Punishment. Short Story.

Kelly had her hands wrapped around her tea mug, the woman across from her hadn’t touched her own cup. They sat in the small kitchen, light streaming through the window above the sink, outside birds chirped over the gentle rumble of traffic.
“Are you sure this is what you want?”
“Yes. I want him to suffer, I want him to know what it’s like.”
Kelly took the hairbrush from the woman and placed it on the counter, “There can be some blowback from this kind of thing, you might get hit with something too.”
“I don’t care. He ruined my life, my parents won’t speak to me, I was fired from my job. At this point it couldn’t make things worse.”
Kelly nodded, “Ok, I’ll get started then. Any specific requests?”
“Just make it awful. Maybe something to do with his looks, he always was a vain bastard.”
Kelly nodded, “I have a few ideas. Don’t worry, I’ll make sure he’s punished.”
The woman reached into her bag and pulled out an envelope, “It’s all there.” Kelly took the envelope and slipped it into her pocket without checking.
“If there are any side effects for you I can’t change them, or fix them. Things will just have to run their course.”
The woman nodded, “Don’t worry, I won’t come back complaining. I know the risks. When will it start happening?”
“This evening.”
The woman nodded, “Thank you.”

The room was small, but it had more than enough room for what she needed, the walls and floors were painted a bright white. In the middle of the floor was a bowl of dark liquid, a circle was drawn around it, seven candles were placed along the edge of the circle, the ground and candles both had arcane symbols on them. Kelly sat down in front of the bowl and pulled some hair from the brush, it was shorter than she would have liked, but it would do. She dropped the strands of hair into the bowl of dark liquid and started chanting, the liquid in the bowl rippled slightly, then lay still. A short man stood in front of her, “What is it this time?”
“Need a guy punished, cheated on his girlfriend, spread around her nudes, got her fired, her parents won’t speak to her.”
“OK, any requests?”
“Something about his looks. I suggest making him fat, maybe some acne.”
“Yeah, they’re good. I could just remove his skin though.”
“I think that might be a little too far.”
“Hmm, you’re right, too suspicious, what about a disfiguring disease? Like leprosy”
“We’ve a cure for that now.”
“Not for the kind of leprosy I’d give him.”
“We’re not trying to kill him.”
“Says you. I get a commission on everyone I kill, I need to wet my beak every now and then you know.”
“I know, but she wants him to suffer, she didn’t say she wanted him dead.”
“Why not both? I could drive him to suicide, be the voice in his ear.”
Kelly shrugged, “We both know I can’t really control what you do once you’re set loose on someone, if you want that go for it, the only request was suffering.”
“And the woman? She knows about the potential blowback?”
“I explained it to her, she’s aware of the risk.”
“Good. I’ve some nasty things in mind, there’s bound to be a few hiccups on the way.”
“Do whatever you need to.”
The man smiled at her, “Thank you for this gift, I will cherish it.” With that he was gone. Kelly tidied up the bowl and blew out the candles that were burning. She had known him for twenty years now and he always got results. He’d be gone for a few hours while he sorted everything out, then he’d come back to give her an overview. It was always good to have something to tell the client, even if most of them never came back after the first meeting.

Kelly was sipping a cup of tea when he appeared again, sitting across from her in her kitchen. “It’s done.”
“He’s going to start gaining weight and he’ll have some terrible acne. In about a week or so he’s going to screw up royally and get fired, no one else will touch him with a ten foot pole when I’m done. I’ve given him a few choice STD’s, I’m just going to let them run their course. He’s going to develop a nasty coke habit and lose pretty much everything. He’s going to get robbed and beaten a few times, maybe tortured a little. Then it will all end in some sad little motel somewhere with a gun or a knife. I’m leaning more towards knife as it’s more poetic, he can cut up his face a little, maybe try peel it off. I mean who knows what the drugs will do to him?”
Kelly nodded, “And the woman?”
“She’ll get an STD or two, I was able to shield her from the worst of it, she’s in a bad place, ripe for a drug addiction or three. If she goes near him she’ll get sucked down with him, if she stays away she should be fine.”
“I’ll make sure to tell her.”
“I prefer it when you don’t. More fun and exciting that way.”
The man disappeared, Kelly closed her eyes for a second, they always felt weird when he did that. As usual she tried to recall what he looked like, but she could never remember specifics, part of her suspected that he changed his appearance each time. He was always friendly enough to her, but Kelly knew that was just a lie, he was waiting for her to slip up, so he could escape, but she wouldn’t let that happen, her mother had taught her well.


About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
This entry was posted in Fantasy, Short Stories and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Punishment. Short Story.

  1. Green Sun says:

    GREAT story. Doesn’t explain too much, but we get so much info on the woman and her familiar (or whoever he is). Please write more!

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