Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Australia or New Zealand (01/15/09)
TITLE: His Playground
By Rick Higginson
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The transferee brushed back greasy-looking hair and fidgeted nervously. “I was in the Porn Department. While there’s more porn than ever, the internet and technology has shifted a lot of production away from Tinseltown. With the growth down here, our superiors decided to start bolstering your ranks.”
Heaving a sulphurous sigh, he leaned back in his chair and gave her a leering appraisal. “So tell me, hot stuff, before I give you the orientation; what do you know about Australia?”
“It was settled as a giant prison, so it has not historically been one of our enemy’s strong positions,” she said, affecting a suggestive pose. “I hear we have a definite advantage here.”
The big demon stood up and glowered at her. “You can forget that line of thinking right now, toots,” he said, poking at her with a jagged claw. “We may have managed to import a lot of our kind of people to this place, but don’t even entertain the thought of overconfidence while you’re working on my beat.”
She shriveled back. “Yes, my lord.”
He grinned at her deference. “Let’s begin the orientation,” he said with a sneer, and the office vanished.
They stood in a wild area, surrounded by trees and all manners of wildlife. “What is this place, my lord?” she asked, leaning to remain hidden within his shadow.
“The pitiful ones call this land Australia, but do you know what our enemies call it?”
“No, master; what?”
“They call it - ‘His Playground’,” he said, nearly choking on the words.
“You mean Him? They call this His Playground?” She sidestepped farther into the shadow, and looked around with frightened eyes.
“Yeah, Him.” The big demon issued a stream of curses. “This is where He had – it galls me to say this – fun during creation. This is where He placed some of His most unusual and bizarre designs, and some of His most – beautiful.” He spat on the ground.
“But – does He still come here?”
The overseer grabbed her by the hair and yanked her around in front of him. “Open your eyes, trollop, and look around you. Do you think those beacons you see are made by the fleshy ones? They’re all His warriors, and despite all the evil we might smuggle in, they’re still guarding this place.”
“But I heard-”
He lifted and turned her, dangling her face close to his own. “You heard this was easy duty, toots? You heard this was like working in a great, big prison, with the evil of the mortals solidly on our side? You heard this was some back-water continent that escaped the attention of the enemy? You hear me, now. You had the easy duty back in Hollywood; our forces have a solid hold on that place, but now you’re on the front lines right in His Playground, and you’re going to have to fight for every advantage you manage to scrape up.”
“My lord, I-”
“Silence!” He held her higher and turned her to face a nearby hill where more beacons were now visible. “They know we’re here and they’re watching, so take a good look; it may be the last time you get to see them without battling them.”
The scene vanished and they were again in the dark office. He dropped her to the floor and kicked at her. “I’ll start you in the city with our vice section, and I’ll see if you can perform to my standards.”
Scrambling to her knees, she bowed with her face pressed against the rough floor. “Thank you, my lord; I will do all I can to please you.”
He leaned down over her. “Yes, you will, because there is only one place to go from here.” He cackled next to her ear, and then whispered. “You might just wish for the respite of hell after serving in His Playground.”
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