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DEVIL DO • by Barry Davis

Guy Martin’s eyes sprang open as the comet roared past the space station. He was strapped in, seated before the observation window in the International Space Station’s new lab. He watched in horror as the object slammed into the Earth. In seconds a huge dust cloud appeared and began to spread across the surface of the planet.

Guy’s thoughts went to Stacy, his lover. They’d had a tremendous row, resulting in Guy sleeping in his favorite location rather than in the crew berth they shared. Desiring to share this horrific moment with his dearest, Guy unstrapped and turned to float out of the lab. Before he reached the compartment door, it opened. Guy’s heart leapt as he anticipated the coming embrace.

A two-legged beast of a different type emerged instead, sending Guy scrambling backward. The creature, tall and red with a tail, defied the laws of gravity and walked into the lab. The door snapped shut behind it.

“Simply horrible,” it said, using perfect English spoken with a West Texas twang.

Guy, too stunned to converse with the Devil, only nodded.

“I can reverse things, you know.”

Guy’s fingers, anchored on the back of the observation chair, tightened their grip.

“I ask one task. Fundamental, actually. I need you to kill everyone on this station. One act of evil, a sign of your devotion, and I will make it so the comet never struck your brethren on Earth.”

Guy’s mind flashed to Stacy and the others. His eyes lifted from the creature and fell upon the devastated planet. The dust cloud had spread over all of Europe. In the time it took his eyes to transit the distance from Earth to the creature, Guy had recalled a life of faith and a life spent in prayer and hope. He had never succumbed to evil and he refused to give in to evil now. He would not, could not, murder his beloved one. He would trust in the true God to save mankind.

With love and prideful faith overflowing in his heart, he spoke a single word. “No,” he said.

Guy awoke in the observation chair, his chest heaving as he struggled to breathe. He beheld the Earth, perfect, as usual, from so high above. The joy he felt disappeared as he realized that he was not getting enough oxygen. He unstrapped and floated to the compartment door. He hit the button but the door refused to open. Guy floated back to the intercom and opened a ship-wide channel. With as much breath as he could muster he spoke his situation into the mic. Back at him flowed the smooth voice of his lover.

“Darling, I took the deal.”


Barry Davis is a University of Pennsylvania graduate who currently lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two children. He has written screenplays, novels and short stories. He has had several short stories accepted for publication in webzines and print magazines. His novel The Bottom, a gritty urban crime tale set in 1970s Philadelphia, is currently being shopped by Gary Heidt of Fine Print Literary Management.

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DEVIL DO • by Barry Davis, 3.3 out of 5 based on 36 ratings
Posted on October 2, 2008 in Horror, Science Fiction, Stories
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  • http://users.beagle.com.au/peterl P.M.Lawrence

    “…perfect English spoken with a West Texas twang”.

    That is a contradiction in terms. Perfect English is spoken with a Home Counties accent, by definition.

  • http://nowplayinginseattle.blogspot.com/ K.C. Ball

    And all this time I thought the Home Counties accent was, by definition, Standard English. I suppose none of us are perfect.

  • Robin

    Good for a laugh. Thanks.

  • Sharon Haywood

    Great twist at the end–didn’t see it coming. Nice job!

  • http://www.writewords.org.uk/oonah/ Oonah V Joslin

    Pewrfect English is spoken with received pronunciation, which is not how I speak but then, none of us IS perfect. I have to admit if I had a boyfriend “With love and prideful faith overflowing in his heart,” I’d probably take the deal too and find somebody more fun to be with – but I’m a hell of a girl! :) I’m on her side.

  • http://www.writewords.org.uk/oonah/ Oonah V Joslin

    “Pewrfect?” Mmm! Must have been all the religious references got to me subliminally ;)

  • http://gretaigl.blogspot.com/ Greta

    Fun twist.

  • http://www.rumjhumbiswas.com rumjhum

    That Guy’s dearest didn’t deserve his love!
    Enjoyed this story to its twisted end! :-)

  • Kathy

    “Perfect” as in proper usage, word order, etc., which would be remarkable–and therefore worthy of note–in a large red humanoid encountered in space, no matter who it turned out to be. Accent is irrelevant to how well one speaks a language (except those languages with a tonal element).

    Doofuses.

  • Bob

    I liked the twist at the end; nicely set up, nicely sprung. I would have liked to hear a little more about Guy’s deliberations, but that’s a small quibble.

    About that comet, though – wouldn’t it have passed silently by the station, them being in space and all?

  • http://msherlock.blogspot.com M.Sherlock

    Not great…but i did enjoy the ending, i just think it could have been told better. The whole concept was good though.

  • http://www.erinmkinch.com Erin

    Wasn’t sure about this story at first, but when I read the twist at the end, I liked it a lot.

  • http://allotropiclucubrations.blogspot.com Walt Giersbach

    Barry, four stars for succinctness with a good twist at the end. Reminded me of the Scandinavian (Swedish?) 1950s author Par Lagervist who had his characters running into God instead of the devil–but with irony abounding. Keep up the good work.

  • http://www.MadelineMora-Summonte.com Madeline Mora-Summonte

    The twist at the end was nicely done! :)

  • http://users.beagle.com.au/peterl P.M.Lawrence

    “Accent is irrelevant to how well one speaks a language” – well, actually, no.

    I was being a bit tongue in cheek there, but there is a solid point behind it which applies in other languages too, e.g. French, Italian, Spanish.

    Nearly all languages come in variations, even dialects, that can reach mutual incomprehensibility. Accent plays a large part in this. There is much more of this sort of variation in the original countries than in offshoots, so the problems were greater there. Standard forms qeveloped, or were mandated (e.g. in France), around a middle ground. For instance Old and Middle English centred on Mercian, in the west Midlands. On top of that, accents had to make enunciation clear and minimise elision, slurring, etc.

    BBC English and Home Counties English are where these show up most for English (US TV shows a similar middle ground, but only as between the US variants). They weren’t standardised because they were Home Counties, they were picked up in the Home Counties from the mid 19th century on because they were standardised and the Home Counties were where interactions centred then. You can find traces of non-standard English in those areas, at least in historical works – there was nothing special about English from the Home Counties, rather they took on the standard. If you like, the “by definition” part can be read as “by definition of Home” in “Home Counties”.

    Anyone who can understand English can understand this standard, but it is not the case that anyone who speaks it with some other accent can be readily understood by the speakers of other variants (this also applies to variants of written English, but to a lesser extent – which shows that the accent used is material). Likewise for other languages.

  • Teresa Koeppel

    Sorry for the late comment – I, like many others, enjoyed the twist ending (I didn’t see it coming). However, I never really felt any empathy with the main character, so I couldn’t really get into the story until that ending. Therefore I have to go with some of the previous commentators…not great, but better than expected with that ending. You’ve got good ideas (which is better than many) – just find a way to make your characters seem more realistic and likeable.

    Thanks for the story!

  • jennifer walmsley

    Enjoyed the story and great ending.
    But Guy is too perfect to be true. He needs a few imperfections that would make me care enough.

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