[Prompt: You are the devil and you have been summon via a satanic ritual. As you manifest you find yourself in a quaint living room and meet a sweet old lady who just wants some company]
The itch always started at the back of his neck. It felt like a fishing hook had been snagged in the dry, scaly skin there and as the line began to reel in, the hook pulled the skin up along the back of his skull causing him to choke and want to stand on the tips of his toes as some unseen executioner tightened the noose around his neck. His lips pulled back in a sneer as he fought the force trying to pull him from the depths of hell. He refused to be summoned. In fact he refused to believe he could be summoned at all! He was the Devil with a capital D, King of Hell (also with capitals!), and he was beyond earthly means!
Despite his short cry of protest, the Devil found the dark world of collected despair fall away to replaced with a beige walls with cheap white trimming. At first he bared his teeth, sucking a hissing breathe as he lifted a hand to shield his eyes from the brightness. The last time he had been forced to visit the mortal plane, his summoners were kind enough to keep their dealings in the darkness of a stone cellar with only a handful of candles that didn’t as much light the place as they made all the shadows dance in a joyous jig known only to them.
The staleness in the air irked him. It was not the fester of rot where there once was life, or the bitterness left behind when malevolence passes through a room. It was the stagnant smell of dust, of mold, of raisins and peppermint. The Devil lowered his arm as his nose wrinkled at the unusual stench. His bloodshot eyes took in the rest of the small room. The picture frames filled with sun-aged photographs of faces both young and old. The withering potted plants by the windows begging for water. The brown recliner and matching couch with afghan blankets draped over the back and constructed from colors chosen by the blind.
“Are you done ogling at my home, or are you going to introduce yourself?” A perturbed, yet frail voice sounded.
Lucifer whirled around and set his ire on the face of his summoner. Not even he expected to have to tilt his head down to meet the shrewd eyes of a little old woman. Her posture was tense, from the tight bun of gray hair on top her head, to the firm grip she kept on her small purse and right down to the wait her Sunday dress shoes were side by side as she stood rigid while fixing on him a patronizing stare.
“Who are you?” He replied after the surprised faded into curiosity. In the past his dealings had brought him to a number of old women that were more properly termed as ‘hags’ who wanted evil done unto others or to make pacts to earn back a fraction of their lost youth. But this woman looked more likely to the type to slap his wrists if he tried to take a cookie without first asking permission instead of wanting to conspire over forbidden deals.
“I am Alva Reignton, and I own this house, and I would appreciate it if you would trouble me with your name.”
His brow furrowed, “Yet you summoned me.”
“I don’t know who was going to pop out of that circle, but I’m asking now.”
Beneath his bare feet, Lucifer saw the markings of a summoning circle draw out in red along a carpet that long ago had given up on being a shade of white and had instead shifted over into a mixture of gray and brown. The furniture had been moved up against the walls just to make room for the circle to fit inside the woman’s quaint living room. The pushed a toe against the red markings, smearing the color across the once-white floor. “You didn’t use blood.”
Alva had the decency to blush before stubbornly lifting her chin. “I used lipstick. No rightful woman should wear the hue ‘blood red’ if she wants to be respected among her peers. I put it to a better use.”
He couldn’t help but chuckle, “I don’t see how this could possibly be better.”
“I’ve been meaning to replace this carpet anyhow.” She gave a curt nod that made the skin under his chin wobble. “Now are you going to tell me your name? I am growing tired of asking.”
The Devil put on a smile fitting to his name and dipped low in a flourishing bow, “I have many names, but you can call me Lucifer.”
“Now that that is done with, Mr. Lucifer,” Alva straightened out her pale pink cardigan, “let us be on our way. We have an appointment to keep.”
Lucifer folded his hands behind his back and tentatively stepped from the rings of lipstick decorating the floor. “What is the nature of this appointment?”
“Tea at Chelsey’s”
He stopped short of where the woman was fussing with a pair of white gloves and matching cocktail hat, “Beg your pardon Alva, did you say tea?”
“I don’t believe I mumbled,” Alva stated then caught sight of his bare feet. She shook her head in masked annoyance. “Why, hasn’t anyone ever invited you to join them for a cup of tea?”
“No,” Lucifer didn’t bother to hide his bemused smile, “I don’t believe I have.”
“Well,” Alva toned as she straightened her hat and looked him over. “As long as you mind your manners, we’ll show those old clucking spinsters who’s out of the game.”
The woman turned and marched out the front door. Lucifer hesitated only long enough to enjoy the touch of evil in the little old woman.