It had all supposed to be a normal day, but… it wasn’t.
James was woken brutally in the middle of the night by a phone call.
“Wassamatter?” he asked drowsily. A voice snapped at him. “You’re supposed to be awake at this time of the day, James!”
James chuckled into the phone. “It’s not even day, Benjamin. Get your head together.”
The other person, named Benjamin, sighed. “Stop insulting me with your odd timings, you devil. I’m an angel, and I have to do your job. You were supposed to be on the night shift, weren’t you?”
James groaned. “Angels can stay up at night, and devils can stay up during the day, Ben.”
Ben’s voice took on a serious tone. “Look here, I have not called to chitchat with you. I found a lost soul in the corporate building. You better take care of it. I need my rest.”
“The building twelve blocks away from my house? Sure, I’ll take care of it,” James waved Ben’s worry away and quickly disconnected the call.
Bizarre though it may sound, it was true. An angel was working with a devil. Literal supernatural beings. The last month, both of them had got into trouble with their respective departments- Heaven and Hell. God and the Head Devil had a small negotiation and settled on making them work with each other for twelve months on Earth as punishment. Little did they know that James and Benjamin were fast friends.
James rolled and rolled in his sleep, mulling over the facts. He finally couldn’t stand the insomnia- not that he slept regularly- and walked over to his desktop sitting patiently on the table. He opened it up normally, and then clicked an icon labeled ‘Rampage Software’. It looked normal from the outside, but on opening, it demanded that the user answer a question.
He smirked. The Devils’ Code was easy to decipher… only by a devil. He typed it in and surfed through all the news he could find straight from Hell about the building. It had apparently been swarmed by ghosts since the beginning of its existence, but lost souls were a rarity. In fact, this was the first occurrence of that kind of soul in there.
“Loves to inhabit the elevator… what the Hell?” he commented.
The next day found him feeding on waffles for breakfast. He was late for the mission.
“Ben! Can you pick me up at eleven?” he yelled into his phone. He could feel the angel rolling his eyes through the call. “Seriously, why don’t you buy your own car?” he sighed, but agreed to pick James up anyway.
In exactly twelve minutes, both of them were speeding towards the target site in the car. James turned to Ben. “Hang around near the place, okay? If I need backup, I’ll call you ‘Benjamin’.”
Ben nodded. “And let’s not use phones. They’re easily traceable.”
Soon, James was rushed into the building. He smiled at the receptionist. “I heard you were having trouble with the computer systems on the third floor,” he said in one of his sweetest voices. She blushed. “Yeah,” she said. “They have been acting up lately. You can use the elevator. It will be more convenient.”
He smiled and winked at her before moving away. Everything was going according to the plan. Now, all he had to do was take the ghost to the third floor where Ben had set up dormant spells the night before. Isolate the lost soul and activate the spells- it was all simple. The humans were cleared of that floor, so nobody would know anything.
He stepped into the elevator along with two more people. The doors closed and it started moving up. Suddenly, it jolted to a halt in the middle of two floors. Panic took root in the two humans. James tried to calm them, but he was tensed himself. How would he reach the third floor without alerting the two now?
“Hello, look what we have here,” a voice echoed behind him. His head jumped up and he turned around.
There it was, lounging across the wall, phasing in and out. The others couldn’t see or feel it, so it was pretty safe. James hissed in frustration.
“You are the lost soul I have to eliminate, huh?” he whispered through grit teeth. It only chuckled in a wily manner. “But you can’t, can you? Ickle devil can’t without using his powers!” it cackled loudly. He closed his eyes. “Why are you here?” he demanded.
“I’m lost, aren’t I?” it said again in a voice which made a chill travel down his spine (even though he himself was a devil). He sighed. “’I meant,” he growled, “Why are you lost?”
One of the two behind him leant towards the other. “Isn’t that man mad, talking to himself?”
The soul grinned and James prayed for patience. He had been getting this ever since he descended on Earth, but he had never got to getting used to it.
“Alright,” he spoke again to the soul. “Spill the beans. It was you who broke down the elevator, right?” The soul looked away. “It is called cutting access to electricity, but whatever.”
“YOU SHUT DOWN THE ENTIRE BUILDING’S CURRENT SUPPLY? WHY?” James roared. The other two persons’ worst fears seemed to have been confirmed, and they cowered in a corner, one of them furiously dialing a number on their phone.
James looked desperate now. “I beg you… I don’t want to be the cause of even a moment’s misery to the humans,” he pleaded the soul. The person trying to call someone shouted out, “You’re making us pretty miserable here!”
James ignored them. He looked pitifully at the soul.
“They did me wrong and killed my mortal form brutally. Why should I forgive any of the humans?”
James inhaled deeply. At least he had found out why this soul was still on Earth.
“I need a promotion back at Hell,” he said calmly. “And I need you out of here if I want to stand a chance.”
The soul looked skeptical. “Oh, but do you expect me to help you out without something in return?” it cackled again. James grunted. Of course, it was a lost soul after all, and all of them were clever and selfish. He could not risk calling Ben; the soul would know it. He had to agree.
“… What do you want?” he murmured. The soul beamed gleefully. “Now we’re talking! Don’t kill me, and I get you out without harm to the people. I won’t even step in here again.”
“Is that a deal?” he asked in a tiny voice. It nodded. He inhaled. “Fine, then,” he agreed.
That was all that the soul needed. It phased outside the elevator and pushed the whole thing downstairs. All three of them landed safely. As soon as it pulled opened the doors, the humans ran out, glad to be away from ‘that madman’.
James stepped outside in relief. “Thanks,” he told the soul. It bowed. “It has been my pleasure,” it said in return.
“Sir!” a voice called out.
James whipped around. The receptionist hurried towards him. “I heard the elevator broke down! Are you alright?” she inquired, worried. He blinked a few times. “Didn’t the whole building experience a power loss?” he asked, bewildered. She shook her head, equally confused and concerned. He turned to glare at the soul.
But it had already escaped.