Have you ever felt like you were the Devil himself? A cruel, ruthless, impulsive monster, someone who, when attacked, threatened or just mildly irritated never curbs their own wickedness, but instead acts on it? And after acting out of hare, do you feel satisfied or ashamed? Do you find approval within, or do you repent? Can you find redemption? In this story, I went through extremes to find out the answer.
Selma was a black young woman who, despite poverty and other hindering circumstances, managed to get an education and find a decent job. She worked at a huge school that stood on the top of a hill, which you could only reach after climbing an almost infinite set of stairs. Her mother, Rhonda, was in jail for being a psychopathic murderer and drug dealer. Selma had a handicapped younger brother, Julian, who she also had to financially and emotionally support. The school not only taught regular children and teens, but served as a refuge with lairs and dens prepared specially for animals. The problem is, it was very selective about those. Only big animals, unanimously beloved by staff and teachers alike, such as bears, tigers, wolves, or those in equivalent size – only “real” or “truly wild” animals were considered worthy enough and allowed to take shelter in the school premises.
One day I met a couple of cute hedgehogs, weasels and foxes. They didn’t really qualify for school assistance: they looked and acted like real animals, but were made out of felt and soft cloth. Despite this, they were extremely life-like, much more than well-made puppets or those computer-animated animals from Pixar movies. They moved and talked and were animated from within – to me, they were wonderful, a precious miracle. They needed help, so I took them in and allowed them to stay overnight. But I had no authority to do that. On the next day, I found out that the young woman, who was in fact my superior at the school, had chased away my guest animals. I burned with unsurpassed hatred and vowed to myself I would take revenge for that injustice towards those sweet creatures, who at that point, were already far away, and who I would probably never see again.
The opportunity came swiftly. On the following weeks, I observed her helping her brother Julian climb down the school stairs – it was easier than climbing up, but he still needed someone to hold on to and give him stability. Every day after school it went on the same way. But today it was different: the tarmac was slippery and dangerous due to the recent rain. Julian was almost as big as his sister and, losing his balance climbing down an uneven, faulty step, he managed to stay up by grabbing hard onto Selma. It happened right about the steepest part of the staircase. I was right behind them, completely unnoticed, and took the chance to give her a short, firm push, while pulling Julian towards me – it happened so fast, and I was so sneaky, that no one noticed what had really happened (at least not the police). Rhonda, with my help, fell down the stairs and was severely wounded. Julian couldn’t help but blame himself, even though he suspected me of foul play. Still, he couldn’t be sure, and the fact remains that he had made her vulnerable to my subtle attack.
In the meantime, Rhonda returned from prison and was faced with a half-dead daughter at the hospital and a crippled son slowly losing his mind through guilt. I had heard of her reputation and was so afraid of what she might do to me, that I hired some henchmen to take her down. I demanded proof that they had done the job before payment, so I waited anxiously for their return; when they finally did, they were no longer five but three, and told me Rhonda was armed and a master martial artist, despite being around 50 and on the heavier side: they tried shooting her, but she shot two of them down before they even had a chance to get their guns out. I asked them how could it be that five men didn’t manage to grab a middle-aged woman from behind and choke her, but they said it was impossible, so I gave up and prepared to die a horrible death at her hands. This woman would surely find out I was behind all this, find me and painfully kill me.
She finally did, and I was so scared I froze as dead; I couldn’t move or say anything. Rhonda was quite short, slightly overweight, and her blunt facial features expressed aggressiveness appropriately. I was expecting anything from torture to just a simple shot to the head, but what she said utterly shocked me: she thanked me for putting her boring, honest, hard-working daughter in the hospital, for it made matters much easier for her, the mother. Rhonda’s goal when she escaped prison was to actually sacrifice Selma to Satan in ritual resembling a Blood Eagle execution in order to restore Julian’s to full physical and mental health. She needed me as a witness, and I dared not deny it.
So it turned out my punishment was having to watch all that. We went to an empty backyard illuminated with torches, death-masks and carved stones in the shape of dark hooded figures. The woman put Selma, prostrated, in a shallow blue-tiled pool, Julian lying face-up right beside. Rhonda had a special, cursed knife with a curved blade, and proceeded to cut away the flesh from Rhonda’s back with amazing precision – the blue pool turned red, and a white, gooey rib came out of Selma’s lifeless body. Rhonda recited a Latin prayer in guttural, entranced tones, and just like that, Julian was cured. The teenage boy got up with ease and walked away with his mother beside him, leaving Selma behind. I couldn’t believe how she was still alive. I decided it was a sign that meant I could still redress my sins, so I took Selma to the hospital. Her whole back area was deeply hurt, and she needed many medical procedures, all of which I paid for myself. I stayed by her side and nursed her until she regained her strength, and we were both forgiven.