Once upon a time, in a village far far away from the world, there was a little boy who did not know how to smile. That boy's name was Mephistopheles. He had suddenly appeared in the village and had been taken in out of the kindness of the residents there. From the very beginning, however, the little boy was very strange. He barely spoke, and only took to observing everyone with those big empty eyes. One day, another boy his age could no longer contain his curiosity and asked him:
"Mephi, why don't you ever smile?"
Mephisopheles stiffly turned his head towards his friend's direction. Then, with a barely audible voice, replied:
"I do not know how to."
The boy then showed him how to smile. "Just curve your lips upwards like this!" He said. "And let your teeth show."
Although Mephistopheles did as instructed, his smile was not bright and innocent like his friend's. It was a terrible, heart-wrenching grimace that made his friend scream and elope in horror.
And the little Mephi was lonely ever since.
Barely containing her sobs, she proceeded to light the candles with a neon green lighter. She threw the latter behind her, then sat herself on the giant summoning circle that she had just carved into her living room floor. The place was dark but for the candles surrounding her; and she had an open ominous book resting on her knees. Casting one last glance at the pages, Sylvia arched her head upwards, clasped her hands together, and closed her eyes.
"In shadows deep where secrets dwell,
I chant this rhyme, the tale I tell.
Mephistopheles, heed my call,
Come forth from realms beyond the wall.
With every word, your power bind,
To cross the veil and realms unwind.
Mephistopheles, ancient and wise,
Answer now my fervent cries.
From fiery depths to mortal plane,
A fleeting glimpse, let your presence reign.
Mephistopheles, I seek your sight,
Guide me through the darkest night."
Her voice was as loud as it was desperate. It reverberated across the silence of the room, then joined it in its quietness. Now Sylvia could only hear her racing heartbeats; she could only feel her fingers, tightly interlinked; she could only smell the burnt wax from the candles. This had to work. This was the only solution left. She could not do it herself, and she had no money to hire someone to do it for her. Suddenly, she felt the light disappear from behind her eyelids. Her heart jumped in simultaneous thrill and fear; she clasped her trembling hands tighter together.
Now Sylvia could feel a presence with her in the room. It was a very heavy and sinister presence that she couldn't deny even if she tried. With a gulp, she slowly opened her eyes, heart beating out of her chest. Towering above her kneeling figure was a tall ominous silhouette with vivid crimson eyes that slit through the looming darkness of the room. She instinctively pushed herself backwards, almost falling entirely on her back but for her arms supporting her.
"Mortal, you have summoned me." A low sinuous voice emitted from the silhouette, making Sylvia flinch in response. "What is it that you desire?"
It worked. She thought in the back of her head. She had successfully managed to summon a demon, and was finally going to have her heart's deepest wish come true. Gulping, she gathered enough courage to speak:
"C-can I see you first?" Her voice trembled. This inner instinctive fear was why she had to summon a whole demon in the first place, she told herself. "I wish to see the face that will bring an end to my pain."
All of a sudden, the candles in the room were lit, making her gasp in surprise. Now with the place more illuminated, she could make out what the silhouette looked like. Contrary to her expectations, Mephistopheles was not a grotesque blend of humanoid and animal. In fact, disregarding his overwhelmingly oppressive presence, he appeared like a normal human male, a very beautiful one at that. A tall, chiseled and nude body stood gracefully in front of her. Long nightsky hair draped itself like silk across his broad shoulders. Dark lustrous skin, reddish lips, long defined neck. Indeed, these eerily human-like features alleviated a little bit of Sylvia's tension and fear. However, the thick and pointy horns that curled above his scalp, along with the piercing crimson eyes that peered into her very soul served as an undeniable reminder that the man facing her was far from human.
"You're... You're Mephistopheles, right?" Slowly, Sylvia managed to get up. The excitement was overpowering her fear.
"Yes. Did you not know who you were summoning?" Although his remark was clearly sarcastic, his emotionless face indicated no such intention, which confused her a little.
" I did! I did." She replied in protest. "I was just making sure." Her eyes followed the demon as he elegantly walked away from the summoning circle and sat on her sofa, crossing his legs. Seeing her perplexed face, he spoke:
"I just thought this will be taking more time than it should, so I might as well, right?" He was leaning on his hand, which he had rested on the sofa's arm. What struck Sylvia even more than how quickly he got comfortable, was the mocking smirk on his face.
Granted, she might have summoned him with a very specific stereotype of a terrifying goat-man demon who will make her wet herself in fear before consuming her soul. But, all the same, wasn't it reasonable not to expect the great Mephistopheles to be just a sarcastic douchebag? As she quickly processed this strange situation, she felt the oppressive atmosphere from earlier disappear altogether.
"Haha." Mephistopheles chuckled. "It always gets to me, how you guys react."
"You're a demon right?" Sylvia commented, pointing at him.
"Yup." His smirk rested itself persistently across his lips, revealing as it did sharp fangs. "Do you got a cig by any chance?"
"I-I don't smoke..." Sylvia stuttered in her confusion. "You... you don't act like a demon at all."
"Yeah I get that a lot. Would you prefer if I was all scary and cold like earlier?"
"Actually, yeah I just might." She scratched the back of her neck awkwardly.
"Well too bad for you. I only act like that to scare you at first haha. It's hilarious. But once you're shitting your pants, it's even more hilarious to switch like this and have your jaw dropping in confusion. Being scary all the time is too boring." Mephistopheles shrugged, as though it's a hassle to have to explain all this every time.
Sylvia took a few seconds to come to terms with the current situation, as absurd as it was. Sarcastic douchebag or not, he was still a demon. So there was no point getting all confused and curious about his attitude. Her wish was just within her grasp. Coughing slightly, she straightened herself and asked:
"Now I just have to make my wish right? and you'll grant it in exchange for my soul?"
"Yup. Pretty simple, right?" The demon leaned back on the sofa, and some strands of hair fell across his bare chest. "So," he continued, "what is it you wish for?"
"Death." Sylvia declared in a determined voice. "I want you to kill me."
Mephistopheles frowned, as though confused himself. "Your wish is to die?" He placed one slender finger between his lips. Sylvia noticed that he had sharp black nails that were reminiscent of claws.
"Yes. You can do anything right?"
Mephistopheles seemed to think for a moment before replying: "I cannot do that. It's forbidden."
"What?" Having her last resort be so instantly blocked pushed her into a fit of anger. "What do you mean you can't? Aren't you a demon? Isn't it your job to do as I say?"
His smirk returned and he shrugged. "It's not really up to me though? There are three wishes a demon can't fulfill, and one of them is taking a human life, even if it's the contractor's. I cannot resurrect the dead either."
"That's! That's ridiculous!" Sylvia shouted in frustration. "What can you do then?"
"I dunno." Another shrug. "I can like, curse and stuff. Do you want me to curse you instead of taking your life?"
Sylvia placed her palm on her forehead and let herself fall onto the floor. "No that's useless. I am already cursed as it is."
"Did a demon curse you? in that case, I can remove it if you wish for it."
"Nah. Not a demon. My life itself is a curse, I just want to end it all."