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by on July 15, 2014

Hadley hadn’t experienced temptation much before. Being a sentient shade of color, she tended to see moral issues rather starkly. Things were right, or they were not. But now, standing in the valley of Amaranth, looking out at her former Gray boyfriend Casey, she faced a really serious dilemma.

The whole history of her tortured relationship flashed before her eyes. There had been enough drama to make a Shakespearean play. It had all been Jolene’s fault. That sneaky Auburn had cut in and swept him away. Just like that. She’d ditched her own companion too, a stolid Green. Cheating on one’s own boyfriend and stealing someone else’s was objectively wrong, wasn’t it? And so, Hadley thought, it couldn’t really be a bad thing if Jolene got what was coming to her, could it?

The snake coiled up beside her, waiting on her decision. “When you say you could do something about Jolene…” Hadley said carefully. “What, exactly, are you saying? Not something horrible like murder, right?”

The snake seemed astonished. “Of course not. We’re from Hell, after all. If there’s one guiding principle down here, it’s that everyone gets what they deserve.”

Hadley shivered. “I see. So maybe you could just inflict the creeping crud on her, or make her break up with him, that sort of thing.”

“Yes. Just that. Nothing too permanent,” said the snake.

“Right. And what do I have to do in return?”

“Nothing at all, really. Just leave. Get out of hell, and go back to your own planet, which we’ll restore for you. We’ll even inflict the creeping crud on Jolene for you, whatever you’d like. The only thing we want is that you leave Hell, and really, you don’t want to stay down here, do you?”

The beautiful flower-laden valley melted away, and suddenly Hadley was back where she had started, in a burning, rocky, flower-less cavern deep in the depths of hell. A single sheet of paper, written in flaring ink, lay on a little table nearby.

“So….” said the snake, gesturing with its tail to the paper, “do we have a deal?”

Hadley hesitated. She’d worked it all out morally. Jolene would only get what was coming to her. But still….

It was at this point that a good friend, or possibly a guardian angel, could have intervened and tried to warn Hadley of her danger. They might have observed that it wasn’t a good idea in generally to cut deals with giant talking snakes, especially ones representing the powers of hell. Unfortunately, Rain had arrived in the corridor just in time to hear the snake’s proposal. She responded in the entirely wrong way. “Oh, you idiot!”

“What?” Hadley said, aghast.

Rain face-palmed. “You idiot. I told you not to get separated. I told you to be careful. I even said you shouldn’t be here in the first place, and you go off and start making deals with the devil! In Hell, no less!”

“In point of fact,” the snake interjected, “as I have explained on several occasions, I’m not-“

“Oh, stuff it,” Rain snapped. “I wasn’t talking to you anyway.”

Hadley flared in anger. She didn’t like being called an idiot any more than anyone else. “Well, I was! And I hadn’t finished yet!”

“Honestly. You remember why I’m here? Why you’re here? Your stupid planet got blown up, the Bunniless Pit was opened, the whole universe is about to die in fluffy apocalypse and you’re worrying about your love life?”

“What do you care?” Hadley shot back. “You’re Death! You don’t care about anyone, you just show up when people die!”

Rain went very pale. “I do care. You have no idea. But this isn’t the time to go into that. You’re not cutting a deal with the snake!”

“Wanna bet?” Hadley wheeled around. The snake had been watching the argument with some interest. “Okay,” she said. “I’ll do it. I’ll sign whatever-”

But Rain had shoved past her, and now stood in between her and the paper. “I said, you’re not cutting a deal.”

“Or what?”

Rain’s eyes blazed. “Don’t cross me, Hadley Baxendale. I’m Death, remember. I’m going to win this.”

Hadley blazed from her usual mauve to a furiously bright magenta. “Oh yeah?” She couldn’t quite move at light speed, but she could go fast enough. She flashed to one side past Rain. Rain reacted automatically. She’d forgotten her own strength. Mauve photons splashed against the walls of hell.

You can find previous adventures with Hadley here.

  1. I remember this! That was an awesome continuation. However, I just realised that the two I came across were in fact part of a bigger story arc… Right, reading time. Expect comments! Lots of ’em!

    • I’m very fond of story arcs. DS9, Babylon Five, Breaking Bad…. it’s more fun to have a drawn-out saga. 🙂

  2. Loving the story arc. We need more!

  3. Ooh, good continuation…and then what!? I’m always happy to come across the next part in this series.

  4. wow ouch! D:
    I liked this though: “Rain face-palmed”, interesting choice of words 😉

  5. Wow, this was gripping. I can tell that you have a lot of fun with these characters and their adventures in hell.

  6. Hell is a strange place… nowhere else could death try to keep you from making a deal with the devil! Devil… death…. devil…. death. I dunno, both choices are grim!

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