Sharp Bookkeeping

Leonard woke in a white room. He sat up to get his bearings and noticed the walls glowed with a soft white light. He found himself on an obsidian slab and swung his legs over the edge; the floor also emitted the same dim white light. He knew he was dead.

“Mr. Parsons, I hope you enjoyed your life,” a voice said behind him. The startled man swiveled his head toward the speaker. His stomach dropped as soon as he recognized the rotund blonde man dressed in a white suit.

“Welcome to Hell,” Lucifer smiled. Leonard was sure he woke up alone. He quickly spun his head around expecting the rest of the buyers to appear. “Something wrong?” Lucifer asked.

“Why am I here?” Leonard asked.  Lucifer giggled with high-pitched squeaks that sounded odd coming from his round frame.

“I know you got a bit delirious at the end there, but you sold your soul to me, remember?” Lucifer asked. Leonard couldn’t help but nod.

“Yeah, but..,” Leonard continued looking around the plain white room hoping to see anyone else show up.

“But what?” Lucifer asked. “You seem to be waiting for someone,” he added after a few moments of Leonard not answering. That caught Leonard’s full attention. He turned to Lucifer and nodded. He hoped being honest would start the show. Hell had rules to follow and if his soul was promised to others, they couldn’t do anything to him.

“I am,” Leonard admitted. “My soul has other buyers.” Lucifer chuckled.

“That’s not possible.” Leonard also laughed but shook his head.

“It is because I did it. I sold my soul to the fairies to guarantee financial security for my descendants. The witches guaranteed health and longevity for my soul. The vampires promised protection. And obviously, you were there for our deal.” Lucifer tilted his head slightly and narrowed his eyes.

“Were you trying to cheat Hell?” he asked. Leonard laughed again; more obnoxiously this time.

“OF COURSE!” he said. “You’re Hell.

“Oh. Well, this is a problem. Just to avoid any misunderstandings, I need to get this straight. You knowingly sold your soul to multiple parties, is that right?” Leonard nodded enthusiastically. The fact that Lucifer said it was a problem seemed promising. Lucifer chuckled; his laugh was deeper, and more intimidating than his giggles earlier.

“Mr. Parsons,” Lucifer smiled. “How disorganized do you think we are in Hell?” he asked. “Do you think we lack simple bookkeeping skills?”

“What?” Leonard asked. A tight knot began to form in his stomach. “What do you mean?”

“The moment you agreed to our deal, your soul was marked as Hell’s property. No one else could possibly claim it.”

“But…the fairies…,” Leonard said. “.. witches… everyone accepted my deal.”

“Accepted?” Lucifer asked. “Or… amended?” he said with a grin.


“Mr. Parsons, you’re not the first to think himself clever by selling to multiple parties. If you were, you might have gotten away with it. As it stands, Hell now has procedures in place for this kind of thing. Once your soul is ours, it’s off-limits to anyone else. It leaves a mark on you visible to any parties that trade in souls. They’re not allowed to actually purchase it, but they can promise you anything you like. When that happens it simply amends your original deal with me.” Lucifer said. 

“Well…,” Leonard sighed. He was starting to realize he was about to spend an eternity in Hell. “… at least I got more out of you,” he chuckled. Lucifer shrugged.

“You could have done that in our meeting,” Lucifer said with a smile. “You sold your eternal soul, you had all the negotiating power.” 

“Oh,” Leonard felt foolish, but still content. He would endure torment for eternity so long as his family was taken care of.

“It’s a shame you tried to cheat Hell, though,” Lucifer added with a gentle shake of his head.

“What do you mean?”

“Well, there are a few different outcomes from this scenario,” Lucifer said. “Sometimes people don’t realize what they’re doing is considered cheating, or at least don’t admit it. In those cases, the amended deal is still in effect. Hell is, at its core, a customer service industry after all. The customer is often, always right.

“That’s what I-,” Leonard began to protest, but Lucifer shook his head.

“On the other hand,” he spoke over Leonard. “Some people try to cheat Hell. Then, they’re stupid enough to admit it when they get here. That voids all amendments.” Lucifer smiled. “Your descendants get nothing for your time here.”

“But….. but…,” Leonard sputtered trying to find a way out. Lucifer shrugged.

“You were gifted the ability to see and interact with Fae in exchange for your soul,” Lucifer said. “That deal was completed, so, let’s get started on that eternity of torture.”

Sharp Purchase

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.”