People are foolish.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my thousand years, it’s that.
People will believe anything they want to believe. The truth can be staring them down, ready to eat them, and still.
They’ll believe what they want to believe.
A plague of their own. A curse that they consistently choose:
Ignore the ugly truth.
Not that I’m complaining.
Honestly, it makes my job a whole hell of a lot easier.
“Been a while since we’ve had a job this big.”
I nod. “Yes. It has.”
“Don’t think we’ve had this big of a job since that dance-till-you-die party we threw.”
“I believe that’s correct,” I replied, lighting my pipe.
Indeed. I remembered that day.
The day I slung a curse across their revelry. Destroyed them with their own frivolity. Their idiotic, undeserved celebration. I punished them for their consistent arrogance, for their ceaseless debauchery.
I used their pleasure against them. Turned their own philosophies into a curse.
That day, the people danced until they died.
“I think you had a lot of fun with that,” my assistant commented.
I nodded at him. And, luckily, he didn’t pressure me for more conversation. Instead, he prattled on with himself. Talking as if he were having a conversation. I listened, of course, but it was clear I wasn’t part of his musings.
I hardly ever was these days.
Life becomes so dull after a thousand years.
“What kind of curse are you going to do now Sir? Which one will you use to get the job done?” My jackal-headed assistant asked.
I’d been thinking.
There were plenty of spells I could use to wipe out a whole town. Plenty. I could give everyone a plague, or cause a meteor to strike the town. I could manipulate a riot, have it tear the town to pieces.
That all of that was too believable. Too predictable. When people catch wind of something like that, they flee. Know it to be the truth. Accept it immediately.
And, if they accept it immediately, there will be those who escape from my wrath.
I can’t have that.
As I take a puff of my pipe, I motioned for my jackal to come closer.
When he obeyed, I nodded to him.
“Take me to the graveyard.”
With the sweep of his cloak, we turned. Twisted through distance to end up there.
I nodded, seeing the field full of tombs. Of graves. Dead, sleeping in their coffins.
They won’t believe this.
Even if they see it.
They won’t believe it.
And, by the time they do? By the time truth is too vicious to ignore? Barging down their doors, dragging them from their slumber?
It’ll be too late.
Taking out my obsidian blade, I began the curse. Cut deep into my hand. Let my black blood drip onto the field.
And I made the command.
“The dead will rise to do my bidding. They will tear this town to pieces. Destroy everyone in it. They will not rest again until this city is devoured. Until my demands have been met, they will hunger, and they will shuffle through their pain, and they will not stop.
“They will not stop.”
The ground shook.
Earth broke, filling the air with the wet, musty scent of decay. Hands rose like weeds, like thorns, breaking from the dirt to do as I commanded. To do my bidding. Bones and cold, dead blood. Vacant eyes, and skulls that were empty. Cages around their bodies, with nothing to protect inside but vermin. Hearts that were devoured.
That would devour.
The dead rose.
An unbelievable sight.
“The truth will kill them this time,” I told my assistant as the dead began to walk. Shuffling out of their sleep.
“No one will escape.”
Not when the truth is this unbelievable. Not when there is so much to fear.
Not when they want to ignore it.
The moaning dead shuffled forward, carrying my curse.
By the end of the night, they’ll join together—the living and the dead.
You won’t be able to tell the difference between the two.
I chuckled to myself.
A clever, wicked truth. A brilliant curse.
With this plague, it’s impossible for me to fail. Because, once again, I haven’t invented something new. I simply turned what they had—a curse they had already cast upon themselves—and used it to my advantage. Took it to “the next level” as they say.
The horrifying truth will come knocking.
And it will kill them.