The third response in the One Lovely Blog Award Series is to Nathaniel Lee's drabble, "The Day the Ground Swallowed Love" on his blog: Mirror Shards.
Beng frowned and shook his head to shred the cloud sticking to his bony horns into small wisps. "I don't know what the big Guy sees in this property, it's worthless. I don't understand why I let him talk me into making love weighty. Wait, wasn't this all your plan?"
Stringer itched his sunburned arms creating a cloud of flaked skin. "You must admit it was a great plan. People fell through floors, buildings collapsed, the taxmen floated away into the sky, and the mass hysteria it created encouraged people to commit evil. We will earn an above average return on this crop of souls."
Beng's gaze smoldered with the ashy white of coals in daylight. "A temporary blip. Nothing more. Look at us, we're isolated up here. I'm so weightless that I can't descend down to the firmament where I can corrupt souls into my power. I never knew that he never messed with their lives because he couldn't."
"Boss, I'm sure you'll find a way. You are more powerful, aren't you?" asked Stringer.
"Don't you start with me." Beng wrapped his tapering scaled tail around Stringer to lift him over the edge of the cloud where he stared at the ground below. "I'll drop you, you'll fall all the way down to my old home and you'll live in the brimstone this time."
Stringer cocked his head before answering. "I don't think anyone loves me enough for that to work," said Stringer. "You know, I've got a perfect idea."
"I don't want to hear about any of your ideas." Beng pointed his finger at Stringer's brow intending to erupt boils from his skin, but instead a half dozen lilies sprang from Stringer's ears.
Stringer laughed. "Stop that, it tickles." Stringer yanked the bouquet from his ear as a bee buzzed his forehead. He tossed the flowers over the edge of the cloud. "Are you going to become like Him?"
Beng's lip trembled and black smoke puffed from his eardrums. "No."
"You're familiar with steam technology?"
"Of course. Do you think my head has been under a hundred tons of rock all these years?"
Stringer pushed a lock of hair behind his ear. "Boss, that might not be the best metaphor."
Beng placed one of his fingers on Stringer's shoulder, the talons of the nail scratching through Stringer's shirt. "Don't correct me. You were telling me about your plan, it better be good."
"What if we made a steamship --"
"Those only run on the seas," said Beng.
"Yes, but if we outfitted it with a dozen demons who are so hated they would lift the craft off the ground and into the air, we could power the ship across the skies, to descend upon the mortals."
"And get them to sign their lives away." Beng's eyes glowed as his fingers twitched the long black enameled talons clicking a two-step.
"No." Stringer shook his head. "We'll create an airline, DemonAir, to allow people to travel from one place to another faster than the fastest locomotive. We'll entice them with travel, and then we'll strand them in airports, devise the worst service imaginable, strip search them at checkpoints, and take their water away. Their tempers will fry and they'll sign their souls to us."
Beng's glee faded from his face. "Why would they want to fly? That sounds awful."
"Hmmm... you have a point. Perhaps, we'll have to use the succubi the old-fashioned way."