© 2021 Andrew R. Brown. All rights reserved.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author's imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Chapter 1: The Worst Day of my Life

The grass was washed with a fresh coat of dew in the early morning hours outside of the normal house. Similar to all the other houses in the neighborhood in shape and design, this was but another staple of life in the suburbs. As the sun cracked over the horizon, the sleepy town began to come alive. Everyone was going about their normal morning rituals with a little more enthusiasm. This was due in large part to what particular day of the week it was. Today was Friday, and for many in this sleepy town, today would be a great day, but those people are of no concern to us. Our story begins inside this normal looking house, with the awakening of a teenage boy who was about to have the worst day of his life.

"Charlie, breakfast is ready!" a lovely middle aged woman called out from downstairs.

My alarm clock was delivering a similar message, but with much more passion. In my groggy state, I smashed it with all of my strength. Normally, I hated waking up for school, but today was not like most days. Today was Friday, and when I checked the calendar, my heart skipped a beat.

"Here we go, today is the big day. Get your game face on Charlie! This is your time to shine." I told myself as I paraded off to the shower. Despite using the same brand of shampoo I always use, I felt like my short brown hair was a little bit shinier today. Despite using the same brand of toothpaste, my teeth looked a little whiter today. Despite having the same dull average appearance, my face looked a little more handsome today.

"Charlie, your breakfast is getting cold!" My mom announced from downstairs.

I quickly got dressed in my school uniform and headed down to breakfast. Mom always made my favorite on Fridays. Buttermilk pancakes with a smiley face made out of chocolate chips.

"Morning Charlie. All ready for your big day today?" My dad asked from the seat next to me. He was dressed in his business suit reading the news on his smartphone.

"Oh yeah! I am going to ace that math test like I always do. Been studying all week so I'm not worried." I replied.

"Yes, we know your grades are excellent, but I have never seen you this excited over a test, son. Is there something else going on today that I don't know about?" My mom raised an eyebrow.

Before I had the chance to respond, Dad interrupted. "He didn't tell you? The prom is coming up in a few weeks, and our son is going to ask out that girl he has a crush on!"

"Dad! I told you that in confidence..." My embarrassment was overshadowed by my mother's excitement.

"Oh wow! That's so exciting dear. You know this is your second year of high school, and last year you didn't go. I told you plenty of times that there is no shame going solo~"

"Mom we have been over this. Anyway, I've got to get going. Wish me luck!"

I put my now empty plate in the dishwasher and hurried out the door.

The school bell rang just a few minutes after I made it to my first period class. My math test was the next period, so this period was mostly spent reviewing my math notes. I'm sure the teacher's history lecture about the early Roman empire was very informative, but I had an A in this class, so I paid little attention.

The bell rang again and I quickly packed my notes and headed down the hall to my math class. This test was going to be a piece of cake. However, on my way to class, I spotted something that took my breath away.

There she was, swimming gracefully through the crowded halls. Her legs moved like a ballerina over the tile floors. Surrounded by admirers and groupies, she ruled the school like a Queen. Her long blonde hair draped down the sides of her face with just a slight curl. Her blue eyes commanded respect, and her angelic face held an air of authority. She was the captain of the women's volleyball team, and the most beautiful girl at Saint Gabriel's Academy.

She was also the girl who sat next to me in math class.

The bell rang again, and we were all in our seats ready to take the math test. The teacher was calling attendance and began to read everyone's names.

"Charles Bradford?"

"Here!" I answered. He read off the rest of the names of the rest of the people in class until he read the name of the girl sitting next to me.

"Natalie Sanders?"

"Here."

That one word. Everyone in this school says that one word at least six times a day. But when Natalie Sanders says that word, it may as well have been spoken by an angelic choir from the heavens.

"Alright class, please take out your scantrons and a number two pencil. We will begin the test shortly."

As usual, I had my scantron ready along with a freshly sharpened number two pencil. Before the test, I felt something poke at my side.

"Umm... excuse me. I forgot my scantron in the locker room. Do you have an extra one?" Be still my heart. Natalie Sanders, the Queen of the school was asking me for a scantron?! Come on Charlie, keep it together. This is all part of the plan.

"Y-yeah sure. One sec." I reached into my bag and grabbed my spare scantron. I knew Natalie would most likely forget hers since she had morning practice on Fridays. In preparation for this moment, I placed a sticky note on the back of the scantron. The note included a small message written on the back.

Meet me behind the gym after school.

I handed her the scantron. I saw her take the note off and read it before the teacher started walking around passing out the tests.

"Alright class, you may begin the test."

Algebra. The bane of many high school students' existence, but to me, it was amateur hour.

I knew the second I turned in that test that I would get a 100. But that was of no concern to me. The rest of the day was spent floating around the different classes on my schedule until that final bell rang for the weekend.

Most other kids were quickly out of the building and on their way to a fun weekend. Not me, I had other matters to attend to. I made a detour out the side of the building and headed to the small area behind the gym near the parking lot. I waited out there for a while. After checking my phone, I saw that almost an hour had passed. Could she have stood me up? No, I saw her read the note. She will show up. I just know it.

It was now past 4:00. Still nothing. I looked around and saw the crowds of students fleeing Saint Gabriel's Academy had now vanished. Perhaps this was a test of endurance? If it meant getting to take Natalie Sanders to the prom, I would wait out here all night if I had to.

Finally, I heard a door opening from near the side of the building. It was Natalie! She was wearing her gym bag over her shoulder. She looked around for a few seconds before spotting me. I could feel my blood pressure start to rise as she walked over to me.

"Hey, umm... you're Chase right?" What the hell? How could she not know my name?

"Actually it's Charlie. Charlie Bradford? We sit next to each other in math class."

"Oh yeah that's right. Sorry I would have come earlier but I got wrapped up with something. You gave me that note earlier before the test saying you wanted to meet me out here?"

Alright Charlie, this is it! Time to make your move.

"Um~y-yeah I did. So~um you know~the prom is coming up in a few weeks."

Crap, my palms are getting sweaty.

"A-and while I am sure you are busy with your volleyball stuff, I-I just wanted to know~um"

Dammit! My knees are getting weak and my arms feel heavy.

I started stuttering as a bead of sweat crawled down my face in the spring afternoon. Natalie was beginning to grow impatient.

"Wanted to know what?"

I clenched my fists and gulped down my fear.

"I wanted to know. N-Natalie S-Sanders... Will you go to the prom with me?"

The air between us was deathly quiet. The silence permeated through my very bones. Before I could start to tremble, Natalie did the one thing I did not expect her to do.

She started giggling.

"Oh~Oh no. Oh~no~no~no~no ohhhh... AHHHHHH~HAHAHAHAHA!"

I stood there frozen in the warm spring afternoon. The girl of my dreams was laughing hysterically in front of me.

"Did~Did you actually call me out here, to waste my precious time, on a Friday no less, just to ask me to the prom?! Oh my god, this is just hilarious!"

She continued laughing. I simply stood there in shock.

"Listen Chandler~"

"~It's Charlie"

"Whatever, In case you didn't know, I own this school. I can have any guy I want. Why in the world would I ever pick a pathetic loser like you over literally anyone else?"

"Uh~um~well I thought~"

"You thought what? Huh? That Natalie Sanders, the Queen of SGA would ever be caught dead with the likes of a pathetic loser like you? Get real. Why don't you just ask the girl you took last year? Who was that again?"

"Um~well~I didn't have a date last year..."

Natalie started laughing even harder.

"What a pathetic loser! So not only did you not even have a date last year, but you still decided to ask ME out? Kid, you are one stupid idiot."

Suddenly Natalie's phone started ringing.

"Yes?"

"(Natalie, we got it)"

"You got it?"

"(We recorded the whole thing)"

"Good work. Continue with the plan."

She hung up and put her phone away. "Don't feel too bad kid. I'm sure things will start looking up for you." She pointed her finger up to the sky.

Instead of walking away like I should have, I took the bait and looked up. What I saw could only be described as a massive cloud blotting out the sun for just a few seconds. Soon I was covered in something hot and slimy.

"HAHAHAHAHA! How does that week old chili taste, LOSER! I got the whole thing on video too. So let this be a warning, if you ever try to talk to me again, I will post this online for the whole world to see. You will be ruined. Do you understand?"

"Y-yes." Suddenly I heard her yell out. "WHAT WAS THAT?"

"Y-yes M-Ma'am." I said a little bit louder through the growing tears in my eyes.

Satisfied with herself, Natalie Sanders walked away from the scene and off to her weekend.

The weather man said there would only be a 20% chance of rain today. The sun was out all day long. The weather had been perfect all week.

A growing storm cloud was rushing towards me. I could feel the rain-cooled air blowing past the trees. The sidewalk ran parallel to a four lane road, and every now and then, cars would drive past and laugh at me with the windows rolled down. I did my best not to look at them, but that only helped to distract from the fact that a major thunderstorm was now right overhead. First one raindrop, then two, then one hundred, then ten thousand.

The rain was pounding me like a heavyweight boxer as I did my best to run for cover. Thankfully, the more soaked I got, the more that the slimy week old chili started to be washed off my body.

The more I ran, the closer I got to the one place I knew I could feel safe. It was my favorite bookstore.

The lights were on and the door was unlocked. I hurried inside and did my best to dry off.

"Welcome to Lilith's Bookstore. How can I help y~Oh hi there Charlie!" A lovely old lady called out behind the counter.

"Hi Miss Lilith. Crazy weather today huh?"

"Oh you poor dear, you're soaking wet! Here, let me fetch you a towel. You just wait right there sweetie." She hurried off to the back of the store as best as an old lady could.

This bookstore was a local secret, as most people in town spent their money at the big chain store, Yarns & Fogle. While that place might have more selection, and a built-in coffee shop, if you want a comfy old store to buy a book with a smile, you go to Lilith's.

I stood around the front entrance and admired my safe haven. The lights were dim but warm. The old shelves lined with books gave the place a distinct smell. Something like a cross between an old library and Grandma's house.

Miss Lilith returned from the back with a towel and handed it to me.

"Here you go sweetie. So what brings you in today? And why do you smell like chili?"

I dried myself off and handed her the towel back. "Well, you know the prom is coming up soon, and I stayed late after school to ask out this girl I like."

"Oh sweetie that's wonderful! What did she say?"

I sighed a deep sigh. "Well, she laughed at me, called me a loser, and had her friend dump a giant pot of chili on me."

Miss Lilith looked at me with such sad eyes. "Oh no sweetie, that is just awful. I'm so sorry to hear that."

"Worst of all, she recorded the whole thing on video, and threatened me to never tell anyone or else she will upload it to the internet."

Now Miss Lilith started looking angry. "Kids these days. You know, when I was your age, we used to beat up floozies like her. Now days you kids with your internet and your smart phones. Why I oughta..."

"So, it looks like I will be spending another year home alone on prom night. Anyway, while I am here, mind if I look around for some books to read?"

"Sure thing sweetie! Pick out whatever you like."

Ahh Miss Lilith. If there was ever anyone I needed to see today, it was her. I love my grandma, but sometimes it felt like Miss Lilith was more of a grandma to me than my real grandma. I thanked her and started browsing the shelves. There were some new books in stock. A few copies of the hot new sci-fi series, Union Galactic, as well as some cheesy romance novels. After checking out a few fantasy novels, I noticed something odd sticking out of the shelf. I had been in this store many times before, and had basically memorized all of the shelves contents. This was a book I had never seen before.

It's binder was pitch black. There was no author, and when I pulled it out, the only thing on the cover was a black pentagram.

The longer that I held the book in my hands, the more I started to feel a strange sensation. It was hard to explain. The book was vibrating, and I could swear that the pentagram was glowing a little. After a few seconds of this, I started hearing voices whisper in my mind. They were too quiet to hear what they were saying. Eventually I started to make out one word.

"Charlie..."

Okay, now I'm starting to get spooked here. Just what the heck is this thing?

"Charlie~"

I need to snap out of this.

"CHARLIE!"

Finally I regained my composure and remembered where I was. I was in the bookstore, and Miss Lilith was standing next to me.

"Are you okay Charlie? You were just standing there, staring off into space."

I blinked a few times and turned towards her. "Yeah, I'm fine. Hey Miss Lilith, I think I will buy this book."

I walked over to the counter and placed the book down before Miss Lilith waved me off. "Oh you've had a rough day sweetie, don't worry about it. That one is on the house! It looks like the rain stopped, so why don't you head on home before your mother gets worried."

I thanked Miss Lilith for her kindness and headed home. She smiled and waved goodbye, but I could have sworn she was smiling much larger than I have ever seen her smile before.

Back at the house, I crashed through the front door and made my way straight past my parents up to my room. I'm sure they would be asking me about how things went, and that was the last thing I wanted to talk about right now.

Right on cue, my mom knocked on my bedroom door.

"Charles, honey, how did today go?"

"Go away mom! I don't want to talk about it."

"Oh... okay." I heard her shuffle away and mutter to herself "That poor boy".

Whatever. I didn't care for her pity right now. I just wanted this day to be over. Everything went as wrong as it could have possibly gone. For the second year in a row, I would be spending prom night alone in my room. The worst part of it was that Natalie Sanders had me by the balls. Even if I wanted to get revenge on her, or just talk to someone about it, she would upload that video to the internet.

It was Friday night, and just like every other Friday night, I had no plans. Time to do the only thing a young teenage boy does in his room alone on Friday nights.

Read that creepy book I got from the bookstore.

"Alright now, lets see what kind of secrets lie within your binder, oh strange book." I said to myself as I pulled it out of my bag.

I began reading the book out loud when I noticed that the words don't make any sense. They are all written in english, but none of the words are actual english words. Just what the heck is this thing?

I try reading some of them out loud when all of the sudden all of the lights in my house go out. The book suddenly starts to glow a bright red glow. Smoke begins to rise from the pages and fill the room. The smoke gets thicker and thicker until I am unable to see anything.

In the glowing red light from the book I make out the shape of a person standing in my room.

"Who dares summon me?" The voice is feminine, but powerful.

I open my eyes to get a better look, and I notice a beautiful woman standing in the middle of my room. She has dark black hair, glowing red eyes, and long horns sticking out from her head. Her body looks just like a beautiful human woman, except for the demonic wings, tail, and legs.

"What the? Who are you? How did you get in here?"

"Silence! Foolish mortal, I am the demon Beelzebub. You have summoned me to form a contract, have you not?"

I go back to the book and notice that the letters have changed on the page. They now say words that I can understand. I begin reading them off.

"To forge a contact with her majesty Beelzebub, I offer my soul as penance to carry out my greatest desires."

The book started to glow brighter and the demon girl in my bedroom started to glow brighter as well. In an instant, the fog in my room vanished, and all of the lights turned back on.

"It is done. Your soul is now mine. Thank you, human. Now then, what is it that you desire?"

Wait, is this for real? This demon girl will do anything I ask her to do? Only one way to find out.

"Will you go to the prom with me?"