Flash Fic – The Devil’s Soup

So I was encouraged on Twitter, by @gb_gordon, to write a story based on this prompt by @McClellandShane *demon stands amid your destroyed kitchen* Demon: *booming* HOW? How were you able to summon me?! You: (standing in the corner flipping through your grandma’s handwritten cookbook as fast as you can) *screaming& crying* I don’t know! You were supposed to be chicken and noodles.

So here is that story.

The Devil’s Soup

Claire found her grandmother’s handwritten cookbook while cleaning out her mother’s attic.

She had never met her grandmother. She’d died when Claire was super young, and her mother, for whatever reason, didn’t talk about her much. But what little her mother had told her about Grandma, she never mentioned she was a cook.

Flipping through the dusty, handwritten book, Claire couldn’t help but notice the recipes seemed a little odd. But what did she know about cooking? Just whatever she could glean from Chopped marathons. It kind of shamed her how little she knew about it, save for instructions from meal kits or the back of the box. Maybe she ought to. She was searching for a hobby, and she certainly liked eating. How hard could it be? No one was expecting her to be a chef right out of the gate.

But, as it turned out, the simple recipe near the front of the book required ingredients she’d never heard of, and couldn’t find on the shelves. She found them on eBay, and was actually relieved they took a while to get to her, as it allowed her to put it off. Her real, most intense hobby was procrastination.

But when she finally had them all together, Claire got down to business. She set aside a whole afternoon to try her first major cooking experiment. Well, there was the thing with the pancakes, but those hardly counted, did they? Most of them were inedible.

She’d picked what looked like a fairly straightforward recipe from near the front of the book – chicken and noodles. How could she fuck those up, right? Well, she could actually think of several ways, but she was trying to remain confident here.

The strangest thing was the instructions called for very small amounts of the weird things she picked up from eBay, and some of the dried herbs she had in the cupboard. Also, she had to say some bizarre things, which struck her as odd. Why was talking aloud part of the recipe? Whatever. She did it and felt dumb.

She was shaking salt into the pasta water when she felt the earth start to shake.

Claire couldn’t remember the last time she’d experienced an earthquake – were you supposed to get in doorways or not? – but as glass rattled and the ground swayed, she turned off the stove, so as not to accidentally set everything on fire too. By now, everything was shaking so violently she grabbed on to the counter to stay upright, and a quick glance revealed that the floor, with it terrible tan marble tile pattern, was starting to crack. But not in a normal way.

The main crack seemed to be in the center of the floor and growing outward, in semi-concentric rings. It bulged, like something was trying to push through, and burst. Claire yelped as she ducked, throwing her arms over her head. Glass shattered, wood cracked, and cans and pans hit what was left of the floor. But the strangest thing was a moment later when silence rushed in like a wave. The shaking had stopped as well.

She smelled something like smoke, although with extra stink on it, like burning garbage. She pulled herself up, looking at the stove warily, but it was still off.

Now she could see a huge sinkhole in the middle of the destroyed kitchen, and something standing beside it. At first, she thought it was her fridge, which was black, but this thing wasn’t exactly black, or fridge shaped.

It was a seven-foot-tall … thing, with dark gray skin like granite, and two large, twisted horns on its head that almost brushed the ceiling. “WHO HAS SUMMONED THE DREAD DEMON BASELPHIGOR?!” The thing boomed, yelling so loud what was left of the windows rattled in their frames.

Claire tried to back up, but she was already against the counter. She picked up the cookbook and held it against her chest, as if the flimsy old book would protect her from this monster. “I-I didn’t summon anything. I’m trying to make chicken with noodles.”

“I AM NOT A CHICKEN OR A NOODLE.” The single glass near the sink that hadn’t broken finally fell off and crashed to the floor.

“Could you please stop shouting?”

“I AM NOT-” The thing paused, and cleared its throat. It was roughly humanoid, although its hands ended in massive talons, and it had two ragged, leathery wings on its back. Its mouth was an angry slash filled with far too many teeth, and its eyes were red glowing embers buried in its angry face. Claire had no idea how it was talking without lisping or spraying spittle everywhere. “I am not shouting. This is my normal voice. Why have you summoned me?”

“I haven’t. You’re mistaken.”

“Baselphigor doesn’t make mistakes.”

“Well, I don’t go around summoning demons either, so we have a problem, don’t we?” Oh god, had she just mouthed off to a demon? Oh shit – demons existed? This was a lot to take in. Could she be hallucinating? Maybe finally cooking for once broke her brain. She’d blame it on a gas leak, but this was an electric stove.

The demon (?) leaned forward and squinted at the cookbook she was holding. “Is that Marta’s book?”

It took her a moment to remember her grandmother’s name was Marta. How did this thing know that? “Yes?”

It made a noise that was hard to interpret. A snort or a sneeze? “Yeah, you summoned me.”

Now that was starting to piss Claire off. “I was just cooking.”

“Cooking is alchemy you stupid human! Well, if you do it right.”

“What?” She looked at grandma Marta’s cookbook again. There were some weird symbols on the front, but she’d just assumed they were doodles. She flipped through the pages, which seemed like your regular collection of chicken dishes and side dishes and a few decent sounding desserts, and found more doodles in the margins of the recipes. They didn’t look like occult symbols as she understood them, which was a pretty dry well. The words she said didn’t sound devilish either, but how much did she know about any of this stuff? Just from the odd TV show, and a couple of vampire novels, which surely didn’t count.

“Why did you summon me?”

She almost told him again she didn’t summon him, but even if she did it by accident, he was still here. “What do you do exactly?”

“What do I ..?” He stood rigid, his wings fluffed on his back. “I am Baselphigor, the dread demon, nightmare of the earth realm, the unceasing assault, the ruination, the scourge of heaven and the disembowler of angels -“

“I don’t really have a need for a scourge right now,” she interrupted. “I don’t suppose you can fix up a kitchen, can you?”

His face didn’t really have any expression, beyond being a thing made of stone and nightmares. But she felt the disdain in the long pause before he spoke. “I do not fix up anything. I destroy.”

Yeah, that figured. She couldn’t imagine a demon having a tool belt. “I’m not sure I have any destroying to do.”

“There is a contract, and it must be fulfilled, otherwise I can’t leave. Not knowing the rules doesn’t exempt you from them.”

Well, shit. What was she supposed to do now? Claire didn’t see how she could function with a genuine demon in her house. Sleeping was out of the question.

After a moment, she came to a realization. “Hey, the President’s a fuckhead. Can you destroy him?”

“Is that your wish?”


“Consider it done,” the demon replied, and then disappeared, leaving only a sulfurous smelling smoke behind.

Claire allowed herself a second to believe that hadn’t happened, and she was simply hallucinating, although that didn’t account for the huge hole in the floor, or the rest of the massive damage.

So, she lived in a world where that happened now. Huh.

Claire sat on the remains of the floor, and started searching the recipe book for a spell to repair her kitchen.

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