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There was Blood

There was blood. So much blood on the floor. Her father lay in the middle of it, what remained of his face twisted into an accusatory expression. Hazel stared at it, kept staring, couldn’t look away from those dead, lingering eyes. Even in death they lingered. Why wouldn’t he stop looking at her? She took the knife, her hands shaking, and knelt next to the body. Gently, ever so gently, she scooped out his eyeballs and dropped them to the ground, crushing them beneath a black mary-jane. He was still staring at her, with his empty sockets, searing beneath her blood-stained dress to gaze at what was beneath. “Please”, she whispered. “Stop. I want you to stop”. But the dead man couldn’t hear her. “STOP!” She screamed and stabbed the empty sockets, once, twice, more and more, anything to stop that cold, wandering gaze. “NO NO NO!!!” She cried out into the void, and soon, there was almost nothing left. No eyes, no mouth, no nothing. Nothing that could ever touch her again. She stood, shivering in the cold. The heat had long since been turned off, and there was no phone either. No one to call for help. Just her, and the body, and the fear that she was being watched. Would she ever not be watched again? Calmly, she walked to the bedroom, grabbed the large comforter—grunting as she tugged with all of her might—and threw it over the body. She didn’t want to look at it anymore. She didn’t want it to be there anymore. But she dared not touch it. What if he started moving again? Then she lay on the bed with her small, fuzzy blanket and cried. No waterworks, just a few small tears sniffling their way from her eyes. And she shook. “That’s quite a mess you’ve made there, young lady,” said a voice. She curled up tighter. “Go away,” she commanded. “You’re not real.” “But what if I am?” “Papa says you’re just in my head.” Something poked her through the thin blanket, and she gasped, sitting up as the blanket fell away. “I’d say that none of those other voices have poked you before,” said the man, tall, thin, with square glasses perched at the top of his long nose. “Who are you?” “Oh, do pardon me, I’ve gone and gotten ahead of myself.” The man bowed deeply before her. “The name’s Cowell. I’m a daemon from the blackest pits of hell.” Hazel frowned. “Demons don’t exist. I think you’re lying.” “Alright, maybe about the hell part, but all the rest of it is true.” Giggling, Hazel blinked a few times. She wondered where this funny man had come from. “Why are you here?” she asked instead. “I’ve come to help you out of this predicament,” the man said, glancing back into the other room. “It seems to me that you’ve gone and gotten rid of the one thing that’s keeping you alive. Without him, you’ll be dead in a week, maybe two, if you’re very lucky.” “I... had to though.” she looked down. “He kept looking at me. And... and,“ she couldn’t bring herself to continue. “I’m not debating that the bastard—oh, sorry—jerk deserved to die, but you’re only what, seven, eight? What are you going to do now?” She bit her lip. “I don’t know.” “What if I told you that I could give you everything you could possibly want?” Cowell asked. “You can?” Her eyes lit up. “Perhaps,” he said. “But I can’t just give everything to you. What do you have to offer in return?” Thinking about it for a moment, her eyes narrowed, and her small mouth puffed out. “Hold on,” she said suddenly, running to the other room. Cowell waited patiently until she came triumphantly back with her piggy bank full of spare change she’d found lying around. “Will this be enough?” She removed the cap on its stomach and a pile of pennies tumbled out onto the dirt-smeared bedsheets. Cowell laughed, tears almost coming out of his eyes. “Hmm, let me see,” he sifted through the coins, muttering to himself. “Actually, I think this is a bit too much,” he picked out a few pennies and placed them gently in her hand. “There. That’s my payment. And this,” he reached behind his back and pulled—from seemingly nowhere—a huge, dust-covered tome, “Is for you. Now if you’ll be so kind as to offer me your hand, we can seal the deal with a nice, firm handshake”...

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