“The used car salesman seems a little fishy, and it takes some serious convincing on his part to get you to sign the contract. And once you do sign, he seems to have a smug look on his face – more so than usual. He says you should have read the fine print. When you look at it now, what does it say? Write this scene.”
-Writer’s Digest Creative Writing Prompt: The Contract
“The… fine print?” Lissa felt nauseous. She was late getting her license (what kind of girl waits until she’s twenty-five!?), late buying a car, and apparently late in learning whom to trust.
“Oh yes,” he said with a sleazy smile. “There is some extra fine print, just there.” He moved a bit closer and pointed with a stubby finger. He was a toad of a man, and smelled like… no; she didn’t want to analyze that particular combination of odors.
Instead, Lissa focused on the contract. He had pointed at what she had assumed was a little border at the bottom of the page. Upon further focusing, she realized it was awkward, tiny calligraphy. She read it aloud and felt the words pulse through her. Then she fell into the void- fell right down to hell- and was never seen again.
Lissa shook her head. Sometimes her wild imaginings took over; she wondered if this was how shell-shocked soldiers felt and if she needed to see a doctor. She re-examined the contract, squinting with her face close to the page. “I don’t see any fine print at all.”
“I know.” As the answer seeped its way slowly into her brain, she wondered when she had gotten so sleepy. She couldn’t resist when the man in the gas mask put a black bag over her head, or when she was dragged out and thrown into a van. She was never seen again… or, at least, what was left of her was never identifiable.
Lissa shook the distraction from her head and tried to focus on the fine print again. “What does this mean by ‘an offering’?”
“Well, you see…” He proceeded to explain, in detail, the ancient catacombs and caves that came to a nexus just below them, and the ancient dragon that resided there. “And, well, you’ve just signed a soul-bound contract- as though there’s any other kind of meaningful contract,” he scoffed. “That demands your secrecy and the offering of…” He smiled awkwardly. Lissa gave him a look. “Erm… one virgin per month, for the rest of your life.” Lissa laughed in his face. She laughed right up until she met the dragon, face to face. And her payment was never late, so long as she lived.
“Oh, stop that,” Lissa muttered to herself. Her imagination really was a terrible thing: scary and awesome and wholly distracting.
“Sorry, ma’am,” the salesman said, taking a step back.
“No, I… nevermind.” Lissa squinted at the contract. “What’s this fine print say, anyway?”
The salesman put on that smile again: the smile of someone forced to smile day in and day out with no respite from the jolly façade. “Well, ma’am, here at Sunshine Auto, every purchase includes the price of a smile!” He flashed her a thumbs up.
Lissa frowned, then summoned a forced smile. As she drove off the lot in her new used car, she muttered to herself: “I think I would have preferred a dragon.”