Reblogged from REUTS Publications ProjectREUTSway Runners-up blog series.
Here’s another short story I loved from the runner-up vault from ProjectREUTSway. I’m a huge fan of T.A. Brock. I love her writing style and storytelling. Enjoy!
SILVER HANDS, SILVER TONGUE
by T.A. Brock
He came as most demons do, in the velvet black of the night and with a deal sweeter than honey-dipped berries. Maybe if father had known it was actually syrup sweetened absinthe he’d have thought a moment or two before agreeing to the devil’s terms.
All the wealth you could dream of for the rights to that which stands behind your house.
“There is only a failing apple tree,” my father chuckled. “You offer riches in exchange for a dried up tree? Sure, then. I’ll even chop it down for you.”
Too quickly, he’d agreed. Too careless. Too ignorant of a demon’s cunning.
He couldn’t have known that I wasn’t asleep in my bed as he’d thought. There was no reason to think I’d gone outside to look for the cat I’d heard meowing from my bedroom window. The one I’d found in the lowest branches of the apple tree.
The deal was brokered, the dotted line was signed, and at fourteen years of age I belonged to the dark. To the demon with blue eyes and skin like caramel. But even though I was his, he didn’t come for me right away. And that meant I had time. Time to think of a way to thwart him. Time to be hurt. Deceived. Betrayed.
Time to fall in love.
“And so, we meet again.” He smiled, and I think it was supposed to be sexy. But only in the way that a manic shark was sexy. Which is to say, not.
“It isn’t exactly meeting when you just show up unannounced outside my bedroom window.”
His smile slipped. “Need I remind you, you let me in.”
“Indeed I did.” As if keeping him out was an option.
“Have you been a good girl?”
I smiled sweetly. “Of course I have. A perfect angel. You know that.”
“No evil deeds at all? Not a white lie, a strand of jealousy induced spite?”
I shook my head triumphantly. “There is nothing. I remain spotless.”
“I don’t believe you. Let me see your hands.”
I held them out for his examination and tried to ignore the zing that ripped through me when he touched them. It was nothing. Didn’t mean anything. If it did, it was just a physical manifestation of my disdain for him. Or for all I knew, he could be making it happen, that curious electrical shock.
“You are clean,” he muttered, turning them over and over, searching for any speck of dirt.
“I told you. I’ve been good.”
He frowned, hard, his black brows falling like a shade over his eyes. “Why? You know you don’t have to.”
“I want to,” I said, jerking my hands from his.
He cocked his head to the side. The way he stared, it was like he was trying to read my thoughts. But Ezra had assured me it was impossible. The demon, Raven, could only know my thoughts if I spoke them out loud. That’s why only Ezra knew my plan.
“Nobody wants to be good. They do it because they have only two choices. Be good and go to heaven or be bad and go to hell.” He stepped closer, invading my space and smelling like no demon should ever smell. Like burnt sugar and cinnamon. It wasn’t fair. He should smell like rotten eggs and turpentine. “But you, little apple, only have one choice.” Little apple. His nickname and reminder of my father’s misunderstanding of the terms. “So, tell me, why? Why are you trying so hard to be good?”
Ezra was right. He didn’t know.
I answered his question with one of my own. “Why are you trying so hard to make me be bad?”
“As much as I love the sweet little apple you are, I have to admit, I can’t wait to get you all dirty.”
“Ugh.” I shoved him away but he laughed, completely amused.
“What? What did I say?”
“You… you are awful.”
“Oh come now,” he said, cajoling. “You know what I mean. I’ve waited three years—no, longer—to have you in my arms. The truth is, I’m anxious to experience it all. Even your bad parts. Especially your bad parts.” His hand cradled my cheek in a gesture so soft it had me shivering. “Hannah,” he breathed, suddenly serious. “I desperately want the whole you.”