Thursday, April 15, 2021

The Ritual by Vaibhav Sharma

Every few minutes he would adjust his ill-fitted suit, a stretch of the sleeve, tug on the trousers. It almost didn’t seem worth killing that man over. He always knew he was meant to do God’s work. It wasn’t his destiny to be kept under lock and key in the ‘loony house’. If he wasn’t willing to get his hands a little dirty in God’s work, how would he get accepted? So he did what he had to do - broke out of that crazy place where they kept feeding him those pills and started looking for the Devil.
Then he spotted her. She was a redhead, with her blasphemous skirt that was almost threads and a loose shirt that openly mocked Revelation 17:5. He would start with her.

As she crossed the lawn, he could see a party in progress. It was as if God was sitting at his shoulder, pointing him in the right direction. She had led him to the lair crawling with the sinners. Behind every flash of skin and each drag of their funny cigarettes, he could see the face of the Devil. They had tried to ‘fix’ him up at the centre, but they didn’t realise it was not he who was broken. It was the world that needed fixing.

He entered the house, passing through the throng of people. Each touch sent a thousand snakes crawling over his skin. The air was thick with their collective stench, but it only made him more resolute. He could just keep her in sight amongst the constantly bobbing shoulders and heads. Her voice crackled in Devil’s symphony as she freely embraced the bodies in her way. They were so consumed by their debauchery that they paid absolutely no attention to the middle-aged man in the ill-fitted suit. They will soon enough, he knew. But first, he needed to find the redhead in this crowd. As he clawed his way, his eyes fell on a carving knife in the table. It was as if this place wanted blood spilt. He slid the knife under his jacket and set in pursuit of the redhead.

“Hey! Can someone grab another case from the basement?” Someone shouted.

“A case of beer coming right up!” Replied the redhead. That voice would never stop haunting him.

He spotted the door to the basement on his right and snuck towards it. A flight of stairs led into the basement. He descended and crouched underneath the stairs, where he would wait for the unsuspecting redhead.

This was as good a vantage point as any for what he had in mind. About a minute later, he heard footsteps at the top of the stairs. The sound descended down the stairs with the accompanying body. He heard a button being pressed and a patch of light appeared next to the foot of the stairs. This was his redemption, his final payment.

He could almost smell her revolting perfume now. As he gripped the knife for the final lunge, another voice called out from the top of the stairs.

“… and also prep the basement for the ritual. I guess we’ll have to make do with that suit guy today!”

© Vaibhav Sharma

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