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Sell Your Soul (All The Cool Kids Are Doing It)

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There are about a million and one legends about crossroads; mysterious intersections just outside of town, each creepier than the last. These legends may differ in small ways, but the basic idea is constant. Sell your soul, and have your wildest dreams come true in exchange.

The crossroads themselves take the shape of two dirt roads which meet in the center. Two roads that don't seem to have names, defying the very definition of a road simply by leading nowhere. It's a crossroads without signs, giving wanderers absolutely no indication of where they are going or where they have come from. This space where two stretches of road meet carry no distinguishing features to differ one from any other, except for a single lamp post which illuminates a small circle of dirt.

The crossroads is an old ghost story, the promise of your wildest dreams in exchange for the only thing in life that will ever matter after it's over. Some people say such a place doesn't exist. Others believe the crossroads are just like any other intersection; boring, nothing at all magical about them.

Sometimes a wayward soul is just curious enough to try and find these crossroads, but few ever do, with nothing but liar between them. Now Jonathan, he's not looking for much of anything, but whatever he's not looking for he's gotten lost trying to find it. Filled with the kind of apathy that plagues those without direction or simply can't be bothered, he doesn't notice when the nice paved street he's been walking turns to dirt beneath his sneakers.

How Jonathan came to find the intersection of these particular streets, who could say? How ever it came to be, he finds himself here, beneath the light of a single lamppost unable to see anything but darkness beyond it's yellow glow. The dark is what catches his attention first. The sudden absence of light is jarring to say the least. It doesn't make sense that it would be so dark already. The sun was still bright when he started walking, and he hasn't been walking all that long.

Cautious and a little curious, Jonathan slips the headphones off his ears and lets them hang around his neck. The notes and melodies playing from his phone help to fill the stagnant air, but the music is not quite enough to break the bleak atmosphere. As far as his eyes can see Jonathan is completely alone at the intersection. There's hardly any dust to even drift in the light, only the dirt kicked up from his shoes. The need to fill the silence with something in undeniable. "Hello?" Jonathan calls out to anyone that might be listening, but most probably no one. It's the sort of cliche that haunts the opening pages of a horror story but Jonathan can't seem to help himself. The silence is all consuming.

No reply welcomes him from the darkness, but Jonathan begins to step forward anyway. If he continues forward he can leave this place behind him. Whatever is probably not out there in the shadows will just have to go on without him there. He has places to be and a life to live, boring as it may be.

Just as he is stepping directly beneath the glaring light of the lamppost, it occurs to Jonathan that he has no idea where he is, and therefore he has no idea of how to get where he was originally going. Jonathan pulls his phone out of his pocket as he adjusts his backpack on his shoulders. He means to check a map to find his way back, except he has no signal.

"Great" Jonathan groans, glaring down at his phone screen, his lack of bars seeming to mock him. He stares for a moment longer, waiting to see if his phone will miraculously gain signal. It doesn't. Annoyed, Jonathan pockets his phone a little more aggressive than entirely necessary, and looks out into the pitch blackness ahead of him. If he just continues forward, he might eventually find his phone service returned. He has to right? Of course if he continues forward he must eventually come across some sense of civilization, but he could just as easily end up even more lost. Or worse, further from service.

It doesn't make much sense, the more he thinks about it. Jonathan can't remember anywhere in his hometown he couldn't easily pull up the internet. There's no way he was so distracted that he completely walked out of town on his way home from school, right?

It just doesn't make sense.

What can Jonathan do in this situation? If he stands around here doing nothing, what are the odds that someone will happen upon him? The internet on his phone probably won't miraculously reconnect.

Behind him someone clears their throat.

The rocks and dirt skid beneath his shoes as Jonathan whips around to look behind him, startled by the sudden sound. Dust slowly settles back to the ground in the light but otherwise nothing else moves.

Jonathan stares.

The stranger stares back.

This... person that was definitely not behind him before, looks like a puzzle that is missing a piece, so someone simply borrowed a piece from a completely different puzzle and called it complete. The ripped blue jeans, the sneakers, and the purple skirt seem a little strange but at least match to a degree with the odd hat covering unruly brown hair, but clash completely to the crisp white button up shirt, suit jacket, and red scarf tied around the strangers neck.

"Hey hot stuff, see something you like?" The stranger asks, a smile full of too sharp teeth on his face.

Jonathan startles slightly as he was not expecting this person to be real, let alone talk to him. He stares dumbfounded, unsure how to respond. "Um, what?"

The strangers green eyes sparkle with mischief. "I'm a demon and I'm here to make a deal." The smile suddenly drops from the strangers face, replaced by a small frown. "No wait that was terrible. Hi! I'm Sock" he says instead, holding out a hand for Jonathan to shake.

Jonathan doesn't take the strangers hand. "Your name is sock? Seriously?"

The stranger, Sock apparently, slowly drops his head and clasps both behind his back. The smile is back on his face, but there's an edge to his grin that wasn't there earlier. "Yup! Now, about that deal I mentioned..."

"There's no way your name is actually Sock" Jonathan interrupts. As much as Sock is clearly trying to drive the conversation forward, Jonathan can't seem to move on from the strangeness of this strangers name. It has to be an alias, or a nickname maybe. "Did your parents hate you or something?"

Sock fixes Jonathan with an impatient look, his brows drawn downward slightly and his smile wavering. "Um... Look, I'm a crossroads demon, you show up, we make a deal, you get one of your wildest dreams fulfilled and I walk away with your soul. Are humans not taught how this works anymore?"

Something about the situation is far too unreal for Jonathan to even pretend to entertain the idea of entertaining this self proclaimed demon. It's not like demons are even real in the first place. Clearly this is some sort of elaborate prank or vivid hallucination.

“Yeah, no” Jonathan says, turning his back on Sock and stalking off toward the darkness, intent on wandering until he can find his way.

Sock doesn't attempt to stop him, although if he had, Jonathan would continue anyway. As he leaves the protective circle of light, Jonathan can just make out another distant point of light ahead of him. Although it is unnerving to walk without being able to properly see his feet, he continues to draw closer and closer to what is apparently yet another lamppost.

Except when he gets there, he realizes it's the same lamppost.

Sock grins at him and gives a childish wave.

Without a word Jonathan turns right on his heels and repeats the process in the opposite direction, only to once more end up exactly where he started.

Sock is still smiling. “Oh did I forget to tell you? You can't leave, well actually neither of us can leave. We're both stuck here until you agree to make a deal.” Sock explains, his voice far too chipper given their grim circumstances.

Jonathan scowls. “Seriously?” When did this become his life? Perhaps the bigger question is why Jonathan is so willing to accept this strangers word as fact simply because he has no better explanation for any of it himself. Demon or not, it would seem Jonathan is in fact stuck here, and Sock is indeed his ticket out. “So I can't leave until we make a deal?”

Sock nods, eager now that they are finally getting somewhere. “That's what I said, yes.”

With this in mind, the answer seems rather obvious. Perhaps a bit too obvious. “Then I want to go home.”

Sock lifts both hands in a clear stop gesture to halt such trains of thought. “Hold on, it doesn't quite work like that. You have to ask for something that you really want. Like your deepest desire or whatever. It doesn't work on spur of the moment whims.”

“Are you freaking kidding me?” Jonathan asks, unable to believe what he's hearing.

“Don't look at me hot stuff-”

“Jonathan” he interrupts, refusing to answer to such an atrocious nickname.

“Jonathan” Sock corrects, effortlessly working around the interruption, “my boss makes the rules, I just go with it. Fortunately it just so happens that as a crossroads demon I'm sort of good at picking up on humans deepest desires.”

The thought og Sock reading him like a book is not exactly a pleasant one, but it is favorable to the alternative of being stick here for Province only knows how long. “Then hurry up already” he mutters, crossing his arms over his chest. They might as well get this over with.

“Geez are all humans this pushy?” Sock floats forward, his feet not even touching the ground, right into Jonathan's personal space. He resists the urge to back away, trying to give Sock the best scowl he can while the demon stares at him from an inch or two away.

After an uncomfortably long drawn out moment, Sock pouts at him. “Huh, that's weird.”

“What?” Jonathan snaps a tad impatient.

“I'm not getting anything from you” Sock says, his tone accusatory as if this is somehow all Jonathan's fault.

While it is true that a demon like Sock might have a certain talent for deriving a humans deepest darkest desires, he can't pick up on something that simply isn't there. Jonathan is not in want of anything, which poses a significant problem should either of them want to get out of this any time soon.

“It's really weird” Sock goes on to explain, “normally I can tell what people want right off the bat. It's like my entire job.”

“Well maybe you suck at your job then” Jonathan bites back, a little more than annoyed at this point.

Sock's expression crumbles into one of disbelief. He looks a little like he just got slapped across the face. A bit dramatic given the insult. “I... I suck at my job? Do you really thing I suck at my job?”

It is a tad presumptuous of Jonathan to make such an assessment, given he has no idea what Sock's job actually is and therefor cannot actually judge Sock's ability to perform said job. However, he is so far not filled with much confidence. “Well what do we do now?” He asks.

“Um...” Sock hunches his shoulders slightly, fiddling with his scarf and gnawing on his bottom lip, refusing to make eye contact. Always a good sign in these situations. His entire demeanor is miles away from how he was holding himself earlier. “I'm... not really sure? This has never happened to me before. Normally the only people who can find the crossroads are people with strong desires.”

“Perfect” Jonathan groans, dropping his backpack to the ground before he too drops down to sit. If he's going to be stuck here for some sort of endlessly looping limbo he might as well get comfortable.

Sock watches him curiously. He can't quite wrap his head around this particular human, and he's supposed to be really good at reading humans. “You're really weird” Sock decides, sitting down with his legs crossed across from Jonathan in the dirt. “Humans tend to be a little more...” Sock rolls his wrist a few times while trying to find a suitable term. “Disbelieving” he decides on.

Once or twice, Sock had been stuck with humans who could not move past the demon bit. Even after parlor trick after parlor trick, Sock still had problems getting them to listen until it got to the point that Sock would rather just murder them out of pure frustration.

“Really?” Jonathan asks sardonically.

Sock doesn't seem to notice the sarcasm dripping from his words, instead he continues his thought as if Jonathan had never even spoken. “I mean, look at you! You look bored! Do you seriously not even care about anything? Is none of this affecting you at all?”

To perfectly illustrate that point, Jonathan shrugs his shoulders, and Sock groans dramatically.

“Well, maybe if we talked for a while I might get an idea of your deepest desire” Sock muses aloud as he idly taps his chin in thought.

Jonathan has very little interest in conversation with the people he sees everyday, let alone some mercurial demon that he just met. “Do I have to?”

“I mean, unless you want to stay in the crossroads forever” Sock says as he pulls the suit jacket off his shoulders and pushes the sleeves up to his elbows. Once he's a little more comfortable, he leans forward with both elbows on his knees and holding up his chin in one of his palms. “So... what're you into?”

Here Jonathan has two choices. He can continue to be petty and uninterested in the conversation on principle, or he can indulge this strange boy for the purpose of entertainment and maybe finding a way out of here. After almost no thought, Jonathan replies with; “I dunno, normal stuff I guess.”

“Come on Jonathan work with me here” Sock begs.

Oddly enough Jonathan isn't actually trying to be difficult, he honestly cannot come up with anything. Thinking over his non existent list of hobbies and activities within the limited range of tolerable for more than five minutes, he settles on a surprisingly sincere answer. “Music I guess.”

Sock perks up slightly. Although he has little interest in the subject himself, he is excited by the possibility of actually getting somewhere with the apathetic teenager. “Okay, what kind of music do you listen to?”

Jonathan goes to answer, but finds he doesn't know exactly how to describe his musical taste. Instead, he slips the headphones from around his neck and hands them over. Since he neglected to ever turn the music off, the melodies still play continuously from Jonathan's phone in the space between them. Sock stares at the offering for a moment looking apprehensive. Finally he reaches out and takes the headphones, trying to arrange them over his ridiculous hat.

Predictably it doesn't quite work.

It's a little hilarious to watch, but Jonathan takes pity on Sock and leans forward to lend a hand. “You'll have to- here” Jonathan pulls the hat off the demons head revealing a comical bedhead of wayward brown hair. Jonathan laughs before sense and common decency can tell him not to. Sock's eyes narrow dangerously, so Jonathan shuts himself up. Biting back further laughter, he fits the headphones over Sock's ears and leans back on his hands to gauge the demons reaction.

Not that he cares much about Sock's opinion of his music, or anyone's opinion of his music for that matter.

Sock's expression goes from angry to curious as he listens. “Huh, this is pretty awesome!” He shouts, full on grinning now. For the duration of the song Sock simply sits and listens to the music. Occasionally he taps his fingers against his knees and bobs his head along to the beat. Sock doesn't often get a chance to listen to music. Once he's had his fill, Sock removes the headphones and hands them over in exchange for his silly hat, which he promptly pulls back over his hair.

Jonathan almost regrets giving it back.

-

The pair make idle conversation. Short branches of thought which typically follow the pattern of Sock asking a question, Jonathan giving a less than enthusiastic answer, and Sock then becoming annoyed. It isn't exactly that Jonathan doesn't want to go home, but he's a teenager, and apathy is part of the package. Here or home, the most entertaining thing to happen to him in a long time, is annoying the demons attempting to barter for his soul.

“So what's your story?” Jonathan asks an eternity later. Talking about himself for so long is starting to grate on his nerves. If he has to answer another question he might actually go insane.

Sock is caught off guard by the question, tilting his head curiously to one side and considering Jonathan and his response carefully. His posture has stiffened just enough to be noticeable, his expression guarded. Most humans don't ask about him, and if they did, Sock wouldn't have answered. “What do you mean?” He asks slowly.

Clearly the subject is one Sock is uncomfortable with. It's likely Jonathan won't get an answer to everything he wants to ask, let alone anything he asks. Do demons have home lives? Do they do anything outside of tormenting souls or making deals with unsuspecting teenagers? Do demons start out as demons? Sock looks like a mostly normal human if not for the ridiculously sharp teeth. If he's going to get one shot at asking a question, there's one that Jonathan easily settles on. “Have you always been a demon?”

Sock opens his mouth like he might actually answer, but pauses and instead his eyes narrow. “Hey wait, I'm the one that's supposed to be asking questions!” He complains, pointing an accusatory finger at Jonathan.

Jonathan shrugs, and Sock groans. If either of them is going to make any progress tonight they will have to learn to deal with the others nonsense.

“No I wasn't always a demon. I used to be human just like you” Sock looks away, folding his hands in his lap. It's the closest to shy Sock has ever come in the short time they have known each other. “Anyway-”

After answering the question Sock is quick to change the subject. Jonathan lets it go, but can't help but wonder how exactly Sock came to be a demon. He's so consumed by this thought, Jonathan almost completely misses the next question Sock asks.

-

“What do you do in school?”

“Sleep.”

“Do you like your family?”

“I've got nothing against them.”

“Do you wish you were richer?”

“I guess.”

“What do you do for fun?”

“Suffer.”

-

The longer they go on trading questions for answers Jonathan becomes less and less interested in giving a true response and more interested in coming up with something as ridiculous as possible. After ten minutes of this, Sock seems to give up, flopping backwards onto the dirt and staring up at the starless sky. “It's like you want to be stuck here forever” He complains, throwing both hands upward to the dark before letting both drop down to the ground with a thump and soft cloud of dust.

Jonathan in a move that has become the bane of Sock's eternal damnation, merely shrugs. He looks away from Sock and toward some nonexistent point to his left. “Not like it makes much of a difference to me anyway.” He admits quietly like an afterthought or a cliff note no one was ever supposed to read.

Sock is silent for a moment. “It doesn't? Why not?” He asks.

Obviously Jonathan has to go home at some point, but he's sort of been having fun just talking to Sock. The teasing and the jokes... this is probably the longest conversation he's had in months, the most fun he's had in months. Yes he will have to return eventually before his parents really start to worry, but being here doesn't bother him as much as it probably should.

Not that he would ever say that out loud, he has a reputation to maintain after all.

Something he has yet to consider is Sock's part in all of this. Does the demon have a life that he needs to get back to? Is he looking forward to finally being able to leave? Jonathan can't say, but he decides to take pity on his companion. “Tell you what, I'll answer your questions honestly if you will answer some of mine.”

Sock sits up, both hands in his lap and head tilted to one side in consideration. “Like... a question for a question?”

“Something like that yeah” Jonathan carelessly offers his hand for the demon to shake. “Deal?”

Sock stares at Jonathan's open palm for a moment. He is a demon after all, making deals is what he does, but he's learned to tread carefully. Things like wording are important, and to a demon a handshake is as binding as any contract signed with blood. Like any contract, words can often be twisted and misunderstood.

Finally Sock extends his own hand, but instead of trying to shake on it, he offers his pinky instead. “Promise?”

“Promise” Jonathan agrees, linking his pinky finger with Sock's.

Perhaps it is a loophole and completely childish, but a promise between friends is completely different than a deal with a demon. Sock isn’t prepared to take Jonathan's soul just yet, especially not for something as foolish as a misunderstanding on Jonathan’s part.

With that out of the way, Sock grins, his mouth full of fangs. “Okay, so ask me a question then.”

There are a lot of questions he could ask, about hell, about dying or anything else along those lines. Instead he asks; “So what exactly do you do demons do all day?”

In response Sock shrugs, and oh how the tables have turned. “Normal stuff I guess. When I’m not here my boss usually has me following miserable humans around until they kill themselves.”

That… Whatever Jonathan was expecting Sock to say, it wasn’t that. “Seriously?”

“It’s a pretty standard job.” Sock explains. “Now, I answered your question. So tell me why it doesn’t matter.”

Despite their deal, Jonathan decides to answer the question as vaguely as possible. He’s not exactly the type to dump all of his existential woes onto an unsuspecting stranger after all. “The world’s pretty boring I guess.”

“Really, that’s not exactly how I remember it… or maybe it is?” Sock pauses a moment, lost in thought before he shakes himself out of it. “Okay, next question... let's see... Humans like to barter their souls for love don't they? So hot stuff, are there any girls you have your eyes set on?”

The phrasing might be different but it is a common question asked usually around holidays by nosy relatives. “Not recently” Jonathan replies. If it were a relative asking however he would have either laughed awkwardly, or stalled until the conversation moved on.

Or maybe that's just someone else projecting their experiences.

Sock gives Jonathan a long look. “Any boys catch your attention then?”

“Not recently” Jonathan repeats, giving Sock a similar look.

-

Somehow as the hours pass, their game of twenty questions morphs into a game of never have I ever. It isn't often that any person, human or not, has been in this space for this long but that hardly matters to its current occupants. In the dirt between them, several grids have been drawn from abandoned games of tic-tac-toe.

“Oh wait! I've got one!” Sock proclaims much louder than necessary given they are sitting only a couple of feet apart. Jonathan has learned that Sock seems to fluctuate somewhere between overly dramatic and pure enthusiasm. “Never have I ever, gone to high school.”

Rather than be annoyed at what is clearly a cheap shot, Jonathan's first reaction is curiosity. “Really?” He asks, “not even when you were alive?”

Sock has been rather sparse with the details of his human life or how he can to be a demon despite Jonathan's questions. He seems to freeze for a fraction of a second every time Jonathan asks something that touches too close to the topic of his past. Jonathan isn't enough of a dick to push him about it, that doesn't mean he isn't still curious.

“Nope” Sock says, his tone deceptively even. “Home schooled” he explains.

Jonathan drops one of his fingers as per the rules of the game while he tries to think of something that he is certain the demons has done. It isn't easy given he hardly knows anything about Sock. Finally, he finds an obvious one. “Never have I ever, been to hell.”

Sock tilts his head to one side. “I always thought teenagers considered high school hell.”

Jonathan pauses. He can't exactly deny the demons logic “...Good point.”

Sock laughs as he drops one of his fingers anyway. “Alright, my turn again.”

The game continues in a similar fashion, the two of them appearing neck in neck for a while, but eventually Jonathan through sheer luck and Sock's complete lack of knowledge on what normal humans do for fun, is able to win the game. Sock pouts in response and demands a rematch. Jonathan absolutely refuses. Perhaps the game taught him more about Sock than the demon might have liked, but learning more is not worth sitting through another round of such a childish game.

“Well, now what do we do?” Sock asks.

Jonathan isn't sure. Time has sort of lost all meaning, and each time he checks his phone the same numbers blink back at him, never changing. It never occurred to Jonathan to ask where in the hell they are. The sky holds no stars, the air tastes stale like nothing has been here for a while, and there isn't anything to indicate that Jonathan is somewhere that is anywhere. If Jonathan were anyone else, it might be odd how little he actually cares about that sort of thing.

Having given up on games, the two lapse into a comfortable silence.

Jonathan leans back on his hands and stares at the empty sky.

Assuming that this isn't some sort of elaborate and vivid dream, Jonathan can guess that this is clearly not any place on earth, and therefore it doesn't actually matter. He has no level of reference for anything extraterrestrial or multidimensional.

Minutes or hours pass, Jonathan isn't sure which, when Sock breaks the silence by asking; “do you think your parents are worried about you?”

It's something of a loaded question. Is time even passing? Have his parents even noticed he isn't back from school yet? If he has been gone for so long that they notice, does it worry them? Jonathan doesn't have an answer for these questions. He thinks they might be, but he isn't sure. “I don't know.”

Sock is quiet for so long that Jonathan thinks he might not ask or say anything else. “I killed my parents” he admits into the silence so quietly that Jonathan almost doesn't hear him. Sock's voice shakes slightly as he goes on to explain; “You asked me... if I was always a demon. I wasn't. When I was alive I killed my parents and then I killed myself. I didn't exactly... mean to, I was sort of asleep, but I still ended up in hell afterward.”

What exactly does one say after that? Clearly a demon must have done something to earn the position at least that's what the literature would have one believe. Does the crime justify the punishment? Jonathan doesn't know. Society would say any sort of murder is wrong, but when killers are killed it doesn't bother anyone. Jonathan didn't know who Sock's parents were, what sort of people they were, if they deserved it or not. Logic would say they didn't, but really who is he to know?

That doesn't justify what Sock did, but then again that's why he's a demon in the end isn't it? He said it was an accident.

“I don't really mind how things turned out” Sock says. “My boss is cool, he gave me this job and it's kind of more fun than being alive ever was.”

Should Jonathan be feeling something in response to this? He isn't sure. He feels disconnected somehow. In this place, this isolated bubble of light, he feels disconnected from a lot of things. “Do you feel bad about it?” Jonathan asks, unsure what else he could say.

“I guess?” Sock replies, sounding as unsure as Jonathan feels. “I mean I liked my parents. It's... complicated.”

For a long time Jonathan says nothing. When he finally responds, all he can think to say is; “Fair enough.”

Neither of them speak of it again after that.

-

Sock isn't one to enjoy the company of humans.

Sure his job requires that he interacts with them every once in a while, but he's always sort of liked humans more after they were dead than he ever did while they were alive. This might be why he makes a better demon than a human.

This feeling doesn't change after meeting Jonathan, but maybe Sock thinks he would like Jonathan more if he were dead because then they could talk more often.

What's going to happen when the deal is made? Jonathan will go back to his human life and Sock will go back to hell, waiting for another human to spring the trap. There's no guarantee that the two of them will ever seen each other again, even after Jonathan dies and ends up in hell.

It's more fun to think of this moment now stretching into forever, then some future where they by chance see each other again.

Maybe Sock isn't making any sense.

Here in the wake of certain fragile confessions, Sock is starting to get a feeling he knows what it is Jonathan wants most, and he can't decide if it's a good thing or not.

It seems sort of silly now. What else could someone that was completely unconcerned by the idea of being stuck at a crossroads forever want? It would seem that Jonathan buried his most basic desire underneath layers of apathy and sarcasm, but in rare moments like this, something seeps through.

It’s been a long time since Sock has had a real friend, he doesn’t know if he’ll make a good one, but for now, he’s all Jonathan is going to get in exchange for that soul of his.

“Hey Jonathan?” Sock questions aloud, looking anywhere but at his companion.

“Yeah?”

Sock hesitates for a moment but really what else can he do. “I think I know what your deepest darkest desire is.”

Jonathan stays silent for a while after that. Sock wishes his talent for sniffing out desires included the ability to read thoughts. He'd give something a lot more valuable than a soul to know what Jonathan is thinking right then. “What is it?” Jonathan asks.

“You don't know?” Sock questions back.

For a long time Jonathan doesn't respond. Sock briefly worries that maybe Jonathan didn't hear him. “Maybe I don't. Maybe that's my problem.”

Sock looks up at Jonathan for the first time since he made his confession. He's going to miss him after this is over. “Hey Jonathan?”

When the apathetic teen looks up, Sock smiles innocently at him before he darts forward and presses his lips inelegantly to Jonathan's for about a half a second. It doesn't feel like much of anything, but a deal can be sealed with a kiss just as easily as a handshake. “See you around hot stuff.” Sock says.

He's never been good at goodbyes.

Sometime between one blink and the next, Sock has vanished and in his place Jonathan is staring at his own front door. He startles badly at the sudden change in scenery, nearly slipping backward onto the concrete. Glancing around Jonathan sees no sign of crossroads, lampposts, or dark intersections. He sees no sign of Sock, and judging by the shadows on the ground not much time has passed between when he first stumbled upon the demons crossroads and now.

It doesn't make a lot of sense, he and Sock talked for hours, but nothing about the entire situation makes much sense anyway. It could have been a dream, or some elaborate fantasy, but something is telling him it wasn’t.

It takes Jonathan a second to reorient himself.

He doesn't feel any different.

Certain that he'll be seeing the demon again, for reasons no more concrete than a gut feeling, Jonathan unlocks his front door and steps inside.