I was certain I wouldn’t see him again. It was definitely ten years ago when he asked me to exchange my most prized possession in order to save Ranger from falling into an endless pit. “You’re joking,” I hear you say, well- no, I’m not. My dog nearly died if it weren’t for that… how do I put it, scoundrel.
Ranger yapped at me.
“Not now, Ranger,” I shooed my smiling dog away. “Go play fetch with someone else.”
Ranger whimpered and dropped the ball on his way out of my bedroom. I heard it bounce down the spiralling staircases. Ranger’s footsteps echoed throughout the hollow house, until there was a sudden crash, with the sound of glass shattering. I winced as I tumbled off the bed in surprise.
“Ranger!” I called out to my dog. “Was that you?”
There was a upbeat bark downstairs, and relief washed over me like a wave. I traced the wooden railing molding as I stepped down the stairs. Just as I was about to scold Ranger, my eyes widened in shock.
“Get off, get off!”
Ranger wagged his tail playfully as he pulled on a man’s pants. I gasped and fell backwards.
“Who are you and how did you get into my house?” I screamed. I grabbed onto a nearby book that had fallen off of my glass display case. “If you don’t get out now, I’ll… I’ll call the police!”
The man looked back up at me with a worried expression plastered on his child-like face. Now that I had inspected the strange man further, I realised this man was actually a *********** and also-
“Robbie?” I squeaked.
Robbie was my neighbour who attended the same school as me. My friends would usually tease me about me liking him… and I guess they weren’t wrong. But right now wasn’t the time to be flustered. As much as I liked him, I found it quite alarming for him to be in my house, with my dog biting his leg off and him beside my now broken display case.
Robbie looked up at me with a confused look on his round face. Looking down at his clothes, he whispered.
“Robbie… is dead.”
“Excuse me?” I waved a hand over his face. “Robbie, are you okay?”
“I’m not Robbie!” Robbie said. He covered his face in his hands and rocked himself on the floor. I pulled Ranger away from Robbie and told him to be quiet.
I grabbed ahold of Robbie’s shoulder and squeezed in firmly.
“Did something happen…?” I asked him. Robbie nodded and continued to rock back and forth.
“I was coming back… and… I-I killed Robbie.”
“Robbie!” I said. “You are Robbie, Robbie! Whatever had happened? First you break into my house and now you claim to not be Robbie?”
“That’s because I’m not Robbie!” He snapped back. “I already told you, Robbie is dead… his soul…”
I pursed my lips.
“So if you aren’t Robbie… then who are you and where is the real Robbie?”
“His soul flew away into the heavens… that place I hate… All of my kind is exiled because of that…”
My eyes widened.
“It’s you,” I whispered. Ranger looked back and forth between us, a perplexed look on his small but long face.
“You… that man… but you’re not a man, are you?” I rambled at him. “You made me sell my soul to you! So that I could save Ranger.”
Almost subconsciously without thinking, I pulled Ranger away from the suspicious man and held onto him protectively, encasing his whole body.
“I sold my soul to you to save Ranger because you put Ranger in… danger,” I winced at how unapologetically the sentence had rhymed. A longing sensation lurched in my stomach as I thought of how terrible my luck was.
“Look, look,” the man with Robbie’s face said. “I need your help right now-”
“Why should I help someone who made me sell my soul to?” I asked him sceptically. I eyed the man… demon, or whatever suspiciously.
“We can compromise,” the man offered.
“Compromise… with you? As if,” I crossed my arms.
“Wait, wait, wait!” The thing in Robbie’s body shuffled toward me. “If-if we compromise, then I’ll give you your soul back, right?”
I raised an eyebrow, clearly unamused, “how can you do that?”
“It’s a long process, but trust me, please!”
Rolling my eyes, I sighed, “alright, alright. As long as you told me what had exactly happened. In detail, I want everything.”
And then, Robbie’s body began to melt away, revealing a seven foot tall monstrosity. “Fine,” it said. “Listen closely, I’ll only say it once; we don’t have much time left.”