Finish The Story Contest - Week #49!

in finishthestory •  6 months ago 

This prompt has a number of scenarios to take it. Who is the child? Who is the woman? Who is the man? What is the debt? What is the problem that will happen because of this 'debt'?

Great setup, @gaby-crb.

There's still time for anyone else to write their own ending!

The Package

by @gaby-crb

Condensation clung to the window, occasionally releasing a surge that cleared a path making the outside world visible. The cold white light refracted in the tiny water droplets. It was pretty, Shannon thought, as her breath spread across the cold window.

She checked her phone, the bright screen dazzling her. Her eyes darted to the mirror. The baby didn’t stir, still sound asleep in his comfortable car seat. She checked the time, the numbers read 23:46. There was no message.

She slipped it back into her coat pocket, wrapping her fingers around each other in an attempt to bring them back to life.

The CD stopped playing, the story finished. She pressed replay. The kid would no doubt wake up if it went silent. The story started up from the beginning. It was one she had listened to herself as a child. The narrator had a soothing voice, Shannon felt calm despite her predicament.

She checked her phone again. Still no message. Her eyes darted back to the boy, his blond hair showing underneath his fluffy hat. His cheeks pink. His blue eyes hidden beneath heavy eyelids.

A gloved hand rapped against the window. Shannon jumped, she quickly rolled down the window.

A clean shaven man ducked his head down to look at her.

“You have the package?”

His eyes glanced around the car, resting a few moments on the sleeping boy before returning to her face.

She nodded, her heart hammering in her chest. This was the first time she had done something like this.

She removed the key from the ignition and opened her door, the man stepped out of the way.
She was not surprised to measure up as shorter than him. She fumbled with the key in her hand. She found it hard to swallow.

“How many times do I have to do this?”

Her voice shook. She wrapped her arms around herself, giving her hands something to grip onto.

“Until you’ve paid what you owe.”

His voice clawed at her insides. He stepped closer, a hungry look in his eye.

Shannon shivered. She was mentally kicking herself for getting into debt. But there was only one thing she could do now.

——
My Ending

“Soul, please.” The man extended his gloved hand. Shannon nodded, whispering her polite request for him to wait just a moment.

Reaching over to the glove box on the passenger’s side of the car, she hit the radio.

When the narration from the CD abruptly ceased, the baby woke with a start.

The fusillade of baby cries filled the car. Shannon turned to soothe the child, only for it to shy away from her touch. The girl had a name, but Shannon didn’t know it. So just said kept repeating the words.

It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. Shhhhh. Shhhh.

“Soul,” the man repeated. “Perhaps you don’t fully understand the gravity of this situation, but we aren’t exactly on an extended timeline, here. This project has particularly high stakes. So I’ll ask a final time. Produce the packaged soul, or I’ll take yours instead.”

As the child thrust around it’s car seat, struggling to liberate itself from it’s unknown captor, it’s cries a frenzy in the echo chamber of the vehicle, Shannon opened the glove box.

She watched the glass vial, filled with the intoxicating luminescent shade of amber that was Henry Mcallister’s soul, fall out and shatter onto the passenger side floor mat. Sure, her hands moved to catch it. But maybe it was the booze in her system, or the fact she hadn’t slept in a number of days. But she was too slow. And as it shattered, so did her dreams.

Shannon’s debt was in that vial, and she’d done things, horrible things to get it.

The amber liquid dissolved into a gas and Henry’s soul dissipated into the air, leaving behind a fitting stench of sulfur.

She turned to the man, who shook his head in disgust.

“Humans,” he mumbled. “You truly are the clumsiest of God’s mistakes. I don’t know why we bother, if I’m to speak plainly.” He stared over at the crying child then back to Shannon.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “Please. Listen.”

“I’m done listening. You wanted money, you signed the contract. You agreed to the terms. One soul, doesn’t matter whose. That was the price. Failure to procure said soul within the designated timeline of six days, which, by the way, ends in…” The man checked a wrist watch. “About seven minutes. Failure to procure it means what, Shannon?”

“Forfeiture of my own soul.”

“Party B’s soul is forfeited for the duration of said contract. And how long is that contract, Shannon?”

“Six thousand human years.”

“This is written in plain English. Listen, I did you a favor. This is an underground operation. I’ve explained this. Out of God’s eyes. So, you’ll get the money, but the contract needs to be signed and completed so I can get the fuck off this rock. So hand me you soul.”
“Daaaaaadddddyyyyyy!” the child wept.

Shannon turned to it. It would be an orphan. Worse, it was a witness to what Shannon had done to her father, Henry.

“Any soul, yes?” Shannon asked.

The devil smiled. “That’s cold,” he said. “Even for me. But yes.”

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This post has been manually selected, curated and upvoted by CI mod staff team. Supporting all posts that are in high quality and don’t get enough recognition.

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This post was voted: 100%

Damn dirge, you went down the wonderfully dark road beckoning in this opening, and you did it so exceptionally, this is just the perfect horror ending. It builds from the moment you pick it up, with that wonderful line "Soul please" that says so much so simply, until it reaches the finally chilling note. Your direct story telling, with it's wonderfully weighted words that speak a depth of background, really delivers. So very glad you told us this one!

Yay this is one of the many endings that I had pictured as I was writing, the child being the package, but you took it one step further with the child being the package by accident. I liked the way you developed it into a sinister contract of collecting souls, it really added to the supernatural angle you took this in.

She watched the glass vial, filled with the intoxicating luminescent shade of amber that was Henry Mcallister’s soul, fall out and shatter onto the passenger side floor mat.

Ah poor Shannon and her bad reflexes. I love this description of the captured soul.

I was surprised at the ending, I thought the devil would have been the one to suggest taking the child’s soul in payment. Your last two lines changed my perception of both characters, making Shannon out to be the bigger evil of the two of them in that moment. Excellent ending :)

That really went together well. Love how you build the tension by revealing details as we reach the conclusion. Pretty bad. Makes perfect sense though in a twisted sort if way.

Very dark! I love how you have the devil being perfectly logical, lawyer-like. There's tension, but not because we're driven emotionally. Just business!

I'd love to know how they were working "Out of God’s eyes." God is always omniscient, except when she's not.

-@ntowl

“Soul, please.”

And I didn't need to see more, I decided then to get some glass bottles and drink that for the rest of the post.

When the narration from the CD abruptly ceased, the baby woke with a start.

And so, the boombox in my room cracked - devil splinters flying cross the room before just being black shards. I had to get up and replace the disc but the prices were too cheap to think about change. The weirdest thing was that a baby next door was crying, I hadn't a clue why, the family left an hour ago and the baby wailed the entire time. I pounded a fist at the wall, the veins appeared but the baby screeched the last breathe without a care for the lungs. Oddly, not even blood inundated the wall cracks - not like I needed the cleaners here again.

"Perhaps you don’t fully understand the gravity of this situation, but we aren’t exactly on an extended timeline, here..."

Monsieur always had a funny way of speaking, reminds me of the skinless cupcakes that Mafia members used to pull. I remember even Monsieur Capone's cupcakes, funny that wasn't one of the charges he was dealt - something about tax evasion... or fraud?

was Henry Mcallister’s soul, fall out and shatter onto the passenger side floor mat. Sure, her hands moved to catch it.

The joke of a reaper was that it was never meant to be a joke. Even in Death themself, the crazy old English bastard that alluded human classification, had a funny way of moving; bones wasn't the best plan but I see the shadows work well for them now.

Out of God’s eyes.

Foolish being, even God saw it but God approved of it. God created Evil, not for a test or to punish the wicked. No, something to humour and something to watch. Us, the humans, are merely subjected by the contingency of acts and necessitated a response of which the action will forever be contingent and unpredictable. Such is failure of a being to think a step ahead of their own creatures, now caught up in the parallax of absolute control and merely becoming what had been created.

The devil smiled. “That’s cold,” he said. “Even for me. But yes.”

But not even I could care for the coldness of a thing, I merely played along for the price of losing some of my means of subsistence to procure a vessel that probably could forever generate more. But not because it is cold, but because it is too warm in the current economy to not follow upon - the failure of Eternal Justice that bloodily prays to Capital. And I? Well the detail matters not if I am not exorcised from the living machine and profit calculator, not for this grandeur reveal but because I have already made ablaze of myself a few minutes ago and already am seeking a new place under new attitudes and platitudes. What shall happen? Who knows but the baby, it already knew that I had bloodied the wall even when I couldn't see it. But what is this it? It wasn't blood, that's for sure because I had saw the veins and all active veins like that necessarily contain blood. So what was it?

Excuse not the mental folly surge that I made just a few mikes ago, to much of a nuisance to carry that in my head when I just want to focus on a piece of work but feel the odd and rare moments of life creeping back into this Vessel of mine. Whatever that cacophony of life that was, well it quickly simmered and now I just edge from place to place like a Vessel. So, let's nail together the story for which I shall not land but we think it to do so anyways.

La filosofía: So wild was the bottle that it flung itself to the air knowing full well of what was to go on. Oh do not trick me to think that a mere slip up was hers when she knew what was on the line. And so I merely pick out the petal of a flower, for this is the most disturbing piece of the flower. The mannerism of Capitalist dealings, at least the ones we can recount in written word of law or deals. Oh so dirty was the petal that I placed it gently to the ground, for my eyes can only take in so much as I "read" into the story. Then came the foot raise, so violent it was that many a memories and comparisons came of worse dealings than loosing the soul of a child - the potential last of your lineage. Finally the boot stomp came, but I guess that all acts of writing are merely repeated pressings of a manner that it becomes forced to something concrete over time.

La forma: Interesting the non-distinction of dialogue and pairs of text, awfully reminded me to my mind that dialogue truly can be soulless at points and the comment there to ensure the reader of the intended effect it should have. But I like my Tell more than my Show, so this was a great fix for me to get the buzz that I always had with more "Tell-y" shows than "Show-y" works - even mines are if one just puts on reading glasses, no imagery but a mere bland reality for me to jeer at "Show" authors. But of course I will have the hounds of Bellauwood, those Devil Dogs, having at my throat if I press the matter any further.

Ooh, that's cold even for the devil! Good storyline. :)

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The child was going to be orphaned anyways so why not. Possibly the baby will have a better life of 6,000 years spent on some distant planet.