Sideways Hell

Cohost writing prompt: @Making-up-Monsters — Monster who made a deal with the devil. No, the other one

"I like your hair," Shauna says shyly, sipping lemonade at Eric's New Year party. She knows Eric from the mall — they have shitty jobs at adjacent shitty stores, see each other mostly at opening or closing time. He dizzyingly introduced a dozen or so people when she arrived, in too little time for her retain even one name, and vanished upstairs muttering about fire in the bathroom again.

Shauna's never been to the kind of New Year party where there's a fire in anyone's bathroom, but then again she doesn't usually end up sitting next to achingly cool girls she'd like to be brave enough to hit on, some day in the golden and implausible future. So.

The achingly cool girl tilts her head at Shauna. "Thanks," she says. "I made a deal with the devil for it."

"The — devil?" Shauna blinks and smiles, uncertainly. "He does hair?"

"Oh, you know," the girl says, in a totally matter-of-fact way. "The Other Devil. From Sideways Hell."

"From—" If there was the slightest indication this was a joke, Shauna would be laughing along, but there's not even the kind of seriousness to it that flags as effortful, as keeping a straight face. It's just — matter-of-fact. Totally matter-of-fact. "Sideways Hell?"

There's a dawning kind of panic in the girl's eyes, that Shauna recognises all too well as oh no I fucked this social situation. "Eric!" she says sharply, lurching up a little in a way that does Things to her abs that make Shauna feel Extremely All Kinds Of Gay. "Eric you didn't warn me you said she's cool—"

"She is!" Eric protests from the doorway, juggling five drinks crammed between his hands, a slow dance between friction and gravity that gets more doomed with every slopped and lubricating rivulet.

"I just told her how I got my hair—"

"Oh," Eric says. "Oh, no, I meant she'd be cool with your gay shit, not like theologically, Pam, how many drinks have you had—"

The achingly cool girl makes a terrible mortified yelping sound, scrambles to her feet, and darts out of the room.

"Sideways Hell?" Shauna says, but she's already setting aside her lemonade and getting to her feet.

"Um, look," Eric says.

"No, never mind." Shauna points to the doorway. "I think my unattainable midnight smooches just fled, and if you don't mind I've got priorities here—"

"Go get 'er!" Eric says, nodding enthusiastically, the centremost drink in his grip starting to slip, unnoticed. "...Uh. Mind her fangs?"

"...I might have questions later...." Shauna decides uncertainly, but doesn't actually stop.