[Prompt: Satan gathers up all the lesser demons and announces that they’re going to be adding another sin to the seven deadly sins and whoever comes up with it gets to be in charge of that department ]
Sneche kept his head low as the other demons around him eagerly shouted for Satan’s attention. Naming the next major sin would go down in history for both mortals and immortals, yet Sneche only wondered what was the catch. If he had learned anything over the centuries, it was that Satan was a smooth talking salesman. It was all sugar until a contract was signed and a soul forfeited. Many of the other lesser demons around him jumped at the opportunity presented to them, to own their own department of the next trending sin, but Sneche wasn’t biting. A job in hell was still a job in hell no matter how many frills were attached to it. Sneche liked not having responsibilities. When the mortals spouted off names of demons they thought they knew, Sneche’s name was never brought up and he preferred it that way. The less attention he drew to himself, the less likely he was to be the focus of Satan’s wrath when something went wrong.
“No,” Satan was shooting down the latest suggestion, “It’s too much of a gray area between me and Him.”
Satan didn’t look amused, “We’ve been over this. It can’t be a physical trait.”
Sneche couldn’t remember when they first had been summoned. Hell did not abide to the passage of time, it was always and forever. Sneche felt like he had been searching for somewhere to sit for months, but for all he knew only a mortal hour could have passed. This all could be a strange punishment for their lack of activity on the mortal plane, but the humans were good at damning themselves without demonic involvement. Their numbers in hell were at an all time high, so why they needed another department to further capitalize on the depravity of mankind was beyond Sneche. He could do with a few million less souls crying in the bowels of hell.
Satan’s eye twitched and the demon that had shouted disappeared in a plume of soot and smoke. Several of the other demons tittered at the fate of their comrade while others shifted nervously from one foot to the other. Sneche continued to keep his head down.
“Perhaps I need to give you all more motivation,” Satan’s frigid tone sent a collection shiver through the demon horde. “Either I get good suggestions to take to my meeting with God, or I am going to start cleaning house.
“You,” Satan pointed at the nearest demon. “Idea. Now.”
More ashes fell to the ground as the demon ceased to exist. Sneche started to ease back in the crowd to put as many demons as possible between him and Satan. Unfortunately he wasn’t the only demon with an escape in mind, and soon enough most of them were pressing in to the same corner while Satan picked through them one at a time. Despite Sneche’s efforts to not participate, he found himself listening to the shouted suggestions to try and formulate his own idea if Satan’s finger swung in his direction.
Lying – already covered by the ten commandments. Fear – too tricky because even good men secretly feared God. Plagiarism – too much of a mortal’s creation, a sin needed to have a more primal base. Vanity – while once a sin, agreements had been made to include it in Pride’s department. The suggestions when on and on, and even when Sneche thought one sounded reasonable, Satan would snap his fingers and there would be one less demon in the room. As more ideas were rejected, the more inane suggestions were all but screamed in hopes of being rescued from exile. Public urination! Binge drinking! Performing musicals! Stepping on cracks to break your mother’s back!
Sneche giggled at a few of the suggestions. He couldn’t help it, it was in his demonic nature to snicker at the misfortune of others. Suddenly he was standing in front of their merciless boss instead of trying to merge into the wall of demons. Sneche choked on his laughter and lowered himself in an attempt to appear too small and insignificant for Satan to bother with. It must have been an amusing display because Sneche heard his fellow demons snicker from where they hid in the corners. He shot them a nasty look before gazing imploringly up at his King.
Satan didn’t even blink, “You have five seconds. Five.”
The end is nigh! Sneche looked frantically for a means of escape while wondering, in the far back of his mind, where do demons even go if they are exiled from hell. He knew he didn’t want to find out because he had grown comfortable in his none-role within the demon community.
The existing seven sins had covered humanity since the dawn of time, why change a working system?
It was an impossible task!
Goodbye mother he never had, so long friends he never made.
Sneche watched as Satan raised his hand, fingers poised to snap away his insignificant existence. Sneche tensed, but as the end neared, he decided he didn’t want to be the demon who was vanquished without saying a word. He cowered in on himself before hissing the only suggestion he could think of that hadn’t already been shouted by others. “Deceit.”
After a few seconds, Sneche cracked open one eye to take in his surroundings. Satan still loomed over him, hand poised in the air, but he appeared thoughtful. Sneche dared to look at the other demons for explanation but they all looked as uncertain as him. Sneche wondered if he would be allowed to crawl away on his belly and find some rock to hide under for the next few centuries. The attention focused on him was likely to make him burst into flames without Satan’s help.
“Deceit,” Satan rolled the word around on his tongue while Sneche did his best impression of a floor mat. “A man consciously chooses to be deceitful and it bears enough difference to lying to be debatable.”
Hope was a useless thing in hell, but Sneche found himself clinging to the skirt ends of hope while waiting to be kicked in the face.
“A plausible choice,” Satan was saying, but Sneche noticed that he had yet to lower his hand. “I’ll use it.”
Sneche let out a long exhale, but stopped breathing when Satan crouched in front of him, fingers still ready to snap him out of existence. “You’re not off the hook yet. I still need someone to run the department.”
Oh no, Sneche quivered at the King’s feet, when given the choice between non-existence and responsibility, he would rather choose death.