Darkest Hour

 

The courtroom was packed, everybody loved a celebrity trial and even more the loved a celebrity sentencing. Two months of sitting here in a shirt and tie was going to drive him insane. He had to listen to boring testimony proving that beyond a doubt that he did it, and there was no alternatives. The schmuck he paid to defend him pretty much told him there was nothing he could do, so this had all been a waste because he would rather get paid for a trial than advise him to plea out. “I bet my records are going to sell now.” This kept coming up in his mind but he would never get to see any of those rewards again.

Mr. Gretchen will you please stand!”

He woke from his daze and stood before the judge. “For what you have done there is no understanding and no making amends. In my younger days we would take you out back and hang you from the nearest oak. But the state will have to wait until the proper time. I sentence you to death by the electric chair. And may god not have any mercy on your soul. Adjourned!”

The small grin came across his face and he could not help let out a chuckle.

3 years later

The cell was quiet, the guards had turned all the lights off except the one hanging right outside his cell. He was the only one on this block technically the death penalty had became outlawed just a week before but for him the governor said he would still get his. So they moved everybody else to general pop or to protective care. So here he sat in silence, the guards would only grant him a side-eye looks and no conversation. Finally he got a peep out of guard Jones, “What do you want to eat shitbag?” It was semi pleasant in his mind, but he did not really care, “Something that bleeds when you kill it!”

After eating the cheapest burger that the prison could find, it was the time he had been waiting for and as soon as he heard the old door creak he opened his eyes and knew what was coming down the hall. He saw through the shadows the slow pace of an older gentleman and then saw the black with the small white below his chin. The old man had white hair but a younger face. “Ah preacher, I’ve been waiting for this one.” The priest turned in front of the bars. “I cannot say I feel the same Mr. Gretchen. Would it be alright if I entered?” “By all means come join the murder.” And that smile returned he could not remember the last time he used it. The priest nodded to the guard who walked up and unlocked the cell and swung it open, “Play nice now!” And with that the priest stepped in and the door slammed shut behind him.

So Padre where should we begin?” “Do you want your last rites?” “Na, I don’t think they’ll do me much good where I’m headed?” “And where is that my son?” “You’ve heard the stories, you know where I’m bound.” “Ah yes! The deal?!”

The priest sat down and stared hard into his eyes, “Mr. Gretchen tell me about that night?”

What’s there to tell, it started off like most of my nights back then we played a sold out show and then went back to the hotel to party. There were a couple of girls there waiting for us, could not of been more than 20 and they came up to me and asked if they could hang with us. The other boys were tired, so I told them to ‘fuck off then’ and I took the two back to my room. I had a couple of lines with me so being the gentleman I was I offered them some and to my surprise they took them. Then I put on my new record, it sounded like shit but for some reason only I knew they dug it, just like everyone else. My guitar playing was shit, subpar, but in their ears I was Tony Fuckin’ Iommi himself.”

The priest just kept his glaze from the wooden back chair, “I remember this album many around me were listening to it.” “Oh yeah, did you dig it father?” “I saw it for what it was, plus not my taste. I am more of a Rolling Stones man myself.” Gretchen could not help but laugh, “Well don’t we all learn something new.” The priest gave a slight nod, “Continue please Mr. Gretchen.”

Well, they were high as fucking kites and jamming to the songs. I was just laughing and sipping beer and loving being a rockstar. So I yell at the redheaded one that they should strip, and she just laughs and starts taking off her clothes. Her friend was a little more hesitant but after her friend got bare ass I guess she did not want to be left out. As her panties his the ground that’s when it happened.” Gretchen paused and looked down.

What happened Mr. Gretchen?”

I heard something, a voice or something. It just said, ‘Take them, send them to me.’ I thought it was another guy in the band snuck in perving out so I jumped up and then I heard, ‘Blood, get their blood.’ Suddenly I saw in black and white and I just had an urge to kill and I walked over to where they were dancing with each other and I took a beer bottle off the dresser. I smashed it and stabbed the redhead in the throat and suddenly color came back to my eyes, red.” Gretchen took a breath. “ Then her friend came out of her drug daze dance and screamed watching her friend collapse with a river of blood spewing out her neck. The scream penetrated my skull and then I took the same bottle and stabbed her in her stomach. She fell back on the bed and I watched her pale skin turn red. I do not remember anything after that, I did not regain my brain until I awoke in an interrogation room. The cops told me they found me sitting with them both draped around me and me drinking their blood out of a plastic hotel cup.”

The priest finally stood and pointed to the bunk to which Gretchen went and sat back down on. “So you don’t remember writing on the wall?” “Nope!” “What did that message say Mr. Gretchen?” “It said, ‘Blood Redeems’.” The priest began to pace back and forth, “Tell me about the deal Mr Gretchen.”

Not much to tell I was on acid one night and thought I was talking to the devil, you know just seeing shit. And I asked the devil to make my band famous and to make me a good guitar player.” “And did he respond?” Gretchen laughed, “Well next month our album hit the top of the charts and I was swarmed by people.” “So Mr. Gretchen do you think this is all being done so the devil can I don’t know claim his payment?” “Maybe so but I have tried to outrun him thinking I could avoid him, but as you can see I get to meet him real soon.” “Outrun him, Mr. Gretchen he can not be outran, he is everywhere, he knew where you were that night and he knew the bragging you did. You used him as a means to a story and joked about him, did you think he wouldn’t hear you? Joking about he who gave you everything? Mr. Gretchen maybe this is not the payment but the torture before the payment. I would not let someone else do my work for me, not with you.” At this Gretchen looked up, the priest stood before him black in his eyes. “ Mr. Gretchen you said you would meet him soon, maybe sooner than you thought.”

The guard walked back to the cell, he had not heard any voices for awhile and a quick check would not hurt. He walked and as he glanced into the cell he panicked and yelled into his radio, “I need EMTs to the Row now, lock this place down!” Gretchen was laying in bed his head cocked sideways covered in blood and his yellow jumpsuit was ripped open at the chest with blood still oozing out a small fist size hole there with cauterized edges. He could smell the burnt flesh. But what made him almost throw up his dinner was the head, Gretchen’s eyes were gone and his mouth lay in a blood soaked grin. The guard frantically looked around but the second voice he could not find, the priest was nowhere in the cell.

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