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Challenge: Write a story or poem about a person that says they'd sell their soul for ... Who shows up to buy that person's soul and how does it turn out when it's time to pay up?
The stars met in their perfect alignment in the summer night.
This would never happen again, and it shouldn't have happened
this time, for no one ever quite expected it.
The preacher looked up at the skies, and then back at his Bible,
and he prayed under the cross. Every precaution he knew taken.
He saw a tarot card on the floor, Temperance, which had an angel
dipping one foot in water while the other was in air. This angel
balanced two liquids between two cups without spilling a drop,
and behind this angel, there was all of nature itself. Written on
the card was an offer, from Doctor Moriarty. She could help him.
But her way was the way of the witch, and he would rather die.
He pretended not to notice the other card, which showed a wicked
demon holding a man and a woman with chains. That card was
So the preacher cast the card into the fire in his fireplace, and
sought to work out his own salvation with fear and trembling.
As the card burned, green mist arose. The mist played with his
mind, leading him to reflect back on how this happened.
He was in seminary at the time. His parents were of middle-class
wealth, so he made his way up through his own artistic work. For
he was quite an artist, in the field of photography. And through
the scholarships that came from that, he was able to enter the
But being that he was an American, he found that his grades
simply were not good enough to stay sharp in a British school? So
why go to a British school at all? It was the only place that would
give him a scholarship because of his artistic talent as a
The fact is, American education prepares one for perhaps mere
grade school in European education, so even with a gracious boost
from some of his teachers, he was unable to escape the fact that
he just wasn't good enough to keep earning the scholarships, let
alone to graduate. It would help if Americans weren't naturally
disgusted by studying, or accepted the fact that books are
excellent teachers. If he wanted to stay in school, he'd have to
boost up the grades, and put aside his fun and games.
The headmaster called him to his office one day, and went over
the whole situation with him. On the verge of being expelled due
to his poor grades, he broke down in desperation. The headmaster
was unimpressed by expressive emotionalism, and told him that
he might actually learn something if he used books instead of
computers for a change, then showed him the door.
The notion of learning by book instead of computer was too much
for him, and he began to use the Internet to go search out a quick
way to raise his grades. He even began asking for help in the
chat rooms. Then he met someone who offered to tutor him, and
he agreed. Their meeting didn't go so well, because the tutor
also insisted that he use a book. He hired and fired the tutor in
thirty minutes, and went back to the Internet again.
This time, he met a man who promised him a way to get whatever
he wanted, including passing grades at school. This man was
to be found in Viriginia Beach, Virginia. Using the last of his
money, he found this man. This man told him that the only way
to get through college was with a drug that allowed one to
remember everything they ever read - temporarily.
Though he knew that taking drugs was against everything he
claimed to stand for, he also knew that it would save his bacon at
the seminary. He could not think what to do, and decided to sleep
on it that night.
In his dreams, he mulled the situation over. In the dream black
and white was turned to shades of grey and he couldn't see
through the mists of grey what the right course turned out to be.
When the mists parted, he saw himself on the edge of a cliff
overlooking a molten lake. He saw two images beside him. One
was a wicked demon and the other, an angel who looked like she
escaped from a forest, not from heaven.
The demon promised him that he could soar up to the heavens
and that there was great work for him. It was his destiny to
complete his school. Then the demon picked him up, and flew
him up to the sun itself. The young man was hooked, and he felt
the rush and the thrill, not letting the feeling end even as the
demon led him back to earth. Then the demon opened up his
hand, showing the young man the drug. The young man reached
for the drug, feeling it was important for his future. Suddenly
the angel slapped the young man's hand away and crushed the
drug in her hand. She told the young man that he did not have to
fly over the cliff. He could simply turn back and walk the other
direction, changing the course of his life and finding a better
profession. One where he would be willing to do the work
without taking shortcuts instead. Then the angel demanded that
the demon inform the man of the price of the drug.
"The price will be money first, or I can let you have it for your
soul, which costs you nothing."
The man chose to pay with his soul, and the demon flew him over
the cliff while the angel disappeared.
Then the man awoke, and he told the dealer that he would be glad
to take the drug, as much as he could get. The dealer gave him all
he could, for free as was the agreement. But he warned him that when
the stars all aligned, and he told him what to look for, his life would
The young man checked the Internet, and it said that alignment
would never happen, and he believed it. This drug was a
wonder. Armed with the drug, he studied every possible subject on the
This turned his grades from F's to B's, (mainly because the Internet
is no place to go looking for accuracy). His teachers were shocked
but they could find nothing wrong, for he was enough of an artist
to know how to disguise his new problem of plagerism.
But he ran out, and in order to get more, he would need serious
money. Rather than doing the right thing, hitting the
books and keeping his soul, he chose instead to raise the money.
He had one trump card that he could play.
His talent for photography up until now had been used in a
wholesome measure, but photography can also be taken to a dark
place. He turned his light trade to darkness for the purposes of
making money, and money he made. Enough to buy his drug in
He liked the way the drug made him feel, and as a result,
he chose to not stop taking it even after he graduated. Having
already gotten through school, he found that he couldn't function
without it. He began looking for work in churches. And he found
work in a church in Symington, England.
It was a small church after the archbishop ousted Kelly Moriarty,
the preacher for years, for the people were angered and
membership dropped. But for those who remained, this new
minister thrived, adding in a new political style that, as an
American, he knew well, but that didn't belong in church.
But the world as he knew it was about to come crashing down, for
one day, he had to go to the doctor, and Doctor Moriarty took care
of him. However, she found the drug in his body and talked to
him about it. She warned him that he was in grave danger from
the drug. She helped him overcome the drug and get out of it.
However, he found that keeping the drug near him was a grave
temptation. So he sold it to some college kids, for a very high
price. And he discovered something else. He loved having
money. So he went back to black photography, but sold it in
London and Birmingham and Leeds. And he used the money to
buy the drug. But he didn't take it.
Instead, he loved the rapid influx of money that he had come his way.
Any truth in his preaching had been abandoned long ago, taking the
American style of using right-wing politics in the pulpit. Still, only
Kylie Moriarty knew he had a problem with the drug, and she thought
he had beaten it.
But then her daughter, Faye, came up to her and told that someone
had offered her the drug. Faye, being in college studying veterinary
medicine, was one of the people who was targeted. Most of the British
kids turned the drug down. But not quite all. Drugs and college were
often found together, but it was the type that got Kylie's attention.
She used her magic to find the truth, and it led her back to the
She investigated the preacher, and discovered his plagerism. Then she
angrily confronted him, and he could not refuse any of her facts.
Instead, to keep his secrets, he tried to kill her. That did not go over
well, for she was quite a witch. She fixed him but good. "Wait a
moment, Reverend. Your situation is worse than I thought. I see a
demon coming to capture your soul. And he's almost there.
"But I can stop him, if you wish it."
The preacher crossed his arms and snarled at Kylie, tapping his foot.
"I will not accept help from a witch! I've got my Lord to protect me!"
"Actually, Kelly mentioned to me once about a passage in the Bible
warning against tempting God, and about mocking God. You cannot
violate the rules of your own faith and still claim its protection."
She removed the Temperance card and wrote a note on it. By mistake
when she removed the Temperance card, she also dropped The Devil
card, and Kylie did not notice. Instead, she went to the door, but she
turned back. "The people deserve better than a minister who deals
drugs, cheats his way through school, and has makes porn pictures.
I believe the Bible says 'be sure your sin will find you out.' I'm sorry
for you, sir, but sorrier for those whom you're misleading."
He glared at her, and spit at her.
"You're just angry that your brother isn't the priest here anymore?"
Kylie laughed in his face.
"Reverend, I'm a witch. Your faith is for fools, so why should I care?
Yet I do, so if you need my help, feel free. I shall wait." And with that,
she left him to his fate.
The mists cleared, and the preacher realized where he was and what was
happening. He turned around, and there before him was the man who
had sold him the drug in the first place. The preacher waited. Then he
came into the church, and the preacher knew that he was finished.
"All right, my friend, you've done exactly what I wanted," said the
dealer. Then the dealer laughed. "You've literally done me yeoman's
The preacher tried his Christian powers to drive the man off, but the
power was denied him. Instead, the dealer just kept coming.
Terrified, the preacher just kept backing away. But then the dealer
stepped on the tarot card on the floor. The card rebelled from the
evil of the entity, and tripped it. Crying out, the dealer fell with his
back to the floor. Taking his chance, the preacher ran to the office
and used the phone, calling Kylie desperately.
"Help me!" the preacher said. "He's come to get me and the power
of God has abandoned me. Save me! I'll do anything you ask."
"First of all, ask your god for forgiveness," Kylie said. "Give him
your soul - for real this time."
"Dear Lord, forgive me," the preacher said. He hung up the phone
and he prayed in earnest.
The dealer had stood up by then. He walked to the office and he
grabbed the preacher. "I've got you now!" the dealer laughed.
The preacher finished his prayer, and the dealer drew out a sacrificial
knife, ready to kill him. From out of the fireplace flew an angel that
looked just like Kylie, and she carried two cups like the Temperance
"Get out of here, you beast of hell!" she said. Then she threw one cup
at the drug dealer. The liquid washed all over him, causing him to
unleash a hellish curse and scream as the holy water melted him like
acid. He melted into a puddle of goo, leaving the preacher and the
angel as the only two people in the church.
"Thank you," said the preacher. "It's not over," argued the angel.
She brought the second cup to him, and forced him to drink the
witches' brew. It was bitter, and it was hard to swallow, and it
burned him. He fell to his knees and passed out.
When he awoke, he felt Kylie with him. She was tending to him, and
had just finished injecting him with a potent medication, which she
used to cure. But Kelly, the archbishop, and the congregation had
gathered around him. Steve Moriarty and Sonja Quaide, two officers
on Symington's police force, were present as well.
"If I saved you, you said you'd do anything," Kylie insisted.
"Yeah, but what do you want me to do?" the preacher asked.
"Confess your sins," Kylie replied, "to your adherants. If you truly
asked it, God probably forgave you, but man has not, and that is of
The preacher looked around him, and he knew that he was finished.
So he had no choice, and sighed, and confessed to all his crimes.
Steve and Sonja arrested him on the spot. The archbishop was left to
scramble and complain, and offered Kelly back his priesthood.
"No thank you," Kelly said. "I loved my time as the priest here, but
I will not be subject to you again. I'm more interested in politics.
Try hiring a woman this time." This left the archbishop speechless.