A red plume of smoke filled the summoning circle. It wasn’t the sulfury yellow Denny expected; it smelled like cinnamon instead of rotten eggs.
“Did the sugar actually make a difference?” Denny wondered briefly, then he noticed a figure in the circle as the smoke cleared. A short, chubby man wearing a white suit stepped forward and out of the pentagram. The man’s blond hair was neatly combed over his bald spot. He wore a deep red shirt under his white coat. Along with his white tie, he looked more like a salesman than the demon Denny expected. Denny jumped back when he realized the man walked out of the circle.
“YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE TRAPPED!” Denny shouted as he tried to keep his recliner between him and the stranger. He was glad he tried the summoning in his basement. The man chuckled and put his hands up to show he meant no harm; he even took a step back.
“If you used the right ingredients, a demon would be trapped,” he said. “But, you didn’t so you got me. I’m not a demon, and therefore not trapped.”
“You’re not a demon? Then what are you doing here?” Denny asked. He relaxed a bit but still remained on the other side of the brown leather seat.
“I’m here to make a deal with you just the same. I assume you were planning to sell your soul?” he asked.
“To a demon,” Denny nodded. “Not to another human. What can you do for me?”
“Mr. Carson I assure you my company, Sharp Development, can offer you a much better bargain for your soul than any demon.”
“How’d you know my name?” Denny asked. The man chuckled and gestured at the powdery, white pentagram at his feet.
“Intent is part of the summoning ritual, isn’t it? It’s along the same lines as ‘Caller I.D.’, a demon would have to know whom they’re dealing with.”
“You can really bargain for my soul?” Denny asked. The man nodded.
“I wouldn’t be here if I couldn’t,” he said. The short man took a step forward and extended his hand. “You can call me Lucifer,” he said. Denny took a step around the recliner when he saw Lucifer extend a hand, but he stopped the moment he heard the man’s name.
“You’re the devil!?” he asked and again stepped back. Lucifer chuckled and shook his head.
“Lucifer’s a name like any other. Sam, Denny, Jesus; they’re just names. I’m here to buy your soul for my employer, but it’s only a coincidence. I have no affiliation with Hell, my loyalties are to Sharp Development.”
“What does Sharp Development, whatever that is, want with my soul?”
“What does Hell want with it?” Lucifer shrugged. “It’s not my job to know, and I imagine you’d have a hard time getting an explanation from a demon. So, it’s kind of moot; the point is do you want to sell it or not?”
“Alright,” Denny nodded and relaxed completely. Lucifer had plenty of time to hurt him if he wanted to, but he remained polite and friendly. “What can you give me for it?” Lucifer’s grin faded; he shook his head.
“Some advice Mr. Carson. You’re not obligated to deal with me. If you choose not to, it’s possible you’d try to summon a demon again with the proper ingredients. Should you go that route please promise me you won’t ask the demon, ‘What’ll you give me?’. They will give you as little as they can get away with. Let’s try this. You tell me what you’re after.” Lucifer said. Denny was genuinely surprised Lucifer was being helpful.
“I don’t know,” Denny admitted with a sigh. “Things are so hopeless right now. I need a new life,” he chuckled. “A new planet maybe. I dunno, I just thought a demon could just magically fix everything for me.” Lucifer nodded in understanding.
“You found the right guy,” he chuckled. “A new life? Maybe a new planet? Why not both? Let me tell you, that’s a deal you’d never get from Hell.”
“You can do that?” Denny asked. Lucifer nodded with a grin.
“Sharp Development specializes in giving people the life of their dreams. And we have access to thousands of Earths; any of which you can choose to live on. We have prehistoric worlds full of dinosaurs, futuristic worlds with flying cars, and everything in between. Recreate your body the way you want, and you’re not limited to human. There are 25 races to choose from.”
“I can get all that by selling my soul?”
“To Sharp Development,” Lucifer nodded. “The best you’ll get from Hell is some extra money. Maybe billions, but, the way your Earth is going… would money really make anything better for you?”
“Not really,” Denny admitted. “I’d rather just start fresh as a new me in a new place.”
“Great!” A puff of red smoke erupted from Lucifer’s hand. When it dissipated he was holding a glossy white clipboard loaded with papers. “I just need your signature on a few forms.”