The Horror

by JENNY GREEN

“I cannot do this!” I scream, the blood rushing through my ears. The erratic beating of my heart, usually so calm, so certain, nearly drowns out the hysteria of my sobbing. Thump-thump, thump-thump, thump-thump, thump-thump. With a violent sweep across the desk, I send the scrolls and books flying, crumbling to the floor with them.

The chill of this October night begins to seep into my bones as I lay here, trembling. A flash of light outside my window indicates that the storm understands my frustration. The roaring of the heavens reverberates through my core as the gales fight against my windowpane, determined to get in while I am set on getting out. I crave freedom but I must finish my charge. The consequences of neglecting to pull through are too horrific, too abhorrent to dwell on. I can only imagine the horror of failing this task.

The chiming of the clock brings me to my senses and a sudden streak of anguish courses through me as I gape at the hands; I’ve only an hour. Only an hour till midnight.

I must finish what I have begun.

Gradually, the pulsations subdue as does the candlelight before I drag myself to my feet. Muttering oaths, I grapple against the demons determined to stray me from my purpose. The minutes melt away as I near the completion of the burden I carry. With only the nectar of a scarlet bull to keep me focused, my haggard eyes fall once more on the timekeeper. There is only a minute.

The repercussion for being tardy in this undertaking are unknown, but their mystery is what brings me fear.

Forty-five seconds.

An ending touch to finish my masterpiece…

Thirty seconds.

…and in shaky scrawl, I sign away my soul.

Ten seconds.

I reassure myself of the recipient and send it away. Now only the arbiter will determine my fate while I can only wish my English paper Godspeed. Perhaps I’ll know by Monday if I passed or not.

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