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I watched him kill me. That was not the bad thing, the fact that he had killed me. What the bad thing was, I knew what was coming. For seven days and seven nights I watched that idiot poke his head into my door slowly as if he were some no good teenager looking to pull some prank. Do not think I did not notice, because I did. I knew exactly what he was doing the week before he killed me as well, when that ditz was being ever so kind to me. I knew that pathetic soul was going to kill me for my artifacts. I had collected many treasures over the years. They were my wealth and my most prized items. I vowed even before the wash out planned his attack to fight for my treasures, alive or dead. I was rich and I did not care. The low life could have taken my clothes and I would just laugh in his face. I didn't need anything else.
I never liked the man anyway. I only put up with him because I needed some way for me to keep my money with me and me only. I did not want to pay the rent all by myself, and the kid did not know any better. I kept him on even after his breakdown after his father died due to a mining accident because, in his weakened state, I could sap even more cash out of him. His father was skewered in the eye by a falling pole, and ever since then he was not right in the head. He was always a little odd anyway, wearing the same clothes for multiple days and even missing some article of clothing altogether. After his father died, he took a stark interest at my blue eye. He’d stare at it like it was blue gold. He’d always drill his gaze straight into my pupil as if he were looking inside of me for his father. What a wash out. He needed some adjustment anyway. I could not take his unemployment and his unwillingness to do anything around the house.
I thought about evicting him when he killed me. I suppose you can call it karma, but I do not give a hoot about what you think. The fact of the matter is it happened. It happened just as I was about to evict him.
I have to admit that the fellow was clever. He would check in my room every night for seven days to see if I was asleep. I was not of course, but I wanted to put him at ease. I had no idea of what he was going to do, however. I thought he was going to rob me of my treasures and make off with the riches. I did not think it odd that he kept looking at me for seven days running. He did not try to take any of my riches and that was fine by me. If he did, I would have the perfect excuse to kill him.
The eighth day was when he killed me. He actually took a step into my room, making a small sound with his lantern. I wanted to make this idiot well aware that I was awake. With a determined firm voice I rolled over and asked,
“Who’s there!” the silence was as loud as my granddaughter crying. Instead of leaving, he lunged at me and we struggled on the bed. His quick agility was stunning considering that the idiot was as thin as a pipe. He was not going to take my treasures and I was not going to let him get away without a fight. The odd thing was that looking at my fake blue eye infuriated him. With every glance at it, his strength increased. Soon I could not exert any force at all and he overpowered me. With the speed of a rabbit, he shoved me to the ground and forced my bed on top of me crushing me. All I could make as this was happening was a quick gasp. That looser was not going to get away with this however. I struggled underneath the weight of the bright mahogany wood until, suddenly, I did not feel the bed on top of me anymore.
The air around me seemed to swirl and collide with its own existence, making me confused on what temperature it actually was. I pondered in confusion. The fact that I was even outside was a mystery to me. Wasn't some young idiot trying to kill me so that way he can take my money making articles? I sprang up and ran down the oddly sunny street. The sun, however, seemed to change colors as each of my steps thumped on the pavement. I then suddenly stopped and gazed up at the multi colorful light shining a path before me. I then, also, suddenly looked down at my own feet. I was slim and thin. What was more shocking was I was able to run, and I hadn't done that in over 45 years. I looked at my hands to discover that they were not wrinkled or chapped with age. It didn't take a genius to know that I was young again, but not that young because I still had my blue eye. Wanting a way back to my house, I ran down this straight kaleidoscope of shifting beams of light until I arrived at a street corner with a small bench to my left. A big sign ahead and above my head read BUS STOP.
Intrigued, I stopped to look around. I looked at the bench where two black men were sitting. They were going to answer my questions. I was going to know where in the hell I was.
“Hey, you!” I called out. They looked at me perplexed, their night sky complexions a mixture of anger, and awe. One spoke with a slight lisp as he answered me without hiding how angry he was at me.
“What do you want? We were just about to have a decent conversation. What?” his friend patted him on the hand.
“It’s okay. Perhaps he's frightened.” The second, older looking man didn't speak with a lisp of any kind. He sounded like a radio DJ I might have heard a few years ago. His voice was deeper and somehow more commanding, even though they both looked the same. They both had smooth triangular shaped frames and faces sporting thick lips with ape-sized hands.
“Afraid? What a crock dear.” The lisping black man said
“Look,” I interrupted, “I'm not chatting. I want to get home. Some idiot is robbing me of my assets!”
“Poor dear.” Mr. Lisp said. His friend looked at me.
“Well there's a bus that will take you where you want to go. Sit down, shut the heck up, and wait on it.”
“You do NOT talk to ME like that!” I snarled, but the deep voiced man just laughed and turned away. I thumped down and looked over. I saw the black people holding hands and looking straight ahead looking for the bus. Their clasped clenches had light golden sparkly diamond rings resting glaringly on their ring fingers. I groaned and rolled my eye and waited on the bus. I was shocked when two buses pulled up silently to the multi colored curb. One as white as an albino and the other looked like your typical old yellow school bus. The engines both puttered to a halt and the two lovable sins glanced at me.
“We think you’re getting on the same one as we are.” Mr. Lisp said. I didn't pay any heed whatsoever. A man stepped out from the white bus that said BENEVOLENCE on the side and greeted me with a cheery smile. He gave the two gay couple a nasty glare.
“Well hello there sir! I see you’re the new passenger today. May I have your bus pass please? I have to check to see if you are eligible to ride with us.”
“I'm not giving you anything until you tell me what stop this is going to go to. Look, some no good idiot is trying to Rob me of my gems and I need to get back to my house! I live on Barnes street, so can you shut your trap long enough to tell me if I get on THIS bus, will it take me where I need to go?” the man stuttered for a bit before answering.
“I highly doubt that you’re on THIS bus but yes. Both of these will take you where you want to go.” Inside the bus, I could hear kids laughing and adults talking about the weather.
“Great.” I started to get on the BENEVOLENCE bus when the man gently grabbed my arm.
“I'm sorry sir. You can't ride with us.”
“Don’t make assumptions. You know what they say when people do.” I snapped.
“Let me see your ticket.” The driver said and I handed him my gold-plated slab I felt in my pocket. I didn't think I’d find one there. I just absently checked my pockets. Holding it out to him, I marveled at how shiny it was. He handed me a sleek blue boarding pass, and I looked on the pass to display my seat number. Huffing, I stomped to the yellow bus and looked on the side. Big bold letters spelled PURGATORY. The door opened and the sexiest woman I've ever seen greeted me as I stepped on the bus.
“Hello, and welcome to PURGATORY express. I'll be your driver today. Before we depart, I should let you know that I'm here to serve you. It's even a custom to allow my body for sin before we depart.” After telling me this, she ripped off her shirt somberly.
“Would you like to commit sin on me before we leave?” Did I ever, but I just wanted to get back to my house and get my riches back safely in my hands.
“Okay, suit yourself.” She said sadly. Once her gorgeous smooth silkily slim body was hidden again, I walked into the bus past many full seats. I passed by disabled people, children, men and women, and even some babies sitting in high chairs at the front of the bus. I made my way to the back of the bus where a woman sat alone. I sat next to her and sighed.
“Hi.” She said happily.
“I just want to go home. Is that too much to ask?”
“Oh my God.” The woman gushed. “You will be home soon.” As if on cue, two black people turned around in their seat ahead of me. Mr. Lisp and his boyfriend were grinning.
“See, we knew you were going to be the next cutie on this bus!” I lunged for his throat but the woman pulled me back.
“That’s not nice behavior.” She scolded as if I were her child.
“Look lady, I'm a grown man.”
“Oh sugar, I know that, but that wasn't nice.” She gave me a small smile that looked cute. I sat back, fumed, and thought about where I was. The first thought that sprang into my head was that I was dead. The second thought that came into my conscious thought was that I was on a bus. I flashed back to the gay couple on the bench, the white bus, and what this bus said on its side, the driver stripping, and suddenly I knew that I wasn't going home. I was on a bus going straight to Hell. With nothing else to do, I just sat back, enjoyed the ride, and chatted with the beautiful blonde country girl. Her name was Alexis.
“So what's your sin sugar?” she drawled. I couldn't help but gaze at her pink slightly bulgy face with bright eyes. Her features were enhanced by her aureate carpet of hair trailing down the sides of her head.
“Greed. I guess, but I don't care one bit.”
“I hear you doll.” She gushed. After talking with her a bit more, I realized that I had absolutely no idea why she was even on this bus. She was a devoted woman married to her husband for 10 years when she was killed by saving an animal in the street. She was a member of an animal rights group and she loved kissing butterflies.
“So why are you even on THIS bus?” I asked her completely clueless. “Shouldn’t you be on the other one?”
“Well diddly, I don't know.” Now the bus lurched and rocked. Alexis grabbed my arm tight as a vice and cried,
“God! What was that about? J**** C***** that scared the jeepers out of me. Holy Lord!” the bus then lurched to a stop, and the driver turned to all of us as we stood up.
“Thank you for riding the PURGATORY express. People, sinners of all ages, make sure all belongings are in your possession, we have thieves on this trip today…” she stripped again before continuing.
“I sure do hope that you all enjoy your stay in Hell…”
“Oh my God” Alexis mumbled beside me.
“…and I'm available for quick sin before people leave the bus. Again, please make sure all belongings are with you. If you wish to commit sin on me, there will be an age limit and a time limit. You get 12 minutes of sin time with me here in the…” I walked past her and down the steps as she was finishing that sentence, so I didn't quite hear the rest of what kind of sins she would be willing to experience. What landscape I stepped onto, again, shocked me. I thought I was going to have a heart attack and die. We were stepping off a bus to what looked like your generic hotel. The sign in the front read PURGATORY INN: where pleasure is in the faintest of tremors
“God almighty!” Alexis said as we stepped into the elegant looking entrance hall adorned with pictures of fire, and men facing some sort of an illness. One picture, set in a golden frame, had a pale looking man stretched out on a bed. He looked like he was sleeping, except his face wasn't peaceful, it was strained, as if he were having an intense pain course through him. I focused more on my immediate surroundings as I walked. As the white walls surrounded me, the bright hoary polished wood met my feet. We all stepped into an extremely elegant entrance lobby, with bright red countertops adorning the far space of the expansive lobby. Black leather chairs were placed along both sides of a carpeted walkway leading to the counters. The way was lit by a ceiling that was plastered with golden patches of balls that streamed light straight down on the walkway, making it look like florescence lighting you'd see at a school.
“Jesus…” Alexis stared in utter awe. I have to admit, it captured my attention as well. I've owned many property and I've seen many houses and places, but this was a magnitude compared to what I had seen when I was alive. The gay couple went to the counter before Alexis and I did, and the woman behind the counter, with a black eye and a knife jabbed in the side of her face, issued them a bright red key.
“Your room will be on floor 18, in room 22.” She told the gay couple. They both looked at each other happily, as they walked away. When it came time for me to walk up there, Alexis was shaking with the fright of seeing a knife buried into her cheek.
“Ah. You. You’re the murdered rich person huh? Jason isn't it?” at that moment the phone rang and she answered it, saying yes, and he's here, and okay. After she hung up, she looked towards me with pure shock.
“The manager wishes to see you. He will be down here shortly. He never wishes to see anybody, so I'm wondering what he wants with you.”
“Good God! I hope your little darlin’ self will be okay!” Alexis squeaked.
A few minutes later, I was standing face to face with The Devil himself. The manager of the hotel arrived just a few seconds after the knife woman called him on the phone. The floor heated up as the lights dimmed. Soon, a man that looked like Harrison Ford stepped into view behind the knife woman. The knife woman looked back, and slowly moved out of the way so that he could have a clear view of me.
“Jason.” He uttered simply, making my whole body feel like I had a fever just by looking into his deep red eyes. His smile was pleasant enough.
“What do you want with me?” I snapped. I did not have time for these idiot games. Even though I knew that I was dead now, I wanted to find some way to go home and protect my treasures.
“That’s rude.” The Devil said sounding as if he were hurt.
“You weren't real nice yourself buddy.” I snapped.
“See,” The Devil hissed. “I knew that this would be an interesting conversation. I do have to say first though, that you’re quite handsome.” He laughed and as soon as he did so, people had melancholy faces and the lights kept changing levels of dimness. The ground quickly shifted temperatures. I stood my ground and looked him directly in his red eyes. He stared at my blue eye.
“Hmm, quite interesting. Do you really believe he's going to take your precious possessions?”
“Cut the witticisms. I want to get something from you, and you’re going to give it to me.”
“Oh? I am. You know the stories about me, that I can't keep deals right? You listen, and listen without any sort of cotton in your ears. I will make you a deal. I want to.”
“This deal better have positive consequences for me.”
“Oh it will, depending on your idea of positive. I am a man of my word. Listen, I don't have much time. Someone has already called the police about hearing you scream in the night, so they will be there any minute.”
“God, then have him arrested! Have that no good t*** arrested for his sin!”
“Why should I?” The Devil says with a smile that showed no teeth. “YOU were NEVER arrested for your sins, weren't you? Oh, man. That’s just not… cool.” At this, he snapped his fingers making me have small pains in my brain and stomach. He smiled at me, and stepped closer to me, his eyes flaming even brighter than before. He leered at me making me feel like a rodent trapped in the jaws of a vicious cat.
“You really are quite handsome you know…”
“You don't have much time, remember?” I sneered.
“Okay. Fine. I'll tell you… or at least, I want to tell you why he actually killed you. In exchange for this information however, I want to get something from you in return. If you do what I ask, you will both learn why he chose to kill you, and you will get to choose how to punish him.” He looked up and smiled at the flickering Demetrious lights overhead. The ground underneath my feet became even hotter. Now it felt as if I was standing on extremely hot asphalt.
“And what if I refuse?” he laughed and people clutched various parts of their body in pain. Alexis, beside me, was crying so hard her face looked like water itself.
“Don’t play with me. You won’t refuse. I know you won’t. You were always getting one up on someone, so this, about you refusing, is plain stupid. It's not true. Therefore, anyway, as I said, you will know why in fact he killed you and you will have first pick at how to repay him. I swear I won’t intervene at all! You will have my control over him and the world for just a few minutes. Now, we must hurry. The cops are at the house.” As if on cue, I could hear him welcoming the police officers into my home, taking them on an elaborate tour through the house, and showing them my prize artifacts that I had collected
“There have been reports of screaming coming from this house. Neighbors have been calling in complaining.”
“Oh. Well that was me screaming into the night… not anyone else but me…”
“You’d better listen to me, even though you don't know what you'll have to live with afterwards. I bet you don't care though.” The Devil chuckled. His fiery eyes danced with pure malice, but his mouth and voice presented nothing but kindness to me.
“Yeah, so what? I don't care what the consequences will be.”
“I knew you wouldn't. Now… here's the reason why he killed you.” With one swift hot hand, he plucked out my eye and sat it in my hand where he left tiny burn marks on my palm. I didn't feel them however. I stared down at my blue eye in my burnt palm.
“You mean that idiot killed me over my eye?”
“Exactly!” The Devil hissed making the air fill with soft screams inside of my head. I looked around at the others to see if they were affected by the voices. All of us were, but I was the least affected. Alexis and pretty much the rest of them were writhing on the ground crying and screaming. The voices went away long enough for him to speak.
“You see my dear cutie. He couldn't handle his father’s death, so what way to take revenge than on someone who looked just like his father…” he looked down at my eye.
“Including my missing eye?”
“Yup. THAT'S why he killed you, because you remind him so much of his daddy.” his hair began to catch fire as he became more animated.
“I bet you want to get revenge, no? I bet you do. You always did after all hate him.” The Devil was right. I did want to get back at him. With a curious nod, I sneered.
“Let me at him!”
“Ah, but wait a minute…. Now it's time for you to do something for me. You have to kiss me.” The place suddenly went pitch black and the only thing I could see was a floating orange face with black pits for eyes. The face smiled.
“Do it. Kiss me, and I'll let you have your revenge!” I started to shake, and I felt like something was ripping my insides slowly. I looked at The Devil with small tears in my eyes.
“I don’t want to be tortured.”
“You won’t. It’s just a kiss, what harm is that? You will have consequences afterwards but you won’t be tortured, at least, what you think of torture anyway. You'll get what you want to get. Trust me.” I sighed, and slowly approached the floating flame. The lights dimmed back on and people were on the ground not even moving at this point. Alexis was the only one still conscious, and she lay feebly on the ground with her clasped hands. She was crying for God, but this time it wasn't in vain. The Devil slowly approached me and we locked lips. Ice shot through me, and suddenly people were begging me not to “do it” and “take my money: as the kiss continued, I saw everyone in this room walking around with their heads chopped off, and then images flickered as if I were watching a montage. Images from the holocaust, World War 1, babies dying in hospitals, and the past sins of everyone within this room. My body was ice cold, and fiery hands cupped my face as the air around us screamed forever tortured by this one man. The flame inside of my sanity was slowly fading and I often heard my own laughter when I was a child inside of my head. At first, the laughter would start at a slower speed than normal and then quicken into a chipmunk’s cackle. When this happened, the volume increased in the laughter, and before I knew it, he was kissing me as I lay beside Alexis. He slowly pulled away after a while, and smiled down at me.
“I was right… you’re a good kisser AND you’re cute.”
“I want my revenge!” I cried tears streaming down my face like a waterfall. The Devil knew that now he could just let me suffer as much as these other people could, but for some reason he kept some kind of shield around me. Perhaps he’d let it down once this was all over. I didn't care by this point. It wasn't as if I was going to die.
“Fine.” He said slowly and snapped his fingers. As soon as he did, I could hear and control my killer’s thoughts, as well as the cops.
“We just want to make sure that everything is okay…” one cop was saying.
“Okay,” my killer says, “Let’s sit down and have a chat, shall we?”
“We’d like that.” I also had the ability to float after them while all the while controlling my killer’s senses. After they sat down in my bedroom, I began to devise a plan. I wanted to drive him insane, but how could I do it? I pondered as the men sat in my living room. I really wanted to make him pay for what he did to me. He had no just cause to kill me, so now this idiot was going to pay. Even though I wanted to make him pay, my heart didn't quite want to do this… even though The Devil, I was sure, wanted me to get revenge, a part of me didn't even want to see the idiot again.
“Why not just leave him alone.” My brain said in a low voice. I shook my head and concentrated on the seated men. I was going to have my revenge, even if he didn't want to have my riches. I soon battled with myself on what to do. After deliberation, I decided that I was going to make him hear a sound. I was going to pay him back for what he did to me, even if he didn't want to have my treasures. I’d make him pay, and I’d do it so subtly the cops wouldn't even notice a thing. As they chatted gaily about general happenings, I made my move. Drifting towards him, I placed my hand on the top of his head. The devil had said I would be in control of his sense and my surroundings so I wanted to test out that juncture. I thought of a low heartbeat. I thought of it so vividly that I soon actually began to hear the steady thump in my mind. I then made the sound reverberating in my ears slither down my arm, through my hand and into his synapses. His face grew quite pale, and he soon fidgeted. I knew he heard it. His pale face was a testament to his newly developed detection. I writhed with pleasure and I soon began to make the sound louder within my own head.
Once the sound reached a volume to my satisfaction, I shared this beautiful heartbeat with my killer. I could tell my transmission was working. He sat ridged; beads of small trickles of sweat flew down his now waxy cheeks and past his rapid moving lips. His voice grew shrill and he talked as if he were on his last final stand on stage. The words ricocheted off the air around us. I smiled, enjoying hearing his bell sounding shrills. He then suddenly stood up, paced the floor, and swore. He heard the noise, and I saw his pain. I guffawed to myself, enjoying the sight of the fool swinging the chair around and swearing as the cops smiled pleasantly at my rag doll. He then suddenly shot a glare towards the officers, his left eye focused on them while his right eye rolled thunderously in its socket. I thought it was quite fitting for him. I watched, with ecstasy, as his face became my trophy of torture. With a booming shriek and a thunderous agonized cry, he tore up the boards’ benief him. The cops gaped as he cackled, his eyes rolled far back in his head. I smiled as he uttered his confession.
"Villains! Dissemble no more! I admit the deed! --tear up the planks! Here, here! --It is the beating of his hideous heart!" as my laughter rang in the night air, this world was fading quickly. I was on my way back to Hell.
Once I was back in the hotel, The Devil smiled down at me.
“Did you do it?” Alexis crawled over to me.
Oh God, please tell me you didn't do it. Tell me you didn't do it!” she sobbed.
“Perfect!” The Devil screeched with obvious ecstasy. “Now you get to live with the consequence. You tortured him, so now you get to be tortured with a story…” he bent down and looked me directly into my eyes.
“I just love looking into your eyes. It's a shame what you’re going to have to hear in an hour.” With a pat on the head, he walked away. A few minutes after he left, we were all able to stand up and move around in a civilized manner. Alexis and I received our room keys and we departed. I bid her goodnight and we went into our rooms. I lay in bed thinking about what I had done. In the olden days, didn't the eye for an eye system always backfire on people? Didn't it always have negative consequences? Didn't it cause lasting after effects? I was sure it did, but I had played right into The Devils trap. I wondered what story I was going to hear.
An hour later, the story arrived. It wasn't a story that I expected. It was my killer talking to someone. I didn't know whom he was talking to, but I found the story quite interesting actually. After he finished the first telling, however, he told it repeatedly, the volume growing steadily with each retelling. As if to taunt me, I too heard the thunderous heartbeat he described. Eventually an eternity passed, and I still heard the story. One morning, as he began the story about a century later, I’d thought I’d tell it along with him. Standing in my bathroom looking in my mirror at my wrinkled and haggard face, prominent with my blue maniacal, I began the never-ending story with him, and I never stopped telling it to anyone. It made it an easy answer to tell people what my biggest sin was.
“TRUE! Nervous, very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why WILL you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses, not destroyed, and not dulled them…”