When I was a child I sold my soul to a devil I don't believe in.
Fortunately, as it turned out, minors didn't possess the rights over their own souls back then, and the slippery red goat man was instructed to return my soul, untethered, and to not come within ten thousand yojonas of me until I reached eighteen years of age.
Unfortunately, the trade had been made six months before I turned six years old, having been kept perfectly secret from my parents until my birthday, when they gifted me with a Terribly Naughty Little Girls brand Soul Polisher. It was just like the one that my older cousin had received for her birthday and didn't I want try it out right away?
All hell broke loose after that.
Turns out the fallen spawn of the crack of dawn who coerced me into trading my soul for an endless supply of superhuman creativity had already fed it to a scrub goat named Norma Jean. Of course, I had a lot of soul for a five-and-a-half-year-old (much more substantial than goat pellets), so after six months of chewing and regurgitating in the fires of hell Norma Jean was only on her second round with the soul cud. My soul was fished out from the slimy choppers of the subterranean snacker and returned to the care of my parents. Mom and Dad took one look at the shredded remains of my child's soul and pronounced it holy. They polished the thing up good enough with the Soul Polisher and mixed it in with my oatmeal the next morning. I pretended not to notice the flecks of green bile floating in the melted butter.
It didn't take long for us to recognize the damage that had been done to my innocence once the pulverized soul was back inside me. Fortunately, the unstoppable stream of ingenuity that I got to keep as a consolation prize was soaked up instantly by my spongy soul, infusing itself in such a way that, to this day, any time I experience the emotional agony typical of a wounded soul I am able to create a diversion from the torture by way of art. Or music. Or words. Or what have you. Well, sometimes just the what have you. Other times, the what have you done.
The Devil Himself was taken to court, tried, convicted, mug shot posted on the internet. When the jailors grabbed the Pan-wannabe by the horns to drag him to prison, he yelled so loud the earth opened up. He pointed a gnarled finger at me and declared that from that day forward my parents would be atheists and that when I died I would cease to exist, just as they would. Then he slipped into the chasm and disappeared, taking his jailors with him.
I ran and told my parents what happened. They tilted their heads and smiled, gave me a pat and told me I had a wonderful imagination, then sent me outside to play with the animals. That night I watched through my bedroom window as Mom dropped my Soul Polisher into the garbage barrel and stuffed the bag of kitchen trash down on top of it.
I stopped believing in the devil after that. My parents were staunch atheists and there wasn't much point in arguing with them about a past that never happened. Atheism never stuck for me, though, and in an effort to prevent myself from ceasing existence entirely, I bounce from Hindu deities to Buddhist philosophy to Pagan ritual and back again. When all feels hopeless, I wander through tangled pagan woods looking for the real Pan, so that I when I do finally leave this body I can arrange to turn into reeds and have him breathe a melody through my shredded soul.
Or at least help him chase a few nymphs.
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All the stuff (pictures, words, etc.) I put in this post and any of my other posts is mine (unless otherwise stated) and can't be used by anyone else unless I say it's ok.
This story is fiction. All devils, parents, court staff, cousins, pagan gods and eternal hellfires are a product of my imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, places, or events is purely coincidental, with the exception of Norma Jean. She was real, and she lived to be sixteen years old, bless her little heathen soul.