Flash Fiction: The Gift of the Nothing

Here is my entry to the flash fiction contest at Chuck Wendig’s Blog It comes in at 1000 words exactly including the title. . .hope you enjoy. Had some fun with it.

The Gift of the Nobody

Nadia stood her ground and tried to not be intimidated by the hulking, eight foot tall demon before her. His deep red skin covered with a viscous snot-like fluid that constantly oozed down him and dripped off in glops. It fell to the ground with a sizzle like it would dissolve the floor but it didn’t. In fact it was mostly cosmetic and for show. He felt it gave him that “hellish” appearance that people expected and it was all about first impressions and the big ‘wow’ factor.

“So, one more time. What exactly do you want?” The demon asked, sure he had misunderstood the girl.

“I want to be nobody. I want to be completely unnoticed by anyone unless I make contact with them and then when the contact is done, I want them to go back to not noticing me again.” Nadia said once more.

“Well, I have to say, this is a new one deary.” The demon said thinking about it.

“It’s what I want,” The girl assured him.

“But why? Such a beautiful creature such as yourself, why not revel in the attention? Bask in the adoration? Most people make deals to get that. . .  not . . .the other way around.” The demon scratched his chin in contemplation.

“If you can’t do it. . .” Nadia shrugged and turned to leave.

“Wait, I can do it, but why? Just tell me that. Why do you want this?” He asked.

Nadia sighed and resigned herself to telling him. “My parents were famous, really famous. The moment I was conceived I was famous because of them. When I was born I was famous. When I was a child I had hordes of people watching me all the time. When I was in school, everyone stared. When I go to get a burger, I have throngs of paparazzi taking pictures. Everywhere I go, everything I do, someone is watching. Always watching me. People I barely know give interviews like they are my best friends. I am always noticed. I am always, constantly, never endingly watched and always have been. I want it to stop.”

The demon thought about it and nodded. He didn’t really understand it but he almost never did. During his last performance review his supervisor had chastised him for trying to understand, making his dissatisfaction clear with a few well timed and poignant licks of hellfire and brimstone. So faced with a lack of understanding and the potential of losing the contract, the demon simply said, “I can do it.” It’s all about closing the deal. He plucked a contract from the air with one hand and a pen from the air with the other.

Nadia shook her head. “No way I sign anything till I know you can do it. Not till I know for sure that you can make absolutely everyone not notice me. Not till I know I am nobody.” She had spent a lifetime dealing with managers, talent scouts, lawyers and other nefarious types that made big promises. “You need to prove to me that you can do it.” She crossed her arms and gave him a distrusting look.

“I can do it.” He protested.

“Prove it.” She challenged.

The demon thought about it and then about his quota, and how far behind he was this month and finally sighed. “Ok, fine.” He had a bad feeling about this but he needed to close the deal to avoid the fires again. With a grand gesture he summoned up arcane powers, the circle around him flaring up like neon so that the room was bathed in a hellish green light. “Then you are nobody!” His voice booming the words into reality.

That being done he stopped and looked around. He was confused. What had he been doing? He looked at his hands, he had a contract and a pen, he must have been doing something important. He looked around the room and saw nobody. What was he doing here? He chewed on the end of the pen trying to remember why he was here. He began to tap his foot nervously and thought ‘oh no, not again’. The door to the room opened and closed but he saw nobody there. What was he doing here?

Outside the throng of photographers were likewise trying to figure out why they were standing around in the hot sun. They knew there must have been a reason they were here but nobody walked out the door and they had no idea who they were waiting for. A few began taking pictures of the other paparazzi in case that was who they had come to shoot but they were dubious that was the case. As far as they could remember there was nobody here worth shooting.

Inside the demon looked at the contract. It clearly stated it was with nobody. Why had he written a contract with Nobody? That didn’t make sense. He was slipping, losing his touch. He was going to be in such trouble, he was very far behind on his quota and to be standing here wasting his time with nobody. It was a safe bet that things were not going to go well when he got back. He briefly thought about trying to work the paparazzi outside but discarded the idea, most of them had sold their souls long ago. With a gesture the contract and pen turned to ash and fell away, vanishing before they hit the floor. He was so screwed. With a sigh he gave up figuring out what he was doing and vanished in a puff of smoke back to hell.

The reporters likewise gave up and began to disburse and go home, confused, mopey, and feeling very foolish. There was nobody here to see. Nobody walked right past them. Nobody walked down the street unnoticed. Nobody walked off into the sunset alone for the first time.

And Nobody lived happily ever after.