Appropriate Tributes

Flash Fiction Month 2017, Day 30

“Great Lord Satan! Ruler of Hell! Chap with the really awesome horns and rockin’ goatee! Accept this virgin tribute as a token of our servitude.”

“Yeah,” said Cindi. “About that…”

“Look,” said Arch Anti-Bishop Dave, pulling down his hood. “If you’re going to play the ‘Actually, I’m not a virgin’ card, you can just stop right there. The first thing anyone does in this situation is claim not to be a virgin to avoid getting sacrificed, and I’m telling you now it’s not gonna work.”

“Oh, no, look. I’m not trying to avoid getting sacrificed. Why would I have responded to your Craigslist ad if I was? I’m just saying, you never specified that you needed a virgin, and I’m not sure that I am.”

“How can you not be sure if you’ve had sex?!?”

“Well,” Cindi shrugged, which was awkward on account of hanging upside-down from the ceiling over a portal to Hell. “What counts as sex?”

“You know…” Dave did that “finger going in and out of finger-and-thumb ring” gesture. “Sex.”

“Yeah, obviously, and I’ve never done that. But are there…other things? That would count in this situation?”

Dave narrowed his eyes. “Like what?”

Cindi beckoned him over.

He approached, and she whispered in his ear.

“EWWWWW!” He ducked away again, vainly trying to scrub the words out of his ear canal with a pinkie finger. “Really? With a tennis racket? And a bag of seedless grapes?”

“Well, I thought it was nice. Sort of intimate. And it was my boyfriend’s idea anyway.”

“But who would want to…instead of…” Dave gave up. “It’s fine. Nevermind. Thanks, but we’ll find another virgin. Your services are no longer required.”

“But Dave!” put in Albert. “Where are we going to find another virgin at such short notice, and at this time of night! The rest of the ritual’s already prepared, and that guacamole isn’t going to keep.”

“Yeah…” Dave put an arm around Albert’s shoulders. “About that. You’ve always wanted to get closer to our Dark Lord, right?”

“Woah!” said Albert. “Woah! Just because I’ve never…”

Dave wasn’t in the mood for a long argument, so he just went ahead and shoved him into the portal anyway.

“Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!!!” yelled Albert, as he tumbled through an infinite expanse of brimstone fumes down to hideous perdition.

Dave cupped a hand to his ear. He could just make out a thud as his fellow worshipper hit the bottom, followed by an “Ow.”

“Why are you doing this, anyway?” Cindi took the opportunity to ask.

“I’m hoping Satan’s gonna give me a kickass moped. Now shhh! I want to hear the answer.”

Dave remained leaning over the portal with a hand cupped to his ear. Cindi thought she could make out the sound of something stirring below. Something incomprehensibly vast and inconceivably monstrous. Wings rustled in the hot darkness, and the very sound of limbs so black seemed to cast the room into shadow.

“EWWWWW!” whined three fanged maws at once.

Dave took the opportunity to back away swiftly.

“Hgraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!” yelled Albert, as he reverse-fell back up through the portal, landing back on the floor of Dave’s mum’s basement with a thud.

“I may also have tried the tennis racket thing,” he explained.

If you’ve enjoyed this story, you can find my work from previous Flash Fiction Months collected in these books:

OCR is Not the Only Font Cover REDESIGN (Barbecued Iguana)Red Herring Cover (Barbecued Iguana design)Bionic Punchline eBook CoverOsiris Likes This Cover

Click any cover to find that book in your choice of format.

You might also be interested in my sci-fi murder mystery novella, Ten Little Astronauts, which is currently crowdfunding at Unbound. Most pledge levels include all the books shown above, and all will include your name in the back of Ten Little Astronauts itself as a patron of my work.

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