The old grandfather clock rang eleven. It was a late night shift for the nurses who worked at Round Hill Retirement Home. They were finishing off the rounds for the hour, making sure that every occupant was either asleep or heading to bed. They carried out this duty to perfection with everyone, everyone apart from the man by the window. The nurses knew to leave him be and in turn he would be quiet and drink his whiskey. Mr Wilkens was his name, and Mr Wilkens liked to be alone. He began to fall into a deep slumber, as a nurse began to approach…
I awoke within a dark secluded cell; I saw nothing beyond the great blank veil of darkness and solitude. Not a sound could be heard; I knew then that I was surely alone in this ever-flowing black blanket.
My mind began to panic; I was assured that this was the end, that this dungeon of gloom and misery would be my un-doing. My heart was pounding harder by each second that passed.
'What's happening to me?' I screamed,
'Please help!' I begged,
'Someone, anyone, PLEASE HELP ME!' I pleaded.
Suddenly a light shone through a plane of glass within the distance. It was moonlight, pure silver moonlight that lifted me closer to an angel of salvation. It was in this moment that I realized I was full again, my hands could touch my withered face, my feet could touch the solid ground and my eyes could see that I was no longer in a land of no hope. I was in a room within a house, a house within a shroud of fog, the fog of death.
The room had little in the way of furnishings. It consisted of three objects: these included a chair, which faced the grimy window, a table, which stood beside the chair and a candle that rested upon the table. Where in God's name was I?
'Welcome to purgatory, Steven.'
A voice? Like a whisper from a ghost… no it had more menace to it, it was like the voice of the devil, of Satan himself.
Something stirred upon the chair, a shadow moved throughout the room leaving only the flame of the candle as a source of light, of hope.
The being took hold of the candle and moved towards me, his features began to present themselves before me and God help me for what I saw.
'God has no say in what happens here Steven. You are in my world and what I decide, will become your fate.'
He sneered as he said this, I could not bear to think of what it could mean. I was truly frozen in fear.
This being who could read thoughts, observe the very soul as it were, was the idol of evil both in appearance and from within, an entity made of fear and horror.
I will try to describe the monster as best I can, but no words can really give shape to the dark energy that this creature injected into the mind and soul of the person who greeted him in his house of terror.
The horns were the most intrusive asset, the way they curved around his tall, slim body. His eyes were the colour of ivy, yet his skin was red, like a fire bursting out from within his heart, where the colour seemed deeper like a crater of an erupting volcano. A near human face was the only accessible feature I could determine. He had beautiful, smooth skin, as if silk were placed upon his skull and then left to set. My thoughts were interrupted as he said onto me.
'I have seen your sins Steven, it is my task to judge and to weigh these against the goodness, which I will seek from within your heart.'
With this he placed his hands upon my chest. I saw flickers of my past life happen before my eyes, like the flame of the candle. I saw my parents welcome me into this life, and then saw them die a few seconds later. I saw many events and emotions, I saw joy followed by sadness, excitement alongside longing, and most of all, I saw the loneliness of my adulthood and a child I left to die. A broken heart can bleed so much; it drains your life until nothing is left but a sad old man and an empty bottle of whiskey.
' You see the truth as I see it Steve, you see that instead of loving others as others loved you, you chose a path of loneliness and despair, causing darkness within the hearts of people most close to you. A wife dying of cancer, a child left to fend for herself.'
'I want to change; I want a life of happiness and joy. I want to be loved!'
I dropped to my knees with tears upon my cheeks.
'I judge your choices, I am afraid I do not give redemption.'
As he said this I saw for once in the demon's face, a glimpse of pity for what was to come.
With one hand upon my shoulder and the other upon his heart, he took one last look within my eyes and stated the following:
'I, the angel of judgement, of death and of foreseeing, send thee Steven Wilkens to the depths of hell, where upon he may seek forgiveness for the sorrow he has caused upon himself and upon the people who called him friend, lover… father.'
I screamed for forgiveness, for a second chance as the light emanated from the monster's chest, but all was in vain as the flames of an angel with no heart, engulfed me.
May Satan have mercy on my soul.
The old grandfather clock rang twelve. The nurse looked down at the pitiful, withered old man. Checking the time of death on her pocket watch as she removed the knife from his chest.
'A fitting death, for a man with no heart… may God have mercy on your soul dad.'