Why hello there humans. How the devil are you? Ignore that mess over there, he once told a joke that offended some, so I have exploded him. It sounds extreme, I know, but there is no place for mistakes in your world. Behold the new rules on earth; make a mistake and be damned forever! Just excuse the sticky bits as you sit down; I am not sure they will wash out; blood and human can be quite tricky to clean. You can trust me on that, I know. I literally have a T-shirt that says, ’Blood is a shit to clean; don’t anger me.’
So, you are no doubt wondering why I have collected you. Why have I asked you all to gather here? What could be so important as to take a little time from your daily lives? What’s the deal, old Beelzebub? Well, cough, cough, I want to play a game! That was my best Jigsaw puppet voice! Did you like it? Well, fuck it, I thought it was great. Do not fear though! Your life is in no danger, yet. This will be purely for fun. So are you sitting comfortably, my human friends? If you are, then we shall begin.
I get the blame for many things. Did the kettle run out of water? Damn you Satan! No loo roll in the bog? For fucks sake, Lucifer! A country gets bombed to dust? Oh, they must have worshipped Ol’ Nick. It is all bollocks. You know it is complete codswallop as well as I do. Yet still, you all do it. You pin all your problems on me. So we are here, and I am before you on this stage, and I will tell you some stories. A collection of musings, a torrent of tales, all for your amusement. See, I am good like that, and I shall amuse, entertain, and teach. Hopefully… The stage is set, and I, your host, am almost ready.
I shall be telling you many anecdotes, accounts, and tales. And within these stories, I shall introduce you to some humans who have blamed me for their misdeeds in the past. At the end of my presentation, everyone will be on this stage, and I shall reveal to you who I made commit the awful deeds. I shall reveal who I have controlled for all this time. Oh, the Devil made me do it, they screamed. Mwuhahhahhhah.
The Patient and the Therapist.
The therapist, Ferguson, sat alone at her desk and shuffled through her paperwork. She pushed her feet forward under the desk and stretched out her legs. The papers fluttered in the light breeze that came through the open window, and she sighed as she placed a paperweight upon them. A new client, this new patient, had been quite insistent upon seeing her. She would have refused, but the money was good, and who doesn’t need a little extra cash? She took him on at the last minute; what harm could it do anyway? She needed the money for her side project.
Ferguson jumped as a series of bangs suddenly boomed outside the office door. They were quickly over; almost as soon as they had started, she scrambled from her desk and sharply to her feet. She heard something falling, something that flumped to the ground good and hard. She was startled; she knew some building work was due, but she had not expected it today. It had to have been that. She tentatively stepped forwards and away from the desk and made her way to the door, heel after heel, getting more fearless as she progressed. She shook her head as she walked and tried to shake the idea that she had been spooked by a little commotion. The bangs were brief and had now, thankfully, stopped. She approached the door and reached for the handle; she then jumped backwards at the quick bangbangbangbang. Her heels slipped momentarily, and she almost fell before managing to rebalance herself at the last moment.
Why am I so twitchy!
The second series of bangs had been someone knocking at her door, albeit loudly and with more force than was needed. The subsequent knocks were quieter and more like what she usually expected. She stepped forward, grasped the handle and pulled the door open, determined not to be startled by knocking again. A man stood outside the door with his hand in the air, clenched into a fist; he was just getting ready to knock again. “Hello?” she asked.
“Hi, I am your one-o-clock,” the man answered politely.
The man stood before her at just over six and a half feet. He towered over her short frame, even with her wearing medium-high heels. She steadied herself mentally for a moment and took the opportunity to pluck his name from her memory. It took just a microsecond; it was something she was good at, and then she had it. “Mr Davies?” she queried. The man held his hand forward to shake hers. She took his hand and gave it a firm but friendly jiggle; she smiled as she did so. “Yes, Dr Ferguson, your receptionist told me to come straight up. Something about the buzzer not working?” he said. She stood for a moment, confused. It was the first she had heard of it, then she thought, what the hell, and gestured for Davies to come inside.
Mr Davies took a step forwards but not before calling down the hallway, “I’ll be back soon, brother,” he hollered. His accent was one she could not place; brother sounded more like ‘brudda’. “So, Doctor, How do we do this?” Davies asked.
“Well, you take a seat, and then we talk.”
Ferguson offered the chair closest to the door, and she took the one opposite. They both sat; Davies kept his coat on, fidgeted a little, and settled. She had invested in good armchairs, as she believed if someone was comfortable, they would open up. She liked to let them talk, just wander and let the thoughts out themselves. “Tea?” she asked. Davies just shook his head. She did not offer coffee. Caffeine could heighten anxiety, and she sensed that this man was tense enough already. She was glad he had declined, as it would have meant walking to her receptionist as she now had been told the buzzer was broken.
“So, Mr Davies, what can I do for you?” Ferguson liked to think of the question as a bit of a tap with a mental hammer. It was pitter-pattering that tightened bolt of anxiety, just enough to nudge it into… “Do you believe in good and evil, Doc?” And there it was, knocked slightly, and the bolt loosens and unscrews. “I work with science. I believe people are ill. Good and evil? That’s more religions department.” Davies laughed at this, and she felt like a partygoer left out of the joke. Was the joke on her? No, it couldn’t be. “So, what about killing for the greater good?” Davies followed up. His chuckle had subsided, and he sat again, concentrating on her. “Death penalty? Capital punishment and the like? No, I don’t. Killing people because of an illness? Because of something we do not understand? It’s abhorrent.”
“No, I meant if you could kill Hitler. Travel back in time and kill the Führer before he began. Would you do it?” She thought this over, not because it was a question that deserved a lot of thought, as the idea was absurd. She sat and gave it due consideration because she was worried that this man was using her to validate something he wanted to do; or something he had already done.
Is he planning to kill someone and claim it was for the greater good?
“It seems irrelevant, as you can’t travel in time,” was how she chose to reply. She watched Davies, and she looked for any hint or action that would cause her to end this. He smiled and then asked, “Sure, so what if you could kill the next Hitler? What if you could stop a genocide before it started?”
“There is no precognition, no way to know if someone is good or bad. History tells us that by the time we know, by the time we can really know, it is already too late.”
Davies smiled at her reply. His smile was disarming and friendly. It was the type of smile a member of the bar staff might give an old regular. “Yes, I am sure you are right,” he said. Ferguson smiled back and sighed inside herself as she seemed to have dodged a bullet. He had visibly relaxed in the chair, and tenseness in his eyes had departed. “Murder is murder, and you can never be sure. What if you, for example, killed the next Einstein? What if you murdered Van Gogh? Slaughtered Mozart?” she said.
“You can never know,” Davies said with a force she had not expected. It was almost like a role reversal, and he tried to convince her! “How about this?” he said, and his voice had returned to its original calmer tone. She glanced briefly at the clock on the wall and groaned, in her head, when she realised it had only been ten minutes. Davies was a random talker, and how she hated the aimless, wandering, rambling talkers. It meant that she had to concentrate and pay attention. She liked it when they talked but didn’t hide their feelings in knots of deception.
Just say you want to fuck your neighbour, sodomise the pool boy, run away with the maid and start anew; I can deal with that.
“So, two people walk into a building. Let’s say father and son, but it could be anyone. Any two people,” Davies said.
“You don’t want to talk about greater goods?” Ferguson asked, hoping she had steered him from the subject. “I’m getting there,” he answered.
Please, please, oh please, get there quickly. I knew this was a bad idea, and I need to be ready for the experiment in ninety minutes.
“They walk in and bang; they start shooting everything up. Pew pew left and right, plant pots explode, plasterboard pops, and lights shatter. Then there is the blood.” Davies paused.
“So this is the evil?” Ferguson asked. “This is the evil to your good?” She stressed the final two words. She was trying to implant the idea of Davies being good. Driving at him to be good and having the power to do so. Attempting to force the idea, to make him doubt himself. “No,” Davies said, “you misunderstand. He is good.” Like slipping on her heels, this blindsided her for just a moment. She had not expected that answer. “But, then why?” she asked without her usual confidence and was honestly curious.
“Well, he is on a mission,” Davies answered, like it was the most natural thing in the world.
Ferguson took a moment. “But he will be caught.” No could be, no maybe, he would be caught. She was trying to push an idea again. He would be caught. There was no doubt that he would be captured. “So?” Davies said. “He is there to complete his mission. Once that is done, then so be it. He will be happy. His job is complete, and he has done what was asked of him.” The therapist took a breath as she wanted to gather her thoughts into one collective before replying. “Asked of him? Who asked it of him?” she enquired.
“Why an angel, of course!” Davies said this as if the answer was as simple as the one times table or as evident as the masked serial killer in an eighties slasher. He almost scoffed as he said it, as if the answer was so apparent that the question was nonsense. An angel, this was a new one for her. She had thought she had heard it all, but this was something different. “Why would an angel ask you to do that?” she asked. “Aren’t angels the good ones?” Davies paused for a moment. She wondered if his confidence and thoughts were drifting slightly.
“I think,” he stopped again before continuing, “God was always a violent bastard. Smiting, floods, countless deaths. Maybe this is how he works now?” The ‘maybe’ was good, Ferguson thought; the ‘maybe’ was something. Was he starting to question himself? Ferguson hoped she had made him question himself with just a little prodding and a dabble of pulling. It was not much, but it was a progress of sorts. Like many steps through the ages, progress is quickly followed by a slap in the face, and you find yourself back where you started. Or worse, sitting on your arse looking at the starting line. “Who are you, or I, to question the word of an angel?” Davies snapped back; his confidence had returned with a vengeance.
“I’d have thought that helping the person see the error of their ways would have been the more Christian thing to do,” Ferguson stated. It was a statement rather than a question because she did not want to give him the room to wiggle free. She was unsure if he was actually dangerous, but why, she supposed, take the risk? “God is an arsehole,” Davies replied with newfound certainty. “Sometimes the hammer is more effective than a carrot.”
“So you believe with no questions asked? You are just following orders?” Ferguson said. “No questions? How do you question the word of an angel?” Davies sat up in the chair after declaring, “Remember the blood our guy has seen? So what does he do?” Ferguson pondered the question. She lets her mind wander back to where they were when blood was mentioned. “Ah, shooting, and then blood,” she said, “so he does not care about getting caught? Then I presume he finishes the job and shoots the person dead, or just ignores them. He does not care.”
Davies closed his eyes and let his eyes roll under the lids for a moment. “What? Shit no, why would he do that?” he asked, shocked.
“Well, you said he does not care about getting caught.” Ferguson answered. “But the victim was innocent. They were not the target.” Davies said, horrified at the thought. “It was an accident. He gets down on the floor, puts pressure on the wound, and then finds something to tie around it.” Davies stopped for a moment and then looked at Ferguson with disgust. “Jesus. He is the good guy, and you think it is okay to kill innocents? Fucking hell.”
“I think, Mr Davies, that we are done here,” Ferguson said as she started to stand. She had other things to worry about and to be frank, Davies was boring her. “Sit down,” Davies said with an authoritative tone and volume to rival the earlier knocks at her door. She looked at him, and he pulled a gun from his coat, pointed the barrel in her direction and then tipped it to the chair. “Sit, please,” he said with a calmer tone. He had her attention now and did not need to raise his voice.
“Mr Davies, I really…” Davies fired the gun. The bullet flew from the barrel and into her leg. It ripped the skin and flesh from bone as it exploded from the other side and into the chair. “Sit down,” Davies said with a calmness of voice.
“Nicky!” Ferguson screamed out. She called for her receptionist. The pain rocketed, but self-preservation took over. The pain could be controlled, the man in her office, of that she was now not so sure. “Nicky…” She yelled again.
“She is fine. My brudda has her,” Davies said calmly. “It was an accident. She’ll be okay,” he continued with calm but forcefulness in his voice. He spoke as a man who knew he was right and could win an argument because he had facts on his side. “She’ll be okay?” Ferguson spat out. The disgust and horror mixed together and gave her words a fight and snap that she usually kept private. This was her inner voice coming out to play. She pushed her hands down on the wound in her leg. It was painful but not as bad as she would have imagined. She put this down to shock and adrenaline flowing through her body as one. “Two people enter a building….” She paused. “You were telling me what will happen? You think you’ve been sent by an angel?”
Davies continued in the same vein as before; he ignored her questions and stayed on mission. “Doctor Jane Ferguson. You will, in three weeks, crack the emersion paradox. This will cause the worlds to collide.”
“What the fuck are you on about?” Ferguson protested, but she knew. Oh yes, she knew. The conviction had long departed her voice, and the protest was just going by the numbers. She was doing what she thought was needed, even though it was a lie.
But how can he possibly know?
“You destroy the worlds through your actions. I can’t allow that to happen. I have been tasked to stop you.”
Ferguson had one final thought, and she voiced it. “Have you ever considered that…” The bullet tore through her face and ripped the back of her head clean off; her death was instantaneous, the bullet, brain, and bone shattering into one as her body fell back into the chair. Davies walked from her and to the office door, “All clear, brudda?” he called out.
“All clear,” came the reply.