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Joseph
by Tanner


Joseph Hardens was lying on his back in the middle of the cold wooden floor, blood dripping from the hole in his chest. Leaning over him was Jeff Hawkins, a man who could easily describe Joseph. None of the things were good. He had been put in jail for many reasons and had been given the reputation as a public enemy. He was accused and confessed to sixth degree murder, sexual abuse, drug dealing, and assault.

After escaping prison numerous times he was finally caught and gunned down. He gasped and looked at Jeff.

"I'll come back. And when I do... I will kill you. And I'm gonna do it slowly. Very slowly."

With that, Joseph fell back, dead. Jeff looked forward, a look of anger on his face. He kicked Joseph's body and walked away, still grieving over the death of his wife at Joseph's hands.

The next day Jeff awoke in his bed. He looked beside him, hoping everything was a dream and his wife, Sasha, was there. It wasn't a dream. Jeff put on his clothes, a button up white shirt, blue jeans, a leather jacket, and boots. He headed out the door, cell phone in hand.

As he walked to his work place, he noticed the spot where Joseph had been killed. There were two police cars outside, an ambulance, and a group of men from the FBI. Jeff turned around and walked down the street.

He looked at his work place, a small coffee shop. The coffee shop was only ashes and debris. What the? though Jeff, confused. He walked over to a police man.

"Uh, sir, what happened?"

"Dunno yet. We think some guy must've burned it down last night."

Weird, thought Jeff. Jeff turned around and walked towards his friend Zeke's house. He rapped his knuckles on the door. It opened ajar. Zeke was there, his glasses shading his eyes.

"Zeke?" asked Jeff, confused. Zeke grabbed Jeff by the shirt collar and yanked him inside. "What's wrong?" asked Jeff.

"L-last night, some guy came. H-he said that until you died... That I would never sleep."

Jeff looked up and recalled the previous night. Suddenly he remembered Joseph. 'I'll come back. And when I do... I will kill you. I'm gonna do it slowly. Very slowly.'

Jeff ran his hands through his hair.

"What?" asked Zeke.

"Oh, nothin'. Ignore that guy. If he comes back and attacks just run outside."

Zeke nodded.

"Jeff, Jeff!" cried a voice. Jeff turned to see his uncle, Kaylub, running down the sidewalk.

"What's up?"

"Well, you know aunt Harriet... She's dead."

"What?!"

"Last night. Some dude came in with a silenced gun. He shot her."

Jeff bowed his head. He's gone too far, he thought. "I'm gonna end this," said Jeff.

"End what?" asked Kaylub.

"Don't tell anyone. Last night, I killed Joseph Hardens. He said he'd kill me slowly. I guess he came back and is gonna torment me. My work's burnt to the ground, Zeke got the crap scared out of him last night, and now Harriet."

Kaylub backed up. "Okay then. B-bye." As if thinking Jeff was a lunatic, Kaylub darted across the street, despite his age.

That night Jeff sat on a bench in the park, a lit cigar hanging out of his mouth. He put the cigar between his index and middle finger, blew some smoke out of his mouth, and began humming a tune. That's when he saw it. Joseph appeared, dressed in a long robe with spikes growing out of his shoulder.

Joseph grinned and Jeff stood. "So c'mon, man. Kill me. We both know that's the only thing that'll stop ya. So go ahead. I'm willin' ya to, ain't I?"

Joseph grew excited as he inched forward. As he reached for Jeff, Jeff pulled out a 357. Magnum and fired at Joseph. The gun's bullet flew through Joseph.

"That tickles," said Joseph playfully. He grabbed Jeff by the head and bent him back. He opened his mouth. Streaks of light floated out of Jeff and into Joseph's gaping mouth. It was Jeff's energy. Suddenly Kaylub appeared from behind, a bucket of holy water in his hands. He threw it at Joseph. Joseph fell to his knees. Out of the ground appeared a scaly red hand.

"NOOO!" cried Joseph. It was useless. The hand grabbed Joseph and dragged him into the ground. Kaylub rushed over to Jeff, who was weaker then an infant. He looked up at Kaylub, dying. He stroked Kaylub's cheek before his head snapped back, dead.

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