I returned home from a hard day of begging for change.  A bottle of cheap whiskey cost $6.99 from the corner liquor store.  An old cigar off the sidewalk completed my needs for the day. The cheap piece of crap burned my throat, but kept my lungs full of warm smoke.

It rained shit, icy stuff that clings to your jacket and pants, and soaks in.  On the street for any length of time, you realize winter kills.  Walking-pneumonia is what I had.  This would be my last cold week. I had a cardboard box used to package a washing machine.  It still had the plastic foam supports, or it would have collapsed from the weight of snow.

I could not remember my name.  My past was crystal clean.

It was near December, I guess.  People went back and forth in the slush of parking lots.  They carried bigger packages than usual. Colored decorations hung from streetlights.  I expected to find my box in the old familiar alley.  It was there, but so was a problem.  Up ahead three tough young men had a young girl cornered.  They had removed her clothes.  When she tried to get away, a knife flashed.  A tiny wound appeared.

I might have been in good shape once but my body had since lost any semblance of muscle.  I just stood there helpless.

I watched as they toyed with her.  She had light green hair that glowed.  Her pubic hair was the same color.  Each young man took her how he wanted with a certain careful pleasure.  They wanted her to put out a maximum effort so they beat her.  It took a long time.  Loss of blood and sheer exhaustion caused her to collapse on pile of trash.  They used her up, and she died with a last breath of white vapor but the heaviest fellow pulled a knife out and stabbed her several times to make sure.

They came up the alley towards me after finishing the girl.

“Hey Ripper,” said one of the young men.

“What do you want, Bob,” said the other young man.

“This bum has seen everything,” said Ripper. “You think maybe he would give us trouble?”

“Give him the knife,” said a third young man.  “He looks like a murdering pervert.  We’ll give him the part.”

Ripper placed his knife in my hand.  I held it out like a moron so he could place it there, kind of like a handshake.  You are an experienced salesman, and you know to hold out your hand.  The customer holds his out from an instinctual reaction.  Now you are shaking hands.  Now I had a knife in my hand.

Ripper said, “My God, Jack, you’re a genius.”

After a moment of shock, I realized my fingerprints on the knife would incriminate me.  It dropped out of my hand.

The young men left the alley laughing and joking with each other.  It was quiet then.  Only the cold wind spoke to me whistling above the glowing snow.

I could not stay in the washer box now.  Just the same, I went up the alley to the girl.  She was covered in blood from the many knife stabs.

Her eyes were wet with tears.  Her nipples stood out hard frozen in the cold.  I took off my coat and threw it over her nakedness.  With walking pneumonia, you do not notice the cold even in the high wind.  I did not need it, though she did not need it either.

I had my whiskey.  I thumbed the plastic cap until the paper seal broke.  The cap fell to the snow.  It made a little gray hole.  I upended the bottle.  The warmth spread from my stomach.  Euphoria puffed out into my head.  My eyes got cold.  I sat near the body to rest a moment before I headed back down the alley to search for a new home.

It came to me, that the bottle was almost finished, and so was I.  The whiskey held me in place.  By morning, I would be dead.  I must have dozed off because the coat on the girl was now covered in snow, as though the whole thing had never happened, disappeared under a pile of white cotton.

“Get up, you old fart!”

I looked up, and there she stood.  She was still naked, but the wounds had dried.

“I got unfinished business, ass hole!!!”

“I’m dying,” I said.

“Yah, yah,” she said.  “You still got two legs and a wiener. So get on your feet!”

“The wiener died a long time ago,” I said, “and as for my legs,…”  They were frozen.

“I’ll haunt your ass till you,…”

I started to laugh.

“Stop it!”

I looked up at her, “How’s it feel to be dead?”

“You’ll know soon enough, old man,” she said. “Guess you don’t have much to live for.”

It was true.  I held up what was left of the whiskey.

She smirked.

“That’s right, you’re dead,” I said. “Guess I’ll have to finish it myself.” I did.

“Guess my last hope is a dying bum,” she said.  She sat down across from me in the alley.  “You like that stuff, don’t you?”

“I never got Jesus either,” I said.  I smiled at her.

“There’s another full bottle of whiskey over there near my body,” she said.  “You want it?”

My smile fell off.

She grinned.

“Don’t suppose you’d care to get it?” I said.

She winked at me. “I’m a ghost.  I can’t grab anything, but I can tell you where stuff is.  I can even tell you about other things too.”

“Like what?”

She said, “Why don’t you crawl over there and get your whiskey.  We can talk then.”

I took a great effort to reason, that for another drink, I was willing to bend over and drag my legs to the corpse for the bottle.  Time passed as I clawed at the snow, then I got a bright idea.  I pulled my right leg up and discovered it still worked, even though it was numb. Eventually, I was up on my knees.

“You can do it!” she said.

A moment later, I was back on my feet with legs like boards.  I shuffled along until I got near the coat.

“Don’t,” she said.  “In the last minute, I got my money put away.  There’s no booze, just a bunch of money.  I rolled it up tight and put it up my ass.  It’s enough for a month of whiskey.  You have to get to the liquor store and thaw out to enjoy it.”

“Shit!” I cried.  “I can’t bend over.  I’ll snap off like a dried branch.”

“Fall on the soft snow,” she said.

I did.  The snow was not soft.  I was thinking about the next drink now.  I reached under the stiff coat.  Her cold body was there taught like a piece of furniture.

“Go ahead,” she said.  “You can’t hurt me now.”

I pulled the coat away and exposed a stiff blued body. I was still able to turn her over.  I used my left hand and pushed my fingers between the cheeks of her behind. She was still warm up in there.  My hand went all the way in.

“The money is up in there,” she said.  “It’ll be pushed up deep since one of those fellas gave me a cum enema.”

The smell was bad in spite of the cold.  I did get my fingers around the money.  When I pulled it out there was nasty stuff.  I cleaned it off the best I could on the coat.  I used melted snow to wipe the rest on her clothes.  “Sorry about that.”

“I don’t need them now,” she said.  “Go get your new bottle of whiskey.  On the way, I’m gonna tell you what you can do for me.  You’ll need some clothes too.”

I thought more about the whiskey.  I just nodded.  I was pulled along by the taste of my next drink.

It was still bright at night.  The day had dragged into an evening.  The moon rose above the gray yellow sky with the grief wind freezing the heavens.  I walked on brittle legs with feet made of pillows.

The liquor store, as I remember it, was not far away. The girl got in front of me so I could not see it.  I tried to walk around her.  She kept in front of me.

“Get across the street.  The drugstore is on the corner.  You need medicine!”

“Crap!”

“You need medicine!” she said, “If you don’t get some, then you’ll have a heart attack before you get to the liquor store.”

She was right.  Once, back in my feeble memory, I could remember being a doctor.  I knew I needed to get the fever down.  I needed rest.  I needed a warm place.  But medicine?

A thousand years later, I crossed the street with the walk-light.  Vehicles honked at me.  Never mind that I was dying.  They had places to go, shopping to finish before Santa arrived, and no patience for a bum like me.

I was barely able to get my breath when I reached the other side.  I staggered into the drugstore.  As I made my way back toward the pharmacy, the proprietor intercepted me.  The ghost girl told me to tell him I was sick and needed lots aspirin.  He called the police instead.  A scared teenaged clerk kept me at bay until the police arrived.

The police dragged me out of the drug store.  One of them accidently kicked in my side while he dropped me several times on the way to the squad car.

More of the same treatment got me into the emergency room.  A doctor examined me and explained I was dying.  He could give me a shot to relieve the pain.

I lay down to rest.  I felt a hundred percent better.

“You’ll die, and I’ll never finish my business!”

“I didn’t get my whisky either,” I said, “and it’s a fucked up world, isn’t it?”

“We got business,” she said.  “Let’s get your drink.” “I’m tired,” I said.  “It’d be better if you gave up on me.  I’d like to die in peace.”

“Without a drink?”

I thought about that.

“Crap,” I said, “you’re right.”

She smiled.

My world warmed a little, but then, she was a dead person.

I rolled out of bed. “Where too?”

“Out the entrance.  You’ll need clothes.  Next door there’s an old man asleep.  He’s dying too.  Get his clothes.  Nobody will care.”

I pulled the curtain back.  Sure enough, there were some clothes folded over a chair.  I put them on.  The belt was a little tight.  The old guy did not seem to notice.

“Get on the move!  The doctor is coming!”

I slipped out into the corridor and headed for the lobby.  I could feel my feet again.  Some energy had returned to my step.  It felt like I had a few more drinks to go before the finish.

I went outside through the revolving doors.  The old man’s shoes were better than I was used too.  His jacket was insulated.  I felt half-presentable for the first time in my miserable life.

“Keep it going!”

There was a taxi nearby.  She told me to wave my hand. I did.

The Taxi rolled up.  A power window went down.  “Where to?”

She told me.

Fifth Street Apartments,” I said.

“Get in,” said the driver.

The taxi pulled away.  I had not been in an automobile for as long as I could remember.

I was obliged to give up some of the stinking money when we arrived at the apartments.  The taxi driver looked at me strangely.  He dangled the fifty as though it might be alive.

I ignored the expression on the driver’s face as I got out into the cold wind.  He held his nose.  “Damn!” he said.  “I don’t know if I can spend this money.”

“Head for the left hand apartments,” said the girl. “Jack lives there. He’ll have booze and aspirin, but first we’ve got to get in.”

“Is Jack a generous person,” I said.

“No,” she said, “that’s the reason you are going to make a little stop along the way.”

“A stop?” I said.

She said, “Just a little further.  Jack’s apartment is about three more doors.”

“He’s one of the guys who raped you?” I said.

“Yup,” said the ghost, ”you can stay here and freeze. Or, keep going and get your drink.”

“Okay,” I said, ”now what.”

“Look down.  You’ll see some aluminum retainers. Next to it is a piece of rebar used to hold it in place. It’s loose.  Just pull it out.”

I did.  There was about a foot of rebar with a nasty point on one end.

I did not like this, “I’m not a murderer!”

“You’re dead already, or you will be,” she said.  ”What difference does it make.  There’s a bottle on the other side of the door.  Just goose him with it.  He won’t die. You’ll get drunk.”

“Just goose him?” I said.

“Yah,” she said, ”he’ll have to run to the emergency room, the one you just came from, while you’re drinking his booze.”

“That’s kinda funny,” I said.

She thought so too.

I went to Jack’s apartment door and knocked.  A half minute later, he answered the door.  For an old alcoholic I was fast.  I rammed the rebar right up his pee hole before he could react to my own watery-eyed fright.  He was big.  I was scared.  He was as surprised as I was, and hesitated a fraction of a second.

He backed into the apartment and looked at the rebar that stuck out where his dick should be.  He made noises like he was about to cry.  Nothing came out for a moment, then he let out a bellow of pain.  The noise was deafening.

I looked for his booze in the kitchen.  There was no bar.  The girl had lied.  “Where is it?”

“Check the backroom,” she said.

There was white stuff on the dining table.  She wrote her name in the dust while Jack watched.  It spelled out, “NICKY” in rough capitals.  He yelled again.

After I checked the back room, I was truly frustrated.

“He must have run out,” she shrugged.  Her boobs shook.  “He’s not going to the hospital.  Instead, he’ll call the police.  You better stop him so he won’t use the phone.”

I covered that eventuality with a quick tug on his rebar.  He did some more yelling.

“I yanked out the line,” I said.  “Now he can’t phone anybody.”

Jack was up and moved like he could read Nicky’s mind. I kicked his rebar so it put a stop to his plans pretty fast.

More screams, then I dragged him into the bedroom. There were some tools.  He was strong and frightened into superhuman strength.  Somehow, I managed to get a pair of pliers past his teeth.  I had the tongue out quicker than you can say, “Get em!”  I slammed my knee cap up into his chin at the same time.

“Boom!” I said, “He’ll make no more calls on the phone.  Let’s get out of here.  I need a drink.”

“They’ll catch you, damn it!” she said, “knock him out or he’ll make a lot of noise!”

Jack was bleeding everywhere.  He would pass out, but I took a baseball trophy from his dresser and chased him around.  Then he flapped his hands at me to defend himself. I got him on the back when he turned to run.  Must have knocked something lose just above his butt crack because he let out another holler.

“I think I broke his back,” I said.

“My hero,” said Nicky.

“Do you have any idea what my name is, Nicky,” I said. “I just started to get what you said earlier about being able to tell me things.  I’ve been homeless for a long time.  It’d be nice to know before I die.”

“Fuck no!” she said, “Right now, I only know about useful stuff. Let’s get out of here.  He’s not going anywhere, so we’re done.”

Jack began to cry softly to himself.  I did not have any sympathy for him.  He must have hidden the booze somewhere clever.  I opened the front door.  Cold night air wafted in at me.

Outside I felt used.  “If I don’t get a drink, I’m not helping you to get anymore revenge.”

“A deal?” she said.

“I guess so,” I said.

She said, “We’ll head for the bar up the street.  You look good enough to be acceptable there.  You can get a drink.  My treat!”

“Okay,” I said, “point the way.”

“Just follow my naked hinny, you old pervert,” she said.

“I can’t touch a ghost.” I said.

“When you’re dead, I’ll suck you off,” she said.

“Why did they have to kill you,” I said. “You double-cross somebody?”

She thought about what I said.  She continued to walk while I looked at her dead ass.  Even to an old man without life in the old hot rod I was still aroused in my mind. She stopped and turned back to face me.

“They were my bosses, like pimps but I was a drug connection.  The drugs flowed until I decided to ask for a promotion.”

“So the stuff in the alley was meant to send a message to the other company,” I said.  “You planned to double cross your bosses?”

“They thought I might start some rough competition, and I would have,” she said.  “There would have been a war.”

“It’s a bad world,” I said. ”Can’t you just leave it behind?”

She smiled evilly. “I’ll go to hell when I’m ready. These guys are gonna go first so I won’t be bored when I get there.”

“Never thought of hell as boring,” I said.  “I’m not sure it even exists.”

“It does,” she said, “and you’ll be better off doing what I tell you.”

“I don’t see any bar up ahead,” I said, ”and this is another one of your lies, isn’t it.”

She turned and walked backwards in front of me, “Follow the street sign to fifty-one twenty.  It’s a house.  It’ll be another guy.  His name is Ripper.  He likes to think of himself as dangerous.  He’s asleep right now.  Get in the back door.  There’s a key under the mat. He snores real loud.  It’ll be easy!”

Sure enough, it was easy to get into the back door. I came through the kitchen.  There was a real sharp knife on the table.  Nicky pointed at the table illuminated by the moonlight.  A really big handgun rested there next to the knife.  I started to protest.  She looked at me oddly, then stepped aside further.

There, on the table, next to a gun, was a bottle of red brandy shouting at me to come get some.

Nicky stepped in front of it again, then she stepped aside and glared straight at me.

Okay, so the bitch wanted me to off the bad boy in the bedroom.  I went to the gun and then went around the corner to the bedroom.  He was not in bed.  I heard a tiny exhale behind me.

Next thing, I’m trapped in a dark bedroom with a gun barrel touching my nose.

“I got an Uzi,” said Ripper.  His voice sounded like Jehovah.  He probably had muscles on his tongue.  “You got my magnum.  It’s okay.  I got the cartridges.  You might have one bullet though.”

I did not speak.

“I’m gonna turn on the lights in a moment,” he said. “You can pull the trigger all you want.  I’ll do the same. Bunch of bullets will come at you.  They’ll cut your legs off.  Then we’ll have some fun.  Okay?”

I opened the feed on the magnum with the tip of my finger and felt an empty hole.  No bullet!

“I’ll count to three,” he said.  “Ready?”

I rolled the cylinder until there was a tiny click. I felt with the tip of my finger, and found an empty hole, then rolled again,…

“One,” he said.

I rolled again.

“Two,” he boomed.

Another empty.

“Three!” he cried.  And, the lights came on!

I thumbed the cylinder.  I pulled the trigger.  There was a click.

He was huge.  There was no Uzi, just a big cock sucking wrestler type boy looking down at me.  He had a pencil eraser on my nose.  I popped the next trigger pull and caused the cylinder to turn, and there was a bullet in the chamber.  The gun exploded fire.  He twirled around, “God damn!”

I started for the kitchen, but he caught me, and slammed me up against the wall.  “Who are you?”

There was steam on the mirror between the kitchen and the hallway.  It caused the moon light to cast upon the table where the red brandy sat.

In capital letters on the mirror, I could see a word printed there backwards.  On the table it spelled NICKY in red.

He laughed at the word printed there.  “Are you haunted?”  He was bleeding high on his left shoulder.  It was a flesh wound, something his terribly muscled body almost ignored like a mosquito bite.

I nodded.

“Fuck,” he said, “I knew the bitch was trouble the first time I saw her.  Now she’s after my ass with a lame old fart who steals my own gun?”

I nodded.

“You want a drink, don’t you?” he said.

I nodded.

He rammed his fist deep into my belly up into my rib cage so my heart almost burst.  I fell to the floor.  While I was gasping, he went to the dining table and opened the bottle.  I watched with bloodshot eyes.

“Don’t give up,” said Nicky.  “He’s got bad habits. He’ll turn his back on you.”

I was out of wind.  I saw spots.  When I regained some of my lung power, I was more thinking of escape than coming at Ripper’s back.

After he drank half the brandy, wrestling boy made some phone calls.

I propped myself up against the wall into a sitting position.  It was the same situation from earlier today or last night maybe.  My memory is real bad.  I was dying. The way of it had changed though.

Ripper came back into the living room. “Jack will be over later this evening.  You remember him, the one you jammed with rebar and ripped out his tongue.  He’s looking forward to meeting you again.  He wants to give you back your rebar and let you have his baseball trophy.”

“Nicky made me do it,” I said.

“The other company made you do it,” Ripper said. “They put a hit on us.”

“Jack wrote a note in the emergency room.  They called Bob as a contact.  Jack said it was an old man bout like you,” said Ripper.  “A real professional.”

“I’m not from another company,” I said.  “I’ve been waiting for you.  I went over to Jack’s place.  I saw the steam on the mirror.  It’s the same trick in the blow on my kitchen table.  He had to write out his story for Bob to read at the hospital because you ripped his tongue out with pliers.”

“She’s real,” I said.  “She said she’s gonna send you all to hell so when she get’s there she won’t be bored.”

Ripper laughed.  “Does sound like Nicky.”

“She’s real,” I said.  “She told me how to get here.”

“Well,” he said.  “You won’t have to search for Bob. He’s on the way.  We’ll all have a big séance.  Meanwhile, you and I can get acquainted.”

Getting acquainted had to do with Ripper showing me how he got his name.  He stripped my left foot, and took my toes in each hand, then almost tore my foot in half with his bare hands.  If I had had my usual load of drinks, the process would be dulled.  While I cradled my agony, he talked about the evening festivities to come.

“We’ve decided not to kill you.  It’s a good bet we could make this fun last for at least a week.  I’ve even got a doctor who will make sure it lasts.”

“Wasted time,” I said through the pain.  “She’s got plans to get you all together.  I don’t know how I fit into this.  You should be asking me questions instead of torturing me.”

“Oh, well,” said Ripper, “we’ll do that too!”

“Idiot!” I said.  Hell!  I was almost sober.  “Don’t you see what she’s doing?”

He stomped on my mangled foot.  It popped and crackled as he ground upon it with his full weight.  I almost lost consciousness.  The pain was astronomical.  If I thought to scream it would be an eternal sound going on forever, my last one, but I did not have energy for it. I hissed air at him.

Hours later Bob arrived. He was like Ripper’s twin. They discussed the long-term outlines of my education of pain.  A little later, the doctor arrived.  He examined me and gave me another shot to relieve the pain in my foot.

“You’ll need to proceed with more caution and thoughtfulness, otherwise he may expire too soon,” said the doctor.

“Jack will be here in about an hour,” said Bob. “He’s a mess.”

“What about Nicky?” said the doctor. “You finished that bitch?”

“She’s history,” said Ripper. “The old man here is from the competition.  He’s some kind of company hitter.  We’ll need to make another example.  Want to fuck up an old man?”

The doctor made a face.  “I wish you had saved me a piece of Nicky.  I always miss out on the good stuff.”

“Old man says she’s a ghost,” said Ripper.  “She’s come back and forced him to avenge her.”

More time passed.  I could try to swallow my tongue or maybe make a fast crawl for a window?

“Crap!  It’s Jack.  He’s comin in on a fuckin wheel chair,” said Bob.  He headed for the front door.

They all visited until drinks got passed around.  A girl showed up to help with refreshments.  She looked a lot like Nicky.  She winked at me.

“Needles,” said the doctor.  “We could have a lot of fun with them.  I’ve got some neat instruments too, that you won’t believe.”

“I’ll heat up some silverware in the fireplace,” said Ripper.  “One of the last things we do will be to pop those eyes with a hot wire.  Ought to hurt like a mother.”

Bob said, “We’ll limber him up by busting all his joints to start with.  Every time he yells we’ll all cheer. Okay?”  Everyone agreed.  It was to be a fun evening.  More girls arrived.  One of them suggested they get to go to work on my private parts, but Jack wanted that for himself. The others would hold me down.

The doctor got started with his needles first.  He unpacked his stuff in front of me.

Bob and Ripper tied my wrists to either side of the couch arms.  My legs were spread out.  He had acids, poisons, and chemicals.  These would work by degrees to create a suite of nasty sensations.  He had various probes he would use to put pressure on my nerves.  The worst were the tiny thumbscrews and vices of various sizes.

Early in the evening, the doctor went to work.  My toes were crushed one by one as he pushed up my pain threshold, then he gave me a pain shot, then he went on to destroy the next toe.  My screams bored the boys after a while.  My feet bled like hamburger.  Something remarkable happened as Ripper was getting another bottle of brandy.

The doctor slipped and cut his hand, as he was ready to nip away the nail of my big toe.  The idea had been to nip each one off and dry me up to keep me from losing too much blood in the process, thus I lasted longer for my next tormentor.  My toe was not anesthetized, so it was quite painful, and there was no shot forthcoming.

“Impossible,” said the doctor.

“So you, a doctor, cut your own fucking finger,” said Bob. “I’ll get you a band aid.”

“You don’t understand,” said the doctor. “I cut myself with my own scalpel.”

Bob looked at him like he was insane.  “Well, duh!”

Then the doctor took his scalpel and whacked off the end of his little finger.

“Oh, man!” said Bob.  “You’re fucking mad at me, so you fuckin cut your own finger off?”

“I don’t understand,” said the doctor while holding his bleeding finger.  “I didn’t do that.”

“Suit yourself, if you got to whack your own fingers it’s okay,” said Ripper.  “Isn’t that right Jack?”

Jack vaguely smiled from his wheelchair.

“I’m going to have to leave,” said the doctor.

A moment later, the doctor came back in a panic.  His finger was forgotten, and he gestured toward the front door with his bloody hand.  “It’s locked.  Is that some kind of joke?  Did you lock the door?”

“Go open the door for him Bob,” said Ripper.

Bob stomped over to the door.  He turned the doorknob and tugged. “He’s right.  The fucking door is not opening.  It’s jammed.”

“Let him out the back then,” said Ripper.  He got up and went to get his hot scissors from the fireplace along with the silverware that had been heating up there.

A potholder kept his hand from being seared by the heat.  I think his idea was to brand my belly with the tips, kind of make a design, write his name or such.  Instead, they got loose and fell on his knee as he leaned over me. He sat back dumbfounded.  He yanked the scissors away, and sent them flying, just missing one of the girls who squealed in anger.  “What the hell!

A coal popped out of the fireplace.  The carpet started to catch on fire.  Ripper got up and grabbed it in his potholder.  The potholder burst into flames as he tossed it back in the fireplace.  He patted the flames out.

Bob and the frustrated doctor returned.  “My turn,” said Bob.

“Be my guest,” said Ripper.  A quiet descended upon the room, so he grabbed one of the girls and started to pull down her blouse far enough to pop the tits out of it. She squeaked, but did not resist.  He pinched her nipples. She yelped a little this time.  “What about the doctor? Is he staying?”

“We’re locked in,” said Bob, while ready to do his joint popping routine on me.  He had my leg doubled with a baseball bat in the crook under my knee, and was about to sit down his weight.  My leg would separate at the joint and tear away the knee itself.  It was already quite painful.

“Open a window,” said Ripper.  He pinched pussy lips between thumb and index finger as hard as he could.  The girl moaned with pain.  He pinched again, and she winced, and bit him on the arm.  He stared back at her surprised.

“This isn’t right,” said the doctor.

Another coal popped out of the fireplace.  The rug burst into flames again.  Bob crushed the coal under his boot and made a face as the heat burned his foot.

“Go get me another bottle,” said Ripper to the girl. As she got up, he spanked her bottom.  She yelped, and ran away.

“Let’s go bash a window out,” said Ripper. “We can throw the doctor out.”

Bob laughed.  He liked the idea.

They went into the bedroom.  I watched them go to the window and throw a chair at it.  The girl who looked like Nicky came back without the brandy, and cut my bonds.  She smiled at me with sharp teeth, and in her eyes, I could see the reflection of fire from the fireplace.  She dragged me by my feet into the kitchen.

More coals popped onto the carpet while I heard Bob say, “The fucking chair bounced off the window.”

The girl dragged me outside onto the cold snow and closed the door behind her as she reentered the house.

Bright yellow light played over the ceiling of the kitchen, as I lay there helpless.  The cold helped my pain. I struggled to get away from the heat.  The house was burning.  I crawled far enough to where I could roll to one side and see the boys at the back window beat at the glass in desperation.  The glass itself started to cherry. Muffled screams made a vague dream like music.

 “Screams,” I thought to myself, “burned up in the flames.”

“You did good,” said Nicky.

“That you Nicky?”

“Yep,” she said, “I was worried, but you are not as worthless as you look.”

“Now what?” I said.  The screams inside the house went on and on.  The boys continued to batter at the window.

“I won’t be bored in hell,” she said.  “Neither will you.”

“You sound like you want to go?” I said.  I don’t know why I talked with her.  I needed to die.

“Oh, yes, well,… I was born there, old fella,” she said.  “Those guys started a business with me.  I told them my price.  They just didn’t take me serious.”

It was my turn to be dumbfounded.  My face probably reflected my sentiments.

She grinned at me with a little sympathy, “I’m a she-devil honey.  We’ve been bounced back and forth from this world to hell and back.  You can’t remember your name because it’s been a long long time since you had one.  We’re doing this again and again.  Those guys will be a lot of fun, and I owe it all to you, sweetie.  You think I forgot our deal?”

I could not remember, the evening happened so fast. I thought real hard about it,… then I had a recollection like a nightmare.

“Oh, yes, you remember now, old man,” she said.  “It was a century ago, and you had a knife.  You wanted me to suck your dick off, and I always do my end of the deal.  Course after I’m done, I get my end of the deal,… until next time which is when you and I have some more fun.  So come on honey.  Let’s get your pants down.  And, you remember now, your soul is mine.”

I screamed, then I screamed again.  Her teeth were sharp.  She did her end of the deal.  It came off, and she ate it, and I died again, and again, and again,… until maybe she would get bored,… at the end of eternity.

 

The End

 

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Deadman’s Tome is a growing horror zine that publishes horror short stories and horror flash fiction. The online magazine publishes dark and gritty content from professional horror writers, Bram Stoker award nominated horror authors, along with talented newcomers of the horror writing craft. Deadman’s Tome features chilling, terrifying horror shorts ranging from ghost stories, zombie invasions, bigfoot sightings, monster horror, and even horror erotica. Deadman’s Tome is one of the best online horror zines to publish horror short stories, horror flash fiction, and dark flash fiction. The darker the tale the better. If you enjoyed the story, or even if you didn’t, leave a comment below as it helps the horror authors.

Owner of Dedman Productions, a small production company that focuses on bringing entertainment in both fiction and film.

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