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by HGsomeone

“I’m sorry folks, there’s nothing I can do,” said Dilmaz, reading the flaming letters etched onto the yellowed parchment. “I did what you wanted and now it’s time to pay up.”

“Please, read it one more time. There must have been a mistake, I would never…” The spindly woman hugged the burbling baby to her chest and blinked up at him through eyelashes that created a small breeze.

A man chiselled from stone beside her placed a hand like marble on her shoulder. “Darling, we must be strong.”

Dilmaz rolled his eyes and began to read from the top of the contract yet again. “We, Sophia and Derek Kloidon, agree to the arrangement that as payment for wealth, fame and a life beyond luxury, to deliver our firstborn to the demon Dilmaz. We also accept that as an offset of this agreement our souls will be eternally dammed. No refunds or bartering’s of this chosen price will be allowed within the parameters of this contact.”

The man shook his head wistfully and gave a sorrowful sigh. “We can’t change what has been written, dear. It’s best if we just move on.”

“Derek! This is our daughter. I’m not giving her away to some guy whose name sounds like some sort of brand of trashy jewellery!” The woman stared at him wide-eyed and buried her child even further in her chest.

“Excuse you,” mumbled Dilmaz. He snapped the contract out of existence and held out his arms for the kid.

The man twisted his wife around and gazed into her eyes, tears sparkling in his own. “Deary, please. We can always get another one.”

“They don’t grow on trees, Derek!”

“Neither do Ferrari’s.”

The woman sighed and stared down at the tiny infant wriggling against her. So small and fragile. So beautiful and precious. The sort of child that you feel was made specifically for you.

“Make it quick,” she sobbed and pushed the baby into Dilmaz’s hands. Then turning, she ran away up a rose trellised driveway and into the shining mansion looming over a gleaming lake.

The man eyed him with a granite glare as Dilmaz just smirked and shook his head. “Humans. You’re so dramatic.”

Before the man could say anything in reply, Dilmaz fell into the ground. Sending up a little spurt of flame as he descended, never being able to resist an exit with class.

He landed in a leather office chair and flicked open a small notebook sitting discarded on a grand desk which might have once been quite nice if it wasn’t scarred by a crisscross of charcoal streaks. He made a small tick next to a task titled, ‘take payment from brats’ and blew away the wisps of smoke that rose from his fingertip from where he had run it across the page. There was only one other thing of particular interest upon this desk and that was a shrunken severed head who rose his stitched eyebrows expectantly as Dilmaz flipped the notebook back closed.

“You get the job done?” asked the head.

“Yeah, yeah. Humans are so easy to make a deal with these days, it’s disturbing almost. Not that I’m complaining.” Dilmaz answered. “Anything much happen down here, Hector?”

It is very hard to shrug when you are missing the most crucial body part required for such an action, yet somehow, Hector managed. Though he did end up rolling halfway across the table. “None in our department. I heard a fire-breathing lion-goat-snake got loose somewhere near the volcanic activity sector but nothing near here.”

“Ah well, what can you expect. At least one of my contracts finally reached its due,” said Dilmaz.

Hector, righting himself as he did so, turned to him with a curious expression. “What was the payment?”

Dilmaz smiled and lifted the gurgling baby onto the desk from where he had previously dumped it in a small garbage bin at his feet. “A firstborn. To tell the truth I wouldn’t think it would do much better if it had stayed with its parents. As I said, humans.”

Hector stared up at him in surprise. “Ah, going old school then.”

Dilmaz frowned. “Old school?”

“No efficient way to get rid of them. Innocent souls keep going Up There when, you know, and then it all becomes kind of redundant, don’t it.” Hector explained, rolling out of reach of the infants grabbing hands and drooling mouth. “Can’t think of anyone else who’s done it since the 1700s.”

Dilmaz glared at him and opened his mouth to snap at him a reply when he realised one key factor that was of great importance to his situation. “Uh,” he said, eyeing the baby warily. “How do I get rid of it?”

“Lava pits, just ‘round the corner,” Hector answered.

“Right.” Said Dilmaz and he rose from the desk, picking up the baby that was now preoccupied with sucking on its foot as he left the office.

Hector was not wrong. Before he had even turned the ascribed corner, Dilmaz could feel the heat from the bubbling magma. He relished it as he thought all creatures great and small should appreciate the skin melting qualities of the molten rock. The baby, he assumed, must have agreed with him as it giggled the entire short walk to its doom.

Smoke, sulphur and many other choking gases curled up and wrapped themselves around the tiny child as Dilmaz held it out over the liquid fire. He glared at the baby as it gazed back innocently at him. How dare it.

“Stop doing that,” said Dilmaz, shaking it.

This was a mistake as it just started laughing again.

Dilmaz groaned. “You’re about to die so stop it. Only idiots die laughing.”

The baby only laughed harder and stretched out two chubby arms to his stern face.

Dilmaz closed his eyes, trying to block out the infant's cries of glee. All he had to do was drop it and he could go rig some elections or one of his other favourite past times.

He accidentally cracked open one eyelid. “Damn you.”

He moved the child from over the lava pit and retreated from the edge, mumbling curses under his breath. “Why did you have to be so…”

The baby threw up on him. The toxic gases in the air finally taking effect.

“…detestable,” Dilmaz sighed.

The baby smiled at the comment, pleased with itself. Dilmaz shook his head in defeat and hid the tiny infant under his leather jacket, scurrying off down a winding stone corridor. “Come on, and keep quiet.”

Zissa would have described her childhood as a perfectly acceptable way of growing up. She couldn’t say it was entirely normal but that didn’t stop it from having its odd moments of normality. One such moment being now as she strode onto the school stage, a small knife in her hand and the rest of its family in her belt.

Throwing knives wasn’t exactly a talent, it was more of a skill that Zissa just happened to be very talented at. The judges would understand.

Blinded by the lights, it was difficult to see the state of the crowd but it was obvious they were bored. Each parent dodding off until their special little someone hopped on stage. What wasn’t difficult to see, was Wilbur across from her. He looked terrified. It had been so nice when he had volunteered to help her with her act.

She lifted her first knife and narrowed her eyes, aiming at a spot to the left of his head. She pulled back and released. Thud. Wilbur let out a small whimper as it quivered slightly, inches from his ear. Her act was flawless, each blade landing where she wanted it. Not that she cared. She just liked throwing sharp objects, but she supposed Wilbur would be quite upset if she let one accidentally land in his leg. He was very sweet.

Watching the final knife fly through the air, she turned as it planted itself to close for comfort above Wilbur’s head. The judges seemed to have forgotten their job and stared at her, letting a long silence drag out only to be broken by a voice at the back of the hall.

“Good job sweetie! You’re doing great!”

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31 Reviews

Points: 117
Reviews: 31

Wed Feb 19, 2020 12:38 pm
MoonlightForest wrote a review...

Hi, Moonlight Forest here to review your piece!

First off, there are so many good things about your writing. I appreciated your characterization of Dilmaz: he actually gave me vibes of Hades from the Disney cartoon classic Hercules. The sardonic humor and redeemable undertones to his character made me appreciate your talent for creating empathy, which is undeniable. That being said, there are a few little nitpicks I have for you in terms of revision.

Take this sentence of yours, for example, in the third paragraph: "A man chiseled from stone beside her placed a hand like marble on her shoulder." This sentence carries a bit of a redundancy. We already know the man is chiseled because you mentioned it early in the sentence, and when he clasps his wife's shoulder, we already assume it would feel like marble or something similar. Also, "made out of marble" and the like to describe physical strength is a bit of an overdone cliche. Like I mentioned, small nitpicks.

Another issue I had was in terms of Hector's character. At this point in the reading, he strikes me as the stereotypical "sidekick" and acts more like a trope than a character. Also, this sentence:

“No efficient way to get rid of them. Innocent souls keep going Up There when, you know, and then it all becomes kind of redundant, don’t it.”

What is being referred to as redundant? Parents giving away their children? The dialogue gets a bit muddled and unclear.

Then comes the paragraphs towards the end of the piece. Who is Zissa, and why is she important in the story? How is her narrative woven into that of Dilmaz? I'm assuming these extra paragraphs are in their rough draft stages; still, you'll want to find a way to bridge the gap between these two characters if you decide to publish. All that being said, your writing is like a fresh breath of air and I'm happy to say it's motivated me in my own way to flesh out my characters even better. Look forward to more from you!

User avatar
22 Reviews

Points: 54
Reviews: 22

Fri Feb 14, 2020 10:14 pm
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Josie24 wrote a review...

Hahahaha. The ending. It was the best!

I love the thought that he would grow attached to her as a child, that he loved and cared for her.

Question 1: What was the couple in the beginning's situation before? What drove them to such desperation in the first place?

Question 2: Why did they feel as though they had any claim to the child after they had made the deal?

Question 3: Why would they immediately try to kill the baby? At the risk of sounding cliche, why wouldn't they just use her as an agent of evil?

Question 4: How did he get Hector?

Okay, keep up the good work and goodbye!

Happy Valentine's Day!

User avatar
54 Reviews

Points: 805
Reviews: 54

Wed Feb 12, 2020 10:43 pm
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PlainandSimple wrote a review...

The overall point of this story is really fabulous. I could never think of something of this sort and even if I did, I couldn't write in such away. Just thinking about some mother almost being forced to give away her baby boy for money and wealth is horrifying. How you wrote this piece though, makes the story even better. I'm just going to say that this needs more recognition, to be honest. I will be reading more of your work since I have to say you are a sublime writer!

Once again, fabulous job.

-From your friend,

User avatar
32 Reviews

Points: 894
Reviews: 32

Wed Feb 12, 2020 10:39 pm
IamI wrote a review...

Hello. This is my review.

This was quite funny, my favorite part was the demon descending into an office chair, there was just something so delightfully absurd about that to me. This story also reads better than the last of your stories I read (Fly away), and I'm glad that this is your typical level. Not only is the prose less awkward (I only found one bad line: “...through eyelashes that created a small breeze”, from paragraph two), and the dialogue was quite good as well. The concept here was also quite interesting, while it would be criminal to advise someone to pigeonhole themselves, I would definitely note that you have a great sense of humor that translates very well to the page. I don’t really have anything say regarding grammar, you didn’t make any mistakes I could find. The ending makes this feel like an excerpt, do you plan on continuing this? I can’t really think of any myself, but I’m not you. Another problem with the ending (and one of the main things that contribute to its feeling like an excerpt) is the introduction of characters at the end, I feel this is unnecessary. Other than that I think the biggest problem with ending with a line of dialogue. It’s fine to start a story with it, because we expect a response, we expect something after the words, but that’s not here, it just ends. This is something that I think you should keep in mind —because as you might have noticed, this review is a lot of filler words strung together in a prentious manner trying to increasing word count so I get more points. I could have worse ways of exploiting the program.

So in conclusion: keep up the good work, edit a little more on the endings, and work a little on the descriptions, this was an entertaining read and I look forward to seeing more of your work.

This was my review. Goodbye.

HGsomeone says...

Hey Hey and thanks for the review!
Your feedback is really helpful and I do admit I feel more at home when I write stories that are meant to be funny instead of just being your classic, dramatic life or death situation. I like to spread out however, because you know, variety.
And I think it%u2019s perfectly fine to add a lot of filler words in a review to help bump up the points. Everyone likes points here and I feel so professional when I see a long review.
Anyway, thanks again for the feedback :D

IamI says...

You%u2019re welcome, pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is really the only way you get better and can broaden your skill set.

Journeys end in lovers' meeting.
— William Shakespeare