Bob studied the man, trying to remember the familiarity. “I know you. I’ve heard you before…” he only had the voice to go on, and his steps, “when I was in the hospital? Wasn’t it?”
The pale man in black adjusted his red glove and smiled. “Ah, you are quite the remarkable at remembering, aren’t you?” the man said grinning. The man paced around Bob before settling down next to him on the pew. “Yes, I was there. I saw how you cried, the pain you felt, the sadness that welled up within you. Your tormented soul cried for a long, long time, Robert.”
“I haven’t gone by that in a long time, friend, nor do I intend to now,” Bob interjected sharply.
The man put his hands up, “My sincerest apologies…Bob. I meant no disrespect.” The man took in a deep breath and exhaled. “You know, what you’ve done, what kind of atrocities you’ve committed; ordinary folks view that sort of thing as something only a monster would do. Not to mention, the religious zealots, if they were to know that a man is transcending death by killing their parallel universe selves? Do you know what they would do to the likes of you?”
Bob shook his head, “no, nor do I care.” He dropped his head in his hands, “I don’t care anymore. The priest has given me a bit of closure. If I were to become somethin’ more than just a man…”
“My friend, man, cannot become an angel; nor can they become a harbinger of justice. You’re simply a vigilante. No better and no worse than comic superheroes—minus the cape and cowl, of course,” said the man with the red right hand. “However, I can point you in the direction you so desperately are seeking deep down.”
Bob picked his head up and looked at the man. “What do you mean?”
Standing up, the man with the red right hand paced in front of him. “What if I told you, you could get your family back, make all of this go away? Live your life once again? No consequences.”
“I’d think that you are lyin’ and call bullshit,” replied Bob.
The man smiled at him. “Well, I can tell you for certain, I am not bullshitting you…Bob.”
“OK, so, then what would I have to do?”
“First things first, let me show you something,” said the man with the red right hand.
With a flick of his right hand, there opened a portal to another plane. Here Bob viewed the world he was familiar with: his home. He saw his wife and kids, happy, alive, living—without him. He could still see the faux mask his wife held, and the quiet moments she would frequent to cry alone or to fall asleep. A vacant beside. A broken heart. He laid down on the bed next to her and tried to caress her face, only to pass through. Tears streamed down his face.
“In this life, this is where you formerly existed,” said the man with the red right hand. Another reality appeared, where Bob saw the slaying of his wife and kids, sending him to roar in anger on the streets. “And this life…is where you lived and they died. Do you see the consequences of your actions yet, Bob?”
Bob reached out to touch the bodies of his wife and children, only to watch them slowly disappear from his sight—the sands of their being dispersing, sifting through his hands. Tears flowed relentlessly down his cheeks, corralled by the growing number of scars down his cheeks.
“How, how can I save them?” Bob sobbed with anger in his words.
“What would you do for your family, Bob? What would you do for those whom you love so much?” asked the man.
Bob gritted his teeth and snarled “Anything.”
The man grinned, “Then it’s quite simple, really,” he said, “you have to kill an innocent.”
Bob’s eyes widened with shock, “Wha—what?”
“Take the life of an innocent person: woman, child, man, there is no preference. If you do this, you will wake up, in your timeline, with your wife by your side, and your kids are sleeping soundly in their beds. You will have no recollection that any of this ever transpired. You will simply…live.”
Bob juggled the idea of breaking free of the pain and the torment that was increasing within. He debated with himself harshly, for taking the lives of those that were so deserving, in his eyes, had it coming and needed to be purged from the world, that he was justice incarnate. However, an innocent person, he would be no better than those he had slain or dispensed punishment upon.
In the end, he had reached a conclusion. He would do it.
For Episode 11 — Red Right Hand Click here.