Author: K. Piet & S.L. Armstrong
Length: Short Story (27 pages)
Publisher: Storm Moon Press (October 24th, 2013)
Heat Level: Low
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥3 Hearts
Blurb: Thaddeus sold his soul to save his family long ago, but the deal he struck with the demon Belial has him spending eternity managing Le Carnaval du Diable, filled to the brim with others damned into servitude. Belial wants more than Thaddeus’ soul, though, and his constant advances only add to Thaddeus’ stress as he faces a threat to the carnival and all those within.
Review: Well, wasn’t that a surprising ending to this deal-with-the-devil themed story. Actually, this entire read was kind of unique. Thaddeus traded his soul for the lives of his wife and son. He freely gave his soul to the devil, but he is one of a kind, as he didn’t do it for selfish reasons, hence he’s not a complete mindless servant of the demon in charge of him. Thaddeus has the right to say “NO” to anything not in his contract and he exercises that right every single time. After years of having Belial chasing him, trying to lesser his resistance and make him his as a bed partner Thaddeus is feeling his weakness grow, after all Belial is very persistent and very tempting. But the last dregs of his dignity rely upon his ability to say that little word and stubbornly Thaddeus clings to it. No matter how frustrated, no matter how weary, he will not submit to Belial.
This story is just that from start to finish, Thaddeus fight to remain himself, not to give up entirely to the demon. Yes, we see through his eyes and feel his waning strength, we see his fantasies and witness some self-stress relieving, but he keeps going in a stay of hate/longing throughout the story.
When danger comes in his Carnaval and Thaddeus is faced with losing his mortality as well, things become precarious and he’s one little step from letting go and letting Belial finally take what he wants.
As I said this story is quite different from what I at least am used to. I expected a give there by the end, but I was surprised that the authors kept at it. It made a difference, but it also made me wonder if there is going to be a continuation to this story. If not then it just leaves you there with the feeling that while the darkness might have a piece of you it doesn’t necessarily means they own you completely. Strong morale there, but honestly I’d have loved my fiction a bit wicked and naughty.