My eyes bled from green to liquid silver. As I delved farther inside the depths of him, moving past memories and thoughts he began to scream and attempted to pull away. That simply wouldn’t do. I couldn’t have an audience. Grabbing his shirt with my free hand I pulled him close and pulled up a cloak around us.
We were still there in plain sight, but no one would see us, nor would they hear us. They would feel a compulsion to look elsewhere and if they managed to bring their gaze to us, well they would instantly forget what it was they had witnessed. As for the screaming, it would seem like a distant low wailing, maybe even something they dreamed up in their head. It was very convenient and a one of the perks of this job.
The process was not a comforting feeling for him as I travelled through his mind, his emotions. I cord let me inside of him, see all of him. I was meddling with everything that made this despicable man him. I touched and poked and prodded not caring about the mess I left behind. It wasn’t in my job description to clean up the aftermath.
Still, I did not want to drag this on any longer than needed. I still had an appointment to keep after all. This was an impromptu client. One I could honestly have done without. My quota always met it’s mark often going above and beyond setting the bar for others like myself. This man hadn’t been on the list, but because of his greed he was now facing the consequences. The fool should have just taken the jewelry and been on his way.
I continued moving through him, the silver corded breath letting me see and touch every inch of him. I imagine he never felt so naked and vulnerable in his life. He was usually the one to make people feel vulnerable and afraid. This time the tables had been turned. It would most likely be the most terrifying thing he’d go through in his life. It had been in mine.
I had been just as human as the man who was sinking to his knees before me. Though our lips parted the silver cord kept us tethered. It had been a different time then, a different world all together. It had been much harder for a woman to be anything more than a housewife and a slave to her husband. Even though I had been raised to believe there was no other way, it was something I simply didn’t have the stomach for. I had gone through this for good reason. This unsavory gentleman was going through it because he was a nuisance.
Ah, there it was. Past all the anger and the joy, the memories (several which he could do to forget), and the wasted love I found what I’d been searching for. I smiled. “My, my, aren’t you an interesting one.” The silver cord slithered around my words.
The platform trembled promising the trains soon arrival. There was no more time to waste. I still had an appointment to keep after all. Unforeseen circumstances were no excuse for being late.
I sucked my breath in, and the man let out a torturous scream. It was a painful process, so I really couldn’t condone him for it. The silver cord wrapped around it’s prize and pulled back, retrieving what I needed from him.
I stepped back, though still inside the cloak. The thug fell onto his side as a thousand flesh eating scarabs escaped his mouth. It muffled his screams making them more of a strangled cry as he fell to all fours, trying to rid the bugs from his body. He swatted at his own face, yanking them from his mouth and still managed to make panicked sounds at the same time.
It was an odd fear, but not the strangest I’ve seen. It was amazing the things people were terrified of. The phobias and the horrors. There were thousands of them. One or more belonged to each soul. It was so easy to break a person provided you had the right tools. I of course, did.
The scarabs crawled along his skin, began eating away and burrowing into his flesh. He begged and pleaded. His voice high pitched with terror. He fell to his side no longer batting at them, but literally just lying there screaming. It didn’t surprise me. The fear had become paralyzing, even crippling.
I could hear the wheels grinding along the track. The steel on steel rush of the train as it approached. Time was running short. Normally I preferred the agony to go on a while long before I offered the deal. Though as I’ve said, this was impromptu and unforeseen. I still had my other appointment.
I squatted beside him, careful not to wrinkle my suit. Raw terror flowed off of him waves. It was almost orgasmic as it washed over me sending a small shiver down my spine. Reaching out I gently brushed a strand of greasy, sweat matted hair from his forehead.
“I can take the pain away. The fear. I can make you more efficient, successful.” A reassuring smile stretched on my lips. “Would you like that?”
His reply was garbled, blood filling his mouth, but there was a small nod of his head.
“Very well. I’ll make it stop, but in return, your soul becomes forfeit.” My eyes still swirled with liquid silver as I watched him.
His eyes widened as the fear of bargaining with the devil came into play. It was absurd. I am of course not the devil. I have never met the devil. If there is a devil, well it seems he doesn’t have the time to deal with living souls.
The smile on my lips widened. I tried for reassurance, but his eyes only widened more as the garbled sound continued. The scarabs kept feasting on his flesh. The gleam of bone shined within the cloak as the platform vibrated beneath us.
“It’s my price.” The words were simple, honest. “Decide now.”
The train was about to arrive. There was no more time. Of course as soon as I left the vicinity, whether he sold his soul or not the scarabs would disappear. His body would become whole. To him it would be nothing more than a horrible nightmare or hallucination. He could very easily say no. It was after all a test of will, of faith, and of course a test of fear.
Few passed the test, though many thought their conviction would prevail. In the end the fear of death usually won out. Their righteous belief dwindled beneath a waterfall of terror. It simply became too much for their fragile minds and bodies. In this state there are no thoughts of faith or love. Just terror, and most will do anything to make it stop.
“Yes!” He screamed, spitting out more scarabs. “God forgive me, yes! Just make it stop!”
The words of a desperate man who had no desire to die. I would keep my end of the bargain. His life would improve. Subtly at first, but then he would find himself surrounded with an abundance of wealth and luck. Still, there are so many other things that can make a person unhappy.
Leaning down I kissed him again. The silver tendril snaked back through his body until it found his core. The center of his soul where the purest parts were protected and hard to find. The tendril wrapped around before retreating from his body. The end floated in the air, holding a bright, illuminescent gem. It glowed so bright it drowned out the ugly yellow ambient light. It was a shame the others couldn’t see it. It really was beautiful.
Opening the briefcase the tendril placed it inside next to three others. The man would never know it was missing. When he died that bit of soul would let us claim him. Then he would work for us for eternity. It would all depend on his performance from here on out. People would be watching to see if he’d be useful. There are so many jobs after all.
I snapped the suitcase shut and snapped my fingers. We were standing side by side on the platform. He looked around confusion and terror on his features for a moment before shaking it off. He gave me a sidelong glance as the train pulled in directly on schedule.
The doors whooshed open. I nodded to the man and stepped on the train. Just as the doors closed my eyes flashed silver. He jumped. I smiled. He should have just taken the jewelry.
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