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The Tale


Todd Castetter

Everyone has some degree of insanity. Also, everyone is capable of committing a heinous crime; it's whether they choose to go through with the act or not that makes them evil in the eyes of society.  Jack thought that was absolute nonsense. He didn't think that everyone was capable of killing; it takes a person that doesn't have any regret or conscience, which turns out to be most people. The kind of person that enjoys being mean.

Jack enjoyed it immensely. As he sat there in the auditorium listening to the lecture, he began to plan just how he was going to torture this person that talked of insanity, heinous crime, and pain. As Jack stood up to leave, standing six-three, the speaker took notice of him and almost stopped in mid-sentence. Professor McVaille, never having seen this young man before, found something disturbing in the young gentleman who stood looking at him from the back of the auditorium. The gentleman's hair, cut short but still long enough to hang in his eyes and touch the collar of the trench coat he wore like a cape, wasn't what disturbed him. It was the eyes themselves and how they seemed to glow with madness. It was always the eyes.

Professor McVaille continued his lecture as Jack turned to leave. As the man  walked up the aisle, the Professor noticed that he walked with a confidence that demanded respect, or else.

Later that night Professor McVaille dreamed of the man who left his lecture. He dreamed of how the man was stalking him, to kill him. He woke from his dream with a jerk and sat upright in his bed. Sweat was running off his bald head and as his eyes adjusted, he could see a shadow outline of a man standing at the foot of his bed.

"Who's there? What do you want?" the Professor demanded as he tried to clear
his head of the dream.

"Relax, old man, or you'll give yourself a heart attack," Jack said. His voice was low and calm, seeming to ease the Professor, just a little. "If that happens, you'll take all the fun out of it," he said.

The Professor squinted, trying to see the figure more clearly. "Fun out of what?" the Professor asked.

"I'm going to show you what evil really is," Jack said, but the Professor didn't seem to hear him.

"You're that young gentleman who was at my lecture today," the Professor said as he reached for his glasses on the nightstand.

"Young?" Jack said as he expelled air through his nose that came out like a  snort. "That's almost funny."

"Well, you look young to me. You can't be more than forty," the Professor said, sliding his legs over the edge of the bed.

"I'm older than you think," Jack said as he swiftly moved to the side of the bed and snatched the Professor up by the neck. "It's time to play," Jack said with a grin on his face. He flung the Professor around and slammed him against the wall with such force that the Professor's glasses flew off his face. Jack shrugged off his trench coat and took a knife out of a sheath that hung from his belt. "Hold your arms out against the wall," Jack said, squeezing the Professor's neck tighter.

The Professor did as he was told with eyes filled with fear. Jack's strike was so quick that the Professor didn't have time to react. He plunged the knife through the Professor's right palm, pinning his hand to the wall. Professor McVaille let out a scream that was quickly choked off by Jack's hand around his throat.

Jack let go of the Professor's neck long enough to grab his free hand and hold it against the wall. Jack produced another knife from his belt and repeated his earlier process. The same result was achieved. This scream was even more agonizing than the first. This pleased Jack as he sat back on the Professor's bed to admire his work.

"What do you want?" Professor McVaille asked, almost in a whimper.

"I told you, Samuel."

"How do you know my name?" Samuel asked.

"You are full of questions, Sam," Jack said, "May I call you Sam?" he asked. "The answers to your questions will come soon."

"Who are you?" Sam asked.

"Are you listening to me? I hope so because what I have to say later on will be very important," Jack said as he stood up, getting ready for round two. Jack picked his trench coat up off the floor and laid it open on the bed, exposing the contents lining the inside.

"Now," Jack began. "You don't want to lose strength in your legs and start hanging from your hands," he said. "It will rip your hands in two." Jack unclipped two more knives from the breast of his trench coat. He turned and walked toward Professor McVaille with the knives held at face level, looking like a doctor that has just scrubbed for surgery. Jack stood a foot away from him with a slight grin on his face. He looked down at the Professor's bare feet and then looked back into his eyes. Jack threw the knives straight down through the tops of the Professor's feet, pinning them to the floor.

Professor McVaille let out a scream that was becoming hoarse because of the  previous screams. His knees bent slightly, pulling at the knives that had been plunged through his hands, tearing the flesh and making them bleed even more. At the newfound pain in his hands, the professor stood up straight to take the pressure off them.

"You mean to crucify me!" the Professor said, half yelling, half crying.

"Now I think that you are beginning to understand," Jack said, as he looked the Professor in the eyes.

"Please tell me what you want," the Professor said as tears of pain streamed  down his face.

"Did you know that the human body can endure days of torture as long as no vital organs are damaged?" Jack asked, not really expecting an answer. He walked over to the corner of the room and grabbed a chair, never taking his eyes off the Professor. Jack placed the chair in front of the old man and straddled it like a cowboy riding a horse. He rested his forearms on the back of the chair and grinned with delight as he stared into the Professor's eyes.

"I'm not going to kill you, Sam," Jack said.

"Yes you are. I study people like you," Sam said, slurring some of the words.

"Not like me, you don't. I need you so that you can tell this little tale when we're finished," Jack said, squinting at the Professor.

"I don't understand," the Professor said, shaking his head slightly.

"Everything that you said in your lecture is true. People are evil, uncaring, unappreciative, self-centered little maggots. Everyone knows this already, but what I need from you is to tell people that it's not normal or acceptable to behave this way. Tell them that if they don't change, the end will come with a vengeance," Jack said.

"Jesus Christ, you're insane!" the Professor screamed, pulling at the knives in his hands.

Jack laughed and shook his head. "You still don't understand? I thought that you were intelligent enough to figure this out by now," Jack said, rising from the chair and going to the trench coat once again.

"No! No more!" Professor McVaille screamed.

"I must, so that you will understand," Jack said. He took a device from his coat that made the Professor squirm with terror just from the sight of it. It was a barbed wire crown that had two small handles on the side so that someone could hold on to them as it was placed on top of something or someone.

"You're making me go through the pain of Jesus Christ," the Professor said as he started to understand.

"Yes. But there's so much more that you don't understand," Jack said as he walked toward the Professor with the crown. He placed it on the Professor's  head and Jack smiled when he saw that it was a tight fit. As he began to twist it back and forth to get it down on the Professor's forehead, streams of blood ran down his face and into his eyes.

Professor McVaille screamed each time the crown was twisted. He could feel it going deeper and deeper into his skull and as he tried to move his head back and forth to escape the pain. The knives tore at his hands and feet, sending him into pain that almost made him pass out.

"Stay with me, Sam," Jack said without any grin on his face. He was all business now. It was too late, Sam had passed out, but Jack knew that he would wake very soon because of the pain that his dead weight would cause in his hands. Jack paced about the room, waiting and wondering. He wondered if he should have chosen a younger subject. Mentally, the Professor was strong enough to handle the truth, and to comprehend it. However, Jack had his doubts about the Professor's physical condition. As Jack turned these thoughts over in his head, he became outraged. He could see that the knives were slicing longer slits in Sam's hands and knew that it wouldn't be long before he came to.

As Jack lost his patience, he walked over to the Professor, drew back, and landed a powerful, direct punch across Sam's nose, making his head snap back and bounce off the wall. Professor McVaille started to wake up just as Jack was saying something but he couldn't make out what he was saying.

"I said, wake up!" Jack screamed in his face. His hands were balled into fists, hanging at his sides, and his eyes blazed with madness.

Sam felt disoriented and very confused but more than that, he realized that he couldn't blink the tears and blood away from his eyes fast enough. As the revelation of what was going on around him, and what the young man had done to him over the past hour came into focus, he let out a scream that was half mad and half rage.

"What have you done to me? Jesus Christ, you're a lunatic!" the Professor yelled with his eyes bulging from their sockets.

"No, Sam. I am Jesus Christ and I'm very, very pissed off," Jack said with his lips pursed and teeth clenched together.

There was silence in the room for a moment as they stared at each other. The Professor was starting to understand but it was coming slowly and Jack was  getting tired of beating around the bush.

"Do you understand now?" Jack asked.

Sam nodded his head up and down very slowly, partly from the pain but mostly  because he wasn't exactly, one hundred percent positive of what the man,  beast, or savior wanted from him.

"You're going to tell this tale, Sam. Educate the people and make the pain that I had to endure worth it," Jack said, standing face to face with the professor.

At hearing these words and finally comprehending what had happened over the  past few hours, Professor McVaille started to feel his mind slip, his sanity crack, but understanding perfectly what he was meant to do and how he was to carry out the task. He was to lecture on this subject in hope of reaching as many souls as he possibly could by day. But more importantly and more effectively, by night he was to do to others what this thing, that called itself Jack, had done to him. Show them the pain; make them live it, to understand it. To seek vengeance for Jesus Christ himself - or else. Is that what Jack had said? Or else?

As if reading his mind, Jack smiled an unpleasant grin and tore his shirt off. The wings spread out on either side of him, massive and flexing. Not like the wings of an angel like Sam once thought that he would see, but wings of a dragon beast. The veins pumped with blood, which was easy to see, the skin being thin and almost transparent between the skeletal structures.

The Professor became entirely mesmerized by this display and hadn't noticed that Jack's face had changed from a young, good-looking gentleman to a gruesome hideous monster. That's when Sam's mind was unable to process any more information, although he was totally unaware of it. His heart raced and he could hear it pounding in his ears. His puffy eyes bulged even further, threatening to pop from their sockets. In his ears Sam heard his racing heart skip a beat and then speed up. Skip a beat.

The beast was the one to scream in pain this time as the professor died, leaving no one to carry on, to tell the tale. The Professor's dead weight finally made the knives finish their task of slicing through the remaining flesh and bone of his hands, resulting in the professor crashing to the floor in a bloody, tangled heap of flesh not entirely resembling a human body.

The scream finally ceased and as he looked down at the dead Professor, the beast never knew rage like it did at that moment. He cursed the weak, little pile of flesh as he stomped it to a bloody pulp that sprayed and splattered all around the room with every crashing foot.

The beast released one last scream of rage as he jumped through the window and spread its wings to fly off into the night to find another to tell the tale.

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