by Lisa McCourt Hollar
Misery stood outside the Master’s door feeling, well, miserable; ironic considering it was his job, as demon in charge to make the human filth miserable. Behind him Manipulation, second in charge, whispered in his ear, begging him to get their master to listen.
“I tried,” Manipulation whined, his irritating voice grating on his nerves. The demon wondered how the upstart so easily controlled the human vermin that walked the earth. “I hit a brick wall,” Manipulation continued, tediously.
“It’s called a firewall,” Seduction purred, the crone gliding past the two fiends to look into the room at their lord, his face bathed in the phosphorescent glow of a monitor screen.
“What’s so special about that thing anyway,” Pestilence asked, his fingers bleeding. He was so worried about their master; he’d chewed the tips off.
“Who would you rather spend time with,” Seduction taunted, “A million fans on Facebook or you?”
“If only it were just Facebook,” Misery groaned. Deciding he’d had enough of the bickering going on behind him, Misery swallowed and then stepped into the master’s room, shutting the door behind him.
When they had first decided to go wireless and use technology to collect more souls, it had seemed like a good idea. Misery had brought it to Lucifer’s attention, thanks to the cajoling from Seduction, who swore it was the new way to bring in the lost souls that were searching for something.
“Better we get to them before He does,” Seduction had said, pleading her case with Misery. Misery knew that Seduction had invested heavily in wireless technology and was a silent partner in Facebook, being the sprite that had brought in Zuckerman’s soul, but he agreed with her; this wasn’t something they could let pass. They’d missed out on Myspace and he wanted to rope in as many lost souls as he could before Facebook went the same way. But then Lucifer had discovered those cursed games.
It had seemed like a good idea at first, so many on the social network played them all, Mafia Wars, Castle Age, Petville…it seemed all you had to do was send a neighbor request and you owned their soul. But then the Dark Prince decided to take up farming.
“Would you look at this,” their master had exclaimed, “there are mother’s sitting for all hours neglecting their children for a chance to find a pink cow. It’s crazy; one lady even killed her baby because it started crying while she was playing.”
It had seemed like a win win at the time, but now Misery could see it was the beginning of their downfall. He didn’t know anything about this Zynga at the time, but they had created a game that could hook Satan himself.
“Master,” Misery said, wringing his hands.
“Misery! Come look at this!”
“What is it Master?” Misery looked at the screen, confusion on his face as he saw the image of a trinket on the screen.
“I’ve just completed a collection! Look, I got the last piece I needed!”
“That’s great master,” Misery said, seeing an opening. “You know, you have another collection that still needs finished, one that will reward more than…” Misery squinted at the screen, “free gas.”
“I know, I know,” his lord said, “that damned black button. I know one of my neighbors has one and just isn’t sharing. I think that it’s that Infernal Sherry Fannington. She holds onto things forever, stockpiling before sharing, AND ALWAYS WHEN I AM IN THE JOHN!”
“No, no Master, souls. You’re supposed to be collecting souls…” Misery’s voice trailed off at the sight of his master doing a ‘happy dance’ in front of the monitor. Apparently he had collected more valentines than Geoffrey St. Alban and was now number 4 out of all his friends.
“Master,” Misery asked, feeling slightly embarrassed to have witnessed this.
“Oh, sorry Misery, you were saying?”
“I think you need to turn off the computer for a bit, maybe get back to work.”
“Turn off the computer! Have you lost your mind? My corn is almost completely grown, not to mention my wheat. If I don’t harvest in time they’ll whither!”
“Is that bad,” Misery asked, looking at the screen.
“Yes,” Lucifer said, looking at his head demon as though he’d grown a third head, “my co-op is counting on me to bring in the rest of the crop. If we don’t finish in time we won’t win the prize and I need to harvest my strawberries to get the last of the ingredients for wine. If they whither I’ll have to use the last of my UN-whither and I’m saving that for a true emergency.”
“What would that be,” Misery asked.
“One of those times Zynga screws up and I can’t load my farm for two days. Happens all too often anymore!”
Misery agreed, remembering the last time that had happened. Master had been inconsolable for two days, worrying about his crops and whether or not his dog would run away. “THEY CHARGE YOU TO GET HIM OUT OF THE POUND!” Lucifer had bellowed.
“It’s okay though,” Lucifer said, an evil leer on his face, “I own the souls of Zynga engineers and I have a special plan for them if they DON’T RETURN MY MISSING ITEMS TO MY GIFT BOX!”
“Oh, so you are using your time on here to collect souls, “Misery said, trying to be hopeful, despite the doubt that was whispering at the back of his mind. He brushed the tiny imp away from his ear and waited on his master to answer.
“What? Souls, oh yeah, yeah, of course. Hey Misery, look at this! I found a special egg when I was feeding John’s chickens. A rare golden egg! I wonder what’s inside.
Sadly, Misery stepped outside their master’s room, shaking his head.
“Did you get anywhere with him?” Pestilence’s fingers were nothing but bloody stumps.
“It’s hopeless,” Misery said.
“What are we going to do?”
“I don’t know about you,” Misery said, “but I’m going to apply for a job with Zynga. They seem to be the leaders in soul collecting these days.”
copyright 2011 Lisa McCourt Hollar All rights reserved