Prompt: You’ve accidentally killed the Devil. God makes you the new Devil to replace the one you killed.
Amos had few regrets for taking to the bottle. He literally pissed my life away, but the haunting memories still remained. Sara and Janey. How I yearn for them. How old would Janey have been? How long has it been since I the accident?
Long enough, he concluded. He’d had enough of the cold, the hunger, the panhandling so that he could score another bottle to keep away the shakes. Tonight, he’d end it all—he was hopping back on the wagon. Going cold turkey. Committing suicide.
Amos had contemplated suicide since the accident, but he never had the gall to follow through. Ironically enough, giving up alcohol would reunite him with this goal. He had witnessed his fair share of alley mates choking on their own vomit, or just never waking up a couple of days after their final drink.
While he couldn’t work up enough money for today’s fix, the decision to quit was his. It had barely been a day, and the shakes were already kicking in. This is the worst fucking shit I’ve ever felt in my life, he thought. Amos didn’t know that he’d feel a whole lot worse in the coming days.
“Amos? Are you listening, or did you check out again?”
The steering wheel felt familiar, just like his old Prius, but something told him he didn’t belong.
“Four hours. Four hours we waited for you! And your daughter spent the whole recital looking at the empty seat beside me. Do you even care about her? About us?”
Amos barely made out the sniffling in the backseat. Janey. He turned towards his wife, tried to tell her he was sorry, but the words wouldn’t come out. It was as if he was an observer in another person’s body.
Pools of light basked Sara’s face. He remembered this part. He swiped the wheel amidst the sound of blaring horns. A sickening crack came next; he didn’t know if it was from the crumpling metal or the breaking bones. I’m sorry, Amos seemed to wail. I’m sorry. But the only sounds that followed were squealing tyres and breaking glass.
Amos faded in and out of consciousness. Specks of black and white clouded his vision, both indistinguishable from the other.
“So you’ve done it,” a voice said.
Amos tried to speak, but again, was unable to. The last time he felt this way was when he had sleep paralysis, and truthfully, he wasn’t sure if he was even sleeping now.
“Your very own demon, dead. Not an easy feat, considering my efforts. You’re a good person, Amos, but you have to understand, good can only exist with evil. Take away one, and you lose the other. For the sake of the world, you’ll have switch sides now.”
A sudden cold took him, and the swirls of black and white gave way to a stranger’s face.
“Hang in there buddy, you’ll be fine.”
“Some guy saw you flopping like a fish outta’ water. Came yellin’ on the streets.”
The stranger poured water onto a cloth and wiped Amos’s face. “Wooh, you really did soil yourself you did.”
Amos grabbed at the water bottle and chugged it down.
“Might wanna go slow on that, ‘less you wanna be pukin’ again.”
After he’d drank the last drops, Amos said, “Thanks, but I got no money.”
“Oh I knew. How bout this,” the stranger handed Amos a pack of powder. “You walk on to 57th, pass this to Connor, and we’re even.”
“No,” Amos shrank back. The cold returned, but it wasn’t the type brought on by the night.
“C’mon, Amos. You gotta restore the balance.”
How did he know his name? Was he in shape to outrun this stranger? Perhaps he could ignore the guy until he goes away. Or maybe he could talk his way out of this. “I’m just a homeless guy. I don’t harm nobody.”
The stranger sighed. “Alright. What if I told you I could bring Sara back? And your daughter, Janey is it? Do me this favour and you can go live with them without worrying about money ever again.”
“Janey? You could do that?”
“I ain’t promisin’ anything. But here,” the stranger slipped him a flask and a wad of cash, stacked larger than Amos’s index finger, “this is to get you started. You come back when you’re done, and we’ll see if we can play happy family again.”
Amos took the cash and ignored the flask, much to the stranger’s delight. “You really did snuff him good,” the stranger said.
Amos stood up, surprised at how little effort it took. The days of waking up in a haze and operating in half consciousness seemed a distant past. As he shambled away with the package, the stranger called, “I’ll be here when you get back. Just look for Lucifer.”