“Just this once??” Arthur threw his hands up in frustration. “How many more times do you want to go to hell?” Julie shrugged.
“I dunno, it might be fun,” she said. Then she looked her best friend in the eyes.
“Yeah, my dad says they have a killer shopping district,” Eric chimed in. He stood at the door to Julie’s bedroom while the two friends decided whether they’d go to hell with him.
“You won’t let me go alone with Eric unless you see it’s safe for yourself, right?” Julie asked. Arthur nodded sharply. “I don’t need you to go with me; but, you need you to go with me. And I really want to go. Please?” Arthur looked at the door to reconsider Eric. He’d been Julie’s roommate for almost a year. In all that time Arthur heard only praise about him. She even asked Arthur if she could set them up but he always felt like Eric was hiding something. Then, he found out that Eric was the devil’s son; something Julie had known for almost a year. He felt better knowing that she wasn’t lied to. Arthur nodded at Julie.
“Alright, just this once,” he said. Then he faced Eric. “So how do we get there? I’m not sacrificing any goats,” Arthur chuckled at his own joke. Eric rolled his eyes as he stepped into Julie’s bedroom.
“Hell is nothing like you’ve heard,” he shrugged. “Honestly, I’m pretty sure you’re in for a letdown.” Eric raised his hand and made a gesture at the air. “It’s a place like any other.” A tall, black portal opened next to Arthur. “C’mon,” Eric stepped into the portal and disappeared in the darkness. Julie was eager to follow but Arthur blocked her and stepped in after Eric.
Arthur stepped out of the portal into a quaint office. In front of him, Eric was hugging a giant red-skinned man with black horns. He wore a black business suit with a red shirt and white tie. Before he finished processing the scene he felt Julie brush by him.
“Mr. Satan!” She dashed to give the giant man a hug of her own. “I’ve heard so much about you from Eric!”
“Same here,” the devil said and returned the hug. “Thanks for accepting my boy. He uh, hasn’t had the easiest time making friends.”
“Because you gave me wings, dad,” Eric sighed. “But forget it,” Eric gestured at Arthur.
“That’s Julie’s best friend Arthur,” he said. The devil looked at Arthur up and down.
“You’re right, he is handsome,” he told his son in a hushed voice; Arthur still heard.
“Daaad,” Eric whined. “Be cool.”
“I can be cool,” the devil said with a smile. He stood up straighter and adjusted the lapels on his suit. “So, my boy’s good friend, and his crush,”
“C’mon,” the devil grinned. “We’re all adults here. Anyway, what I was going to say is; how about a special treat for your friends?”
“Yes!” Julie hopped in place excitedly.
“What kind of treat?” Arthur asked.
“Well, the whole point of Eric being here was to show him how things work. I had a couple of volunteers lined up, but since you’re Eric’s friends you guys can hop to the front of the line,” the devil shrugged. “It’s not hell if we can’t indulge in a bit of nepotism, right?”
“Right! Let’s do it!” Julie cheered. She patted Arthur on the shoulder to encourage him.
“What are we hopping to the front of the line for?” Arthur asked.
“First, let me tell you what hell is.” The devil puffed his chest out proudly. “This is where we keep score. You two…,” he waved a hand at Arthur and Julie, “…,and almost everyone else, are being scored throughout your lives. Every time one of you dies we add the points from that life to your tally. Once you get enough points you can start getting perks for your next life.”
“Wait,” Arthur asked. “Every time a human dies .. all our points get thrown in the same pool? I don’t get it.” The devil shook his head; his horns bumped the ceiling. Arthur noticed several deep scrapes in the stone ceiling of the office.
“Sorry, that wasn’t clear. Any time one of you,” he pointed directly at Arthur. “dies, the points go on your score. There’re thousands of versions of you in different universes right now collecting points.” He turned and pointed at Julie. “She’s got thousands of versions too.”
“So what’s the treat? Extra points?” Arthur asked. He was no longer concerned about Julie’s safety but this new information made him very curious.
“Nah. The points are just a means to an end; and, you guys are skipping to the end.” The devil stepped forward and put a hand on Julie’s shoulder and one on Arthur’s shoulder. “Let’s turn you two into Unique Souls.”