Sins of Others

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic

Tales from beyond the shadows..

Being invisible was a trait that he had acquired with little or no conscious effort on his own behalf, Joseph Crimly had just suddenly realised one day that he was invisible to the vast majority of people in this great metropolis. At first it came as a devastating shock to him, but slowly and surely he began to see the tremendous benefits of this trait. It was through no magical or mystical transformation that invisibility was bestowed upon him; instead it was due to the fact that he had sunk below a certain social level in society. Joseph was one of the ever growing legions of people that became so poor, that the rest of society lost sight of him altogether or at least they no longer wished to see him or his likes. It had become an unwritten rule, that once your clothes had become threadbare enough and your appearance gaunt enough, you became invisible to those better off than you. In the end Joseph embraced his new found invisibility; he became a collector of things and information. Joseph would shuffle about the main thorough fares and back alleys of the city, he would collect things that others discarded and hear titbits of juicy conversations.

It was amazing beyond belief what would be said within earshot of him, he would crouch by the doorways of fancy restaurants and earwig on the conversations of the wealthy patrons. Not one person would think to even glance in the direction, of the sorry specimen of humanity dressed in threadbare rags. So Joseph Crimly was free to eavesdrop to his hearts content, he became a virtual encyclopaedia of the secrets of the affluent people that never saw him. When he had heard enough, he would go to the bins at the rear and collect some fine food.  Then he would hurry home to his hovel, here he would dine on the rich food they discarded and record their secrets in his journal. Before life had turned sour for him Joseph had been a clerk in a shipping company, now he put the skills he had learned there to good use. He kept a neat and very meticulous account of all he heard, he was never really sure why he did this. However he had a deep seated belief that he could use this information to his benefit one day, so each night he sat by candle light and made his neat entries in the journal. His book of sins he called it, page after page of accounts of everything from adultery to business fraud. Joseph Crimly was a man on a mission he would make them pay for consigning him to an invisible state, but he had yet to formulate a plan on how he would do this. The one thing that Joseph had ignored in the whole situation was his own role in his predicament; he had somehow forgotten the reason why he was no longer a clerk in the shipping company. Likewise he had put it from his mind why his wife and children had abandoned him, what he had blatantly refused to do was take responsibility for his own actions. Joseph Crimly had been a thief; he had robbed from his employers until they had no choice but to sack him. He was also a gambler, drinker and quick with his fists, he had been physically and mentally abusive to his family until they could no longer take it. However Joseph Crimly concealed himself in his invisibility and conveniently blamed others for his misfortune, none of his own indiscretions ever appeared in his little book of sins. Instead he concentrated his every waking moment on how to make others pay for his sins; he would eventually find a way to force them to pay him back for the invisible years.

Joseph wrapped his threadbare coat tighter around his thin frame; it was quite tonight outside the upmarket restaurant. The weather had taken a turn for the worst and a bitter wind carried the promise of snow, this was enough to keep all but the hardiest of people from hanging about on the street. Joseph would have abandoned his post a long time ago, however for some reason a thought had taken root deep in his mind. An unaccountable feeling that tonight just might be the night that his luck would change, with this in mind he brazened the biting wind and loitered a while longer. The cold finally became too much for him and he decided to raid the bins and head back to his rundown accommodation, he headed down the alleyway in the direction of the rear of the building. Joseph picked through the food bins for the choicest morsels, the choice was not as good tonight and he cursed beneath his breath. When he had filled his coat pockets with food, he turned towards the alleyway to return to the street. The sound of muffled voices in the darkness caused him to halt; halfway up the alleyway a fire exit door was opened. A narrow beam of light illuminated a section of the darkness, two men stood in the light talking earnestly.

Joseph melded with the shadows and crept closer, one man was dressed in an expensive evening suit and the other wore clerical robes. The topic of their conversation caused Joseph to forget how cold and hungry he had become, dark descriptions of missing children and ritual sacrifice caused Josephs heart to beat faster with delight. He had just collected the most valuable piece of information he had ever heard, someone would pay dearly to keep this particular sin a secret. In his excitement and hurry to get home and enter the information in his book, he failed to realise he was not alone in the darkened alleyway. Joseph also failed to observe that a tall dark figure followed him home. His hand trembled with excitement as he lit the candle and settled himself in the rickety chair, he all but forgot about the food he had filled his pockets with. Joseph meticulously entered the details of the conversation he had just heard, making sure to write detailed descriptions of the two men involved. He had just finished when he felt the presence in the room behind him, the tall man stepped forward and held out his big bony hand. Joseph thought to protest but something in the stranger’s dark eyes terrified him, he handed the journal over with a trembling hand. A hand suddenly moved with blurring speed and grabbed his throat in a vice like grip; he was lifted in the air like a rag doll.

Joseph Crimly was launched across the room like a piece of waste paper, his slight frame crashing against the wall before sliding to the filthy floor. Here he lay winded and too terrified to move, meanwhile the tall stranger placed the journal on the rough table and began to read. An impossibly long index finger topped with a talon like nail carefully traced each word in the journal, all his years of collecting the secret sins of others was carefully digested by the stranger. For what seemed like an eternity he was forced to lie there in silence, while a total stranger read his most secret work. Eventually the tall man turned from his task and stared at Joseph, his jet black eyes bored into the trembling man. “Joseph there seems to have been some kind of misunderstanding here; it is not your job to record the sins of others. It is mine and has been for eons” the man’s voice was deep and hurt Joseph’s head. He opened his mouth to scream but the talon like fingers gripped his neck, his wind pipe was crushed and he began to smother. Josephs last vision in this world was of the stranger making a new entry in his journal, he died without seeing the neatly written words. ‘Joseph Crimly’s sins, theft, domestic violence and attempted blackmail’. The stranger nodded in satisfaction as he read the latest entry, then he left taking the journal with him.




Submitted: April 03, 2017

© Copyright 2023 Patrick G Moloney. All rights reserved.

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