Before

By: Cambria Hebert

A Heven and Hell prequel


Dedication

To anyone who’s ever been carefree,

and then hasn’t.





Sam

I stared before me at the mess. The mess I was supposed to clean up. I was tired of doing this. Tired of this lifestyle and pretending like it didn’t bother me. It did. It was disgusting – and by extension I was disgusting.

Completely unworthy of someone like her.

Heven. I hadn’t heard her name until yesterday, when I got close enough to overhear it. It was perfect, it fit her perfect. Because to me she was heaven, she was everything I could ever want and everything I couldn’t have.

I stared down at the splatters of blood and gore, the pieces of ripped flesh. The scent of death clung to the air, leaving it heavy and regretful.

“Don’t just stand there,” the person whom I was beginning to view as a monster snapped.

A person that once upon a time wasn’t like the crazed –psycho killer that stood before me today. I had learned things from this person, learned about myself, learned how to survive…

Was I going to end up like this too?

What would Heven say if she saw what I was about to do?

“No.” I said, flat, refusing the order that was just issued.

“Excuse me?” Eyes narrowed until they were nothing but slits. Behind me the others stopped their gathering of what was left of the victim… or victims, it was hard to tell with what was left so scattered about. I could feel their eyes bore into the back of me, but I didn’t care.

“I’ve cleaned up your last mess. I won’t do it anymore. You’re sick.”

“After everything I’ve done for you, you dare talk to me like this?”

“If you don’t stop killing people, I’ll make sure the police know where to find the bodies of all the people you’ve murdered…and evidence of exactly who put them there.”

“If you turn me in, you’ll go down as well. You might not have had the fun but you helped hide the crime. Every. Single. Time. The police won’t think you’re innocent.”

I shrugged, praying that I looked as bored as I tried to. “As long as you go down, I don’t care.”

“And what of that little girlfriend that you seem to covet above all else? I wonder if you would feel the same if these were her parts scattered at your feet.”

“I don’t know who you’re talking about.” I lied.

The laugh that echoed around me was one that did belong to a monster. What had caused such a change? Why the constant need for bloodshed and killing? It was almost as if the monster was trying to prove something. “You know full well who I am talking about.”

“I haven’t seen her in weeks. She means nothing to me. Do what you want. I meant what I said. I am done here.” I turned away, feeling sick to my stomach, praying that my bluff wasn’t called.

The others had resumed collecting the remains so that they could burn or bury them later. They were no longer looking at me, but as I walked away from the monster, a pair of dark eyes flashed to mine. I stared back without blinking; I would accept any challenge that was issued.

“Wait.” The voice was a near growl, a forced word that the monster must have practically choked on to force out.

I stopped but didn’t turn back. I was my own person – my own man – I was done following orders.

“Will you still help me look?”

Ahh, the thing that mattered most to the monster. Finding something that probably didn’t even exist. I waited a few moments, weighing my options. I could walk right now and never look back. I could get into my truck and drive until the landscape changed and I knew no one. But that would mean never seeing her again. The thought left me surprisingly hollow. And, it was no guarantee that Heven would be safe, I could leave and the monster could carry out the threat to harm her. If I stayed, if I agreed to continue searching then maybe Heven would be forgotten, she would be safe.

I looked back, over my shoulder. “I’ll help you look but the killing stops now. You waste searching time when you take out your anger on innocent people.” Like I cared how much time was wasted searching, but I was tired of the death…the echoes of screams and pools of blood that filled my dreams.

“Fine,” the monster snapped. “Just remember who you are and who you aren’t. Remember exactly who you have forgotten.”

I didn’t respond. I walked away, allowing the darkness of night to swallow me whole and give me some sense of relief. Message received. There would be no more killing as long as I continued to stay far away from Heven.

It was a small price to pay to give someone that pure, someone that innocent, the life she deserved.

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