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Sins of Others.

Being invisible was a trait that he had acquired with little effort on his behalf. Joseph Crimly had just realized one day that he was invisible to the majority of people in this great metropolis. At first, it came as a devastating shock to him, but soon he began to see the tremendous benefits of this trait. It was through no magical or mystical transformation that invisibility was bestowed upon him. Instead, it was the fact that he had fallen below a certain social level in society. Joseph had become part of the legions of people that became so poor, that the rest of society lost sight of them altogether.

It seemed to be an unwritten rule, that once your clothes had become threadbare enough, and your appearance gaunt enough. You became invisible to those better off than you. In the end, Joseph embraced his newfound invisibility. He became a collector of things and information. Joseph would shuffle about the main thoroughfares and back alleys of the city, where he would collect things that others discarded and hear titbits of juicy conversations.

It was amazing what would be said within earshot of him, he would crouch by the doorways of fancy restaurants and earwig on the conversations of the wealthy patrons. None of them would think to even glance in his direction. So, Joseph Crimly was free to eavesdrop to his heart’s content, he became a virtual encyclopedia of the secrets of the affluent people. When he had heard enough. He would go to the bins at the rear and collect some fine food, before hurrying home to his hovel. There he would dine on the rich food they had discarded, and record their secrets in his journal. Before life had turned sour for him, Joseph had been a clerk in a shipping company. Now he put the skills he had learned there to good use.

He kept a neat and very meticulous account of all he heard, he was never really sure why he did this. However, he had a deep-seated belief that he could use this information to his benefit one day. So, each night he sat by candlelight and made his neat entries in the journal. His book of sins he called it, page after page of accounts of everything from adultery to business fraud. Joseph Crimly was a man on a mission, he would make them pay for consigning him to an invisible state. But he had yet to formulate a plan on how he would do this. The one thing that Joseph had ignored in the whole situation, was his role in his predicament. He had somehow forgotten the reason why he was no longer a clerk in the shipping company. Likewise, he had put it from his mind the reason his wife and children had abandoned him. Joseph just blatantly refused to take responsibility for his actions.

Joseph Crimly had been a thief; he had robbed from his employers until they had no choice but to sack him. He was also a gambler, drinker, and quick with his fists, he had been physically and mentally abusive to his family until they could no longer take it. However, Joseph Crimly concealed himself in his invisibility and conveniently blamed others for his misfortune, none of his indiscretions ever appeared in his little book of sins. Instead, he concentrated his every waking moment on how to make others pay for his sins; he would eventually find a way to force them to pay him back for the invisible years.

Joseph wrapped his threadbare coat tighter around his thin frame; it was quite tonight outside the upmarket restaurant. The weather had taken a turn for the worst, and a bitter wind carried with it the promise of snow. All but the hardiest of people had long since retired indoors. Joseph would have abandoned his post a long time ago, but the thought had taken root deep in his mind. An unaccountable feeling that tonight just might be the night that his luck would change. The cold finally became too much for even him, and he decided to raid the bins before heading back to his rundown accommodation. Joseph picked through the food bins for the choicest morsels, but pickings were slim tonight and he cursed beneath his breath. When he had filled his coat pockets with food, he turned towards the alleyway to return to the street. The sound of muffled voices in the darkness caused him to halt; halfway up the alleyway, a fire exit door was opened. A narrow beam of light illuminated the area outside the door, where two men stood talking earnestly. Joseph melded with the shadows and crept closer, one man was dressed in an expensive evening suit and the other wore clerical robes. The topic of their conversation caused Joseph to forget how cold and hungry he had become, dark descriptions of missing children and ritual sacrifice caused Joseph’s heart to beat faster with delight. He had just collected the most valuable piece of information he had ever heard; someone would pay dearly to keep this particular sin a secret.

In his excitement and hurry to get home to enter the information in his book, he failed to realize he was not alone in the shadows. Joseph also failed to observe that a tall dark figure followed him home. His hand trembled with excitement as he lit the candle and settled himself in the rickety chair, he all but forgot about the food in his pockets. Joseph meticulously entered the details of the conversation he had just heard, making sure to write detailed descriptions of the two men involved. He had just finished when he felt the presence in the room behind him, the tall man stepped forward and held out a bony hand. Joseph thought to protest but something in the stranger’s dark eyes terrified him, he handed the journal over with a trembling hand.

Joseph Crimly was launched across the room like a piece of waste paper, his slight frame crashing against the wall before sliding to the filthy floor. Here he lay winded and too terrified to move, meanwhile, the tall stranger placed the journal on the rough table and began to read. An impossibly long index finger topped with a talon-like nail carefully traced each word in the journal. All his years of collecting the secret sins of others were carefully digested by the stranger. For what seemed like an eternity he was forced to lie there in silence, while a total stranger read his most secret work. Eventually, the tall man turned from his task and stared at Joseph, his dark eyes seemed to bore into his very soul. “Joseph there seems to have been some kind of misunderstanding here; it is not your job to record the sins of others. It is mine, and has been for eons” the man’s voice was deep and hurt Joseph’s head.

Joseph opened his mouth to scream but the talon-like fingers gripped his neck, his windpipe was crushed and he began to smother. Joseph’s last vision in this world was of the stranger making a new entry in his journal, he died without seeing the neatly written words. ‘Joseph Crimly’s sins, theft, domestic violence and attempted blackmail’. The stranger nodded in satisfaction as he read the latest entry, then he left taking the journal with him.

Recommend0 Simily SnapsPublished in Fantasy, Fiction, Horror