by Bob'n Around
Eddie was quite the devil.
|1058 word entry into May 2021's "WEIRD TALES CONTEST"
It frightened her. Ellen Summers shook her head, unable to believe her eyes. “You’re scaring me. Who are you? Is that you, Eddie?”
The old manuscript of the movie part which had won her an Academy Award fluttered between her fingertips to the floor. “Don’t you dare make fun of me.”
Fear turned to anger. The washed out actress picked up the nearest object, her Tony Award and threw it. The man dressed up to the nines as the devil, stopped it in midair, watched it spin around before nudging it back among the many other trophies and celebrity photos of her adorning the room. “We made a deal, remember?”
“And you broke it, Eddie.” Ellen’s long fingernails lashed the air “Bigger than Marilyn Monroe. Isn’t that what you said?” Her voice trembled into hysteria. “No-one remembers me. I’m a has been and it is your fault.” Sobs shook the anger into self pitied silence, strangling her words into whimpering hiccups.
“Not my fault, sweetie.” Eddie flicked invisible dust off his twitching forked tail. “I don’t know why I took you on. Sort of a challenge. You have no talent at all. It complicates things.”
“My manager,” Ellen spit out the words. “You’re supposed to fix things. You fixed things all right. Brought me the height of fame and fortune only to pull the rug out from under me. I can’t stand the sight of you and your measly gags. Me, Ellen Summers, making a deal with the devil. What a joke.”
The two had met at one of the endless Hollywood parties where starlets are a dime a dozen. Ellen invited herself to this one and was working the crowd. Henry Morgan, producer, proved he was immune to her charms. Laughed at and scorned, ridiculed to the point of no return, she’d flung herself out his front door into the arms of Satan, the devil himself.
“Call me Eddie,” the twin horned, leering demon had said. “I thought it was about time we should meet. How would you like a contract guaranteed to make your innermost wish come true?”
“Oh, go to hell where you belong.” Ellen wasn’t having any. She was too into herself. “I have a headache. It is going to be a migraine. Get lost.”
She aimed herself to walk right through him, stumbling when she did. Startled, she looked around. Eddie was no longer there. The stink of sulphur rising in the shape of two small hot clouds of burning air from cloven footprints on the ground at her feet made her nose clog up.
“How did you do that?” Ellen asked the emptiness around her. The sounds of the party inside the mansion behind her made her back shiver. The front door had swung open.
Yawning in the entrance was Eddie, beckoning with an evil grin. “Coming dear? Or are you giving up? What’s the use of having a soul if you can’t put it to use? Sign here. I know what’s hiding in your heart. What other chance have you got?”
It felt like a mesmerizing dream. Those searching yellow eyes cast their spell. What did she have to lose? Ellen hardly read the parchment made of skin, placed before her. Instead of a pen, Eddie had pricked her thumb. One weeping drop of blood smeared in place and the deed was done.
She’d flung herself back inside, tripped, did a surprisingly adroit summersault in mid air, landed on her feet with an unspoiled wine glass in her hand and bowed at the burst of laughter launched back at her. The night turned into a comedy of errors leaving everyone, including the producer in awe. It also launched her comedic career.
Eddie, proved to be a marvel in disguise, a voice over a phone, an unseen presence at crucial moments. The producer quickly learned and adjusted to the fact that Ellen had to have movies created around her. She had a way of turning everything into a snicker, a gaffaw, a tear jerking laugh.
Now this. “All I wanted was to prove myself in a dramatic role. I was typecast. All people wanted to do was laugh at me. It got on my nerves. What was wrong with that? You couldn’t do that one little thing for me?” Ellen steamed. She’d gone along with things until now. Was it too late? Was Eddie here to really turn things around?”
“The devil of it is, you have a new audience awaiting, just as promised,” Eddie smiled. It wasn’t pretty.
There was a flick of that forked tongue that made Ellen pause. “A dramatic role?” she asked. “One that will make me more famous than Marilyn Monroe? Never forgotten?”
Ellen found herself taking a hesitant step towards Eddie. “I’m sorry for acting the way I was. I’ll do anything you want. I promise.”
It was like that first night they had first met. Eddie disappearing, reappearing at a mansion’s open front door, the roar of the crowd. Ellen tripped, going inside. It was deja vu. The summersalt, the gasps of surprised welcoming awe. Titters stilled. Eyes rose in admiration. A never ending mass of heads lowered and bowed, awaiting her next dramatic move.
“It’s Ellen Summers,” Eddie announced, twitching his tail. Demons, witches, weird evil shadows danced, beckoning her on to the most dramatic moment in a new and unforgettable career. Chained between two rising volcanic spires spouting lava, she watched her bridges burn behind her. Burning rock broke apart, falling into an endless chasm.
“Hell of a thing, isn’t she?” Eddie announced to his massed nightmares. “One of a kind.”
Every whim of black magic flung at her by cackling witches, Ellen’s talent for comedic plunder turned aside. Demon’s curses were reversed when directed her way, adding to the echoing rolling thunder of laughter. Her dramatic entrance was over. It was back to doing what she did best.
A sheen of sweat dripped from Ellen’s every pore. How long could she keep this act up? One after another talented hellish monster tried her undoing. Ellen was the queen of misbegotten mirth in this hellish studio of horrors.
Eddie winked one callous yellow eye at her before leaving on new business. HIs side of the contract was done. Ellen Summers fame would march down through the ages as long as hell would survive.