The Harvest

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
All Will wants at the moment is to have a smoke, but his peace and quiet is interupted when his dead friend comes back to life and asks to join him.

Submitted: January 06, 2008

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Submitted: January 06, 2008

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I flicked open my little black Zippo lighter and held the flame to the cigarette between my lips. I took a long, slow drag on the tobacco, feeling the smoke fill my lungs. Leaning back in my chair, I exhaled a thick cloud of acrid smoke.

“Aren't you forgetting about me?” I opened my eyes halfway and was surprised to see Jackson sitting upright on the couch across from me. He held his hand out like a homeless man begging for food. It didn't seem right, but I gave him a cig anyway. Jackson held the tobacco in his mouth as I lit it for him. He inhaled, some of the smoke leaking out of the hole in his throat.

Jackson plucked the cancer stick from between his teeth and leaned forward.

“Why'd you do it, Will?” he asked me. I couldn't believe he had just asked me that, but I answered him regardless.

“You know why. I'm surprised you even have to ask.” I said, somehow controlling my shock.

“You're the bad guy here, Will. Don't treat me like I'm some great adversary.” Jackson said in an unusually normal tone, considering the situation he was in. He took a drag on his cigarette and flicked ash off the end.

“I never did anything wrong.” he said after a few moments of silence.

“Bull.” I said. I didn't raise my voice. I was actually quite surprised at my self-control.

“If anything,” Jackson continued. “I got back on the right trail after being lost in the woods for awhile.” I chuckled softly and blew a jet of smoke towards my shoes.

“So betrayal is 'getting back on the right trail' now.” I said. Jackson shrugged.

“What's one more sin on the list? Besides, betraying a corrupt scumbag like our boss isn't that bad. One of those lesser evils, you see.”

“Really?”

“Really.” Jackson smiled and took another drag on his cancer stick. We were silent for a few moments. We each flicked charred tobacco into the little glass ashtray on the coffee table. Jackson finally broke the silence.

“Sin's a funny word.”

“What?” I said in a confused tone.

“Well . . . it's a small word made up of three of the most common letters in the English language, yet . . . it's one the most powerful words you can say. Every time I say the word 'sin', my throat feels . . . heavy. It's like the mere utterance of the word coats my vocal cords in slime.” Jackson paused to take another drag on his cigarette. “I think it's because 'sin' is the very definition of evil, darkness in its purest form. I don't know, maybe there's no such thing as 'lesser evils.' Maybe sin is just sin, no matter how small. Have you ever wondered about that?”

I shrugged and scratched the bridge of my nose. Jackson waved a hand in my direction. He leaned back and exhaled a thick cloud of foul smoke

“You've never been much of a deep thinker. Have you, Will?” he said. Jackson snubbed out his cigarette in the little ashtray.

“Can I have another?” he asked. I pulled another cancer stick from the crumpled pack and handed it to him. He took my Zippo and lit the tobacco himself.

“So who ordered the hit, hmm? Was it that fat Capo Benice?” Jackson asked me. Since I was the one who killed him, I thought it was only fair to answer his questions.

“The Don came to me personally and gave me the job.”

“Really?” Jackson said, faking enthusiasm. “Well . . . I feel kind of important now.”

“What did you expect? You were going to turn states evidence against the family. It's only natural that the Don would get personally involved.” I said. Jackson chuckled softly. He let his head fall back. His cold, glazed eyes gazing at the ceiling fan intently. He looked positively mesmerized.

After a few more moments of silence (and another cigarette for myself), Jackson looked down at his chest.

“Look what you did to my suit, Will.” he said, sighing heavily. “This was my favorite.” He put a hand to the blood that had poured from his throat like a waterfall. The dark red mess covered the front of his white shirt and gray jacket.

“The Don will buy a new one for your funeral.” I said.

“Tell him not to. Have him get this one cleaned.” I cringed as Jackson stuck a finger in the bullet-hole in his throat. He moved his finger around inside, like he was searching for something. I raised a hand.

“Stop!” I said. Jackson pulled his finger out of the hole.

“Sorry.” he said. He looked at the bloodstain again. “Couldn't you have poisoned me? It would have been cleaner.” I didn't answer his question.

“They'll do this to you, too.” Jackson said. I raised my head and looked into his dead eyes.

“What do you mean?”

“You know good and well what I mean. You think you'll be a 'made man' forever. You are nothing to that old buzzard.” I knew where he was going with this. I simply put out my cigarette and said,

“I think it's time you stopped talking, Jackson.”

“Why?” he asked, clearly bemused.

“Because you're dead.” I retorted. “The dead don't talk.” Jackson wagged a finger at me.

“On the contrary. The dead are real chatterboxes. One only has to be willing to listen.” I was becoming increasingly angry with the corpse in front of me. I could hear my leather gloves stretch as my fist clenched. Jackson continued to speak.

“You know you're only an asset to that slime-ball. Once you cease to be useful,” He made the shape of a gun with his thumb and forefinger. “Bang! You're dead.”

“Stop it.” I said softly. My voice felt weak. My anger was beginning to boil.

“Do you have any idea how many people die everyday?” Jackson inquired.

“I said stop.”

“Over one-hundred-fifty-thousand people die each day. It's like a harvest. Everyday, one-hundred-fifty-thousand souls are plucked from this earth. The ripe ones are taken by the farmer, and the rotten ones are cast down.”

“You're dead!” I said louder than I meant to. “You don't talk!” Jackson returned a wan smile.

“Patience, Will. Let me finish.”

“No!” I shouted. I jumped to my feet and drew my silenced Beretta nine-millimeter. “The dead don't talk!” Jackson held his mocking grin.

“You harvested me today. I'm beyond redemption, so I'll be cast down. But you . . .” He pointed a finger at me. “What will happen to you when you've harvested?”

“Shut up!” I fired two rounds into Jackson's chest, the silencer making whispers of the gunshots. Two round holes exploded in his chest, but little blood came out. The smile never left his face.

“You know I'm right, Will. If you keep working for the Don, you'll end up just like me.” Jackson said. I fired round after round into his dead body. I unloaded several rounds into his heart, then shifted my aim up to his forehead.

“Stay dead! Stay dead!” I screamed desperately, over and over.

“When the harvest comes for you, you'll end up just like me.” Jackson said calmly. My Beretta clicked empty.

“Stay dead . . .” My vocal cords strained to form the words. I dropped to my knees, tears streaming down my face. It was then that I realized the futility of my actions. My cries fell on deaf ears. I was shooting at a cold corpse.

It was my own evil, my own sin. The sin in my own tortured soul spoke to me through the lifeless body that was once my friend. He was right. Every word Jackson uttered was of the most absolute truth.

I looked at the Beretta in my hand. I saw it as an escape. A way to free myself from the horrible life I was trapped in. All I had to do was eject the clip, load a new one, put the barrel to my temple, and pull the trigger. I could use a single bullet to end my pain.

But, I didn't . . .

I simply stood up, wiped the tears from my face, and put the pistol away. I took one final look at the mutilated corpse of Jackson. He was in the exact same position as he was when he died. The only difference was that he had fourteen new bullet holes. He had never moved. He had never spoken.

The dead don't talk, after all.

I left quickly, not wanting to be anywhere near the corpse. I would be harvested soon enough, just like he said. And like him . . .

I am beyond redemption.

 


© Copyright 2017 Aleksander Azrael. All rights reserved.

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