I have to admit, it was a pretty big surprise to find out that the coffee shop where I worked was haunted by a demon.
“That’s not quite right,” Calcifer remarked the next day as he waited in line, catching my eye as I poured hot milk behind the cappuccino machine. “I don’t exactly haunt places. And I’m a devil, not a demon. There’s a difference.”
“What?” I asked, confused. “Did I say something?”
Calcifer shook his head, his eyes gazing briefly skyward. “No, it wasn’t you. Just the narrator.”
I shrugged off this odd comment as I handed the man in the front of the line his latte. “So you’re a devil? Doesn’t that make you evil?”
“Evil? Moi?” he exclaimed, throwing a hand over his chest in feigned shock. “Nah, not really. Come join me when you’re on break, and we can chat.” Calcifer took his large coffee black, without cream, although I did notice him adding a dash of honey at the self-serve station. He then sidled towards one of our booths in the rear, which, despite the constant stream of customers, always seemed to be empty. I now had a suspicion as to why.
After the mid-morning rush of customers had subsided, I made myself a drink (brewed green tea, nothing fancy) and made my way back to Calcifer’s booth. He gave me a knowing nod as I slid in across from him.
Once settled into the seat, I did my best to fix him with a piercing stare. He returned the gaze, unruffled. “Are you after my soul?” I asked, doing the best to keep my voice serious.
The devil across from me snorted into his latte. “Souls? Please, Lucern gave up on those things years ago. Put a lightbulb inside a volleyball, and you’ve got the same thing with way less trouble.”
(Narrator’s note: souls generally take the form of glowing spheres.)
Calcifer once again looked up towards the ceiling of the shop. “Of course they do! Can’t the readers infer that from the cues?” He glanced back down at me. “Sorry about that. Anyway, I have no designs on your soul.”
I kept up my suspicious face. “So what are you after? How do I even know you’re a demon?”
“Ugh, devil,” he corrected me again, annoyance flashing across his features. “But I understand the want for a demonstration. So much different from a few centuries ago, when people accepted it pretty much at my word.” Calcifer scrolled his gaze around the shop. A wicked grin spread across his face. “All right. Watch this.”
With a flourish, Calcifer pushed up the sleeves of his suit, showing me that there was nothing hidden inside. He cupped his long fingers together into a bowl, and then opened them to reveal a fairly large, colorless marble, roughly the size of a chocolate truffle.
“That’s it?” I asked, unimpressed. “You made a marble appear?”
Calcifer glared at me. “That’s not the trick, mortal.” He sighed. “You lot are always so impatient. No, thisis the trick!” He extended one hand and flicked the marble onto the ground with a twist of his fingers, sending it rolling away from the table.
Part II will be posted in the next update! Once posted, it can be found here.