Idle Hands

Have you ever done something that you thought would be fun or just interesting? Maybe you were bored. Or maybe you had nothing better to do. Or maybe, like me, it was a dangerous combination of the two. But, I bet, the devil never asked you to play with life itself. At first, it was like the kiddie board game. You know the game. The one where you pick your job, your spouse, and whether you’ll live in a hovel or a mansion. Well I got picked, and not voluntarily. I’m not some satanic worshipper. God. Heaven. Hell. Angels. It’s all bullshit. Sure, I thought something had to be real. You have to as a sane person. But I didn’t believe in the load of crap people spew every day so they could condemn people or hide behind. People are just people.

Anyway, I’m getting lost here. Guess that’s what time–no–that’s what the absence of time will do. I have no idea what day it is. Or even if it’s day…..


I need to focus.

I need to stay awake.




The devil game. That’s it. So how did I end up in some vortex, cave, abyss of darkness thing? A stupid box, in the stupid ground, that I should have left alone. Nothing good is ever buried, especially at a construction site. Yup. This all started with a box and a note that said, “Call me.” No number though. Just a warning that said it’s “Phase One.” That should have been when I stopped. Guess there’s this saying that the devil has work for idle hands. Maybe if I knew about it, I would have left the box where it was or tossed it. Then again, I don’t–I didn’t believe in that crap so maybe I would have still done something stupid. I really should have stopped when I saw the red corner of the note. But I was bored with nothing better to do.

Inspired by this weeks prompt from The Writer’s Digest, Note Found at a Construction Site, found here. Go check out the comments for some good reads!

© Maura D.,, 2017


#70: Win Some, Lose Some

Win Some, Lose Some

Prompt: There must be a funny story behind all this, surely.

writingchallenge WP


“There must be a funny story behind this, surely.” Garrett didn’t lift his gaze from the newspaper. Finishing the article that caught his attention, he turned the page, the crisp sound of the pages rubbing against another echoing in the silence of the study. The breeze picked up, howling outside the curtain clad window as a warning of the looming storm.

A young girl sat in the arm chair set up against the wall, her head bowed, while her brother, Max, tried and failed not to shift in the seat across from their uncle. “Well?” Garrett pushed.

Max opened his mouth but nothing came out.”Um.” He was fumbling and he knew it.

“Um isn’t a word,” Garrett corrected.

Max looked to his sister for help, a silent plea Garrett noticed before he returned to his silent reading and Max to his attempt to explain how they lost their weekly allowance to a scam. “I see,” Garrett sighed.”

“You do?” Max sat up in hope.

“Yes. It seems the stock market has yet to recover. I may need to make a few calls.”

“Uncle Garrett,” Max whined in unison with his sister. “I thought-”

“You thought I would save you both from having to explain how you managed to lose fifty dollars in a manner of a day.” It wasn’t a question. Max’s head dropped, the hope long gone. “You will work at the stables to earn it back.”

“But-” Max tried to argue but their uncle looked up from his paper with such a warning that Max slumped in his seat in defeat. Their uncle was a shrewd business man, and he didn’t believe in going easy on his family, especially when money was invovled.

Garrett set down the paper and sighed at his niece and nephew. “Go get some pie. You might as well enjoy your freedom while you can.”

The twins didn’t bother to argue. They murmured a soft thanks and hurried to escape their uncle’s all-knowing eye. “What about mom’s dolls?” His sister whispered once they were far enough down the hall.

“Shh,’ Max urged frantically. “Nobody knows we broke them.”

“But we did,” she whispered.

“Unless somebody finds out, we never talk about it again. Deal?” He held up his pinky.

“Deal.” His sister whispered, a smile on her face as her pinky wrapped around his.

“Pleasure doing business with you, sis.” Max shook their pinkies before lacing his hands behind his head. They were found out about the gamble they took on the online puppy scam but they managed to get away with the dolls. “Looks like Uncle doesn’t know everything.”

© 2017 Maura D.

Prompt Source: tehuti‘s 100 Writing Prompts



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Odessa brushed into the room, the air crackling around her with her anger. Despite it, she shut the door with a soft click and put up the wards around her room. Once she was sure she was alone, and no one could eavesdrop, she let her rage go. The lights flickered and a vase shattered with the aftereffects of her magic.

No was not a word that Odessa enjoyed hearing. She hated hearing it from her mother growing up, hated it from her grandmother, and despised when Marax told her no. But her mother was living her peaceful mundane life, her grandmother was dead, and there was nothing she could do about the demon. He only said no if she asked for something outside the bounds of their contract or his abilities.

She hurled another vase against the wall with her magic and whirled to find something else to take her anger on. Only, she came face to chest with the very demon she was tied to.

“I rather liked that one, it wasn’t as gaudy as the others,” Marax smirked down at her. He was a tall demon, towering over her by at least a foot. His voice was already grating her nerves and he hadn’t even fully materialized yet. The upper part of his face was still shrouded in shadow. “I was wondering how long you would last. Long lost family not up to par?”

“You knew,” she hissed, eyes narrowing even as she doubled her wards. The last thing she needed right now was for anyone in the house to sense the demonic energy in here. It was hard enough hiding the mark of their contract. “You knew they would refuse me.”


The air in the room thickened, stopping Odessa’s hand before she could fling the magic from her fingers. Marax left her like that for a moment, making himself comfortable in the armchair set in the corner of her room before releasing her.

“Now, my sweet witchling, you know as well as I do the magical hierarchy of this world. You should have expected this too.”

Odessa’s rage only simmered as she prowled around the room. It was only more irritating that he was right. There was a hierarchy to magic users. The magic users who must borrow power were at the bottom, natural born witches like her rested somewhere in the middle, and Sorcerers and Sorceresses at the top. They were the keepers of the old ways, of magics that were long forgotten or perverted by time.

Her relatives, apparently the main branch of the Percival family from which her own family came from, were one of the oldest Sorcerer lines in existence. They drew power from the stars and constellations instead of the moon cycles. According the Marax, they not only held the most power but they had the most pull in the magical community.

Getting in with that part of the family would have opened doors that even a demon as old as Marax could not open.

They had not minded opening their doors to a distant cousin, to allow her to take part in the summer solstice and to play with their children. But neither Ivan nor Geneva, who was only a Percival by marriage, would share with her anything of substance. Geneva had taught her spells from her own family but they were nothing that she couldn’t have sent Marax out to get for her.

The children had not been of help either. Dietrich and Vivan had been taught to keep their lessons a secret from their cousin and they did not falter in that. No amount of sweet-talking or snooping had helped her either. They were nearly five years younger than she had been when she came into her magic and yet could do spells with such ease that she was tempted. Witches only came into their magic at puberty but sorcerers; they could do magic nearly from the crib.

“All I wanted was to learn,” she paced, ignoring Marax’s glittering eyes or the feeling of his power over her skin. She knew what he wanted and it could wait until he’d done something worth a reward.

After nearly a month, she was sick and tired of hearing the word no. She only wanted to learn the family craft, to show that she had the fortitude for sorcery. She’d proven it time and time again that she had the power, even though she hadn’t once touched dark magic or anything that would have aroused suspicion. Odessa had even gone as far to stifle her demon contract up until this point.

It sparked a rage in her. After the death of her grandmother, no one had ever dared to refuse her. The other magic users that she had cut down had been helpful up until she took their magic. Her personal library nearly rivaled that of the one in this old mansion.

She was worthy of their knowledge. She was worthy of knowing the secrets, of how to move beyond the stigma that comes with the title of witch. Odessa had become more powerful than that. Sorceress sounded much better.

“Show them,” Marax purred, sliding from his chair to kneel in front of her. His eyes glittered with a darkness that mirrored her own in that moment. “Show them the error of their ways. You tried this your way, now do it the way we both enjoy so much more.”

It vexed her to need his power, to need this creature to do something so simple as learning. However, he wasn’t wrong. It was time to show them that being a witch was not all that she was. She would wrench the knowledge she wanted from them and leave a pile of ashes in her wake.

The shadows of the room seemed to shudder as she made her decision. She stepped away from her demon to pluck a knife off her makeshift worktable. There were wards around the property and throughout the house. For him to leave this room to do what she required, he would need an anchor to them. Distant or not, she was still a Percival and the wards would recognize him after she shared her blood.

She watched as he drank from her palm, used to his need for the theatrics and licking away every drop. He was a pain in the ass on a good day but she just wished he would be done already.

“What is it you require from this humble demon?” Marax licked the blood from his lips as he stood. He didn’t need a real order, he knew what he was to do, but he was such a fan of the process. Their contract was a simple one; she gave him the blood and freedom he needed in return for his strength and power to acquire the knowledge she wanted to learn.

“Bring your hoard,” she let her blood drip from her fingertips to the floor, activating the circle she had drawn months ago. It would ward this room alone from the demons and be where Marax could bring her what she needed. “Set them upon this house. I want their knowledge and their magic.”

“So you want them breathing. What a shame.”

“You know your job,” Odessa flicked her fingers at the door, her eyes sparkling with the same shadows her demon produced. “Make sure you find Ivan Percival’s Grimoire. It will contain the secrets to the line.”

“Of course, witchling.” Almost immediately, the room was alight with an unearthly glow. Odessa knew that Marax would do as she commanded and so she could stand back. Normally, she’d like to participate a bit more but this time was all his. She owed him this much after leaving him in the shadows for months.

Sinking down into her armchair, she waved him and his slowly manifesting hoard off to have fun. Picking up the book she’d been studying for the past few weeks, she licked her finger to turn the pages. “Oh, Marax.”


“Turn everything else to ash.”

The smile that curled across Marax’s face was something out of nightmares. It and his laugh lingered even after he had disappeared.

Even after the screams began.

Behind “Collecting Lies”

There are a few things that may help any reader when it comes to #70 in my 100 Sentence Prompts challenge, “Collection Lies”.

  1. The premise for the piece is structured around characters that M.J. and I have been working with for well over three years now. Both are my original creations and are very dear to me.
  2. Asmita, as stated, is Pride. She has a twin brother of sorts who personifies Vanity.
  3. Cole is just the name of the shell that the minor sin, Lies, has been tossed into. His real name is Derius. Now the title should make a lot more sense to you.
  4.  The piece was inspired by a sentence from the prompts. That sentence was: Would you believe me if I said yes?

Of course, there is a lot more that you don’t know but I like mystery. I also like to ensure that some ideas remain my ideas. I hope you enjoyed. Farewell, my alibies.

69. Collecting Lies


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Collecting Lies

Prompt: Would you believe me if I said yes?

“You’re just supposed to watch over me?” The woman nodded, indifferent to my confusion and trouble with the whole thing. “Protect me from harm? Make sure I don’t get myself killed or involved with the wrong people?” Receiving another nod, I sat back down, my head reeling.

I didn’t believe in things like religion or fate, and definitely not things like the supernatural. Witches, angels, magic, it wasn’t real, and yet, there was a woman standing in my bedroom who tested my grasp on reality. A woman who I couldn’t bring myself to ask about, not even for a name. Each attempt only led to my tongue sticking to the dry roof of my mouth. She was a stranger and I, apparently, was not normal. “Okay.” I sighed in resignation. “I can deal with all of that.”

“Then why are your hands shaking?”

“Are they?” I lifted my head out of hands and with a self-deprecating laugh, I looked up at her. “Any chance this is some government prank?”

“Your government lacks the intelligence to concoct something so trivial. No.” She snapped my barely used notebook close and held up her wrist. “I am here to watch over you, or rather, to watch over your soul.”

As she tried to explain things again, I stared at the sigil that wrapped around her wrist and most of her forearm. It seemed to glow as she stepped closer, both warning and calling to me in a strangely familiar way. Snapping to my senses, I shot up from my spot on the bed to fix a crazed glare on her all too bored expression.”No. I don’t want some weird guardian angel stalking me. Why do I even need one?”  Why me? Why you? I asked the questions silently, scared of the answers they might get if I pushed the delicate reality I had left.

Seeing my rapid unraveling, she crossed the room to place both her hands on my shoulders. I expected some reassurance but that wasn’t what came out as she trapped me within her piercing black gaze. “Your life wasn’t worth one. But your soul, that deserves protection.” I wanted to ask why she referred to me as if I were dead but her fingers dug into my shoulders and forced me to reconsider. “Find solace in this: when you meet your end, you won’t be alone” Her lips curled into a cold smile. We stood there awhile, her eyes challenging me and my own slowly resigning once more. Once she saw the small flicker of stubbornness fade, she released me.

My body was too shocked to move but I needed more than secrets and hints at my death. “Why are you doing any of this?” I used the pain in my shoulders to ground me. I didn’t know why I gave in so easily but I did know that I couldn’t follow behind her blindly.  “You don’t want to be here, right? You can leave the same way you came and trade places or something with someone. Why stay?”

She had moved onto exploring my room, starting with my closet, but she didn’t hesitate to answer. “Because I’m bored, and tired of waiting. Because it’s fun.” She scrunched her nose at my closet and moved onto the empty bags of chips still on my desk, all the while ticking off the reasons she wasn’t going to disappear like I wanted. When she was done, or perhaps bored with her own list, she looked at me. “I’m not here to save you, Cole. I’m here to collect you.”

“Collect me?” Floored, I found my seat again. Collecting sounded less like protection and more like a broker of souls, if there were such a thing. At a loss, I finally asked the question that should have led this whole conversation.”Who are you?”

The smile that sunk my hopes of another tomorrow returned. “Pride, but you may call me Asmita, little brother.”

My mouth was dry but I was able to look at her, really look at her. At the tight brown curls of her long hair, her refined yet delicate features from her straight nose to her defined cheek bones and jaw line. I wanted to call her bluff, ask why such a stupid nickname, but the more I stared at her and her imposing figure, the more I believed it. And if it was really Pride personified, then she was right. I wasn’t facing my guardian angel. No, the woman in front of me was sent from a much darker place. A place I wasn’t ready to accept.

© 2017 Maura D.

Prompt Source: tehuti‘s 100 Writing Prompts