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She always liked being exposed that’s why she showered with the door open. Knowing that she is exposed to the public always gives her a thrill it always makes her exploits seem more exciting. Warmth begins to spread through her one that has nothing to do with the hot water, her mind trails back to the previous night. She feels his hand wrap around her neck and his breath hot and tantalizing on her ear. She remembers how his grip tightened and his free hand slipped the extendable shower head from her.
Didn’t he? Wait no; there was no shower the previous night! Her eyes snap open but it’s too late to struggle, the shower head has already been forced into her mouth, her long hair falls in front of her face keeping her from seeing anything besides steam and a shadowy figure, the water fills her up. It fills her lungs, travels up her throat and spills down her face and neck. Her fingers stop clawing at the hand around her throat and her body goes limp, the showerhead is held by this detached hand for a few more minutes.
The hands retract and the body falls to the floor, the water never stops running…
On the news that night the public learns that a young woman in her mid twenties committed suicide early that morning by drowning herself in the shower. The woman is identified as a Bridget Bercowsky, foul play is not suspected.
The wake takes place, the grieving family and friend’s gather to say goodbye, none can think of any reason for Bridget to commit suicide, as they gaze down on her there is a sense of detachment they feel as if they didn’t know her at all. Her funeral takes place beneath a large oak tree atop a hill. A light hazy rain is falling and the whipping wind only helps to reduce visibility.
The casket is being lowered and everyone bows their head and closes their eyes in respect, no one sees the gloved hands drift up out of the misty haze and wrap around the mouth and torso of Bridget’s best friend Maria. The hands are strong and solid, they pull Maria into the hazy mist, her kicks and muffled shouts are drowned out beneath the howling wind, the pastor’s strong voice as he prays and the sobs of the mourners. The funeral ends and when Maria’s boyfriend Jack notices she isn’t with him he assumes she returned to the car.
He has yet to learn how right he is…
Jack reaches the car and a quick glance into the back seat tells him that Maria is taking a nap, she has her back to him and he hasn’t the heart to disturb her. It isn’t until he is halfway home that he notices a foul stench, the lane next to him is closed off for construction and there are sewage pipes visible. When he arrives home he turns to the back seat and shakes her gently on the shoulder while telling her to wake up. She doesn’t respond, his shakes become rougher and his tone more forceful. Beginning to worry that the shock of the death might have put her into a deep sleep or coma he climbs out of the car pulls open the back door and reaches in to pull her out.
Slipping his hands beneath her arms he begins to pull, turning her onto her back as he does so. Her head reaches the edge of the seat and hangs off exposing her neck and face. Jack releases her and screams Maria’s eyes wide open and lifeless stare up at him, the thin scarf she had been wearing around her neck a tightened knot visibly choking her. He pulls the scarf off of her neck and checks for a pulse, in his wild stupor he does what little CPR he knows. Bending down to breath air into her the foul stench hits him again, the final conformation that she is dead.
On the news that night the public learns of a second suicide, this one a woman in her mid twenties known as Maria Gonzalez. She is said to have been Bridget’s best friend since elementary school and once again police do not suspect foul play. There is no wake for Maria only a funeral atop the hill and next to Bridget’s grave. Despite his grieving Jack notices a man he had never seen before standing amongst them. Enraged that a stranger would intrude he confronts the man, “who are you?”
“I knew Maria back in high school and I’ve come to pay my last respects.”
Nearby mourners notice and watch, Maria’s parents stand next to the casket angered beyond belief that someone could be so rude during their daughter’s funeral. “What’s your name?” Jack asks the man.
“Thead pronounced Ted,” the man say’s his voice low and respectful.
“I knew everyone Maria knew and she never knew a Thead.” Jack says grabbing Thead by the vest.
Thead looks down at the offending hands with mild interest, agitation spread through the group; Jack tightens his grip and pulls forcing Thead to follow him down the hill. Thead takes a single step then stops; Jack grows even angrier and pulls hard. Thead pries Jack’s fingers off one by one the look of mild interest never leaving his face. Smoothing out his suit he begins to turn but is stopped by Jack who shoves him onto the ground. Jack advances on him but stops when the shrill scream of Maria’s mother pierces the heavy air.
“How dare you ruin my daughter’s funeral,” the mother says, Jack’s smug smirk dies on his lips when he realizes she is talking to him. “How dare you start something like this at my daughter’s funeral? She should be putting me into the ground not the other way around,” she slaps Jack hard enough to make him stumble. The grief overwhelms her and she sinks to the soft grass wailing in despair, pulling at her hair and screaming up at the heavens. Her husband and close relatives rush to her collapsing on the ground around her they embrace all connected with each other through a new bond one formed by the utter despair of losing a loved one.

Jack approaches them, Maria’s father climbs to his feet and steps in front of the group. His eyes are clouded over in sorrow and despair, his clenched fist shake with rage but he speaks one word with a calm finality to it that leaves no room for speculation. “Leave.”
In Jack’s eyes we see his world what little remains of it destroyed, swallowed up into the darkest abyss. His eyes go dead empty of everything filled with nothing, they remain like this for a moment and when life returns to them there is an oddity to it. The life in his eyes now is different then the life they used to hold, even in his enraged grieving state the father is unable to suppress a shudder when he looks into these new eyes. A little ways off Thead sees the transformation too. But it is not fear that we see on his face it is contentment and pride, the kind that comes when you complete a project look down on it and know you’ve done better then you could have hopped.
Thead as he is now known dust himself off and disappears down the hill, Jack sees this and leaves as well, the family returns to their mourning. Jack reaches the bottom of the hill and Thead steps out from behind a large tomb stone, his expression is solemn his hands clasped behind his back he wears a leather trench coat that skims the grass. “They hurt you didn’t they Jack,” he whispers into Jack’s ear. They did. Jack thinks to himself, he makes no move to turn and face Thead or even acknowledge his presence. “You were trying to honor Maria to respect her and keep strangers way. Look how they repay you, they throw you away like a used up rag, you saw the look in their eyes, saw how happy Maria’s mother was when you left.
They never liked you Jack, they always hated you and they blame you for Maria’s murder. They think you did it, they think you took the scarf and tightened it around her neck, they think you stood there and watched with a smile while she struggled for breath, while the oxygen was forced out of her and her eyes glazed over.” Thead pauses there and inhales deeply, taking in not oxygen but Jack’s anger, Jack’s despair, Jack’s pain. He feeds off of it, it fills him up and makes him stronger, the coat grows darker and his skin paler, his eyes become a piercing green color boarding on yellow.
“The truth Jack, the truth is Bridget’s death wasn’t suicide, Maria’s mother did it, she became so jealous of their friendship and their closeness that she killed Bridget. It was all part of the plan, you see Jack, Maria’s parents hate you so much that they would do anything to get rid of you. Anything even if that meant committing murder. Maria’s mother Isabella she killed Bridget in the shower, she slipped the showerhead into her mouth and held it there until the water poured out of her.”
A vivid image filled Jack’s mind, it was Bridget held against the shower wall by Isabella, the shower head is jammed into her mouth down her throat. Red water pours out of her mouth, nose and ears Bridget struggles but Isabella’s grip is solid unyielding. Bridget collapses to the ground, dead and the image fades away. “You see Jack they killed Bridget and do you know who really killed Maria? Do you really think it was suicide?” No it wasn’t, Jack realizes. Thead inhales again taking in more of the emotions he needs to survive. Maria didn’t commit suicide, Miguel did it, Miguel her own father killed her, all to get rid of me. “That’s right Jack, Miguel did it, Miguel killed Maria and Isabella killed Bridget. Look Jack let me show you, let me show you the truth, let me show you what Maria never got to tell you, what she would have told you today on your anniversary.”
Once more an image forms within Jack’s mind, strong enough to convince him that he is actually there but powerless to stop the chain of events. He watches Maria turn and walk down this very hill, visibility is poor in the hazy misty rain and she walks with her hands spread out in front of her. She passes a tall tombstone and Miguel steps out form behind it; he moves up behind her and taps her on the shoulder. She moves to embrace him but his hand shoots out grabbing the scarf and wrapping it around her neck, he is wearing a cut off shirt and Jack can see his muscles straining as he chokes the life out of her. Miguel is smiling as he does this, smiling with the joy of a child getting his favorite toy on Christmas. Maria struggles the scarf tightens and she relaxes falling into her father who hefts her onto his shoulder and disappears into the mist.
“Now look at this Jack, look at this argument Maria had with her parents one week before Bridget was killed.”
Maria’s kitchen forms, there is an argument going on between her and her mother the argument is about Maria being pregnant, her mother wants her to have an abortion but she refuses, they continue to argue and it ends with Isabella slapping Maria hard enough to draw blood. “You see Jack, they didn’t just kill Maria they killed your unborn child as well. Are you going to let this go Jack? Aren’t you going to stop them?” I have to go to the police. “No Jack the police say its suicide, the bodies are buried and Maria’s parent’s will never agree to have it exhumed. There is nothing the police can do, you have to do something. She was your lover and it was your child, are you going to let them get away with this?”
No I can’t, I have to stop them. “An eye for an eye Jack.” A life for a life. “Wait for them at their house Jack, wait until night and then strike.” Thead inhales for one last time deeper than before, his chest expands as he feeds off of Jack, it expands and he grows stronger. Jack hurries off to his car, Thead sighs content his eyes now a piercing yellow glow filling with an unholy light. He smiles revealing fangs and vanishes, a faint gray mist and the heavy weight of death marks his passing.
It is night and Miguel has gone to bed, his wife Isabella has gone to take a shower and the enraged Jack sits cramped in the bathroom closet. Thead is next to him, piercing yellow eyes aglow he pushes the closet door open and Jack eases out. “How will you do it Jack? Will you make her drown to death just like she did Bridget?” No she doesn’t deserve a death that kind; I’ll beat her down with my bare hands. “Go Jack, go and do it, Miguel won’t hear you, I promise you he won’t, no one will. The sounds won’t travel.”
Jack slides open the shower door, Isabella’s back is to him and she is washing her hair. He steps into the shower pulls her around by the shoulder and buries his fist into her stomach. Before she can even collapse from the pain Jack grabs her by the hair and throws her out of the shower and into the wall. He leaps onto her raining punches down onto her face, she struggles and kicks but he doesn’t stop. Using his knees he pins her hand’s down, grabs her head between his hands and slams it repeatedly into the tile floor. Echoing crack after echoing crack blood drenches his hand and splatters across his face, Thead floats over the two breathing deeply his eyes wide and vivid he takes in the scene beneath him drinking it in he grows even stronger.
“It’s Miguel’s turn now Jack, you have your revenge on Isabella but what about the murderer of your girlfriend and child, are you going to let him live?” Jack pulls Isabella’s head back straining the neck he releases it and it snaps forward like a spring smashing into the cracked tile with one last sickening crunch. More blood splashes onto his face and clothing, jumping to his feet he grabs the large knife he left in the closet and rushes into the master bedroom where Miguel sleeps. “Miguel,” Jack shouts, “get up.”
The man is slow to awaken and before he can finish sitting up Jack leaps onto him burying the knife into his arm. Miguel screams out in pain, Jack withdraws the knife and stabs him twice in the stomach. Leaving the knife buried in his stomach he pulls Miguel out of bed and throws him into the closet. Grabbing the bedside lamp Jack slams it into Miguel’s head shattering it and leaving a deep cut across his face. Pulling the knife out with a twist Jack pins the half dead Miguel down and hacks away, Thead watches from where he sits on the edge of the bed relishing the gruesome murder. “A life for a life Jack,” he say’s to Jack who turns to face him. “Three lives have been taken by these people, you’ve taken back two what about the third?” Thead ask his eyes now more red then yellow.
My own…
“That’s right Jack, if you want justice to be served you’ll need to take a third life. But I will make a deal with you. Tell me my real name and I promise you’ll live on forever.”
Your real name? Your real name? Realization comes to Jack, his eyes shimmer with happiness and he falls to his knees smiling up at Thead. “Your real name is Death!” He shouts. Thead’s eyes have become red a vivid pulsing blood red, his fangs have grown longer and his face is no longer human but demonic. The gray mist seeps out from him, it curls around Jack who welcomes it, it slips into his mouth and eyes reaching for his heart. A wild terrified scream tears out of Jack when the gray mist touches his heart, his body convulses, blood and spit foam up from his mouth. His spine breaks with a sharp crack from the convulsions; the gray mist leaves his body and returns to Thead who seems to glow for a brief moment.
“Yes Jack you will live forever, inside of me, inside of Death!”





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