Welcome to Flashes of Sanity! Your weekly (during July it is daily!) dose of flash fiction on 500 words or less.
Today’s entry: Estimated Delivery
The devil sighed. Loudly. Then he groaned.
He was missing dinner. Roasted piglets. Why of all days was today the day the delivery was delayed?
The flaming water changed from orange to blue to white and then back again. 20, 40 and 60 minutes, and then 60 more. Even the tortured souls screaming at the bottom of the flames pitied him.
When the ship finally showed itself in the horizon, the flames had turned back to blue once again. And the devil had walked circles in the stones under his feet.
The ship docked and the devil could finally lower the bridge to welcome its passengers.
“What took you so long?” the devil asked as he saw the captain show him aboard.
“Haven’t you heard?” The captain asked. “The whole world has turned to flames.”
“I don’t find flames as intriguing as the beyonders do,” the devil said. ”And I didn’t think the ferryman feared it either.”
The captain frowned. ”The ferryman was my father. I am the Captain. My name is Valdok.”
The devil smiled. ”Ah yes, the traitor and his unwilling son.”
The sour look on Captain Valdok’s face was almost enough to make up for the missed dinner. ”Do you want the delivery or not?”
”It is my job,” the devil shrugged. ”What I want is not of importance as long as I got a job.”
”You are probably right about that,” Captain Valdok said as they mounted a tube to the extraction vent. ”I heard about the stabbers going away.”
”Not just the stabbers. The scorcher and the twisters too. The moment these sad bastards go through the tube, a whole machinery begins down there.” The devil frowned. ”It’s disgusting, I’ll tell you that much.”
Captain Valdok nodded. He pushed a button and the souls flowed through the pipe down to the eternal torment. Every single soul screeched.
”I think you’ll need to use the extra cells this time, and in the coming deliveries.”
”I will prepare tank 3 and 4.” With the press of a button two large cylinders became active.
”Tanks?” Valdok flinched at the thought. ”Poor bastards.”
”It is all pressure and steel now,” the devil sighed.
The two observed the steady flow of screaming souls flowing past them in silence.
”I will be back tomorrow,” Valdok said as they removed the tube. ”Don’t expect me to be any earlier.”
”Then I will make sure to eat dinner before I go on.”
”Yes and prepare tank 5 and 6 if you have so many,” Valdok faked a smile.
”We have eight,” The devil said. ”Bring so many souls that the tanks explode tomorrow. That would maybe put an end to this craziness.”
”With how the world looks right now? No problem.”
The Captain took the devil’s hand, and as they parted ways both new this could be the last time. Both had ignored the label on the tank.