Like the Doors once sang: This is the End. Let’s see what happens to poor Emerson. I hope he makes it!
Miles away the demon heard the summons. Its massive head whipped about. Menacing eyes searched through the night until he found his target. The demon laughed. Never before had his host showed any sort of resistance to him. Nor would he ever again after this night. Tonight the demon decided it was time to take young Emerson Sedgewick to Hell. Massive wings lifted him from the ground and sped him across the sleeping town. The demon quickly found his prey. Emerson was sitting down. Sitting down on the steps of the town church. Anger swelled in the demon. How dare he? A church? Did he truly believe that a simple building with a cross carved in it would be power enough to stop a prince of Hell?
The demon landed to confront his host.
“What is this, boy? Have you suddenly found your nerve, here at the end?”
Emerson raised his pistol and fired three times. The rounds struck the demon in the chest. Blood so dark it looked black flew from the wounds, spattering the cobblestones. Steam escaped his body, but the demon did not fall. Emerson fired twice more and met the same results. The demon raged, but came no closer.
“You cannot kill me, boy.”
“I can, and I will,” he replied. His voice was shaky, unsure.
The demon shook his mighty horned head. ‘No. Poor, simple fool. You do not yet understand do you? You do not understand the power unleashed from your own fears. Fears that have fed the evil of this world. What will you do once you fire the last bullet? You cannot run, you cannot hide. Your soul has been marked. Your heart burns bright with evil.”
“Shut up!” Emerson screamed.
The demon took a step closer. “Listen to me, boy. You and I, we are the same. You created me from the black stain in your soul and the madness lurking in the corners of your mind. I did not kill those people, you did. I am nothing but a manifestation of your hidden malevolence.”
Emerson began to cry. He shook his head in denial. “No, no, no. It can’t be.”
“Oh but it is. Look at your hands, the wounds on your body. How did you get all of those? It wasn’t me. I only carried out your will. Listen to the whispers on the wind. Murderer. Remember the knife, the blood. The screams and pleas of grown men and women begging for their lives before you stole them for your own sickened sense of righteousness.”
“I didn’t kill anyone!” he shouted, but the words lacked conviction. Doubt crept in. he wasn’t sure what to believe anymore. Could he have? Was it possible he had truly killed eleven people? Eleven people who might have been his friends or coworkers? Eleven innocent souls?
The demon saw that doubt and moved closer.
“It is time, Emerson.”
He blinked the tears away. “Time for what?”
“To come home.”
Emerson raised his pistol, the sole remaining shot chambered and ready. He pointed the snubbed barrel at the demon. His hand trembled. His arm lacked strength. Voices assailed him from the night. Murderer. Killer. His heart hurt. The way out seemed less bright than it had in his apartment. Doubt gnawed at him.
It took every measure of his weakening resolve, but Emerson finally stared back at his demon and whispered, “no.”
Emerson Sedgewick turned the pistol away from the demon and gently pressed the barrel against his own chest. Like a lovers embrace, he warmed to the steel before closing his eyes a final time. The town clock chimed midnight off in the distance. A gunshot echoed from the church steps. The demon stared down at the corpse another moment before wrapping leathery wings about its body and dissolving into mist. And then there was only silence.