My Soul To Take

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic
Darren Walker sits on a train with a pistol in his pocket, ready to take his life. What he doesn't realize is the Devil is sitting across from him, contemplating the same thing. This is the train ride in which only one can survive. All aboard!

Submitted: May 10, 2011

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Submitted: May 10, 2011

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Darren Walker sat on a bench, waiting for the nine o’clock train.  It would be his first trip on the monorail and most likely his last.  He sat unmoving, blue-gray eyes staring forward while the morning business of New York shuffled around him. 

The train made its arrival, squealing its brakes against the steel rails, breaking Darren from his spell with a jerk.  Silver doors slid open, bringing with them a crowd of Yankees as Darren made his way on.  The first car was filled to standing room only, so he made his way to the next cabin.  An old man with a goatee sat reading the morning newspaper.  Darren made his way to the opposite side, sitting by himself in the corner.  The old man folded his paper, watching as Darren sat sulking.

“Why the long look, boy?” the old man asked.

Darren stared at him, shaking his head.  “Leave me alone, old man,” he murmured, looking down at his shoes. 

The train started its engine, sounding its siren across the city.  Outside, buildings cast shadows as the morning sun fought within clouds; minutes trickled away, the landscape turning from apartments to houses.

Darren’s face grew paler with each passing minute.  His feet tapped the ground feverishly like a performer waiting behind the curtain, and his arms shifted around his body parts at a constant rate: head, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes.

“Come, tell me Darren, what is ailing you?” the old man asked for the second time.

Darren gasped, “How do you know my name?” jumping up from his seat.  Darren profiled him, noticing the long unkempt fingernails, the high pointed-cheek bones and bright red shoes.

“Ah, Darren, please sit down.  There’s no need to become upset.  You know my name as well as I know yours.”  The old man’s eyes flickered yellow for a moment, and he grinned, showing a row of sharp teeth.  He spoke slowly, locking his gaze onto Darren’s, “I am known as Lucifer.”

Darren sat down with a plop, exhaling his breath.  The train seemed smaller now, as if the floor beneath him had opened to hell, sucking in the confines of the car until all that remained was him and the devil, a palaver casted upon him so suddenly.

“So you’ve come to kill me?” Darren inquired, mind in a whirl.

“No, I am not here to kill you silly boy,”  the devil said.  “I’m here to discuss the matter of life after death.”

Outside, the city grew thin as the country side appeared.  Hills sloped up and down like tidal waves frozen in time; clouds huddled around the sun, clapping thunder off in the distance like a marching band.

“Death,” Darren asked, not meeting the Devil’s eyes, “what would a kid like me need to know about death for?”

“Something about that magnum in your jeans tells a different story,” Lucifer chuckled, playing with his pocket watch.  He flicked it open, revealing not time, but time frozen within; an image of a boy shone out, standing alone and looking scared.  With a push of the thumb, he closed it and opened it for the second time, this time revealing a picture of the same boy prying into a tall, gun closet.  Closed and opened for the last time, blood streaked across the pane of a train window, gun and boy lay on the floor.

“How do you know all this,” Darren asked, his voice whistling out of his windpipe.  He clutched at the gun pressed to his hip, feeling like an old–time gunslinger before, but now just a scared boy on a train.

“I am Lucifer,” he said again simply.

Darren thought of his loneliness.  His father, Tanner Walker, was known to be the most successful hotel owner of the century.  He was also known to be the best customer at Nick’s Saloon.  Going into the Saloon in the evening, customers were sure to find Tanner at the bar, buzzing away about his fortune.  Darren had never known his mom; she had died giving birth to him, something his father was quick to remind him whenever he was home. 

“Your mother was an angel sent from heaven,” he said one night after a trip to the Saloon.  “Now she really is an angel.  Well, I’ll tell you this, I’m going to have a long talk with God about keeping the right players on the field when I get there.”  Tanner Walker was all about the right players and Darren was just a bench boy to him.

“What do you know about being alone your whole life?  You always have souls to torture and that’s how you like it,” Darren spat, feeling his anger flounder inside like a snake that breaks hold from its captor.

Lucifer shook his head.  “Souls are tricky things Darren.  Imagine a balloon filled with air. When a person dies, that balloon pops,” Lucifer made a quick fist demonstrating his point. “The air that was once in the balloon, the essence of that person, is released.  Here, the common misconception of humans is that the soul gently floats up to Heaven, or rockets down to Hell.  Neither is true.  A soul, along with memory, emotion, everything that has caused you pain or love, stays trapped on earth.”

Darren sat listening, not sure weather or not to believe him.  A part of him wanted to tell Lucifer to mind his own goddamn business (no pun intended).  But the other part of him was glued to his words, afraid in his heart of hearts that every preacher, pastor and religious follower was wrong; heaven was the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and we had no way to get there.

“That’s when our job comes in to play.” Lucifer said.

“Our job?” Darren asked.

“I and the one you humans call God,” the Devil sneered.  “We can free souls from this planet.  Where they go, I do not know.”

“Then why are their two soul-releasers?” Darren asked, knowing the answer before Lucifer said it.

“God only releases souls that lived a positive life.  Every person makes mistakes, but some people do things deemed a crime against society.  These are the souls I release; the men and women of the world who have killed, raped, battered, and broken others.” Lucifer reached out and touched Darren,“I’m asking you this from the bottom of the heart you think doesn’t exist; I’m asking for you to kill me.”  His eyes sloped downward; shoulders slumped back in their sockets while his hand dropped from Darren’s leg like a piece of dead wood.

Darren gaped at him, wondering if this was all a joke.  Here was the Devil, the one who convinced Eve to eat the apple, told an angry German the secret to a perfect race and now seeked the afterlife he claimed might not exist.

“I can’t kill you!  You’re immortal; timeless,” Darren said, his mind racing.

“I am sick of this life, boy.  Think what it is like to go through every day dealing with the scum of the earth.  For centuries I have criss-crossed this world, feeding off the souls with no souls. Does that make sense? No, of course it doesn’t.”  He sighed, looking down at his pocket watch.  He flipped it open once more, this time reveling nothing more than time itself.

“Then why don’t you stop?  Why must you release souls?” Darren asked.

“For the same reason the chicken always crosses the road.  He must get to the other side,” the old man said with a cryptic smile, snapping close the watch with a soft plop!

Darren sat thinking while outside buildings started to spring up.  The sun was finally making a comeback, dusty beams shot lazily down into the window, casting Darren’s face into a mask of two worlds: half of it was illuminated, the other half bleak black.

“If I would kill you, what makes you think you wouldn’t come back to this world?  And what about me, would I live in sin for the rest of my life?” Darren asked.

“I don’t know these answers, Darren,” the devil said shortly and sat back, waiting.

Darren slowly took the revolver from his jeans, looking from Lucifer, back to the gun.  He had a decision to make; his soul or the Devil’s.  In the end, didn’t it always come to this; a choice between good and evil?  Lucifer’s eyes shone out, hands clasped together like a school boy waiting to hear his name called for graduation.  Darren cocked the hammer.  His hands were shaking. Sweat poured from his brow into his eyes.

“It’s all right, boy. Death is but another journey.”

Darren chose his target and pulled the trigger.

 

“Death on a train, sounds like a bad movie plot,” the police officer joked. 

The train was marked off for investigation, the suspect long gone.  He had been on the force for two years and had seen dozens of murders in his time, but this one hit him the worst.  The window was covered in blood, seat caked with chunks of hair and goo.

The cop noticed a glimmer coming from underneath the seat.  Leaning forward he saw that it was a worn pocket watch with the initial L carved in the back.  Opening the watch, a picture of a teenage boy fell out.  The boy was smiling, long hair combed back neatly.  Written on the back of the picture was a single word: Savior.


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