Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Write for the SUSPENSE and/or THRILLER Genre (10/23/14)
By JK Stenger
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Böse sighed. What could be expected of such mindless dregs of society? But when he thought of the enormous profits he made today, selling stale grain to old, silly Mrs Sellick, he chuckled. Yes, it had been a good day. And as long as his business kept thriving like it did, there was no real reason to complain.
His chest swelled with pride as he closed the shutters. Darkness covered the land, but in the distance he noticed a figure staggering, holding a lantern.
Stupid drunk. Some people just never learn.
He put another log on the fire and prepared for bed. The flames cast shadows on the rough log walls. He didn’t like the night. At night he was alone with his thoughts and fears, and it made him feel small and vulnerable.
“Böse… Böse Sünder? Open the door...”
It was probably the drunk he’d seen earlier.
“Go away, you fool, I’ve got no time for you. I am sleeping.”
“I’ve come for you, Böse.” said the stranger.
Fear struck Böse ’s heart. How does he know my name?
“Wha..what do you want?”
“Open up!” The stranger banged on the door.
Good grief, what must I do? He jumped out of bed and grabbed an iron candlestick.
“It’s your time, Böse Sünder. I’m coming in. He kicked the door, which started to crack.
I’ve got to get out of here.
The window—he could escape. He started to open it, but then froze. Just outside the window was a face.
Never before had Böse seen such a face. A wicked, dark face full of pimples glared at him.
“You can’t get away from me, Böse Sünder!”
Böse tried to close the shutters again, but he was too late. A bony hand wormed its way inside and in one swift movement the man jumped in. Böse swung his candlestick at him, but the man grinned viciously. “You can’t harm me, you fool.”
Böse screamed and swung the candlestick right onto the evil man’s head. But it just bounced off. Nothing happened. The intruder just cackled and hissed. “Told you so.”
He pushed Böse on the floor and planted a foot on his back.
“My name is Cerberus.” He spat out the words.
“W..what do you want, Cerberus?” Böse struggled to free himself, but was powerless. “I have some money stashed away if…”
“Quiet!” roared Cerberus. “Tell me Böse...what do you pay your servants?”
“Their fair wages,” cried Böse, “They’re worthless, but I still pay ‘em.”
But Cerberus didn’t seem impressed.
“What did your mother teach you, Böse Sunder?”
“What? My mother?”
Böse didn’t understand, but suddenly he saw himself in a flashback, sitting on his mother’s lap as a little boy. She told him of the good life and about the King. Ridiculous fairy tales they were. A crutch for the uneducated. What was that verse again she always quoted?
For the wages of sin is death…but the gift of God is eternal life. What nonsense.
“Wages, Böse. It’s all about wages,” hissed Cerberus. “This night your soul shall be required of you, and your wealth is not enough to pay your way out. You are mine now.”
Sudden anger coursed through Böse’s body and he shook his fist at Cerberus. “You’re not real. Get away from me. I don’t belong to anybody but myself.”
But Cerberus just laughed.
Tears stung Böse’s eyes, while his fingers clawed in the wooden floor.
“It’s not fair…I want justice…I…
Then all became dark…
A rich man spoke and said: “Soul, you have plenty of good things stored up for years to come. Relax! Eat, drink and have a good time!’ But God said to him, ‘You fool, this very night your soul will be required! Then, who is going to possess all that you have prepared?’ That is what happens to the man who hoards things for himself and is not rich where God is concerned.” -Luke 12:19-21 (JB Phillips Translation)
Böse Sünder in German means ‘evil sinner.’
Cerberus is the latin form of the Greek ‘Kerberos’ meaning "demon of the pit.”
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