The Robe (revised)

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Abandoned

A young man finds a black hooded robe and his life changes.

This is the revised version of this story. I had been told the original was too dark so I made a change and came up with this version. I like the original better, but this one actually feels like I could continue it as something more than a short story.

I have no idea why I took the black hooded robe from the thrift store where I work, risking my job, but I did take it then throw it into the back of my closet to be forgotten about. I and my buds planned to head up to the old barn for Halloween and have a little party, but as the date got closer we decide to make it a costume party. It was the night of the party and I couldn't find my leather jacket. I was going to grease my hair back and go as a 50's greaser. When I couldn't find my jacket hanging in my closet, I started digging through the pile of clothes until I found the hooded robe. I figured what the heck; I was running late so throw it on.




I had been drinking for about an hour when Gail Summers showed up with her boyfriend. She was had always been weird and then our freshmen year she had slit her wrist in the girl’s bathroom. A teacher had found her, and she had spent several weeks out of school. She had somehow completed the coursework and stayed up with the rest of us, but after that, she had gotten really strange. What happens when she saw me in my robe was completely over the top. She began to shake all over and her jaw was moving as if she was chewing on something. Suddenly she let loose with an ear-shattering scream. Her boyfriend grabbed her and pulled her out of there.


Carol Powell was a cheerleader and the most beautiful girl in our class. Her family had money and the story was that she hadn’t spent the summer between 7th and 8th grade in France but actually getting plastic surgery. I don’t know about that story because I had loved her since I first started getting interested in girls. She had recently shown an interest in me and at the party, we ended up in a corner making out. I had my hand on her leg moving towards the forbidden land when somebody grabbed me and pulled me away from her.


Jim Powell was 20, good-looking and rich. The problem was he knew that he had it made and could treat people like crap because of his family’s money. The story was that two years ago he had beat a kid up so bad that the kid nearly died, he got away with it because mom and dad paid people off. He slammed his fist into my stomach and was drawing back for another punch as I double over. Suddenly my three best friends were there, two grabbed him as Johnny grabbed me. Jim shook off Ted and Bob and grabbed his sister’s arm. “Stay away from her, or next time your butt buddies won’t be enough to save your ass!”


I tried to go after him, but Johnny wouldn’t leave go. “He would kill you, buddy boy, use your brain.”


I turned to him and suddenly the world seems to tilt. Ted was standing there smiling the idiot smile he always had on his face, but I could also see his head tilted at a sickening angle. Bob was digging for a smoke, but I could also see him staring straight ahead with blood running down his face. Johnny was the worse he was smiling and so alive, but I could also see him pale and dying, something was sticking out of the side of the image. As suddenly as I saw the weird double image it was gone, and I was looking at my good friends again.


The party went on after that without any more trouble or weird stuff and I had forgotten all about it. Jim kept his sister with him and his crowd and every time I started wandering that way 1 of my friends would be there to drag me back to our side of the barn. At 3 am we piled into Johnny’s car and went roaring off back to town.


Before I continue let me say I am not defending Johnny or any of us. We were drunk and shouldn’t have been on the road, but what happened in my opining wouldn’t have happened if Jim wasn’t such an asshole.


We had just made it onto the blacktop when Jim came roaring up beside us. He had Carol, his girlfriend, and one of his dork buddies in the car. He pulled alongside us and honked his horn. As we looked he gave us the finger and speed off. Johnny tore off after him and the race was on. We caught them and passed them. We were all laughing and telling Johnny how fast his car was when Jim’s car came roaring up again. Johnny starts zigzagging to keep Jim behind us and that is when we hit the curve. I really don’t remember how it happens, but suddenly we were flying through the air the car was twisting all over the place. I felt something hit me in the back of my head and it all went black.




I later told the police that I couldn't remember anything until I woke up in the hospital and you whoever is reading this will understand why. I was standing in a field and I had no idea how I had gotten out of the car to be standing there. I looked around and spotted the car. The driver’s side was against a tree, it kind of formed a horseshoe around the tree. I had just decided to go check on it when I found myself standing beside it looking into the back seat at Ted.


His head was tilted at a weird angle and I knew even though I wasn’t sure how that his neck was broken. I also knew that he was on the edge between life and death. As I looked at him I knew that if he survived he would never walk again or hold his girlfriend, Ted would be a living head with a dead body attached. Something made me reach in the open window. My fingers seem to pass through his skin and suddenly I felt Ted pass on.


Bob was in the passenger seat his face was a bloody mess. His eyes were lifeless, but some sense that I hadn’t had before told me the Bob still lived. That sense told me that the Bob that had always been cracking jokes and getting in trouble was gone. This Bob would have a hard time telling somebody about his day. I knew as I had with Ted that his skull was shattered, pieces of bone riddled his brain. I did it again, reaching in it slide my hand into his skull, Bob gave a faint smile then he was gone.


Johnny’s door had slammed into the tree driving a branch through it and through him. He looked up at me with a look of peace. "Do it Frank, please end the pain for me." Johnny had been my best friend since we were in first grade together and now I knew he was dead. I could end it quickly or he would hang on for hours, but he was going to die. I leaned in and hugged him before reaching into his chest and squeezing his heart.


I turned and took a step away from the car and found myself somewhere else. Jim, his girlfriend Brenda, Carol, and the dork were climbing out of his car. Carol was digging through her purse and came up with her cell, but before she could dial, Jim snatched it off her. "What the hell are you doing?"


"We have to call the cops."


"Not yet. That ass Johnny was drunk too, so we see how they are then we decide if we want the police involved."


"I told you to slow down!" Carol screamed.


He slapped her, "shut the fuck up. Now let’s go find them assholes."


I tried to move towards them but suddenly things seem to swirl around.




I was told they found me 20 yards from Johnny's car. I woke up in the hospital the next day, with a minor concussion. I felt weird all that day and night and had no idea why. It began to fade when we left the hospital and my parents and sister took me home. It was there in my closet hanging right next to my leather jacket, the hooded robe that I was wearing that night.


The police were by the next day to take my statement. Seems they wanted to prosecute Jim for drunk driving, vehicular homicide, and a bunch of other minor charges. Carol had made a statement to a cop on the scene about her brother causing the accident, but by the time they had reached the police station she was claiming she didn't know who had caused it. I didn't know who had caused it and I had told the cops as much.


I asked mom and dad both about the robe and both claimed that the hospital had cut it off of me and they didn't know where this one was from. I tried to forget about it, but two days after coming home from the hospital I had a feeling, a need to put it on and go outside.


Old Miss Waller lived down the street forever and was a very nice old lady. She passed out cookies to all the kids during the summer and was always there to bandage a scraped knee when we played a little too hard. We kids sweep her walks and raked her leaves for her, we even cut her grass all for free. As I approached her house, I had that weird feeling that I had at the hospital when I first woke up. I passed through the door, I mean right through it without opening it. She was lying on her couch and I could feel her heart struggling to keep beating.


Somehow, I knew I had a choice to make, her life was in my hands. I stepped back this was huge; how do you decide if a nice old woman should continue to struggle through life or should be granted a quick and painless release. I reached into her chest and touched her heart. She opens her eyes and smiled at me before it stopped beating. In some way, I knew she felt no pain as her life ended.


It was a cold January morning when we all walked into the courthouse. Since Halloween it was all anybody talked about and I had become like a star which bothered me. Jim’s parents had hired a high-priced lawyer, a hired gun to save their son from going to jail for a very long time. The big surprise was that Carol was to testify for the prosecution. I don’t really know how the adults felt but all of us kids knew that Jim was going to get off. His parents wouldn’t allow him to go to jail, from the stories we heard they had called a judge friend of theirs the night of the accident to get him out of jail that very night.


I wasn’t allowed in the courtroom during the trial since I was a witness, but a few people told me that Jim’s hired gun was well worth whatever he was getting paid. Finally, it was my turn. I took the stand and swore on the bible like everybody else. The prosecutor took me through the night downplaying the drinking and up playing the argument, I had with Jim.


Jim’s attorney came at me with both barrels, he had me admitting to the fact that I had been acting inappropriate with Carol. He had me admit that Johnny been stumbling drunk by the time we left the barn. The only thing he didn’t get me to admit to was the fact that Johnny caused the accident. I left the courtroom feeling sick to my stomach.


When the gavel came down at the end of trial Jim was found guilty of drunk driving. He would lose his license for a year and would have to attend drug and alcohol counseling. I guess that is when the plan started to form in the back of my mind.


I had been doing my job, I thought of it as my job by the time of the trial, as the grim reaper and learning how the robe worked. I now knew that I could save people as well as ease their passing. I couldn’t repair damage; a broken neck would remain a broken neck, so I didn’t feel any worse about ending my friends’ lives. I had also learned that for some reason now when I put on the robe only those on the edge of life and death could see me and crazy people which makes me wonder how crazy are they really. I could enter a person's body as easily as entering a room and control their actions for a short time.


I had lost my job at the thrift store and I had dropped out of school. Everybody blamed it on the accident, but the thing was I start being able to see things. In school I walked into science class and I saw that all the frogs in the one case cut open as if dissected even as they hopped around. At the thrift store I keep seeing these nice old people dead, some of them in the most horrible ways. I would spend hours in my room alone, everywhere I looked I saw death and it was getting to me. My parents sent me to a therapist at one point, but I saw a picture of his family on his desk and I knew somehow that the little girl in the picture was dead of a rare heart disease and that she had died soon after that picture was taken. I throw up all over his office and ran out of there I never went back.


The strangest thing is the check. I now receive a check at the end of the month it just appears in our mailbox made out to me. It is from Grim Enterprises and it as always in multiplies of hundred dollars, it didn't take me long to figure out that it was based on the number of people I dealt with in the month. I looked Grim Enterprises on the internet, but none of the companies was at the address on the checks. I even wrote to that address asking for some kind of manual or instruction on the robe, but I got my letter back simple stamped return to sender.


I had plan to use the robe to kill Jim and I was ready to do it, but as time passed and I waited for my chance I began to relieve that Johnny, Ted and Bob were fated to die. If Jim hadn’t been there something else would have caused that accident. It took me a while, but I finally forgave Jim for the death of my friends, don’t get me wrong I hate the SOB, but he wasn’t complete responsible.


It has been over a year since the accident and I would like to say that things got better, but they just changed. Carol got thrown out by her parents for testify against her brother. We dated for a little bit, but I was just learning to control some of the weirder effects of owning the robe, so it didn’t work out. She got knocked up, by some guy who split on her. She ended up crawling home to mommy and daddy. They toke her in and found her a respectable guy to marry Eugene Hubert Chapel the Third. I saw them just last week he has 2 years before he is going to have a heart attack, I haven’t decided which way to go on him yet.


Jim, well Jim had continued to be the party animal drinking and womanizing, from what I hear he has three kids out there that mommy and daddy got quietly sweep under the carpet. He seems to be untouchable, soon after the court case was over he was in a car that went over an embankment. Jim walked away without a scratch. Then one night in a drunken stupor he fell down the steps in that big house of his parents. They were out, but I felt the urge and showed up. Jim spends his days now in a special wheel chair, he will never knock up another girl or toss a few back with his friends. I know he would have preferred death that is why I saved him, nobody said I have to honor the wishes of those I am sent to help.


My family, well my mom has two years and seven months before I will put on the robe and have to decide what to do about her. The doctors think they got all the cancer, but I can see it growing inside of her. I spend as much time with her as possible. I know that in the end it will be a long painful death if I don't do my job and that is what really bother me. When the time comes will I be able to reap my own mother's soul to ease her pain?


I will continue this journal at some time in the future.



Submitted: July 01, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Ian D. Mooby. All rights reserved.

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