Okay, so.

I meet Death sometimes to play games. Or maybe she’s the Devil, I dunno. She answers to both, I guess? Denny Feldman started calling her Devth because of that and I guess she likes it since he’s still alive.

Anyway, to get to her place we go into this ratty old trash can behind the Gas ‘n’ Gulp. If she wants to play games there’ll be…I dunno, a tube or something to slide down. If she doesn’t it’ll just be garbage. Someone threw out a bowling ball the other week and it’s still in there. I mean, who does that?

So, we usually play board games. Devth likes Monopoly because it lets her be evil, I guess that makes sense. But don’t cheat or act shifty.

Okay, so, if you cheat or act shifty, you’ll know Devth is mad cuz she’ll get goat eyes. If yoo’ve never seen goat eyes, look them up because they’re really weird and scary. Like octopus eyes. But in a goat. Anyway, they’re yellow too, and she’ll give you the evil eye with them. Literally, I guess.

Anyway, you have about 30 seconds to calm her down before things get bad and you get thrown into the eternal night forever. The last time it was me Devth thought I took money from the bank without it being my turn. I just forgot to get change when I bought Reading Railroad, and laughing about it was enough to calm her down.

Missy Antonucci wasn’t so lucky. When she got caught counting cards when we were playing poker, Devth revealed her true terrible form and cast her into the pit of 1000 years’ torment. Okay, so it’s bad but at least it’s not the eternal darkness, Missy will get out in 2116.

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This post is part of the August 2013 Blog Chain at Absolute Write. This month’s prompt is “Child of the Devil.”

Maria Nguyan had been skeptical of the woman in the dark dress at first. She’d even manged to get the first two numbers of 911 dialed on her cell phone. The mumbled intimations of being a child of evil and the prophesied doom of the world hadn’t helped. Mom had always warned of strangers, after all, though that warning coming from someone who greeted door-to-door salesmen with homebaked cookies had never seemed particularly dire.

But that had been before Ms. Dark had shown Maria that she had mysterious and inexplicable powers. Local flies did her bidding, being pushed in front of a speeding semi had sent the truck driver to the hospital, and releasing the heartburn rather than keeping it in had led to a gout of flame breath powerful enough to reduce Mr. Feigenbaum’s hated geraniums to ashes.

“So do you see now?” said Mrs. Dark. “Do you see how I speak the truth? You are the child of evil, the spawn of the most profane and evil Devil of every faith on Earth.”

“I do, I see it now,” Maria said. “Mom always told me that Dad was a rotten, no-good, devil.” She remembered little of her father save an unpleasant smell, eternal arguments, and the motorcycle jacket emblazoned with e red imp that he wore the day he had left. Well, that and his immaculately groomed mustache and goatee. The mention of Maria’s father was the only thing that got demure Mrs. Nguyan into a full-throated rage.”I guess…I guess I should have known all along.”

“Oh, child, child,” Mrs. Dark said. “You have it all wrong, I’m afraid. It’s your mother who is the Devil.”

Check out this month’s other bloggers, all of whom have posted or will post their own responses:
ishtar’sgate
BDavidHughes
areteus
Ralph Pines
articshark
pyrosama
Anarchic Q
meowzbark
MsLaylaCakes
grace elliot
milkweed

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His frame was crippled by the poverty of his upbringing: polio in the legs, a touch of rickets in the upper arms, scoliosis due to malnutrition, and a laundry list of other debilitations. Yet his hands were as strong as any there ever were, and his eyesight keen, and those who heard him swore him to be the finest acoustic guitar player who’s ever lived.

In those far-off sticky summer days, he and his band would roam the Delta countryside, playing for whatever paying audiences they could find. The money was never more than a pittance, most of which went to offset the cost of care, wheelchairs, and the demands of nervous musicians afraid to be associated with a man many believed to be cursed. As was the case with many in those days, there were dark whispers that he’d dealt with Old Scratch, trading his physical strength for fiendish skill.

No one can quite agree on his ultimate fate, but all concede that his was a life cut short. Some maintain that he drank himself into an early pauper’s grave somewhere in the New Orleans wards. Other have him drowning when a riverboat capsized, dragging him into the deep buckled into a wheelchair. Darker tales speak of a midnight lynching when he bested a favorite son in a musical duel or when a stillborn and strangely twisted child was born to a local belle.

But his guitar…well, that went to Woody’s, the establishment where he played most of his gigs. It hangs over the stage to this day, still fully strung more than 70 years later. It’s been said that whoever can coax a tune out of it will have some fabulous reward; equally prevalent is the whisper of a terrible fate awaiting anyone unlucky enough to strum those cursed catguts.

Let’s find out, shall we?