This prompt has a number of scenarios to take it. Who is the child? Who is the woman? Who is the man? What is the debt? What is the problem that will happen because of this 'debt'?
Great setup, @gaby-crb.
There's still time for anyone else to write their own ending!
Condensation clung to the window, occasionally releasing a surge that cleared a path making the outside world visible. The cold white light refracted in the tiny water droplets. It was pretty, Shannon thought, as her breath spread across the cold window.
She checked her phone, the bright screen dazzling her. Her eyes darted to the mirror. The baby didn’t stir, still sound asleep in his comfortable car seat. She checked the time, the numbers read 23:46. There was no message.
She slipped it back into her coat pocket, wrapping her fingers around each other in an attempt to bring them back to life.
The CD stopped playing, the story finished. She pressed replay. The kid would no doubt wake up if it went silent. The story started up from the beginning. It was one she had listened to herself as a child. The narrator had a soothing voice, Shannon felt calm despite her predicament.
She checked her phone again. Still no message. Her eyes darted back to the boy, his blond hair showing underneath his fluffy hat. His cheeks pink. His blue eyes hidden beneath heavy eyelids.
A gloved hand rapped against the window. Shannon jumped, she quickly rolled down the window.
A clean shaven man ducked his head down to look at her.
“You have the package?”
His eyes glanced around the car, resting a few moments on the sleeping boy before returning to her face.
She nodded, her heart hammering in her chest. This was the first time she had done something like this.
She removed the key from the ignition and opened her door, the man stepped out of the way.
She was not surprised to measure up as shorter than him. She fumbled with the key in her hand. She found it hard to swallow.
“How many times do I have to do this?”
Her voice shook. She wrapped her arms around herself, giving her hands something to grip onto.
“Until you’ve paid what you owe.”
His voice clawed at her insides. He stepped closer, a hungry look in his eye.
Shannon shivered. She was mentally kicking herself for getting into debt. But there was only one thing she could do now.
“Soul, please.” The man extended his gloved hand. Shannon nodded, whispering her polite request for him to wait just a moment.
Reaching over to the glove box on the passenger’s side of the car, she hit the radio.
When the narration from the CD abruptly ceased, the baby woke with a start.
The fusillade of baby cries filled the car. Shannon turned to soothe the child, only for it to shy away from her touch. The girl had a name, but Shannon didn’t know it. So just said kept repeating the words.
It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. Shhhhh. Shhhh.
“Soul,” the man repeated. “Perhaps you don’t fully understand the gravity of this situation, but we aren’t exactly on an extended timeline, here. This project has particularly high stakes. So I’ll ask a final time. Produce the packaged soul, or I’ll take yours instead.”
As the child thrust around it’s car seat, struggling to liberate itself from it’s unknown captor, it’s cries a frenzy in the echo chamber of the vehicle, Shannon opened the glove box.
She watched the glass vial, filled with the intoxicating luminescent shade of amber that was Henry Mcallister’s soul, fall out and shatter onto the passenger side floor mat. Sure, her hands moved to catch it. But maybe it was the booze in her system, or the fact she hadn’t slept in a number of days. But she was too slow. And as it shattered, so did her dreams.
Shannon’s debt was in that vial, and she’d done things, horrible things to get it.
The amber liquid dissolved into a gas and Henry’s soul dissipated into the air, leaving behind a fitting stench of sulfur.
She turned to the man, who shook his head in disgust.
“Humans,” he mumbled. “You truly are the clumsiest of God’s mistakes. I don’t know why we bother, if I’m to speak plainly.” He stared over at the crying child then back to Shannon.
“I’m sorry,” she said. “Please. Listen.”
“I’m done listening. You wanted money, you signed the contract. You agreed to the terms. One soul, doesn’t matter whose. That was the price. Failure to procure said soul within the designated timeline of six days, which, by the way, ends in…” The man checked a wrist watch. “About seven minutes. Failure to procure it means what, Shannon?”
“Forfeiture of my own soul.”
“Party B’s soul is forfeited for the duration of said contract. And how long is that contract, Shannon?”
“Six thousand human years.”
“This is written in plain English. Listen, I did you a favor. This is an underground operation. I’ve explained this. Out of God’s eyes. So, you’ll get the money, but the contract needs to be signed and completed so I can get the fuck off this rock. So hand me you soul.”
“Daaaaaadddddyyyyyy!” the child wept.
Shannon turned to it. It would be an orphan. Worse, it was a witness to what Shannon had done to her father, Henry.
“Any soul, yes?” Shannon asked.
The devil smiled. “That’s cold,” he said. “Even for me. But yes.”