On a cold, dreary evening somewhere in American suburbia, two figures stood hazily in the shadows of a lower middle class house’s northeastern bedroom, on the second story, right by the shoddy bed in the corner. They were there so as to view their workmanship, to see their months of planning at work.
“Do you think it will work?” asked the shorter to his superior. His name was Aegil; he was a demon in training. The taller, darker figure was named Hastur; He was a duke of hell.
“Don’t worry; humanity is a pitiful thing. They will always make the wrong decision when the weight of the world lies between their shoulders.” Hastur sighed after saying this, unacknowledged by the excited intern.
They had been standing in the corner watching a boy sitting in the chair at the desk, typing, for some time now. It really was amazing to look into their minds, the humans, and see how it all ticked, for Hastur possessed this ability. It was one of his gifts from the great lord himself.
Looking into the boy’s mind, all Hastur could possibly see was a grayish fog clouding his mind. That’d be all the anti-depressants, he thought privately. He remembered willing the boy down the path; he had once been such a happy child. Of course, he was always somewhat… off-balance, in the words of his mother, but he was reasonably well liked, got decent grades, and was planning on scratching a moderately good living out of his life and leaving something to his kids one day. Then Aegil had entered his life.
Aegil had started out as a disembodied voice, telling him how to run his life. The boy thought he had finally grown a conscience that everyone thought he had so desperately needed; this was not the case. Slowly, Aegil had rooted himself far into the mind of the child, and there they stood, at the final step.
The boy, a stocky child of about fifteen years of age, had short brown hair that hung loosely around the brim of his skull. His eyes were a dull shade of brown, and he really wasn’t much different than your average child. This was true in all aspects except that he had been chosen specifically for this assignment.
The child sat now, typing, clacking away his soul in endless torment, pouring out his quintessence onto the Word page. It read thusly:
“I didn't want to wake up. I was having a much better time asleep. And that's really sad. It was almost like a reverse nightmare, like when you wake up from a nightmare you're so relieved. I woke up into a nightmare.
“That is a quote from Ned Vizzini, an author. An author is the only one so far who could possibly grasp how I feel. So, I won’t dawdle as I fear this won’t be read if I do. This letter will not contain a plea for remorse, nor will it contain blame for the terrible sin I am about to commit. It will ask for forgiveness.
“To my mother, if I dare to ask, forget about me. You’ve been different ever since Dad’s accident, I don’t want you to feel like everyone is abandoning you; I know that you cared. It just turns out that it wasn’t enough, and I don’t blame you.
“To my girlfriend, should you care about me any longer, I’m so sorry for any pain I’ve caused you, for any time wasted on your part; just know that I do this not because I wish to die, but because I can’t drown out the noise of your hatred, which I have rightfully earned. I did and still love you, even in my time of dying.
“To my siblings, there are too many of you to number rightfully on this page, so I will give a general apology; I’m sorry for any grievances I’ve caused among you. I wasn’t always fair in my dealings with you, and for that I am truly apologetic.
“To my peers, however many of you are still standing. I doubt you will miss me; I was not very social to begin with, and I doubt once more that many of you failed to guess that this would be my ultimate demise. I came to you with nothing, and now I shall take nothing in turn.
“Now, as my last words to the world, I would like to quote Seneca, the philosopher. He was teaching one day, and a thought came to mind; ‘Sometimes it takes great courage even to live’. I’m afraid to say that I am not a courageous person. Thank you for everything. I ask that I do not receive a funeral or any rites whatsoever; I merely wish to be cremated and forgotten. If you ever cared, do this for me.”
The boy, brushing tears and overhanging bangs from his eyes, left the desk and sat on his bed, a few feet from Aegil and Hastur. Hastur could, just barely, hear crying radiating from the boy. He saw his mind once more, and the gray was expanding and, oddly, turning a deep, deep shade of crimson, and the boy began to laugh.
This has never happened before, thought Hastur, but it added dimension to the idea of Aegil’s so he accepted it anyways. This really was one of the most creative displays he had seen so far; Aegil might rise to the position of duke someday.
The boy continued his disconcerting laughter, loudly; he had no worries of alerting his mother, as she would be gone shopping for at least another hour. He reached under the bed, still chuckling maniacally, and found a box. He opened it, and viewed the contents for a brief moment, stretched thin over the crossroads of history.
The box itself contained a notepad for which he had been prepared to write on should he need it; it was irrelevant now. He threw the small notebook aside and continued rummaging through the box. The next significant content found was a picture, with words written on the back. “Remember me like this, if you must remember me at all.” He taped it to the mirror in his room.
The boy walked back to the box, and once more sifted through its battered insides, finally achieving the final piece of his puzzle. He had found his pin. Emblazoned on it was a simple smiley face on a pure yellow field. He attached it to his cuff and strode over to his window, still failing to see the shadowy figures hidden in the inky darkness, only hearing the rambling, incessant droning of Aegil. It frightened him; he laughed again.
Hastur watched as the boy opened the window, climbed up, chuckled once more, as if he was the only one who had gotten the joke at the party, and allowed himself to fall forward, chuckling all the more. It was a moment before Hastur cringed at the sound of the sickly crack of what he knew to be bone.
“I’ve done it!” Aegil cried out with obvious glee, looking to his mentor for support and praise for his good work.
“Yes, well done; now go below for your next assignment.” Hastur watched as the figure of Aegil faded sadly away, draining into the underworld. He knew he would be disappointed at the lack of exclamation of his good works (they really were quite impressive), but Hastur had none to give.
Hastur trembled as he quietly stumbled towards the window from which the youth had tumbled; his corpse remained unnoticed still on the ground below, body warped and twisted in ways unnatural and only achieved by the sheer force of gravity. Mentally, Hastur wept. He wept not for the child, for neither demons nor angels feel any remorse for the emotions or dealings of man, but rather for his predicament. For eons Hastur had been forced to serve under his lord simply for failing his original trial; had he known his folly, had he known how it would play out, he would have accepted God’s decision; he simply longed for the nostalgic feeling of home, to be in heaven once more.
With this, Hastur leaped from the very same window, chuckling the child’s laugh, and fell through the crust of the Earth into its hellish core to be assigned to his next reluctant project. Redemption was not an option; God is not a forgiving God.
There is no redemption for monsters.
Written by AMarbleHornet