Bob Damian a.k.a the devil roamed the streets of lowertown, Coastal city, in search of whom to devour. He found his man in Judas Akachi, a balding sweaty middle aged taxi driver standing by a DVD shop, biting his nails and occasionally scratching his backside.
The devil, a thin man dressed in a well pressed black shirt on a plain white trouser(simply because he tried to avoid the clichéd black on black outfit), walked up to Judas.
“Excuse me sir,” he said and strolled up beside the balding man, “may I have a moment of your time?”
Judas, who’d been engrossed in a movie poster, suddenly turned to see who was addressing him. It was the devil and he knew it; everyone knew the devil when they saw him. The thin and frail looking frame was unmistakable and that pleasant smile always gets your attention.
“Sure,” he answered, “I have all the time in the world.”
The devil smiled and shook his head, “That’s quite curious.”
“And why is that?” Judas asked, rubbing a dirty palm on the seat of his faded jean shorts.
“Well, it is quite curious because the reason I need a moment of your time is because you will die today.”
Judas wiped his eye brows and stared intently at the devil. It was common knowledge that this guy was something of a trickster but sometimes there was truth in his seemingly rubbish talk. He decided to play along and see where this went. If he truly was going to die that day he would simply run to his lawyer’s firm, SALVATION Inc. and complain to pastor Theophilus. But first, the devil.
“I see, that’s a bit inconvenient don’t you think?”
The devil shrugged cooly and adjusted his shirt, “You tell me, I wouldn’t know.”
Judas remained silent for a while and then looked up at the thin man.
“Okay.” He nodded.
“Good.” The devil replied and dipped his right hand into his pocket, producing a stopwatch.
Judas stretched his neck in a bid to catch a better glimpse of the glistening metal trinket.
“What is that?” He asked.
“Ah, but it is your life, you see.” The devil replied, handing the stopwatch over to Judas.
Judas held the silver trinket in his dirty palm and turned it over in the sun; it did indeed have his name carved on the back of it. Judas was a bit worried now.
“My life?”
The devil shuffled his feet on the concrete pavement, hardly bothered by the strange looks people shot at him as they passed by.
“Yes, your life, as a timer which ends in..” He placed his palm over his eyes and stared at the sun, “less than twenty four hours.”
Judas gulped and fingered the carvings on the metal trinket. He then looked up at the devil, “I guess you want me to do something, like sell my soul to you?”
The devil frowned for just a split second. Sell his soul? that was a stereotype, he wasn’t always after souls although that could be an option. We’ll see.
“Tempting but I doubt your soul would be worth much.” He said and his gaze strayed unto Judas’ battered taxi; a green and white shitbox that had obviously seen better days and then he looked him over from his faded brown shirt to the stained jean shorts he had on. Definitely not his soul. He’d chosen him for a different reason.
The devil shook his head, “Certainly not your soul.”
Judas heard a beep on his watch. He checked it and saw it was 13:30, lunch time was over. He turned to his taxi (a beauty he was proud of) which was parked around the corner and then he looked at the devil.
“Time for work, Judas?” The devil asked in a tone that said ‘if you leave you’ll die.”
Judas looked more nervous now. He didn’t want to die, not yet. The movie poster he was staring all so longingly at before the devil showed up was of a movie he anticipated, one that would not be out until the years end.
“What do you want?”
The devil looked across the street and saw a glimmering light, death was around the corner, the bastard.
“Walk with me.” The devil said and began treading the path that led towards Middletown. Judas followed him.
After a while of walking in silence, the devil spoke.
“I really don’t need your soul, Judas.”
“You mean you can’t have it?” Judas asked, remembering what pastor Theo, his lawyer(the one from SALVATION inc.) Said:
“The devil moves about like a roaring lion seeking whom to devour. He can’t have your soul, not unless you trade it.”
‘”Technically, ” the devil answered, “but I shouldn’t have to worry about that, you already offered yours earlier.”
Judas scratched his backside and then considered if it would be rude to sniff his fingers, he shrugged and dipped his hand into his pockets. The devil was up to something maybe he should play it safe.
“Do I need to call my lawyer?”
The devil paused in his stride and scoffed, “You mean those scrawny-necked bastards at SALVATION inc.?”
Judas opened his mouth to answer but stopped. The devil continued.
“I have no respect whatsoever for those so-called lawyers. Although their boss, God, now that’s someone I respect. We have a sort of hate-hate relationship, you see I once worked for…” He stopped and shook his head, “I think we’re going besides my point here.”
“I want to help you and as I’ve said before you’ve got less than 24hours to live.”
Judas sighed, he was already tired.
“What do you want?”
“It’s not what I want but what I can give you.”
Judas watched a taxi drive by, it shared an awful resemblance with his.
“So what can you give me?”
“Hope and an existence.” The devil replied and plucked a paper out of thin air.
Judas looked closely at the paper, it was a contract of some sort–he knew better than to sign that.
“What do you mean by existence?”
The devil spotted that glimmer again and focused on Judas.
“You barely exist, in fact nobody knows you.”
“That’s a lie. Jericho knows me, he always shouts ‘my friend’ whenever I come to his shop.”
The devil scoffed and then chuckled.
“You mean the guy from that DVD shop you always hang out in? He doesn’t even know your name. That’s why he keeps calling you ‘my friend’.” The devil was suddenly reading from a small book in his hands, “You’ve got no ambitions or dreams and you live your life as one sorry dreary routine.” He scoffed and said to himself, “and he thought I wanted his soul.”
Judas frowned, that explains it. Maybe he didn’t exist after all. He looked up.
“But you’re the devil.” He said this with a weak apprehension.
“Yes, I am the devil so automatically I’m the bad guy. Do you need my help or not?”
Judas thought for a while and then shook his head, “I don’t need your help and I don’t care if I don’t exist or if I die.”
The devil shrugged again and brought out the ticking stopwatch from before(he’d snagged it back as they walked), “Time is not on your side.”
Judas groaned and stormed off. The devil smiled as he watched him walk away and then his smiled faded when that glimmer caught his attention again.
“You had to show up, didn’t you?” He turned to the dark individual standing before him. His name was Junior, the grim reaper’s apprentice. He currently wielded the staff of power(both figuratively and literally). The staff with its metal blade, the one they called ‘the scythe’, was what glimmered under the sun.
“You called me so here I am.”
Unlike the devil, Junior was old fashioned in the sense that he dressed in a flowing dark robe, the ones typical of death.
“You can have him, I’m done with him.” The devil said and they both stared at Judas who’d walked quite a distance.
Junior looked at the devil’s smile, “He did have twenty four hours, didn’t he?”
“Even more, he had a rich life ahead. That’s why I chose him. He is nothing but a chaffy mess now, stripped of his ambitions and will to live.”
Junior whistled, “But you told him he had 24 hours, you even showed him that watch thingy.”
“What can I say, the devil is a liar.” The devil chuckled and started to walk away.
Junior looked at him and then at Judas, “But he’ll die now because he thinks he’s got nothing to live for.”
“That’s the idea, death junior. Now go do your job.”
Bob Damian a.k.a the devil began his roaming again. He stopped by a crowded shop and turned to the woman next to him. With a big smile, he spoke: “Excuse me, ma’am, may I have a moment of your time?”