Punished Soul by Bertha Hernandez

I can see the shadow reaching for my soul. Its twisted limbs crying–no, begging— to take my soul and leave me bare. It is the punishment I have to pay for playing with the devil. I try to outsmart him by cheating my way out of the bargain, but he has more experience in the arts of trickery then I. I only have my street smarts I learned during my childhood after my entire family was killed by a fire. I am constantly moving from place to place. I find myself under a bridge, sharing heat with other people like me. Dirty and in rags that barely cover our bodies. Every face has been worn down by the years of living in the street.

I remember one day wanting gummy bears so bad that I had gotten to a pay phone and dialed 666. The devil and I had made a deal about me getting the gummy bears and he could ask me anything he sought after. He had asked me to do his homework but I didn’t do it because I did not know the answers. That was our pact and my greatest mistake.

I now hear heavy foot-steps behind me and look over my left shoulder to see one of the faceless businessmen that kept chasing me after I made the pact with the devil. The people around the barrel of fire scream out and start running for their lives. I, too, run. I bolt away from the barrel to run into the city. The faceless men carry weapons with them like knives and swords. I hear them chase me, and I keep dodging their knives that they toss at me, but one pierces my thigh. I scream from the pain and hide behind a building. I grab the knife and yank harshly, covering my shriek with my hand. I cover the wound with my hand but still the blood escapes through my fingers without pause. I drag my leg while looking at my surroundings and spy three of the devil minions in front of me.

I take cover behind another building but it’s too late. One of the faceless men yells out, “there,” and gives chase. I try to run but my wound prevents me from escaping. One of the faceless men reaches me and grabs my waist, making both of us stumble to the ground. I cry out when I feel a searing sensation go throughout my leg, and I push the men off me.

“Gotcha,” the beast on top of me says.

“Uh, get the hell off me!” I say.

“Shut up, time to pay your debt, li’l girl,” the faceless men say.

“Go to hell, demon.” I know I need to escape because if they catch me I would become faceless too and the devil’s personal assistant. I try to get up but the other two beasts grab onto my arms and hold me to the floor. I grab my handgun and open fire but they only laugh at me and kick me in my stomach and ribs. I then realize that this is the end for me. I am going to die at the hands of these revolting demons and revive as the devil’s lap-dog. I cannot escape from them but I can scream. I yell out when every kick and punch meet my skin, hoping for relief but no one comes to my aid. No one answers or tries to help. I feel my life force and consciousness leave while my soul is sucked out of my body forever.

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