A. Lee Martinez-In The Company of Ogres
The homunculus droned on for hours. His squeaky voice grated on Ned’s ears and stood his hair on end. The demonic bookkeeper chanted his depraved dirge to the powers of infernal accounting, and an evil spell settled on Ned’s office. The scroll unfolded, filling the floor with line after line of cost cutting and expense trimming. The walls melted. Cruel imps cavorted in the shadows. The hourglass on the desk ran backward. And Ned could almost hear the distant howls of the damned.
The homunculus grew. The demon fed off Ned’s suffering and his agonizing boredom fed the homunculus well. By the end, he’d grown a foot taller, his skin had turned a brighter shade of red, and his tiny horns and curled into into impressive ornament. Ned hunched in his chair, drooling, with debits and credits poking at his brain with wee pitchforks