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When it fell

Short Tale By: Daniel Willis

The days grow darker, the nights fleeting. Walking down these halls, mind always racing. A man standing before a lit candle, alone with his thoughts. He wonders when it fell, when his life had changed.

Taking a slow yet long sip from a dented old flask. The sickening smell of wiskey filling the unkempt room. He coughs from the firey liquid making its way down. He hates the taste, yet its all he craves.

"I dun gone an summoned that ol scratch. Dang thing always followin me 'round these grounds. Bring yerself here, tired of arguin. Ya know it burns my belly to holler fer ya"

A creature covered in the blackest of fur, eyes red as burning coals, horns twisted and cracked. It slumps forward, staring the old man down. Its heavy, sharp hooves scrap the wooden floor as it walks. Taking a seat directly criss from the old man.

The man tosses his old flask across the room, face flushed with anger. "You dun gone an promised you'd fix my problem! I may not be book learned or even that smart. Heck I know I'm a simpleton, but I know a promise. So when are you goin to do it?"

Old Scratch chuckled at the old man's words. He spoke in a raspy voice "You are a fool my dear Joseph. I already did as you asked, you wanted to be alone. I kept my bargain, I delt with the rest."

The old man collapsed to the ground, hands over his eyes. "I wanted them gone! Not dead! That fortune brought me nothin but pain an sufferin. You took them all! My wife, loyal an lovin. My boy, simple and yet so happy. My.... My little girl, she weren't even old enuff to talk..." Tears ran down his old tormented face.

Old Scratch simply grinned, it was a nasty and vile grin. He stood, looming over the old man. "Oh yes your dear family... They didn't deserve the fate you layed upon them. Each one died because you were greedy."

The old man looked with a questioning look and spoke. "What do ya mean the fate I layed? I called on you to make them leave. I didn't say kill'em! I said...." Before he could finish, Old Scratch stomped his foot.

"You said what? You old fool! You said you wanted them gone! You didn't care how or what it took. You wanted that treasure all to yourself. I've taken many souls to my dark palace, each vile and depraved. Yet you... You are the one soul that truly disgusts me!"

The old man attempted to speak up but was cut off. "Your hands held the scythe that severed her beautiful head. It was your hands that held that poor boy's head under water. It was your hands that threw that dear child down the well..... I've done many vile things in my time, yet you disgust me."

The old man wept, his pain filled moans going unanswered. Old Scratch turned his back to the old man. He started towards the doorway, yet left with one final statement. "You are stricken by grief, sick in the head. You wish to hear some honesty? I am only in your head, you never summoned the real Old Scratch."

The old man looked up, seeing that he was indeed alone. Working his way to his feet, he stumbled into his bedroom. "Please my sweet sweet Susanna.... Please forgive me... Tell the childern I loved them.." A single shot could be heard.... The house fell silent.... It remained empty for years to come, no one dared live in the house that Old Scratch built.

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