Bone Reckoning

It wasn’t raining. Wasn’t night. The sun was shining through the window, beaming through the curtains to bring him the slightest ounce of light.

He didn’t want it.

He had no right.

A monster, a beast. The blood stained his house, beckoned at every door. He’d hunted, and he’d trapped, and he’d ripped them to shreds. Threw out their peace to bring favor for their dead.


The light was not his. Certainly, he had no right.

He picked up his pen, squinting at the sun. The thoughts haunting him, the terror of night.

And with his thoughts swirling, the dead rising in their call.

He began to write:

Journal entry 74, book 1189.

More than likely, this is my last entry. I hope to survive this ordeal, but I don’t believe I will.

If God is true, and just, and mighty, then I will not.

If God is truly mighty, then surely:

I must die.

I don’t deserve to live through this. All I must do is right this wrong—no. That’s impossible. What’s done is done, and cannot be undone. My sins cannot be righted. These wrongs have carved their mark. There’s no making this right, not in the usual sense of the word. No.

I must do more. 

I must rid us of this future. The current road is paved with bones, littered with death. I must take the skulls off the posts, break apart that white road stained with red, and I must make a better path. A better way into tomorrow.

He must die.

And I must be the one to kill him.

The deal was lives for life. Blood for blood. Years for years.

That’s the sort of demon he is:

Vitaly lies in his hand. Rests in his palms. When one heart stops, he can keep another going. Demons cannot create, only take what is and twist it.

That’s why:

Lives for life.

Four centuries have passed since the first.


I am too long for this world. Far, far too long. 

I thought this was what I wanted. 

I thought this was the answer. 

That avoiding death was the way to life.

I was a fool. 

Am a fool.

I don’t deserve to survive this. My watch tells me my heart has enough ticks to last me another thirty years or so.

I don’t deserve them.

If I could, I’d give them all back. Give them all away. Someone needs them more than I do. Deserves them more than I do. Those ticks weren’t earned, weren’t given.

They were taken.

Lives for life.

There is no giving. Only taking. 

My castle is built on bones. Their cries echo through the belfry. They ring through my graveyard. Sing to the blood. Beat against the hearts that once resonated like drums. Thousands stuffed into my pocket watch. Ticking to the beat of my own heart. Adding to this melody of screams. Bubbling away in the stream of my own veins. 

I’m a monster.

More monster than he is, I’m sure.

He is, after all, a demon. It’s to be expected of him, this wretched sort of horror. Such a completely self-centered existence.  To think of only what he can do for himself. To care not at all for the safety of others. To abandon lives in order to gain life. What more could you ask of a demon? What more could you expect? You’d be foolish to think such a blackened existence could live outside a void. Could think of light and be better for it. No. Demons are what they are: selfish, cruel, uncaring. 

But me?

The Duke?

The one appointed to guard? To protect? To provide?


It was not expected of me.

This sort of heinous crime…

No one thought it would become me.

But when death knocked, I didn’t want to answer. Even as the knob turned, and the door creaked, I refused to answer. Refused to acknowledge him. 

That was why the demon came. Why he chose me.

He knew.

It was all too easy to convince me to give him what he wanted. To convince me to give up lives for him. To sacrifice my people. To throw away so many souls.

So, so many souls. Enough to fill Solomon’s treasury, I’m sure.

Too many souls.

I have done so much damage. Committed crime after crime after crime. 

And now it’s time.

More precisely, it’s been time. For quite some time, it’s been time. I just refused to believe it.

It’s past due, this reckoning.

This meeting with death.

With the end.

How does one undo a deal with a demon?

I don’t know.

I don’t.

I suppose it isn’t good. Making the deal required blood, and sacrifice.

I suppose ending it will be much the same, or perhaps worse.

Probably much, much worse.

That’s why.

This is probably my last entry. The last recorded memory of a man out of time. A man with centuries of blood. Of death. A man who doesn’t deserve to be remembered.

But must be, nonetheless.

Forget my name, I don’t deserve that. Forget my human deeds, the monstrous ones far outweigh them. Don’t write my story in stones, or bring about my face on statues.

Simply remember this:

Desperation is deadly to man.

Very deadly indeed.

And desperation makes man deadly.

… very deadly in deed.

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