget the beemer and buy himself a Bentley by morning.

The crossroads are a place where devils dance in the moonlight. Where souls are traded like stocks on Wall Street. A place where a person can forget who he was and the things that he’s done, if only he’s willing to pay.

He smoothed down the front of his collared shirt and loosened his tie. Nothing was too costly for Jason Turner. This, he decided, was what had to be done. A practical measure. A bump in the road to success.

He stood in the center of Cropsy and Manson, two dirt roads that lead to nowhere and the sight of far too many fatal car accidents. Someone should put a stop sign here, he thought. But there would be no stop sign, no traffic signal. Too many souls would be saved. Not many made the kind of deal Jason was willing to make and the crossroads demons had to meet their quota one way or another.

A soul like Jason’s wasn’t ideal, he knew that. They’d want someone pure, someone virtuous. Someone who didn’t already have one polished loafer in the devil’s door. He’d need more than just his weathered soul if he wanted to strike up a bargain.

From the pocket of his trousers, Jason removed a small leather bag he’d bought at a charm shop from a gypsy woman. The bag smelled like cat piss and dirt, but she’d assured him it would do the trick. He dug a small hole with the toe of his shoe, tossed the bag inside, and stamped the dirt back into place. With fisted hands and a rigid back, he waited.

Nothing happened. He was duped, he knew it. Something heavy settled in his stomach. He doubled over, heaving into the dead grass along the side of the road. He was out of options. He needed this. He needed to enlist the help of hell’s best businessmen. Without the deal, Jason was done.

Maybe the gypsy woman had forgotten to mention something. Some key that would unlock the gates of hell and grant him an easy way out. “Bury it,” she’d hissed at him. “Bury it, and face your demon.” She’d gripped his hands so tightly Jason could still feel the bite of her arthritic boney fingers. He was ready to face the demon, any demon. If only one would show.

An eighteen wheeler sped down Crospy leaving Jason just enough time to jump back. When the truck had gone, and the dust settled, the demon stood before him. It wasn’t what he’d expected. It had no horns. No forked tongue or spaded tail. No pitchfork like a cartoon devil. It had eyes, not red, but as green as his own. And skin the color of milk with a touch of honey. 

And a face Jason Turner could never forget.

See you Wednesday for Part 2 by Natalie!

Photo found via google images, original author unknown

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