8 with Nudoc?
“Stop! Please don’t! Take me instead!”
“Ah, Niccals, you’d think after close to twenty years, you would have keyed onto how these sorts of things work.”
Murdoc was hastily drawing chalk marks on the wooden floor of his bedroom, trying his hardest to remember the markings, the sigils, the Latin phrases, and the configurations to make this work. He’d seem it in an old decrepit book years and years ago, but he’d spent so much time memorizing it in case anything ever went wrong. Really wrong. This was one of those moments, and he really needed his memory to get its shit together.
The laughter was coming from the back corner of his bedroom, but it sounded like it was echoing through a looming cave, sounding from all sides, enveloping him with a frigid sort of disease that sunk all the way down into the marrow of his bones. It made his writing falter, and it made his mind completely freeze and stop whatever desperate thoughts it was trying to process. Murdoc was familiar with demonic mind tricks, but he couldn’t let them get the better of him this time. There was far too much at stake.
“You actually think this is going to work, don’t you?” Beelzebub’s voice was coming from a miasma of pestilence that was buzzing infuriatingly in the corner of his bedroom, thousands and thousands of flies making the room full of noise and heat and disease. Figures the bastard would take pleasure in every single moment of weakness in Murdoc’s life until the time he had with his soul finally expired. Demons knew how to do nothing else. “You’re not that powerful. No human is.”
But Murdoc was already fumbling around and lighting candles, flipping through the pages of the old tome he’d laid out in front of him. The words on the pages were jumbling around in front of his face – why couldn’t he concentrate, this was important, he was running out of time – but he was slamming his fist into his temple, as if by knocking around the noise in his head, he’d be able to ground himself and actually do this ritual properly.
The only thing he was able to scrape out of Noodle’s room was an old guitar pick that he’d given her when he went out and bought her her very first Telecaster, back when she was only 9 years old. She never used it, but always kept it in her pockets or slipped into the laces of her trainers. For good luck, she said. Maybe she’d forgotten it, maybe it’d fallen in her rush to leave, maybe she never had time to come back and get it. But it was the only thing of hers he had, and Murdoc was hoping it was enough to pull her back out of that cesspit and into his arms again. It had to work. It had to.
“Please,” he was muttering to himself, trying to clear his mind enough to read the words he was meant to be reciting. “Please don’t….take me instead. Poor doll doesn’t deserve this…”
But Beelzebub’s laugh was making the walls shake and was making the buzzing of the flies louder. “She’s not coming back, my friend. No part of whatever’s left of your soul is enticing enough to pull that off.”
There was no room for doubt. No room for mistakes. Murdoc pulled the book closer to him, stared desperately at the little guitar pick sitting in the middle of his configuration, and started the spell.