The Deal: Muirmill Asylum Part 5

Friday, 15 January 2016

I decided that if we were going to have a conversation then I should at least take a look at the remaining area of the nurses’ station for anything useful. I began my search in the medicine cabinets which again, as I guessed, turned out to be empty.
   ‘Why, would an angel be checking up on me? I’m pretty sure there is no amount of hail Marys I can say that will grant me access to the kingdom of heaven.’
   As I hunkered down to check the bottom cabinet I could hear Gabriel chuckle as if I had just told the funniest joke he had ever heard.
   ‘What’s so funny?’ I asked opening the cupboard doors to find both its shelf where devoid of anything except a few years’ worth of dust.
   ‘Well only god’s creatures are permitted to enter his kingdom upon repenting their sins.’
   I stood up and looked the angel in the eyes, my face a picture of puzzlement.
   ‘Listen I’m having what could only be described as the worst time of my life right now. This is as close to hell as I want to get, so by all means be as cryptic as you want to, but don’t expect me to fucking listen.’ I could feel my anger and frustration bubble up much quicker than I had expected.
   ‘Now there’s the anger I remember.’ Said the Angel gleefully. ‘Now we just need the rest of you to come out.’
   My anger gave way to all-out rage. I could feel my heart, head and stomach turn into a raging inferno.
   ‘What the fuck are you talking about you winged asshole!?’ I screamed, clamping my hand on the desk hard enough to make it crack down the middle.
   It was the sound of the wood cracking under my grip that brought me back to a slightly calmer state. Gabriel looked as if he was so happy he could burst into a dance.
   ‘You know when I got word that the great one was returning, I thought to myself, nah that can’t be right. He long handed over the reins to his son. But when I heard the dark lord made a deal to get himself a new right hand man I just had to kill my curiosity, and by god I’m glad I did. I can see why Pertilius is so protective of you.’
   Of course it all made sense once I heard the monks name. I should have known that he would have had a hand in this little intervention somehow. Although I will admit I did feel a little better knowing that someone had my back, even if it was a monk from hell. It was comforting in a way.
   ‘I wouldn’t go rooting for me just yet. I’m only a lowly hitman with a couple of artefacts under my belt.’ I said, turning my attention back to the remaining cupboards in the nurses’ station. I needed something to help keep me focused and on track while the conversation with the angel continued.
   ‘I see Pertilius hasn’t completely filled you in on why those are important.’ If he was trying to be all mystical and god like it just wasn’t working. He was actually beginning to annoy the shit out of me and if I thought I could, I would have punched him.
   ‘Can we please cut out all this mystical bullshit? Just get to the damn point. I know you’re not here to witness me in action.’ I opened the last of the cupboards and was surprised to find a small tin inside.
   Holding it in both hands I sat it down on the drainer next to the sink for closer inspection. It looked like the kind of tin you would get a variety of candy in. Usually it was given as a gift. Other than the images of candy pieces there was nothing out of the ordinary about the tin.
   ‘Well the last one was the sinner’s heart which was supposed to represent the broken heart of the original sinner, or Beelzebub as you other worldly folk like to call him. So I’m guessing that each artefact has something to with various parts of his body.’ I was speaking absently as I hesitantly began to open the tin.
   ‘His soul.’ Gabrielle corrected me.
   ‘Yeah well all I give a shit about is getting enough power to knock Satan’s head off his shoulders and break this damn deal.’
   Gabriel suddenly put his hand down on top of the tip, stopping me from opening it. I was about to give him my best pissed off expression but when I looked at him the smile had gone and instead I could see darkness spread across his face like thunder clouds.
   ‘Those artefacts are only keys to the locks within you, Samuel. You always had the power within you.’
   Frustrated and tired I took a step away from the tin and rubbed at my throbbing temples. I was unsure if it was the stress of the situation or glow from the Angels aura that causing the most pain.
   ‘So what are you saying? I'm the reincarnation of the creator of all things bad?’ I had expected the smile to return to his face, but when I looked at his piercing blue eyes the thunder clouds where still hanging over him.
   ‘Yes. Think about it Samuel. Why on earth would Satan need your help? He has countless millions of minions who can easily do what you do for him?’
   He had me stumped there as I looked at the candy tin under his protective hand. I had wondered why the all-powerful prince of darkness would need the help of a mere human.
   ‘Well he must have a reason. I'm sure he wouldn't be making deals with us humans if we didn't have a use for us.’ I said, staring blankly at that tin the Angel was now protecting from my prying eyes.
   The smile returned to his face and for the first time I noticed that he had a small spattering of freckles across the bridge of his nose. They weren't prominent but definitely there now that I was paying attention.
   ‘Your right! In your case he just wants to keep you close. Deal or not there is actually very little he can do to you.’
   ‘I find that hard to believe. He’s the devil and I’m just an above average hitman. He’s the one with all the supernatural power, not me,’ I said.
   I watched as the Angel lifted his hand off the sweet tin just long enough to feign despair and I was so tempted to snatch it away from him during that split second. I seriously doubted I would have been quick enough though.
   ‘You’ve been living in that human shell for way too long. Yes, he does have power. At this stage he could imprison you, but there is nothing else beyond that Samuel. That’s about all he can do to you now. I suspect after today even that will be impossible for him,’ said Gabriel. At long last he stepped away from the tin and this time he motioned for me to open it.
   There was no way I was going to wait for another chance. My hands trembled a little, due to the fear of the still unknown, as I prised the lid off.
   Disappointment welled inside me as I looked inside and saw the tiny key; most likely for a padlock of some ancient description. I reached out and grabbed it anyway. It wasn’t in that tin for any old reason, so I assumed that if nothing else it might lead me to another part of the building.
   ‘What do you mean after today?’ I asked, examining the key and noticing nothing of great importance about it.
   ‘I can’t say too much. I’m not allowed to divulge the fate of a human, but what I can tell you is that as long as that Grimoyle upstairs doesn’t get its hands on you, you will find what you’re looking for. When that happens you’re power will have returned and there will be nothing Satan can do to you.’
   I slipped the key into the nearest pocket I could find.
   ‘Okay, I’m willing to play along with this. So, say I do survive the day and find what I’m not even sure what I’m looking for, what happens next Gabriel. What would be the next steps for me?’ I wasn’t angry anymore, just frustrated. I wanted all this nonsense to stop.
   I watched the Angel as he took another few steps away from me, looking thoughtful instead of playful this time. There was a hint of seriousness burning across his face.
   ‘Well, Pertilius will be obligated under the rules of the sacred scripture to inform Satan that there is someone capable of unseating him from the throne,’ said the Angel, hesitant to go any further.
   ‘And then what?’ I prodded.
   ‘Well, in your language, I think the best way to describe it would be that you will have to go toe to toe with Satan. It will be a one on one fight between you and him. If you want to win then you have to take his soul and make it part of yours once again.’
   Now I understood why he was so hesitant to carry on. The devil in a human body didn’t look too impressive, not to me anyway, but I was well aware of the power and the centuries he’s had wielding it. There was no way I could win that fight even with all the sacred artefacts in the world.
   ‘There is absolutely no way I could win that fight, no matter what you have to say,’ I said, feeling my anger rise once again.
   Gabriel offered me that same smarmy smile he always seemed to wear when he knew better than us mere humans. I hated him for acting so pompous but next to Satan and God he was one of the most powerful beings I knew and I really couldn’t afford to make any more enemies.
   ‘Well,’ he said, ‘one way or another Samuel that fight is coming. And I for one will be watching you very closely to see how you do. It would be great to have the old Beelzebub back, and show his seeds just how a good ruler should be.’
   ‘I guess you will have to wait for that day then,’ I said, feeling bitter at being in such a position.
   ‘Yeah, and it will be a short one,’ said the angel as he vanished into thin air and left me standing there alone.
   I suddenly felt very hollow inside. As if I was just an empty shell walking around on a planet that seems to be losing its sanity by the day. I guessed it was logical enough given my current mission to find out the real story of my wife Lisa, that at some point I was going to have to face Satan.
   I doubted that I would be strong enough to beat him but with the new power being bestowed upon me by the artefacts I felt like I did at least have a fighting chance. It was the thought of Lisa, her beautiful smile hanging at the front of my mind like a constant reminder as to why I was there, that brought me back to reality.
   I glanced around the vast, empty room, half expecting to find another unwanted surprise. After a second of watching and waiting I decided that the rest of the folks from the other realms had decided I wasn’t worth any more attention.
   I turned my attention to the door beyond the nurses’ station. It led to a set of stairs which in turn would lead me further up on to the upper levels of the building. My stomach knotted a little as I thought of the Grimoyle, which had come so close to catching me, wondering around up there, no doubt it would be pissed off.
   I gave the hall one last glance before pulling open the door and heading up the narrow and winding stairwell. It was time to find out what the small key in my pocket would unlock.

I took every step with caution and could mentally hear myself breathe a sigh of relief as I reached the final one and stepped out on to the first floor landing.
   Breathing as shallow as possible, I glanced up and down the landing looking for any signs of the big winged demon. I knew he had been there on the floor at some point, because I could see gouge marks on the walls where the bones from his wings had been scraping against the walls.

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