A Cold Day in Hell

by Robin

Copyright© 2010 by Robin

Humor Story: Running out of heating oil in Hell is not a good idea.

Tags: Fiction   Science Fiction   Humor   non-anthro  

The characters in this piece are all real ... well as real as far as demonology allows for. Look them up on Google. Go on. I dare you.


Adramelech turned away from his screen where had been playing solitaire and checked the caller Id on his desktop phone. He saw that it was Susan, the office temp, sent from Office Angels. She was completely out of place for one, far too nice for another and next to useless to boot. But, she did look good in her mini skirt and the plunging neckline of the tops she habitually wore, so he had kept her on and ignored her failings. He picked up.

"Susan. What can I do for you?" He had to take the pencil he was chewing, out, from between his fangs before he could speak properly. Pencils didn't last long in Adramelech's hands, or mouth, but as the Financial Director, he could buy as many as he wanted.

"Xaphan is on the line sir, says he needs to speak to you urgently. Shall I put him through?" He loved the clipped English accent of her voice. It appealed to him at some fundamental level. He was looking forward the office Christmas party very much and the possibility of seeing her on the copier, photo-stating her naked posterior. Hell, he would be only too happy to help her. Some office traditions remain he thought, gratefully.

"Um ... yeah, put him through and, would you make me a coffee please, two sugars and milk?" He knew she would make it as she normally did, black, with no sugar or it would be tea. He hated tea. It was a drink for pussies, he thought.

"Xaphan, what can I do for you?" He asked with forced bonhomie. The facilities manager was a bit of a worrier and often panicked at the most inappropriate times.

"Moring Adramelech, we've got a bit of a problem." Nothing like being direct, come straight to the point was Xaphan's motto. The wheedling note in his voice grated in Adramelech's ear. "We are running out of fuel oil."

"So... ?" His patience was never his most 'endearing' feature and having to work out the significance of the lack of oil was just something to annoy him. Adramelech, when he was annoyed, wasn't something you wanted to see. It tended to petrify one and petrification wasn't good for a body, or its continuing existence.

"Well..." Xaphan was probably enjoying the telephone conversation. " ... it means we'll have no heating."

"So... ?" His voice had become just a tad more gravelly in timbre.

"Well, being that the Boss decided that, for 'aesthetic reasons', we should be in the basement, it's going to get pretty cold down here."

The Boss was a name that was never mentioned, there is power in a name and mentioning the boss's name was likely to get you terminally dead. Adramelech could almost see Xaphan using two digits of each hand, sketching inverted commas in the air as he stressed "aesthetic reasons". It hadn't been a popular move. For one thing, there weren't any windows any more, a bi-product being that efficiency increased with less day-dreaming going on. And, for another, it meant spending rather more in heating the place to an ambient temperature of around one hundred degrees Celsius.

"So put a jumper or something on." His patience was on the rack and being stretched until it was almost translucent.

"You don't understand. If we run out of oil, it is going to get really, very, very cold, down here, like, icicles man. Hell will freeze over and the consequences of that do not need to be told to you." There was a certain triumph in his explanation, glee even, that hell might freeze over. Xaphan delighted in disaster, the worse it got, the better he liked it.

"Then why not get the lost souls to start shovelling coal into the boilers like they used to do? Do I have to do everything around here?" It was a rhetorical question.

"Um, they are on strike sir." Adramelech could now plainly hear Xaphon's pleasure. "Seems they are complaining about pay and working conditions." Xaphan had some sympathy with the lost souls, working in the boiler room was no picnic and the pay was lousy and it lasted for all eternity with no prospects of promotion.

"WHAT?" The rack had done its job. Patience had given up and split. Suddenly, Adramelech blew out his frustration, transforming into his Demon shape, scales, fangs and blood red eyes and all. He hated it when this happened. It meant a new suite and hurried repairs to his office ceiling and desk and walls. In anger, he grew to over eight feet in height and five feet in width, his office was fractionally less than that and even less than that when you took into consideration, his desk and chair.

Unfortunately, it was at that precise moment that Susan opened his office door with a steaming cup of coffee, made just the way she liked it, black and sugarless. There wasn't room enough for the both of them in his normally pristine office, there wasn't room enough for him in his Armani suite either. Shreds of wool and shantung silk hung from his gigantic scaly frame as did bits of Susan, squashed, mixed with coffee and splattered all over him and the one remaining wall.

Hers had been a short gig, shame, we might have liked her.

It took all of Adramelech's towering will power to get himself under control and return to his day-time persona. The phone, along with Susan and most of his space, was no more and he realised that he needed more room in future.

He left the shambles that had been his office to find a spare suite he kept for just these occasions, in a dark and dingy store room, down the corridor. He dropped in on Uphir in the medical room as he passed. Uphir is the first aider for this floor. He didn't look too amused when asked to tend to Susan in his medical capacity. His pleasure of torturing a new soul with needles and wickedly sharp looking knives was disturbed and that wasn't ever good. He looked even less amused when Adramelech peeled bits of Susan off of him.

Xaphan put down the, now dead handset and rubbed his hands together gleefully. He positively enjoyed it when the Finance Director blew up. But, it did mean that he was going to have to solve the fuel problem himself and he didn't know how. After all, if finance paid the damned bill, they wouldn't be in this predicament. It wasn't his problem really.

Idly, he picked up the handset once more and barked orders out to his maintenance crew. They would need to clean up what had once been Adramelech's office and begin rebuilding. Maliciously, Xaphan gave the maintenance guys precise dimensions, about one square metre less in floor space. He giggled insanely at the imposed restriction.

His next call was to the supply depot.

"Hello" The disembodied voice answered on the first ring. "Infernally hot oils here."

"Is that Infernally hot oils and co?"

A sigh escaped the disembodied voice. "Yes, that is who we are." The voice had realised that it was answering the telephone call of a moron. "How can I help you?"

"I'd like to know when we are likely to get an oil delivery." Xaphan had formed a similar opinion of the voice.

"And who are we?"

"You're Infernally hot oils aren't you?" His opinion was confirmed.

"I meant, who are you, the ones wondering when they are going to get their oil?" Another, very much deeper sigh, wafted down the telephone line.

The penny dropped.

"Oh ... um ... sorry. This is Hell, Xaphan calling. We seem to have almost run out of oil and it's getting mightily cold here." Xaphan blushed at his stupidity and that he had been made to look a complete fool within seconds of making the call.

"Ah! Yes, Hell isn't it?" It sounded like he was reverting to Welsh. "You have to pay your bill look you..." Definitely Welsh, the accent was thickening. " ... We will not deliver another drop of oil until you have paid up. You're on stop my friend and that is that."

"How much do we owe you?" Xaphan was getting a little exasperated.

"About six hundred million, trillion US dollars, give or take a few trillion."

"Um ... When did we pay you last?"


"So we owe you six hundred million, trillion US Dollars eh?"

"Plus VAT."


"Plus VAT at seventeen and a half percent."

"I see." But, he didn't. The number had far too many noughts in it to make any sense to Xaphan. "So, how can we make amends and get more oil?"

"You can pay yer damned bill for one. We ain't a bleedin charity ya know" His accent was turning into cockney and wasn't helping at all.

"Do you take American Express?"

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