The Deal: A Cold Night In New York Part 6

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

During the conversations I had with my new employer I had not once seen any real sign of emotion until I asked that question. The look he shot me was one of puzzlement, and maybe even a little surprise.
   ‘You know as well as I do Samuel that taking a life is a sin, but taking the lives of innocent’s, well that’s a whole new ball game where no redemption is offered at all by either me or that absentee landlord you call God.’
   ‘Are you sure this is my Lisa you are talking about?’ It was a stupid question, but I was just too dumbfounded to say anything else.
   He looked at me with a raised eyebrow, silently questioning my stupidity.
   ‘I know every single soul who enters my kingdom, either by choice or by force. Either way they are there to pay for their sins, so don’t dare question me.’
   ‘I’m not trying to provoke you. I’m just trying to understand how my wife, a kindergarten teacher, should end up languishing in hell.’
   ‘Well if you stay loyal to me I’ll show you the truth. Until I’m satisfied that you’re on my side, I wold advise you to leave the subject well alone.’
   That last statement was like a kick in the throat. How on this earth was I supposed to forget about the fact that the woman I had devoted five years of my life to was probably screaming in agony in some dark corner of hell while I was up here making a deal to save my own skin.
   It was all wrong on so many levels but I was trapped. If I told him what I really thought of him then I was going to my own little private torture chamber, where I would most likely never be seen again. At least if I sealed the deal now I bought something more valuable than the horned ones word, time.
   It would soon be on my side, and I would then be able to search for the truth. I needed to know why Lisa, a kind and soft spoken teacher was sent to hell when that sixteen wheeler crushed the life out of her.
   I needed to know for the sake of my own sanity.
‘One last thing.’ He said, turning from the small pile of ashes where Argatol had fallen, to look straight at me. ‘Where is the bullet?’
   This was my chance to play with fire, in a very literal sense. I had started to form the idea that he had handed me one of his own secret weapons when I used it on the guard earlier, and even though I’ll probably always wear a scar on my cheek it saved me from being slaughtered by an ancient demon.
So, I had decided that it was something that wouldn’t just be useful; it was an object that was absolutely essential to my survival in the years to come.
   ‘Looks like it went the same way as your friend.’ I said, praying to every God I could remember the name of that he didn’t call my bluff.
   I watched as he looked at the last few ashes of Argatols body being blown away. There was no emotion on his face, not even a pretend mask of sadness or sorrow at his loss. And those icy blue eyes gave away nothing, if he was feeling anything at all.
   ‘Well it’s with its one true owner then.’ He said finally, as the last wisps of ash where blown away by the ethereal wind. ‘Do we have a deal Samuel?’
   ‘I do what you ask in return you give me eternal life? It’s a tough sell, but I accept.’ I felt bitter at being on the receiving end of a rough deal but it wasn’t the first time I had experienced such tactics in my life and I was sure it wouldn’t be my last.
   I watched as he turned to face me full on and put his hand out in front of me. I knew fine well that as soon as my skin connected with his, the deal was sealed. I did not know how I knew this; it was just there in the very dark recesses of my subconscious.
   I put my hand out and within the split second that my skin connected with his I felt a sudden, searing pain, course through my entire body. I could feel my body want to drop and no matter how hard I tried to stop it, I slumped to my knees, teeth gritted so tightly I was sure they were going to crack and splinter under the pressure.
   Tears streamed from my eyes as I fought to remain conscious, but the pain was so intense I felt certain I was already in hell. I had been tricked and the deal really was nothing but a ploy to get me to do his bidding before he fucked me over.
   And then, as soon as it came, the pain stopped and followed quickly after it was wave after wave of euphoria. At one point I felt so high I could feel the excitement reach my groin and cause the appropriate reaction.
   All around me the room seemed to be vibrating so fast and so hard that it was shaking itself into a blur. The walls and doors melded together in a collage of glass, steel and concrete.
   ‘Quod vides fecisse, factum ducas.’ I heard the words being uttered and then suddenly everything stopped.
   There was no pain, no joy, no nothing except the shallowness I had been feeling already for the last countless years.
   I noted that I was still down on my knees. Still in possession of the bullet and still in the waiting area of the hospital I had fought so damn hard to reach just to finish what I had started.
   He stood over me, there was the possibility of a small wisp of a smile on his face, but I will never be sure for certain.
   ‘I see a many great things in your future, Samuel.’ He said as I rose to my feet, albeit a little shakily. ‘Don’t disappoint me.’
   He stared at me for a little longer than I felt comfortable with, in-fact he made me squirm under the gaze of his ice blue eyes. I should have said something respectful like the way a chastised child would talk to their father, but instead all I felt inclined to give him was a simple nod of acknowledgment.
   ‘I’ll be in touch.’ The words hung in the air like an ominous odour that no amount of air freshener would be able to get rid of, and then like a mirage he faded away into the ether.
   Slowly, all the sounds and smells you would associate with a hospital began to flood back into my senses like I had been blind to them during the small amount of time it had taken for me to bring Argatol down.
   I still felt stunned as I wandered towards the entrance to the waiting room. Outside, beyond the massive panes of glass which enclosed the area, I could see my Mercedes being slowly buried under an unrelenting blanket of snow.
   As I made my way outside, not feeling the biting cold that the fresh snow storm had brought with it, I felt a sudden realization that, for me at least, it was going to be a very long winter. One I was not sure I was going to be able to get through on my own.
   I felt a sense of desolation as I slipped behind the wheel of the battered luxury car, which was still happily idling away just like I had left it a few minutes ago. The clock on the dashboard stated it was two minutes past midnight.
   Putting the car into gear and steering it towards the city streets, I decided that it was a perfect time to get myself a drink.

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