Hi all, I'm late submitting this which takes me out of next week's challenge, I ate some food last night that knocked me for six and woke up realising I hadn't met my deadline (SLAPPED WRISTS).That said, I challenged Michael who wrote the interesting: Who Played Who, and I was challenge by Marian over at Runaway Sentence. You can find the prompt at the end of the piece.
He looked left, he looked right - no one in sight; so he took a chance and stepped out into the street. Ice cold winds hit him from what felt like every direction, and, unlike most afternoons in town, the place was deserted save for the odd cat or stray dog. For the best part of that morning he'd walked around without someone calling his name. His name was like a cuss when said in full and to hear it over and over each day brought him great displeasure.
The fact that everyone in town had apparently disappeared didn't seem entirely odd.
It all began on the outskirts of town, at the crossroads where it's said you can make a deal with a demon and seal it with a kiss. John had made such a mistake. Rushed into a deal without discussing the fine print which included his soul as payment, and, as with any deal done with a demon, there's always a catch.
His wish had been for everyone to forget his name. Admittedly not the best thing to ask for but he assumed the demon would understand. Luckily for him, his 'crossroads' demon was a beautiful vivacious woman with soft lips that tasted like warm caramel. When the kiss was complete and John regained his senses, she was gone and the world felt different. The entire area, though usually quiet, seemed even more so. In the distance, back at the town there were no cars driving around or any lights in houses for that matter. For an old mining town it was strange not to see some sort of activity in the closely knit community. All he could see and feel was nothing.
So, here he was, in town on a chilly day with no one crying out; John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt!
But that wasn't his wish. He didn't want everyone to vanish, only for them to forget his name, but in a demonic twist, having no one around to say his name was as much a wish granted than what he'd expected.
Racked with the guilt of causing such a thing to happen and unable to leave the place he’d grew up in, John never left his home on the south side of town. For years he tended to the streets, cleaned houses and maintained every piece of machinery in the hope that one day everyone would come back but they never did, until 10 years passed.
John hadn’t aged in all that time and his memory was as good as it had ever been, so when he saw a woman sauntering up to him as he sat outside the tavern chewing on an errant piece of corn he knew his demon had come to collect. With her gaze fixed upon him, he realised she was staring straight through his skin and bones, her eyes were on her prize.
“Hello John!” she exclaimed.
Slightly relieved to finally see someone John almost got up and hugged her but stopped short when he saw the evil look in her eyes. “I guess this is it then?”
“Ten years is about right I think, and no one has bothered you since.” As she finished talking various sounds filled the air all at once. Echoes of voices he recognised came pouring back to him and all around the town misty shadows began appearing, some walking others standing in small groups having conversations, but in general, it looked like any other day in a town full of people.
It was then that John realised none of his friends, none of his family, none of the people in town had ever left. The demon had simply shifted his perspective causing him to walk parallel with the people he knew but ensuring he’d never be seen.
As the shadows solidified, John realised that he himself and the demon were slowly becoming shapeless, and in a last effort to be heard by anyone he screamed out his full name. Several people close by thought they heard something, and some say they saw something, but no one ever spoke of John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt ever again.
Marian prompted me with: John Jacob Jingle Jingleheimer Schmidt.