Even good men
make deals with
he doctor re-enters the examination room. His head hangs low, as he has bad news to deliver to the young patient. News he can niether explain or rectify. What a twisted web we weave.
“Son, I have some shocking and baffling news for you,” his head sank down and he dropped to one knee. “You have Lou Gherigs disease. It’s an incurable neural degradation that will eventually paralyze you and then kill you. I’m terribly sorry.”
The boy took it well. His eyes focused on the floor, but he did not shed a tear. It was better than the good doctor had expected.
The doctor’s head lifted to speak again. “Son, I’m terribly sorry. I wish there was some other way this could be.”
Remorse turned to anger. “Cut to the chase will you?Tell me the rest of it.”
“So be it,” the doctor rose to his feet, “I’ve never heard of someone your age getting this disease. So, I can’t be certain how it will affect you. However, my best guess has you living 3-5 more years.It may be two before you are paralyzed. Until then, your motor functions will decline and you will be less and less the person you are.I wish you would accept my sympathy.”
“I don’t need your sympathy. The way I see it, three years to write what I have always wanted to, then I’m off this hell-hole called earth. It’s that simple.”
The doctor was taken back by the comment, “I pity you all the more now that I know you see things that way.”
He left the office. The doctor tried to ask him if he was ok to drive, but the question was ignored. As far as he was concerned, it was good news. However, the game was about to change completely.
He found himself listening to his music and paying homage to the pain he held so dear. He hadn’t told his parents the horrid truth, he didn’t have the guts to tell them. It was just that he couldn’t stomach the thought of hurting them. The news would devastate them, nothing more needed to be said. His favorite song came on and he closed his eyes to pay attention to the words. As the music blasted through his skull, rattling deep within the empty holes in his heart something was taking shape.
As the last notes were strummed and the music began to fade away he opened his eyes. To a large surprise. He saw a man standing there looking down on him as he was lying on his bed. He was tall, extremely thin he had short black hair and a pointy black goatee that accented his pale face with near perfect contrast. His outfit matches his hair, all black, featureless, and depressing.
His eyes got as wide as golf balls and his skin was just as white. He couldn’t believe it. In a hurried motion he shut off the music and rolled back over to look at the man again. He was just standing there, expressionless, motionless and staring. He wanted to scream, but couldn’t. Something seemed to be pushing the words back in him, terror.
He finally did manage to say something. “W-W-Who the hell are you? And what in God’s name are you doing here?”
The man did not move an inch. His gaze did not even lift.
The boy in his short life had never been truly scared before, but now, he was terrified.
The man finally spoke, “There is no God here.”
“What the hell do you want?”
The man finally moved. It was just a mere shift of stance, but it was a comfort nonetheless. “I’ll cut to the chase. I know of what has happened to you. I also know your reaction to it was less than ordinary. I’ve got an offer for you.”
“First tell me who the hell you are!”
“That’s not important right now. The deal is this I will rid you of your disease and guarantee you a long and prosperous life. In exchange, I want your service. I’ll call upon you when the time comes.”
“You can’t do all of that! It’s impossible!” he said. Something wasn’t right the seriousness of the situation was yet to hit him, “What service? How the hell can you promise that? Are you nuts?”
The man grew angry. “Take it or leave it, it’s a one time only deal.”
Listen, even if you could do all of that, I wouldn’t take you up on it. This is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I finally get to live my life, as I want to live it. I don’t care how long it is. It is now MY life! The answer is no.”
The man’s feet shuffled across the carpeted floor. “It is truly your loss my friend. You had so much promise, now it has all gone to waste it’s such a pity really.”
As quickly as he arrived, he left.
Four long years pass…
The scene has changes. The boy is now in a hospital, confined to a wheelchair and unable to speak or write. He never did finish his book, was never given a good chance to. Currently he is sitting in the hospital garden waiting for his terrible fate to come. But fate had dealt him a different hand than expected.
As he began to look up from the rose he was staring at who should appear in front of him but the same man who came to him four years earlier. Yet, something was different.
He was more agile, moving about freely. His stiffness was gone. He even started the talking. “Well, look at you, ain’t it the little punk who had the guts to refuse my generous offer. Well, look at you now. You’re just a miserable cripple. Can’t talk, can’t walk, can’t write, you’re just a pathetic human being now aren’t you?” He began getting into his face, “That’ll teach your sorry ass to make me look like a fool. You should have taken me up. Stupid idiot!”
All he could manage was a grunt to express his anger. He wanted to grab his throat and choke the life out of him. But he just couldn’t do it. He couldn’t.
“I forgot. Since you can’t talk, we’ll have to think of another way to communicate. How about I go into your mind, we can have the conversation there.” He put his hand on his head and after a few seconds, contact had been made.
“There now, isn’t that better? Now you can talk to me.”
“You bastard, what do you want!”
“Bastard? Bastard! This disease is also affecting your mind. Whatever happened to that razor-sharp wit of yours. Doesn’t matter really. I’m here because, well, you see my “superiors” were upset that I was unable to make my arrangements with you. So, I’ve come back to make another offer, or rather, to up the previous one.”
“I don’t have any choice but to hear you out do I?”
“You learn quickly. My new offer is this. I will rid you of your disease, give you powers beyond your imagination and give you the gift of eternal life. All I ask in return is that you promise me that for seven years, once every seven days, you will commit an evil, some atrocity.
“What do you get out of it?”
“Do you accept the offer or not? Keep in mind you will be able to live your eternity as you choose it. For all I care you can make up for the sins you will commit in the first seven years. It makes no difference to me but I need a yes or a no now!”
His eyes dropped. Even though the conversation was inside his mind, there are those who say that he actually muttered the words, “I accept.”
“You’ve made the right choice my friend. Now is the time for questions if you have any.”
“Who are you?”
“Very good question. You see pure evil has seven sons, I am one of them. While I have no name as you would call it, I am by all accounts the devil, or rather, a devil.”
“I made a deal with the devil?”
“One that will work to your advantage and keep you forever out of hell. You should thank me.”
“Another good question. You see, even as we speak there is a war going on between good and evil, or light and dark as we like to call them. Both sides have taken great interest in people like you who straddle the line between the two. Hateful, yet generous. Sad, yet nice. My goal with you is to see if you can be turned to the darkness, which you have been. Don’t worry the war will not pivot on you. With so much hate in this world we have the advantage already. But without people like you, neither side can win the war. If the war is ever to be won.”
Silence, pitiful silence, disbelief, frustration, anger. The man disappears never to be seen again.
Or so he thought.
He made a quick recovery from his debilitating illness. Within days he was walking around and it was mere weeks before he went home. Rather than tell the truth he went along with the doctor’s explanations, as far-fetched as they were, they were still more believable than his story. He soon began to discover his powers he had a direct sphere of influence over anything within a few feet of him. He had to be close, but he could do just about anything he could imagine.
At first he did not understand how he would be held to the seven-day rule, but it soon became clear. A hunger inside of him would grow slowly but by the end of seven days would force him to do evil. When he committed some kind of terrible act, the hunger went away and the cycle would begin anew.
For seven years he found himself leaving messages on lover’s machines to break hearts. He stole from those who had to steal to survive. He made the old, feel young for just a minute, and then took it away. He made the smart stupid and the stupid, more so. He brought great treachery to the land. He didn’t kill to satisfy his hunger but he did every unspeakable thing short of killing he could.
Basically, over the course of the years, he led a double life. By day, an average, productive citizen who was grateful to be alive, but by night, on some nights rather, he was a predator, seeking to feed his hunger. He was never to get caught as his powers made it impossible to catch him.
During these years, he befriended a lovely young lady. They quickly became lovers and were soon engaged. They were absolutely in love, the heart of black did apparently have a soft side and he could again feel the power of love. Seven years passed that way, seven long years.
Then on the day he was to be freed of his hunger, something happened.
He found himself trapped within his mind again. He recognized the atmosphere as the place where he had made his deal originally. He then saw the familiar face of his partner in crime. Then, much to his terror, he saw his fiancée beside him.
“Congrats, your seven years are up, now it is time for the final hurdle. Are you ready?” he said.
“Final hurdle, you never said anything about a final hurdle!”
“True, I didn’t, but I have to prove you worthy of my gift. Are you ready or are you not?”
“No, I’m not ready, I don’t even know what it is!”
The hunger struck him more intense than ever, he dropped to his knees and began to clutch his stomach.
“Ok, ok, I’m ready, I’m ready.”
“Good,” said the devil and the hunger went away, “Now for your test.” He pointed to his fiancée, “Kill her, then receive your immortality. Refuse, and go to hell.”
Unfortunately, this is where it ends. We all know that the mind sees time very differently than the body. A minute there is a year out here. From our view, he is still making up his mind. So I ask you my friend, how does it end? Which will he choose?
The lady, or the devil.