Mergers and Acquisitions
“Demosthenes, bring my drink.”
His voice was a command. His words an edict. This was how he ruled his business, and business was pretty damned good. Beleth relaxed in his large chair and held out his hand expectantly. The drink had better be in his hand before he grew tired of waiting or there would be hell to pay.
The telltale sound of his servant approaching was music to his ears. Demosthenes was exceptional and would have been hard to replace. Wiry fingers carefully placed the cup in Beleth’s hand. He took a sip of the scalding liquid. It was perfect.
Demosthenes waited for his master to savor the drink before he spoke. “Sire, your next appointment is in 30 minutes.”
Beleth relished the time he had to relax, but understood that some mergers and acquisitions required his presence. Not everybody was okay with dealing with his underlings. Some were pompous enough to demand a visit with the big dog himself. What those idiots didn’t understand was the extra cost incurred when dealing with the person at the top.
Demosthenes was nearly out of the office when he stopped abruptly. He turned apprehensively and spoke in a tone riddled with fear. “Master, your appointment has arrived early and requests your presence.”
Beleth almost spilled the rest of his drink with sudden fury. “What? Early!”
He stood quickly, his tall form moving with a predator’s agility. This new acquisition was not going to go well for somebody. Beleth strode over to Demosthenes and handed him the drink.
“I will finish this later,” Beleth growled. He started to walk towards the door when he stopped and turned. A sinister smile curled the sides of his lips. “Domesthenes, I will call for my drink in a few minutes. I will have need of you in the appointment.”
Domesthenes bowed excitedly – he knew what this meant.
A long, dark corridor lead from Beleth’s office to the place where the meetings were held. There was no light between here and there. Only darkness. It made it possible for Beleth to approach his next acquisition unnoticed and see what the man was going to try to use as leverage in the negotiation.
Beleth stood at the end of the meeting place, concealed in the thick shadows, and watched the man who was waiting. This one was perhaps forty-five. He kept himself in good shape, was obviously wealthy, and appeared to be extremely confident in himself. Beleth looked around to see what the man had brought for the negotiation and soon found what he was looking for. There were papers, offerings both symbolic and literal, but the man seemed most dependent upon what he had in his hand. This was going to be easy.
Beleth stepped out into the dim light and stood motionless in front of the surprised man. An oddly cold wind played around the above ground graves and ‘oven’ vaults, moaning as it whipped at Beleth’s pants and buffeted his silk suit jacket. The man stumbled backwards a few steps as the Louisiana night strangled the air. Beleth looked into the mind of his newest acquisition. His name was Steven.
“Steven. You look shocked. Is my appearance not what you were expecting?”
The man tried unsuccessfully to regain some composure. “Maybe this will help.” Beleth twitched his hand and the expensive suit he had been wearing drifted away like smoke. He stood before Steven with clawed hands, a large horn growing out of either side of his head, and wings folded behind his back.
“Is this what you wanted to see? I think it’s a little cliché. My form is what I want it to be and I don’t give a shit about your expectations. Let’s get to it and talk about the deal you want to make with me.”
Steven quickly shoved his left hand forward and displayed the silver ring he had purchased at great expense. He stuttered hopelessly for a few seconds before he regained enough composure to speak.
“Beleth, I have summoned you. You are compelled to make a deal.”
Beleth raised his left hand and showed an identical silver ring. “You are a fool. I was already willing to make a deal. But you insult me when you bring such feeble talismans and spells. You are treating with a prince of Hell, not a simple imp or lesser demon.”
Steven looked down at his hand and toyed with the ring that had done nothing for him. He opened his mouth to speak but only swallowed his words when Beleth approached him.
“You had the balls to start this early because you thought you held all of the cards.” Beleth stood tall over the doomed business mogul and spoke in gritty tones. “This is my business deal.”
His voice boomed and tombs shook as Beleth called over his back. “Demosthenes, bring my drink.” There was a stirring in the shadows deep within a large tomb and Demosthenes emerged from the depths of the vault. The old man carried the cup and slowly walked towards his master, but his eyes were bright with vicious hunger as they locked onto Steven.
Beleth took the cup and drank deeply. Steven’s eyes shined with horror-derived lunacy. With the cup empty, Beleth gave it back to Demosthenes and looked at Steven.
“You are wealthy and powerful, yet here you are, ready to ask for more. This is what will happen instead. You will destroy this precious life you have made for yourself. Once you are done, you will be mine.”
Steven’s face twisted with the warring emotions of fear and fury. “Never!” he screamed.
Beleth stepped to the side as he spoke, allowing Demosthenes to get closer to Steven. “You can either die now, or you allow Demosthenes to manage this deal for me. You will answer to him. What do you say?”
The prince of Hell held out his left hand for Steven. Steven looked at it, then looked at the seemingly fragile Demosthenes. The business mogul shook the infernal hand in front of him. Beleth smiled as he pulled away, taking Steven’s ring along with him.
“Smart man,” said Beleth. The demon turned to his elderly servant. “Demosthenes, it is time for you to walk in this world again. Are you ready for the merger?”
Demosthenes chuckled with malicious delight and slowly approached Steven. “Yes,” he croaked, “I am. It has been far too long.” He stopped in front of Steven and reached for the businessman’s chest. Steven tried to knock Demosthenes to the side but was stopped with a simple command from the old man.
Steven’s hand stopped. Demosthenes lifted frail fingers and slipped them inside of Steven’s hand. The business mogul shrieked like a scolded child, then howled with horror when he realized the old man was inside of him.
Demosthenes sighed and his eyes fluttered with nearly orgasmic pleasure. He hobbled to Steven’s side and slipped his entire right arm into Steven’s right arm. The hand started to jerk as if in the middle of a seizure, but soon relaxed and began to flex and turn. Steven watched his right hand in horror, his eyes wide and unblinking with the realization that he was no longer in control of that hand.
The old man began to whisper into Steven’s ear. “Your body is mine. You will sit in the back of your mind, aware of everything around you, helpless to do or say anything. I will ravage your family, your wife, and will do all of those things that hell has kept from me. I will ruin the dynasty you have so carefully built, and I will use and consume your body with unbridled passion and lust. When all is done, all is gone, and you have witnessed the shame of it all, you will die a horrible death and I will drag you down to see your master.”
Screams of profanity turned into unintelligible shouts and verbal fits that bounced off the cemetery vaults. Beleth watched with demonic glee, tasting Steven’s torment and drinking in his frenzied terror. Demosthenes slowly shuffled behind Steven and began to merge into his new body. Steven’s shouting began to diminish; the screams of dread slowly turned to moans, and then faded to pleasant laughter. It was done. Demosthenes smiled with his new lips, displayed his perfect teeth, and laughed as Steven wailed from deep within.
Beleth walked up to the businessman who calmly dusted off his clothing. “You look good, Demosthenes. Have some fun.” Beleth grinned as his new acquisition walked back towards the city.
Business was good.
~ Zack Kullis
© Copyright 2014 Zack Kullis. All Rights Reserved