A Demon's Regret
The Archfiend and I exchanged a look when we both heard Andy’s human woman wailing from the other room. I was immediately even more wildly uncomfortable than I had been. “Er, should we, eh, um…?” I gestured towards the doorway to the guest room we were so awkwardly waiting in.
The Big Man chewed his lip for a moment before answering. “Oh, we’ll just give her a minute to, you know, pull herself together.”
I nodded. This was going to be barrels of fun.
It felt like it had been an eternity since I had last been in my map room, but I still recalled the occasion so clearly. (Y/N)’s spike had called to me, positively burning with need, from Cincinnati, Ohio. Now I knew why she had never caught my attention before then, it had all been part of Jehovah’s cursed plan. Feh!
I frowned at the map, anxiety clawing at me, before forcing myself to flip the switch on the table. For the first time ever, only one spike rose from the entire map. It came, of all places, from upstate New York. Eew.
Reluctantly, I displayed the information for the spike coming from Albany. Ahh… Dimly a memory fluttered at the name, Beatrice McGovern. It had been a very long time; indeed, some sixty years. I saw she was in hospice care, that she had long outlived the prognosis for her metastatic hepatocellular carcinoma. I wondered if her atypical longevity was also part of Baha’s plan.
I brought up an image of Beatrice, and it was sobering. If there was any trace of the comely, little brunette I hazily recalled, I could not see it. She looked every part the elderly, dying woman, her face lined with the suffering and worry of chronic illness. Her hair was thin and a colorless gray.
Without allowing myself to overthink it and lose my gumption, I started leaping dimensions, searching for the Community Hospice in Albany, New York. Finding it, I honed in until I had found Beatrice’s room. Sensing no hospice staff nearby, I materialized at the foot of her bed.
Instantly, the smell of slow, lingering death hit my nostrils, and I flinched. Antiseptic, cleaning chemicals, failing bowels, it was horrible! I shook it off and looked towards Beatrice, seeing that she appeared to be sleeping. She had a few medical machines hooked up to her that I didn’t understand, though she seemed to be able to breathe on her own.
Looking at her, lying there, her face so worn, I felt indisputable shame bubbling up to the center of my consciousness. Because of me, Beatrice had gone through all of her medical trials and travails alone. She could never have found love after I left her. Unlike some of my younger marks, she’d not have the chance to find it again.
I steeled my nerves before putting my hand over Beatrice’s own withered claw. “Beatrice?”
Nothing. I decided to try again. I squeezed her knobby hand gently, “Beatrice? It’s Andy.”
I heard a distinct increase in the rate of the beeping coming from the medical equipment, but still she offered me no external sign that she had heard. I thought I tasted something, but I wasn't sure. I sighed. I felt she deserved to hear a full apology, but it seemed I was too late.
I cleared my throat nervously. “Beatrice, I’m here to beg your forgiveness. I’m so sorry for having used you, as, as food. And I’m even sorrier that, because of our contract, you were never able to find love again.”
I ran my thumb over her twisted knuckles. “But now you’re free from our contract, and…”
The beeping disappeared and there was only a harsh, continual tone in its place. I had watched enough cinema to know what that meant. Beatrice had just died! Repentant and alarmed at the sound of someone coming swiftly down the hallway, I instinctively clawed my way back through dimensions, to my own home’s map room.
I sat down in the first chair I came to, breathing heavily and feeling overwhelmed. She had died, died right in front of me! A woman I had been with, a woman I knew!
Would they all die? Were they all just waiting for death to free them from their contracts? I dropped my head into my hands and trembled, thoroughly unsettled.
This was turning out to be far more challenging than I had anticipated. I decided it would be acceptable to take a break for a cigarette to try and calm my nerves.
Sorry for the lack of updates, I am pretty sick. So go easy on me. :3
I see I got a new vote! Yay!