This was in response to Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction Challenge which was due by noon Friday the 25th 2013.
You can find the challenge link here.

Chuck picked a visual challenge this time – we had to pick from one of (24) impossible looking photos posted to a site that is now apparently down.

The basis of the challenge was to use one of those photos as inspiration for your story.

So here is the photo I selected:

“Red Rock Escalators by Henrik Sundholm”
Red Rock Escalators by Henrik Sundholm

I enjoyed writing this little twisted tale – thanks Chuck.

–**–**–

“Okay, it’s all good, yeah aaaaaahll good,” he nervously mutters to himself. Putting down the brand new calf-hide attache he straightens out the front of his suit with shaking hands. This morning he picked out the plain pin-striped black suit to emulate the other senior specialists he has seen roaming the depths. “Down to go up, that’s what I gotta do today, goin’ down to go up…” The elevator control shows he has 327 floors to go. “Rub-a-duck, that is a long trip down…”

Be’zeel smiles at the reflection of himself in the buffed metal of the elevator door. He went through more than a few fairly long pleasingly painful rituals last night to get his appearance to look just right. The result was much to his liking. Smiling broadly he sees his bright red leathery skin had tightened slightly, his eyes brightened to a more refreshed yellow and even his forehead and jaw horns looked sharper. It was a lot of time spent last night but he feels confident that he now looks a few eons younger than he really is. Smirking at his reflection, standing extra straight, “Distinguished, yeah that’s right, I look dignified.”

[ding]
Hearing the sound of the elevator bell he quickly picks up his briefcase and comes ‘to attention’ in anticipation. As the door opens and he starts to walk through he is instantly assaulted by an onslaught of a half-dozen minions of Gra’zaa barging their way into the elevator. Glancing at he elevator control he’s disappointed to see he still has over 270 floors to go and moves himself to the back corner of the elevator away from the noisy minions. Repugnant little bastards. They are the office runners for the mail-room sub-demon Gra’zaa. They’re short, they smell of human-snacks, they continuously step on your feet and above all they are loud. The more of them together the worse it gets. Chatter, prattle, claptrap nonsense! Looking down at them he shakes his head in disgust as he watches one jam an oversized Oreo in his filthy little yap.

Feeling shattered hope he realizes they have only moved a few floors. Constantly fidgeting away from them so his shoes won’t get scuffed by their little feet he feels a pull on his pant leg.

“Ba’zeeleya yatoo gra’maah!” one of them yells up at Ba’zeel.

“Yeah sorry I have no idea what you’re saying.”

“Yatoo gra’maah!”

“Right okay I still have no…”

“GRA’MAAH!”

“No I don’t want a cookie or whatever! Leave me alone!” he screams losing his cool.

[ding]
There is a beat of silence then an instant assault of maniacal laughter from all of the minions at once as they scoot out of the elevator and scatter in all directions throwing mail as they go.

“Rub-a-duck I hate those little shnits!”

Suddenly a dark blue skinned hand grabs the door just before it closes. “Well maybe you should complain to Gra’zaa.”

Ba’zeel’s heart skips three beats as a smartly dressed female languish demon enters the lift, casually hits a button on the elevator’s control panel, then turns to face him putting herself too close than his normal personal space allows.

She is an astounding example of demonic perfection. Her supple blue skin, her draping dark azure hair in combination with her strongly angled yellow eyes which draws you to her ruby red lips…

Instantly feeling awkwardly uncomfortable in the presence of one so beautiful he jabbers, “Uh-yes ma’am that is um-something that I should definitely do, maybe.”

“My name is Shu’zuu,” she says with her sing-song siren’s voice, “and who… are you?”

Quickly realizing he is not only talking to an actual female languish demon, but by the set of pins on her chest she outranks him by several grades. Nervously he replies while fiddling with his thorn patterned tie, “Ba’zeel, I am yes, I am uh-at your disposal, ma’am, I mean sir!”

“You have nice top horns,” she says following their length with her eyes, “they look very… sharp. You going down for a promotion perhaps?”

“Uh-yes ma’am, I am, I got the paperwork this morning,” he stammers as his mind scrambles to find something impressive to tell her. “Oh uh-yes, did you hear about that bus full of nuns that burst into a ball of flame just before barreling into the lamb farm?”

“That was you,” she replies sounding certainly impressed.

“Um-yes ma’am,” he says tapping his tie slightly.

Several beats pass as she locks his gaze. Ba’zeel’s senses that his heart, and time itself, has stopped.

[ding]
“Well this is me,” she says breaking the stillness as she turns and walks off the lift. Just as the door is about to close she turns and says with a sly smile, “look me up as you go down.”

As the door closes behind her he can’t stop himself from doing a little celebratory butt-shuffle dance.

[ding]
“Oh I’m here! Yes!” Walking out of the elevator he is stunned by the glorious view above him. The ceiling is covered wall-to-wall in frozen hell flame rock, something you’d only get to see at these extreme depths. “Imagine that I’ll get to see things like this every day.”

“Not exactly,” a familiar voice says. Looking to his left he sees De’shast his current supervisor coming toward him.

“Sir, hello, uh-I didn’t see you. Why are you…?”

“We know about the bus nuns Ba’zeel…”

Instantly feeling his nerves tense, “Uh-you do, what do you…?”

“We know you stole credit for that from your cube-mate.”

“So no promotion…? Then why the long trip down here…?”

“It’s a longer longer trip back up, your being demoted – and say ‘hi’ to Gra’zaa for me – you’re now his new assistant in charge of the mail-room minions.

Dejected, but accepting the result of his deception, Ba’zeel turns to head toward the elevator.

“Nope, now you have to take the escalators. Those are a little slower, this way you can think about what you just lost… It’ll take about 300 years by escalator.”

Shoulders collapsing, he sees sets of marvelous up-escalators cut through the frozen hell-flame rock.

“Rub-a-fucking-duck…”

 

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