Abyss & Apex: January/February 2003

Deep Freeze

Waiting for the Big Freeze

by Ian Creasey

The trouble with calling up the Devil is that you usually get his answering service.

Rune 1 to curse a neighbour

Rune 2 for three wishes

Rune 3 for tours of Hell

Snuff the candles to speak to a demon

I blew out the tiny globs of candle. I had made them with my own hair and fat, collected from the cauldrons after my last session. Flame to light them was, of course, in ready supply.

“Yes?” The demon wore horn extensions and a bored expression. He frowned. “Is this a local call?”

“Look, I shouldn’t be down here. It’s all a mistake. I was good, I really was -”

“Yeah, yeah. They all say that. If you were so good, how come you know the calling ritual?”

“The guy in the next pit told me. He’d had three wishes. Hey, can I still get three wishes down here?”

The demon yawned. “If you could get three wishes down here, I wouldn’t be stuck talking to the likes of you.”

Damn, I thought. Then an idea struck me. “If you’re bored… why don’t I fill in for you?”

#

 “Look, I’m sorry your first two wishes didn’t work out,” I said. Now I knew why the demons hated this job. People whined so much, I almost wished I was back in the torture-pits. “There’s nothing I can do about it from here. But I can fix everything, if you use your final wish to summon me out of Hell-”

Someone’s bound to fall for it, eventually.

__________

Ian Creasey was born in 1969 and lives in Yorkshire, England. He began writing when rock & roll stardom failed to return his calls. His fiction has appeared in Gothic.Net, On Spec, The Palace of Reason, The Mammoth Book of Legal Thrillers and various other markets. His spare time interests include hiking, gardening and environmental conservation work—anything to get him outdoors and away from the computer screen. 





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