Note: Here we are…after several weeks of powering through this new short story, we are nearing the thrilling conclusion. These next few chapters will be coming out quite quickly so stay on the lookout because if you don’t, you just might miss it! Here is where the action starts to pick up, and where most of the theory fodder lies so get reading! I’m excited to see what you might find.
Inside the chariot, I was restrained by guards on both sides for the whole ride, and when the horses with what seemed like manes of fire came to a stop, a bag was slipped over my head.
I was roughly “helped” out of the chariot and was led up rickety wooden steps and through a gateway, or at least that’s what I could tell from my other senses that remained unprohibited.
After a little while of walking, my escorts stopped me abruptly and pulled the bag off of my head.
Before me, a massive bamboo door lined with rows of wooden spikes and teeth that smelled of blood. It was evident that someone had been impaled here, many someone’s.
I felt footsteps from just beyond the door, I felt them draw nearer and then the door slowly creaked open, just beyond the door lay what I imagined to be the nightmarish realm of the man who was evidently the dark one.
The guards gave me a nudge, and I entered the room. The room itself was nothing special, not a marble chamber filled with ducts of lava and extravagantly decorated walls (which is what I had originally envisioned for the realm of the Darkness), but a quaint little bamboo chamber with windows that stared out into the expanse of the jungle and a long table at the center. Stationed along the walls were several large statues of deities I had remembered seeing back home.
Then, I saw the man. A tall, rather lanky fellow with piercing green eyes and hair as black as night. He sat clad in expensive silk woven into a crease-less suit, somehow darker shade of black than his raven-haired head. He sat at one end of the table pouring tea into a little clay cup surrounded by guards and accompanied by a small briefcase and pen. My escort cleared his throat, breaking the silence. The man in black looked up, and smiled. It wasn’t warm or pleasant in the slightest, but at the moment any human smile would have sufficed.
“I do apologize, Mr. Walker, for the rather obsolete mode of transportation I utilized in getting you here. It was pretentious and ancient and won’t happen ever again. I often try to hold myself to higher standards Henry, but alas, I suffer from a deadly fascination with drama, and I’m sure even you can tell that a chauffeured limousine wouldn’t have had the same dramatic effect upon entry into the ruffian encampment and would’ve clashed with the forest atmosphere tremendously. ” The man in black explained. He jumped up from his seat, straightened his tie and stretched out a hand towards me. I was taken aback, and it took an awkwardly long time before I registered what was happening and I commanded a response from my body. I stretched out my hand. He clasped it firmly and shook it before abruptly letting go and striding back over to his seat. “Beckert! Leave, now. Mr. Walker and I have matters of importance to discuss and I’m afraid your hulking physique represents the only form of strength you possess. Physical.”
“Of course, My Darkness.” My captor who had driven me here bowed and exited the room. After he had left, it was just me and this man they called the Darkness. Well, to be fair there were about a dozen other guards lined along the sides of the room next to the strange idols, but somehow they didn’t seem to count as people.
The man in black beckoned me closer with his left hand, and I slowly came forth. He was an imposing man, but he didn’t fit the bill as the blood-thirsty Hades I had imagined. He looked just like a man, in fact, it was scary how much he resembled one.
“Darkness,” he sighed. “I never really liked that title. It’s a demonizing moniker given to me by those heartless brutes that occupy my island. Unfortunately many among my men here are ex-tribals who I brought out from their primitive lives and so I put up with that name daily. To these fools a good man is termed a god and a man who they perceive to be bad is a demon. To those tribals you encountered, I am far worse than bad. To them, I am evil, a malignant spirit, darkness incarnate…hence the name.”
The man noticed my apparent terror and confusion, to which he responded with a hearty laugh. “Oh please, Mr. Walker! Won’t you sit down?”
I sat down, quite reluctantly, and took deep breaths as I wrapped my mind around the situation. I was here, on an island paradise infested with clans of warring cannibals, run by a man who demanded human sacrifice, who the natives called the Darkness, and I was sitting at a table’s length away from him.
“Let’s talk, Henry. I’m not a demon or the darkness, in fact I might just be worse, but regardless, my real name is Mr. Blacke, and for the sake of modesty let’s just say that I’m a bit of a media tycoon. I run a successful enterprise and so I end up with a lot of questions, money, and free time.” Mr. Blacke leaned back in his chair and took a sip of tea. “Do you know what happens when businessmen like me get bored? Do you? We all cope differently, and I was no exception. I coped by purchasing a little chain of islands and bribing myself the contents of a small county jail. Strange way of coping I know, but bear with me. I got myself a handful of criminals and stuck ‘em on a little island with nothing but the clothes on their back, just to see what they would do. You’d be surprised how many took a leap into the afterlife in the first few months, but as the years went on the convicts began to digress. They turned from already filthy people to primitive monsters. I reigned over them, and as they grew more and more like their ancestors they turned me into a god, and made me the center of their lives. I began adding variables like the sacrifices, the ruins, and the clans. I restricted the resources, took away what little food my men provided to them and now I’ve got this pretty sweet set-up out here where not a single sane mind trods. Why did I do all this? Well, as I said…billionaires get bored, don’t they? I had questions and fantasies. I wondered what would happen when men were placed on an island where everything told them to become monsters, and surprisingly enough, most of them succumbed and became what they needed to be to survive. It’s quite an enjoyable little game actually, you should try it some time.” Blacke halted, quite obviously out of breath. “I’ve given you all of this Mr. Walker and yet there is one thing remaining for me to say. Mr. Walker, welcome to hell.”
Hell? My heart began to quicken. I had never really considered what I would feel in this moment. I had imagined what it would look like, but never could I formulate the fear that takes a hold of you when you are told that you’ve reached the end of the line.
“I apologize Henry, for just spewing that all out. To be fair, as the Darkness I don’t get to talk to intellectual equals…of sorts. I keep company only in my friends on the islands, the prisoners turned beasts by my rogue experiment. I call ‘em my demons. Fitting isn’t it? Now I know I don’t have to regale you with tales of their nature, but I will tell you this…they complete me. They are my beastly little reminders that I’m not the only one rotting in this hellish existence.” For a fleeting moment I saw a deep sorrow in the cold man. His expression and eyes portrayed a profound sense of sadness, his eyes cried out as the eyes of a victim of a paradoxical existential crisis. However, after a short pause his eyes narrowed once again into his regular snakelike form. He took a deep breath, clapped his hands together, and smiled that reptilian smile. “Alright then. Let’s talk business.”
I was still shocked, gripped with fear to a point where my tongue felt no motivation to move. My mind went blank, and all I could do was remain frozen in terror. The man’s jerky, doll-like movements and horrifying dark smile were terrifying enough, but now hearing of the evil in his heart, I felt prepared to die once more.
“I can see that you are afraid. Good, fear is a good friend of mine.” The man said. “Excuse me? Excuse me? Mr. Walker.”
“You’re…You’re him. If this is hell…then you’re him.” I stammered, just barely keeping my footage on the path.
“Relax Henry. I’m not Hades, I’m a visionary with a plan. Mr. Blacke, Blacke Worldwide Media, not part-time lord of hell. Even if I were, I would tell you that you aren’t heading to the pit just yet, because of the one plea you made when you went over the side of the docks. Do you remember it, Henry?” Blacke inquired.
I thought for a moment, not able to recollect my exact final thoughts. Whatever they were, they certainly seemed important to this man in black, so I did my best to remember. In fact, this moment made me wonder exactly how a sadistic businessman knew what my final wish had been. I tried me best, but it was to no avail as before I could really think for a bit, Blacke cut in.
“Anything.” Blacke shouted. “You said, you promised! You promised that you would do anything to have another go at life.” The Darkness slowly walked forward. “You felt in your dying moments that you could’ve done better, that you had wasted away 25 years with drink and purposeless merriment. You felt that you became that way because life dealt you a bad hand, that your crazy father and your absent mother turned you into this mess. You had the chance to repent when the preachers tried to talk to you, but as I recall, you beat them in a drunken rage. Isn’t that right, Henry? You could have repented, but you didn’t. Instead of asking my benevolent competition for a second chance, you turned to me. Well pal, it’s your lucky day.”
“No. No no no! I want out of here. I don’t want anything more, and I certainly don’t want to be left here on this island. I don’t want to die, and I don’t want to go to hell.” I shouted, backing away even faster.
“You see, those were a series of wishes that cannot all be granted at once. No one can leave this place, not even me.” Blacke walked forward. “I’m a slave to my hunger for death. I’m a bondservant to my ambition to watch chaos take over the mind and body.”
Mr. Blacke continued to pace around the bamboo hut. While I wanted to believe that he was just a man, just another bloodthirsty psychopath, and that this was just a bamboo hut, my mind had already begun creating nightmarish hallucinations of the floor opening up to reveal fiery pits filled with flesh eating worms and sinners. Snakes writhed about deep within the pits, and Flesh Worms were chewing away at the bodies, squirming within the corpses. As my mind painted these graphic images, Blacke continued to chip away at my sanity moment by moment.
“There there, Henry. I know what you’re seeing, what you’re feeling. I feeel it too, every day. However, there’s some good news, something that is sure to lift your spirits. You can prolong your suffering, if you hear me out on this fascinating new business proposal I’ve been working on.” Mr. Blacke returned to his chair and took a seat. “I can ship you off this hell and put you right back in the heart of the world, for a price.”
I couldn’t believe it! A man who might as well have been Hades himself was giving me a second chance. Trust me, I wasn’t too excited about any of the options whether it was book it, listen to the devil’s proposition, or rot in hell…but out of all of these listening to Blacke’s proposition seemed like my best bet.
“So here’s my two pence worth, Henry; I’m growing bored once more, and it would so delight me so to see chaos be born out there in what people call ‘the real world.’ I want to see death, I want to feel the pain of the people, and I want to witness the destruction of people’s faith and hope in a better life. However, I’m unwilling to get down to the level of peasants and choke out their life within their own neighborhoods. I want a man darker than I to be my representative, and that representative would be let off this island and given a second chance.”
“Wait. A second chance?” My ears instantly perked up, still quite unable to believe in such mercy.
“Yes Henry. A second chance. Of course, this second life comes with running a pretty big errand for me. I want you to represent me back home. You must agree to be my slave and ambassador back on the land upon which you tread. You’ll plunder, kill, and destroy. All so I can have the satisfaction of watching people burn.”
“What happens to me if I agree to this?” I asked, honestly quite intrigued.
“You get your second chance, and you influence many more to join the winning team. Mine.” The Darkness said. “That, and a bunch of other stuff you’ll get in touch with…once you sign the contract.”
“Why now? Why hasn’t your ambassador-man already been sent up if you’ve had these desires for so long?” I inquired, suddenly skeptical about what could be a terrible decision.
“In short, there are two reasons; to watch the mental breakdown of society as a result that you as my murderous arm, and to stamp out the movements of the competition. The competition and I have a history, not one that I am willing to get into at this moment. What you need to know is this: My associates have discovered that the opposition could be making quite a groundbreaking move, and that the time has come for them to send forth their champion. In return, I’m picking mine.”
I was flooded with several thoughts and emotions, and soon I ended up with a dilemma. Sign this contract, and I could become a living example of Dr.Faustus, the man who sold his soul to the devil. On the other hand, I’ve got a life to live, and choices to make. All I would be doing is postponing my eventual fate, but then again, is that such a bad thing? Maybe if I accomplish something I’d like to in my second chance, it wouldn’t be so bad if I finally bite the dust and end up as Blacke’s property.
With this chapter begins the real thinking, which I am often notoriously known for. Before beginning this series, in promotional material, I discussed how this story has a lot more beneath it than meets the eye, and here I wanted to start you off with some basic questions that can lead you down a path to learn a lot more from this short story. Try and keep these questions in mind when you read.
- Blacke is without a doubt a dark man with darker impulses. What do you think is the significance of Mr. Blacke’s obsession with seeing carnal nature reflected in humans? Why do you think he bought that island just to build a torturous existence way out in the middle of nowhere? What does pain mean to him?
- In an allegorical sense, who does Mr. Blacke reflect in your life or in the stories you have heard? (Specifically the Bible)
- What do these events remind you of? The Devil’s Advocate is an allegory, so what do the events portrayed in this chapter symbolize?
- Do you have any theories what exactly is taking place in the Devil’s Advocate? There’s quite a bit of enigmatic moments, and I’d like you to think about what exactly they mean to you.