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The Endeavor

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Author's note: This took 4th place in Banningk1979's June/July Demon/Devil Contest. User:GreyOwl's stories served as an inspiration and influence for me giving the characters personality. I hope you all enjoy it!

Computer-creepy-gn

Matthew Taylor groggily opened and rubbed his eyes. He studied his surroundings in an effort to discover where he was at, it reminded him of an office. The room he was in contained: A wall of white that surrounded him in all four directions, a simple wooden desk that was adorned with an old computer, a pad of paper and a pen, and the red uncomfortable plastic chair in which he was seated. Much to Matthew's alarm there was no door, or so he believed until his eyes located a small white knob. The door and the doorknob were painted the exact same color as the walls and were near impossible to spot. The entirety of the room struck him as odd, someone had very bad taste indeed. As Matthew righted himself and began to stand from the chair, he was struck by a wave of heat which caused him to fall back into his chair.

"Good God, it's hotter than Hell," he muttered to himself.

Matthew's ears managed to pick up a thumping sound which was approaching the room. The door swung open and in emerged a man in a white tank-top and sweatpants. The Caucasian man had dark black hair, blue eyes, a pencil thin mustache, and a closed smile.

"Welcome, Mr. Taylor! I'm so glad that you could make it," shouted the newcomer enthusiastically.

Something about the man's voice sent shivers down Matthew Taylor's spine.

"Wh-Who are you? Where am I? I don't remember you or a thing about this place," responded Matthew Taylor.

"Oh, I'm sure you've heard of me once or twice. I've certainly heard of you, why I am a big fan of your work and I don't mean your novels, Mr. Taylor. Your visit was a long time coming."

Matthew's mind raced as he thought back to all of the women he had forced his knife upon over the years. His long and sordid, yet secret, history must not have been so secret after all. Matthew Taylor, famed horror author and the sensation that swept the nation, was a serial killer. It was clear to Matthew now, he had been found out and drugged by one of his victim's fathers or boyfriends, that's why he woke up clueless in such a place.

"Who was it?"

"I beg your pardon, Mr. Taylor?"

"Which one was it that landed me here?"

"All of them."

Oh God, it was worse than he had realized, this guy knew about every single one. It's not as if Matthew had wanted to kill those ladies, no, he did it out of necessity. Matthew Taylor had faced writer's block and was unable to successfully describe the murders in his first horror novel and so he did what he believed would break the slump, he went out and learned. It sure worked, the old adage of "write what you know" turned out to be true for Matthew Taylor and thus began his habit of killing each time he went to write a new novel. There was only one thing that could possibly get him out of this.

"How much money is it going to take for you to turn the other way and let me go?"

The man who had remained unmoving from the doorway until this point, walked in and laughed as he did so.

"I don't think you understand the situation," he replied as flames engulfed him to the point that they were all that was visible.

Matthew laughed at his own luck, the man had spontaneously self-combusted. The flames began to die down and smoke took their place. At first Matthew saw nothing, but then he was able to make out a shape in the smoke. As the smoke cleared, the shape became more discernible, it was the man. Impossible. Some of the man's features had changed: his eyes were cat-like and yellow, his teeth were sharp and filed, his skin was replaced with red scales, horns adorned his head, a black suit and tie had replaced the tank top and sweat pants, and hooves took the place of his feet.

"You were wrong when you said that it was hotter than Hell. This is Hell," the Devil bellowed.

Matthew's mouth hung agape, surely this was a jest. But no, deep down Matthew knew it to be true for his surroundings felt different, wrong, in a way that was beyond description. To attempt to describe his feelings would have been the same as attempting to describe a color; it was impossible. It was an experience.

The Devil waved his furry, clawed hand in Matthew Taylor's face, "Hello! Are you still with me? You haven't already broken, have you?"

Matthew opened his mouth, but found himself too afraid to speak. He merely nodded in reply.

"What's the matter, Devil caught your tongue?" he taunted as he opened the palm of his furry left hand.

The Devil's hand contained a normal looking and perfectly pink tongue. Matthew recoiled back into his seat and tried to gasp, but found himself unable to, for much to his surprise and dismay, his mouth was without a tongue.

The Devil grinned at the man and clucked his forked tongue as he threw his hand's contents. The tongue soared through the air and over the desk, Matthew stood up and reflexively caught it before being forced to sit back down due to the sudden spike in temperature. Matthew gawked at his tongue which firmly rested in his hand and then shot the Devil a confused and questioning look.

"Are you going to pop it back in or have you decided to take a vow of silence?"

Matthew put his tongue up to his mouth, to his confusion and relief it popped right back into place.

"H-how?" Matthew asked in a shaky tone of voice.

"It's quite simple, Mr. Taylor. This is my place and my rules, the physics that you are used to do not apply here. I can do whatever the Hell I want here. But, that is not the question you should be asking. You should be asking why I am even bothering with you. I guess I can't fault you for not asking that though, you probably assumed that I talked to everyone. You humans, you all think that you are so damned special. Matthew, you are not special, but you are damned."

"Wh-why are you bothering with me?" Matthew responded in a cracking voice.

"I require entertainment and therefore have decided to hold a contest between a few of the recent arrivals. It won't be anything too strenuous and it'll actually be quite fair; it's a writing contest. Whoever writes the best horror story in two days shall be returned to the world of the living and shall 'miraculously' recover from their fatal injuries," The Devil snapped his fingers causing the computer to power up with a word processor on its screen. "Seeing as to how you were a horror author you should have quite the advantage, as long as your brain doesn't cause you to cock it up," he finished.

Despite his fear, Matthew found himself making a bit of an outburst, "Wait a minute. If you're holding a contest between all of us new arrivals and are informing us of it one by one, how is that fair? Some are going to have more time than others to finish!"

Matthew instantly covered his mouth with his right hand after he realized what he had said. The Devil gave out a hearty laugh and smacked the white wall with his furry, clawed hand. All four of the surrounding white walls fell down granting Matthew a better view of Hell. Off in the distance he could see other white walls that had been knocked down and office like environments similar to his, they all contained something in common other than their equipment and recent Hell arrivals; the Devil. Yes, the Devil was in each and every office-like space simultaneously, each one looked at Matthew and shot him a taunting smirk. The Devil nearest to him snapped his fingers causing the white walls to shoot back up and repair themselves; every room was whole again.

"Far more intelligent than you am I, for I have all the bases covered. As I told you, Mattboy, I can do whatever I want. My power is limitless. I could literally conjure Lydia Shay's decapitated head out of thin air. You know what? I'm a genius, let's see what your first victim has to say." The King of the dark throne held out his hands and a female head took form.

The head that sat in the Devil's hands had brown hair which was tangled and ratty, blue dull eyes, and a permanent frown plastered onto it. Lydia Shay's head jerked, rushing to life, and let out a pained scream. As her eyes came to focus on Matthew Taylor the screaming stopped for Lydia's rage had replaced her pain.

"You," she snarled at Matthew.

Matthew could not bring himself to reply for he was stunned, it mattered not as the Devil interjected.

"The first kill is always special to the average murderer, but Lydia's murder was even more special to you. Oh, how you lusted after the poor girl only to be turned down. I know you killed for your novels, but did you kill her, specifically, because you figured that if you couldn't have her than no one else could? It's peculiar to me how you considered having some 'fun' with her body, but ended up refraining despite having such a strong desire for her. Seeing as how killing is the worst thing you can do to another being, I'm surprised you didn't just satisfy yourself."

Lydia's head bared its teeth and began to bite toward Matthew. Although it defied the laws of physics, the head broke free of the Devil's hands and lunged for Matthew chomping at the air as it did so. Matthew held up his hands defensively and let out a small cry as he shut his eyes and braced himself for pain. He waited and was confused when he felt nothing, he opened his eyes and slowly moved his hands away from his face and then he saw... That the Devil had caught the head out of the air and had it resting back in his hands.

"Boo!" The Devil shouted as he quickly moved the chomping head toward Matthew's face and pulled it back at the last second.

"No more," Matthew begged in a shaky tone.

"No more? Don't you like to have some fun? I sure do, especially with this cute little number," replied the Devil as he extended his forked tongue and inserted it into Lydia's mouth.

Anger built up inside Matthew as he watched the Devil and Lydia's head make out. The Devil had been spot on in his assessment of why Matthew had chosen to kill Lydia. Now the Devil was busy negating the whole "If I can't have her, no one else can" thing, for he had her and not Matthew. Although Matthew was a murderer and did indeed have urges towards some of his victims, he had always refrained for he despised rape and rapists; he refused to become one. Lydia moaning into the Devil's mouth was the straw that broke the camel's back. Matthew stood up, resisted the immense heat, walked over and pulled Lydia's head away from the Devil.

The head struggled in Matthew's hands as it attempted to turn around so that it could bite him. The Devil clapped his furry hands and the head dissipated into nothingness.

"Way to take charge, Matthew. I was beginning to wonder if your spirit had already been crushed, I prefer them lively. Well, write me the best story out of the bunch, I'll see you in two days."

The Devil did a quick spin and was gone. Matthew Taylor sat staring at the computer screen as he attempted to come up with a scary story for the Devil. Hour upon hour passed Matthew by as he racked around concept after concept in his noggin. Matthew didn't manage to decide on an idea until the first day had passed and he had a little under one remaining before the Devil's return. Matthew was going to write a horror story that started in Heaven. The story was to include a power struggle between Angels and the horror element was to stem from the great lengths that they'd go to in order to sabotage one another in an attempt to gain enough power to become a new god and overthrow the old one. The story was to continue with the worst of the bunch—the only survivor of the power struggle—being cast down into Hell and assuming the mantle of Devil. The story was to conclude with a man by the name of Gregory arriving in Hell and being forced to compete in a horror story contest for the Devil's amusement.

Matthew thought that the Devil would appreciate the deliciousness of the fourth wall nearly being broken and that would be enough to give him an edge over the other contenders. Matthew was able to finish the story to his liking with less than an hour remaining. Eventually the door opened and in stepped the Devil, garbed in a powdered wig, monocle, and ceremonial court dress.

"I trust you have something for me?"

"Y-yes."

The Devil moved Matthew and his chair away from the desk and spawned himself a chair to sit in. The Devil readjusted his monocle as he leaned in toward the screen, occasionally he grinned and grimaced as he read through the story. The Devil tilted his head toward Matthew after he had finished reading.

"Abaddon is my name, not Satan. Otherwise, the story was great. The best one of the bunch even."

"So I'm free to go?" questioned Matthew with excitement ebbing through his voice.

"Were it so easy. While your story was the best, you were disqualified from the start for you did not follow the rules."

"What! What are you talking about!"

"I said to write the story, you typed it. I warned you not to overthink it and cock it up."

"B-but, you turned on the computer for me."

"I also left you a pad of paper and a pen. The computer was a part of the test, the first stage if you will. I wanted to see if you and everyone else could follow directions and guess what? Only one of you could. Although, Joss, the winner, won due to his severe insanity. The crazy bastard wrote "HELP ME" in all caps on the wall with his own blood and although it wasn't much of a story, it did tell a story of its own and he did write it."

Abaddon held out his right hand and a pitchfork materialized in it. Abaddon twirled the pitchfork and flames burst forth melting all in the room except for him and Matthew Taylor. As the white walls melted away, the rest of Hell came into view. Beasts and Demons of all kinds roamed free, a couple of people could be seen trying to flee from them off in the distance, but their efforts were in vain. An ebony beast that was best described as a gigantic worm with an alligator head caught up with the runners and chomped them to pieces. Off to one side Matthew noticed lava, the two people that Matthew had just witnessed being eaten spawned in the middle of the lava. The two screamed in agony as they swam for the shore where the creatures waited to repeat the cycle.

"That is but a taste of what awaits," Abaddon stated nonchalantly as he pointed his pitchfork at Matthew.

"W-wait! Please, wait! I can make myself useful to you! I'll do anything!"

"Oh, Matthew. Do you really think that you are the first or even the millionth to make that offer? What could you possibly offer that I don't already have?"

Matthew's mind raced as he searched for an answer, his mind found hope.

"I can write stories for you. If you are busy torturing me, then I won't be able to."

The Devil thought a moment and lowered his pitchfork.

"Very well. I want a novel on the fourth of every month, if you can't deliver or I don't find such a novel satisfactory, well... You get the idea."

Thus began Matthew Taylor's tenure as an author once more. The nonstop writing was torture itself, but Matthew preferred it to the alternative. Of course, as every writer knows, one can only come up with ideas so quickly and God have mercy if you get writer's block...



Written by Doom Vroom
Content is available under CC BY-NC

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