Leslie D. Soule

The February Featured Writer is Leslie D. Soule

Feel free to email Leslie at: falcondraco@hotmail.com


by Leslie D. Soule

He awoke in his computer chair, in the place where he’d died.

Tom was unwilling to believe what his eyes told him was true—the devil had just purchased his soul online and he was dead. He looked down for a moment at the tattoos that covered both of his arms; identical red dragons with long, serpentine bodies, and he watched the bubbles of carbonation float up from the soda bottle next to his desktop computer. I look alive enough. And time stood still.

Thoughts wormed their way into his consciousness. What now? Where will my soul go? Is Hell, real? Before he died, he’d done something questionable, but he’d been an atheist, so he figured he’d be safe. But now, well, things were certainly different.

It had been a harmless act—Tom had put his soul up for auction on Ebay. He did it for a joke and a bit of cash, just like his three friends, Chris, John, and Amanda. Tom had even printed up a certificate on his computer with a spot in the upper-left corner where he'd pasted one of those school pictures of himself, so he’d have something physical to photograph with his digital camera and put onto a listing in order to sell.

He closed his eyes for a moment and thought back.

It began when Tom got out of his class and met up with his friend Chris at the quad area in the center of campus. Chris sported a big Cheshire Cat grin.

“Hey, guess what?” Chris asked. His blue eyes sparkled with delight and his entire face was lit with an unearthly glow. A light breeze tousled the tufts of his blond hair and then rifled through the autumn leaves on the campus trees.

“What?” Tom asked in the middle of a yawn.

Chris seemed hardly able to control himself. He grabbed Tom by the shoulders and said, “Someone bought it last night. Someone actually bought it!”

“Bought what?” Tom asked, the barest semblance of a grin beginning to form. He had a good idea of what Chris was referring to, but he wanted to be sure.

“Don’t play dumb—you know! My soul!” Chris’s voice echoed through the brick-lined, bench-outlined dip in the middle of the school walkway that was known as the Lily Scott Memorial Quad.


“Yeah, and the weird thing is that I didn't expect anybody to buy the thing, so I set it for like two hundred dollars! Imagine, we could keep doing this and be freaking rich!”

Dollar bill signs began dancing in Tom’s head. He snuck out of his Psychology class, the last class of the day for him, and went to the library to use one of the computers and access the internet. He wanted to see if he had any action on Ebay, since Chris’s listing had been so successful.

He logged into his account…and was pleasantly surprised to see that someone had actually placed a bid and won his soul certificate! How could that be? He looked at the time the bid was placed—at the stroke of midnight. The bidder's login name was Natas666.

Tom thought the name was a joke. After all, this whole thing was a joke, right?

And then another thought occurred to him. He shivered. It couldn’t be true, but he felt weird. And despite his thoughts that told him that such things were just the nonsense stuff of fairy tales, Tom began to get that chill in his nerves and had to force it to subside.

He stood up from the library’s computer chair and touched his own shoulder. Iit felt solid enough. I don’t feel like a ghost.

He looked over at the clock, to see it frozen at 10:05pm. So now what do I do? He wandered over to the front door and opened it, looking outside a sight that stunned him—a woman stood frozen, walking her dog. Her dog wasn’t moving, either. Cars sat frozen in place in the street. The stop lights were stuck on red or yellow, and even the squirrels sat stock-still on the branches they’d found.

This has all got to be a dream of some kind, or a realistic hallucination. He walked back inside the library and sat back down in front of the computer. The internet still seemed to work, at least.

A quick internet check told him that the payment had already been transferred. His account showed a message waiting.

Message from Natas666 regarding item #1017733

Thy payment hath transferred. Thus, per thy stated agreement, thou art obliged to send thy transaction certification. Lucifer

Ugh! Tom shuddered in disgust. “What’s with all the ‘thys’ and ‘thous’? That’s creepy,” he said out loud, realizing afterwards that maybe he should have been a little quieter. “And what kind of creep signs his name as Lucifer? I think this whole thing is going too far.”

He continued speaking to no one but himself, the fear loosening his jaw. Speaking at least seemed to provide some kind of human comfort. A thought occurred to him. I accepted the money, so I have to continue this thing. Once the certificate was mailed out, he would have fulfilled his end of the deal. Nothing further required.

He went home and carefully fitted the certificate into a large mailing envelope, printed out a copy of the buyer’s receipt to add in with it, and scrounged around for his last Liberty stamp.

Now he had to walk to the corner to the mailbox. The chill night air on the back of his neck felt like the breath of a demon chasing at his heels. He opened the huge gaping mouth of the mailbox and tossed in the envelope.

It was over and done. Tom could relax. He sighed. Time to go to bed, and in the morning, I’ll wake up and have a laugh about all this.


Satan looked up at his computer monitor. A message box blinked to let him know that a package was waiting for him at the nearest Post Office, which was only about ten feet from his front door.

Hell had a zillion Post Offices. You couldn’t spit in Hell without hitting one. The Post Offices in Hell were connected to the Post Offices on Earth. Only the Postmaster General was privy to the top-secret knowledge that the Dead Letter Office was actually just comprised of a room with a plaque saying “Mail Recovery Center” that contained a huge gaping hole in the middle that lead straight into Hell.

Every day, thousands of letters would be sent via metal chute into the Recovery Center’s “inbox”—meaning that letters addressed to The Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, and The Tooth Fairy would be funneled into the million-mile drop and eventually incinerated in the fires of Hell.

Hell’s mail imps were magical little thin, purple creatures with the ability to peer through envelopes and multiply paperwork. Their abilities extended no further, since they were a creation of the Master, created to serve.

There was an imp for each mailbox on Earth, and when they were not busy with the mail, they were running errands for The Boss. An imp would travel the Hell Roads up through the ground, through the metal of the box and into the slot for a house on its list.

Once inside, the infiltrator would then rifle through the regular mail looking for anything bearing the name Satan and strap it to its little purple body with a rubber band. Then the magic-possessing horned imp would sort through the rest of the mail, peering with x-ray vision through envelopes—even security envelopes—and look for checks (he would instantly incinerate these), important documents (which he would shred), and junk mail (which he would cause to multiply tenfold), before departing for Hell in a sparkly flash of disco-light color.
Satan sat there in Hell, staring at his computer screen. He sported a pair of black ram’s horns on his head and he liked to keep the tips filed to sharp points. It made him feel dangerous, which he knew he really was.

He set down the rigid iron file, sighed heavily, and then slammed a huge, hairy fist onto the old oak computer desk. “Heaven!” he cursed.

Even though the Post Office was only ten feet outside his front door, he knew that if he set foot outside the safe, hexed grounds of his abode, he would have to deal with her.

Seeing one of his imp minions, he hollered, “Get me four shots of expresso!” before kicking the little soot-covered tangle of arms and legs right out the door.

Satan didn’t like dealing with Brenda Franklin—the neediest shade in all of Hell—and he didn’t like being inconvenienced simply in order to pick up the certificate for one human soul. I’d send her back to Earth as a living human again if I didn’t think she’d kill herself to get back here.

Brenda had been a cashier in her time as a human on Earth. She was a chain-smoker and drank heavily. She had lived a hard life and it showed on the wrinkles that had once covered her time-worn face. She lived a lonely life, drifting from one relative’s house to another as she worked her uneven full-time position, able only to dream of a cushy desk job someplace.

Brenda mentally cursed herself for never pursuing the college education that her parents had in mind for her. Instead, she had partied her way through high school and never finished, dropping out to pursue the wild thrills of city life and to chase headlights and neon signs into drunken oblivion. Brenda had potential once, but the wild fire of her untamed heart had burned it all away long ago.

Satan didn’t like her. She was too needy.


As Tom walked back to his house from the mailbox, it was as if a huge weight had been lifted from his shoulders. He looked up at the moon with its hazy blue aura. His spirits rose and he decided that once he got back to the house, he'd fire off a message to that “Lucifer” and let him know that the transaction was complete. Then he’d be free to erase this whole page from the book of his memories and fall into the sweet embrace of slumber.

But when he got back to his computer and sat down basking in the glow of screen light, another message was waiting for him. Tom had clearly underestimated the speed of the mail system on this side of the great beyond.
Message from Natas666 regarding item #1017733:

Thy certification document hath been received. Our agreement’s terms requires action due by mine own hand. Thus, prompt service shallst be provided. Thou hast rendered up thy soul to me and I shalt not fail in the terms of thy agreement.

Tom was stunned and sat frozen for a moment. “No damn way!” he said to himself. “There is no damn way on Earth he could have gotten it already!”

He slipped his shoes back on that he’d just kicked off and tore out the front door, down the street toward the blue mailbox like an Olympic sprinter going for the gold. When he reached the mailbox, he pulled open the handle and reached down inside as far as his arm could go. He felt nothing. He kicked the metal box and heard a hollow twang inside, like there was nothing there.

Tom felt a chill run up his arms, and he raced back home as fast as his legs could take him. For the first time, he completely understood just how real this was.

He rushed back to his room and rifled around until he found the rosary that his mother had given him a long time ago. He took the black beads and wore them as a necklace. He didn’t believe in Catholicism or Christianity before, but maybe he needed to rethink that. If there is a Satan, there must be a God, he reasoned.

It was when he was almost back to his computer chair, that he heard the frightful knock that thundered like the trumpets of the Apocalypse and iced Tom’s blood. He tip-toed up to the door and cautiously looked through the peephole.

He knew who it was. “I’m not opening the door,” he called.

And then the door opened by itself. “Can I come in?” asked Satan, standing at Tom’s doorstep, clothed in a long, black trench coat, with his huge red frame and glowing yellow cat eyes exposed to the world. The sharp horns sprouted from his head and Tom wondered if he were going to faint from fright.

Tom now had the rosary in his pocket, and he clutched it like it was his salvation. If there is a God, please, he silently prayed, watch over me now, and don’t let the devil take my soul.

Tom shoved the door to close it, but Satan laid a huge palm against the wood of the door, stopping it. “Look, I don’t normally do this,” Satan said in a monotone voice of utter nonchalance, “but if I could come in for a moment, that would be great. I need to…explain something.”

Tom stood there nodding, dumbfounded, as Satan walked through the door and took a seat on the leather sofa in the living room. “Look,” said Satan in a very business-like, yet bored tone, “I have a problem…and you have a problem.”

Tom closed the door and walked over to the brown recliner, taking a seat as he tried to wrap his mind around what was happening.

Satan continued on in a businesslike manner. He’d brought a black folder with him, which he now set on the living room table and began rifling through, producing four photos, They were of Tom and his three friends.

He then produced four soul certificates that showed that Satan now owned the souls of all four young people.

“I bought these on an auction website,” Satan began, sitting back and interlocking his huge, clawed fingers. “I now own four souls. What’s that to me, though? Every day down in Hell, I get thousands of new souls, and it’s not like I’ve got a quota exactly for a certain number of souls that I’ve got to get day by day. But I do take pride in my work and lately I can’t seem to get anything done because I, master of Hell, cannot set foot outside my own domain without being followed around by Miss Brenda Franklin.”

Tom hadn’t known what to expect, but certainly not this. Who was Brenda Franklin?

Satan continued, “This particular shade is worse than any groupie, any fan you’d ever meet on Earth, Instead of having a mere lack of self esteem, she never had any to begin with, and yet she’s got this dogged determination to be good at something. What she seems to excel at is pestering me by being in the way all the time. So—you, you lucky person you—I’m willing to make you a deal.”

“Anything!” Tom interrupted.  

Satan hesitated, then said, “Well, aren’t we enthusiastic. I don’t normally do this, you understand, but it makes it extremely difficult to do my work on Earth when I’ve got this Brenda Franlin pestering me all the time. So I have a proposition.”

Here Satan took a breath and Tom nodded dumbly, still struggling to comprehend the situation unfolding around him. Satan is willing to make a deal with me. Perhaps there’s a chance for my soul to be saved, after all.

“What I propose is: that I make a deal with the Man Upstairs and we bring Brenda back to life on Earth to give her…a second chance. The catch is, she needs a support system so she doesn’t end up killing herself again. I don’t want her back. So be there for her. I’m sending her to you.”


Tom made his decision. He looked at the soul certificates that sat there on the living room table in front of Satan himself, then politely excused himself for a moment. After rifling through the tool chest in the garage, he emerged with a box cutter.

Satan had drawn up a contract and it sat there along with the soul certificates, an X at the bottom with a line, waiting to be signed in Tom’s blood. Satan removed a quill pen from an interior pocket of his trench coat and lightly placed in on the table.

Tom considered carefully where to make the incision, and then winced as he dug the tip of the razor into the spot where the blood donation center always drew blood from the soft flesh between his bicep and forearm. He dipped the quill pen in the blood ink and signed his name next to the X, then motioned with one hand toward the soul certificates that sat on the living room table.

Satan smiled, knowing that though he had lost the opportunity of gaining four new souls for the bowels of Hell, that he had won because he’d be free of Brenda Franklin forever. For this, he’d let the other side win for a change.


When Brenda woke up, she was in a dark alley. The full moon shined onto the dirty asphalt and her matted blonde hair lay scattered around her like the halo of a stained glass window saint. The darkened silhouette of a man stood towering over her and she couldn’t see his face, as her eyes hadn’t yet adjusted to the dark.

“Who are you?” she asked. “And why am I here?”

“You’re just as dead as I am. And I’m the man you’re supposed to marry.”

Then he grasped her hand, and together, they wandered down the road toward a glowing white light.

Leslie D. Soule received her M.A. in English from National University. She is a scholar, artist, citizen journalist, and martial artist. She has been an established writer for a decade.

Readers enjoy Soule’s no-nonsense, fast-paced style of writing. She loves to hear from her readers, and encourages them to connect with her on Twitter, and to help spread the word, about her work.

Twitter: @Falcondraco