Note: Chapter 6 is here, and has already been followed up with a brief conclusion chapter (Chapter 7 out now :). It’s a little sad, but the Devil’s Advocate is now coming to a close with these final 2 chapters. Enjoy!
“Is it dead?” A voice whispered.
“Don’t know. Let’s poke it with a stick, maybe it’ll wake up.” Another responded
“I don’t know if we should do that. What if he’s just asleep?” One of the voices said worriedly.
“I don’t believe he is. He doesn’t seem to breathing.”
“There’s an iron rod over here. Maybe we can give him a little nudge.”
I felt a cold, metal beam muzzle up against my rib cage. It was a familiar feeling, in fact, too familiar. My fatigue faded and my eyes fluttered open. Standing over me were two kids, maybe 12, and they were prodding my motionless body with an iron rod stained with blood.
I bolted up with a start. I forcefully grabbed the rod and instantly, I remembered where it was from. It was the same rod the harbor patrol brothers had murdered me with on the docks. I looked around and noticed that I was on a tiny strip of sand beneath the pier that I had been flung off of in the killing. To my left, were the same waters that I had drowned in, and to my right, the foundation of the pier.
The two kids were startled, and they fell back into the sand. They began to crawl away, but caught them both by their collars and spun them around to face me.
The sheer look of terror on their faces were enough to worry me. For the first time, I really noticed that something was off, specifically about how I was seeing the world. Everything seemed to have a darker tint, as if looking through blackened glass. It wasn’t just due to the darkness of the night, for even the moon appeared an orb of darkness.
The kids began to cry, bawling so tremendously that I became worried of detection under the pier.
“Sir please. We didn’t know. Don’t kill us. Don’t kill us.” One of them pleaded.
I waited, confused at this response. “Wait here.” With the rod in hand, I rushed over to the water’s edge and stared down at my reflection. When I saw it, even I felt repulsed by the sight of me.
Dark veins had taken root around my eyes, which were just like the eyes of the primitive beasts I had seen on the island. They were hollow, and black.
My face was covered in odd markings drawn in war paint and from my mouth oozed a tiny stream of dark discharge.
I turned back around to look once more at the horrified children who looked pale and as if they had seen a ghost, and according to the unfolding situation, they had. I walked back over to them, kneeled down, and smiled.
Call me sick, but I found a certain sense of pleasure in frightening the life out of these children. I spent years being tossed around, abused like a rag doll, and suddenly I felt good about being so bad. Maybe it was time that others felt the kind of pain I did on a daily basis, and doing ill of others gave me a feeling of power and authority. Before, all I had was fear and inferiority. For the first time in my life, I felt the rush of being the tormentor and not the tormented.
Voices. Two, unmistakably familiar voices were coming from above my head. I heard the thumping of footsteps on the wooden docks above, and I heard one of them open up a bottle of beer.
“Luckily those fool patrolmen didn’t dig too deeply into the tramp’s disappearance.” One of the voices said.
“Yeah, lucky. We should probably get down there and check for the body, to make sure it hasn’t turned up somewhere on the beaches.” The other responded.
“If he has, then that could spell trouble for us. Let’s drink to the death of that fool Henry and check for his corpse.”
“If the ocean spit that disgusting man back out, then we can burn the body and pray that God doesn’t take mercy on his soul.”
My heart quickened, pounding within my chest like the rhythmic marching of hundreds of troops. My blood boiled, and the black, root-like veins under my eyes were contracting and expanding as more dark liquid began to pour from the spaces in my teeth.
“This is it. This is your rite of passage.” A low, raspy voice said. I felt a gentle tap on my shoulder, and startled, I spun around wildly and threw my fists at a dark figure who was standing behind me. “Yield Henry. We’ve met.”
The world came into focus, and I stared into the dark eyes of a handsome young man, who was clenching my fist calmly.
“Who are you?” I asked, retrieving my fist from the attacker’s grasp. “My eyes adjusted to the light, and saw the clearly outlined figure of Mortimer Grimm.
“I’m here to help you on these remaining,” Grimm glanced at a watch on his wrist. “Ten years that you have to live as the Devil’s Advocate.”
“A watch told you that?”
“No, our employer did. The watch just adds a cinematic element.” Grimm pulled the cuffs of his jacket back over the watch before snatching the iron rod from my hand. “So this is the feeble thing that brought you to us. Embarrassing truly.”
“Very funny Grimm.” I said, still quite enraged at the conversation unfolding above our heads. “In any case, I have a question for you. What did you mean by a’ rite of passage’.”
“Excellent question Henry, but this a question for your eyes and ears only.” Grimm motioned at the children. “Get lost brats.”
The two boys sprung to their feet and took to their heels. A wise choice. If I still had control over my free will, I would’ve bolted from this conversation long ago, but I was held in place by some unseeable force.
“Now that that’s taken care of…where was I?” Grimm asked.
“Rite of passage.”
“Yes, of course. As our champion, your mission here is not just to influence sin, but to make sure that people…”
“Die?” I asked expectantly.
“Die, sin, indulge in all that darkness has to offer. All of that, and the most important thing. You want people to rot mentally, their willpower must be destroyed and their patience killed. Only then will our boss be happy.”
“There’s a question I meant to ask you.” I said in response. “Why? Why all of this? Why does Blacke go to such lengths to do this?”
“Businessmen get bored and employees don’t ask questions. He has his reasons, I have mine, and you have yours. It’s a threeway triangle of secrecy. Let’s not proceed to question, but only live in the here and now as advocates for sin and what better way to kick off your glorious days as the Devil’s Advocate than to settle old scores.” Grimm smiled and pointed to the dock above us, where those two familiar voices were still having a laugh together.
“You want me to…” I began, my heartbeat racing once again.
“Yes, exactly. What you’re feeling right now is wrath, vengeance. Feels good? Doesn’t it?” Grimm said, using his finger to wipe off some of the black fluid off of my chin. He admired it in the light of the moon before flicking drops of it to the ground.
Grimm was right, a spirit of vengeance certainly felt amazing. Satisfying. It had an unparalleled effect on the mind and body that downsized all forms of reason and logic, only making way for wrath to control you. There was nothing hindering me from thinking of doing every random destructive thing that popped into my head, as if my conscience had taken a leave of absence. I knew that a conscience kept people grounded, but I didn’t have a desire to be grounded anymore. Something had happened to me, and now I craved for bloodshed and mayhem.
“Bible-thumping lunatics will tell you that vengeance is the Lord’s, but we don’t serve their master. Get up there Henry. Get a taste of that vengeance for yourself. Do it! Kill, kill, kill!” Grimm’s voice began at a calm, assertive tone, but now his voice grew distorted and monstrous as he egged me on. Dark streaks appeared on his face as my vision grew even more clouded until I could see virtually nothing but infinite darkness. I was blinded by rage, an unholy thirst for blood.
Last thing I remember was violently taking the rod back from Grimm, and then, the world went dark.
My vision returned sometime later, and I regained my sight with no recollection of what had happened. I was lying on the dock, looking up at the stars. I slowly sat up, and I saw that Grimm was standing off to the corner.
He laughed maliciously and beamed from ear to ear saying, “There he is! There’s our champion!”
I got up and rubbed my eyes. Grimm patted me on the shoulder warmly, and continued to laugh. He congratulated me and kept clapping, calling me ‘The Dark Champion.”
I took a step back, but I stepped on something that wasn’t rotting wooden planks. It felt soft and strange. I lifted my foot and turned around, and to my shock, the bodies of the harbor patrol brothers lay bloody and lifeless on the pier.
I gasped, while Grimm came over and gave one of the corpses a triumphant kick.
“Well? What are you waiting for? Let’s toss these over the edge, just as they did to you.” Grimm said, lifting Jerry and flinging his lifeless body into the sea. I waited, thinking about what I had just done. Something deep inside told me I should feel more pain and guilt, but something else shrugged it off and told me to rejoice in this milestone.
I took hold of Dan’s body, and filled with a sense of accomplishment and victory, I tossed it over the edge and watched as it sunk into the waters below.
“My friend, why so morose? Be glad! You’ve been reborn. You’ll now go by a new name, a new identity, and you’ll go about life with a new purpose. You’re no longer ‘just some tramp’. You’re something greater, an object of fear…our champion. The Devil’s Advocate.” Grimm laughed once more and walked away, leaving me to finally have a moment to breath.
“May the Darkness have mercy on your soul,” I looked over the edge and smiled, as if my tormentor’s ears could hear me as they sunk beneath the waves.
“Tell me, Henry, are you afraid of the dark?” Grimm asked.
“Not anymore,” I responded.
“Good answer, but the truth is, everyone else on this rock is. The Darkness is the father of fear, because I’ve never met someone who fears the Light. As advocates for Darkness, we spread fear. Why? When people fear, they sin. When people sin, they fear.”
It worried me a little, but I liked the sound of everything this deal enclosed, well, except for the whole return to hell after ten years catch. Otherwise, it was a solid offer. Do the devil’s bidding and in return finally have the power to do something, anything.
I could get used to this. The killing, the sadistic acts, I could get used to it all. I could get used to being…
The Devil’s Advocate.