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  • Writer's pictureRhiannon Bird

The Devil Is In The Detail

Updated: Jul 28, 2023

“Just come out,” Rebecca whined over the phone. “The house won’t go anywhere while we’re at the club.”

Hannah shook her head and flicked the kettle on. “I have three library books calling my name and a seasons worth of the bachelor to catch up on.”

“Boo.” Then she giggled, they’d obviously already started drinking. “You can’t spend all your time hiding out.”

“I’m not hiding,” Hannah protested. She grabbed out a tea bag to sit in the cup. “I’m house sitting there’s a difference.”

“Isn’t this the for the grandma who thinks she’s a witch?”

“Mmhh,” she hummed in agreement turning to the fridge to get out the milk.

Rebecca laughed. “As if she cares if you leave."

Hannah yelled in surprise and dropped the phone as a flurry of white fell to the ground from behind the milk.

She placed a hand over her heart as she realised it was nothing but a small piece of ripped paper. Quickly she scooped up her phone. “Sorry, sorry.”

“What the hell was that?”

“I thought there was a spider or something. But it was just a bit of paper behind the milk.”

There was a moment of silence before Rebecca said, “Your grandmas weird.”

Hannah chuckled and reached for the note.

“What does she need paper on her milk for, to remind her she needs more.”

“That doesn’t make much sense.” Hannah crouched down and unfolded the paper. “It doesn’t even look like English.” She sounded out the strig of letters slowly, it didn’t sound like any language she recognised.

She heard Rebecca laugh down the line before the sound was overtaken by a large snap. Then suddenly there was a man standing in the middle of the living room.

Rebecca still laughing said, “Maybe it’s a milk refilling spell.”

“A-huh, maybe,” Hannah said numbly reaching up for the knife sitting on the bench. “Gotta go.” She hung up the phone and dropped it in favour of both hands on the handle of the knife. Slowly she rose from her crouched position.

The man was in a full pressed suit. He dusted off his shoulders and readjusted his tie. The he looked up and focused his attention on her. She remained frozen in shock.

He frowned. “You’re not who I was expecting.”

“Expecting?” she stuttered. “Who the hell are you?”

“Is Greta not around?” He seemed unfazed by her knife.

Hannah narrowed her eyes at him.

“Look,” he sighed, “I’m very busy, if you don’t need anything just banish me and be done with it.”

She stepped closer, her knuckles whitening around the handle. “I don’t understand what’s going on.”

His gaze dropped to the paper at her feet and he made a beeline for it.

Hannah swiped the knife through the air. “Stay back.”

He ignored her and continued forward.

She swung at him again. The knife sailed though the air and slice cleanly into his arm like butter.

He didn’t react in the slightest.

Hannah stumbled back , eyes wide and trained on the bloodless wound as it knit itself back together. “Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god.” She repeated under her breath.

He thew a look over at her. “This is not my true form thus it can not be harmed, at least not by any human weapons.” He leaned down and plucked the paper from the floor. “This is how you summoned me?”

Hannah was still repeating the same phrase over and over, like a scratched CD.

He clicked his fingers at her. “Pay attention.”

Her gaze shot from his arm to his face. She took in a deep breath in to try and calm down. That was the only way she would figure things out. “What is going on?”

He held out the paper and she took it from him hesitantly.

He said, “You are aware your grandmother is a witch.”

“No, she thinks she’s a witch.”

He raised an eyebrow.

“That’s impossible.”

“As impossible as you summoning me in the living room. Now read the phrase and send me home.”

Hannah blinked at him for a moment before looking down at the paper and repeating the phrase.

Nothing happened.

“You didn’t say it right,” he snapped.

“I said exactly what I said last time.”

“Give me that.” He snatched it off her.


He sucked in a breath, “you idiot.”

“Excuse me.” Hannah crossed her arms.

“This,” he pointed at the jumbled letters, “is a personalised spell. That means only the creator of the spell can send me home.”

“So what, you can’t leave until my grandma gets back?”

“Which will be?”

Hannah grimaced. “Not until the end of the week.”

He pinched his nose in frustration.

“And I’m assuming you can’t just walk out the front door.”

He shook his head. “There are spells all through this apartment to keep me from the rest of the world.”

Hannah rocked on her feet. “Can I ask,” she cleared her throat, “what are you exactly?”

“A demon.”

Her mouth fell open. “My grandma kept a demon summoning spell behind her milk.

He shrugged.

They lapsed into silence.

“I guess, do you want some tea?”

“Some what?” he looked at her quizzically.

“Tea.” She bustled past him. “Do demons not have tea?” The question sounded both surreal and stupid at the same time.

“Umm no.”

“I guess it's your lucky day.” She flicked the kettle on again and got out a second cup.

He watched her carefully. “Stuck on earth would not be what I consider lucky.”

As the water boiled Hannah picked up her phone and clicked on her grandmas number. It went straight to voice mail. “Hey grandma.” The kettle finished so she poured it into the cups as she spoke. “I know that you only just left but I was hoping you could maybe come back. I kind of accidently summoned a demon and I can’t get rid of him.” She paused before adding. “Call me when you get this.”

Then she added in the milk and slid the cup down the bench at the demon. He caught it effortlessly.

He picked up the cup and inspected it. “This body doesn’t need sustenance to function.”

Hannah paused momentarily. “You can still drink it right?”

“I guess so,” he said raising it to his lips. He grimaced. “This is disgusting.”

“Suit yourself.” She laughed. “So a demon huh? The whole banishment to hell thing?”

He put down the tea and pushed it away from himself. “Not quite. I’m from a different dimension which makes me poison to this world. Thus the spells to confine me here.”

“Right.” She nodded as if this all made sense. “And you know my grandma because?”

“You could call us business partners.”

Hannah nodded, “Of course because the demon and the witch that makes a lot of sense.” She walked past him into the lounge room. She curled up onto the end of the couch, tea on the coffee table, book in one hand and the remote in the other. “You can sit down if you want, since your stuck here.”

The demon gave a slightly jarring nod and moved over to sit on the other end of the couch.

It was interesting that he had looked so put together when he’d first appeared. But as he moved it was obvious that he wasn’t truly comfortable with his human form.

“Sorry, my plan for the night isn’t very interesting. I was just going to read my book while playing a trashy reality tv show.”

He frowned. “Okay.”

The first episode started, filling the silence between them. Hannah turned her attention to the first page of her book.

They got through four episodes before either of them spoke again. “This is a strange manner for finding a mate,” the demon mused. “There is very little chance to be picked.”

“Yeah.” Hannah chuckled. “It’s not efficient. But that’s kind of the fun of it.”

“They don’t look like they are having much fun.”

“No, the fun is only for us watching it.”

He frowned. “I see. I do think that I enjoy this.”

She yawned and closed her book. It was starting to get later.

“You need sleep?” he asked.

“No, no. I can’t sleep.”


“No offense but there is a strange demon in my grandmas house. I’m not going to sleep.”

He readjusted his position on the chair, “and this is your plan for the whole week?”

Hannah shrugged. “I haven’t thought that far ahead.”

He opened his mouth to reply as the door slammed open and Hannah’s grandma barged through it, already yelling out the mysterious spell.

Then just as suddenly as he had appeared, he was gone.

“Hannah,” she cried. “Are you all right? You didn’t make any deals with the demon did you?”

“No, no of course not. I’m fine.”

Her grandma let out a sigh and hugged her tighter. “I’m so sorry. I thought I’d thrown that spell away.”

Hannah laughed, “No its alright. I mean considering he was a demon he didn’t seem that bad.”

Her grandma gave her a disbelieving look.

“Honestly, we just drank tea and watched the bachelor.”

Her grandma nodded. “Oh thank god it was a nicer one.” She moved on to the couch and threw Hannah a smile. “Though in my experience demons aren’t big fans of tea.”

First published on Reedsy for a competition

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