Whenever I think of Death, I picture a fleshless form, buried inside a hovering and torn black cloak; a face with gaunt features and sunken eye sockets, empty of emotion and meat, long, knuckled fingers cradling skulls like infants, while the dead behind him sing. And then I remember it’s the twenty-first century and that he might come as a handsome man wearing a black suit, driving a black, classic shiny Chevy Bel Air and drinking Dalmore whiskey from crystal-made glasses, the kind that ring when you snap them with your finger.
I never pictured him like this.
There’s only one thing I like about this world, and that’s the sky. The feeling of soaring above anything that holds you down, of touching the endless blue hue with wings that are not even your own, of effortlessly gliding—hanging, lingering—between two worlds, one so different than the other. The way you can see how small you are: a speck drowning in all the vastness; the way you can realize how suffocating, imprisoning even, this immensity can be. When you hover between sea and sky, you see the war, the battlefield raging between them– both are fighting, trying to produce the deepest, clearest blue. And I am hanging in the ceasefire zone.
Everything is burning. But I can’t see the flames. I can only see blackness – dark, swirling, suffocating, it embraces my eyes steadily, cuddling me like a mother does her child. For a moment, everything is quiet and cozy and warm, enough for me to feel like this darkness isn’t, after all, that bad. But then it starts with a scream. And another. And another – horrified voices mingling in an eerie chorus of death. I struggle to open my eyes but the darkness keeps dancing around me to the beat of terrified sobs and cries. Something clenches around my throat – I can no longer breath. My lungs are empty. I am drowning. I am drowning in black flames.
And then, vaguely: “Jason!”
Someone claws on my back, arms, legs, fumbling, flailing. The claw rests on my collar. It pulls. It pulls me up. No, I am trying to scream. Leave me here. I don’t want your hell. I don’t want your screaming melodies. I want my darkness. Leave me here.
“Jason? Jay?” The wailing melody has turned into an angelic tune. “Can you hear me, mate? Jason?”
The voice is soft, and sugared – not hellish. For a moment, I find myself confused: the voice had joined the dark chorus before… the lullaby of the dying. But it is so different now: it sings, yes, but this song sounds beautiful and less frightening. It sounds worried, but peaceful and sweet. I want to follow it. I want to follow it as it sings, as it drifts, as it pulses in and out of my ears.
“Jay? Are you awake, buddy? Can you hear me?”
My eyes flutter open. I am suddenly greeted by a rush of cool, striking white light. It pains me. So different from my darkness, which is now seething in my head - don’t be a fool, it sings, come back to me. Let me conquer you. But the light isn’t painful anymore, it fades. Or are my eyes adjusting? I cannot tell. The voice. I need to find the voice. My pupils are now focusing more sharply, and the white haze in front of them is now turning into a lamp on a tiled ceiling, and pearly walls. Something is leaning over me – or is it someone? I blink. The face comes into focus. Two brown eyes are staring back at my hazel ones. A white, toothy grin greets me. “Hey, there, mate,” the voice murmurs softly. “Are you a’right?”
I try to speak, but my throat is dry and hoarse, and when I swallow, it echoes loudly.
The smile widens, so much that I have the sudden urge to smile back as widely. But my muscles hurt and all I manage is a small smirk. That seems enough.
“How are you feeling?”
I concentrate hard. My head is swirling like whirlpool, and when I breathe, my lungs feel as they’re overstretched. A stitch on my rib throbs terribly and my legs are almost numb. I cannot crane my neck, and my hands feel sore and bruised.
“Like a building collapsed on top of me,” I groan. “What happened, where am I?”
Nev carefully avoids my first question. “Hospital. The doctor should be here anytime now. They insisted that you should wake up alone. People would make your shock worse, they said. But I couldn’t leave you here in this state after what you’ve been through.”
“What have I been through, exactly?”
Nev hesitates and doesn’t answer my question as though he hasn’t heard it. Suddenly, he seems occupied; he runs a hand through his messy, black hair, scratches the slight stubble on his left cheek, plays with a loose thread on the hem of his black shirt. Does anything but look at me.
“Nev!” I say more fiercely.
He sighs deeply. “I dunno, Jay. It’s no easier for me than it is for you to remember. I mean, it all became so fast and—”
“Okay, okay!” He held his hands up innocently. “We were flyin’ to Istanbul two days ago, remember? First flight of B-37 Blue Eagle, 4 a.m? Everythin’ was okay for the first couple of hours or so and then the craft started shaking all of a sudden. I wasn’t worried, at first – I’ve been your co-pilot for four years, turbulences like that are common, ya know? But you looked at me and you said something’s wrong. You said I should warn the crew and the passengers. I didn’t want to leave, Jay, I really didn’t, but you insisted. And then everything just… happened. People jumped with their parachutes and life-savers. You waited till everyone was out, before jumping. As you pushed me out of the plane, there was a crash. I looked behind and… and the craft was on fire. At first I thought you didn’t make it, you know. I… I thought you were gone. I was sure you were…gone. With an explosion like that, who would have gotten out alive?” For a few moments, he pauses, trying to get his cracking voice back to normal with a couple of forced coughs. “Turns out I was wrong.” A shaky laugh escapes him. The sound is comforting. “I landed in the water – Aegean. It…It was hell, Jason. Absolute hell. People were screaming, crying, cursing, some barely alive. And then I saw you falling amongst the remnants of the plane. I thought you’d be dead. But I had every right to hope, didn’t I? And even if you were dead, I wanted to… retrieve your body, you know. I-It was the least I could do. I reached out, grabbed your collar and pulled you up. You were still breathing. Heavily, but breathing, nonetheless. I held on to you until the rescue team arrived. After that… well, I guess the rest is pretty obvious.”
Upon finishing his narration, Nev looks up at me. For a moment, his face is hard, dark, just like I know it is whenever he remembers something painful. But after a second, it relaxes in this huge grin I am so accustomed to.
My mind races back. Images flash before my eyes: the crash, a woman clutching her crying baby and an old man refusing to jump into the water; a child wandering the crowded aisle with a shout of mom! mom! and a little girl trembling, alone and crouched in a seat; the crash and the heat, enveloping my flesh in a tight grip; and, then, the water, cold and freezing and penetrating, filling my lungs with heavy liquid darkness; the voices. Oh, the voices – how they sang one after another their grotesque melody. For a while, silence falls between us. My throat constricts and feels tighter than ever and, when I speak, it is in a strangled whisper that required more effort than it seemed.
“They’re not sure yet. They think the cause’s a design flaw in the wing that led to fatigue cracks and right wing failure.”
“Are…” For a moment, my voice is lost, perished, somewhere between my aching lungs and the tightness that blocks my throat. I cough slightly, but the tightness seems to get worse. “Are there any dead?”
Nev looks down.
I grope at my chest, as if hoping that I could lure the pain away. “How many?”
I look around me, almost certain that Nev and I were not alone. And then, slowly, painfully, the realization came to me. Seven. “Nev? Where’s Samantha?”
I don’t know for how long I stayed at that hospital. The doctors said they needed to be sure I suffered no internal bleeding before letting me go. Day after day, night after night, I remain glued on the chalky bed and, day after day, night after night, Nev is here. I don’t know how he does it, I don’t know how manages to sleep and work and eat while staying at my bedside all the time. I want to thank him, but whenever our eyes meet, I just lose it. But he smiles, like he understands and nods, and that is enough to suppress my guilt. At least for a while.
The doctors say my leg is broken, and my skull fractured. The three broken ribs that dotted my left side are almost healed. “You are doing well, Mr. Mace. A few days more and you’ll be ready to go.” I am willing to believe them, but when I look down on my body, it is black and purple and bruised, and I can’t touch it without wincing. “You fell in the water with such force – it is miracle you’re not dead.” But, of all the injuries and pain and sleepless nights and the screams that still echo in my head, there’s nothing worse than the thought that I will never be able to fly again.
“We don’t know that,” Nev tries to convince me, rolling his eyes.
“You know how it is like, Nev – flying companies won’t exactly line up to hire me after a plane crash.”
“You are not fired yet—”
“I will be! They are not eager to keep me after that! They will need to do something to pay for the mistake, and I am the easiest solution.”
“Er…” Nev pauses and seems to be trying to think of new arguments. “They sent a get-well card!”
“Yeah, and they wrote my name wrong!”
Nev doesn’t answer and I suddenly get the impression I am being selfish. We are in this together – his fate won’t be much different than mine, yet here I am blubbering like an annoying bee in his ear.
“Jay, you and I both know that this isn’t what makes you angry,” Nev says quietly, as if afraid that I will have another fit of denial.
I carefully avoid his searching eyes. “Can you get me some food?”
He sighs and as he does so, I can feel my heart stopping. Blood – crimson and thick – gets out of his mouth, trailing down his chin and dripping onto his white shirt, like spilled wine. His eyes roll so far back in his skull that all I can see is white. I gasp and the blood keeps falling, down his pants and floor, in a small pool of melted cherry and I try to move, to shout, to help, but I feel immobilized and numb, as if shackled invisibly to the mattress. I look at Nev, his sockets sinking into his skull, his mouth wide open with the lips white and his eyes rolling and I choke on the words I try to get out of my mouth.
I blink and Nev stands there, healthy and bloodless, one hand on the door handle, looking at me curiously. I feel sweat running down my forehead and temples, and I pant, my chest heaving under all the bruises and cuts. I stand dumbfounded, unsure and utterly scared, and I tremble, but Nev’s white shirt is clean and tidy, ironed carefully around the collar as always.
“You okay, Jay?”
I still pant, rigid, my eyes snapping to the floor and to Nev’s now-brown eyes and the front of his chest. “I’m going mad,” I murmur, forcing my eyes down.
Nev walks closer, worry etched all over his face. I glance up to his lively face.
“Nothing, Nev. Sorry. Just—just get me a sandwich.”
Nev nods and leaves. I bury my face in my pillow, determined to wash the image out of my mind.
Most people’d be grateful they got to keep their life. But I might as well have died.
The door closes behind me. The air of my apartment is stale, yet it is clean and neat, in a much better state than I had left it. I breathe in, ignoring the sharp ache that hits my ribs like a nail pierces a wall. I let my bag fall on the polished floor. The thud echoes on the room and I fall on the white sofa, curling myself into a ball full of bruises and cuts. A fresh breeze comes from the open window, ruffling the baby blue curtain playfully. I’m so tired that I don’t even bother to wonder how come it is not closed. For a moment, my eyes see something red. But it is gone when I blink and I don’t care what it was. The sky is there – open and wide and cyan it expands over the grass field on the other side of the street. I watch it with hazed eyes. The clouds are there too, and the birds are there, flapping their wings and painting them in the richest blue. But I’m here. Stuck in a dull white couch, with a broken wrist and an unfulfilled longing for death.
Slowly, painfully, my eyes close.
Seven days, two hours, twenty–six seconds.
My eyelids snap open from a sleepless dreaming, the image of a smiling face with grey eyes fading into the living room. The door trembles from the force of someone knocking on it. I know exactly who it is – and I don’t want to see him. Or anyone for that matter. My throat feels dry and my eyes sting from lack of sleep but, no matter how tightly I close them, there’s no hypnosis to drag me out of my reality. I try to sit up straighter. Bottles of beer roll down to the floor, breaking and spilling yellow liquid over the dark-cherry wood.
The knocking stops.
“Jay? Are you in there?”
“No, go away.”
“Open up, man, I’ve been calling you for three days.”
“Yes,” I answer. “And I’ve been avoiding you for three days, in case that wasn’t clear enough.”
“I know what you’re tryin’ to do, Jay,” Nev says and his voice is full of sadness and understatement. I hate it. “Bottling it all up inside, cutting yourself from everyone and everything. Believe me, man – it won’t work.”
“Yeah, thanks, Freud, I’ll keep that in mind.”
For a moment, there’s silence. Part of me wishes that Nev is gone, but part of me wishes that there’s still someone behind that door, trying to pull me out of my drowning abyss.
Then there’s a sound of jingling, and a soft click, and the door creaks open.
Nev stands there, one hand in his pocket, the other held up to show me the keys smugly. And I’m still on my couch, with a dirty t-shirt and sweat pants, unshaved and sleepy, looking at him over a bottle of beer.
“Gave me those ages ago, remember?”
I glare at him.
Nev smiles, closes the door and gestures towards my right leg. “You’re not supposed to sleep with the prosthetic.”
For a few moments, the word prosthetic rings in my mind like a gong. I feel dizzy, and the place where my leg had been cut off suddenly stings. And my eyes hurt – not from lack of sleep. I grab the bottle of beer tighter and bring it to my lips, trying to seal any sort of cry inside my chest, where it belongs. Nev looks at me with narrowed eyes, standing all smugly as if he can see right through me. Chances are he can, but none of us mention it. I sit up on the couch, trying to straighten my shirt.
“And you’re not supposed to barge into people’s houses.”
He throws the keys smoothly onto the coffee table and sits on the floor, right in front of the sofa, resting his back on it. “You’re not people. You’re my best friend.”
There’s another long silence, one where my stomach constricts with sudden gratefulness for Nev. I can feel guilt building up inside me with the force of a tornado. My head hurts and my bones hurt and my leg hurts and there’s a vacuum on my chest expanding and expanding, sucking me in like a black hole and all I can think about is the sky and the stars and the screams and Nev still sits there with determination, as I’m drowning in an invisible hell.
“And,” he goes on. “Want it or not, I’m gonna help you, Jay.”
A combination of gratitude and anger washes over me. I know that Nev means well – I know that I’d probably do the same were our positions exchanged, but as I repeat his words in my head, trying to clear my feelings, I can’t help but think that I can’t be helped. No, I don’t want to be helped.
I rise from the couch slowly, my head dizzy and head to the kitchen. A photo of me and Sam pulling faces in front of the Eiffel Tower is on the door of the refrigerator. Sam’s cheeks and nose are all blushing from the cold. Next to it, a yellow post-it note reading “Don’t forget to buy milk. Love you.” stares at me ironically. I open the fridge and grab two beers hastily, throwing one at Nev.
“Sam is gone, Nev,” I say in a harsh whisper and my voice breaks. I laugh bitterly to cover the cracking. “She’s dead. How are you supposed to help me with this? How am I supposed to live without her?”
Nev inhales a sharp breath and I can tell that his pain is almost as profound as mind. “Keep going, Jay. That’s what she’d want you to do.”
I fall on the couch again and it supports my weight with devotion. “I can’t.” I shrug.
“I know.” Nev’s voice is rough, dripping emotions.
More silence falls, hovering between us and heavy with unsaid words. My lungs feel squeezed, pressed in by an invisible fist clenched around my ribs. My throat hurts terribly with restricted sobs. I automatically place a hand on my chest, feeling my pulse, strong and quickening, under the skin of my palm. Yet, when I let my fingers fall, I no longer have proof that my heart is still there.
I take a gulp from my beer and smile. “I just wish that airplane never existed.”
Outside, a cricket sings and the air dances adoringly to the beat, heavy with the smell of jasmine and freesia. Stars blink on the tapestry of slate black and the red lights of an airplane wink steadily in the distance.
“A’right, where are we going again?”
Nev keeps up with me with big and fast strides, black eyes watching me warily.
“Hey, you wanted me out of that house, I’m getting out of the house.” I shrug and bury my hands in the pockets of my brown leather jacket. Behind me, the lights of the town flash into the night, a million candles flaring. The noise of the cars is far away, like a wind blowing out of barred windows. The hill looms ahead, a dark lump in the night. Big and comfy, it is a nice difference from my white couch. “I keep going.”
“Yeah, and that’d make me happy if – oh, what was it – oh yeah, if it wasn’t four freaking am!”
The air is fresh and cold, and as I breathe it in, it fills my nostrils. It purifies me, cleans up all the black, moist mess stuck to the walls of my chest and ribs. The slope towards the hill is kind of difficult to climb and my hurt muscles scream in the process, burning under the strain, but I welcome the pain with open arms. Pain is good. Pain is a friend. Pain means I can still feel.
I keep going up and up and Nev follows silently, though I can feel his worried yes burning holes on the back of my neck. We reach the top with pants and gasp for breath and Nev shakes his head. I fall on the humid grass, letting it brush against my hands. The feeling of it under my back and head, the scent of wet earth and petrichor, the soft breeze through my hair – for a moment, all of it makes me forget and I feel like I still have her with me, laughing while I complain about how much work it was to get up here. I can almost smell her, vanilla and coconut, and her image flashes before my mind in a mix of smiling lips and blonde curls and eyes as grey as rain and when she laughed, all the world seemed to shake under my feet. I open my eyes. Nev sits next to me, on the right, looking up at the stars and slice of moon, arms resting on his knees.
I look to my left, expecting to see the city we left behind. For once more, I can feel my heart stopping. A body – her body – mangled and cut and bloody rests next to me, eyes red and sunken and frozen and white lips forming a scream. Her limbs are all in awkward angles and I feel myself get rigid. I stumble away, crawling and almost crushing into Nev, yet no scream can leave my numb body. She cranes her neck, blood trickling down her mangled cheeks.
“Why did you let me die, Jason?” Her voice is vacant, distant, whispering.
“No – no.”
“Why did you live?”
My stomach clenches, and the sky gets red and the grass doesn’t smell good anymore, but it smells like rotten flesh. Hers. “I’m so sorry, Sammy. I—I never meant to.”
“No, no, Sammy, I tried – I’m so sorry, Sam, I swear.”
“Liar.” No. “Liar.” No. “Liar.”
My eyes focus. I’m lying at the hill, body rigid and stiffening, and Nev is above me, eyes wide and hands holding my spasming arms into place. I gasp for breath loudly, trying to suck in as much air as possible.
“It’s a’right, Jay, it’s a’right.”
I glance at my left again. All I see is the city we left behind.
“It’s post-traumatic stress, Mr. Mace. It’s very common after accidents. Grief and the combination of strong painkillers can have these kind of results.”
The room I’m sitting in has a single desk. It is white and viridian and even as I look around, the walls cry cerise blood. Burgundy. It trails down noisily and I clench my teeth because there’s a slurping noise and my stomach spasms and the blood keeps falling down the tiled floor.
“Will he be okay?” Nev is unaware of the blood and the mangled flesh that is now climbing the walls like intestine ivy.
“I’m sure he will be. I will talk with his doctor, see if we can narrow down the doses.”
Why can’t they see the melting flesh?
“Isn’t there something we can do about it now?”
“It’s in his mind. We can give him more pills but it is better if we wait until it stops.” The doctor’s eyes are bloody. I wonder how he can see through them. “Mr. Mace, can you tell me how long this has been going on?”
The walls are screaming. Can they hear the walls scream?
I can feel Nev looking at me but his hands are cut from the wrists and I don’t want to get very close to him. “It’s been two months since the accident. He kept having these… hallucinations or whatever it is they are. But it wasn’t so often. We were at the hill two weeks ago – I think that’s when it really started.”
Samantha smiles behind the doctor’s shoulder. She’s not bloody. Her dress is white and beautiful and the freckles on her cheeks stand out more than ever. She looks happy, but she’s clasping a knife and, still smiling, brings it to her chest. The dress turns red.
I’m kept at the institution. The doctor said it’d be easier for me here, safer. For a few days, I believe it. Damn, there’s not so much blood in here, not so many bodies, and I can think more clearly. I am hallucinating, I get that. It’s post traumatic stress and I know, I know that what I see is not real. But when it comes – when the red comes – somehow, I lose sanity. I can’t tell reality from lies. Everything in my mind just… mingles into a non-working mess and I’m left screaming Sammy’s name.
Nev visits every day and stays as long as he can. He knows I like chatting about The Beatles and every time he brings me a different album for us to listen to. Today, Sammy sits there, and she falls from the ceiling, creating a bloody pool on the floor. It’s easy to ignore her now, but the pain I feel every time she looks at me with vacant eyes is real and hard. Just like her whys.
Blackbird plays in the background as I’m waiting for Nev. Someone enters the room. It’s
Dr. Alfred and he doesn’t seem to care that he just stepped into Sam’s blood.
“How are you today, Mr. Mace?”
Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise.
“Good, I guess,” I reply. “Some beer would be nice, but I’m good. It’s easier to recognize reality.”
“I’m glad. I’m glad to hear that.”
Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to be free.
“Mr. Mace, my colleagues don’t want me to tell you, but I think it is important for you to keep in touch with reality instead of living in the dark.”
“What is it?”
Blackbird fly, blackbird fly
Into the light of the dark black night
Blackbird fly, blackbird fly
Into the light of the dark black night.
“We had some news… Mr. Nev Jones…”
Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
“… died in a car accident this morning.”
You were only waiting for this moment to arise.
Both Sam and Nev are here. She melts into pools of blood while Nev bites himself over and over. I scream their names, trying to make them stop, but they keep melting and biting and bleeding. The room is red, their eyes are red and the screams – oh, God, they have never been so loud before. My ears hurt, yet I can move no muscle. And Nev keeps telling me to calm down, keeps saying that I wanted this.
I try to remember what the doctor said, about gaining control. I take deep breaths and dig my nails into my palms. They say real pain pushes the hallucinations away. They say that when you feel something real, anything fake fades. Yet Nev is now smashing himself onto the wall and Sammy cries blood and I just sit here, digging my nails into my palms.
I think Sammy likes company.
It’s been a year since the crash. Sam and Nev have not for a moment left me alone. They are always there, bleeding for me, and I’m always here to scream their names while the psychiatrists come in with syringes of sedatives, their colorless liquids running in drops under the needle.
Now the door closes and the doctor told me to get some sleep. Sammy smiles at me, but
there’s no skin on her face and she looks terrifying. Nev sits on the floor, cutting his fingers off.
“Sammy no, please, don’t!”
Sam keeps smiling.
“Nev! Stop it! Please, please, stop, you’re killing yourself!”
I expect no answer, though my throat is hoarse from shouting at both of them. But, something that has never happened before is happening now. Nev replies.
“Yeah, you’re right. It’s quite a mess,” he says nonchalantly, looking at his fingers. They grow back. He snaps them and Sam is gone, and the blood is gone and he rises from the floor, clean and suited and smiling.
“Nice little game, but, god, is the clean-up a nightmare.”
I watch him buttoning his light-grey suit, his golden cufflinks reflecting the light of the white room. I sit on the bed, dumfounded, bewildered. Numb. Confused. I can’t recognize reality any longer but this – this doesn’t look like a hallucination.
Nev smiles at me sympathetically. “Ah, yes. The usual question. Everything you’ve gone through? Real.”
“Yup,” he says, popping the ‘p’ in the end. "Here, at least."
“Here? N-Nev… I don’t understand. You’re—”
“—dead? No. I’m also not Nev.”
I barely comprehend and all hope that my best friend is still alive is igniting in my stomach.
“And here’s the blank look! You humans are really slow on the uptake, you know that?”
“I-I don’t understand…you’re dead! They said you’re dead! I saw your body at the funeral!"
Nev waves his hands in the air in exasperation and disappointment. “Dammit, Jason! Think, think! Make your mind work! An airplane crush, hundreds of feet up in the air, people with parachutes and vests didn’t make it, but you did? Come on, Jason, you’re smarter than that – deep inside you know, deep inside you’ve known it from the start.”
The realization hits me hard. “I’m dead.”
“Ding, ding, ding! We got a winner!”
Nev – or whoever he is – smiles at me innocently, lips pressed, eyebrows raised and hands deep in his pockets. And I just sit here, while the world collapses.
“I died at the crash a year ago. I’m dead.”
“You’re also in Hell.”
“Yeah…” he croons with fake compassion. “Not the best of places, but we have barbeque parties on Sundays.” He shrugs.
“The Devil.” He smiles. “In flesh and bone. Well, not mine, as you can see. Had to borrow your friend’s meatsuit to make it more painful for you, you understand. Had to be Nev from the very start. I hate the procedure, but I didn’t make the rules. No, wait. I did.”
I breathe fast, but it occurs to me that I hardly need air. It is a painful process, as if my mind and body are trying to catch up with something I have heard a long time ago. Yet, the shock makes me speechless and the fear… oh, God, the fear. I can feel it inside me, running in my veins like burning liquid, flooding my system with terror.
“Time is money, so long story short. Your little friends down here?” He says. “They’re alive up there.” He points upwards with a finger. “That’s right. Your hostess girlfriend and your co-pilot are safe and sound until their time comes. But here?” His look gets serious and it bears a cruel sincerity. “Here, you’re going to watch them die. Over, and over and over again. And every single time, you’ll think it’s true. And every single time, you’ll shout yourself hoarse and fall apart from the pain and insanity.”
I gulp, but my mouth is dry and all I can do is stare frantically at the man standing smugly in front of me. Terror has immobilized me, gagged me – or maybe it’s the sudden realization.
“Nice torture, right? Thought of it myself. And not nearly as messy as eternal fire or skinning. But, much, much more painful.”
He walks slowly towards the bed, looking down at me almost in disgust. “You see, Jason, you humans are fascinating creatures. Vulnerable. Weak. Nothing can hurt you more than love.”
“You cruel son of—”
“Me?” he asks mockingly, pointing a finger at himself. “I do nothing, Jay. I just use what already is inside you.” He turns the finger at me. “Love. Pain. Fear. I just embellish them a bit.”
“But I… I’m—”
“Good?” he guesses. “That’s what they all say. Here’s the news, Jason. There’s no good or bad. There’s just fear and pain and people running away from it. You? You just didn’t run fast enough.”
He walks towards the door, looking at his watch and tutting. “I got to go, but I will see you again. You won’t remember me, of course. So, till next time…” He smiles. “Enjoy eternity.”
”Recent discoveries concerning the Blue Eagle accident a year ago have concluded that it was the pilot who caused the crash, deliberately, as some experts say. More news to come.”