Shallow Grave part 4

Shallow Grave
(part 4)

Thadd Presley

“He told me that all the great writers, those who came before and those still to come, have one thing in common.”

“Yeah, their crazy, like you.”

‘They all hear voices and were considered unstable.”

“And you do hear voices, don’t you?” Allen asked in all seriousness, as if diagnosing a delusional person.

“Yeah, in a way. I mean, it’s not exactly like voices but it’s not me either. Something inside me tells me what to write.”

“But, have you ever told anyone, besides me, I mean?”

“What do you think? If I told anyone I hear voices, they would think I was crazy and lock me up or something.”

“Then what did the man do? Tell me about the man.”
“He said he would give me a story to write and if I wrote it everything I wanted would be mine.”

“Didn’t that seem odd to you? A strange man appearing in your house and telling you that he would give you story and give you everything you wanted?”

“Not really. I mean at the time it seemed normal. I was desperate. I didn’t think. “Everything I wanted’ kept echoing in my head. I was focused on that part. Besides there’s ghost writers and many well known writers buy stories from people who sell stories all the time. It’s usually people like me who really come up with the ideas that make writer into famous best-selling authors.”

“Yeah, yeah. But, so far you ain’t sold shit. Tell me about the deal you made with him. Cause it seems like it was useless.” He smiled. “You’re deal with the Devil.”

“It was not the devil.” I finished the rest of my beer and this time Allen bought the round. “When it came to the story, I thought he meant he would sell me one or tell me one. I didn’t realize what he meant. I had no idea –”

“But, if he would have explained it to you in detail would you have still done it?”

“Yeah, I suppose I would have. I sometimes thought my stories came from somewhere else anyway and I was focusing more and more on the promise of everything I wanted. Anyway, my stories have always came from somewhere else, like figments of my imagination or something, and since this man was probably my own imagination, what did I have to lose.”

“Nothing I guess. Everything, probably.”

At this point, I took a long pull off my fourth beer and tried to change the subject, but Allen was having none of it. “Tell me what you did. I think you made a deal with the Devil and your new novel is what he promised. I think if you publish this book, you will be incredibly rich and famous and you will have then sold your soul. I feel it in my bones.”

“Fine. It makes no difference now anyway. I might have sold it that night.”
“Why do you say that?”
“Because I did exactly as he asked. I cut my right index finger with my dad’s buck knife, because I write with my left, and when he handed me a small document from his breast pocket.”
“You never told me that before.”
“I’m scared. What if I really sold my soul?”
“What did you do exactly?”
“Well, he unfolded the old piece of paper and asked me very politely to put my sign the bottom.”

“In blood?”

“Of course.”

“And you did it?”

“Damn it, Allen, you know I did. But I swear to God, I thought I was dreaming or having a delusion. I’d been drinking whiskey and I was sleepy. I’d already taken a few pain pills that I’d scored from Daniel so I could stay awake but they weren’t working.”

“OK. OK.” Allen was backing down a bit. He could see my irritation beginning to sow and he knew I wasn’t not a happy drunk to begin with. Allen was my true friend and he could handle me if he needed to but he didn’t want to have to. Instead of backing all the way off, he pressed me further wanting to hear the rest. “How long did it take you to write the novel? The one that you’ve been offered money for?”

“Well –”

“How much did you say they were offering?”

“Damn, Allen, you want me tell you the story or not?”

“Yeah, just tell me how much first.”