The Pact

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

A suspenseful short story.

I see a house full of caskets besides a lonely road. I wind down the window glass to catch a glimpse. I sit at the back of the Tasly these days while my boys drive me around. The seller sees me and beckons. It is not everyday a teslar passes this way. Customer come down and buy, he says aloud like an end-time preacher. I tell my driver to drive back and my bodyguards to wait beside the Teslar. They are puzzled. What does boss want with caskets? I ignore them. I then try to greet the animated seller. Well done sir, how market? He wears a smile suddenly. God answers prayer, market is good, he says with a shrug. As far as the earth chops, man too must chop, he adds. I like his wit. I say to him, you do not have my type, I am big. With a sparkle in his eyes, he flings one open and soon many others follow. Big, small, short, tall, rich, poor, I get them all, the seller says to me ready for a bargain.

I turn to the one with a golden handle. I like this one. The seller exclaims, ah big man likes better thing well well. The seller tells me, gold is very dear there. Buy it, when you reach there, you sell, then journey continues. What he knows, how he knows comes as a surprise. You know the way there, I ask. The seller tells me yes. They always follow their relatives here. I hear them speak about their journey. I stare at the casket again, loving every bit of its finishing. But big man, this one go cost you hand and leg, the seller tells me eagerly. I laugh at his grammar.  I take a look at my arms and legs. The thought of Death flashes through my mind. I am sure we can work something out tomorrow. To think the idiot decides it will be on my birthday.

I turn to the seller, money is not a problem, and sure I will fit in? The seller replies, customer enter and see, it will size you. He opens, I enter and verily, it is a match made in heaven! I order the bodyguards to bring a lot of money. I give the seller without a bargain. Essentials must be purchased at all cost. The seller says, big man get mind to enter casket to test it. Many fear to pass this road talkless of look my face. But big man let me tell you what I know well well, one day they will come to buy. Yeah right, this loquacious seller will never go bankrupt. As I enter the car to drive off, the casket man holds me off. Big man when you want to come and collect your casket. I tell him, I do not know but I will send someone down tomorrow or whenever, and with that I zoomed off.

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Today death knocks at my door and when I open, I find him all smiles. His looks is unusually cheerful. Every year since that day, Death arrives at my party clothed in black woolly suit and a hat. What a year he has had! The bastard, smiles at me like I am all happy to see him.

Can I come in, he asks clownishly. Before I say jack, he is already in the house playing with my granny. The two seem to know each other quite well. Something so resignedly repulsive about those two. I wince. I cannot know death for that long.

I do not ever invite Death but he comes anyway. The fucking bastard begins to play nice with all my guests. He buys them over but not me. I? I am foolproof you bastard! I yell in my head. When I curse, he only smiles right back at me. Urghh! That wicked smile reminds me of the debt I owe him. Friends of benefit.

The rich music comes up. Everyone dances with life. Poor me, I cannot move my legs with death so nearby. I see him talking heartily, this time with the fattest woman in the room.  Why is the bastard chatting with a fat woman? I think of something. Nah, it cannot be good. I do not care to warn the- whom-who-carries-ant-infested- wood-into-the-house. I try to get busy with other things, yet when I look, he is there smiling broadly at me. Am I that cute, you cunt!

They call me over for my cake. I have to make a wish, cut it down and blow off the candles. Whatever the order is, it does not bother me a bit. I hate rituals. I used to like them but not anymore. I am a changed man now. This is what I have been trying to tell the bastard over there.

I want to make a wish but not with Death so eerily close. I do not know why I look up but I did. There is the bastard pointing at me from a dark corner in the room, warning me not to even try it. Fuck it! I wish for more life! The words fly out of my mouth like a burst of sperm. This takes my guests aback. I can hear them in my head. You do not have to scream. More life is everybody’s wish. Yeah right, wishes are not horses, I shot back quietly.

The cake is cut into smaller bits. The cubes go round. I start to think of life as a piece of cake in the jaws of Death. Nah, too nihilistic. I put off the idea immediately. I go around lapping in all the good wishes with a fake smile. Yeah, get it over with already. I like to see the party stop now. I want to cross the bridge headlong. A man needs a dash of courage to face that fellow in the dark corner. I think I see him nodding me over. That must be the sign. Damn it, I move to the place. A secret part of the house is where it began and there it ends. Today!

I get to the corridor. Happy music filters in, still from the party. A quick glance across the corridor and I am good. I touch something and the wall give way silently for me to enter.  As the wall closes back, I know that is it. There will be no miracle today. My determination to look for one all comes to puff.

It feels so familiar inside. The mocking throne, the knives, the pipe, the butcher’s table… As I make my way across the cobweb-infested room. I kick a skull. I look down, there it is, a dry flesh hanging loosely on its poor chin. I remember this one. A chatterbox picked up by the way. It all comes back to me now; the scream, the screech, the bang, the jerk and the long silence. How can he who scarcely showed mercy now hold on pleadingly to its tender breast? There is no chance. He who takes without mercy must on his day be taken without mercy.

Death does not like to wait. He is a business man. He casts an angry look at me from where he is seated. Fuck you, I say in my head. I nearly laugh. To think I made a pact with this motherfucker. The whole thing is a foolish idea. A man wants to leave forever so he makes a pact with Death. Hahahahahahahahaha, I am laughing in my head.

Okay, enough with the foolery. What do you want from me, I ask, this time only with my eyes. He points over to the butcher’s table. There it is - the knife, an unforgiving blade taken from the ribs of hell. The sign of the covenant of blood between us and the others I do not know. I must now take it like I often do. But today, I must use it on my dear self. I go over to the table. I pick it. I go to the altar. There my blood must spill until my eyes turn all white. I must watch as my blood runs like the Nile into a big silver bowl.  As I take the knife close to my hand for the cut, he urges me on. He does not like it when I hesitate. I cannot stand the pain I so readily inflict on others. You see how foolish you have been, he seem to say. I look at him like a penitent searching for forgiveness. I get no reprieve. Instead, I get a long blank stare into my dark soul. The clock ticks. The others I do not know await my blood. I cut the ulnar artery. There will be no miracle today, I conclude as I watch my blood and consciousness ooze gradually away…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Submitted: December 18, 2020

© Copyright 2021 Luke Odia. All rights reserved.

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