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Blessed Shall Be Thy Demise









Blessed Shall Be Thy Demise



Black and white balloons are swarming his house. There are ghoulish figures of skeletons dancing on his lawn and fake blood splattered in deep crimson on the white brick wall of his home. Home. It had been him and his family’s for more than twenty years. All his life, he had worked the shit out of himself to ensure as much financial support as possible for their daily survival, feed his sweet little child, please his lovely wife and prepare for death to arrive at his doorstep one day.

Ah, death. Beautiful death. Toxic, effacing and asphyxiating, yet beautiful nonetheless. The most anticipated event of one’s lifetime, and the point where one’s bliss of the highest significance sees its zenith. It is worthy of celebration; the most lavish kind.

East Hampton pulls the door open and flinches. The sound of champagne bottles being popped assails the placidity which had settled itself down within his heart. Gregarious guffaw is reverberating around the living room. He isn’t all that much startled, but a little numb. He puts on a benign smile nonetheless, the kind that hangs from his one ear to the other and hugs his old friend who has opened her arms wide for him. She presents him with a prompt, firm embrace to which East gladly responds. They had been the best of friends for over twenty five years ever since junior high. How time flies.

“Congratulations, East!” Mortea genially cackles as she taps his back with a proud air. “You must be excited.”

“Thanks, Mort. It’s an honorable day, of course.”

“Well, we were trying to surprise you, but you don’t seem surprised at all!” A hint of disappointment colors her tone gray. He is certain she did not intend to guilt-trip him, but he still feels guilt subtly eating away at his heart. Though, who would not expect a party awaiting one’s arrival if the exterior of the house is gaudily bedecked with cheap blood and cobwebs?

“It’s a special day, so I can’t say I wasn’t expecting some kind of a surprise event. Sorry if I offended you all.” He scratches the back of his neck and waves at the guests each holding a bottle of fizzling champagne in their hands. Then when he lets out a cheery laugh at the sight of his young niece, Selena, putting her small hands on her hips to stress her frustration, they all reciprocate the good-hearted laughter. “I’m so sorry, Selena,” he says. She pouts and glares.

“Oh, East, dear.” The familiar voice of his beloved wife spins him around at once. Persephone darts up to him and wraps her dainty arms around his neck, giggling with evident joyous air hanging about her. East gently squeezes her once in his warm bosom and then grabbing both sides of her flushed cheeks, pulls her into a short, affectionate kiss. The crowd around them erupts into oh’s and aw’s which the two relish with a content smile on their lips. “You arrived just in time,” she whispers. Persephone twists her golden locks and points at his wrist.

East checks his wristwatch. It reads 7:35pm. So there’s really only five minutes left before the designated time. His heart starts pounding wildly against his ribcage and an incomprehensible sensation slithers around like a snake in his empty stomach. What is this feeling? East shakes it off; it must be just excessive happiness that his heart has trouble processing. After all, this will be a special moment for him.

“Come on, East. We’re all ready, and short on time.” His frail old aunt tugs at his sleeves and urges him further on into the house. There are inky black balloons and banners even inside his home; they must have put in considerable work in preparation for this memorable event while he was off at work.

‘Blessed Shall Be Thy Demise’

Every banner has the same slogan printed in fancy white italics. Something inexplicable twists in his heart. It doesn’t feel right, but he carries on.

“I’ve been looking forward to this for such a long time, East.” Persephone chitters beside him, clutching at his right arm with both her hands and breathing in his musky scent as she rubs her face into the smooth fabric of his black suit.

“What a blessing!” Mortea sighs behind him. East chooses to neglect the comment because it doesn’t sound like she expects an answer.

However, there is more. More to the reason. A voice in the back of his head denies it. Tiny, infinitesimal traces of an echoing voice scrub his neurons in an abrasive manner and send an uncanny susurrus of denial down his spine. East shudders for a moment, nearly stumbling on his own feet.

Persephone’s expression suddenly changes. “What’s wrong, honey?” Does he detect suspicion on her face?

“Nothing,” he answers. On the contrary, there is a lump he cannot get rid of in his throat.

Yet they walk on. Walk on until they open the back door of the homely white house and step into the backyard. It is a sultry evening, the sun barely hanging above the line of great mountains decorating the orange horizon. People chatter in excitement behind him.

“Look! It’s 7:38!” His colleague, Tempus, exclaims. East turns around to face him and curtly nods. His expression is rigid for some unexplained reason. He couldn’t put on a smile even if he wanted to. East faces forward again before Tempus notices. He is afraid. Why can he not tell what this exotic feeling is?

Before him, a child is seated on a wooden chair. Not any child. His child. His baby boy, his beloved son and the most precious gem of his life, West. The boy has a gun in his hands, ready to fire. The safety is off already. East grimaces but no one can see his expression as West is closing his eyes and the people are crowded behind his back. Persephone weeps out of uncontrollable elation and leans on his shoulder for support as she wipes away her tears with the back of her hand.

“Stand back, now, Persephone. It’s nearly time.” Persephone’s mother tenderly calls her daughter. True. It is East and West’s personal moment, though displayed in front of a dozen. This is a designated death, designated fate ever since the day he received his statement the moment of his birth.

The giant clock on the tower behind West hits 7:39. East’s breath hitches. There is less than one minute left.

Wait.

Something is off.

This isn’t right.

Why are they celebrating death?

Why are they glorifying the eternal termination of a priceless life that was crafted with infinite love and care? An end of everything which can never be undone or restored?

What is wrong with this phenomenon?

What is wrong with them?

Doubt.

Doubt attacks his soul and penetrates his heart with its piercing claws. He finally understands what this feeling is. He finally understands what is niggling at his conscience. It is doubt, no, it is grief. A heart-wrenching, tear-ripping, brain-shattering grief. Unfiltered misery plummets into his mind from the above and makes his knees buckle. He cannot do this. He cannot take this. This is a special moment for him, but there is no spare room in his heart to appreciate how special this is for him. He doesn’t, want, to do this.

“…I can’t.” He manages to breathe out in a broken voice. It is barely audible. Then there is a momentary silence vibrating in the air……before the storm.

“What are you talking about?”

“What did he say?”

“How could you?”

“Hurry up!”

“Is he out of his mind?”

“Take the gun from the boy and shoot!”

“Blasphemy!”

As expected, a ruckus ensues. Their hands harshly grip his shoulders, arms, and neck. They turn horrendously hostile in mere seconds, but East only sheds tears. He is completely unable to control these burning emotions that sear his skin to the bones and all the way to his veins. The blood rushing in his body feels like lethal acid running and deteriorating him from the inside. Still, he cannot move.

“What the hell are you doing?” Persephone slaps him in the face. “DO IT, BASTARD!

They force him to take the gun from West’s hand. They lock his index finger on the trigger and force his arm up.

“I don’t! I don’t want to! Don’t make me!” he wails and wails, but they are stronger.

Shut up! You’re ruining a perfect day!” Comes back their malicious response.

“Please don’t make me! Please---.” His pleading, engulfed in tremendous sorrow, gets muted as a hand is clasped over his mouth. East thrashes in panic but also in vain. He cannot do this. He cannot celebrate death. He is a mere businessman, who had worked his ass off all his life to gather money, feed his child, and please his lovely wife. Had he anticipated death to arrive at his doorstep, though?

He doesn’t deserve this, but he must.



The clock hits 7:40.

So it happens.

A cold body falls to the ground. A blunt thump resounds softly in the backyard, and a murky veil called silence visits. No one speaks. A wave of shock, be it from bliss or sadness, strikes them all.

West Hampton is dead.

Selena smiles.



Skye Sweven




Currently a university student majoring in English Language and Literature, Skye Sweven is an aspiring writer who has immense interest in manifold genres such as fantasy, young/new adult, adventure, and diverse types of short stories. She has written books for twelve years and has self-published a novel at the age of twelve as well as another at the age of nineteen. Her passion for reading and writing never stops and it will continue on even after her first ever official publication.

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