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Madness of Men

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Poetry done by freshmen, Amanda Charowsky

Madness of Men

Madness flows, like a river, deep and strong, strong enough its currents pull you down, deep down, until you drown. Madness stalks, a tiger in the dead of night, silent footsteps as it attacks from behind, and chews you up and spits you out. Madness is immortal, time ceasing, sun never rising or setting, pitch black skies of night, starless and terrifying, cold and unforgiving


He waited. The car stopped running, and the engine sputtered and groaned, keeling over into a fitful sleep. It’d wake when it wanted to.


He sat with his eyes closed, tapping his fingers along the edges of the vinyl seats, the cluttered, sticky dashboard. The interior permanently smelt of old leather and oil, cigarette smoke and cheap cologne. It reminded him of what he’s become and what he’s lost.


He heard the small liquor bottles across the floor, stopping at the edge of the ;passenger seat. Sticky little knicknacks falling off the shelves in a broken home. An old, hickish country song played on the broken radio, a low male voice drawling about the woes while strumming a banjo.  


He waited for his wife.


In whisky fueled dreams, her car pulled up the drive, with her bright blue eyes, she told him to get inside.


And then he woke alone.


The only thing worse than dying was dying alone.


She wouldn’t want you doing this, said the voice- again and again, a broken record, haunting him.


Again and again.


He arrived, in dramatic fashion, smoke from the ground, the night lit up, as quickly as if it were only fireworks.


He was the devil.


His eyes were as red as the blaze of sparks, red as the color of his mustang, still shining. He strutted over toward the SUV with grace, agile and children, as if his feet never touch the ground.


The atmosphere changed, playfulness hiding in the dark cloud looming overhead. The seven sins filled the air, choking him, surrounding him and towering like a pack of wolves.


“What is it you desire?”


The devil was young, his voice as cool and as harsh as the wind. He was young and cold, daring and dashing- everything he used to be. Everything he was when she had bright blue eyes.


Nothing and everything, he thought.


Everything and nothing.


John waited for his wife.


When he opened and closed his eyes he heard the sound of her voice, a sad song of the past. Her side of the bed still reeked of perfume.


Her blood still stained the driveway.


The devil leaned back against the good of his convertible, whistling a carefree tune, tapping his feet, itching to move and dance about. The devil never stayed in one place. He moved, slithering like a snake.


“I want her back.” John refrained- he needed. Need got you in a lot more trouble than wanting. You could live without something you wanted, but never without something you needed.


The devil hissed, cringing as he held a grin, “Bringing people back, it’s risky business.” He fixed his long, clawlike fingers, nails tar black, dangerously long and as lethal as a knife.  


John had been avoiding this, but he shoved the wooden jewelry box towards him, kicking it with his feet, little rocks and specks of dirt flying. “What about now?”


The devil leaned forward, hunched over as he grabbed it so quickly was as if we’re sinking in quicksand.


The devil wanted his soul.


It was his favorite picture of her. Her brown hair was a shade lighter from the summer sun, and a smile took up her face, and she was laughing at something he said. She was a light, brighter than the sun than anything he’d ever seen.


Slowly, the light flickered, and then it was gone.


“Till death do us part.” The devil mused, examining the picture with satisfaction and somewhat disappoint. “Men and their wives: can’t live with them, can’t live without them.”


He tried, he told himself, you tried.


Living, John could do. He could be numbed and he could be stone, but he could not be a statue, not anymore.


“We get a lot of dead wives,” said the devil, ‘we’ referring to his fellow devils, the demons dancing underneath the ground, deep in the layers of hell. “Cancer, nowadays.”


“Murder,” John replied through gritted teeth, “Robbery.”


“Crimes always good,” the devil shrugged, rummaging through the rest of the box, “spices things up.”


“Crime ruins and destroys. Crime only brings chaos.”


The devil raised a finger and argued, “Chaos is necessary; without it, I wouldn’t be standing here.” He returned to his work, his magic, and if you looked closely enough you saw the sparks from his hands, the flames and the fires of hell burning what was left of John’s soul, a meager and sad amount.


John waited, wondered, was this really worth it?


Anything for her, the little voice replied, even if you do not have your soul, your whole self,


While the devil worked he drinked, let whisky run through his veins and numb his nerves, like frostbite. He wouldn’t know it was happening until his fingers were blue and had fallen off.


“Are you happy now?” asked the devil, a mischievous smirk drawn on his handsome features, illuminated in the firelight. He stood, wiping the dirt from the road onto his dress pants.


John was never truly happy, but a warm feeling washed over him and perceived this as the same.


The box was gone, not leaving a trace as if it were never there in this first place.


“The clock’s ticking down.” The devil let out a sick laugh that echoed into the darkness, and as he snapped his fingers the engine of his mustang roared and the lights turned on. “It’s been a pleasure, sir.” He disappeared into his car and off onto the road, his engine howling until the car evaporated into thin air.


This was it, now.


He’d done it.


He was tired of waiting.


A silhouette walked up behind him in the corner of his eye. She still has her scar, the stitches lining her body, from her hips to her chest. Her eyes were glassy and translucent, piercing him with invisible knives.


“Hello, John.”

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