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Fantasy Fiction Christian

Melissa unlocked the front doors. Opening them, she tucked a door stopper in with a gnarled toe.

Not a person was to be seen.

Positioning herself at the table nearest the door, she pulled out her laptop, looking at her website. Once again, shock flooded through her. Though no one had been to eat, alleged recent customers had left cruel reviews without stars.

Melissa mused over once again how she would pay the rent that month. No one had been in to eat in 3 weeks and the rent was due next week. There were still the food suppliers to pay as well. Fresh food such as fruits and vegetables had to be purchased every day.

After the first week of no customers, Melissa had dared to go against the government saying that people were welcome to eat there without needing to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or even wear the dreaded masks.

It hadn't worked.

After the second week of no customers, she had advertised a 2 for the price of 1 deal.

That didn't work either.

After the third week, she checked her website to find out what had been going on. People had been leaving false reviews, without stars. All had said they had been to her restaurant, without ever attending. The good reviews and the 5-star rating she had accumulated had somehow been wiped from her website.

Melissa understood what was going on, but she didn't know how to combat it. She did not understand who it was doing this to her. She did not comprehend why it was being done.

It was the end of the third week.

No one had eaten there in 3 weeks.

5 minutes before closing time, a loud car motor woke Melissa from her nap. It had become customary for her, since her business dried up, to slip into sleep in her position.

Getting up from her seat, she turned around to peer through the door, only to come face to face with a ginormous individual. This individual, a man, of sorts, she thought, was tall. He was much taller than a basketball player with a body broader than a football player. He was dark, ever so dark. Tanned, but not negro. He had a short hairdo covering his skull. The length would have been about 2 inches. On either side of his skull, above his ears, were 2 funny, little lumps. His eyes were blacker than a bottomless lake, with the pupils blending into the cornea. The man, of an age she could not place, was dressed in an immaculate, white suit, tie, shirt, and shoes combination. An inordate amount of flies could be seen buzzing at the top of his head, circling around it like a sick halo.

“You're still open, I see,” boomed his voice.

“Why, yes,” Melissa replied, feeling tiny in comparison to his towering body. “Yes, I am. Please, come in.”

The man entered, sitting down at the table she had vacated. He ignored her laptop.

“I will have whatever it is that is available at this time. I realize you are soon to close,” he ordered.

“What should I call you?” Melissa asked.

“Lived,” Lived replied with a hearty laugh.

“Welcome to my restaurant Lived,” Melissa intoned in a dull voice. The evening was playing havoc with her senses. As she watched his face she saw images of the many people whom she had buried in her life and some whom she hadn't seen for years, such as her siblings, one remaining parent, and estranged children.

“Ah. Your staring. My face must be doing that thing again. It happens. Whoever I own tends to be seen on my face. Not all are dead. Some are simply in permanent bondage.”

“I'll be off to get your meal then,” Melissa responded, feeling awkward. She left the seating area and entered the kitchen to make, for this unusual man, the best meal she could.

Melissa returned with her chef's special, placing it in front of Lived.

“Beautiful. Delicious. Just what I wanted,” Lived mentioned in a casual tone, without touching any of it. “Let's get down to business, shall we?”

Melissa startled, giving Lived a strange stare, “Sure.”

“You have had no business for 3 weeks. That isn't an accident. You understand that?” Lived began.

Melissa nodded, remaining silent.

“You haven't given up. You haven't asked for help. You haven't complained, nor lashed out. It's very impressive. It is also unexpected. When we do this sort of thing to people, well, they give up. You understand?”

Melissa agreed, “Yes, yes, I do. It was my dream to do this. To build something from the life my family destroyed.”

“Yes. They sold you out for personal gain. The deal they made was to have you programmed to self-destruct at a particular time. Your energy, in essence, paid for their lives. Well, it came time to collect and you did not self-destruct.”

Melissa had figured this out a long time ago. “I know. Why should I pay for the debt they made when they couldn't share anything with me?”

“Yes, well, we've taken the soul of your father as a down payment on their debt. Your siblings and children all have to choose to lose either themselves or someone precious to them.”

Melissa smiled. She understood this as well. There was no bond or connection of emotion between her and any of her family. It would not be her loss.

“However, we still want your soul. It is very bright, powerful.”

A shiver went down Melissa's spine. “You can't have it.”

“Ah. Yes. I was expecting that reply. I am prepared to offer you what you have asked for in the past and more, much more. My scribes already have a document ready for you to sign.”

“Like what?” Melissa queried.

“Well, you can't have your father, as he has passed, but your children still live.”

Melissa arched an eyebrow. She had built her life without them. What good were they to her now?

“Then there is the subject of money. I am speaking of a substantial sum. We are in the business of making overnight billionaires. I could purchase this restaurant from you, leaving you with enough money to pursue any dream you wish, buy a multitude of properties, travel, and never need to be on welfare.”

“I can't take money with me when I die,” Melissa mentioned in a dry voice. It was tempting, this offer.

“As part of the deal, we would end the oppression against you, as well. No more cruelties or sly tricks from anyone.”

This had been something Melissa had wanted, long before she had found ways of dealing with the turmoil her attackers stirred.

“Your a hard sell, aren't you. Once upon a time, you would have done anything for what I've offered. What changed you?” Lived asked, becoming irritated. The flies surrounding his skull buzzed harder. One veered off trying to land on Melissa. It returned to Lived without success.

“I did.”

“What if I offered you all the power in the world? I could make you a wealthy leader, with a family, whom everyone would respect?”

"What would the price be, for me?"

"You know. It would be the ultimate sacrifice."

"What good is it to gain the world if you lose your soul?" Melissa retorted, a soft smile gracing her face.

"Jesus!" Lived exploded. "I hate that saying."

“Then here is your answer: Remember what you told to me all those times when you made it hard on me and I was begging for a deal?” Melissa reminded, staring at this beast, hard.

“Ah. That's not fair.” Lived quivered.

“That's my answer. You are a little too late. I'm not willing to destroy my soul for any of the things you offer. You should have come to the table when the offer was available.”

“We wanted to test you. We wanted to see if you were worthy of having the life of your dreams.” Lived whined.

“Am I?” Melissa asked, with a flat look on her face.

“You are. You are more worthy than we are. We are not worthy of your soul. Truly, you are purer than we could have ever imagined.”

Melissa shrugged. “I'm closing. For good. Please don't bother me again. I don't want money. I don't have a family. I have my soul and that is mine for eternity.”

“Without your soul, we will be destroyed. We can not have a soul so pure not belonging to us.”

“This time, it will have to be so. You lost your opportunity to acquire my soul. Goodnight.” With that, Melissa ejected Lived from her restaurant, locking the door, and leaving the keys inside. She wouldn't be coming back.


April 09, 2022 05:31

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1 comment

Emmanuel Bakare
23:20 Apr 18, 2022

Strongly themed. Beautiful


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