“Ah!” says Satan, noting my expression with great interest. “You are a curious creature, woman.”
“No disrespect intended, sir,” I say, “but don’t play with me. If you know my name—which I am sure you do—you would do well to use it when you talk to me.”
“Oh, I would,” he teases me, “if you were to offer me at least a token of gratitude, if you know what I mean.”
I do. And it’s not that I am not tempted... Satan is a handsome fellow, even with fine-haired goat beard on his chin, which is something I could persuade him to shave off, in time...
“Here we are,” he presses on. “All alone, apparently, in a deserted library... Now, how badly do you want your name back, woman?”
In place of an answer, I gulp.
And he says, “I am given to caprice, you know. So I may, perhaps, be persuaded to give your name back to you...”
His words go roundabout, but his gaze is quite direct. Which leaves me dumbfounded; but only for a second. After all, even as a corpse I cannot risk a scandal—and in my own village, or the copy of it, of all places! The place seems vacant at the moment—but then, who knows?
They say, walls have ears... And gossip, my God, it would be devastating. For sure, it would kill my husband. His heart has been so weak lately. Betrayal—even a whisper of it—would crush him. It would add to the weight of his mounting woes. I still care for Job, even if I am here, trapped in this hellish replica of my birthplace, and he—somewhere up there, in the real thing.
In the silence that has fallen upon the room Satan leafs casually through the pages of the book. Then he raises the magnifying glass to his eye, and glares at me.
“I see,” he says. “Didn’t think so. Just testing; forget it.”
“You are not all that sexy, anyway.”
“And you, sir, are not such a hotshot.”