“And lift those wings!” Kelly beamed at the demons as they raised their wings skyward. “Great job! Now put your right leg forward! Forelegs only, Taurics! Rightmost tendril, Cephalians!” It took a moment for the masses of infernal beings to do so, but they did.
From the boombox the upbeat music continued to play.
“Great! Now left! Now right! Now left! Now right! Now point your fingers up and give me some hellfire!” She could feel the heat from dozens of jets of infernal flames shooting upwards. The ceiling of her studio glowed, but they’d installed runes to block the magic from shooting through the roof again.
Two weeks, it had been two weeks. Beneath her cheerful grin, Kelly wanted to scream.
It had started with a phone call, of all things.
The call had come in on her work line. Kelly had just set up shop, taking the severance package from her last job to finally open up as a personal trainer. Adds had gone out, and she’d been waiting for clients with baited breath.
“Kelly Schmitt, Personal Trainer, how can I help you?”
The voice that had come through the other line was harsh and grating. “Your advertisement says you do group classes?”
Kelly tried her best to accept all people and not judge anyone needlessly. This poor man obvious had some kind of vocal impairment. The fact that it made her hair stand on end and a chill run up her spin was not his fault. “Of course! Up to three dozen people!”
“I see.” The voice now that it was expected, did not get any easier to endure. “And you mentioned discretion?”
“Of course.” Kelly hadn’t meant discretion, the ad had was supposed to say “Excellent Direction,” but the first run had an error when she printed it.
“Wonderful. I have a contract you could sign.”
“Oh, well, I have my own contracts, but…”
“Ms. Schmitt, we will sign yours as well. But I must insist on ours. My associates are very particular about that.”
Oh god he’s from the mob or something. “Oh, well, that won’t…I”ll need to read over it. My standard rates are -”
“Ms. Schmitt.” The way the voice said her name was…disturbing. Like something she’d heard in a nightmare. “We won’t expect you to only charge standard rates. We can reward you quite handsomely on top of that.”
“Great!” Okay, Kelly, get this guy in, check the contract, find a problem and tell him to go somewhere else. Easy peasy. “When can you come by?”
The door opened. “Now,” said the voice, both in her ear in and in the building. The man was…not what Kelly had expected. Young and kind of good looking, with a black goatee and a red suit. “My name is Chemosh. And I want you to, as your poster promises…whip my associates into shape.”
“Oh,” his voice sounded better in person. Must have been interference. “Of course. That’s what we do here.”
“Even for non-humans?”
It had taken Kelly a few minutes to peg this guy. He was one of those LARPers, like her little brother. They pretended to be elves or vampires or, in this guy’s case, demons. His friends and him were loosing some kind of LARP war, and wanted to exercise more to get in shape. Simple enough. His contract, at least, was just Roleplay stuff – in exchange for her service, she would be elevated to the demonic rank of her choice and granted a single wish.
She’d believed that right up until the first class had shown up, slinking in on tendrils and with bowed heads fitted with horns. Figures far too strange to be costumes or makeup.
To her credit, she hadn’t screamed.
“And that’s enough for today boys! See you tomorrow.”
The demons lumbered out, taking on human forms as they did. Kelly snuck out back and lit a cigarette, her hand shaking.
Two weeks. Two week of training the demons, and they were at least listening to her. But she had no idea if her exercise regimen, hastily thrown together for a diverse range of beings, was right, but she’d done her best. Two more weeks in their contract, and then she got her wish. With the option to renew. It sounded like a terrible idea, but she didn’t know what else to do.
Especially since she’d noticed her own reflection during the class, and seen her eyes were beginning to glow red.
I guess I should figure out what rank I want… The idea had crossed her mind of trying to renege on the contract, but Kelly had read what happened to people who backed out of deals with the Devil.
She took a deep breath and exhaled smoke, an exhalation that lasted far longer than the mere cigarette would allow for. Far hotter, too – the smoke was glowing red near her mouth.
She put out the cigarette on her palm. It didn’t hurt.
Well, at least she hadn’t sold her soul.
Hoping she wouldn’t grow horns before her date tomorrow, she got into her car and headed home.