Bad Dream/My Conversation with Satan
From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
The man before me is the only man I’ve ever been afraid to meet. I expected him to be taller- much taller. Yet I stand face-to-face with him, and I can’t help but notice I’m much larger in general than he is. I have no idea which side of my genes made me as bulky as I am.
Everything you’ve heard about Satan is a lie. The Devil wears a bathrobe, and his skin is white rather than red. Instead of cloven feet, he wears fuzzy white slippers, and his ankles are hairy like mine. He must be hiding his horns, as his head is only topped with curly and wiry black hair, and he must’ve shaved his trademark goatee, as he has a five-o-clock shadow rather than a beard. This incarnation of the Devil doesn’t carry a pitchfork, he carries a fifth of whiskey. His eyes are blood shot, his face is creased with frown lines, and his breath is fermented, but make no mistake about it, this is Lucifer. The Devil is Gary Dennison, my father.
As I gaze down upon this demon, I can’t help but feel disgusted. I am disgusted at myself for ever fearing this man. Why do I still feel nervous?
He is on his knees on the ground, his wrists secured behind his back with duct tape. It’s industrial strength, costing a pretty penny. I know it won’t break. Only the best for Father. As he looks up with burning eyes, his breath laced with innumerable drinks, he speaks in a drunken slur, his words hard to follow. It must be the accent they have in Hell. He says, “How did you find me, Jakey? Why ya doin’ this?”
I look at him, but I try not to make eye contact. I’m ashamed of my eyes- I don’t want him to stare into them. Why am I ashamed and embarrassed of my looks around this man? I tell him, I found you a long time ago in a box of love letters you sent Mom. She said she’d never love another man after my father, and no one else writes Mom. Not even Grandpa wrote Mom. I put two and two together.
The child support demand letters tipped me off too, but I don’t tell him this. It’s so much more thrilling with the mundane bits cut out.
He replies with “But how did you know it was me and not some other shmuck?”
I tell him it obviously must be him because he recognized my name and deformities.
He asks “But what if I hadn’t?”
I tell him to shut the hell up with rhetorical questions. “What if”’s don’t matter because I was right.
Once again he asks “But how did you know? What if you had the wrong guy?”
I told him if I had the wrong guy, I’d know and let him go.
For the third time he asks, “But how do you know?”
I tell him I just do. He doesn’t speak for a long time. The gun feels heavy in my hand, but my legs feel like jelly. It’s hard to stay standing, but I need to- I can’t give in now. I’ve never had a problem with murder, so the fact that I don’t want to kill this man confuses me. At the same time, I wan to kill this man in the most agonizingly painful way possible. I hate him, but for some reason I don’t fully understand, I love him. I hate him because I should hate him, but I don’t. I ask him why.
He looks up at me, tilting his head slightly to the side, like a confused dog. “‘Why’ what?”
Why did you bring me into this world and abandon me? Why was I there when you were here? Why wasn’t I good enough for you?
His increasing confusion is apparent, as he furrows his brow in thought. “I don’t know, Jakey. Your mom was pretty looney tunes.”
I tell him that Mom doesn’t justify him leaving me. I want know why he abandoned me, not Mom. He could’ve taken me with him.
“Well, Jakey, to be honest I couldn’t deal with a kid. You were an accident. Break in the rubber. I hate to say it, but well… it’s true. Your looks were something, too. You were one butt ugly kid. I didn’t wanna be known for you.”
This comment hurt the most. I was an accident; a hideously flawed one to boot. He didn’t want me, probably never did, and probably never would. I suddenly felt naked without my mask on. I doubt he can see me very well in the dark or could in the car, but now I don’t want him to see me at all. I don’t ask Kastka to bring me my mask; I can’t hide behind it. I won’t hide behind it, even though I want nothing more in the world. I tell him again that I’m sorry I wasn’t good enough.
He looks up at me, desperation in his eyes. “Please, Jakey, let me go. I have a family now. A son and a daughter. They’re your brother and sister, fer christ’s sake!”
I was your family too, that didn’t stop you from leaving me. Do my brother and sister know about me?
He pauses, trying to think up a half-truth. I always figured that Hell was full of good liars. A look came across his face, signaling that he couldn’t think up an adequate response. “No, Jakey, they don’t.”
I tell him that honesty is the best policy. He shouldn’t try to think up lies to feed me, I’m his son.
“No, kid, you’re not my son. I ain’t been a father to you. I have a son and he’s at home asleep. He needs his father, so please let me go back to him.”
I feel like I’ve been shot in the face. I look down at the Devil, and I can feel the agonizing pain of rejection to be almost unbearable. I feel a cold tear slide down my cheek, and once again I’m a little boy who’s mother makes him live in a closet. I’m a big baby, and I cry because Daddy doesn’t love me, never wanted me, and didn’t need me. I cry because he hated me. He hated me so much that he left me to be abused and hurt- to become the way I am today. Now I hate my father because I look back on my life and know that if he hadn’t left I might’ve been a good person. I can’t stop crying and my legs begin to falter. The Black Parade stares at me in silence because their bold, courageous, and fear-inducing leader is having an emotional breakdown over the words of an ordinary old man that he met for the first time only an hour ago. Now It looks at me with contempt and frustration. It says, “Damnit, Jakey, stop crying and let me go!”
I smash the barrel of the gun across Its face, knocking It onto Its side. I might’ve damaged the barrel, but I don’t care. I stand now and plant my foot on Its chest, pinning It down. I aim for between Its eyes. I’m going to kill the Devil. I tell him, I love you, Dad. I wish I had been good enough for you.
He tries to protest, but I don’t hear him. I say, this is for everything you’ve done for me or lack there-of.
I pull the trigger, and the bullet tears out of the barrel. I have a homemade silencer attached to the barrel. It worked perfectly, as the bullet makes almost no sound. It strikes him through the forehead, making a perfect circle. His blood splatters on my clothes and fist. He dies immediately. I continue to pull the trigger over and over again, unloading shot after shot into his body. I want to make sure he’s dead. I want his brains to feed the worms. The gun clicks to signal its need of a reload. I holster it and turn away. If I look at him any longer, I’ll lose control. I tell Kastka and Hannibal to wrap his body in a tarp and throw it in the trunk. We’re going to bury him at Haverghast Asylum.
They confirm my order and rush off to clean up the mess I’ve made. I climb into the back of the car and sit, looking down at the blood on my hands- the blood of my father. I can’t help it anymore; I break down and cry. I cry in the backseat of that car until we reach the Asylum. Kastka pats me to calm me down. She hands me my mask, and my fingers tremble as I strap it back on. I have a job to do tonight.