Slowly the snow drifted along the sidewalks and streets as he strolled down his own path. Following no particular way but his own, he traveled. Knowing not his destination but only his outcome. His ideas were changed, his beliefs were diminished to that of nothing and his perception of reality was turned upside down. All he knew now was himself and that of his tendencies. His own nature was the only real and raw thing that he was able to hang on to. A life of mistreatment and abuse, his last actions displayed his true feelings.
"I should have stopped you in the womb. When I had the chance I should have taken it. YOU, were my worst mistake."
His mother screamed constantly, shaming him to that of nothing but guilt of being alive. It was a common ritual in his OLD household. Then tonight, with the quick flick of a wrist and the glisten of rose red, the shaming ended. The guilt stopped. Then with two more quick and swift movements he finished off what was left to remind him of his past. What would have been witnesses were nothing more than cold and bludgeoned heaps.
Ryan lived on the outskirts of the city. Wandering from house to house throughout his childhood he knew not much of the meaning of family. His parents were constantly sending him to foster families for a few weeks at a time then taking him back, only to get a few more pleasurable meetings with him. He was unwanted by all but himself and ignorant to the idea of remorse. He always knew one day, he alone, could stop all his pain and all his suffering but he wasn?t concerned with that right now. In fact, the only things that crossed his mind were, "Right foot, Left foot." It was all he thought of and it was all he spoke of as he walked.
He carried the rose red razor in his right hand and his left was clenched tight. His knuckles as white as the snow that surrounded him. His pajama pants and white tee shirt were all he wore. No shoes to protect his feet from the harsh winter cold and snow and no hat to warm his freezing head. His skin white as ivory, he continued. The sidewalks, which he traveled, turned from the gray new and well-kept asphalt to the black torn up tar. His journey had taken him from the outskirts of the city and into the heart of downtown. His sandy blonde hair seemed to dance in the wind, the curls whipping about at his forehead. Periodically he glanced to his side staring at windows of closed department stores, viewing the displays that had been so meticulously put together. Sometimes choosing right and sometimes choosing left, he crossed streets at his own abandon. Cars laid on their horns and people yelled, but he paid no attention. Those who came close to him he turned and glared at. Those who came too close left scared and afraid for themselves and their families. Even though he said nothing it was his look. His look alone scared those of the common soul. His look alone could frighten the most holy and the most agnostic. It was that of pure and raw hatred.
After traveling about 3 hours, he finally spoke. "Left here, then into the alley, thank you. Left here then into the alley, thank you."
What it meant, he didn?t understand and he didn?t care. He just followed his own instructions. He reached a corner near an old apartment home and turned left. The snow was now thick and layered on the ground. His pants were soaked and his tee shirt was starting to freeze. A little farther down he came upon an alley and took a right into it. There a man stood. Long black flowing trench coat with a black hat and suit and tie. He just stood there his coat unbuttoned and blowing in the wind. His head lowered as he stared at the ground.
"Welcome. I hope your journey was enjoyable. My name is Daimien. I am your angel, sent from heaven or hell, depending on how you look at it. But that isn?t important. I am the one who helped you tonight, and I am going to continue to do so with your permission," he spoke in a calm and soothing voice.
Ryan fell to his knees and dropped the razor into the snow. The stained blade began to bleed into the white, creating a circle of crimson red.
"My child I am here. This is what I am going to help you with. How to pay the dues that others can?t. You will be my "Tax Collector." There will be nothing you can?t do and nothing you can?t learn. You will creep along streets and into houses of those who owe. You will collect and I will show you how. You will not fail. You will gain strength, security and knowledge. Just give me your hand."
"I am yours. Teach me, love me, save me."
He stood and buried his face into the man?s chest. He cried. For the first time in years he cried. Somebody to love him was here. He wasn?t alone. He was wanted and he would be cared for. The man wrapped his hands around his new protégé. He comforted him and held him. He spoke to the child as if it was his own. The man smiled.
"Now we must leave this place. Come with me and we will start your training. You will now learn the ways of the wonderful, you will understand a new world." The boy looked at him and wiped off his face.
The two left hand in hand like father and son. From that time on Ryans life had been changed.
Years passed and the child grew from boy to man. He watched as people received their due punishments. Abusers were abused. Murderer?s were murdered. Those who owed paid. It was a matter of sweet revenge in a world that was as unjust as it is was corrupt.
"My boy, I have taught you all I can and now it is you who must finish unfinished business."
"I am ready. I thank you for all you have done for me. When my world had escaped me you presented me with a new one, a better one. One where people begin to learn from their mistakes and receive their just dues."
"There is a man on the corner of Carpenter and 157th Street just south of here. A well known abuser but wealthy enough to stay out of trouble. His children have had numerous accounts in the hospital and I think he owes us a little something. He should be prime for your first taste of collection. He owes me a lot, and well I just don?t think he can pay it. So you know what to do" he looked at the child. "Can you handle it?"
"Of course I can. I have watched you kill, maim, and strip men of their most prized possessions. I know every trick in the book plus some of my own." The child pushed his bangs out of his face and smiled. "I know exactly how the children feel. I also know exactly what I can do to help."
"Good, then change and be off." The man removed his hat and looked to the child.
"Before I go could you answer me one thing I have been meaning to ask for the longest time?"
"Yes. My eyes were taken from me when I was sent away."
"But why? What could you have done that would have caused somebody to do this to you?"
"My son I am sure that one day you will understand."
"Don?t you have a job to do? Now go get ready."
The boy left and went to his room. It was the first time his father wouldn?t answer a question of his. What could be so secretive that he would have to hide? What did he mean he would find out? Too many questions were entering his head. He had to clear his thoughts and prepare. He changed into some dark black pants with a dark muscle shirt. He grabbed his belt and strapped it on. He placed two .44?s at his waist and strapped a shotgun to his shoulder. He grabbed his coat and put it on. He was ready. Walking out he grabbed a large knife off the countertop and headed out the door. Outside he looked around and began walking. Heading south he followed the sidewalks. Again they turned from the black tar to the gray asphalt. He began to think again of his mentor?s eyes. What was his secret? What was he hiding.
Time passed and soon Ryan reached his destination. He looked the house over. A large white Victorian style house with a large front entrance and a back door that led to the basement. He walked around to the rear and looked through the window. All the lights were off except the main bedroom. He placed his head against the door and listened for a second.
"How many damn times do I have to tell you? Huh? What is it about you two that you just can?t seem to understand. When I say go to your damn room you do it. When I say go to bed you do it," the father screamed. Suddenly he heard a loud slap and the crying began. The yelling got louder and the loud slaps became more persistent.
"Dad…arrhhhhhhh….I was only going to the bath….arhhhhhhhh," the child tried explaining himself.
"Damn him. Damn him to hell," Ryan thought. "Time to handle business," Ryan slithered through the door and looked for the stairs. He quietly moved up and looked around. Blending into the shadows he passed the family dog and moved behind it.
"You aint about to give me up." With a quick, quiet movement the dog lay dead on the ground. Ryan grabbed a cloth from his coat and wiped off the knife. He knew that the people wouldn?t be able to see him if he didn?t want them to but animals were a different story. He learned that the family pet was always the first to go. Then he moved toward the stairs to the next level. The crying had stopped but the yelling hadn?t. Slowly he inched his way up. Step by step. Then suddenly he heard a creak.
"Shit," he whispered to himself.
"What was that? Who is down there? This none of your business. WHO IS THERE?!?" the father screamed. Scared and angry he reached in his dresser and grabbed his gun. "You have one last chance to let yourself be known. Otherwise you shall receive dire consequences."
Silent, Ryan stood there. He waited for the man to show his face around the corner. It was his time now to be the bearer of bad news. What the man had waiting for him was death. So he stood there and waited as the man slowly walked out of the room, his children sat silently.
"All right. That was your chance. I am coming and I have a gun…" the man was sweating. He had no clue what was going on. He knew he heard something and he knew it wasn?t just the wind. It waited for him and he didn?t know what it was. Slowly he looked around the corner of his door and saw nothing. So he continued, slowly gaining courage hoping it was just his imagination. From nowhere he heard a blast and fell backwards back into the room.
"Ha Ha. I just want to say bye before you leave your spot here on this earth," Ryan jumped from his spot pumping the shotgun again. The children looked at him and then to their father. The crying began. They jumped backwards behind the bed. Their father lay almost silent on the floor bleeding from his gut. Gripping at it vigorously, he attempted to stop the bleeding with his hands. The man then looked at him and lifted his gun firing two shots.
"Sir, do you honestly think that is going to work?" Ryan fired two more shots into the man?s legs.
"Your money is not what I want old man. It?s your life. You have created a hell on earth for the children which you brought here. Now I will bring you to a hell away from earth for you to endure the same that they do each and every night. I lived through it and now I free the abused, maimed and murdered. Any last words?" He cocked the shotgun one more time and stared deep into the mans eyes.
"I?ll see you in hell!"
The children ran to their father but it was too late. The blast was loud and the man?s head dropped to the ground silently. Then a child fell to the ground. Ryan wiped his face and looked to the fallen girl. She was grabbing her stomach, sitting silently.
"What the…!?! Hey…," Ryan ran to the little girl and lifted her up. He felt something terrible. What had he done? Something must have bounced and hit the girl. He didn?t mean to do it. It was an accident. And the girl fell silent. Her head bobbed backwards like a dying flower; her hands fell to her sides and she lay dead in his arms. Her clothes stained and her eyes open, staring directly at the ceiling. Then Ryan felt something leave him. He felt a cold presence. It was as though he was stripped of something, and then he fell to his knees.
"JESUS, what have I done? This wasn?t supposed to happen. This isn?t how it goes." Ryan cried once again for the first time in years. He cried and he watched as the girl?s brother cowered in the corner too scared to cry. Ryan looked to the boy, then to the mirror and tried to figure out exactly what kind of monster he was now. He looked away and turned his stare to the girl. Setting her down he reached in his belt and grabbed his other gun. He cocked it and put it to his chin.
"What kind of hell have I created for myself? What kind of hell have I created for this other child? What kind of hell do I live in?"
The boy looked at Ryan and began to cry himself. All emotions were running wild. Ryan stood on his knees shaking as he held the gun in his hands. His finger slowly moved to the trigger, and then the boy stood.
"No. Stop Mister. You can?t do that. You found yourself and now you have fix your wrong." The boy began talking about Ryan?s past and explaining everything that had ever happened to Ryan as a child. The boy went from shock to becoming a calm and mature man. He knew everything from the time he left his house to the time he met the man to the times he watched and learned to tonight before he entered this hell.
"How do you know this? What are you?" Ryan turned the gun on the child. "Who told you this?"
"Go ahead. Fire your gun. It will only bring me to my sister. In fact I ask you to pull the trigger." He paused. "All I can say is that you know what you must do and that if you don?t you will regret it for eternity." The boy finished and went back to his corner and sat down just staring. Staring at Ryan as if there were something else to him than what Ryan saw in himself. Ryan stared back and then stood up. He knew the boy was right. He had to do something. Something he should have done a long time ago. Ryan left. And he walked back to where it had all started. Back to the alley. Back to where he had met the man, and sure enough the man was there. Just standing and staring at the ground as he was when Ryan first met him. Calm and composed the man looked to Ryan.
"Good job. You did well for your first job. Sorry to hear about the girl but sometimes shit just happens. To make the omelet you need to break a few eggs."
"Good job? Break a few eggs? What the hell are you? Who the hell am I?" Ryan reached inside his coat and pulled out the shotgun again. "You have a few things to answer."
"What? You don?t like your job anymore. You used to love it. Seeing the abused get their just placement in hell. Seeing the cruel get punished and the murderers get murdered. You just couldn?t get enough. You couldn?t wait for your turn and now you don?t like it? I don?t understand?"
"Yeah, I used to love seeing the evil get their just dues and well now I understand that the entire time you were dealing punishment or as you put it, "Collecting what they owed", they were already getting it. They were saving themselves a spot in the afterlife of eternal pain."
"Oh…you mean hell. Well, yeah, I would see them there too but it was easier to put them there early before they could do any more damage."
"No, you wanted them there early so they couldn?t repent for their sins. You are the angel known to man and god as Lucipher. Daimien. Shit, I should have known. The call name for the devil is Daimien. You led me to your kingdom and made me your servant."
"Well when you look to be the devil?s right hand man you end up a servant of the black lord. In other words you were my bitch, and I didn?t even have to try. You were all for it. So what can I say, but thanks."
"What, you think that can hurt me? I live on no matter what you do. I live in the animals that roam the woods, I am the voices in the heads of the insane, I am the feeling in your gut that says, "Go ahead, slice your mom?s throat. She abused you physically, sexually, and mentally for so many years. You owed her along with the rest of your family and the world. Do it" Remember that voice Ryan? You do, don?t you? Yes, you remember it well."
"I also remember the voice that said I had something to attend to before I left. And that voice was just a little nicer than yours. Sorry, but burn in hell." Ryan lifted the gun and pulled the trigger.
Daimien flew backwards and hit the wall grabbing his stomach. Moaning he tried reaching in his pocket and Ryan fired another shot. Daimien?s head fell forward and his hand fell to the ground clenching something. Ryan walked to him to check his pulse and make sure he was dead. Then, when all was safe, he looked at his hand. What he found dropped Ryan to his knees. It was the razor with which he used to kill the ones he loved the most. He remembered everything that happened that night. How he began and how he finished. What he thought of as he did it and the feeling of power when he finished. Suddenly then, he heard something.
"Don?t move. Put your hands in the air where we can see them and drop the weapon."
Ryan looked and saw 5 police officers with their guns pulled and aimed directly at him. He knew it was his time to go. He knew there was nothing he could do and that if he stayed there would be no way to explain himself. He raised his shotgun to his chin and looked at the police.
"PUT THE GUN DOWN! Come on you don?t want to do this. This isn?t the way to go. Come on now just put the gun down." Slowly the police inched closer trying to convince him to put the gun down.
Ryan looked at them and saw something else. He looked harder and in the falling snow he could see the girl who he earlier killed by accident. The girl looked at him and smiled as she walked closer and approached him.
"Ryan, you did the right thing. We are proud of you. I don?t blame you for what you did. I forgive you and I only hope that you can forgive the people who hurt you. Otherwise you won?t make it here." She kneeled next to him.
"How…I thought you were….this isn?t….," Ryan stuttered and looked for an answer.
The police looked at him staring at nothing. They continued to try and convince him to put the gun down.
"Who the hell is he talking to and what is he looking at. SON put the gun down. NOW!" the police tried but Ryan heard nothing but the little girl?s voice.
"We have a place for you up here. Can you forgive and accept your punishment?" the girl looked at him placing her hands on the ground
"Yes. I forgive the debts of my debters. I forgive," Ryan cried and he felt something in his mouth. "I can?t…I..mmmhhh..ammmhhhh…," He couldn?t speak then he heard a voice in his head.
"Speak no evil; commit no evil."
Then his eyes began to burn and bleed. He screamed and the police just stared at him scared.
"What the hell is going on?"
Another cop looked at Ryan.
"I have no clue. This is really fucked up."
Then Ryan heard the voice again.
"See no Evil commit no Evil."
Then his hearing disappeared and the voice again appeared in his head.
"Hear no evil commit no Evil."
Then Ryan felt a soft touch to his cheek. It was the lips of the child and the voice appeared in head again.
"You may now enter. Come and live without fear, pain, and regret."
At this Ryan pulled the trigger and entered a world in which he thought could never exist. Ryan forgave and was forgiven. Ryan was changed and forever he would watch and care for the girl who saved him.
"From The Depths of Hell He Arose, An Armed Angel."