His tears were lost in the pouring rain. The night, clouded over in a thick storm, was almost as pitch as the void in his soul—a mark forged by great loss, eating away at his insides until it defined him.
Rain and sorrow dripped from his face, splashing onto the raw soil below. The astringent odor of earthen mold burned in his sinuses despite the heavy storm. His middle-aged muscles burned, but their complaints fell on ignored synapses as he now ran on a higher octane fuel than human strength alone. Powered by desperation and passion, he worked feverishly, shoveling faster and faster despite the toll on his body.
“You wouldn’t want to help me, would you?” He said panting, swallowing heavy breaths between words.
A smooth voice responded from the hole’s edge above him, somehow making the faint moonlight dim further as it intoned.
“Why would I do that?” The voice crooned, dropping on him with such depth that he flinched at its weight.
“To… to speed things up.”
“Time is of no consequence for me.”
“But, w… what if the effort strains my heart and I go into cardiac arrest?”
“Hmph, that would speed things up, wouldn’t it?”
The man cursed to himself and continued in his labor. He dug the rich, dense soil, carving deeper into the flesh of the earth. It wasn’t long before the frenzy of his passion succumbed to exhaustion. His body wore down, opening the door for all his emotions to flow free.
Slowing to a stop, he dropped to his knees in the saturated mud and sobbed. “I’ve missed her so much. She was everything to me!”
He cried amid the harsh applause of the rain as it pummeled his world.
“I haven’t had a decent night’s sleep since she died.”
“Oh, do tell.” Oily, sighing sarcasm.
“I feel empty without her. I’ve lost the desire to eat, food is tasteless now. I have to gag it down just to survive, but I don’t—”
“Do I really have to listen to this? At least dig while you complain, Frank.”
The man did as he was asked, sobering slightly from the hint of anger in the dark voice above.
“She had so much life ahead of her. We, had so much life ahead of us, together. All of it gone in a stupid car accident. Why did she have to die?”
The thing sighed. “Does that really matter at this point?”
“But you’re going to change that.” Frank said, ignoring the question. “You can bring her back! I’ll be able to hold her again, feel her heart beating against mine. It’ll be just like before the crash.”
“Not quite. Do not forget the terms of our agreement.”
Frank shoveled in silence like a scolded child until his spade hit something with a solid thud. His passion returned and he scrambled to uncover the coffin. With a few chops of the shovel blade, Frank disengaged the locks and opened the lid to reveal a young woman dressed in white.
He plunged his hands beneath the corpse and pulled her against him.
“Mandy! Oh, my darling!”
Her lifeless body hung from his arms. Rain pelted her face. The funereal makeup rinsed away, exposing bruises and glued lacerations along her marbled skin. Mud sullied the angelic-white gown. Before Frank could turn to look out of the grave with a ‘What now?’ expression, the dead woman began to stir.
“Mandy, Honey, can you hear me?”
Her eyes fluttered and a groan oozed from her pale lips.
“It’s me,” Frank said, leaning back to look at her. “I’m here, now. You were in an accident, but I’m going to make it all better.”
“No, no, no,” she moaned and flailed her arms in feeble swipes at the air between them.
“I don’t think she wants to come back,” the dark figure added, chuckling with the gritty sound of rattling coal.
“She’s just in shock,” Frank snapped. “Give her a few moments to adjust.”
Mandy’s eyes opened and focused on his face. “Wha— But, I was—”
“It’s okay, Sweetie.”
“No, I don’t want to be here.”
“You’re just scared and confused. It’s—”
“I don’t want to be here!” She screamed and tried to squirm free of his grasp. “Get away from me!”
“Don’t say that, Honey.”
“Why won’t you leave me alone? I had to kill myself to get away from you and I’ll do it again!”
“But, the love we shared, it’s deeper than—”
“No!” Twisting her body, Mandy slid out of his arms and clawed at the mud walls of her grave.
“Please, Honey.” The man pleaded with outstretched arms. “Don’t push me away, I love you! We can be together again, just like before.”
A guttural laugh descended upon them. “It doesn’t seem like your student enjoyed it the first time, Frank.”
“It’s just the resurrection, she’s confused!”
“Really? Well, let’s make sure she understands, then, shall we?” The shadowed figure crouched down and spoke in a casual, sincere tone. “Mandy.”
“What? Who…” She search frantically for the origin of the voice, but couldn’t see past the driving rain with her clouded eyes.
“Your professor, here, is trying to reincarnate your lives together. Is that what you want?”
“N-no.” She sobbed and pointed a decaying finger at the man. “Keep him away! He raped me. He raped me repeatedly and blackmailed me to keep quiet. I’d rather die again!”
“Well, there you have it, Frank. You fucked the life right out of her long before the car crash took it.”
“Hey!” He shouted back, furious passion giving him false confidence. “A deal’s a deal, take my soul and let us go home.”
Everything stopped suddenly. The moonlight vanished, the rain ceased to fall, and the ambient noises fell silent for one long moment. Then, Frank knew why.
Cloaked in darkness, the demon landed in front of him with a teeth jarring explosion. Mud splashed over him like an ocean wave, the wet earth beneath him quaked despite its saturated surface, the rain renewed its heavy assault, and the creature’s voice pounded his eardrums.
“Don’t forget who you’re talking to, Mortal!”
Frank still couldn’t see more than just a shadowed form, but he felt the demon’s presence—hot breath pluming against his face and the pressure behind its voice seemingly added weight to the air.
Frank trembled violently and lost control of his bladder.
“Please,” he said, his voice meek and broken. “I need her!”
The demon reached out, placing a dark tendril on Mandy’s head, and commanded, “SLEEP!”
Her panic-stricken reincarnation came to an end. She collapsed at once and lay in the mud unmoving like the corpse she was and is again.
“No.” Frank croaked, his throat swollen with fear and despair.
The creature’s appendage turned to Frank and wrapped around his neck. It cinched tight and lifted him off the ground.
Now face to face with the demon, he finally saw its eyes. Painful to witness, Frank saw worlds of fire, grotesque creatures and beings of torment, gore and death, and horrors his brain couldn’t comprehend.
“You betrayed a student’s trust, abusing your mortal powers,” the demon said. “You destroyed her soul just to get your rocks off, then you sought to bring her back and live it all over again. Even I find that repulsive. You, Frank, deserve my worst.”
“Let’s take the elevator all the way down, shall we? I want to introduce you to your new bed-mate.”
~ Tyr Kieran
© Copyright 2013 Tyr Kieran. All Rights Reserved.