Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Lord of Darkness

"The Lord of Darkness" was written at Halloween 2003, my freshman year of college. I had a quote I wanted to use in a story (it's the last line of the story) and friends I wanted to use in a humorous story. I just realized I really should have posted this two weeks ago as a Halloween thing, but oh well.


The Lord of Darkness

“Happy Halloween!”

Daniel woke to see his little brother Jeff jumping on his bed, dressed in a Superman costume. “Wake up, Danny! It’s Halloween!”

Daniel sat up and rubbed his eyes. “Halloween’s nothing special until it gets dark, then you go trick-or-treating. Don’t get worked up this early, Jeff.” He reached over to the night stand and got his glasses.

Jeff jumped off the bed, landing squarely on his feet. “Mom says you’re taking me this year.”

“What?” Daniel jumped out of bed and rushed to the kitchen. His mother was busy frying eggs and bacon. “Mom, you’re making me take Jeff out tonight?”

“Danny, you know your father and I are having guests over. Don’t be too upset, please. You’re wearing a costume today anyway, aren’t you?”

Daniel nodded dejectedly. He and some of his college buddies were dressing up as the Greek gods just to freak out all the Greek society on campus. They had picked names out of a hat to see who would be what god. Daniel had drawn Hades, god of the underworld. He had a black toga with gold trim and flames rising from the bottom. His girlfriend’s mom was a master of the sewing machine and had made it for him. He had black sandals with laces that ran up to his knees, and he even had a small pair of horns to put on his head. He wore his contacts instead of his glasses, and he used a tiny bit of hair gel the edges of his eyebrows to turn them slightly upward. It was a cool costume, but he didn’t want to wear it outside in the neighborhood– only on campus with his friends, where he wouldn’t look like a dork. He made that very clear to his mother.

“Danny, since you’ve started college, we haven’t asked you for much. And you know how much Jeff looks up to you. Could you just do this one little thing for us?”

Daniel sighed and noticed movement in the corner of his eye. Jeff was standing in the doorway, his bottom lip in full pouting position and his eyes big like a sad puppy’s. Daniel rolled his eyes. “Oh, all right!”

“YES!” Jeff did a little victory dance.

A half hour later, Daniel was in toga, sandals, and horns. He drove the twenty-five minutes to get to his college campus and met up with his buddies. Anthony was Zeus. He had a sky blue toga and a golden plastic lightning bolt in his hand. Joey wore deep blue and had painted his face, arms, and legs blue. As Poseidon, he had a trident. It would have been a great costume, but Joey had a very odd sense of humor, and he had black swimming flippers on his feet.

“What? He’s the god of the sea. He’s a fish-man!” Joey alone laughed at this.

Michael was Hermes. He wore pale green and even had the winged cap, staff, and sandals. Greg was Apollo. He was in all gold and had painted himself with paint that reflected gold in the sun. He had even sprayed his black hair with gold coloring.

Daniel’s costume was by far the best. He had a very mean look about him, and the horns added a very demonic effect. There were five guys in all, and as they strolled about campus, there were a great number of whispers– some good, some bad.

The usually quiet Anthony suddenly spoke up. “Hey, guys! What has four legs, is big and green, and would kill you if it fell out of a tree and landed on you?”

Daniel, Michael, and Greg shrugged. Joey tried not to laugh; he knew this joke.

“A pool table.” Anthony’s face remained perfectly solemn. Joey burst out laughing. After a moment, so did Daniel and Greg.

“I don’t get it,” Michael mumbled.


In an extremely distant and remote location, a child-sized human mutation ran as quickly as he could– on his three legs– to the Fire Throne. A normal-looking guy sat there. But this was no ordinary man. He had a pair of black horns on his head and a long, pointed black tail. He looked down his long, pointed nose at the mutation cowering at his feet. “What?” His voice was deep and guttural, and the mutation fell to his knees.

“There is... important news from above, O Great Lucky.”

The man seized the mutation by his sparse hair and jerked him to a standing position. “I have told you to never call me Lucky! It’s Lucifer!” He dropped the mutation to the stony ground, where the mutation quickly fell into a series of praising motions.

“It is not my will, Great Lucky. The will of your predecessor was that you be called Lucky. My mouth tries to form your right name, but it cannot.”

Lucky growled under his breath and leaned back angrily. “What is this news?”

“The Pantheon has returned.”

Lucky jumped to his feet. The mutation cowered and clasped his hands over his head, fearing he would be lifted by his hair again. But Lucky didn’t move to grab him. “What did you just say?”

“The Pantheon has returned, Great One.”

“The whole Pantheon?”

“No, O Masterful Lucky. Only five so far have revealed themselves. Zeus, Apollo, Poseidon, Hermes... and Hades is among them, My Lord.”

Lucky kicked the mutation and sent it flying. It landed about ten feet away. Lucky’s angry scream boomed throughout the whole Underworld. He stormed to the Observatory of Death (all things in the Underworld have such names) and stood before the window that floated in the center of the room. Lucky drew back the torn black curtains and thundered, “Show me Hades!”

The window opened and a chill wind blew through the Observatory of Death. Lucky gazed out the window and into the bright daylight of the world above.


Daniel and his friends were the only people wearing costumes in their music theory class. Still, it had been fun seeing their classmates’ reactions (and their professor’s reaction) when they filed in together, five togas all in a row. Dr. Linton had chuckled, made a snide comment, and immediately started the lecture. Now the five of them left the room and parted ways. Daniel was finished for the day, but Joey, Anthony, Michael, and Greg still had classes to attend. Daniel went straight to the parking lot and got into his car.


“Hades in the twenty-first century! And driving an automovehicle! But he’s still wearing that ridiculous robe! You’d think he’d have gotten with the times!”

“I believe it’s called a car, Great One, and he’s wearing a toga.” The mutation shuddered as he spoke.

“Quiet, Runt! Don’t make me kick you again.”

Runt fell to his knees. “My apologies, Mighty Lucky!”

Lucky snapped his fingers. The Fire Throne appeared behind him, and he sank into it, chin rested on his fist. He closed his eyes and sat deep in thought for a moment. Runt looked on in interest.

“I’ve got it!” Lucky yelled so suddenly that Runt jumped in surprise and scurried behind the Fire Throne. Lucky reached an arm behind the Fire Throne and grabbed Runt by the scruff of the neck. He pulled Runt around and held him up until they were eye to eye.

“Hades is back to usurp my throne, right?”

Runt was unsure, but he was too afraid to disagree, so he nodded.

Lucky dropped him. “But if Hades were to die, he would be sent straight here, right?”

Runt nodded again.

Lucky stood. The Fire Throne disappeared, and Lucky started pacing. “If he came here, he would be under my jurisdiction. I could control him. You know what this means, Runt?”

“Uh... yes, but you say it first.”

Lucky grabbed Runt by the scruff of the neck again. “All I have to do is kill him, and he’ll be mine!”


Daniel sat idly in his unmoving car. “I can’t believe there’s this much traffic this early on a Friday! It’s Halloween, for crying out loud! Shouldn’t you people be at home putting up decorations or carving pumpkins or something right now?” He pounded the steering wheel with his fist. The horn honked, and that set off a chain reaction of angry people honking their horns.

The light turned green, and the long line of cars in front of Daniel pulled forward. The truck in front of Daniel finally started to move, and Daniel smiled. As he neared the light, it changed again. Daniel stopped once he saw the light change. The truck in front of him had kept going, and Daniel had front row seat as an airplane fell out of the sky and landed on the truck.

Daniel stared, his mouth hanging wide open. If I hadn’t stopped, it would have hit me, too, he thought.


In the Underworld’s Observatory of Death, Lucky pulled at his hair angrily and screamed. “Who’d have thought Hades would be such a safe driver?”

“Not so easy, is it, Lucky?”

Lucky turned around. He knew that voice. Standing in the doorway was a very smug-looking man with gold-colored hair, black eyes, and eerily white skin. There were two quarter-sized bald spots on either side of his head just above the hairline. He smiled, showing sparkling white teeth, two of which were almost like fangs. He stood with his arms crossed over his chest.

“What are you doing here?” Lucky snapped.

“Can’t kill Hades, eh, Lucky? Can’t prove what you claimed all those years ago?”

“Shut up, Satan; I don’t want to hear it. Get back to your chamber!”

Satan strode up to Lucky. He attempted to put an arm around Lucky’s shoulders, but the chains on his arms wouldn’t allow him to stretch far enough. At best, he would have strangled him. Satan gave up and crossed his arms over his chest again. “Are you forgetting how you got here, Lucifer?” Satan spat out the name like it was something dirty. Runt had cowered before Lucky before, but now he sought refuge behind Lucky’s legs. He clasped Lucky’s ankles, shivering violently. “Did I not give you this job? I can take it back if you don’t prove yourself a better Devil than I was. If you lose Hell to that bloody Greek...”

“I said shut up! And it’s the Underworld, not Hell!”

“Lucky, Lucky, Lucky. Sometimes I forget how young you are.” Satan shook his head.

“I’ve been the Devil for six centuries!”

“Compared to my two milennia? Or Beelzebub’s sixty-five million years? You’re young, Lucky. And you don’t have what it takes!”

Lucky hung his head. “Then can you help me?”

Satan put a hand on Lucky’s shoulder. “I thought you’d never ask.”


Daniel was still shaking in fear when he got home. He told his mother what had happened, and once she realized how close he had come to being killed, she hugged him tightly and covered him with kisses. “Are you alright?”

“I’m fine, Mom.”

“Are you sure? You might have internal injuries.”

“I’m fine, Mom. Really. I’m just kind of scared and tired. I’m going to take a quick nap.”

“Didn’t get much sleep last night?”

“Nah.” Daniel retreated into his room. He changed from his costume back into his pajamas and curled up in his bed. He fell asleep almost instantly.

Daniel had been asleep for a very short while when his mother left the house to get Jeff from school. It was a half day for the elementary school kids. The classes were having little Halloween parties and then leaving. Daniel’s mother wouldn’t return for half an hour with Jeff, and while they were gone Daniel was deep asleep, so he didn’t hear the door to his room open.

A small, dark shadow entered Daniel’s bedroom. A pistol was silhouetted in the shadow’s hand. The shadow crept up to Daniel slowly and silently, then pressed the pistol to his head. There was a brief moment of stillness, then the shadow pulled the trigger. Daniel shot awake and a hand flew to the side of his head. His fingers came back wet. The shadow was nowhere to be seen.


“A water gun?! You shot him with a water gun?!” Satan gnashed his teeth.

“It... looked real,” Runt stuttered, shivering violently from head to toe.

Satan grabbed Runt by the neck and lifted him. “Where did you get that pistol?”

“It was in one of the other rooms. On the floor.” Runt’s voice came out raspy and coarse. His hands flew to Satan’s trying desperately to pry them away.

“Was it the room with the cartoon character posters on the walls? And the sky blue paint? And was the bed shaped like a race car?”

Runt nodded, unable to speak.

Satan dropped Runt with a thud. “That was the little boy’s room! You honestly thought a kid’s parents would leave a pistol sitting on the floor in his room?”

Runt shrugged. “It is America.”

Lucky kicked Runt. “Idiot!” He sank into the Fire Throne. “We’ve got to get Hades to die! Do you have any more bright ideas, Satan?”

“Only one, but you’ll have to take my chains off and let me go topside.”


The rest of the day went by quickly and without anymore odd events. Daniel soon found himself back in his toga, sandals, and horns, leading SuperJeff around the neighborhood. The sun was nearly gone, but the streetlights still hadn’t been turned on, leaving the streets dark and creepy-looking. Costumed children and parents moved in clusters, and “trick-or-treats” chorused up and down the road. Jeff was carrying a pumpkin bucket with a lot of candy in it. Daniel towed around a pillowcase. Whenever Jeff’s pumpkin was full, he emptied it into the pillowcase so he could go back for more. It was a very big neighborhood, and Jeff had emptied the pumpkin at least three times already.

“Isn’t this enough, Jeff?” Daniel held open the bag so Jeff could make
another deposit.

“We haven’t even gone through the whole neighborhood yet!” Jeff whined. “We still need to go down that road.” He pointed toward one of the side roads that led further into the subdivision.

At that moment, all the streetlights turned on, bathing the neighborhood in a ghostly yellow glow. Only the road Jeff was pointing to remained dark. Some of the lights on that road flickered weakly, but most of them didn’t even try to turn on. One by one the flickering lights went out for good.

“I don’t think we should go down there, Jeff. Not while it’s this dark.”

Jeff pulled on the sash that cinched the toga around Daniel’s waist. “I see some porch lights on down there! They have candy!”

Daniel finally gave in, and the brothers walked down the dim side street. An owl hooted, and Jeff clutched Daniel’s leg tightly.

“You scared, little buddy?”

“N-n--n-no.” Jeff’s voice shook, but he loosened his death grip on Daniel’s leg.

They stopped in front of the first house with a lit porch light. Daniel stayed on the sidewalk while Jeff went up and knocked on the door. Daniel watched as the door opened, but he was distracted by the sound of breathing behind him and a tap on his shoulder. He turned sharply and saw a man dressed in red pajamas with red horns, a red pitchfork, and a red tail. He had goat’s legs instead of human legs, and a thin black mustache and pointed goatee adorned his face.

Daniel screamed. So did the guy behind him. The devil-man drew back his pitchfork, and Daniel realized it wasn’t made of plastic, but red-hot iron. He punched at the devil’s face with all his might. The devil fell backward and disappeared a split second before he hit the ground. Daniel was breathing heavily, nearly petrified with fear.

“Danny? Can we go home now? All the houses around here are giving out stupid apples and pennies.”

“Yeah... yeah. Let’s go home.” They had just turned and started running
toward their house when the streetlights on the road poured forth a hearty yellow glow. They didn’t stop until they got to their house.


Lucky was throwing a tantrum. “I can’t believe that didn’t work! You almost had him!”

Satan stepped out of the devil costume and shrugged. “It used to work, back in the day. You should’ve seen the early Catholics when I used to do that to them.”

Runt was giggling like a little schoolgirl– uh, mutation. Yeah, a little schoolmutation. That’s it. “You went down like a sack of potatoes, Satan. One punch, and KA-POW! Down for the count!”

Lucky shot an evil glance at Runt and another at Satan. Runt cowered. Satan’s chains reappeared on his wrists. “What else can we try?”


A veritable mountain of candy flowed forth from the pillowcase, and Jeff practically dived into it.

“Now share with your brother, Jeff. Remember, he did take you out tonight.”

“Yeah, I know.” Jeff started sorting through the pile of pre-wrapped sugar and tossed a small package of candy corn to Daniel. “Here. I hate candy corn.”

Daniel, on the other hand, loved candy corn, and he immediately ripped open the package and popped a piece into his mouth. It caught in his throat, and he choked to death instantly.


Whiteness surrounded Daniel. The walls were white, the furniture was white, and even his clothes were white. And there were other people of all ages around, sitting in chairs, standing and talking in groups. They all wore white, too. Cheesy waiting room music was playing softly in the background.

A receptionist sat at a desk in the corner. Daniel walked up to her. “Excuse me?”

“Welcome to Purgatory. Please wait until your name is called.”

Daniel sank into a squishy white chair. Next to him was an old woman. She smiled at him. “What happened to you?”


“How did you kick the bucket?”

“You mean I’m dead?”

The waiting room went silent for a moment. Even the cheesy music stopped. Then everyone burst out laughing.

“Of course you’re dead, young man. You see, I’ve been attached to life support for three weeks. Someone tripped over the cord and cut me off. That’s how I died. How did you die?”

“I choked on a piece of candy corn.”

“Tsk. Tsk. It’s always sugar with you young people.”

The music came back, and people resumed their general conversation. Daniel heard his name called, and a man dressed all in black appeared before him. A hush fell over the waiting room. “Come, my son.” The man reached out his hand.

Daniel took the man’s hand and was pulled violently away from the waiting room. He was immediately surrounded with bubbling lava and fire.

“Welcome to the Underworld, Hades. I am Lucifer.”

“You mean I went to He– “

”SHH! We don’t call it that here. I’ve legally changed the name. It is the Underworld now. Hell is such a strong word.”

“Why did I come here?”

Lucifer motioned to the wide expanse of the Underworld. “I want to offer you a job.”


“I need an assistant who isn’t an idiot. I’ve tried three times to kill you today, and each time you foiled me. I need a mind like yours to help me reap souls.”

Daniel crossed his arms. “What’s in it for me?”

A microphone appeared in Lucifer’s hand. “Tell him what he’ll get, Satan!”

Satan appeared, also holding a microphone. “Well, Lucky, if Daniel chooses to become your assistant, he will NOT be doomed to spend all eternity in a pot of boiling lava filled with ravenous piranha and sharks while being poked in the butt with sharp metal objects!”

From somewhere, Daniel heard a crowd go, “Oooh! Aaah!”

“He will also become your successor should you ever fail to accomplish your duties or retire!”

The invisible crowd began to cheer and applaud.

The microphone in Lucifer’s hand disappeared and was replaced by a sheet of parchment and a quill pen. “Do we have a deal?”

“Between a tortured eternity and becoming the new Devil? Duh!” Daniel seized the quill pen and signed his name. But instead of “Daniel” the name “Mephistopheles” appeared on the contract.

Lucifer shook Daniel’s hand. “You’re now officially Mephistopheles, my successor. I’m retiring now. I was never meant to have this job.” He popped out of sight, and the contract drifted down, landed on the Fire Throne, and disappeared. Satan approached Mephistopheles and shook his hand.

“Hello, Devil. Welcome to Hell.”

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