The Devil’s Pact
Epilogue: A Thousand Years
edited by Master Ken
© Copyright 2013, 2014
Story Codes: No Sex
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Click here for Chapter 53.
My heart was filled with despair. The Living Gods were dead. All I could do was stare blankly at the wall, my mind full of ash. They had reshaped the world, and now They were gone. What were we to do? Who would look after us and protect us? Already heretics had arisen, decrying Them as false, and putting to torch Their churches and temples. And then They appeared in my dreams. “Have faith,” He spoke, His voice booming like a thousand trumpets. “We are not gone. It was time for us to leave this world, departing for a better one. But we still watch you, we still love you, and all you have to do is call upon us and we shall answer.” I made my Pact that very night.
–The Epistle of Isabel to the Faithful 1:1-3
I stood trembling at the crossroads, waiting.
Ever since I found a forbidden copy of the Glassnerian Gospels in my grandpa’s chest, and read the Epistle of Isabel, I had been filled with a foolish desire to summon the Tyrants. The Epistle claimed it was easy. Take a box, place a lock of your hair, a lavender flower, and the foot of a white rabbit in it, then bury the box at the center of a crossroads at midnight. Supposedly, the Tyrants of Hell, the Living Gods, would appear, and they would grant three wishes in exchange for your soul.
Despite the Church, copies of the Glassnerian Bible still floated about. And I couldn’t resist reading the copy I found when sorting through my grandfather’s house. Who knew the old coot was a heretic? The account of the Tyrants was so different from the Histories; not brutal dictators who enslaved mankind, but loving Gods that valiantly fought against the Demons and tried to create a Utopia before being murdered by Saint Chasity.
I shivered as I waited. It was spring, but the nights were still cold. It seeped into my body as doubts crept into my mind; nothing was going to happen. This wasn’t going to work—the Tyrants were just a myth. Nothing more than history that had been distorted by a thousand years of embellishment by storytellers and priests, or by mothers trying to frighten their children into behaving.
I knew all the stories, relishing them as a child: the Tyrants, Mark and Mary, who could enslave you with a single word, and who commanded the forces of nature itself; silver-tongued Alison and her demonic wife Desiree, who could suck out your soul with her kiss; April, with her eyes made of glass that would freeze a man solid if he ever caught her deadly gaze; Violet, who strangled men with the two serpents that grew out of her hair; siren Korina, whose doll-faced innocence lured men to their deaths; and their demonic Guard, a horde of vicious women led by the icy Chasity. If I wasn’t so desperate for a better life, for someone to pay attention to me, I would never have even tried this foolishness.
If I wasn’t so desperate for Elisbetta.
Feeling foolish, I turned to leave. Nothing would happen; it was just a myth that you could sell your soul to the Tyrants for three wishes. The moonlight dimmed, and I glanced up, expecting to see a dark cloud pass across its white, pockmarked face. Other legends claimed men had walked across the moon, crossing the dark void. What complete—
“Hello, Ysaak,” a man said.
I started, turning around. Two figures stood in the center of the crossroads. I hadn’t heard anyone approach, no footsteps crunching on the gravel or the rustle of brush. And the road had been empty a moment ago. One was a tall man, with dark brown hair, blue eyes shining in the moonlight. His arm was wrapped around a woman, who clung to his muscular frame. My breath caught—she was gorgeous—dark-red hair framed a heart-shaped, freckled face, green eyes twinkled with mirth, and a low-cut dress revealed an immodest swath of creamy bosom.
Sweat broke across my entire body. The Tyrants of Hell stood before me, and they seemed so…normal. Where was the fire and the brimstone? There wasn’t even a chorus of the damned. I was almost disappointed…except there was something in their eyes. An ancient, powerful, and inhuman presence that battered against my soul. These beings were as beyond me as I was beyond an ant. I swallowed, taking a step back.
“You don’t have to be scared,” the woman purred. “You summoned us, after all.”
“I want to sell my soul for three wishes,” I said, trying not to let my voice crack. My heart thudded like a woodpecker against a tree.
The man smiled, and looked at the woman. “Of course. My wife and I are more than happy to make a Pact with you.”