SPECIAL NOTE – This is horror. If you don’t like horror, turn back now. As you are turning back, notice the guy in the dark, voluminous cape. Walk toward that guy.
The Dark Creature Ruminates
By Karen R. Sanderson
I think of my 200-plus years, coming to an end. I’ve left Cruckshank at the barn to deal with my collection of souls. He has no idea this was my last trip. I’m retiring, perhaps to the South of France or Tuscany. Or Portland, Maine! Any place without the putrid smell of brimstone would serve me well. How I have come to detest that ghastly stink.
Once tonight’s souls are dealt with, Cruckshank will join me in the darkened library. We will repose in front of a roiling, hearty fire for a warm brandy and the discourse of the evening’s events. How he loves to listen to the tales of my night’s wanderings and soul-gathering.
I was distressed to see how the old sot appeared this evening. From outside the muted glow of the barn light, I could see him huddled with a rotted blanket pulled around his shoulders. He’s gotten old; I think he must be nearly 80 now. Coming to me as a young man of 17, he was full of vigor and intensity. His face reflects each year with a crinkle and crease. His hands have become knotted like twisted branches, his posture now bowed.
The approval on my retirement has been delivered, and tonight I need to tell ole Cruck he’s done as Despatcher of Souls. I am sad that I must tell him this, sad that we will no longer share these affable nights together. I will retire, and he will replace me among the Collectors. His mind and his body will be reborn. He will be young again, and young for as long as he wishes. He will have endless days of rest, and endless nights, as each collection and his memories will line up like rail carriages attached to a locomotive.
My time as a Collector is done, as is my time as an immortal. I’m giving it up. I wonder if Cruck will be pleased at his promotion. Does he imagine immortality, the perks of superior health and vitality? Has he ever considered such an empyrean existence?
I ruminate on the humans, the souls amassed at their end – they get to their final days and ask for more time, more time! I, who have had an overabundance of time, have grown fatigued by it. And eventually, I too will pass on, and my soul will be collected.
5 responses to “The Dark Creature Passes, Part II”
An excellent interlude! A bit of softening for the readers for the big finale.
OK, you scared me off!
Wishing you a warm, safe Thanksgiving.
I scared you off? Oh, no! Come back! At least read III, IV, and V!
Actually, I find this philosophically thought provoking and interesting. Well done!
Thank you, Pamela!