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Sin Keeper

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1,2,3,4…that was all he had to remember to do his job right. Nothing hard, not really. Even now, after years of experience, he still hummed it to himself while he worked. And since his job never ended, it became a permanent buzz in the back of his brain.

His job, the curse.

“1,2,3,4” He murmurs, stepping out onto the broken alleyways. It was raining, that was good. Rain kept the rest of the people away.

He moves on.

Above him, clouds thunder. He looks up and wonders, as he always does, what would happen if he didn’t exist. If his world didn’t exist. And then he laughs, like he always does. As if that could happen.

Then he smiles. Who said his type of people had humor?

But the smile goes quickly as the rain soaks through his cloak into his skin. Now he is shivering and he turns onto a street as it strikes. The pain.

He has experienced it many times before, but now he is getting old. The pain washes in like the opening of flood gates. Every thought, feeling, action and sense is overloaded and he crumples to the ground in a mess.

1,2,3,4…he opens his eyes and looks at his body. The pain is gone, leaving a sour aftertaste felt throughout his muscles. He gets up slowly, holding his head in his hands, groaning. In the distance, the clock strikes dimly. He was going to be late.

He is striding down the street, cutting through an alleyway. His shoes click on the pavement, repeating the same pattern. 1,2,3,4.

He turns onto the street. It is residential, houses lining it in perfect rows. All have light pouring out of the windows, creating puddles of yellow on the sodden cobblestones.

All except for one.

The last stragglers have made it inside the house. Its windows are dark, tiny candles line its window sills as a custom. The black and white chiffon scarf was wrapped around the door handle. He touched it lightly.

Hello there, old friend. We see each other much, don’t we? He stroked it lovingly. It was so much like him—a harbinger for death—that he felt a kinship with the cloth.

The open the door and enters.

Inside, the low murmurs of the people immediately quiet. They push against the edges of the hallways and their hearts quicken at the familiar sound of his footsteps. He brushes past them, audibly hearing the sharp intakes of breathes and the leering hiss of it being let out behind him. As was the custom, everyone was swathed in black from head to toe. Even a young girl, no more than 5, was donned in the black. She hid behind her mother’s legs, peering curiously at him. From the shadow of his hood, he returned it, his face softening at her green eyed wonder.

“Is that him?” He hears her voice ask, soft as bells, “Is that the sin keeper?”

Immediately she is shushed and others glare at the child. Her mother takes the girl in her arms and quiets her. He passes them and feels only her green eyes upon him.

Past the foyer, lined with more people, he reaches the bedroom. Like a pathway, the people all stand at the edge and he walks into the bedroom.

The entire room is in black. Only a tiny candle flickers by the bedside table.

Everyone turns, expectantly except for one.

He is strewn across the floor, his head resting on the bed. Every couple of seconds his body shakes in silent misery. He alone does not notice the man.

The man in the cloak stand behind him patiently until an older lady comes to his side and pulls him off. The man is dazed, and his eyes widen when he sees the man in the cloak.

“No!” He cries, startling the silence in the room. “You can’t have her! Go away! You are not needed!”

A couple men rush over and pull him back. The cloaked man steps in front of the bed, unperturbed. This happened a lot.

1,2,3,4…The woman lying on it was beautiful. Gold hair ran past her waist in large curls and she wore the only white in the room—a beautiful dress. In her ear lay a flower, long shriveled up. The man raises his hand.

“No!” He screeches behind him, but the other one doesn’t react.

1. Make contact with the subject.

He places his hand on her forehead, resting his fingers on the cool surface. The screeching behind him begins again and he hears the shuffle of feet as others pull him away.

2. Draw in spirit

The thin film that wrapped around her body, choking her neck, began to peel off. To the others nothing happened, but he could see the disgusting thing as it reacted to his touch, slithering off the body towards his outstretched hand.

3. Collect

The film began to condense, forming a sphere under his hand.

4. Store

The sphere grabbed on to his skin and disappeared within. He closed his eyes for impact.

The images were indistinct at first, simple blurs here and there. But they began to stabilize and the images came fast at him, hovering in his mind for only a second.

Dark, angry, hurt they overloaded him. He felt them all; the jealousy, the ego, the vanity. Her face, twisted in madness. He stumbles for a second. He can feel each emotion as it builds, and how it culminates.

1,2,3,4…and it was over. For now. He stares at the beautiful face with an angelic smile. It pained him that such a stunning woman could have so much lurking within her. But, he thinks as he turns to leave, he really shouldn’t be surprised.

Everyone has sins.

And it is his job, as sin keeper to carry them. It is his curse to relieve the dead of them. The final stage before they are released from this life. Their freedom for his imprisonment.

This was his world.

This was his job.

1,2,3,4...




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