Writing Prompt #159 — Worse Than Hell

Prompt: “Fools!” The demon screamed as it rose from the portal, “You are not prepared!” The Boy Scouts found this amusing.

The boys in their pine green shirts and khaki shorts, navy blue sashes filled with honors and merit badges, stared at the demon who rose from the pentagram drawn with sticks in the dirt. It was smaller than they anticipated, whinier, too.

“Fools” it squeaked, pointing a hooked finger towards them. “You children summoned me?”

They looked at one another. Some shrugged, others shook their head. Unsure what to do or say now that it was here, but Blake, Troop Leader, stepped forward. “Uh, yeah. We summoned you.”

“For?” Its wide yellow eyes widened.

“To get the Conjure Badge.”

“A badge?” The demon spat. “What the hell’s that?”

“It’s an award, after completing something,” Blake said. “We conjured something from Hell… You.”

The demon deflated a little. “Oh, so you didn’t summon for any specific purpose?”

They laughed. “Nope, plus, what could you do? You’re tiny!”

It shrunk into itself more, running its claws over its protruding head, rubbed its pointed ear. “Lucifer always said size doesn’t make the demon—”

They continued to laugh.

“My little sister’s bigger than you!”

A couple boys pointed as they doubled over, holding their bellies.

“A kitten could probably eat you!”

A few in the back wiped tears from their eyes.

“We should just throw him in the river and try again.”

More and more the boys teased the Demon, more and more they said things that even it hadn’t heard in Hell, more and more the Demon shrunk into itself until it was crouched holding its crooked legs against its hollow chest, face buried between its knees. It held back the acidic tears building behind its eyes, tried to ignore the remarks and comments, pleading to be sent back to Hell for it was far better there than here…

Someone called in the distance and the boys dispersed, returning back to the cabins outside the forest. One boy remained. A pudgy one with a blonde bowl cut. He walked to the circle surrounding the Demon and said, “I’m sorry they did that… They do it to me, too, because I’m fat and short.”

The Demon looked up at him, his chubby cheeks freckled. “They do?”

He nodded, crouched. “All the time.”

It sniffled, backhanding its eyes. “Why do you stay?”

“Parents make me,” he said. “They want me to make friends, be normal, but… I don’t wanna be like any of them.”

“I don’t blame thee,” it said.

An understanding of ridicule for something they couldn’t control passed between them. “Do you want to go back?”

“More than anything.”

“Okay,” the kid stood and began reciting gibbering, fast words, and before a fuchsia light bled from the lines and a wink of radiance appeared, the smiling Demon said: “Thank you.”

Then, it was gone and the boy, now alone, realized even though he knew nothing about the Demon, he already missed it. After a while, he turned and went back to camp.

Read the previous prompt, “Heaven’s Grave

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