Haughty eyes and a proud heart— the unplowed field of the wicked—produce sin.
I could still remember how my father once taught me about the cardinal sins and how humanity struggled—and fell. He taught me of sacrificing one’s self and serving a purpose, of redemption and salvation. As he had said before, redemption is only the first step to salvation and that this is the process of renewing and freeing people from their servitude to sin by acquiring back their liberty from it at a cost.
The price they have to pay to be redeemed and to serve a purpose to ready themselves to be whole and pure again is their life. Of course.
I mean, what could equal life but life itself?
And that’s how my father taught me my purpose. I was missioned to facilitate and make sure that the transformation of sinners to being pure again is carried out. And yes, I get a little payment for serving this purpose because…I mean, why not? If earning a little dough for doing dirty laundry was a crime, then I’m guilty and must be punished. But it is not explicitly mentioned anywhere that accepting donations falls in any certain category of a deadly sin, is it? But if it were, I’d gladly accept it and agree to pay such sin with my life.
But what about murder, you ask? Isn’t it a sin that is both punishable by the laws of earth and the heavens? True. But our world has long been filled with violence; even the Bible has reflected so much of this savagery. What of those countries using death as capital punishment? Death penalty, premeditated or not, is still murder. I am a murderer, yes, and I have accepted that fact so long ago. I execute the death sentence, just like our government. The only difference is that the government has the people’s permission to kill, to bring and impose justice blah, blah, blah, while I have none but my purpose.
Now, going back to my noble cause of murdering people to free them from the bondage of sin, I don’t just go killing people based on hearsays. Let me make that one crystal clear. My clients must provide evidence that the person they want me to punish have, in fact, been corrupted and have failed as a human being. My qualifier is meticulous and specific. The sin must be reflected in their actions and be in accordance with either of the seven capital sins they’re most guilty of.
But why the seven deadly sins?
The answer is pretty much simple. These seven sins are fatal to humanity’s spiritual progress, magnifying our spiritual shortcomings and enslaving us to no end. Many people say that pride is the mother of all sins. Some say that greed is the root of all wrongs in the world. Well, I say all seven of these cardinal sins are the culprit, really. And people living their lives with any of these sins, in copiousness, must be redeemed. As evil as I may be, I still believe in giving second chances, you see. But these detestable—
Oh, wait. She’s finally awake.
And then there was light.
Her eyes fluttered at the flickering strobe light. She let out a hiss of pain, twisting when she realized she was tied up. Her blonde hair was damp with her own sweat, and her pale lips were pursed in an expression of agony. The mass of blood matting her blonde hair and her bruised lips suggested as to why. Her eyes opened and squinted at the pulsating pain belching from different parts of her body, especially her head. She tried to move and opened her eyes once again only to discover that she was hanging. She carefully looked up at the red Shibari knot intricately tied around her wrist that was tied back to the rings screwed into the beam ceiling. She was stretched, and the red knot was digging into the skin of her wrist. Gravity was painfully stretching her body downward, her bare feet barely touching the grimy ground.
Oh, Hilary. What a waste of perfectly pedicured feet.
She flinched at the unsettling sound of two sharp knives scraped against each other; it was the sound of the inevitable. The lights stopped flashing, and her eyes finally adjusted to her surroundings. She couldn’t make out anything else other than the man—yours truly—who suddenly appeared in the corner of her eye.
Shit! Words were coursing through my veins right now. I should really be a fucking writer!
She blinked and recognized me right away. My seemingly harmless look, fine facial features, and tired blue eyes could no doubt immediately earn someone’s trust. But the blood splattered all over my naked body was enough to provide anyone a different story.
Blood was dripping from our dear Hilary’s forehead, making her feel light-headed and weak. She soon figured she had been knocked out before being brought here (a dark basement that smelled musty) and tied to the ceiling with nothing covering her body.
I slowly looked at her, my eyes raking every inch of her shaking body, taking in every movement. It was only a couple of hours ago when she fell for the warmth of my blue eyes — deep and mysterious.
She looked like she was ready to drown in it. Now the warmth was gone, and the pair seemed so cold and soulless. I should know.
“Why me? Please…let me go…”
“Good evening, Hilary,” I finally spoke. “Rejoice, for you will finally soon be redeemed.”
“Who the fuck are you?” she spat.
“People like you say I’m the devil. But I say to you that I am not. I am he who collects and redeems lost souls, Hilary,” I told her, keeping my voice calm.
Hilary’s eyes roamed over my body. There was no mistaking when her eyes widened in overwhelming fear, not because of my nakedness in front of her but because of the diabolical smirk I gave her, guaranteeing her of an excruciating, painful experience soon. And perhaps because, in her world, an ass-naked man with a knife in his hand in a dark room was a different level of fucked up.
I am, without a doubt, a different level of fucked up.
“’Everyone comes naked from their mother’s womb.’ That phrase is straight out of the Bible, Hilary. When people—even you and me—came into this world, we were immaculate and uninhibited. But as mere human beings, we are also weak and curious. These things are etched in our nature. And the moment we enter this worldly realm, we give in to the false trappings and disassociate ourselves from our original essence. We sin. There are thousands and thousands of ways that we sin, but the most destructive and root of it all that impedes us from our spiritual progress are the seven deadly ones.”
I groped her right breast with my right hand. She yelped a cry.
“You have really nice breasts. I bet a lot of men desire you, although lust isn’t really the reason why you are here tonight. Do you know why you are here?”
I let go of her breast and stroke her bloodstained cheek before stretching the surgical gloves like a surgeon preparing for an operation.
She wept hard as she shook her head. “No… No… I don’t know. I don’t… Please… Please let me go.”
I moved closer to her. “‘Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.’ Proverbs sixteen verse eighteen.”
“What? I don’t… I don’t understand. I don’t fucking understand. What are you talking about? Please I beg you. I don’t understand what’s going on,” she cried.
It was clear in her face that indeed, she didn’t understand what was happening.
“You’re a fearless lawyer, but your utter arrogance is the reason why you’re hanging up there, Hilary. Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven, right?”
Hilary struggled, a useless effort.
“My dad made me read Paradise Lost when I was a kid. It kinda blew my mind. John Milton was a genius. Anyway, your pomposity and insolence have caused someone to hate you so much that that person actually donated a huge amount to see you being skinned alive. But let me just say that money isn’t the only reason why you are here. You see, I just don’t kill. I have qualifiers and you simply qualified. You committed pride, the very sin from which the other sins arise.”
“No. No. Please…” Hilary trembled in terror. “Don’t do this. Please don’t…”
“Shhh… You fucked them up, Hilary, but don’t worry, you will redeem yourself tonight…with your life. You have to understand that what I am doing here isn’t a mindless butchery to satisfy my needs. No. It’s far beyond that. I am here to help you with your salvation. I didn’t strip you down because I wanted to screw you, silly. You are naked because ‘naked you came out of your mother’s womb, and naked you shall leave this world.’ And I have stripped myself naked before you because I have to be my original self, pure and uninhibited, before I can free you from your filthy flesh. Poetic, right? Is everything clear to you now, Hilary? You see, I’m just the chosen one. I am merely serving my purpose.”
“Oh… no… please… I’m begging you…”
The sharp edge of my favorite ballistic knife softly grazed her face, sending an unmistakable shiver all over her bloodied, sweaty body.
“Don’t worry. I am actually quite good at this. I’m a professional. Been saving sinners like you since college,” I assured her. All they sometimes needed was an assurance for a quick, seamless death.
Hilary wept harder when she finally realized there was no one to save her. It was certain that she was going to die. There was no stopping her painful death.
“I’m begging you…” she pleaded.
“Don’t worry, Hilary. Pain is temporary,” I said, smiling at her. Even my smile was vacant. I made sure it was. I took a piece of cloth from the medical table in the corner and stuffed it inside her mouth, silencing her.
It was time.
“As soon as I slit your throat and you take your last breath, every bit of your muscle will relax, including your iris. When that happens, your pupils will dilate. Trivia time! Do you know that the eyes are my all-time favorite? There’s something splendid about how it reflects the instant absence of life as soon as one draws its last breath. It’s a beautiful thing to see. It never fails to make me feel…elated.”
Hilary shrieked and fresh salty tears streamed down her face.
“And just an FYI, it’s really not that easy to penetrate the windpipe by just cutting through it. It’s not as easy as how movies make it. I learned that mistake when I was young. I had to repeatedly hack a man’s throat at that time. Had I known, I would have just stabbed through his carotid artery, which, by the way, is what I have been doing now. It made the work easier ever since.”
I heard Hilary’s muffled screams. She looked scared shitless and desperate.
When I was done talking, I raised the knife in front of her. And in one stroke, I stabbed the side of her neck, cutting forward and down. Blood gushed from her open cut in mere seconds. She wiggled, a perfectly normal response since her body was obviously going through trauma. Her hands reached out to me, and I had to move back a little.
I stood there watching her, waiting in anticipation for her to take her last breath.
My eyes lit up with a sudden intense burst of emotions as I admiringly stared at the stream of thick red liquid flowing down Hilary’s body into the drain in the middle of the floor.
A moan escaped my throat. Fuck. I could feel myself getting excited by just watching her gurgling her own blood, choking to death.
Once again, I have sent another wretched soul to the path of salvation.
So a couple of hours later, I finally redeemed Hilary from her sin and had my fix.
The room looked no different than it would at any other crime scene where a heinous murder had taken place. Like a chandelier, Hilary was hanging from the ceiling, blood still dripping down from her lifeless body.
I took a long breath in my seat, my eyes surveying the skinned body idly dangling in front of me. Like a man who just climaxed from having made love twice, I could use a cigarette.
But sadly, I didn’t smoke.
Compared with the actual sex, I didn’t feel sad or any strong emotion after I was done separating Hilary’s skin from her body.
Skinning her was no walk in the park considering that the woman was nearly as tall as me. I was exhausted. But I could only care less, as I felt peaceful and jubilant for what I had accomplished…again.
Ten more minutes, I thought to myself. I gave myself ten more minutes to take in the bloody scene and recharge. Any sane person would have vomited or even fainted at the gruesome sight like I know any normal human being would have.
Am I not normal then?
I couldn’t care less. I am proud of what I had achieved tonight. Truth be told, my inner “savior” wanted to save another soul again.
Although I could, I knew better and hence I must not.
I pushed the thought back before it could cloud my common sense. Just like my father had, I only allowed myself to seven kills a year. That meant saving seven lost souls every year. Seven sinners that the seven deadly sins had inhabited. That was the one rule I had to religiously follow.
As soon as my time was up, a familiar routine followed: I brought Hilary down from the ceiling, placed her on the gurney, and dragged her to the crematorium chamber where she would meet her final fate.
I checked my watch: 12:05 AM. I was still right on schedule. After doing the same thing over the years, I had nearly perfected my aftercare system: the cleanup process that set off after I was done with my victims.
Wait, were they really victims? Shouldn’t they be called the redeemed ones?
Everything that usually followed after my victim―the redeemed ones―had taken their last breath was pretty much the same: cleaning the playroom, cremating the body into the retort, and grounding the dried bone fragments in the cremulator. You know, the usual.
The cremains then would take permanent residency in my little indoor garden, inside a special urn within a nice ceramic pot where a beautiful English yew would grow on top. I would call it a night, go home, and cap it off with a glass of my favorite red wine.
All in a day’s work.
Unexpectedly feeling eager for that glass of wine, I hurriedly dragged Hilary’s body from the gurney and shoved it into the furnace where a column of flames swallowed it almost immediately. My lips edged into a contented smile as I stood naked and gratified at the burning corpse in front of me.
Hilary was finally absolved.