Company Party. Short Story.

I’m back!

I was away, in Rome specifically, last week. It was quite a fun trip, got to see a lot of awesome things (again. I’ve been a few times, love the place. It’s amazing.)

Also went to Ostia Antiqua, definitely my favourite place in the area. I recommend everyone go there if they are ever in Rome, really easy to get to too!

I didn’t do much this weekend, as I’ve been pretty exhausted from travelling. Watched some Downton Abbey (which I’ve only recently started watching, on season 2, I’m surprised by how much I enjoy it.) and season 2 of American Horror Story (again, I was surprised I enjoyed it as I saw a few episodes of season 1 and didn’t enjoy it all that much, but I think I’ll give season 1 another shot.)

It’s also really, really nice to be back at an actual computer, using a proper keyboard that isn’t all tiny. It’s brilliant to use while travelling, but nothing beats a full-sized keyboard. (also spell check, that is pretty awesome too!)

On with the show!

___________________________________________________________

Pride looked away from Lust, it was switching between genders again, rapidly going back and forth. It made his eyes hurt. It couldn’t decide which one it preferred for tonight, but Pride knew it would choose its female form. It always did enjoy that one. As if sensing his thoughts, Lust stopped shifting and settled on female. She didn’t nothing for Pride, but he knew that anyone who saw her would see exactly who they desired the most. She wore a long dress, with a plunging neckline that revealed surprisingly little. The dress was black, as was her jewellery, simple black earrings sparkled enticingly on her ear lobes, as did a large, elaborate necklace. Pride was pleased with her appearance, she looked somewhat respectable for tonight. That was good. Pride looked at the others, Sloth was sleeping, big surprise there. Her palanquin was also black, however her dress was a light purple. It suited her form well, draped elegantly across her body. Envy wore a light blue dress, she would no doubt change frequently during the night, both gender and clothing. She could never settle. Greed was wearing a simple black suit, same as Pride, unlike Pride, Greed had many rings and a garish watch which was studded with diamonds. Gluttony was off somewhere, eating no doubt as usual. Wrath was working on keeping calm for the night. That probably wouldn’t work. Last year he and a demon had gotten into a fight, it could have been worse though, the demon had survived. Pride surveyed his siblings and resisted the urge to straighten them up, he could control himself, even if the others couldn’t.

 

 

The entered the party right on time, it wouldn’t do to be late, not at all. He was always on time and Pride made sure his siblings were too. They separated and went off in different directions. Pride didn’t need to look to see where they were all going, he himself went to the bar and ordered a drink from the demon standing behind it. While the demon made his drink, he looked around the large room. Everyone stood in small groups, chatting and making alliances no doubt. He himself would do some of that later, for now though, he was happy to relax. Someone would approach him soon and then others would follow. He spotted one of the horsemen, Disease, at least they had left their horses at home this year. Disease raised a hand in greeting and Pride returned the gesture. He hoped Lust wouldn’t go for him again. It had taken her three months to realise she was doing his work for him. She had been responsible for numerous STD outbreaks. He shook his head slightly, she had been far too sloppy. He watched as Lust spotted Disease and noted that she didn’t acknowledge him. Good, so she wasn’t totally brain dead. Famine moved towards the food table, Pride tried not to smile as both Greed and Gluttony were outraged as the food rotted. It would return to normal in a few moments, but god forbid they’d have to wait. Famine stopped at the food and looked at it sadly before moving on. Pride did pity him, after all he had never known food, but he obviously wanted it. He ate something which provided sustenance, but no one knew what and no one really wanted to know. He moved his skeletally thin body past the food and towards the bathrooms. Pride sipped his drink, then downed it and ordered another. He didn’t worry about pacing himself, he could handle his drink. Unlike Gluttony, last year they had to drag him home, that had been unpleasant for them, but then Gluttony had to deal with the wounds for a few months afterwards. Served him right though. He took another sip of his drink. The guest of honour wouldn’t arrive for another few hours, then he’d make his big announcement. Pride suspected that he was the only one to have sniffed out what exactly the announcement was. He was quite surprised, but then when he thought about it, it wasn’t all that shocking. He thought it was about time and he gathered that the sentiment would be shared with the others. There had never really been an out and out war though, mostly just minor skirmishes.

 

 

Death approached him, no big surprise there, Death was always trying to ingratiate himself. Of course he had to, far to often he was associated with the other death, the useless one who had to sit around waiting until people decided to die.
“How’s it going?”
“Not too bad. Yourself?”
Pride discretely wiped away the blood dribbling from his ears.

“I’m good. Strong drinks this year, and it’s an open bar too. Vast improvement.”

 

Death turned to the demon and ordered a drink. The demon went to fetch it, its eyeballs melting. Pride glanced at it, “poor chap. Wonder what he did to get this post?”
“Last year the barman exploded every time he looked at me, it’s a vast improvement. I don’t have to rely on others to get me a drink. I’m certain that one of my brothers slipped something into it. I woke up two months later, way behind my rota, somewhere in Mexico I think. No idea what I was up to for those months. I’ll get them back soon though.”

Pride nodded, he knew Death’s brothers hadn’t been the ones to drug him, they weren’t that stupid.
“How is business by the way?”
“Not too bad, not too bad at all. I’m over my quota for this year, so I should get the bonus.”

“How far over?”
“A couple of million.”
“Ouch.”

“Yeah. I got carried away. They’ll increase my workload for next year, but I can handle it. What about you?”
“Ah the usual. Struck the number dead on. Only one again.”
Death nodded, “Fair play. I heard someone else almost had it too, but then they went over.”

Pride smiled, he had made sure he was the only one to strike the number exactly. Poor bastard hadn’t stood a chance.
“So anyway, know anything about this announcement?”
Pride shook his head, “nothing, I hear it’s a doozy though.”

“I hope it’s not another culling.”
“Nah, it’s too close to the last one. Besides, we all made the cut and we will again.”
Death lowered his voice, “I heard he’s working on something new. Something that will make the rest of us obsolete.”
Pride frowned, he hadn’t heard anything of the sort. “Really. I must ask around”

Death gestured at the bartender, a moment later another drink appeared at his hand, “Anyway, I’m off, have to go mingle. I’ll talk to you later.”
“Enjoy.”

 

Pride watched as Death strode through the crowds.

“He bothering you?”
Pride looked over at Wrath, “No, not at all. How are you getting on?”
“Not too bad. A few fuckers were giving me funny looks, but I’ll sort them out later.”
“Good man.”
“Are you patronising me you prick?”
“Nope.”

Wrath squinted at him, “you better not be. I’ll fucking kill you.”

Pride didn’t respond, anything he said would be taken as encouragement. Wrath glared at him and walked off, muttering under his breath.

The band stopped playing, here it was. The announcement. Pride had spent the evening chatting to people at the bar, soon he’d have to go talk to the head man himself, that would go well enough, he was sure of it, see what he could ferret out. Satan stood on the stage, he wore a black suit, a long, black sword hung from his belt.

 

“Welcome, thank you all for coming. I hope you’re having a good time. As some of you may have heard, I have an announcement to make. Now, before I do so, I ask that you remain calm. The news is a little exciting.” He looked around the crowds.
“It’s ours.”

 

Confused silence fell.
“Heaven.”
People muttered to one another. Pride frowned, they must really be caught off guard, people didn’t mutter in Satan’s prescience. It usually meant a swift death.
“God is dead.”
The muttering became a dull roar as people started to shout and yell, Satan smiled at them all good-naturedly for a moment, then raised his arms. There was a blinding flash and silence fell again. Everyone was frozen in place, most had their mouths still open. Pride hated when he did that. He could control his body, he shouldn’t be punished for everyone else being stupid.

 

“He died a few years back. They tried to keep up appearances with the occasional smiting and the like, but we caught them out. Rolled over as I approached the gates. We have full, unadulterated access to heaven. Of course I will need the support of all of you over the next few years as we take over. I have some choice positions to distribute too.” Satan disappeared from the stage and everyone was free to move again.
Pride looked around as everyone started to talk. The party would break up in a few minutes, once everything sunk in, people would be off to plan and scheme. He stepped away from the bar, it was time to find his siblings. No doubt the next few years would be dangerous and they certainly couldn’t protect themselves.

 

 

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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