Sole Ownership

“What’s this?” The red-skinned, well-dressed demon shook the small glassy rectangle expecting it to rattle; it didn’t. Peter shrugged with a cocky smirk.

“It’s my soul,” he said with a trace of condescension. He realized it was probably a bad idea to be rude to a demon and filled out his response more; with less patronization. “You gave me unlimited money…,” Peter flashed the red credit card the demon gave him. “…and you get my soul,” he pointed at the glass pane the in the demon’s hand; it was the same size as the credit card.

The demon lifted the rectangle to his eye and peered through it at Peter on the other side. The mid-40s, balding, chubby man stared back into the demon’s golden eyes; they began to glow with golden light. After a moment his eyes widened and he lowered his hand. He used his other hand to wiggle his fingers at the air; a tall black portal opened in Peter’s living room.

“I need to escalate this, I’ll be right back. Don’t spend any money yet,” he said then walked into the portal. It stayed open after he disappeared; then, almost 5 minutes later he walked out of the portal again. He was followed by a taller, larger red demon with giant obsidian horns.

“Mr. Peter…,” the bigger demon began to address Peter, but he paused. The demon that made the deal quickly supplied the missing information.

“Peterson,” he said. The giant demon quickly turned to the demon. He was so large and tall that his horns caught the ceiling fan; he didn’t seem to notice or care.

“Peter Peterson? Really?” he asked the smaller demon. He nodded quickly. The living room-sized demon shrugged and turned his attention back to Peter; the ceiling fan was ripped from its spot. It crash-landed on the ground between them but the demon still did not pay it any attention.

“Mr,” he stifled a chuckle. “Peter Peterson. Can you explain this?” he held up the glass card.

“I already told him,” he pointed at the lesser demon. “It’s my soul.” The big demon nodded his head; his horns scratched the ceiling.

“Right… but how did it get in here?” Peter burst into a heavy guffaw, but he was able to recover quickly. Instead of the rolling laughter, he wanted to let out; only a single “HAH!” escaped before he clapped his hand over his mouth. He took a deep breath to relax, then lowered his hand.

“You guys don’t have node technology in Hell?” he asked with as even a tone as he could muster. Both demons shook their heads.

“Humor me,” the giant one said. “How did your soul get in here?” Peter shrugged.

“I dunno how. I went to a clinic and they downloaded it into the node.”

“Did you sign any paperwork?” the giant asked. 

“Yeah,” Peter chuckled. “It’s a clinic. You gotta fill out three forms just to use the bathroom.”

“What is Sharp Development?” he asked. Peter looked surprised.

“You know about Sharp Development, but you don’t know nodes?” he asked. The towering demon stared at Peter and waited for an answer to his question. After a few moments of hellish silence, Peter opened up more. “Sharp Development is the parent company of the clinic, they; well, the owner, Dana Sharp, invented nodes.

“Dana Sharp?” the giant asked with a raised eyebrow. “Thank you,” he tossed the node at Peter. “No deal, but there are a thousand dollars on the credit card for the information and…,” he pointed at the wires poking out of the ceiling. “to cover that.”

“Wait!” Peter yelled. “We made a deal! I already signed!”

“It’s not valid.” The demon shook his head, damaging the ceiling even more.

“WHY!??” Peter whined. The tall demon crouched down; Peter stepped back to avoid his horns as the demon grabbed the node from the floor. He straightened himself up and held the node up in front of Peter’s face.

“Because it’s not yours to sell,” he said. He tapped the point of a long, black fingernail to the node; Peter’s eyes focused on the spot.  Glowing faintly in gold letters he read the message;

“This soul is the sole property of Sharp Development.”

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