I returned to consciousness in a Long Island apartment. This perk was already amazing. I was on a couch and sat up. The living room wasn’t that bad looking. A couch, a tv, a normal set up for a middle-class apartment. Damn, wish I had this luck when I was alive. No matter.
It was weird being “alive” again. I felt more energy than I ever did when I was a breathing organism. Could I see myself in the mirror? Ha, another cliché. Walking into the bathroom, I observed myself. I was good looking and fit! I should have worked out more when I was alive. Would I ever need to eat or use the bathroom again? On second thought, I could live without that knowledge or I’ll cross that bridge when it happens.
Entering the living room again, the katana was in the corner with a dark trench coat hanging on the wall next to it. I picked up the manila folder that was on the couch. Best to get this part over with. I opened the folder and saw a picture of a Born-Again Christian preacher. The irony was not lost on me. As I scanned through the contents, I learned this nut job was pro-conversion therapy. Ugh! It also had a record of him doing other illegal activities that made me feel sick. Why does she want this guy alive? I’d love to give him a one-way ticket to hell, but that wasn’t my job. Sighing, I burned the contents over the stove in the kitchen. Once the mess was clean, I put on the trench coat, equipped the katana and I headed out.
According to the brief, he was at a certain church in the town of Patchogue. Weird. Patchogue was supposed to be a newly found yuppie community, or at least that was my impression of those overeducated and snooty artists. No matter. This was going to be fun.
I found the church. Once the service was over and the other lost souls left for the day, I stopped the preacher.
“John?” I asked.
“Can I help you?” he asked me back.
“Can we talk alone?”
“Certainly! Follow me.” He replied and led us to the back of the church surrounded by woods.
“How can I help you?”
“By living for all eternity?”
I pulled out the katana and stabbed him in the gut before he could blink. His hands wrapped around the blade, gripping it tightly.
“But why?” He cried.
I saw the change immediately. Years of terrible actions coming to the surface, sudden clarity overcame his eyes and he felt true remorse after all this time. But what could he possibly do about it but live with it, without any form of forgiveness for past wrongs. Oh yes, the devil lady was great at psychological torment and I was great at dishing it out. I smirked as I watched him wince over and over.
“It’s too late for me,” the guy stuttered.
I withdrew the blade from his gut and sheathed it. He stood up and I kicked him with all the adrenaline running through me. John fell to the ground on his knees, hunched over and holding his gut. Pitiful!
“I suggest you try to make amends but it won’t help,” I offered even though I really didn’t care.
The job over, I ran back to my new apartment. All this energy had to go somewhere and I wondered what the devil would have me do next. I guess it didn’t hurt that I was the devil’s bitch for now. Still, I was going to enjoy this newfound “life” for all it was worth. Heck, I was going to see if I can have myself some Surf and Turf, because damn it, I deserved it. Or so I was justifying to myself that a job well done, deserves a good meal. Although in the back of mind, and the feeling I had in my gut, this first job did seem way too easy.
Once I got back to my new apartment, I couldn’t even test my food palate. I knew I should have listened to my gut reaction from before. Another manila folder was waiting for me on the couch. This one had a small note attached from the devil herself. The note read:
“Handle this job with care. Things may not be as they seem. Also, you’re dead so no trying to eat. It will taste like ash to you.”
So much for trying to enjoy my death. I picked up the manila folder and ripped it open. To my horror, my next job involved my sister. No! There had to be a mistake. This couldn’t be possible. I read through my sister’s file repeatedly, aghast at the crimes this document said she had committed.
I knew my sister well in life, or at least I thought I did. So, I knew her hangout spots but I read the document once more. This couldn’t be my sister. The woman I knew would never have committed any of these atrocities. Burning the document, I felt a tear come to my eye for what I was about to do. Couldn’t there be a way to absolve her for these sins? No, they were terrible. Taking a deep breath, I ran to the place I knew she would be. Before I use my katana, she was going to answer all my questions.
Stopping near Lombardi’s on the Bay, I looked at the docks from where I stood, looking for my sister. No one was at the docks which I found odd for this time of day. Looking to my left, I found her walking near the playground. Chasing after her, I stopped.
“Chelsi!” I commanded.
She turned to look at me, confusion spread across her face.
“Do I know you?”
“I’m a friend of your sister’s,” I said quickly.
She looked at the ground and then back up at me.
“It was a real tragedy what happened to her. She never talked about you.”
“Not much to talk about really,” I said. “Anyway, maybe we can talk sometime?”
I knew getting to talk to her somewhere private would seem weird. I figured I would have to gain her trust first and I still couldn’t believe that my sister was such a hardened criminal. How was she never caught and why did she never give any signs?
“I’m going to Public House if you want to join,” she offered.
I nodded my assent and then realized I didn’t have a car. Shit, how can you live on Long Island without one? Then again, I did the same in life.
We met at Public House in the restaurant portion. This was a bit weird but this was my sister after all. Our whole family was under the dictionary definition of “weird.” I ordered a water and waited.
“What’s your name?” She asked.
Shit! Think, think, think.
“Sonia,” I said thinking about a video game I played in early childhood.
“Nice to meet you.”
“I need to talk to you outside, if that’s okay,” I said suddenly. “It’s in honor of your sister.”
It was clear she didn’t trust me. Heck, if I was in her shoes things would not have gotten this far. Anyway, we walked into the back, which was probably a bad idea considering this was the industrial part of town. Many of the workers in each shop would come out here to get rid of garbage, smoke, or make private phone calls. I would have to be quick.
“What’s up?” She asked.
“Do the names, Steven, Michael, Mary, Johnny, and Dean ring a bell?”
“What’s the meaning of this?”
“Answer the question.”
“How dare you!”
“I guess that’s answer enough,” I said and stabbed her in the gut quickly.
The clarity came over her faster than it did the preacher. They always did say women mature faster than men but I was really hoping that my sister wasn’t the criminal the file said she was. She looked up at me.
“Dana? But why?” She asked me.
“I’m in the employ of someone who makes me do these dirty jobs,” I explained and ripped my katana out from her. “Also, you’re no longer my sister.”
She stared at me, sorrow gripping her. I was livid my sister could be someone I never knew. Walking away, I didn’t bother to look back. Let my flesh and blood writhe in eternal torment. I was done with them and their lies. I could only imagine what other secrets my own family held. I walked for a very long time before I got back to my apartment.
(To Be Continued Next Week)