by Zachariah Schiev
A few months ago I was at a playground by my house babysitting my neighbor's son.
While he was playing, I remembered that you could go into the woods by the playground if you used a trail that mostly went undetected.
I wasn't having the greatest of days, and I wanted to get away and cool off for a moment.
I asked another kid's parent if they could watch my neighbor's son while I take a few minutes to talk to someone in private.
She agreed and watched my head towards the narrow, twisted trail after I told her that it would be best if I made the call out in the forest.
Once I was out of sight, I quickly pocketed the phone and trudged on through mostly leaves and little mounds of melting snow.
Branches crackled under the weight of my boots as I marched along until the path was no longer visible and I was surrounded by trees.
I stopped and breathed in a heavy sigh and slowly scanned my surroundings. It was then that something caught my eye: a small peice of paper tangled in the roots of an upturned tree.
Upon further inspection I realized that it was actually a letter. The envelope itself was faded as if it had been there for many years but its edges were crisp.
A bright red wax seal with a bird in flight adorned the front of the letter. I hesitantly broke the seal and read the contents. Inside, the letter said this:
I cannot say that the road will take you very far.
Maybe if I you somehow made a deal with a demon you'd find my way sooner.
Tell me, if I you had the chance to exchange your soul for all the world, would you do it?
Really, it's not all that bad of a deal.
Another reality in exchange for something invisible and merely perceivable.
People would die for love, wealth, and glory.
Perhaps even kill for the sake of their desires.
Even so, these vile human beings end up with nothing for their trouble in the end.
Don't you think things would be better if we all just got what we wanted?
I propose a solution to the plight of humankind.
No one will face the bitterness of life.
Sadness is meaningless in my kingdom.
I propose a world in which I can be free.
Death will have no power over you.
Even now, I promise you immortality.
How can you possibly turn down such an offer?
Examine the seal on the front of this letter and strike it with a match.
Let the wax melt away and seal the deal with me.
Promise me your soul, and I will promise you a new life.
I looked at the front of the letter and gently touched the broken seal of the bird in flight. What did I have to lose? I pulled out a box of matches from my coat pocket and struck a match.
The flame burned as I gently rubbed the match against the seal. The bird began to deform; its wings melting away. Suddenly everything went black.
I opened my eyes to see nothing but a dark sky overhead. I couldn't move, as if I had been trapped on all sides. I began to feel strangled by what felt like wires that grew tighter and tighter.
And yet, all I could think about was that damned name: Zachariah Schiev.
I closed my eyes and waited for another soul to cross my path.