A Dance with the Devil in the Pale Moonlight

  • So many newbies lately! Here is a very important PSA about one of our most vital content policies! Read it even if you are an ancient member!


Original poster
Michael shoved his hands into the pockets of his large, brown trench coat as he passed another brightly-lit neon sign inside another dingy and filthy alley-way. Hong Kong was busy, sprawling, and working brilliantly at making money. People were milling about to ruin their lives, fine ways to enhance it, or simply burn away the time that made up their day-to-day.

Michael was doing all of the above, and more.

It had been 2 years, 3 months, and 6 days since he had made the deal with that demon Azazel. "You sure?" He had asked the demon. "I'll get everything I ask for, to a 'T'. No catches, no hidden charges or fees, no bite-me-in-the-ass twists of my words 'cause I forgot to add some caveat bullshit?"

"You are correct, mortal," the demon hissed in it's otherworldly voice. The sounds resonated on several wavelengths, both high and low at once; tangible, and in his mind at the same time; so on, and so forth. The first time he had summoned a demon and had it talk to him, he keeled over and vomited and jabbered on for nearly half-an-hour.

Now, he was eating a cheeseburger. Half-way done with it, actually.

"Alright, then. Let's do this."

And the deal was done, all for the small price of his Eternal Soul.

The next time he saw Azazel, one year to the day--hell, right down to the very minute--of brokering the deal, Michael had no intention of paying up. He never had! A shame these buggers don't have proper mind-reading powers, despite the repertoire their tool bag of demonic goodies offered.

"Fuck off," Michael had ended up telling Azazel. In his fury, the demon attacked, only to step on a holy amulet trap-bomb. Azazel was still licking his wounds, last Michael heard.

The next demon to come to collect was bigger, meaner, had a greater reputation, had helped Genghis Khan give him his land Empire, so on and so forth. His name was Baash. He was outsmarted with clever use of a Michael look-a-like.

The demons after fared no better in collecting Michael's soul.

Lighting up a cigarette after stepping out of the rain, Michael stood underneath yet another neon sign. It spelled out gibberish, as far as he was concerned, what with that Chinese writing and all. 'Where's the fucking English?' he thought sourly. He supposed the sign didn't need English--there was a set of massive tits glowing right underneath the Chinese.

He sucked in another lungful of disease-inducing smoke and stepped through the doors. He was immediately greeted by a stink that transcended stink; it was sweet, musty, sexy, filthy, pungent, sour, foul... Any and all smell-descriptors, and more. It made his eyes water for a moment, or maybe that was just the thick cigarette-and-drug smoke that hung in the air.

Michael made his way to the bar, avoiding eye contacts with males and brushing past several pairs of enhanced Chinese tits. He made a point to tweak a nipple or two on his short journey to the bar.

"Chang, gimme a beer," he told the bartender. He knew the guy; at least, he thought he did. He called him Chang, he answered to Chang.

"Sure thing, ASS-HOLE." Chang called him 'Ass-hole'. A single word turned two, with a pause in between.

"Thanks, Chang." The tall glass of amber-coloured beverage was set in front of him, a bit of the head dribbling down the side. Michael took a long drag of it before he sat it down, half-empty, and turned on his stool. He propped his elbows on the bar, and stuck his legs out in a lazy, inconsiderate pose. His long limbs were bound to bother or trip someone up, but he didn't care. He had a tall, six-foot-two body to accommodate, after all.

He ran his hands through his blond-brown hair and blinked his blue eyes, and took in the crowd. "Any saps tonight, Chang?" He asked loud enough for half the bar to hear. It didn't matter; odds are, they didn't even care what he said, let alone deciphered.

The current Devil was female. Yes, Hell had become a matriarchy because what was more evil than a Queen? Nothing, so far that she knew, and she had looked for quite a while! The Adversary, the Tempter, the One Below, and so on and so forth, had no real need for a human name. She had forgotten it quite a long time ago, but it was sort of the rage at that time in Hell. Riddles had been in for a while but the Devil was terrible at riddles and could not stand for being bad at something others were good at. Then it had been horns, and for a time after that they'd gone back to the old-fashioned pitchfork thing. Now it was names.

Currently, the Queen of Hell's name Carol. She had previously been Rin, Kathleen, Evelynn and Stephanie. Carol was perhaps her favorite in that it was neither too long nor too short. Also, it didn't have so many V's or Z's or E's that all the other demons were fond of. Carol hated what others were fond of. Just as well, she was getting bored of the paperwork. One would imagine running Hell was a rather large business - and it was - and that they had moved to computers or some sort of primitive technology. Nope, they were still using quill and vellum. It was, if she could say so, Hellish. She could crush a dozen strongmen in the amount of paperwork she had to do and it was all mind-numbingly dull. Thankfully, Carol had a consort at her beck and call and her Heir to teach to do paperwork who would sometimes lighten the load. Minutely.

Yet today there was the troublingly large report of a human soul that ought to have been nicely toasting in Hell and wasn't. The Devil stared at the whole volume of reports written by tricked, fooled, kicked and sour demons retelling their events with this skulldugger of man and forewarning any others. Carol frowned and took up her quill, making some very neat lines and a very simple sentence saying, "He is Mine."

Then, the Devil took a trip to the mortal world. She was a lovely lady to look at, of English or American descent, with dark hair and pale skin. Her body was that of a model; starved and inhumanly proportioned to fit into impossibly sized clothing. Clothing that was, today, a suit. A black suit with metallic navy pinstripes, a suit of the finest quality with perfectly tailored sizes. It was a suit to be jealous of, a suit to envy, but the Devil made it look like just a suit. She stood in... Asia. Somewhere. Vaguely. Fuck, the Devil didn't know Chinese - it was just a bunch of squiggles and in Hell screams were a universal language. She did know the symbol for tits in any century and language, though, and had to quirk a smile at this human's taste of reveling.

Carol made her way in, sliding between people as though she was just smoke, her pale blue eyes searching. Staring into faces and moving on and... There. A soul, marked by Hell yet unclaimed. The woman walked right up and took the seat beside this befouled man, saying nothing to him or the barkeeper. Instead she pulled out a cigarette and lighter, indulging in one of her favorite, ill-tasting hobbies. It wasn't called the Devil's toy for nothing.

"Pay for a drink for a lady?" the Devil purred to the man beside her, smiling. A smile that was not so innocent or so kind, but perhaps that made it even more beautiful upon her gentle face. A hidden streak of cruelty under that frail body. It was, in fact, not so hidden but mortal men need not know this. No, Carol was just a woman who looked perhaps a bit too much of a femme fatale asking a man beside her in a titty bar for a nice, casual drink. Nothing suspicious or strange here.
Chang hadn't said a word to his inquiry. Michael didn't expect him to; this was a ritual of theirs, most nights. Michael would come in, play with some tits and get a drink (not necessarily in that order), and proceed to hustle some gaijin or poor-looking fool who had decided to drink or tit his way into monetary oblivion. It's not like he hurt anyone doing this; he had to eat, too! What did it matter if some fool wasted his money on Michael's bullshit, or some stripper's bullshit, or Chang's bullshit (even if the other two bullshits were much, much more enjoyable).

Michael decided he really wasn't all up to playing a hustle tonight. Oh, if there was an easy mark, he'd be all over it, but he didn't really want to put any effort into anything requiring... Well, effort. He was tired, and something dreadful hung in the air. He couldn't put his finger on it, but something screamed at him to... To do something. Not run, not fight, not flee, but all of those at the same time, and more. It was disconcerting.

For a moment, he thought it was his soul bartering coming back to haunt him. But, how could it be? Who else could Hell send that could best Michael St. Claire? He was the best at what he did, which included kicking Demon ass.

"Pay for a drink for a lady?"

The words shook Michael out from his little mental reverie. He turned his head, giving attention to the woman who now sat beside him. She was stunning, beautiful, gorgeous--hell, all of the above, and more! Her eyes glittered brightly, even in the dim and dull atmosphere of the inglorious titty bar, and she maintained a scent that was far more than simply intoxicating.

Michael was immediately put on alert. 'Women like this don't talk to you. Remember that, Michael.'

"I'd love to," he told her with a strength, swagger, and confidence in his voice. His was bassy, but not too deep. Definitely masculine, but with the volume of confidence he held on his tongue, there was no doubt about him being a rogue of some kind.

"What're you having? No, wait. This is that critical moment where I order your drink for you, and then you gauge the kind of man I am by what I order, and how close I got it to what you normally drink. A woman like you...?

Vodka martini. Shaken, not stirred, eh?" He couldn't help but grin at his own joke. He got Chang's attention and in seconds, the drink was set in front of the woman.

"So, how'd I do, Missus...?"
It took him all the time until she spoke to finally notice there was another at his side. Heh, men. Always so absorbed within their little worlds they hardly noticed the wonders sitting right beside them. Carol inhaled deeply on her cigarette, tasting the chemicals and the death that tried to lace into her lungs. Slowly, she exhaled, the cloud of silver poison trailing up around her face. There was a reason the old Hollywood stars thought these things glamorous; because they were. It gave her that ethereal shift, which was hard and presumptuous to pull off in a titty bar. Somehow, the Devil did it. Well, not somehow. She was the Devil, after all. She did whatever the fuck she felt like.

Right now, Carol felt like smiling at this elusive sap. He did not even blink twice, did not even listen to that intuition. Humans were soft creatures now. They forgot about instinct and pampered their lives full of electronics that were meant to keep them safe. It did not - could not, actually - and the Devil walked among them as if invited. She was, now, quite welcomed by her target. Michael seemed quite eager to be with her, to spend time with the Devil. A wry, knowing smile slid across those heavily painted lips. If only he knew, but then that would take away all the fun.

Oh, listen to that confidence! She could drink it like sweet honey, could milk that voice and then play it back to him as he screamed for oblivion. The Devil was quite a wonderful ventriloquist, after all. "What're you having? No, wait. This is that critical moment where I order your drink for you, and then you gauge the kind of man I am by what I order, and how close I got it to what you normally drink. A woman like you...? Vodka martini. Shaken, not stirred, eh?" Oh, was he trying to win her with wit? How quaint! How cute! It made her giggle a bit, and as she laughed a few light bulbs in the background shattered with faint, distant "pop"ing noises. Vodka martini. It sounded feminine and strong, and something she would either love or dash to the ground.

Still, as he ordered, she stubbed the cigarette out on the bar and paid attention to Michael from only the corner of her eyes. As he asked how all fared, Carol took a sip. It left decisively pink lip marks on the rim, which appealed to her sense of ruin but also made her wish for order cringe. The drink itself... Well she kind of wanted to throw it against the wall. It was foul, and befuddled by human breweries. "It's precisely what I wanted," she told the damned soul with a dazzling smile. Somewhere, out in the streets of China, a car broke down.

As he trailed off after Missus, it left the obvious line up for her to fill in her name. Since the Devil did not own any particular name - and she was kind of getting tired of Carol - she just took another drink of that foul elixir to buy for time. "Sierra," she provided afterward. Yes! It was an elegant name, with just as many consonants and vowels as its dictation needed. A good name. The Devil extended a hand towards him in greeting, "And you are to be...?" After all, was it not rude to give Michael St. Claire no time to introduce himself? Though, with the Devil, no introductions were necessary.
That nagging sensation continued in the back of Michael's mind. He couldn't quite finger exactly what it was nagging him to do, however! Run, flee, hide, scream, fight, punch the woman, curl up in a ball and sob himself into oblivion... All of those images popped into and ran into his mind all at once.

Especially when she smiled! Oh, she did have a gorgeous smile though, and those perfect pink lips...

"Sierra," he repeated, testing the name out with exaggerated mouth movements. He smiled at her, unable to not hear a screeching in the back of his mind as he did so. "Lovely name.

I'm Michael." He took her hand as a gentleman should and raised it to his lips. He kissed the back of her knuckles softly, and hid a sourface as he felt a gentle searing on his lips. It was a strange sensation, as if he had just laced his own lips with Tobasco sauce! He couldn't stop himself from licking them and could, at best, hope she simply took the gesture for something mildly lewd.

"Hong Kong's quite the city, isn't it? Pardon me, but you hardly look like someone from 'round these parts. It's the eyes." It was a racist joke, but a joke nonetheless. He grinned along with it; perhaps she would see it in the lighter light that he meant it to be seen in.

"With that said, what brings you here? And, well, here, of all places? No, wait, don't tell me. You're running from your overbearing significant other who brought you here on some business-cum-pleasure trip and you decided to talk to the first handsome gentleman that you took a liking to.

Am I right?"
The way he repeated her name made the Devil want to slap him. It was a detestable way to announce a perfectly lovely named. Sierra no longer wanted that name, not with the way he pronounced it. Still, she kept that seductively blank look about her face as he introduced herself. Yes, Michael. Michael St. Claire, a man who had given them his soul and eluded their capture for far too long. The Devil would have him and show him what a mistake that had been.

Having her knuckles kissed was a thing quite often done to Queens. Having a mortal touch it in such a way made her skin want to crawl. Still, she was surprised his lips didn't blister and bloat. Normally her skin was cold enough to act like dry ice when it was touched by such foul swine. Well, he probably had some immunity from Hell figures after such constant exposure. And that "mildly lewd" look just passed her as peculiar and not at all appealing. Humans and their peculiar rituals. Why not just pull off her suit and try to force her at the bar if he was trying to seduce her? Not that the Devil would have let a mere mortal touch her in such a way, but beating around the bush like this was both boring and irritating.

As Michael continued on speaking with her, Sierra - who was thinking of going back to Carol - treated his whole lengthy speech like a soliloquy. A very boring one, which amused her slightly because from his reports Michael seemed all but boring. Wait, had he mentioned Hong Kong? They were going to do epic battle for a single mortal soul in the heart of China? Not cool.

Not cool at all.

"Absolutely wrong," she told him with a slight laugh and smile. Simultaneously, the glass holding her vodka martini shattered into fine shards and a speaker gave away with a shower of sparks. The Devil looked to her wet hand with disdain and pulled out a scarlet handkerchief to wipe it away with. Then, standing up, she motioned for Michael to follow her. "Lets go somewhere far more suitable," the lady urged before falling into step for the door. Making sure her prey was with her - and grabbing his hand to drag him if he wasn't - they made their way to the door. A door that, when opened, did not reveal Hong Kong at all. No, they stepped onto a very different street.

It was still night, but there was the clean and summery breeze of an ocean nearby. The Devil pulled out another cigarette to light mostly by habit. Behind them, it seemed they had come out from a church. Ironic. Either way, Sierra glanced side-long at Michael. She seemed to like doing that. "I'm here for your Immortal Soul, Michael St. Claire," the Devil informed around her lovely, pink lips. "You have eluded and evaded each and every one of my Barons, Counts, Dukes and who the fuck cares what else. They're all fuckwits. But you managed to kick them in the balls and send them back to my court and I have to give you props. Not enough props to let you go, because you piss me off with every breath you take. I kind of just want to reach over and crush your throat and meet you downstairs.

"But you know what? There ain't no goddamn fun in that," she swore. Man, the Devil had a real sailor's tongue. Yet her voice made it sound like a hymn, as though her words were that of prophets. Really, she was done waiting. Sierra was getting shit done. Now. Somewhere near one of the beaches on one of the islands of Hawaii. Maybe it was Hawaii. She hadn't been all that specific in choosing location when opening the door to a new location. Either way, at least it wasn't China. She couldn't stand China. "Michael St. Claire," she announced, blowing a smoke-ring. "I am Sierra, Queen of Hell, the Devil, the Tempter, the Fallen Angel, the Lady of Sinners and the Bringer of the Ends. So on, so forth. It's a really long title and I'd rather not spend a lot of time on it.

"What I would like to spend time on is you, Michael." She turned, pointing a finger towards him and grinning like a maniac. It definitely was a Devil's smile. Somewhere, not so far off, the concrete of the road split. "How a scrawny, ignorant, soft little man like you managed to trick so many of those demons. Not that it's hard. They're imbeciles, but so are mortals. So you get one chance to show me what you can do before I really come to collect what's mine." Even if he did trick her, his soul was rightfully hers as per contract. He was coming to Hell, and there was really nothing that could stop the Devil from getting what she wanted.
Michael was straddling the fence between telling the woman to 'Fuck off' and flee from the bar all at once, and from simply giving in to her whim and saying, quite literally, 'Yes ma'am'. The options were taken from him entirely however, when she grabbed his wrist and pulled him through the door he had come through back out into the dark, wet, Hong Kong alle--

No, wait, this wasn't the alley any longer. It was still dark, but it wasn't raining anymore. It was cool, breezy, and smelled of sea-water. Sand crunched underneath his feet. He slowly began to realize they weren't even in Hong Kong proper!

"Is this... Hawaii...?"

He had taken several steps when the woman--Sierra--began to explain to him exactly what was going on. Who she was, where she came from, who she was in charge of, yadda-yadda-yadda. Michael felt that burning fear and despair boil deep within his bowels, and felt himself coming close to taking a shit right then and there. The more she spoke--'Wait, did she say Queen of Hell?'--the more he began to formulate and figure out what was going to happen to him.

This was not good. Not good at all.

"Well, shit," he managed to say in a cool voice. He was actually surprised when the words came out without creaking, cracking, or pre-empted by a scream! Even his hands weren't shaking as he reached into his coat pocket to draw out a pack of cigarettes. He set one to his lips and struck his Zippo lighter, lighting it. He took a moment to look down at it, a large golden cross on the surface of it. Heh, oh how I love me some irony.

So, she wanted a fight. Or a battle. Or a game. Or whatever it was, that ended with her dragging his soul straight to hell. 'Fuck me, I can't win this.' So, to buy some time...

"Wait a second--Queen of Hell? What happened to ol' Lightbringer Lucy himself?"
"Is this... Hawaii...?" Michael asked right as she was taking in a big breath of lovely sea-air. The Devil looked over at her target and gave him a strangely cute smile before nodding. Here was a place she could relax! It had enough luxury and alcohol to keep her happy, but was relaxed enough to not need her attention. Mmm. And just listen to that near-distant sea. The crash of the surf was like a lullaby, though she missed the sound of the Damned screaming. If only this sea boiled, then ah! She would be in Heaven, pardon her French.

While he took several steps away, Sierra kept a keen eye on him. Ensuring that the man did not try to run. Not that he could... Actually, a chase could be fun! She almost hoped he would run, but as her misfortune was, he stayed right there. The woman pouted a moment. But only that moment, because then he seemed to return to reality. She laughed a bit as he swore. Honestly, it wasn't the best reaction. No screaming or pissing, but it was as though she'd shocked him into numbness, and that was just as promising. It meant he could be easily broken later. It made being in the presence of this foul, disgusting pig of a man worthwhile. Or, it would!

As he pulled out the cigarettes and Zippo, she smiled a bit. Especially at seeing the cross. How quaint! Oh, yes, she was quite well aware his question was to buy time so he could think and formulate a plan. But she was the Devil, rather easily tempted and always in love of a good story. So Sierra flashed him that seductive smile of hers and brushed hair from her eyes. "Well, I'm really quite glad you asked! I enjoy this story...

"So it starts with me being a lowly demoness. And - what did you call him? - Lightbringer Lucy being the same jerkoff as always. But then I clawed his face off, ate his heart and took his throne! Now I am the Queen of Hell, ruling with iron heels and a spiked push-up bra," she joked. Laughing and shoving her hands into her pockets. "Who the fuck needs politics and schemes if nails can do the trick, right? So, was that enough time for you to come up with a plan or should I keep going? I could tell you about my consort and our wild sex. Or my Heir and how she'll eventually take over skinning your sorry little soul. Maybe I should just bore you to death in describing our paperwork routine?"