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The Very Last Step

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Vls
Author's note: Entry for Banningk1979's demon/devil contest. Enjoy.

Now, one might ask why you would partake in this ritual. This one simply meets with the Devil, and as any levelheaded person knows, that’s very risky. But while he’s merciless and cruel, he’ll give you the power of wishing, if you can successfully outdo him in a little activity he has planned just for you.

First, you’ll want to contact him. Wear, or bring (make sure it touches your skin) a protective relic, usually religious. It can also be an extremely personal item, but most would simply wear a cross around their neck. Try bringing an item of the Christianity and Abraham religions, as the Devil usually associates with them. You don’t have to convert, but just bring them along.

At around midnight, or more preferably, 12:06 AM (it doesn’t have to be that exact time), walk down any flight of stairs in your house or apartment (they have to be at least six steps, so if you live in a one-story house, I guess you have to try another ritual). It must be pitch-black, so dark that you can’t even see your own hand in front of you. I recommend you wearing comfortable clothes, as tripping on a nightgown will abort the ritual and also make you have a quite painful broken neck.

You will soon notice that you never stepped onto the ground. Indeed, it seems as though the set of stairs is far longer than it usually was. If you had not reached the last step yet, turn back now if you want to.

Walking down the stairs for an impossibly long time, you will reach the last step. Here, there is a bit of light, a reddish tinge, and you can see an enormous, gaping hole, with the distant echoes of tortured screams. Do not try to focus on them, as you may accidentally fall into the hole, and you will join those poor souls, for this is the staircase of the “descent to Hell” (those lousy clichés). Instead, stand on the very last step, and turn around.

The steps behind you will have melded into the shadows. You cannot turn back now. Close your eyes and count to ten, assuming you’ve been to basic arithmetic classes before. Use your hand to clasp whatever protective relic you have, and yell out “I WISH TO GAIN THE POWER OF WISHING!” You don’t have to get the exact wording right, but please try to grasp the meaning like a legitimate literate person and not a failed nursery-class baby.

Don’t open your eyes (for those rebellious people, if you’d like to be stuck in Hell, be my guest). Do not release your hold on the relic. You are now being transported to Hell in the not-so-painful way. Your nose might catch a slight whiff of something burning, or the air growing warmer or colder around you.

At some point, it may be seconds or minutes (or one hour, six minutes, and six seconds, if you know what I mean); you’ll hear a loud WHUMPF! This signals that you have been successfully transported, and you may now open your eyes.

You’ll be standing in some sort of circular chamber, painted a pale color of grey, with no doors or windows. You’re probably in shock, as a grey room sure as hell doesn’t look like Hell. There will be two chairs facing opposite each other. Don’t try to move them; leave them the way they are. One chair will be the color of charcoal, and the other will be the color of pale red. Do not sit in the black chair, as that is the Devil’s throne. Sit in the pale red chair. It won’t be really comfortable, but don’t complain, nothing you can do about it anyway. Relax for a moment.

Just then, you’ll hear a thunderous sound, indicating that the Devil has arrived, appearing out of nowhere. He’ll take on the form of the person you hate or despise the most, but his eyes will be completely white, with only a small pupil, no irises. You might be unnerved for a moment, but don’t attempt to escape out of the chair, as you don’t have anywhere to escape to. The relic will be burning you now, an intense pain, but do not take it off, as it’s the only thing that isn’t allowing your body to be the toy of the Devil. He can’t harm a single hair on your head if you have that relic.

If he comes in, and you’re sitting in the correct chair, he will proceed to sit in the throne before you. His eyes will now be hungrily probing your face, gazing into your eyes. He’s surveying your mind. To make the upcoming easier for you, try not to think of anything. He can’t get into your mind that easily if you do that.

After a minute of silence, he’ll speak first. “Would you like to play an easy game I set for you?” You will automatically say yes, even if you do not wish to. Satisfied, he’ll lean forward, and give you a brief run-down of the rules.

This “easy game” the Devil has so sincerely made for you is just a way for him to fuck with your mind. He’ll ask you the best time you ever had in your life. Reply truthfully (there might be several moments, but pick one you remember with dignity.) There’s no point in lying. He will start asking questions about that precious thing in your life. The questions will start off simple, like “Who was with you?” or “What award did you win?” You will naturally respond with the correct answers. He’ll consider your responses for a moment before telling you snippets of information. How the award you won was a scam. How no one on that vacation wanted to be with you. His voice will take on a tone of an honest and caring person, like of a therapist. He will be feeding you the negatives now. How much money was wasted on the trip, how deep inside no one was proud of you winning a shitty award.

Some of these are lies, and some are truths. Think about the event. Think about it to the very beginning. Think every single detail of the trip. The people that went with you, the people that applauded you, the competition you participated. Don’t be influenced by his words.

When he is done “supplying” you with these statements, he’ll whisper to you, “What truly happened at the event?” If you hadn’t been mind-twisted by his pessimistic info, you probably will repeat what you initially said. If not, however, the Devil knows you’re weak-minded.

Regardless, the Devil will play another game with you. In total, he’ll play six. You must “win” at least three of them to receive the wish-granting ability. Mind that all of the games use the power of the mind, and your will to fight.

The Devil will now clasp both of his hands in yours. His hands will feel clammy, and you will instinctively pull away, disgusted. The grey room will immediately disappear, and you will soon be in another room with your greatest fear in life. It’s like Divergent all over again, except this time there’s no hot instructor helping you out. The room will be different for everyone, as every person has their own fears. It may be a person, deep water, heights, spiders, etc.

What you must do now is to get on your knees and remind yourself that this is not real. That it is simply a little piece the Devil inserted your mind with. You will then be shoved into the fear—pushed off an impossibly high building, spiders swarming all over you, whatever. You’ll feel intense panic, but calm down. Hold onto your relic, and don’t give in to the fear. Giving in means losing.

Stay calm. Close your eyes and cover your ears if you have to. While you are plummeting to your death or swatting off wasps, remember that it isn’t real. Yell it out if you have to. After several agonizing moments things will calm, and you’ll be back at the grey room again.

Undoubtfully you’ll be distrusting the Devil now. He’s put you through so much stress and you’ll want to leave. But you can’t. You must play six games. And he’s just starting the third one.

He’ll pretend to beg for your forgiveness. His voice will take on a pleading tone. Say you forgive him, as that is the only way to progress. With a smile of satisfaction, he’ll take your hands again. This time, his hands will be warm and clean, quite comfortable, actually. Enjoy the touch of his hands and close your eyes.

When you open them, you will be standing in a circle surrounded by tall stone walls. You are, in fact, in the center of a circular maze, and your task? Get out. The maze isn’t too big, and there’s enough light to navigate around.

But it isn’t that easy escaping. This maze isn’t some crudely hand-drawn crap. It’s your mind. The Devil has especially designed a maze of your mind—just for you!

You will be confronted with happy moments, which will lure you into a trance and make it difficult to escape the maze, or it will reveal your darkest, deepest, guiltiest secrets: that crush you want to make out with, the hidden murders, etc. etc. Unlike the first game, every single one of these is true. Whatever you see in the maze is what your mind has. You may not even know it yourself.

If those secrets are overwhelming you, you can shout out “I CAN’T GET OUT!” However, that will count as a failure. To successfully work out the maze, CONCENTRATE. Think slowly. You have all the time in the world. The guilty images hold clues to what directions to go. The maze itself is pretty straightforward; if it was on a normal sheet of paper it’d probably take around half a minute. It doesn’t have too much overlapping paths or rewinding curves, so it will be simple to solve if you keep your mind clear.

Once you found the exit, you will, as always, be teleported back to the grey room. You’re still probably woozy from those disturbing little bits you never knew you possessed. The Devil, sitting placidly in his chair (doesn’t he ever do anything? Goddamn him), will offer you a drink. It will be your most favorite drink the world: soda, lemonade, water, smoothie, I don’t know. Take the drink from him. You’re probably wanting to pelt endless rows of questions at him, but don’t. Just accept the drink and gulp it down to the last drop. Give the cup back to him. The moment it’s not touching your fingers, you will black out, for the fourth game needs a player.

You will be in an arena. Your clothes are of a simple style, comfy and tight enough, and you have a gun and a sword in a sheath. The gun is a revolver that will never run out of bullets, although for every five rounds it takes four seconds to reload. The sword has a three-foot long blade with a leather handle, and you can hold it easily, even if you never took any sword-fighting lessons. The arena will be a circular area with no trees, just rocks randomly scattered. The sky will be a blood-red, with a glowing sun concealed by the colors.

And who will you be fighting? You. The opponent is a mirror image of yourself—dressed in the same clothes and equipped with the same weapons. Just as you know what he’ll do, he’ll know what you’ll do. Whatever you do, he does.

The battle can be a long one, and a bloody one. It ends when one of you cannot fight any longer, which counts as a loss. To win, you must defeat yourself.

For people who have been trained with guns, many quickly end this standoff by simply shooting their doppelganger in the head. But for those of you that are untrained, this will be an extremely painful match.

There is only one way you can win. You must outsmart yourself. Do things you never have done before, or will ever do. Act things you even surprise yourself in. By surprising yourself you surprise your opponent, which gives you an opportunity for the kill. Examples include stabbing yourself, stripping down to the undergarments, running around in endless circles, chanting in random prayers. Whatever you normally don’t do. The challenging part of the fight is that every advantage you have is your opponent’s advantage, and that every disadvantage you have is your opponent’s disadvantage. This is the test to see if you are completely you, or not.

It will take some time to win the fight. You most likely will be soaked in blood, and probably trembling in what you had just done. The landscape will blur around you, and Voilà! You’re back in the grey room.

If you had won at least one game so far, you still have a slim chance of winning the next two. If not, you still have to play the fifth and sixth, but you might as well give up on them.

The Devil’s pupils will now have been enlarged, you can even see your reflection if you lean in close enough. His voice will no longer be so coaxing and soothing; it will take on a harsher manner, as the end of the games are coming and he might not get a chance for you to take off the relic again.

What you must do now is reach across and grasp the Devil by his arm. He’ll be expecting that movement, nodding his head twice. Your vision will become hazy and unfocused, and boom, you’re in the fifth round.

Some say that the fifth round is one of the easiest. Here you will be enclosed with mirrors. As a guess, those aren’t regular mirrors.

Depending on how many people you know, each mirror shows you what the person thinks of you. If you’re Justin Bieber, many girl fans display you as some sort of sex model...? And many will show you as some sort of spoiled blondie (no offense to blonds and JB fans alike) who sings all day, every day, before being carted off to jail.

If you’re a kind of person who just doesn’t like talking to people, the mirrors that surround you will simply show what your family members think of you, and most are just of a normal boy (for them socially awkward that participated in this ritual that is why they thought this game was easy). However, if you’re an obnoxious, popular brat strutting around in high school, the truth of other people’s opinions might destroy you. Your best friends actually despising you, the crush you had on that person not even giving a damn about you, your date, hoping that you’ll die someday so he can go out with another girl, the teacher that thinks you’re an annoying dumbass just goofing in class and has the future of being a trashy hobo when she grows up. These are all just opinions, but many that play this game suffer depression and eventually suicidal thoughts. They also lose their mind, starting a killing spree. You’ll wish here that you didn’t have so many “friends.”

Win the round by fighting it with your mind. Persuade yourself that you don’t care. That they can think all they want about you and you won’t even acknowledge them. When your mind has become focused again, you’ll be in the grey room for the very last round.

This time, do not let the Devil touch you. You must enter by yourself into the last stage. Curl up into a ball on your chair and hold onto your relic. Tune your surroundings out. Think of nothing. Allow your mind to rest into a blissful state. Soon, something sharp will poke into you, and you will wake in an utterly dark room, as dark as the staircase you first walked down with. In your hand will be a revolver, the same one as game four. Take a deep breath.

As soon as you’re ready, you will see a red light. It will be a pinprick, gradually becoming larger and larger. When it is large enough to blind you with its ruthless glare, quickly shut your eyes.

Count to five and open them. In front of you, in a dimly lit room, will be a person. A random, generic person you may or may not have seen in your life. Their faces will be dripping blood and their skin have been torn away, chips of bone visible. Organs may dangle out of cuts on their bodies. They will moan and slowly drag themselves toward you, muttering how you were the one with the knife that tore them apart and caused them the eternal pain.

Do not try to ignore them. Listen to every word they say. When they groan out the phrase “I’ll make you feel pain you’ve never known before,” (if you shoot them earlier or later you lose), shoot them exactly three times square in the middle of the forehead. Miss one mark, (it doesn’t have to be the same spot, but it has to be the middle of the forehead) and you lose. The moment you have finished firing three bullets, swiftly toss the gun away and lunge at the crumpling corpse. Yell at them “I have given you peace!” as loudly as you can. Turn away now and take three steps with each foot. Cover your face with your hands and kneel. Do not speak a single word.

In a few seconds you will be standing in the grey room, which now has only one chair, as you are done playing the games. The Devil will get up from his throne and offer you a handshake. Do not accept. Bow to him at the waist and turn away. A door will appear in front of you. Walk through it. You will find yourself at the bottom of the flight of stairs you were supposedly taking. Only a few minutes have passed in real life and you may continue your nightly rest.

The Devil has considered you worthy enough to have the ability of wish-making. Be careful though—this is a Devil thing. Every wish has a drawback, unless you are extremely specific. If you wished to have a ton of candy, they will probably all fall on you. If you wish to have your dead father back with you again, he’ll come back in the form of a rotting corpse. BE SPECIFIC WITH YOUR WISHES.

The next morning, you will also receive a copy of an unknown newspaper, even if you do not order such things. The front page will have a picture of the person you killed in the sixth game, along with details of the mutilation and the three bullets lodged into the head. Even though it isn’t really your fault, you will still feel immense amounts of guilt, as the person was sacrificed simply for your ritual. The regret and pain you will suffer through can drive you to madness.

But what happens if you accept the Devil’s handshake? The games are over. There are no more reasons to be in contact with him. By taking his handshake you have put yourself in his power, and the first thing he’ll tell you to do is to remove your holy relic.

And if you do that?

Joining the many tortured souls of Hell, you’ll think from the beginning, and you’ll wish you had never stood onto that very last step.



Written by RisingFusion
Content is available under CC BY-SA

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