Still, she checked them every moment she didn’t have to wait tables or sleep. She’d wake groggily, the imprint of a keyboard on her cheek, and try one more link before staggering off to bed.
She quit writing her latest novel. She barely ate. Laundry was done only when she ran out of underwear. Her clothes hung loose, and her brunette hair was thinning. But she finally whittled the choices down to one spell she might be able to pull off.
After the oddest shopping trip she’d ever taken, she shoved her couch against the wall to free up floor space and began pouring chalk into the shape of a pentacle. Candles were lit and added to the five points, spells were intoned, and a garlic-roasted chicken added in the center as the sacrifice, making her stomach rumble as the smell wafted through her small apartment.
Diana made it through the final Latin incantation and scanned the apartment urgently, both hoping for and dreading the results of her labors. Nothing. She slumped over, defeated. This had been her last hope.
But an eldritch light filtered its way through her despair, and her head snapped up. Something was happening.
The sickly green grew steadily more brilliant, until she had to shade her eyes against it. A bass voice intoned, “Why have you summoned me, mortal?”
The light was bearable now, casting a pale glow onto her hands. Diana’s gaze traveled slowly up. A hugely fat figure squatted in front of her, its belly cascading over its knees and fortunately hiding any personal details. Above the many chins, its teeth were pointed and bared in a challenging grimace.
Diana gulped. “You are here to serve me, are you not? But I must be certain you can do what I need. How are you at literary efforts?”
The lips closed and the figure’s expression mellowed into something resembling a smile. “Writing a book that you want to be remembered forever? I can help with that, sure enough.”
Diana braced herself against a surge of hope that brought tears to her eyes. “I’ve already written the book, but I get rejections from every literary agent I’ve sent it to. How are you at query letters?”
The figure rocked back on its heels, causing the entire apartment to shake. Diana’s teacup fell and shattered. A pudgy hand waved, and the bone china was mended as though it had never broken.
“Well, I don’t know about that,” the demon said. “Query letters are hard.”
Not my usual sort of tale (I normally avoid demons), but I’ve been critiquing queries lately, so this is in solidarity for all those currently in the querying trenches.