I made a contract with the morning star. In other words, I made a deal with the devil. No, I don't mean it metaphorically, or really literally either. It's... complicated. The star did exist, but he didn't take the form of a monster. No, it also didn't take the form of a man, either. It was, like the name suggested, a star.
I remember, all those years ago, looking up into the night sky. The vastness of the black was awe inspiring. But it wasn't just the black expanse, or the white shines, but if you really strain your eyes, you can see thousands of dots and space clouds of the milky way. That expanse of nothingness lights up into a garden of stars.
Just by looking up in the night sky, billions of them meet your eyes. And, after millions and billions of light years, those stray rays of light, travel across the universe into your eyes. That's why I think I was chosen. I don't know which star it was, there were so many of them in the sky. I just remember closing my eyes, one day, in the morning of a cold winter season. I had looked onto that dawn, stars still as clear as midnight. The sun was still an hour or so from even raising up slightly. I had closed my eyes, and simply wished upon a star, "I want to be happy."
The wish comforted me. I had felt warm, in that moment. The cold brush of the morning air seemed to boil away, leaving me in a cocoon of warmth. No words were spoken, but he was there. The morning star. He never truly spoke to me, but I understood all his desires instantly.
"Hello there." he had 'said.' "How are you on this fine morning?"
"Fine." I remember asking.
"You'd like to be happy?" he asked.
"Yeah, it'd be nice."
"What if.... I could make that happen?"
I had paused, my gaze unfocused on the horizon. His soft whispers were so melodic, so soothing.
"Let's make a deal. A contract. You get to be happy, forever, as much as you want, in return for some favors." he said. "I can't touch the world like you can. I can't move things. I just ask, that sometime... y'know, you just be my hands and feet. Nothing insane. Don't want to do it, just say no. It's your choice if you want to do it or not. Sound good?"
I had nodded. "Yeah. I'd like that."
And you know what? Life got better. Not in the big ways, I didn't win a car, or the lottery, or become America's next top singer or something. It was just the little things. My parents bringing home my favorite treat. Just barely getting that A that I had stressed about getting. Allowing me to get that perfect shot in soccer. It went on.
His first favor was simple.
"Hey, can you just press that sidewalk button? Over there."
"The one that turns the light?" I asked.
"Yeah. You don't have to cross the street. Just request the light to change."
I had pressed the button, the city's light giving me a strong 'wait' while the light changed. I turned and walked away, the cars slowing to a halt as the light turned yellow, and then red.
Later that day, a car crash occurred. Drunk driver didn't register the red light, and didn't stop. Five dead. If I made that connection, it was soothed out of my mind by the sweet melody that morning star whispered in my ear.
Next was just to not stop that one bully picking on the new kid in our class. I did what he asked, turning my head away and scribbling on my assignment while the teacher was out of the room.
He, as you could probably imagine, committed suicide a week later, citing that event in his suicide letter.
They never had direct consequences. It wasn't 'hurt this person'. Just... 'let this happen.' I remember saying no. I don't remember what to, or when, though. Those memories are locked away, far behind barriers of the mind that can ever be opened again. I just remember his response.
"No?" he had said softly. "Well, that's your choice."
And I had blacked out. Who knows how long I was out, or if any time had truly elapsed at all. All I knew what I awoke in white. Pure white. After giving a slight groan and sitting up, I rubbed away the blur of deep sleep. The room was massive. More massive a room than I had ever seen.
"It's your choice to say no. I just punish you for saying it. That's all."
There was no source of the voice. There was nothing in the room.
For at least an hour, I walked around the massive bunker or asylum type room, trying to find something of interest. Maybe reach one of the walls, as far as they were.
I froze. The room. It felt... different. I couldn't register it, at first, but something had changed. The walls, once a pure white, were perhaps now closer to the color of chalk. Once so far away, they might have been closer. The room just didn't feel as expansive as it once was. I swallowed harshly, looking back and forth throughout the room, my hands running along the ground. It felt smooth, but I couldn't identify the material on that alone.
Scratching at the back of my neck, I stood, blinking twice. The aura was changing. That chalk color, did it darken to a dirty white? These walls, I recall them being so much wider than before. I had almost felt like several of house could fit inside the room, but now, it felt like it would be a tight fit.
My heartbeat quickened slightly, the warmth that I had felt for years gone. That comfort that the star provided had left me. For the first time in as long as I could remember, I had felt cold. The hairs stood on the back of my neck, a slight shiver crossing my skin. My breath formed a wisp in front of me, only barely visible against the now lightest of grays. Why did it feel like perhaps only the first floor of my house could fit, now? Was it just me, or were the walls getting closer?
No, that wasn't it. I was close enough now to walk to the wall, it wasn't moving. My hand pressed against the smooth cold quartz-like material, not a single bit of pressure meeting my palm. There was no movement there. I turned and blinked, shivered and grabbing my elbows to stay warm. My joints locked. The walls were now a gray color, there was no denying it. I had walked maybe twenty feet to the wall, but now, the center of the room was only ten away.
The walls were closing in.
Adrenaline hit my system, my shivering growing more violent with every minute. Why, why were they closing in? I-I'm touching them right now, they aren't moving! What's going on?! There's got to be a way out, where's the door in this place.
I blinked, the walls ever closer and ever darker. My chest tightened with realization. With every moment I succumbed to darkness, the walls crept closer. My eyelids, despite how heavy and dry they felt, could not close.
I was not allowed to blink.
I hit my clenched fists against the wall, letting out my first scream.
"Let me out! God dammit, let me out!"
I hit my head against the wall in frustration, my eyes closing for but a moment. The space was now a dark gray, and only the size of a room. There was nowhere to go. I-I couldn't move anywhere. With my heart thumping so loud I felt it in my ears, I paced around the room, running my hands along the wall. My eyes threatened to burn with tears, my breathing completely ragged. And I blinked, trying to fight back the water that welled inside.
A black room met my eyes, so dark I couldn't see the hand in front of my face. I let out a yell of horror, feeling around me for the wall. I had only needed to take a step to the left and right to feel the cold smoothness. It was freezing. I could feel the water that leaked down my cheek freeze against the soft flesh, my limbs violently shaking in the frozen dark. The literal liquid of my eye was threatening to turn to ice. It hurt, it hurt so much. I did everything I could, hold my eyelid open, scratch away at the ice, but nothing worked.
My eyelids slid down. I could feel the wall. I hit me suddenly, curling my into a ball. There was no room to do anything. I was trapped in a box the size meant for a soccer ball, my lungs burning with my screams. I scratched at the walls, my fingernails chipped away and bloodied.
"Let me out! Let me out!" I screamed, tears streaming down from my face.
I blinked again, the walls coming down. I could feel every bone snap, every tendon cut, every muscle and tissue collapse into mush.
I awoke with a start, panting.
"Is... is it over?"
"No." he said.
I was tied to a table, nude, each limb restrained. My head wouldn't move, my eyes no longer given the luxury of blinking. Some device was holding open the flesh, a machine located above my head. As I focused my gaze, I noticed a long needle located on its tip, aimed directly at the pupil of my eye.
It was only an inch away.
I let out a grunt as I thrust my limbs back and forth, trying to break free.
"Please no!" I shouted.
"Release them." he said.
Cages, hidden by the darkness, slowly opened. Mobs of spiders, roaches, and rats shot from the cage, scurrying across my body. I let out a cry as every rat claw poked my flesh as they crawled on me, every spider and roach creeping across my stomach or legs.
"N-no!" I said.
The machine whirred to life, and slowly the needle began to lower.
"I recommend you look the needle dead on. It's more painful if it doesn't go straight into the pupil. A lot more painful."
I let out a shrill scream, twitching and shaking in my restraints. The insects crawled up to my chest, biting into the flesh as their hairy legs tickled the exposed flesh. I tried to look down at the mess of rodents and insects, but the restrain hardly gave me that. I threw my head back, yelling a bloodcurdling scream as the needle approached ever closer. In a moment I had gone from wishing I never blinked again to wanting to clench my eyes shut harden than anything else in the world.
"No! No! Fuck!" I shouted, the insects sinking their mandibles and fangs into my flesh. The needle couldn't be more than an inch away, some source of light causing it to glow ever so slightly.
"No! Please! Please!" I shouted, shaking against the metal.
"Look at the needle..." he said.
"Just let me go!" I cried, a spider crawling up my chin and biting into my lower lip. I opened my mouth to yell in pain, causing the spider to fall inside my mouth.
"Look at the needle!" he said, his voice growing more tense.
"D-dammit!" I said, the rats' clawed toes scratching and cutting into my skin.
"LOOK AT THE NEEDLE! LOOK AT IT!"
"PLEASE!" I shouted, flickering my eye towards it, the needle slowly sinking into the gelatin-like substance of my eye. It squished, blood filling my vision and my throat burning with my cries of terror.
It never ended. I was in a lake at night, unable to see the bottom. No matter how far I swam, I'd never reach shore. Yet, by the moment, I grew more tired. The water grew more acidic, and that slimy presence that rubbed against my foot occurred more and more.
It didn't even kill me. It would just nibble at my toes while I grew more exhausted by the minute, until eventually I couldn't keep my head above the water. I had sunken below, my lungs screaming for air. I remember gripping my throat, my consciousness thumping against my skull as it faded, and only then was I given the sweet embrace of a massacre as the beast tore me apart.
Or perhaps performing a maze in the dark, the roar of a minotaur-esque beast off in the distance is more damning...
Or perhaps being pushed off a building, only to have the floor that you hit shatter away as you fell, never letting you know which ground flying towards you was the real one.
Until, of course, you hit it. You didn't splat, that doesn't happen in real life. No, you bounce, your bones crushed and your flesh reduced to mush. Then you're left to bleed to death.
I just remember waking in the psych ward, a therapist at my side. I had been here for two months, now. Life was finally returning back to normal. I suppose the morning star just gave up on me. The place was lovely. The people were nice, and every day I'd order my own meal. Snack time was filled with chocolate pudding, provided you eat some grapes to stay somewhat on the healthy side.
I never asked about my past, I would just rest on that nice couch, glancing over at the kind doctor as he softly spoke to me, his voice the shade of gold you only get after smoking a pack of cigarettes for 40 years.
"Are you happy?" he asked. "Here?" I had chuckled.
"I'll be happy anywhere, as long as it's not there." He smiled, scribbling it down.
He cleared his throat, turning his back to me and lumbering to a chair covered in a soft cloth. He pulled it off, revealing the old antique wooden chair, whose wires wrapped around the arms and sparked ever so slightly. He gave a smile, speaking with that lovely soft voice I knew well.
"Now, excuse me, but could you do me the slightest favor?"