Take me to a...
Enter any portion of the author name or story title:
For more options, try our:
Sign up for free daily sci-fi!
your email will be kept private
Get a copy of Not Just Rockets and Robots: Daily Science Fiction Year One. 260 adventures into new worlds, fantastical and science fictional. Rocket Dragons Ignite: the anthology for year two, is also available!
Publish your stories or art on Daily Science Fiction:
If you've already submitted a story, you may check its:
Not just rockets & robots...
"Science Fiction" means—to us—everything found in the science fiction section of a bookstore, or at a science fiction convention, or amongst the winners of the Hugo awards given by the World Science Fiction Society. This includes the genres of science fiction (or sci-fi), fantasy, slipstream, alternative history, and even stories with lighter speculative elements. We hope you enjoy the broad range that SF has to offer.

Dragging My Feet

Andrew Gilstrap lives in the woods of South Carolina with his wife, two kids, a fluctuating population of dogs and cats, and never-ending leaves to rake. His work has appeared in Lakeside Circus, Star*Line, and Mythic Delirium.

My shoe smudges the chalk markings and before I can lift my foot, it's over. The demon grabs Terrance Nygard, self-styled "Lord of Darkness and Master of the Damned," and devours him. Doesn't even chew; just pops open its toothy maw to a quadruple-jointed width that would make a Great White shark wince, and drops him down its gullet without a bite.
Just as suddenly, the demon's in my face, pressing me against the wall. Somehow, the smell of Nygard's putrid cologne on the beast's brimstone breath makes the effect even more rancid.
"He was delicious," the demon croaks. "You will be too, eventually."
"So-- so our deal is satisfied?" I don't bother masking my fear. The demon knows that for all the times I've done this, I'm still filled with pants-shitting terror.
"Indeed. Another ten years. Then you pay your price."
"Unless I bring-- bring you another," I stammer.
"Of course. As always." The demon starts making a noise that's a cross between a purr and a human moan of pleasure. Nygard's eldritch energies are starting to course through its system. It's like a cat on catnip, although no less dangerous than before. "You've proven yourself quite reliable."
I try to nod, but it's more of a trembling twitch as the demon disappears.
After my adrenaline subsides, I start cleaning up evidence of the chalk circle and my presence here tonight. It'll be hard enough worming my way into the next magician's confidence without being connected to Nygard's mysterious disappearance.
Ten years. Just enough time to work my way up through the acolyte ranks to stand, trusted and ready to make a damnation-stalling mistake, at the side of the demon's next meal.
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, October 20th, 2016

Author Comments

A line is a delicate threshold between power and disaster, which leads to every summoner in movies and on TV always droning on and on about not breaking the circle during their spells. It seems ripe for sabotage, especially if the saboteur has a better than average chance of getting out alive, and a good reason for taking the risk. It was a challenge to keep this one so short, as I was tempted to have the demon really goad the narrator. Ultimately, I decided a wordy demon is the worst demon and kept things simple.

- Andrew Gilstrap
Become a Member!

We hope you're enjoying Dragging My Feet by Andrew Gilstrap.

Please support Daily Science Fiction by becoming a member.

Daily Science Fiction is not accepting memberships or donations at this time.

Rate This Story
Please click to rate this story from 1 (ho-hum) to 7 (excellent!):

Please don't read too much into these ratings. For many reasons, a superior story may not get a superior score.

4.7 Rocket Dragons Average
Share This Story
Join Mailing list
Please join our mailing list and receive free daily sci-fi (your email address will be kept 100% private):