by John W. Steele
“Take a Prozac you loony bitch!” Otis screamed to himself.
“Pick up your clothes, Otis.”
“Your zipper’s down, Otis.”
“You can’t have another beer, Otis.”
“That’s disgusting, Otis.”
“You’re a pig, Otis.”
The list of commands and guidelines Agnes demanded of Otis was endless. Otis could no longer tolerate her domineering and aggressive attitude. Tonight was the night he was going to make it all go away. A slow soaking rain had been falling for a few days. Otis looked out the window. The clouds hid the moon like a veil. A perfect night for a murder, he thought.
Sprawled on the couch in the livingroom, lay Agnes, his wife of thirty years. She stared at the television in a state of hypnosis. Agnes watched the glamorous model on QVC, twirl the faux diamonelle in her perfectly manicured fingers. The luxurious, worthless, Zirconia glimmered like a star, and Agnes was completely charmed by its glory. Otis noticed his credit card lying on the coffee table, which meant Agnes would soon add the three hundred dollar treasure to the growing collection of Zirconian baubles in her jewelry box.
Agnes was an attractive woman at one time, but she had let herself go. Her foot rested on the coffee table. During the commercial breaks she would paint her toenails a pathetic orange color. Her spandex, leopard-skin leotards, struggled to contain the bloated volume of her fat ass. Her medium length, red tinged hair, was cut choppy like a punk rocker. Otis told her she looked ridiculous, but she thought she was cool.
In her lap, rested the ever present vanity mirror, which was her constant companion. Sometimes she would stare in the mirror for hours, and play with her face. A face forever done to perfection with makeup and creams, like she was getting ready to go to the opera. But Agnes rarely left the couch. She preferred lying on her ass all day, eating chocolates, and watching soap operas.
Thought for Agnes, consisted of searching the depths of her mind in an attempt to discover new creative ways to find things to bitch about. Every evening when Otis returned from his job as a crane operator in the ship yard, Agnes would assault him with her opinion of his shortcomings. Sometimes Agnes would ramble all evening about the many crisis and emergencies that needed his attention, such as. “The faucet is dripping, Otis. It needs to be fixed. Now!”
Arguing had become their form of communication. There was no longer any conversation; only different levels of anger, articulated by tone of voice, and level of volume. Words had degenerated to projectiles they hurled at each other like stones from a sling. The insults they traded regularly meant little now, they had each exhausted their most rabid observations years ago. The marriage could be described as a long, steady, cold war, accentuated with occasional raging firefights. It should have ended long ago. But the arrangement survived because of the assets; those precious immuring assets. Through the years Otis contrived a number of pet names for Agnes, but a few were his favorite: “Nun,” “Prozac,” “Corpse,” “Asshole.”
Unable to take it anymore, Otis planned her demise for months. He’d found the perfect place to dispose of the bitch, and he knew, no body, no crime.
Agnes had left him before, but she always returned when she wanted something. It was a game for her. She would go to their son’s for a few days and give him and his wife, Bab’s, money. All the while filling the boys mind with propaganda. Agnes would tell him, what a “son of a bitch” his father was, and how he liked to drink beer and look at naked women on the Internet.
The last time she returned, Agnes demanded a new full-length Russian Lynx coat that cost only seventy-five hundred dollars. Otis caved in, and bought it for her, rather than listen to her bitch. This nonsense had become the depth of their relationship. Tonight the final battle would be fought, and the war would be over. Otis felt he would emerge victorious.
It would be simple to explain what happened, Otis reasoned. They had an argument, she got in the car, and left.
* * *
“Get me a diet Coke, and I want just three ice cubes in it, not five,” Agnes commanded.
“Yes dear.” Otis meekly replied.
Otis pulled the bottle from the refrigerator, and filled the her favorite glass. A hideous looking green, twist-stem goblet. She refused to drink from anything else.
He reached into his pocket, and fished out the bottle of chloral hydrate he’d bought on the Internet. Otis broke the seal, poured the entire contents of the narcotic into the chalice, and stirred it around with his finger. A wild smile grew on his face as he entered the living room.
He set the goblet on the table, along with a large piece of chocolate cake, and said, “Here you go, Dear, sweets for the sweet. Enjoy.”
“Did you clean up the kitchen?” Agnes said, in a firm, demanding tone.
“Coming up, dear, right away, dear.”
In less than an hour Agnes lay comatose. Drool trickled from her open gaping mouth. Otis approached her and gave her a shove with his boot. Agnes moaned a little, but she was sleeping like a wet sack of soybeans.
Otis went into the closet and took out her Russian Lynx coat. He laid the animal skin on the floor, and dragged Agnes from the couch. Otis wrapped her completely in the luxurious garment.”Here you go Prozac, you can wear this thing for eternity,” and he laughed insanely.
He hoisted Agnes to his shoulder, carried her through the enclosed breeze-way into the garage, and threw her in the trunk of her Jeep Navigator. Otis started the vehicle, and backed out of the driveway. He headed for the interstate highway, and in a few hours he was deep in the mountains.
* * *
Otis loved to hunt, but it was more than that, Otis loved to kill. He owned a large collection of firearms. When Otis entered the woods, he would slay anything that moved. Small birds, frogs, butterflies. If it moved, Otis would kill it, and found great satisfaction in doing so. On his last safari he slaughtered a large snapping turtle. The creature was lying on a log, resting peacefully in the morning sun.
Otis spotted the creature as he walked around the perimeter of a swamp. The animal did not die quickly, and Otis found tremendous excitement in blowing away small pieces of the reptile a little at a time. For him the power of firearms equaled the power of life and death. When separated from Agnes on his hunting trips, his gun made him feel like a god.
On one of his killing sprees, Otis hiked deep in the mountains. Unwittingly, he’d wandered onto private property. He found himself in a highly elevated and beautiful place. The area was dotted with cliffs and gorges. Near one of the gorges he discovered a large deep hole in the ground, and thought it might be an entrance to a cave. He laid down along the rim of the hole and stared into the deep chasm. As he gazed into abyss, he could not fathom its depth.
Otis picked up a large stone nearby, and dropped it into the enormous cavity. He listened intently for a sound telling him the stone had hit the bottom. He waited, waited, and waited, but never heard as much as a rattle. As far as he could tell, the hole was bottomless.
Otis returned to a nearby dirt road and followed it until he found its entrance. A metal gate barred access to the road, but the gate wasn’t locked. A large red and yellow sign made of metal was welded to the gate.
PRIVATE ROAD ABSOLUTELY NO TRESPASSING VIOLATORS WILL BE PROSECUTED - OR SHOT
The sign unnerved Otis. He shrank back in the woods, and headed for his vehicle on the other side of the mountain. The seed had been planted, and Otis never forgot the mysterious hole.
* * *
Otis continued to drive deep into the hills. The roads bifurcated until he ended up on the old dirt road. In a few miles he spotted the metal gate that barred the road to the hole. Nothing much had changed. The No Trespassing sign glowed like a beacon in the headlights. Otis got out of the vehicle and checked the latch of the gate, it wasn’t locked. He swung the gate open and drove the vehicle up the road.
He approached the area of the chasm and made a sharp left turn. The pathway to the hole was rutted, and filled with large boulders. Otis put the Jeep in four wheel drive and crept up the furrowed embankment. He stopped the vehicle at the crest of the incline. He could see the outline of the gaping hole in the headlights.Agnes remained sedated in the rear of the vehicle. Every once in a while she would snort and her respirations were sonorous.
It was a simple matter to put the truck in gear, and exit the vehicle. The Jeep rolled smoothly down the ridge and crept ever closer to the rim of the abyss. The undercarriage of the Jeep made a rasping sound as it scraped over the edge of the cavern and tumbled into the darkness.
Otis stood at the mouth of the cavern and watched as the vehicle descended into the depths. The red beam of the tail lights faded like a extinguished burning ember, and the Jeep disappeared into the gaping maw of the chasm.
* * *
Otis felt invincible and overjoyed at his accomplishment. The cloud cover had dissipated in the high elevation, and revealed a beautiful full moon. He danced a jig in the moonlight as he ascended from the rim of the hole, and sang a little song,
The bitch is gone and bless my soul her sorry ass lies in the hole
All I’ve got to do now is walk back to the highway, hitchhike home, and no one will ever find her, he thought.
* * *
In the distance Otis could see the gate illuminated in the moonlight. When he arrived at the gate, it was closed and locked. This puzzled him, because he knew he’d left it open. He pondered thought for a moment and suddenly Otis heard footsteps behind him. They sounded like boots marching on a concrete surface. The sound of boots startled him, and he wanted to turn to see what or who was approaching.
When he tried to spin around he felt what seemed like an icy finger between his shoulder blades, the finger stunned him like an electric cattle prod. Otis became paralyzed in his tracks. He started to tremble and was sorely afraid.
A hollow voice broke the silence. The voice reverberated like the echo in a large empty chamber. “Dare not turn around. You are not allowed to look upon me,” the voice commanded.
Otis was terrified, and in a meek voice, he said, “Who are you, and what do you want?”
“My name is Ahadiel, I am the guardian Angel of the hole, Otis. I have come to escort you to your new destiny.”
“What destiny? What are you talking about?”
“I am talking about the world you have created, that now awaits you.”
“What world?” Otis asked.
“You see, Otis,when the earth was formed, it was built around holes in the universe. They are its foundations. Holes like the one you just escorted your wife to, exist in sacred places throughout the world. I and my soldiers are the guardians of this portal in the universe. We have been protecting this place since before the Indians were here. These places exist as passages to other dimensions, both pleasurable and horrid.
“Though you think you killed Agnes by throwing her into this sacred place. You are mistaken, she will awaken to a better life. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for you. Do you think you’re the first one that has ever found this place, or attempted to use it for a nefarious purpose?”
“This is nonsense, I’m hallucinating.” Otis said, and he tried to run. The icy finger sent a painful shock down his spine and froze him in his tracks. His body felt dense and stiff, like a block of ice.
In a firm commanding voice Ahadiel said, “Your freedom has dissipated. You are under my authority now, turn around and march!”
Otis had no choice but to obey, and he ambled down the rock-strewn rutted road. “What are you going to do with me?” Otis asked.
“Well, Otis. We are not allowed to act in vengeance, but I have been commissioned to ensure that your journey is completed.”
“Where are we going?”
The Ahadiel stopped for a moment. “Fool!” The angel cried in a thundering voice.”Do you think the Almighty does not number his butterflies, sparrows, or other living creatures, like the ones you have unmercifully slaughtered for years? Wanton senseless killing of defenseless creatures produces great demerit, and you have earned great demerit.”
“Otis could see flashes lightning in the sky and the ground rumbled when Ahadiel spoke. “Verily I say unto you, a day will come when you will weep bitter tears and lament to see another living creature that is not filled with hatred and rage. Your world will be filled with beasts created to drink your blood and devour your living flesh. Your ears will scream to hear the song of a tiny bird among the torments and abominations of your world. But no such pleasure will be granted to you.
“For every man there is a turning point, Otis, from which he can never return. Your turning point was fixed the day you mutilated the harmless turtle for sheer pleasure. I wanted to take you out right then, but a hand protected you from me, and I was I was severely chastised for my vengeful emotions. But the stripes of my lashes have healed, and I have been granted the honor of escorting you to your new incarnation.”
“Hell because of a turtle?” Otis said. “It’s nothing but a sack of meat. Don’t you think your being a little harsh over the destruction of a few stupid animals?”
Ahadiel remembered the sting of the lash, and his voice mellowed. He measured the killer’s words, and said, “ The equation is not created by the deed, Otis. Everything a person does is measured by motive. When placed in the balance, the effect of your actions far outweigh the cause. You will have much time to consider theses stupid creatures and their value, Otis.
“You will not be freed from your new incarnation until you are able to create a creature such as the turtle. That means every nerve, cell, bone, marrow, blood and organ. The creature must be able to see, move, eat, and reproduce. It will need to be able to feel and savor the warmth of the sun. In short, Otis it means you will be required to create life. Until you can create as something as simple as a worthless reptile, you will be imprisoned in your world of mindless cruelty.”
“That’s impossible,” Otis said, “no man can do that.”
“Exactly,” the Angel replied.
“When you attempted to murder your wife it was decided that your callous disregard for life must be halted. Sometimes death is awarded those that continue to create serious negative karma. It is merciful in a way, for without ligature placed upon you, it is likely your deeds would open the gates of the Avici hell; a realm of eternal punishment. Because of infinite mercy, you have been granted leniency. At most you will only need to spend an eon in your new hell world.”
“How long is an eon?” Otis asked.
“Your mind cannot comprehend an eon, it is a unit of time beyond your imagining. You will be surrounded with beings such as yourself. Beings compatible with your vibration. Murderers, and those that find great pleasure in torture, and all that cruel and unmerciful. Just as you did in the life you created on this earth. For a man evolves into that which he creates. Those incarnate in your new world the longest, are in control, and their parole depends on finding a slave to fill their place.”
“I can change.” Otis pleaded.
“Once the heart has hardened there is no change, Otis. I am sorry for you, but your fate is sealed. You were protected in hope that you would cease from your mindless cruelty. When you murdered your wife, your sentence was pronounced, and you were turned over to us as our responsibility.”
“Turn here,” the angel said. They walked up the embankment toward the hole. Otis gazed into the eternal darkness of the chasm.
“Behold, the womb that will deliver you to your next incarnation, Otis.” Ahadiel prodded him sharply.
Otis exclaimed. “I don’t want toooo!”
Otis took his final step. He felt as is he were floating, and he tumbled through empty space at ever increasing velocity. The wind whistled in his ears. He stared upward at the beautiful moon and the glimmering stars that filled the heavens. The glorious image etched a final picture in his mind. The orifice of the abyss grew smaller and smaller as Otis tumbled through the void.
A thick darkness like liquid smoke began the fill the void around him. In the distance Otis could hear screaming, and a woeful lamentation that sounded like chanting. The heavens disappeared, and Otis emerged from the womb... reborn.
Copyright © 2006 by John W. Steele