I needed a boyfriend to keep my father from marrying me off to a man handpicked by him. What better way to get one than to summon a demon? When I found a book of shadows in my grandfather's attic, I knew I'd found the answer, but something went wrong. Instead of summoning a demon, I ended up in hell. What was I supposed to do now?
Judging souls was boring. Ruling the underworld was boring. Everything was boring. I needed something to happen to keep me from going insane. I never imagined the fates would answer my unspoken prayer by dropping a human in the underworld, and I'd certainly never met a human quite like Herby. He confused me, amused me, and drove me crazy. Why else would I agree to be his boyfriend?
Note: This story was originally part of the Fate's Call Anthology - Manlove Edition. It has been revised and extended by 21,000 words.
~ Herby ~
Five black candles?
I quickly counted the candles I'd gathered, each one sitting at a point of the pentagram I'd drawn on the floor with white chalk. The chalk part had been very important. The pentagram had to be drawn with white chalk or bad things happened. I wished the book had explained exactly what those bad things were, but there was no note of it.
Okay, salt circle poured completely around everything with no breaks in the line?
I was sitting cross-legged on the floor. I wasn't sure I could meditate as the book suggested. I wasn't wired to sit still that long, but I could fake it for a few minutes.
I flipped the weathered page in the old book I'd found buried in a chest in my grandparent's attic. Incense, candles, chalk pentagram, salt circle...What was I missing?
I grimaced as my stomach rolled a bit as I glanced down at the knife I'd gotten from the kitchen. The last part of the ritual involved blood. More specifically, my blood, which was kind of gross. I wasn't a big supporter of the idea of cutting myself on purpose. I actually kind of avoided it.
I wasn't a fan of pain.
Okay, I had everything in place. I just needed to cut my palm and place my hand in the middle of the pentagram and then chant the ritual words.
God, I hoped I remembered them.
The rituals from the Book of Shadows were kind of long, drawn out, and boring. Someone really needed to bring these things into the current century. Who said thee nowadays? Thee, thy, thou, blah blah blah.
It was all a little ridiculous, but whatever.
I picked up the knife, held my breath, and then slid the blade across the palm of my hand.
"Oh, funky butt nuggets, that hurts." I shook my hand a little until I realized I was splattering blood all over the pentagram.
I set the knife down and glanced at the ritual words.
Okay, I could do this.
"Hear my words, spirits from the other side," I began. "I entreat thee to manifest before me. Give thee the power to conceive in my mind and to execute that, which I desire to do, the end which I would attain by thy help. Cross now the veil between worlds. Blood to Blood, I summon thee."
The second I spoke the last word, I slammed my bloody hand down in the center of the pentagram. My eyes rounded when black smoke began to seep out of the pentagram and the strong stench of brimstone filled the air.
"Uh oh." I grabbed for the book to see what I'd done wrong. My fingertips brushed the pages just as everything around me turned black, and then I was falling...and falling...and falling.
I hit something hard with a painful thud and everything really went dark. I don't know how long I laid there before awareness came back to me, but when I opened my eyes, I was pretty sure I was no longer in my grandparent's attic. The sky above me was red and the ground beneath me was black.
I sat up and glanced around. My eyes rounded when I saw...something...coming toward me. "Holy hannah."
The guy—I think he was a guy—must have been seven feet tall. His skin was red, his eyes black, and he had horns coming out of the top of his bald head. "We are not in Kansas anymore, Toto."
When he stopped in front of me and grinned, his sharp fangs gleamed in the bright light. "Welcome to hell, will you be staying long?"
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