The Deal

I’m not sure what just happened last weekend. I told the police. I know they don’t believe me. I’m not sure if I believe me.

Cory (my fiance) and I are currently long distance due to work and family issues. My dad’s in a home for people with dementia and I’m the only one who can visit him weekly, while Cory is currently involved in a project at his work three states away. Our relationship lately has been nothing but Skype dates and texts. But for Valentine’s Day we wanted to do something special, so Cory haggled for the weekend free and I booked a decent hotel. Nothing five stars, but enough for us to get some nice time alone.

He showed up Friday and we took off. After we checked in, we had a nice romp in the sheets and watched awful horror movies from his laptop. Overall, pretty great.

It was around midnight when I woke up to someone pounding on the door.

At first I thought it was a drunk, and I heard Cory mumble some pretty insulting things under his breath.

Then I heard a woman crying.

“Please! Please help me, holyshit let me in! Oh god please let me in!”

When you hear a woman cry out for help, particularly when you’re a woman yourself, your instincts kick in pretty fast. I got out of bed and dashed for the door, opening it up.

The girl out there was no more than nineteen but was wearing lingerie and heels that were worth more than what I made in a month. Her panic was very real though, her chest heaving, her makeup smeared with tears, and she had a purple-green bruise forming on the side of her head. I gestured her in and she hurried in. I shut the door and slid the deadbolt shut. Just in case.

Cory was now sitting up in bed, his hair tousled every which way and still trying to shake off the sleep. “Who’s this?” He said, his words slurring together. Ah, good old Cory.

I grabbed my bathrobe and wrapped it around her shoulders. “Hey, you’re okay, you’re safe here. I’m Hallie. Can you tell us what happened?” I was already wondering if I should call the police.

The girl sniffled and made her way to the chair in the room, sitting down with shaky legs. “I… I think so. Can I have a glass of water?” She asked.

Deciding an eight dollar charge for a bottle of water was worth it for a clearly distressed young woman, I grabbed it and twisted off the top before handing it to her. She sipped it between hiccups. She handed it back to me and took a deep breath.

“I’m Jackie. I uh, came here to meet up with someone.” She looked briefly ashamed and I squeezed her shoulder to reassure her. Cory was now awake and was now sitting at the foot of the bed. Jackie swallowed before talking again.

“It was someone I ah, ‘met up with’ before. Least I thought. When I got to the room he was on his way out. Told me to have fun with his friend and that he’d cover me for my trouble. I didn’t really think much of it at the time.”

“Which room was it?” Cory asked, interrupting the story.

Jackie chewed her bottom lip. “I think it was 206. I had a glass of champagne, it makes my brain a little fuzzy.” Judging by her glazed over eyes, it was more than a ‘glass’, but I let it slide. “So the friend introduced himself as Barry and we started fooling around. I figured my friend would be back soon. I’d um…” She shrunk in her seat.

I squeezed her shoulder again and rubbed her back. “We’re not judging, hon, I promise,” I said. I might’ve been judging a little, but hey, her life her choices you know?

Jackie nodded. “I was going down on him when he just, he grabbed me and threw me! Like, no warning whatsoever. I’d hit my head,” she gestured to the bruise at that moment, “And I don’t really know what happened, but the next thing I knew I was tied to the bed post. Barry was arguing with someone in the bathroom. I only caught like every third word, but it sounded like he was begging for more time? That he’d found a replacement for him for the time being, a… a whore.” Her voice cracked on the word ‘whore’ but then she picked up again, her words going faster. “I kept struggling to get out, the argument in the bathroom was getting worse, and I think I… I had to be seeing things.”

“You were stressed, it happens,” Cory offered. “Feel free to tell us even if you know it wasn’t real.”

Cory was a comforting soul, and I saw Jackie noticeably relax. “… Well, the door opened, and… he was talking to the mirror.”

The mirror? If the situation hadn’t been so serious, I would’ve laughed. But Jackie was dead serious. “It looked like him, but he was already turned away and the reflection was facing out, and his face… god, his face!” She shook her head as if she was trying to shake the image out. “It was all twisted, and I swear, he had horns. He looked so angry. I managed to get free then and I booked it. It… it was awful, I can’t tear that image out of my head…” Jackie burst into tears again and buried her face in her hands. “Just his face!” She wailed.

I shushed her and brought her into a half hug, trying to comfort her. “You were scared, you tend to distort things when you’re scared,” I said. Even the description of what she saw was disturbing.

Then there was a knock on the door.

Jackie’s face went white. Cory held up a finger and walked to the door, peering into the peephole. He pulled away and he looked back at Jackie and I. ‘Get into the bathroom,’ He mouthed.

I had to drag the poor girl along, she looked ready to drop dead from fear. We curled up in the corner of the bathtub as she quietly sobbed.

I heard the door to the hotel room open.

“Sir? Is there a problem?” That was Cory. Confident Cory.

“Is Jackie in here? I’d like to have a discussion with her, please.”

The voice sounded peculiar, like an accent I couldn’t place. I looked at Jackie, who looked even paler in the bathroom’s lights. “Is that Barry?” I whispered.

Jackie shook her head no.

Corywas handling the situation amazingly, thank god. “Jackie? It’s just me and my fiancee here tonight, sir. Can I have your name?”

The stranger laughed and I shivered. “My name is of no interest of you, Cory. However, Jackie? I know you’re in here. Barry couldn’t buy more time for his damned soul, but alas, he’s already sold yours. He’s had yours sold since you were a child.”

Jackie whimpered and I clutched her in my arms. No way in hell was this bastard going to take this girl.

“You need to leave sir, now.” Cory’s voice grew harsh, I imagine he was about to grab this man and march him out.

Then I heard the smack of a body dropping to the floor.

I screamed. Jackie screamed.

The stranger continued to talk as if nothing had happened.

“You see, Barry happened to be your father. Before you vomit, he had no idea he was choking his own flesh and blood with his penis. This was just a very, very twisted way of fate bringing you two together.”

I heard footsteps grow closer to the bathroom.

“But he made a deal with me. A life’s success, for his soul and the soul of his daughter’s. And I have come to collect.”

The knob was jiggled, the bathroom lock the only thing between us and him.

“Don’t worry, we always need more succubi where I’m from. You will fit right in.”

Smoke flooded under the bathroom door and I covered my mouth and nose, the smell was awful, like burning hair and flesh. The smoke climbed to the ceiling before growing dense and taking form. I still can’t believe I saw it.

A man finally appeared within the smoke. I couldn’t see his face. But I saw the glow of his red eyes, and his extended, clawed hand.

When I came to, it was around six AM and there was a paramedic at my side.

Our hotel door was found propped open, just down the hall from where a man had been brutally murdered. It was so bad that the maid could smell the blood before she entered the room.

Cory was in a coma for three days, came out with absolutely no memory of the night and his right side completely paralyzed. We’ve gotten a lot of get well soon cards, although I’m not sure how good they’ll be.

They never found a trace of Jackie.

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