Unfortunate Legacy

The demon stood in the snow.

Fergus saw it standing in the knee-deep powder through the small window of his front door.

“Don’t try to do too much out there,” his wife Nancy called from the kitchen. “Just take your time.”

“I won’t, don’t worry,” he answered distractedly.

“Amber might join you out there in a little bit if that’s okay.”

Fergus could hear his daughter playing upstairs and nodded.

With his winter jacket, boots and gloves already on, Fergus pulled his toque down over his ears and with a deep breath opened the front door.

It wasn’t very cold although the wind packed a sharp bite as Fergus grabbed the shovel leaning against the house. Ignoring the demon, he began tossing snow from the driveway onto his lawn.

Not much time had elapsed when a burning sensation erupted in his chest.  Damn acid reflux.

The demon spoke. “It hurts, doesn’t it?”

“What hurts?” Fergus asked, keeping his back to it as he dug into the snow.

“Your heart.”

Fergus paused, acknowledging the comment.  “It’s acid reflux,” he muttered. “That’s all it is.  Acid reflux…”

After a few more minutes of shoveling, the pain grew worse. Grimacing, Fergus stopped and rubbed at his chest.  “Is this your doing?”

The demon seemed closer yet remained motionless.  Only its mouth moved. “Maybe.  You don’t see surprised to see me.”

Shaking his head, Fergus said, “No. Somehow I knew you’d be back.”

“Back?”

“I saw you that day,” Fergus said.

“When?”

“The day my father died.”

The demon’s mouth twitched ever-so-slightly, staring hard at Fergus with its emotionless, black eyes.  “What did you see?”

“I was only five but remember watching from the living room window,” Fergus began. “It was similar to today. A storm had just dumped over a foot of snow on us and Dad went out to clear the driveway.”

Fergus dug the shovel into the snow and heaved the pile aside.

“You didn’t look real, almost like a reflection off the snow.” Fergus glanced at the demon who appeared even closer. “I remember him looking at you, like he was listening and then nodding. You reached out, touched his chest for a moment and he collapsed. The doctors said his heart gave out.”

The demon nodded. “They always do.”

Fergus rubbed his own chest again, “I had nightmares about you.”

“Worried that I would come for you?”

Fergus shook his head. “No, what scared me was wondering what you said to him.” He took a step toward the demon. “What did you say?” He glared into the demon’s eyes, noticing that they rippled in the wind.

“I explained your family’s unfortunate legacy. Would you like to hear it?” Not waiting for an answer, the demon continued. “Basically, thanks to a distant and sadistic ancestor of yours who made a deal with my master, your family has to forfeit a male soul to us every generation. We leave it up to you to determine whose soul we take.” In the blink of an eye the demon was face to face with Fergus. “Your father gave us his.”

The front door opened and Amber bounded from the house into the snow, drawing her father’s attention.  “Hi Daddy,” she called out playfully.

“Hey there, sweetie,” Fergus replied. Turning his attention back to the demon, he asked, “So why go through all of this? Why not come and take the one you want?”

“As I said, you or a male from your family has to make the decision. That was the deal. Sadly, since you have no brothers, it will end up being you.”

“What if I say no?”

“Don’t.”

“If I’m the only male and I say no, then are you shit out of luck?”

The demon’s brow creased and its eyes narrowed. “Don’t.”

“Or else what?”

The demon blinked and time stopped, frozen in place. Snowflakes hung motionless in midair.  All went deathly still. Fergus found he could turn his head but quickly grew concerned when he realized the demon was no longer in front of him. It was kneeling in front of Amber. Her eyes were wide, full of fear; her mouth open forming an ‘O’ shape. She’d never looked so fragile or terrified.

The demon had the tips of its fingers inside of her chest.

“Get the hell away from my daughter!” Fergus screamed trying to run but his feet would not move.

“This is your only warning,” the demon hissed. “You may hold the initial choice of whose soul we get but when complications arise, the rules change and the choice becomes ours. We can take any soul we want at that point. It would still be better if you made the decision to honor the original deal, but either way, a soul will be coming back with me.”

It twisted its hand slightly deeper into Amber’s chest.

Tears streamed down Fergus’s face. “Get the fuck away from her!”

“Then make the choice.”

Fergus screamed, “Take mine, damn you!”

In a flash the demon was back in front of him. “You made the right call,” the demon grinned.

Time resumed as Amber shook her head, slightly dazed. She looked at her dad and smiled as the demon plunged its hand into Fergus’s chest. The cold, demonic fingers wrapped around his heart, slowly constricting it.

With his legs growing weak, Fergus sat back in the snow. A tingling spread through his body but after a few seconds it began to subside. Fergus then felt nothing as the demon pulled its hand out.

“Are you okay, Daddy?” Amber asked.

The demon disappeared and Fergus’s world went dark as he replied, “I’m fine… sweetie…”

~ Jon Olson

© Copyright 2017 Jon Olson. All Rights Reserved.

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About jonolsonauthor

On top of working full time as a Security Checkpoint Coordinator at the Halifax Robert L. Stanfield International Airport and still learning the ropes of being a father, Jon is also a writer of horror and dark fiction. While he writes predominantly about the dark and horrible, he will step out into other areas if the interest is there. Jon is a proud member of Pen of the Damned and is also a member of the Horror Writer’s Association (Affiliate level).

19 responses to “Unfortunate Legacy”

  1. aspend says :

    Nice

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hunter Shea says :

    Love it. My grandfather died shoveling and every time I head out in the snow, I think about that. I guess dying is better than losing your soul to a demon, though!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Brian Moreland says :

    Well done! Loved the line about the wind rippling across the demon’s eyes.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Lee Andrew Forman says :

    Great story, Jon! Such a sad twist at the end… Awesome stuff!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. afstewart says :

    Quietly and beautifully disturbing.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Veronica Magenta Nero says :

    I always enjoy the demons you conjure up Jon, great tale!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Joseph Pinto says :

    Jon, I enjoyed your story this week! It’s a fascinating, as well disturbing, concept to think that perhaps our fates aren’t just that but may belong to something more sinister… Kudos!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • jonolsonauthor says :

      Thanks, brother! I’m always wondering about whether or not we have ‘fates’. Sometimes you’ll hear certain people say ‘God has a plan…’ but the ‘Others’ have their own plans and agendas as well. And as we all know, plans often go awry… thanks again Joe!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Angel with dirty wings says :

    So loved this! gripped from the start to the end, even gasped! Cheers my lovely for writing and sharing! Awdw x x

    Ps – thank for the lack of blood and guts this week, one is having her bum kicked by sodding morning sickness!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. John Potts Jr says :

    Haunting. This story makes me want to invest in a snowblower. Wow… hits too close to home, and that’s what makes a story excellent. Bravo, sir.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jonolsonauthor says :

      Thank you very much! It hit a little close to home while I was writing it! It was actually one of the more difficult scenes I’ve written since I wrote it picturing my daughter. Thanks again!
      And a snowblower will be one of the best investments you can make!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. jonolsonauthor says :

    Reblogged this on Jon Olson Author and commented:
    UNFORTUNATE LEGACY by Pen of the Damned’s Jon Olson

    Like

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