Pick one..

(My first attempt at an urban kind of short story. Bear with me, please. :P)

As always, he picked his bag up from the table next to the couch, put his coat on and got ready to leave the house.

He picked out the loose change from the change basket near the door for his morning coffee.

Locking the door securely behind him, he hid the spare key under the doormat.

Tugging his coat closer to his person, he started walking towards his car.

He drove to the drive-through Starbucks, grabbing his favorite coffee and a toasted cheese bagel, waving to the server who knew him well now.

“Bye now, Harold! Have a good one!” the server called out.

Biting into the bagel, sipping his coffee occasionally, he reached office.

Parked his car carefully, and got out.

As soon as he reached the elevator, he heard the beautiful voice call out. But not to him. Never to him.

“Jim! Hold the elevator please!” said a girl to the liftman as she walked into the elevator with Harold, never sparing him another look.

Harold was shook by how beautiful and confident she was. And how not-so-confident he was.

Never-the-less, he shook his head. When the elevator doors opened, he waved his hand in front of him, letting her pass. She walked out with a faint ‘thank you’.

He smiled at the minimal communication, more than what he ever got.

His smile slowly faded as he saw her walk up to her partner, Nate.

Nate smiled at her and said, “Jess…” faintly before hugging her with visible emotion.

She was never his to begin with and now he had no chance.

The entire day passed as usual, with him working hard, and occasionally stealing glances at Jess, who he obviously had deeper feelings for.

On his way home, he picked up Chinese. He lived alone and he couldn’t cook for squat.

As he sat on his couch, eating take-out watching some movie, the winds started blowing faster outside. The windows rattled.

He pressed the mute button on the remote and looked around, not getting up from the couch. When he turned his attention back to the tv, there he stood, dark, glorious, beautiful.

“Gaahh!” Harold jumped in his seat, spilling noodles over his carpet.

The stranger smiled at him.

“What the hell!? Who the fuck are you!?” he howled, finally standing up, his hands in defensive position.

“Oh calm down, Harold. I am not going to hurt you.” The beautiful stranger spoke with his deep, musical voice.

“How did you get in here? Who the fuck are you?” Harold repeated, holding his position.

“Just flew in. Noticed the winds? Windows rattling? All that jazz? That’s moi.” The stranger said smugly.

“What are you?” Harold asked, sweat sprouting on his face.

The stranger moved towards his couch, sitting with a swoosh of his black coat.

Harold compensated for the stranger’s advances, moving away from the couch.

“I am..” the stranger began, “Mephistopheles.”

Harold’s face held a confused expression.

The stranger chuckled and said, “Call me Phil. The ancient name is a bloody tongue-twister.”

Harold backed away a few more steps and stuttered, “Mephistopheles? As in, the demon from the German lore?”

The stranger sat up straighter, “well, someone knows their history. I’m impressed, Harold. So, now that I am here, tell me. How can I help?”

“What the actual fuck. Look man, leave before I hurt you. Alright?” Harold said, lifting an iron rod from the umbrella stand.

“You? Hurt me? Please.” Phil scoffed.

Harold lifted the rod and ran towards Phil, who disappeared and appeared behind him.

“Look, don’t piss me off. I am here to help you, jackass. I can grant you one wish, you tool. Stop fighting me.” Phil said with an annoyed expression, pushing Harold down on the couch with a wave of his hand.

“A wish? What are you, a genie now?” Harold spat out, struggling to sit straight.

Phil ignored his jibe and continued, “I know you love that girl. Jess, is it? But, you can’t have her. So, I’m here and I’m going to grant you your one wish and give you the girl of your dreams.”

Harold started daggers at Phil, not saying anything.

After what seemed like eons of just staring, he said, “Why?”

Phil smiled and explained, “Because I like you. You have spunk. Also, it’s more of a favor than a wish. All I ask for is your soul.”

Harold started breathing deeply.

Phil shook his head and said, “I know I know, why should you trust me. Blah blah. Okay, here you go.”

He walked over to Harold and touched his forehead with the slightest pressure.

The next instant, Harold was standing at the end of the aisle, in his sharp tux, his family standing in rows.

He heard the beautiful bride tune and saw Jess walk down the aisle in a pearly white dress that was beyond perfect.

She reached the end of the aisle and stood next to Harold.

As the priest asked them their vows and promises, she spoke with the deepest love, “I do.”

Harold was insanely happy. He kissed her tenderly, fearing she’ll disappear. But she never did.

The next thing Harold’s vision is hit with is Jess again. 5 years after their wedding. She lay in a clinic, playing with their baby.

Suddenly, she looked up and said, “This is a beautiful baby. Is she yours?”

Harold’s eyes pinched in pain and tears as he muttered, “what…”

Jess smiled at him in confusion and repeated, “The baby, is it yours? Also, um, are you sure you are in the right room? Do I know you from somewhere?”

Harold felt dizzy all at once and looked down to his hands. He held a folder that read ‘Jess. Early onset Alzheimer’s. No chance of return of memory.’

He looked up to see Phil sitting on the couch next to him, in his room.

He looked around in confusion and shock, breathing heavily.

“What the..” Harold breathed out.

Phil stood up, adjusting his long coat around him and said, “So, yea. That is what happens. You get the girl. But, you have only 5 years of bliss before she loses it. And no, no refunds on soul purchases once the transaction is done. So, you have two options. Either you take the deal, have your five beautiful years with the girl you love, a beautiful baby girl, but don’t have forever. Or, don’t take the deal and pretty much suffer in misery. Pick.”

Harold looked at his hands, empty.

He looked around himself in utter confusion, before resolve caught hold of his eyes.

He looked up to Phil, smiling the slightest, and said, “Where do I sign?”


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