The Green Door

Feb 3, 2024 | Stories

Beware of demons asking for favors.

CW: Language, Adult situations

“Good day, Mr. Donnington.”

“It certainly was, Charles.” Ryan said as he breezed by the doorman on the way to the elevators. Usually he just ignored the man’s salutations, but he was feeling good today.

He’d always known that if he put in the work good things would come, and today it happened. He’d made Partner. Manny & Wright, would soon be Manny, Wright & Donnington. He deserved it.

He stepped onto the elevator, and pressed the button for his floor. His condo wasn’t on the penthouse floor—yet—but it was still very nice, with a beautiful river view.

He pulled out his phone and scrolled through the “Dates” group in his contacts. Somebody would be his lucky companion at a celebration dinner, the question was, who?

Janice was nice—ass to die for—but she tended to talk too much about herself. Debbie was a meek little mouse—huge tits—with little to say, who turned into a tigress in bed.

He stepped off the elevator and strolled down the hall. Now Veronica, she was a possibility, though last time he’d seen her they’d had a bit of a spat. The conversation had turned political. She’d remarked that huge corporations weren’t paying their fair share in taxes. He’d responded that they shouldn’t have to pay any taxes since they employ so many people. They’d gone round and round after that, and she’d grown increasingly colder, which meant no sex for him.

He could probably talk her around though. She had a banging body, and if he kept the conversation neutral—

He stopped short in front of his door. It was green. Grass green. Bright and shiny.

What the hell?

He hadn’t requested the alteration and was hard-pressed to believe the condo board would change the decor without notice—especially to something this gaudy. Switching his attention back to his phone, he flipped through until he found the number to the front desk and pressed the button.

“Hello Mr. Donnington. What can I do for you, sir?” Charles said upon answering.

“You can tell me why the fuck my door is green.” Ryan snapped, good mood dissolved by the ugly thing that was now his door.

“Sir? I don’t—”

“Look, I don’t really give a shit. I want it back the way it was.”

“I’m looking now, sir. Maintenance has been all over the building today, but they’ve done nothing to your apartment.”

“Then why is my fucking door green? I want them up here to fix it, pronto.”

“Yes sir, of course Mr. Donnington. I’ll send them up first thing tomorrow.”

Ryan hung up, still seething.

At that moment his neighbor, Mrs. Finch, stepped out of the elevator laden with groceries.

“Good evening Ryan dear, did you forget your key?”

He glanced her way and then back to the door. “No, no Mrs. Finch. Some asshole messed up my door.”

As she came to his side, she looked at his door and then handed him her packages, freeing her hands to search for her key.

“Did they break the lock? That’s a shame. This is supposed to be such a safe building.”

“No it’s—green.” Was her sight going? His green door stood out like a beacon of awful in the muted white and cream tones of the hallway. How could she not see that?

She looked at the door again, and then back to him, smiling. “Ryan, is this a prank for the Tiktok? My grandchildren are always showing me the silly things they do.” She found her key and unlocked her door. He followed her in and placed the bags on the kitchen counter.

“You sure you don’t see anything wrong?” He asked through a mouth suddenly gone dry. What was happening?

“Yes, I’m sure. Your door is as white as mine.” She said, putting down her purse and taking off her hat. For an elderly woman, she was always smartly dressed. “Did I do it right? Be sure to show me the video when you’re done.” She patted him on the arm. “I’ve got a Bolognese on, stay for dinner?”

Ordinarily he’d say yes—she made a mean sauce—but tonight he was supposed to go out and celebrate.

“I’m sorry, I can’t. Have a date.” He said. As he exited her condo, his gaze locked onto his implausibly colored door.

“OK, maybe next time then. Have a good night, dear. ”

“Thanks, Mrs. Finch. You too.” He said as her door closed behind him.

Was this a prank? Was she in on it? Was Charles?

He approached the door and put out a tentative hand. It was possible that one of his friends was behind this as a right of passage for his promotion. Well, possible but not really plausible. He didn’t run with pranksters.

As it was though, the door hadn’t been freshly painted. It wasn’t tacky to the touch, nor was there a telltale smell.

The elevator opened again and deposited a neighbor from two doors down—the Goddess Lucinda. He ran with beautiful women, but she was in another league entirely. From her thick, black hair, to her long, sleek legs, there was nothing about Lucinda that wasn’t stunning.

“Ryan! Hi!” She said, smiling as she approached.

The faint scent of her spicy perfume was still powerful enough to get lost in. He took a deep breath and smiled. “Hey Lucinda, how’s it going?”

“I told you before, call me Lucy. Only my mom and my boss call me Lucinda.”

“What can I say? I’m just a formal kinda guy.” He said, shrugging her admonition away.

There was a reason he’d never call her “Lucy”. It was the same reason he’d never ask her out, despite the mutual interest. He’d learned the hard way not to date his neighbors.

“Listen, does my door look any different to you?”

Setting her pert painted lips into a tantalizing bow, she looked at the door and then back at him. “No, why?”

“Just, um, wondering if maybe it needs a paint job?” He said, growing increasingly concerned. She either didn’t see it or was in on the elaborate prank. Neither option sat well.

“It looks fine to me.” She said, smiling.

He was momentarily trapped by that smile, until he remembered how much he liked his condo and how much he didn’t want to move again.

“OK, then. Thanks. Have a good night.” He turned away from her and pretended to fish in his pockets for his key.

“Yeah, you too.” She said, disappointment clear in her voice.

When her door closed Ryan was draped in unsettling silence. He was either hallucinating due to some psychological bullshit erupting from all the stress of getting the promotion—or the building was conspiring against him.

He decided it was the latter. When the culprits finally revealed themselves he’d make it his mission to destroy each and every one of them for fucking up his night and making him doubt his sanity. He’d get the police involved and have them charged with trespassing and defacing property. And then he’d sue them individually—even nice Mrs. Finch—for hefty punitive damages.

As he moved to insert his key he was overcome with the sudden urge to never open the door, to run and to keep on running. The air felt heavy and it was suddenly hard to breathe. His vision blurred. A crawling sensation settled at the back of his neck, as if he was being watched.

And then, just like that, it was all gone.

Ryan eyed the door one more time, angry at his reaction. They really got to him. Well, he’d make sure they regretted ever thinking he was an easy target.

He slammed the key home, opened the door and stepped inside. The door wasn’t green on the other side, something he would’ve noticed had he not been following his nose into the kitchen.

“What the fuck? Did Charles let you in? I take it you’re the one behind this stupid prank.”

Still holding his phone, he dialed 911. This was ending, now.

“911 what is your emergency?”

“I’m sorry, I thought there was a burglar, but I was mistaken. Just the maintenance people didn’t lock my door.”

Ryan watched with horror as he spoke the words. Words he did not control.

“Sir, this line is for emergencies only. We’ve logged your number in case of criminal—“

He’d been trying to interrupt the dispatcher, tell them he was in trouble, but no words came. His thumb then disconnected the call without his permission—cutting the dispatcher off mid sentence.

“Can’t have the police come and ruin things, can we?” The man said, grinning at him. “Oh, one more thing.”

Ryan watched in horror as he involuntarily flipped through his phone to the number of the front desk. As usual, Charles picked up on the first ring.

“Mr. Donnington, I’m really sorry about your door. I’ll have it fixed right away.”

“No Charles, that’s fine. That’s why I’m calling. Seems my eyes are playing tricks on me. The door’s fine. No need to worry. I just wanted to let you know.” His voice said smoothly, despite his rising panic.

“Are you sure? I can still have the maintenance guys come by first thing.”

“No, no. No need. Trick of the light, and maybe too many celebratory cocktails—if you know what I mean.” Ryan gave his schmooziest laugh when all he wanted to do was scream.

“If you’re sure, sir. Is there anything else I can do for you?”

“It’s all good Charles. Have a good night.”

“You too, sir.” The line disconnected.

“That takes care of that. Can’t draw any undue attention, can we?” The man winked at him.

Ryan never stopped trying to speak—well, to scream and to run—but he still couldn’t do either.

“Glad you didn’t eat with Mrs. Finch, by the way. You would have missed out on my famous Jambalaya. Sit down.”

Despite his intent, Ryan’s body moved to the table of its own accord and sat down. Once sitting, his body still wouldn’t obey him. All he could do was remain there and watch helplessly as the man puttered around his kitchen.

“Look, this is gonna be weird for you, it always is. So, why don’t you have a nice meal first, some wine. OK?” The man said as he dished up a generous helping and placed it on the table. He poured two glasses of wine and placed one by the bowl.

The tantalizing scent of the stew teased his nostrils, but the last thing Ryan wanted to do was eat. He wanted to lash out, but he was stuck. All he could do was sit there feeling his heart beat in frightening thumps behind his rib cage.

“You gonna be good if I let you go? Blink once for yes.”

Ryan’s eyelids fluttered in a flurry of rapid blinks.

“Calm down, man. Breathe. I’m not gonna hurt you.”

Funny how the one thing you can’t do when someone tells you to calm down is actually calm down. Ryan took one breath, another, and then one more. Although not calm exactly, he managed to blink once.

“Okay then, eat before it gets cold.”

As if a band had snapped, Ryan’s muscles released and he sagged in his chair. A flurry of questions begged to be asked, but he swallowed them all down for the two most pressing.

“Who are you? Why are you here?”

“You’re not gonna eat?” When Ryan shook his head the man grabbed the bowl and dug in. “You people never eat. I take the time to try and make things easier, but no one ever appreciates it.” He sighed and took a bite. “Whatever, I’m over it.” He slapped a hand on the table, ignoring Ryan’s flinch. “Name’s Cantor, and I’m here because you’re a perfect specimen. I need you to do me a favor.”

“Sure, I have money.” Ryan said, relieved at the possibility that getting out of this would only cost money he could easily earn to replace. “Name your price.”

The man chuckled around a mouthful. “It’s always money with you people.”

Ryan bristled. “If not money, what kind of favor could I possibly do for you?”

“A simple one.” Cantor said. He took a sip of wine and removed a towel covering a pan of cornbread. The sweet corn scent of the fresh bread blended with the spicy scent of the Jambalaya, making his condo smell homey and welcoming. Cantor dug up a square and then used it to sop up some sauce. “I want you to get my wife pregnant.”

Ryan laughed. Great belly-shaking guffaws. Given his terror at being commanded to say things he didn’t want to say, and move where he didn’t want to move, he’d thought this would go another way entirely. Relief had spun his emotional wheel and come up with hilarity.

“You want me to what?” He asked, when he could speak again.

“You heard right. I want you to get my wife pregnant.”

Ryan pointed over his shoulder. “There’s a whole city out there. Why me?”

The man leaned back, and took a sip of his wine.

“Because I chose you. As I said, you’re a perfect specimen.” There was something about the way he said specimen, that Ryan didn’t like.

“OK you asked. The answer’s no.”

“You haven’t heard me out.”

“I heard all I wanted to.”

“Look, you’re a stand-up guy and so I’m gonna be straight with you. I’m what you would call a demon. That little trick with the phone? Proof.”

When Cantor paused for effect, Ryan really wanted to argue—but what could he say? Cantor was right, he’d gotten his proof. Instead he nodded for the man—demon—to continue.

“Good. Now, I’m in a pickle. I need you because demons can only procreate a certain way. That way requires demon and human—interaction.”

“But if you can play me like a marionette, why ask? Can I really say no?

“The phone thing was a parlor trick—can’t use it for this. You have to be willingly cooperative. Believe me, coming to you is a pain in my ass too, but whatever.” He waved his irritation away. “Anyway, you can refuse. If you do, I’ll leave. Simple as that. But nobody has ever refused.”

There’s always a first, but Ryan figured that was best kept to himself. Now that he felt his life wasn’t in imminent danger, his hunger asserted itself. His gaze dropped to Cantor’s empty bowl.

“It’s still warm, let me get you some.” Cantor rose and dished him up a helping.

Eating Cantor’s food felt like giving in, and Ryan didn’t want to give in. But he was hungry.

When the bowl was placed in front of him he just stared at it. “You didn’t put anything weird in here, did you?” He asked, picking up a spoon and pushing aside a shrimp to peek under it.

“Don’t be stupid. It’s regular food. I’m just a demon who likes to cook. It’s fine.”

Ryan scooped up a small portion and tasted it. His eyes went wide as flavor burst on his tongue. The balance of spices was just right. He took a bigger spoonful, savoring it as he chewed.

“See? I know my way around a kitchen.”

“This is good.” Ryan said around another mouthful. He grabbed a piece of cornbread, “but I’m not selling my soul.”

He hadn’t believed in God or the Devil, but a demon had just made him dinner. He’d seen enough movies to know what came next. If demons existed, then Hell existed. He didn’t need their help to get what he wanted, and he sure as shit wasn’t going to swap out eternity for a penthouse apartment.

“Who said anything about selling souls? Let’s get a couple things straight. One. I don’t want your soul. Two. There’s no such thing as Hell, or Heaven for that matter. We good?”

“Maybe. But if there’s demons, there’s got to be angels. What color are their doors?”

Cantor smiled. “Purple. But I’ve never seen one myself. Now fae doors are black. That’s a mind fuck given how many doors are black. I’d love to see a sucker’s face when—“

“Why me?” Ryan asked. He was feeling better, on much more solid ground. He popped the last piece of cornbread in his mouth and pushed his bowl away. “Out of any other guy in the city, why me?”

“Don’t get cocky, you’re not the only one. Other demons have chosen other humans to help out in the same way. As for why you specifically, I been watching you for awhile. You corporate big wigs make good candidates. The cream always rises to the top.”

Ryan nodded, pleased at the compliment. “Doesn’t it bother you though? I’m assuming we’re not talking about going to a clinic or using turkey basters.”

“No we’re not, and why should it? My wife is hot. Pimping her out is a thrill we’re both into.”

Ryan couldn’t help smiling at that. He could see the appeal. But his smile disappeared with his next question. “And the kids?”

“About as bothered as you are about other men raising yours.”

Once again Ryan sat uneasily in his chair. That was a well kept secret. His name wasn’t on any birth certificates and there were no court records. He sent those women enough money that they shouldn’t ever be a problem. How much else did Cantor know?

“Don’t get me wrong,” Cantor continued, “walking away from those kids helped, but how you made partner really cinched the deal.”

How he made partner. That’s how much he knew. Not only knew, but approved. Of course he did.

Ryan watched as Cantor poured himself another glass of wine. Was he still so intent on declining? Admittedly he’d been thrown by the demon angle. But the rest of it felt absurdly normal. The request boiled down to a mildly kinky sex act—basically another Tuesday. And the kid, well what did he care if another demon was running around in the world?

At this point, refusing was more about retaliation for the intrusion, the disruption of his night, than anything else. He’d planned on a good meal and sex. He already got the meal. Wouldn’t sex with a demon be an interesting way to mark his promotion?

“You say she’s hot?”

Cantor’s lecherous grin affirmed she was.

“If I’m not selling or giving you my soul—what do I get out of it? Some disease?”

“If I didn’t expect it, I’d be offended.” Cantor said mildly, taking a sip from his glass. “You’re not giving up your soul in any way. Also, she’s clean, we don’t carry human disease. Satisfied?”

Ryan nodded, waiting.

Cantor leaned forward on his forearms. “As for what you get out of it, what do you want?”

All Ryan ever expected what was what he deserved. The work he was about to do, he assumed, was cosmically important. It was only fair he’d be compensated in-kind.

“I just had a huge promotion—”

“Yes, Partner. Congratulations.” Cantor lifted his glass in salute.

“Thanks.” Ryan lifted his in response. “Can’t get any farther unless—”

“Unless you leave and start your own firm.” Cantor laughed when Ryan made a face. “But why would you leave? You’ve put in your time. Put down roots, as it were. I suppose, if tragic circumstances removed your partners—”

“I’d have to keep the firm going all by my lonesome. In their memory, of course.”

“Of course.”

“We have a deal, then?”

“Within a year of impregnation, both partners will expire—natural causes. We have a deal.” Cantor stretched out his hand.

“What, no contracts in blood?” Ryan clasped it and shook.

“Archaic bullshit. I don’t like paperwork. The handshake is binding enough.”

Their hands grew warm, and momentarily stuck together. When Cantor released his, Ryan’s hand stung as if slapped.

There was a knock at the door. In an odd twist, butterflies began to dance in Ryan’s stomach when Cantor went to open it. There was no reason for him to be nervous. But it wasn’t really nerves, was it? This was a similar feeling to the one he’d had in the hall when he was about to open the door.

A sudden urge to call it all off swelled within him. But he clamped it down and kept his mouth shut. Yes, a demon had been in his kitchen. But he hadn’t been harmed. He’d been fed and propositioned. If this was how they reproduced, he was in for a night with a hot woman. He was getting back much more than he gave. There was nothing to be afraid of.

The woman that walked into his apartment couldn’t be real. She wasn’t just beautiful, she was exquisite. Lucinda might be a goddess, but this woman was ethereal. Short and perfectly proportioned. She had red hair, green eyes, big tits. There was a sweet, virginal air about her. She wore no makeup, any coloring on her skin was natural. He couldn’t wait to kiss her pink lips, to caress the light freckles on her nose…

How she ended up married to a pudgy nothing like Cantor was anyone’s guess. Maybe demons had different standards.

“Ryan, meet Maribel.”

“Ryan, I’m so glad you agreed.” Maribel said, in a soft, sweet voice, as she took his offered hand.

“OK, just so you know, it might take a few nights to take. Have fun kids!” Cantor said. “I’ll be in the living room. I’m assuming you have cable?”

 

A month passed, and Maribel still wasn’t pregnant.

She and Cantor arrived every night, seven days a week. Ryan was exhausted. He swore he couldn’t perform but somehow as soon as she walked through the door, he was raring to go. It was a miracle how, after performing all night, he could actually work during the day. But he’d accepted this deal, all he had to do was hang on for a few more days, and then he’d finally get a good nights rest.

 

Three months passed, and she still wasn’t pregnant.

Ryan pulled Cantor aside when they arrived. “Is there something wrong? Does she need to see a doctor for demons or something?”

Cantor laughed. “No, everything’s fine. Demon physiology is a little different than yours. Sometimes these things just take awhile.” He shrugged. “But at least you’re having fun, right?” He laughed, whacking Ryan’s arm hard enough to bruise.

He bruised so easily now, and he still wasn’t getting enough sleep. It was hard to call what he did sleep. He barely closed his eyes before dreams of falling woke him again and again. There was no rest there. A few more days. He hung on to it like a prayer.

Just a few more days and it’d all be over.

 

Five months passed, and she still wasn’t pregnant.

Ryan could no longer get out of bed. Cantor and Maribel had moved in. Cantor called his office pretending to be his doctor. Told them of a mysterious illness. That he needed to take a short leave of absence. Even somehow provided them with all the proper paperwork.

Ryan was unable to take care of himself—could barely walk, and needed help to go to the bathroom. Thinking clearly enough to form sentences was difficult. He lost so much weight, his body felt like one big bruise.

But still, every night like clockwork, he performed.

 

Six months passed, and she still wasn’t pregnant.

“Kill me…please.” Ryan whispered in one of his rare lucid moments.

“Nonsense!” Cantor replied. “She’s close, I know it. Besides, you’ve got a lot to live for!”

Having a lot to live for, didn’t mean he would live to see any of it.

 

Ryan died on the eve of the seventh month.

“Baby! It’s happening!” Cantor cried out to Maribel when Ryan took his last breath.

“Finally! I was beginning to worry.” She said, peeking around the door sill to Ryan’s bedroom. “I thought I had lost my touch.”

“Nah babe, he’s a good one, just like I told you.”

 

Twelve hours later, Ryan opened his eyes and stretched. Moving easily, he got out of bed, took a shower, dressed, and padded out into the kitchen where Cantor was cooking.

“You son of a bitch.”

“Ryan! I bet you’re hungry. How you feeling?”

“Fantastic. I should kill you.”

“Ha! You can certainly try. Come on sit down.”

They resumed their familiar positions around the table, steaming bowls of minestrone soup before them. Ryan broke off a hunk of rough bread and dipped it in his soup. He felt better than he had in a long, long time. All the baggage from his former life had fallen away, he felt light and at ease.

“I was damned the minute that door showed up.” He said, around a mouthful of soup and bread.

“Nah, you could’ve backed out at any time.”

“I begged you to kill me!”

“But you never begged us to stop. Why’s that I wonder?”

“Would you have stopped if I had?”

“Of course. Rule number one: everyone gets a chance at redemption.”

Ryan ducked his head and stirred his soup. Stopping had never occurred to him. He let the bitch transform him instead of just backing out. He was sure there was some physiological bullshit behind it, but at this point he no longer cared. Speaking of…

“Where’s that succubus wife of yours? If she really is your wife.”

“Why? She played her part. Aw, you got a crush?”

“Fuck you.”

Cantor laughed and choked on his soup. “I like you Ryan. You’re alright.” He said, when he was finished coughing.

“You lied.”

“About?”

“You said you wanted me to get her pregnant.”

“Oh that. A small misdirection. The essence of the request is the same.” Cantor shrugged.

The essence of the request. Small print bullshit is what that is.”

Cantor laughed.

“What if I was a woman? Or gay?”

Collecting himself, Cantor picked up the wine and poured them both a glass. “Doesn’t matter.”

“The hell it does!”

Cantor chuckled. “Are you mad, Ryan? Really?”

No. He wasn’t. He’d been relieved of the burden of being human, and that felt good. “No, I’m not mad, I just don’t like being a sucker.”

“Look, gender, sex, sexual orientation—none of that matters.” Cantor said, sipping his wine. “What matters is that—whoever you are, whatever you call yourself—when that door appears there’s a ninety-nine percent chance that you’ll accept our offer no matter how it’s presented.”

Ryan mulled over that for a minute. Destiny it seems, was a real thing.

“So, what do I do now?”

Cantor’s grin would have scared the man Ryan was, but now that he was a demon, he found it infectious.

“Well, as promised, the firm is yours. Other than that, what do you want to do?”

Ryan’s grin matched Cantor’s. He’d always known he was made for bigger and better things. Membership in one of the most exclusive and secretive clubs in the world—demon-kind—was proof.

“I want to burn it down. Burn it all down.” He laughed.

Cantor raised his glass. “Can I pick em, or can I pick em?”

© Susan-Alia Terry

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.