The Dread Human Jessica!

Daily Writing Exercise: Modern day fantasy about why summoning humans is a bad idea. Prompt response. 576 words. Written September 18, 2018.

“Wait, were you seriously going to summon her with that? I thought you said you’d done this before!” The bat-winged demon hurridly snuffed out the coffee scented candle and scuffed through the pumpkin spice protection circle. 

“But, I mean, it said all we needed was a name and a few totem items!” The ram-headed demon said, a little annoyed as all his hard work was ruined. 

“You have to be specific!” The bat-demon glared at his friend. “Didn’t you hear about the pumpkin spice massacre in the third ring? If we don’t summon and contain them properly there will be, well, Hell to pay. Literally.” He glanced over his shoulder to make sure the elder demons hadn’t heard them.

“I have a name, I have totem items, I don’t see what the big deal is.” The ram-demon folded his four arms and glared right back. “That’s all they need for us, a name, a proper protection circle, and a few burnt offerings.”

“Right, only how many demons are named Q’asdhg’Gas’sha?”

“Just me. So?”

“And how many humans do you think are named Jessica Brown and like pumpkin spice, Starbucks, and pictures of cats with funny captions?”

“This one, obviously.” He pointed to the notes he had painstakingly gathered from the demonic internet connection. There were photos, tweets, Facebook posts… he was quite proud of his research.

The bat-demon sighed.

“Hundreds, Q’as, hundreds if not thousands.”

“Oh.” There was a long pause. “OH.”

“And that’s why the third ring of Hell lost its internet privileges.” The bat-demon started shuffling through the notes. “Now let’s see if we can do this right.”

They carefully started redrawing the circle with pumpkin spice, crumbs from her grandmother’s cookies, a tuft of fur from her dog (stolen from dust bunny in a dark corner of the house), the names of her childhood stuffed animals.

For burnt offerings, the demons found the discarded letter to her fourth-grade crush, and for ‘don’t kill me, take this bribe instead’ a freshly baked orange and cranberry muffin and a Starbucks coffee made exactly the way she loved it.

“Now, we summon.” He bat-demon flicked a wing nervously and glanced over all the notes one last time.

“Hear us, oh Jessica Brown! Daughter of Susan and Peter, sister to Mark and Tim! Fur-friend of Simba, and Dodge, and Max! #CatFriendFurever! #BakeFail9000! Doodler in the margins! Singer in the shadows! Cook of the most awesome chili and worst ever pan of brownies!”

“We summon thee by the power of unrequited love! By the call of caffeination! And the delicious tart tang of the muffin! Answer our call!”

There was a long silence and the two demons stared at the summoning circle in growing terror.

“Did we do it–“

REALLY?” Jessica had appeared, half-dressed and furious. “You summoned me now? You couldn’t have waited two seconds for me to finish?”


“I don’t have time for this! What? What do you– oooo, muffins!” She pounced on the muffin and coffee and gave them a somewhat less grumpy look while inhaling breakfast. “So, what did you need?”

“What would you sell your soul for?”

“…what?” The grump was returning fast.

“We’re not meeting quota,” Q’as explained hurriedly, “I need to know what people want. What can I offer them that they’d be willing to trade for? All my old go-to’s are falling flat.”

“Oh hun, this is going to take a while,” she sighed. “I don’t suppose you have a chair?”

…and so it went.

Martha Bechtel

My name is Martha Bechtel and I write fantasy and science fiction stories, paint small model horses silly colors, cast resin and plaster magnets, code random code (and Wordpress plugins)... Come on in and join in the fun!

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