Thursday, January 03, 2008

Pine Shavings

Jasfoup the demon tucked the child into the cot and kissed it on the forehead before backing out of the room, a second, similar bundle cradled against his chest. As the door closed it vanished, replaced by the portal he’d used to travel between the Hells and he turned to see the familiar fires of home.

“Did you succeed?” The woman in front of him looked from the bundle in his arms to his face and he nodded.

Jasfoup strode to the chair and slumped, dropping the silent bundle onto the oak table and reaching for the pitcher of water. He poured himself a glassful and drank it down, his eyes closed in silent appreciation. Finally he looked up.

“Do not ask such a task of me again,” he said. “Traveling to the mortal plane is difficult enough. Traveling to one of their making is nigh on impossible.”

“But you managed it?” The woman came closer and pulled at the linen-wrapped bundle. “Our master will be pleased.” An arm fell out, clattering against the wood of the table.

“Don’t ask me to reverse the change when the child is grown, either,” Jasfoup said. He stood and looked down on the immobile child. “It’s not easy to affect the laws of nature in such a fashion.”

“Don’t worry, you’ve done enough.” The woman picked up the discarded toy and stared at its painted face. “Guiseppe will be damned now for his unholy wish of a talking puppet.”

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