Rachel scrolled through the menu on her phone until she came to the Calls Received listing. She pressed down on the small grey button. The mobile's screen bleeped into life, glowing green. three numbers appeared: 666.
Rachel dropped the phone as if it were red hot, it bounced against her knee before hitting the floor of the car with a dull thud.
666. The Devil's number.
She stared down at the phone. It looked so insignificant lying amidst the dust and grit: no bigger than the compact mirror she carried in her bag, yet at this moment it seemed to carry the weight of her entire life within its fragile plastic casing. Her hand shook as she picked it up, without giving herself time to think she pressed the number six.
It was answered immediately.
"Hello Rachel," said the Devil. "I thought you'd see sense and ring me back."
"What do you want?"
He chuckled. "All in good time. All in good time. Did you ring the hospital?"
"Good girl. I was right wasn't I? The life force of your son has almost evaporated, what a pity. He's a good-looking chap isn't he Rachel? And so young. How old is he? Twenty-four? Twenty-five? I've lost count you know. Ah well, we'd best get down to business." He laughed. "Hell and fury wait for no man."
"What business?" Even as she spoke the words, Rachel wished she could snatch them back, leave them unsaid...then maybe all this would go away: Harry would still he alive and well; she would find herself back in the office chatting with Claire and Emma.
But the Devil interrupted her. "What business? Why, surely you know by now? Who I take and who I don't of course. You or your son. It's your call."
Rachel opened her lips to speak. The words: You can't be serious? ready to fall from her mouth. But she knew he was serious. Deadly serious. This was no joke.
It was her call. Hers alone.
Her mind turned again to Harry. Harry her beloved son; her only child. Harry who had been her soul mate since his father had left them nine years ago. Harry who would be twenty-six on his next birthday. Harry. There was nothing she wouldn't do for him.
There was no choice.
"Take me." Rachel was surprised by just how calm her voice sounded, as if she were making small talk with a colleague, not bartering with the Devil.
And I'm frightened, she thought. Oh yes, she was frightened...very frightened.
The Devil laughed. "Thank you ta nicely."
The line went dead.
He was gone.
Excerpt from Calling 666 by Akasha Savage.
Everyone likes a good baddie - if you'll excuse the oxymoron - the list is endless:
Rhett Butler. Freddy Kruger. Frankinstein's monster. Dracula. Hannibal Lecter....
But do you like creating them for your stories?
I love it: I would much rather be writing about a villain than a hero?
The more I write about The Bloody Countess: Erzsebet Bathory, the more I grow to like her. It's all about empathy I think; recognising the little traits of evil that lurk in us all.