top of page
  • Writer's pictureRhiannon Bird

Summer And The Deal

Updated: Aug 11, 2023

Summer rubbed her arms. The rock made it hot and her skin prickled. She stood in a huge antechamber, black pillars broke out of the rock and shot into the ceiling. Beneath her feet was a carved smooth path that wound its way to a large set of dark double doors. She didn’t need to touch them for the doors to swing open. The chamber was almost as big as the last one, the black rock smoothed around the entire space. The only thing inside was a tall throne carved from the black rock itself.

Summer stepped cautiously inside. “Hello?”

Her voice bounced around and right back to her. She crept further inside, there was no movement. As she passed the edge of the open doors, they slammed shut leaving her in darkness. She jumped around, but couldn’t see a thing.

“They really aren’t the main event, love,” said a smooth voice.

Light began to fill the space, though it didn’t seem to come from anywhere in particular, it was just enough for her to make out the now-occupied throne. The man had a dark suit on, the shirt untucked and tie loose around his neck. He lay draped across the throne his messy hair sticking in every direction and smiling widely at her.

“I will admit I’m impressed that you found this place. No one’s been here in years.”

Summer straightened and smoothed her dress. “I’ve heard that you grant wishes.”

He chuckled and cocked his head to the side. “You’ve been talking to the wrong people if that’s what you're looking for.”

Her face fell and he held up a finger.

“But a deal is much more my style.”

“A deal.” Summer spluttered. “I don’t have anything to give you.” She held out her empty hands to prove it.

He scrunched up his nose and jumped off the throne. “I’m not in the business of the material.”

“What?” she asked as he walked closer.

He stopped and looked her up and down. “You really don’t know anything yet you decided to seek me out.”

Summer lifted her chin. “People say you can give me what I want.”

“That is true.” He nodded rubbing a hand through his hair. “An interesting case yours. A best friend who is marrying the man you love, has the promotion you worked for and who your parents always compare you to.”

Everything in her body tensed. “How did you know that?”

“I know a lot of things love.” He winked. “The question is what are you willing to give me to have all that instead of her.”

Summer’s mouth pressed firmly together as she watched him.

“How about your soul?”

She raised an eyebrow. “That’s impossible.”

“What you’re asking for is impossible.” He clicked his fingers and a staff made of gnarled wood appeared in his hand. “Do we have a deal?”

Summer opened her mouth and then thought better of it. “What do you mean my soul?”

“It would just ground your soul to me, so when you die it will come directly to me.”

She chewed on her lip, she had come this far.

He twirled the staff in his hand. “I can give you Andy, the promotion and even your parent's approval.”

She opened her mouth to say no. That was the right thing to do, why would this lunatic be able to do anything for her? “Done.”

“Brilliant.” He clicked his fingers. Two massive fires burst into existence next to the throne turning the already hot chamber into a sauna and filling the space with intense light. Then with a flick of the staff bits of both flames broke away and formed a circle above the throne.

“Who are you?” she breathed.

“You can call me Lucifer and I’m not going to lie, love, this is going to hurt.”

Her eyes snapped to him. His wide smile was the last thing she saw before flames engulfed her vision and she screamed as they seared her skin.


Summer gasped and shot up. A room came into focus. No chamber, no fire, no Lucifer. She calmed down and wiped sweat from her forehead then pulled her hand back in surprise as something cold brushed it. Metal. A beautiful diamond ring winked up at her from her finger.

“Morning babe.”

She looked up in surprise as a shirtless Andy walked into the room a coffee in each hand. He passed one over to her and she could feel her head spinning. She still felt in a daze as he climbed under the covers and moved over to lean against her.

“You ready to move into the new office?”

She blinked. “What new office?”

His eyebrows furrowed. “Didn’t the promotion include an office on the higher level of the firm?”

“Oh right,” she said jumping lightly as he slid an arm around her and drew her against his chest. “I don’t know where my head is this morning.”

He chuckled and kissed her shoulder. “Just don’t forget about dinner at my mother's tonight.”

“I won’t forget,” she said, sinking back into him, finally she seemed to have grasped onto her bearings. Whatever the lunatic had done it worked.

He hummed and she felt it through her back as his chest moved. “You still have two hours until you need to be at work.”

She glanced at the little red numbers on the clock that flashed back at her. Andy’s lips were on her shoulder again.

“I can think of something we can do to fill in the time,” he said softly, his lips moving further up onto her neck.


Summer balanced the box on her arm as she walked towards the elevator. She still felt flushed from this morning, never in her life had she thought Andy would look at her the way he looked at Felicity. It still gave her chills. The lift opened and she stepped inside almost jumping in surprise. “Oh morning Felicity.”

“Morning,” she said brightly. “You need any help moving up to the new office?”

Summer looked her over again. She looked fine. “No, I’ve got it covered.” She didn’t look crushed like she should have, Summer had taken over her life and yet she seemed…happy. If that was possible. “We still on for Chinese today?”

Felicity’s expression flickered for a moment, “Why would we have lunch together?”

“We spend every Wednesday lunch at the Chinese place on the corner.” Summer frowned, it had been a tradition ever since their first day here together as interns.

“I’m sorry,” Felicity said frowning, “you might be confusing me with someone else. We hardly even talk.”

Summer felt a lump form in her throat. “Right, sorry I must have plans with someone else.” Her phone started ringing. It sat on top of the box she was holding and a photo of Andy with a cheesy grin flashed up on the screen. Summer felt a flash of guilt and looked up at Felicity. “It’s Andy.”

Felicity nodded giving her a quizzical look as the doors opened for her floor and leaving Summer alone in the elevator. She didn’t know who Andy was, Summer realized. She frowned, the three of them had grown up together and yet Felicity didn’t even have a spark of recognition at the name.

She hurried to her new office, dropping the box onto the desk and running a shaking hand through her hair. Trying to distract herself she pulled out files and picture frames from the box she had just brought up. One was her degree in a beautiful black frame, her biggest achievement; making it through law school. She carefully hung it on the wall.

She deserved this promotion, Summer reassured herself.

Her eyes caught something. The degree didn’t look quite right, there was something off. Summer jumped back, the University of South Australia. She blinked and ran her fingers over the words. But she had gone to Flinders University, she could still remember enrolling with Felicity. Except she didn’t. Whatever universe this was, she and Felicity didn’t know each other.

Summer was feeling dizzy again like the world was shifting in and out of focus as her eyes caught something else. She pulled out the picture frame, it had an older couple smiling widely at the camera. Summer sat back in her chair, staring at the faces that stirred nothing inside her, she didn’t recognize them at all.

Her phone rang again and she snatched it. On the screen was the face of the woman in the picture, above it the word ‘MUM’ flashed repeatedly. With shaky hands, she pressed answer and put it to her ear. “Hello?”

“Hey, Sweetie.” A voice she didn’t recognize. “I just wanted to wish you good luck today. Your father and I are so proud of your promotion.”

Summer put a hand up to her mouth trying to hold back sobs. She managed to force out a thank you.

“Can you and Andy come over for dinner tonight?”

She used her shoulder to hold the phone to her ear as she pounced on her laptop. “No, we have dinner with his Mum.”

“Oh, that woman really gets under my skin.”

Summer rolled her eyes, Mrs Davis was eccentric but she meant well. Her mum, her real mum had always enjoyed the weirdness. She tapped her foot as the screen loaded then she clicked on the Facebook icon. “Look I really have to go how about we come over tomorrow night?”

The women on the other end of the line laughed. “Oh, Summer you forgot that I have Bingo on Thursday nights.”

Summer cringed, her mother hated bingo.

“Plus your father has his yoga session late tomorrow.”

Her father doing yoga, he wouldn’t have been caught dead. “My boss is coming, I’ve got to go.”

“Okay, love you sweetie.”

Summer hung up and threw the phone across the room shivering. Her gaze moved back to the loaded screen. She blanched at the name that popped up beside her profile picture. “Summer Jones,” she whispered. Jones. It sounded wrong. Summer spun and sure enough, it matched the name on her degree, she hadn’t even noticed it before. “Get a grip,” she chastised herself and turned back to the screen. Her fingers flew across the keyboard as she typed in her mother's name. ‘JULIA WELLS.’ Summer held her breath as the loading symbol popped up on the screen.

A list of Julia Wells appeared with a string of different photos but she couldn’t see her. Her eyes scanned rapidly and she felt like throwing up, where was she?

Summer scrolled down and she almost cried with relief. There was her Mum, smiling up at her from the tiny picture. She sunk back in her chair in relief and clicked on the profile. There weren’t many photos, her Mum was never that up-to-date with posting but there was one with Dad there. She felt a tear slip out as she stared at them. Her parents. They were condescending and a little harsh but they were hers. They loved her in their own weird way and here, here they didn’t even know her. Tears slipped out and were falling down her cheek before she could stop them.

Summer’s phone rang from the corner of the room and she groaned, considering just leaving it there. With a heavy heart, she walked over and picked it up. Andy smiled up at her and she smiled weakly at the screen. The tears hadn’t stopped falling.

“Heads up, my Mum is going to want to give you some old creepy necklace. Dad says that it looks terrible but once we get home we can stuff it into some old box and only get it out when she comes over.”

She tried to keep her voice even. “Yeah, sounds like a plan.”

“Are you alright?” he asked concern lacing his voice.

“Yeah, yes. I’m fine. Just feeling a little sick.”

“It must be because you’re up so high in your office now.” He laughed.

“Yeah.” She didn’t have the heart to tell him she spent half her time before going to meetings on levels higher than this one. “I’ll see you tonight.”

“We’re leaving at 4, you good with that?”

“Yeah, see you then.”

“Love you,” he said lightly and hung up.

Summer barely made it to her trash can before she threw up. Just to be perfect timing her boss walked in and immediately sent her home to rest.

That was worse, everything was already so out of control and now without the distraction of work. She had torn through the house. Summer had looked through everything she could trying to piece together what her life was now.

Felicity was nowhere, pictures of her fake parents everywhere and it seemed that she’d only met Andy just after she graduated. That was important, no childhood stories about him.

By the time he made it home, which was half an hour after they were supposed to leave, she was pacing back and forth trying to calm herself down. This all felt like a cosmic joke. She had spent forever hating her life and wishing she had Felicity’s. Had even tracked down Lucifer to get it and now everything felt wrong. It wasn’t Felicity’s life, it was some twisted version of her own.

“I know I’m late,” Andy said rushing in and kissing her on the cheek, “I just need to change my shirt before we leave.”

Focus on Andy, she took deep breaths, at least she had Andy. But not her best friend Andy she’d grown up with, she had Andy who she dated. That was important to remember.

“Let's go.” He rushed past her to the car.

He held her hand as they drove. She forced a smile but couldn’t bear to look at him. He just reminded her of the childhood she’d lost, the best friend who didn’t even know her anymore. Her phone rang and she quickly rejected the call forcing herself not to roll her eyes.

“Why are you avoiding your mum’s calls?” he asked rubbing his thumb over her hand.

She resisted the urge to pull her hand back and sighed. “It’s a long story.”

As they drove he kept glancing at her and she could feel her teeth grinding.

“I’ll tell you later, okay?”

He seemed to relax after that. They didn’t say anything else as they drove the rest of the way.

Andy jumped out of the car and hugged his parents. Summer pushed herself out of the car, she just wanted this day over. Then she could try and fix it all later. Felicity she could win over she was sure and being with Andy would take a little bit of an adjustment, he was the same yet different. Her parents that was a problem she didn’t have a solution for yet.

“Summer,” Mrs. Davis exclaimed and pulled her in for a hug.

Summer smiled and relaxed into the hug. This was it, the only normal thing that had happened all day. She almost burst into tears again struggling to force it back down. Mr. Davis gave her a side hug. “How ya doing honey?”

“It's been a long day.” She sighed.

He chuckled. “It's always a long day.”

Summer managed a weak smile at him before Mrs. Davis grabbed her hand and pulled her into the house. Probably lucky since she couldn’t bear to look at the porch that her mother and Mrs. Davis had spent countless days sitting on watching their kids mucking around in the garden. “I have something for you dear.” They stopped and she opened a draw rummaging through it. “I swear it was right here.” She muttered.

“Come on Mum.” Andy squeezed Summer’s shoulders. “You can find it after dinner.”

“It’s this beautiful necklace, very old and powerful.” Her face was flushed with excitement.

Summer shared a small smile with Andy as he shook his head. That felt a like the old them at least. “It sounds lovely.”

“Got it.” Mrs Davis pulled it out from the back of the draw and presented it to Summer. It truly was horrific. There was a giant feather two rough squares that looked like they were made of bone and a large piece of wood that had a symbol carved into it. As soon as she touched it Summer wanted to throw it away. It sent shockwaves through her fingers that climbed their way up her arm. Her legs started to wobble and she leaned back into Andy.

“Thank you so much Mrs Davis.” Her head was starting to spin as she forced out the words.

The little women clapped happily. “It wards off evil spirits.”

Summer opened her mouth to reply but the shocks had reached her chest and she gasped falling back into Andy.

“Summer,” he called holding her limp body. “Summer. Dad, call an ambulance,” he cried frantically as Summer was pulled from her body. She was watching the scene from above then it was gone, and she was moving fast enough that the world became a blur. Everything felt different, wrong. She knew she wasn’t herself anymore, that she was something else now.

The black rock chamber came into focus around her, though this time she was right in front of the throne.

“Hello love,” Lucifer sat on his throne and held up the necklace that Mrs Davis had given her. “Not hard to swap out the fake with something a little more potent. You shouldn’t touch something that wards off evil spirits when you’ve made a deal with the devil,” he said grinning.


First published by Black Hare Press in Envy

5 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page