06 Aug Satan Offered Me a Job
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"Satan Offered Me a Job"Written by David Maloney (a.k.a. LifeIsStrangeMeToo)
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Estimated reading time — 15 minutes
“I’m sorry, did you say Satan?”
The young man standing on my porch nodded eagerly.
“Yes, sir!” he said. “We have come to spread the message of our lord and savior Satan.”
I looked from him to his companion. Both were dressed in ill-fitting white button down shirts and black slacks, with gelled up side part haircuts and slightly manic smiles.
“Okay…” I said. “Well, I’m not really into the lord and savior thing so I think I’m gonna have to pass.”
I closed the door only to find the young man’s foot obstructing it. I opened it back up and sighed.
“Just a moment of your time, sir,” the young man said. “Perhaps a look at our literature could convince you.”
The other young man lifted up his suitcase and popped open the latches. When I saw what was inside, my heart nearly jumped out of my chest.
“Is that…real?” I asked.
“Oh yes sir,” the first man said, “Go ahead and take a closer look.”
I slowly reached out and picked up one of the bundles and inspected it. I’m no expert, but it certainly looked like a real stack of hundred dollar bills to me.
I looked from the money, to the creepy but overall harmless seeming young men, and then I waved them inside. We sat down around my coffee table and there was a moment of awkward silence.
“So uh…” I began, clearing my throat, “My name’s David. And you two are?”
“Oh, forgive my rudeness, sir,” the first young man replied. “I am acolyte Paul, and this is acolyte Stephen.”
“Uh… well, would you like anything to drink?”
“Oh no, sir. We do not require sustenance as mortals do,”said Paul.
“…Right,” I said.
I picked up my half-finished beer from the night before and took a swig.
The two young men just sat in silence, grinning at me as I drank. I coughed a little bit and the end of the beer and wiped the foam from my lips.
“You said you came to spread a message, right?” I asked. “So what’s the message?”
“We’re really glad you asked,” said Paul. “Satan is recruiting for skilled labor positions in Hell, and we’ve identified you as a top candidate! Congratulations, sir–this is fantastic news for you.”
My eyes wandered to the suitcase full of money.
“And uh… what does this job consist of?” I asked.
“Asking all the right questions,” Paul replied. “You’re a sharp guy, David. The details are all laid out in this contract here. Stephen?”
Stephen produced a single piece of paper from somewhere I couldn’t see and laid it on the coffee table.
I picked up the paper and stared at it.
“This is a contract?” I asked.
“Oh yes sir,” said Paul.
“What language is this?”
“It’s written in Old Enochian, sir, the language of angels.”
I set the contract back down on the table.
“Well, what’s it say?” I asked.
“I’m sorry sir,” said Paul. “I can’t read Old Enochian. We were just instructed by our superior to deliver the contract along with your signing bonus.”
“Signing bonus?” I asked.
Stephen popped open the latches to the suitcase once again.
“So you’re telling me,” I said, setting down my beer, “that if I sign that piece of paper, you’re just going to give me a suitcase full of money.”
“Yes sir, that’s the deal!” Paul said enthusiastically.
I took another swig of beer.
“Got a pen?” I asked.
Paul handed me the pen and I scribbled my name messily on the bottom of the paper, which Stephen promptly snatched up and stowed away somewhere I didn’t see.
“Wow, that’s great,” said Paul. “I guess we’d better go now.”
“Alright,” I said. “I’ll see you later.”
“Very funny sir,” said Paul. “Of course I meant we three had better go.”
“What do you mean by—”
My voice was cut off by a roaring sound as the three of us fell through the floor. Hot air rushed past us as we fell towards a distant red glow below us. Paul and Stephen’s faces remained frozen in their manic grins as their ties flapped up and whipped around their faces.
We fell hard on the glowing red dirt below, sending up a cloud of dust around us. When the dust cleared I found myself in a strange cross between a cave and an office, facing a large obsidian desk behind which sat a high backed leather chair.
The chair slowly swung around to reveal a smiling red demon in a suit.
“Hi David,“ he said. “I’m Satan. Now let’s talk about that job.”
“What in God’s name is going on here?” I sputtered out.
Satan arched one of his thin black eyebrows.
“In whose name?” he said.
“I just meant-” I began, before Satan cut me off with good-natured laughter.
“I’m only joking,” Satan said. “But boy do you ever not know how to read a room, Jerry. You’re gonna have to work on that if you’re going to succeed down here in Hell.”
“But my name’s David,” I said.
Satan opened a manila file-folder on his desk and slipped on a pair of pince-nez reading spectacles. He scanned the folder for a moment before looking back up at me.
“Are you not Jerry Smith, Satanic cult leader and Master of Unholy Magic?” he asked.
“Uh, no I’m an accountant,” I replied.
Satan scratched at his goatee.
“Well that’s not good at all,” he said. “Do you at least have a Bachelor’s degree in Unholy Magic?”
“No,” I said. “Is that even a thing that exists?”
“Of course it is,” said Satan. “We have an online program at the University of Phoenix.”
“Oh,” I said. “But isn’t that place kind of a…”
“A scam?” he said. “Why? Because they lure naive young people in with the promise of a better future and then bilk them out of thousands of dollars all in exchange for a degree not worth the paper it’s printed on?”
“Uh, yeah,” I said. “That was the reason I was thinking of.”
“Jerry, Jerry, Jerry,” said Satan, shaking his head.
“My name’s actually-”
“I know that to the less enlightened that may seem like a scam,” he went on, “but here in Hell we call that a masterclass in practical business ethics. Plus due to some clever legal maneuvering, we have the implicit right to employ 20% of their graduates after death.”
“I uh… okay then.”
Satan sighed and closed the folder before slipping off his spectacles and setting them down gently on the desk.
“Well,” he said, “I can tell that you’re probably not going to be a good fit here, but seeing that you’ve already signed the contract and there are some pretty steep penalties for breach, you’re just going to have to do your best.”
He redirected his attention to the corner of the room where Paul and Stephen stood, still sporting their manic Cheshire cat grins.
“And as for you two,” he said, “change out of those human suits. You’re giving me the creeps.”
“Yes sir, right away,” said Paul.
There was a wet tearing noise and Paul and Stephen’s faces split down the middle as two gargantuan, insect-like heads sprouted out from their necks. The rest of the skin slid off onto the floor like a pile of discarded clothes.
Satan shook his head as he regarded the two now stark naked demons standing in his office.
“Don’t you guys wear clothes under those suits?” he said.
“Sorry, Mr. Satan sir,” said Paul. “It’s really hot with clothes on underneath.”
“You do realize that we’re currently in Hell, right?” said Satan. “You guys should be used to the heat by now.”
“Yes, Mr. Satan, sir,” said Paul.
Satan sighed and pressed a little red button on his phone handset.
“Tina?” he said.
“Yes, Mr. Satan?” came a tired-sounding female voice.
“Can you please send in Fyrznal to escort Acolytes Paul and Stephen to the Pain Monster down in HR?”
“Yes, Mr. Satan.”
The door to the office opened and a giant-blue skinned demon with a hatchet embedded in the back of his skull entered. He slung the two acolytes over his shoulder and carried them screaming out of the office.
“I should have fired those two a long time ago,” said Satan, shaking his head. “But they’re my wife’s nephews–what can I do?”
“I uh… don’t know,” I replied.
As Satan skimmed the manila file-folder on his desk, I eyed the two suits of human skin in the corner of the office, wondering if they had used to be filled with humans instead of demons. My thoughts were soon interrupted by Satan clearing his throat.
“Well, no sense in wasting time,” he said “Let’s get down to brass tacks. I assume you’re familiar with Orznak’s Law of Eternal Soul Entropy and Hyperinflation.”
“Orznak’s what?” I asked.
Satan sighed and scribbled a note in the folder…
“Well at the very least you should be acquainted with Baal’s Index of Human Evil and the correct way to measure a soul’s value in micro-Hitlers,” he said.
I shook my head.
“Sorry, no,” I said.
Satan frowned and scribbled another note inside the folder. Then he shut it and tossed it into the fireplace in the back corner of the office. The fire flashed bright purple for a moment, and then the file was gone.
“That’s alright,” he said with an easy smile. “It’s all relatively straightforward; I’m sure you’ll pick it up in no time. In the meantime, though, I’m going to assign you a training officer to help you learn the ropes and monitor your progress.”
Satan pressed a button on his phone headset.
“Tina?” he said.
“Yes, Mr. Satan?” a tired sounding female voice replied.
“Can you send in Franken Teddy?”
“Yes, Mr. Satan,” replied the voice.
Satan released the button, and a moment later the office door burst off the hinges and an enormous demonic teddy bear lumbered into the office. His fur was gray and spotted with what looked suspiciously like old bloodstains, and one of his eyes glowed red like burning coal. When he spoke, it was in a deep, resounding baritone that was so loud that it chattered my teeth.
“YES, LORD SATAN?” he boomed.
“Hello, Franken Teddy,” said Satan. “This here is Jerry Smith, Master of Satanic Accounting. I need you to show him the ropes on the new project they’re running out of Darryl’s department. Do you think you can do that for me?”
“I SHALL COMPLETE MY TASK OR DIE IN THE COURSE OF ITS GLORIOUS UNDERTAKING,” Franken Teddy said. Then, turning his attention to me, he said: “COME HUMAN. WE HAVE WORK TO DO.”
Yet when I tried to stand, I found my legs to be strangely uncooperative. My stomach was squirming, and the demon’s ember eye felt like it was burning a hole in me from across the room.
“Uh, Satan?” I asked.
“You don’t uh… have any uh… human training officers do you?”
“Why, are you some kind of racist or something?” said Satan.
“No, I just–I mean, are teddy bears even technically a race?”
“I AM A COMMANDER IN SATAN’S DEMONIC LEGION,” boomed Franken Teddy. “NOT A TEDDY BEAR.”
“Really insensitive, Jerry,” said Satan, shaking his head. “Besides, you’ve got no need to worry. Franken Teddy is one of our finest training officers. And he’s only authorized to use lethal force in extreme circumstances.”
“Oh,” I said. “That’s… comforting.”
“COME, TINY HUMAN,” boomed Franken Teddy.
He motioned for me to follow him out of the office and I did so. When we got into the hallway he said,
“IT IS TIME FOR YOUR FIRST AND MOST IMPORTANT LESSON, HUMAN. IN THE EVERLASTING KINGDOM OF HELL, ALL CIRCUMSTANCES QUALIFY AS EXTREME.”
I felt my knees weaken a little. I opened my mouth to reply, but all that came out was a slight gasping sound.
The hallway that Franken Teddy and I walked along was filled with closed doors; screams emanating from the rooms behind them. I felt a deep sense of dread beginning to bubble in my stomach.
I hope that I’m still alive in a few days time.
Franken Teddy ushered me into Darryl’s department, a dim little office lit by flickering fluorescent lights.
“THE NEW SATANIC THRALL HAS ARRIVED,” announced Franken Teddy.
Darryl walked up and eyed me up and down. He was a short and bespectacled reptilian demon with a large potbelly that strained the buttons of his shirt. He looked over his spectacles at me with a look of slack disinterest.
“Jerry Smith, Master of Satanic Magic?” he said.
“THERE HAS BEEN A MIXUP,” Franken Teddy said. “THIS IS DAVID ROBBINS, MASTER OF SATANIC ACCOUNTING.”
“Erm, just accounting,” I said.
Darryl crossed his arms and wrinkled up the leathery skin of his face.
“What am I supposed to do with a regular Earth accountant?” he asked. “This is no good. Tell Satan to send him back up.”
“WE CAN’T SEND HIM BACK,” he replied. “HE’S ALREADY SIGNED THE CONTRACT.”
Darryl sighed and rubbed his forehead. He turned around and beckoned over his shoulder at me.
“Come on this way,” he said. “I’ll show you to your desk.
He led us to a small but hefty looking metal desk with a leg manacle attached to the bottom.
“Don’t worry,” Darryl said when he caught me eyeing it. “We don’t use the chains anymore. New labor regulations and all that.”
“That’s great,” I said faintly.
“So I assume you know what you’ll be doing here then?” he asked. “The contract would have been very detailed.”
“Well, it was written in Old Enochian,” I said.
Darryl peered over the top of his glasses again.
“You mean to tell me that you can’t read Old Enochian?” he asked.
“Yes, that’s right.”
Darryl pulled off his spectacles and rubbed his eyes.
“And yet Satan still refuses to let the department heads interview new candidates,” he said despondently. “Well I hate to break it to you but it’s nothing exciting. In this department, we basically serve as middle-men. We deal with the buying and selling of souls.”
“Who would buy a human soul?” I asked.
“Various cosmic entities.”
“What do they do with them?” I asked.
“We don’t really deal with that in this department,” he said.
“I always thought Hell was the final destination for damned souls,” I said. “I had no idea that it was actually just full of middlemen.”
“First off,” Darryl said, “Even if Hell was the final destination for souls it would still be filled with middlemen. Secondly, Hell is a multi-dimensional corporation, we don’t just trade in souls. We have parts in all kinds of business. We just closed a big endorsement deal with an A-list movie star for one of our reverse mortgage companies.”
“Really?” I said. “You managed to get a movie star to sign a deal with Satan? How did you do that?”
“Oh it was easy,” Darryl said, waving his hand dismissively. “We own ninety percent of all the souls in Hollywood.”
“Oh,” I said.
“Don’t worry,” Darryl said. “It takes a little moral flexibility at first, but I’m sure that you’ll get used to it. And all things considered, it’s not a bad place to work. We’ve got an excellent medical plan, for instance.”
“Oh sure,” said Darryl. “Just let our medical department know if any part of your body is bothering you and they’ll remove it, almost totally free of charge. If you want anesthesia you’ll have to pay for it yourself, though.”
Just then there was a terrible, blood-curdling scream from down the hall.
“What was that?” I said.
“Oh,” said Darryl. “Jeremy from human resources had a hangnail, and the medical department opted to amputate his foot. Better safe than sorry, you know–if Jeremy doesn’t have a foot he can’t have any more expensive medical problems.”
I looked down at my feet and thought about my own hangnail, and my stomach gave a sickening lurch.
“I uh, would like to opt out of the medical plan,” I said. “I need all of my body parts to live.”
“Really?” said Darryl, raising his eyebrows. “If that’s the case I’d stay away from the office shredder. It’s terribly aggressive.”
I eyed the large metal paper shredder in the corner, the top of which was totally covered in fresh blood, and silently vowed never to go into that section of the office.
“What do you mean aggressive?” I said.
Just then a small, amphibious demon staring at a folder walked right by the shredder, and was promptly vaulted by a spring-loaded floor panel directly into the machine’s mouth. There was a sick, wet grinding noise as blood sprayed all over the ceiling.
“Damn it,” Darryl said. “I keep telling the interns not to go near it but they always forget. We’ll have to get a new batch from the local community college soon.”
My heart began to pound wildly in my chest, and bile rose in my stomach as I fought the urge to vomit.
“Are you alright?” asked Darryl. “You look a little green.”
“I’m fine,” I croaked out.
“Are you sure?” he asked. “Maybe you need to go to the medical department.”
“NO!” I screamed. “I mean, ahem, I’m fine. I’m just not sure I’m too comfortable with selling human souls.”
“It’s just business, David,” he said. “You know what that means, right?”
“Well, Franken Teddy is your training officer–I’ll let him explain it to you.”
“IT’S JUST BUSINESS IS WHAT YOU SAY WHEN YOU WANT TO DO SOMETHING TERRIBLE AND NOT FEEL BAD ABOUT IT AFTERWARDS,” boomed Franken Teddy.
“What?” said Darryl. “No, that’s not right at all.”
Franken Teddy shrugged.
“THAT’S WHAT SATAN TOLD ME,”he said.
“You all are going to give me an aneurysm,” said Darryl. “Look, at the very least I’m sure you know we have a new project in the pipeline. It’s the entire reason Satan hired you after all.”
“Ah yes,” I said. “He mentioned something about that.”
“Well this is top secret,” he said.
He peered over his spectacles at Franken Teddy.
“That means you need to leave,” he said.
“I HAVE THE HIGHEST SECURITY CLEARANCE IN HELL,” protested Franken Teddy.
“Yes,” said Darryl. “You also have a big mouth and a head full of stuffing. Now get out and let David and I get to it.”
“FINE,” said Franken Teddy. “I DIDN’T WANT TO KNOW ANYWAY.”
Franken Teddy stomped out of the office and slammed the door behind him.
“So can we talk about the secret project now?”
Darryl held up a hand to silence me. He picked up a sealed ream of paper from the desk and hurled it at the door.
“OW,” came Franken Teddy’s muffled voice from behind the door. It was quickly followed by the heavy sound of retreating footsteps.
“Now we can talk,” said Darryl. “So, you’re an accountant, right? I assume you know how supply and demand works?”
“Erm, yes, vaguely at least.”
“Good,” said Darryl. “Because as the middlemen in the exchange of souls between worlds, our profit margins are totally dependent on controlling the flow of souls. You see, Hell used to have a monopoly on selling souls to other dimensions. But lately, new competitors have sprouted up in the form of new religions. Combined with the global population increase, souls are being devalued at the same time we’re losing control of the market.”
“Okay…” I said.
“You see, our investment in Hollywood has proved particularly lucrative, and allowed us to clinch high-value celebrity endorsement deals for pennies on the dollar. Using the cultural hub of America as our personal advertising agency also allows us to secure souls from all over the country. So our top priority is re-securing that market from the new fad religion that’s stealing celebrity souls from us.”
“Hold on,” I said. “Are you talking about Scientology?”
“Shh!” said Darryl, looking around the room with a clear expression of paranoia. “Never say the ‘S’ word around here! Are you trying to get sued? In our department we use a code word. From here on out, you’re to refer to our work as BS, which is obviously short for Beating… well you know. The ‘S.’”
“Right…” I said. “So how are we going to beat them?”
“With clubs, eventually,” said Darryl. “But that comes later, after the economic ruin. After all, you can’t get away with beating rich people to death in the street now can you?”
“Erm, no,” I said. “I guess not.”
“Good,” said Darryl. “So we’re on the same page. Now let’s get started.”
He beckoned me to an old wooden door in the back of the office. There was a brown plastic plaque on the side of the room that read ‘Disintegration Room.’
Darryl pushed the door open to darkness beyond, but I stood rooted to ground, unable to force my legs to move. He turned around and raised his eyebrows.
“Aren’t you coming?” he asked.
I could feel the bile rising in my stomach again.
“Erm, Darryl?”I asked. “What’s the ‘Disintegration Room?’”
“Ah,” replied Darryl. “That’s the basis of our whole plan.”
“Alright,” said Darryl, hand on the knob. “Are you ready to have your mind blown?”
“No,” I said. “Not really.”
“That’s the spirit,” he said, pushing the door open.
When I saw what was inside my mind was more muddled than blown. There was a crowd of about twenty normal people in business suits, casually milling around and not doing much of anything. Darryl let out a long contented sigh.
“They’re magnificent, aren’t they?” he said.
“Erm, that depends,” I said. “What are they?”
Darryl turned to me and for the first time since I’d met him he was smiling, a mischievous gleam in his eye.
“What do you think they are?” he asked.
“I don’t know,” I said. “They just look like regular people to me.”
“Ha!” shouted Darryl, smacking his knee with his clipboard. “Exactly. They look like regular people.”
“Well, what are they then?” I asked.
Darryl waved the two of us inside and walked us around the room. Once I got a closer look at the people milling around, I realized there was something slightly off about the lot of them. Their eyes were all just a bit too wide and they all wore broad smiles for no perceivable reason.
“One of my more brilliant ideas,” said Darryl. “As you probably know, celebrity souls go for three times the price as regular ones.”
“They do?” I asked.
“Of course,” said Darryl.
Something clicked, and I said, “Oh, I think I get it. You’re going to take these people and turn them into pseudocelebrities.”
“Wow, that idea’s not half bad,” he said, scribbling a note on his file. Then, clearing his throat he went on.
“But these guys are for something else,” he said. “I’ve already explained the basics of project BS to you, so I’ll go ahead and move on to the particulars.”
“Okay…” I said.
“What we do with these guys is use them to infiltrate. See, they all may look like normal humans, but they’re actually just demons in human skin suits. They’re down here practicing how to be human. After that, we swap out the top-level cult leaders for demonic clones.”
“But why’s it called the disintegration room?” I asked.
An ugly smile of impish pleasure distorted Darryl’s features.
“Because of this,” he said.
He turned around and grabbed a red-handled lever on the wall behind him, yanking it downwards. There was a loud squish, and I winced as flecks of blood landed on my face. Half the people of the room had been reduced to chunky puddles.
“Why did you do that?” I asked, trying to wipe the blood off my face but only managing to smear it.
“Those were the real ones,” Darryl said. “We bring them down here and tell them its a top-secret ‘you-know-what’ compound. That they’re involved in something special and that if they help us they’ll be rewarded in paradise or Valhalla, or whatever heaven it is that their crackpot religion professes.”
“I think Scient–erm, they, believe in reincarnation.”
“Well, this is more like de-incarnation,” said Darryl. He laughed throatily at his own pun.
“Erm, right,” I said. “So as an accountant, what exactly is supposed to be my role in all this?”
Darryl frowned at scratched at his wobbly chin.
“Well,” he said. “What we really needed was a Master in Satanic Accounting, to keep track of the boring paperwork. But since you’re not qualified for that we’ll have to find another place for you. Are you any good at making coffee?”
“You’re not by any chance certified to give Shiatsu massages?”
“Well that really only leaves one position available, then. We need someone-a real human-to take over as the head of the cult, religion, whatever you want to call it. Would you be comfortable wearing a human skin suit to work?”
“Not even a little,” I said.
“Well, I’m afraid it’s either that or eternal damnation for breach of contract.”
“Great,” Darryl said, another broad grin stretching across his fat lips and wobbly chin. “We’ll send you back up to Earth to secure the package then. You’ll need to bring this.”
He rummaged in his pockets and pulled out a gun that looked like something out of a science fiction movie.
“What the Hell does this thing do?”
But Darryl was already checking his watch, an ostentatious Rolex with a tight leather band that dug into the fat of his wrist, and must have misheard the question.
“Erm, just point and shoot,” he said absentmindedly. “Ah, here it is.”
He pressed a button on the side of his watch and my stomach lurched as the world disappeared into a sudden darkness. I was hurtling through the dark, cool air roaring by my ears as my body rocketed upwards. Suddenly I found myself face down on the floor of my living room, a thin trickle of drool leaking out of the corner of my mouth.
My head was spinning as I pushed myself into a sitting position. My wobbly gaze was met by the wide plastic grins of acolytes Paul and Stephen.
“Good to see you in tip-top shape, sir” said acolyte Paul. “We’d better get to work.”
🔔 More stories from author: David Maloney (a.k.a. LifeIsStrangeMeToo)
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