A Promise is a Promise

Daily Writing Exercise: Urban Fantasy, silly. A demon asks for a promise instead of a soul. 604 words.

500 Words Story Index


“I don’t want your soul,” said the demon as it unrolled the contract. “What I want is a promise.”

“To do what, exactly?” Nicky didn’t have much to offer, which is why he’d been summoning a demon to start with. His soul was really the only tangible thing he had to barter with. A promise… well that wasn’t worth much at all, was it?

“I want you to promise to help me to the best of your ability, but only by doing things that don’t count as sins.” The demon summoned a burning quill out of the nothingness and handed it to Nicky.

Nicky carefully took it, making sure not to burn his fingers on the delicate tendrils of fire that danced where the feather should be. “But to help you do what? And why does it matter if I sin?”

“I need to smuggle a unicorn back into Heaven and if you sin too much you won’t be able to sneak in so you can help me.”

There was a long pause.

“You want me to break into Heaven to help you return a unicorn you– rustled?” Nicky was at a loss for the correct unicorn-napping terminology.

“Not break in, that’s a sin, just… wander in a bit early?” The demon waved a hand. “It’s not that hard.”

“To sneak past Saint Peter.”

“I’ve done it before! Well, okay, other people have done it for me, but that’s practically the same thing.”

“How many unicorns have you stolen?!”

“Just the one. And she steals herself– it’s not my fault.” The demon looked much too guilty to be telling the truth, Nicky could tell by the tilt of his horns.

Nicky crossed his arms, ignoring the faint singe marks the quill left on his sleeve. “If it’s the unicorn’s fault, why are you trying to sneak her back in? Why not let her sneak herself in?”

“Look, I don’t want her to get into trouble. Sneaking out of Heaven is pretty high up there on the Thou Shalt Not list.” The demon’s tail twitched impatiently. “If I’d know how much she’d love those damned peppermints I never would have bought her the ice cream.”

“You bought a unicorn peppermint ice cream.”

“It was summer, she looked so hot– look, you’ve never met a unicorn, I get it, but those ice blue eyes can guilt trip anyone. Just make up your mind, I’ve got other summoning circles waiting on hold if you’re not interested.”

There was another long pause as Nicky thought over his options.

“So I help you sneak the unicorn into Heaven and then you’ll fulfill your end of the bargain?”

“Satisfaction guaranteed or the next wish is free,” nodded the demon, eyes glued to the dotted line.

“What the hell,” said Nicky, and signed.

It turned out Nicky had all sorts of abilities he didn’t know about, one of which was making a killer scoop of mint chocolate chip. The unicorn was returned to Heaven, abet with quite a few mishaps along the way, and Nicky opened up a small ice cream shop to ensure she’d never have to go roaming again… only she hadn’t been searching for ice cream.

The demon kept his side of the bargain and Nicky’s first (and last) wish was for a set of all-access passes so all three of them could come and go through the pearly gates as they pleased.

Which wasn’t within the demon’s power to grant, but Saint Peter had grown fond of them over the course of the adventure and granted it on Hell’s behalf.

But the demon owed him a promise…


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