Quick Note From Andi: This was a bonus story for Halloween 2016. While I’d wait for Halloween 2017 to roll by before re-releasing it, the side character introduced here is likely to show up again before then, so it makes sense to just post it now. Enjoy!
“I want to have a seance.”
There are some things I never want to hear my roommate say. ‘Stay there, I want to try something’ had been on the top of that list until right that moment. “A seance?” I asked, trying not to cringe. “Why on earth would you want to do that?”
“Because it’s Halloween,” she said, as if it made perfect sense and I was an idiot for not thinking of it myself. “I want to see if I can summon the spirit of Prince.”
“Prince?” I asked. “The musician? Maybe you should just let him stay dead. He doesn’t even know you.”
She rolled her eyes at me. “I’m not resurrecting him, just contacting his spirit.” She batted her eyelashes at me. “Please?”
And that was how I found myself sitting at our kitchen table, holding her hands and trying not to knock over one of the candles she’d lit. She was making her plea for Prince to join us when there was a gust of wind inside our house and all the candles went out. And then I could smell a hint of sulfur in the air.
“Who has summoned the Prince of Darkness?”
I was very proud of myself for not losing control of my bladder. My roommate, on the other hand, let go of my hands. I heard her push back her chair, and then the lights flicked on.
“Ow,” whined the very tall, very muscular, very demonic figure standing next to our table. “Warn a guy.”
“Oh dammit,” my roommate groused. “I must have gotten something wrong in the incantation.”
The figure sighed and almost seemed to deflate, but it didn’t make him look any less terrifying. I kept an eye on his horns for fear he’d turn just the wrong way and gore me. “Let me guess, you were trying for the musician.” He didn’t even wait for an answer before flopping down in one of the empty kitchen chairs. “Man, this Halloween has sucked. Every single summoning has been a wrong number. They’re not looking for me, they’re looking for some guy who plays a guitar.”
“He was a brilliant musician,” my roommate argued fiercely.
I swallowed hard and reached over for the warehouse-sized box of Snickers I’d set on the counter nearby. After grabbing it, I offered it to our unintended guest. “Want a Snickers?”
His eyes lit up – literally, they lit the fuck up – and he took one from the package. “You hand our full-size Snickers bars for Halloween? Wow.”
“Oh, no, those are ours,” my roommate informed him. “We have individual packs of candy corn for any kids that come by.”
The demon gave her a horrified look. “Candy corn? That’s evil.” He grinned then, his mouth full of fangs flashing at us. “I like it.”
“So,” I said, clearing my throat nervously. “You’re seriously the Prince of Darkness?”
“Yeah,” he said as he took a bite of the candy bar. “In the flesh.”
“Do you have an actual name, or do we just refer to you as Prince of Darkness?”
“Oh, I have a name,” he said, his mouth full. It was kind of gross but I wasn’t going to argue with him about his manners.
“What is it?” my roommate prompted.
He swallowed the the mouthful he’d been working on, and spat out something in a language I didn’t understand.
And then the walls started to bleed.
“Oh for fucks’s sake,” I snarled as I got up to get a roll of paper towels. “I just cleaned.”
“Sorry,” he said sheepishly. “I forgot that happens in this realm. Hold on, I’ll clean it up.”
He snapped his fingers, and the blood was gone. With a sigh, he stood. “Thanks for the chocolate,” he said, looking resigned. “I should get back to my own realm so someone can accidentally summon me again. It’s going to be a long Halloween.”
I couldn’t believe it, but I was starting to feel sorry for the guy. It sounded like he’d had a long, shitty night and we’d added to it. “Well, we were going to order pizza,” I told him. “And we did bring you here, even if it was by accident.” I looked over at my roommate, and she nodded.
“Yeah,” she agreed immediately, her grin huge. God, she was going to try to get him to teach her some spells, I could tell. I was doomed. “We were going to watch Beetlejuice. You could hang out with us.”
The Prince of Darkness blinked in confusion. “Seriously? I mean, that sounds fantastic, but I don’t want to be a bother.”
I waved toward the living room. “Go have a seat, I’ll order the food.”
“Well, thanks,” he said, flashing another toothy grin my way before he headed for the room I’d indicated. Somehow, I managed to keep from shuddering.
“What do you want on your pizza?” I called after him.
“I’m good with just about anything,” he answered. “Just no anchovies. That shit’s nasty, even for me.”
I shook my head and gave my roommate a bewildered look. “The Prince of Darkness is hanging out in our living room, about to eat our pizza.”
She grinned at me, bobbing her eyebrows as she did. “Happy Halloween.”