Trust the Devil

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In "Trust the Devil," the protagonist attempts to undo the past by challenging the Devil himself. The plot may seem abrupt but reveals the importance of thinking outside the box before giving you the opportunity to do so by considering what happens after the conclusion of the story. This flash fiction story was originally published by the Paper Crane Journal (be sure to check out their literature magazines at https://www.papercranejournal.com/). 

***

When I felt the knife at my throat, the first thing I thought of was the movie I watched last night. In that movie, the hero flipped the villain over her head and threw him on the ground, knocking his knife away.

But the thing is, I'm no hero.

So I just stood there, frozen. It seemed the only part of my body that knew it had to move was my heart, which was pounding, trying to come out of my chest, but my lungs, frozen as they were, wouldn't let it.

I had to force myself to breathe, leaving no time or energy for me to grit my teeth and ask threateningly, "Who are you and what do you want?"

Even if I did open my mouth, I doubted anything but a scream would come out. Of course, it might have been better to scream than to quiver.

Then I moved. I'd like to say it was because I realized I needed to, but, truth be told, I didn't want to move. Not that I had much of a choice.

My captor pushed me forward and I fell into the dust before I had a chance to even close my mouth.

I couldn't breathe.

I couldn't move (although that was nothing new).

My eyes burned from the sand.

I could taste blood in my mouth and I knew my already chapped lips had cut.

And I think I cried. What a waste of energy. There were so many things I should have done, I could have done. But I lay there, my face flat in the dirt and tears pouring down my cheeks.

"Get up," he said.

And I did. I could hear the wind cheering for me, having regained my ability to move.

"What do you want?" I asked.

I wish I could say I asked it like those superheroes, hands crossed and voice strong. But I won't lie; my question came out like a sob, a plea to be honest, to spare me the suspense.

"It's not about what I want," the man said. "It's about what you want."

"I want my mom."

I wish I could laugh about that response now: a teenager saying I want my mom. It might have been funny if I actually had a mom... if I had grown up with a mother who pampered me and spoiled me to a point where I cried for her at seventeen.

But I didn't have a mother.

I hadn't had a mother for nine years.

"And you shall have her."

I shook my head. He didn't know. He couldn't know. That didn't stop me from launching at him in anger. But my trembling legs did.

"I can bring her back."

If my heart could pound any harder, it would, but sadly it didn't want to kill me just yet.

"How?" I breathed.

"I just can."

"Why'd you attack me if you were going to offer me something?"

His smile made it seem like he was just having fun. "Do you want what I'm offering?"

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