So here is part 5. Originally I planned a totally different ending. I went with this instead. So for the last time in this series, please don't hesitate with any questions comments or concerns
“They said you’d never bother me again!” Fear clear as day in his voice, Billy screamed at once had been his father. The man snorted dismissively, taking another moment to decide if he wanted to answer the unspoken question or not. With a non-committal shrug the man chose to answer.
“Normally they would be right, but this is a very special case. For a very special boy.” With that the man took a casual step forward, bringing him ever closer to his target. “In almost any other situation, people die when they are killed. Well, I or should I say your ‘Pa’ did die.” Another step forward. “See the thing is, when I was torturing him in hell, he made me an offer I really couldn’t refuse.” Another step from the man. Billy looked between the unconscious form of Sandra and the nearest door. Seeing this the man’s voice turned positively poisonous. “You leave her here boy, and I swear I’ll play with her the same way Ma played with you.”
Billy instantly froze and stared at the man, showing he had no intention of leaving her. With a chuckle, the twisted story time continued. “See everyone down in hell tries to weasel out of punishment. Makes sense really, an eternity of pain and suffering is terrible.” As the man took a step forward, the air around him seemed to distort and twist. The brief moment was soon lost as he continued to talk. “However, with enough hatred deals can be made. I eat his soul, take his body and conduct revenge on his behalf.” Another step forward, finally putting the demon within arm's reach of Billy. “For my payment I get to keep this body and walk among your kind. It is a win-win really.” With this the demon wrapped his hands around the slim throat of Billy. It was strange however, Billy realized he felt no pain and could breathe normally. Despite the weirdness, Billy still felt an overwhelming rush of fear.
Suddenely the fear and worry were wiped away as a rush of warm caring emotions filled Billy’s heart. With a quick glance he looked down towards his right hand on instinct. There glowing brightly was a long forgotten and strange sigil. With a roar, Ereiel charged towards the man flaming sword in hand. As she advanced, Ereiel practically snarled out an answer to the unasked question dancing in the eyes of the demon. “You may have banished me from this world, but with his love as a beacon I have returned.” Finishing she swung her sword in a large overhead strike towards the demon’s arms. She had clearly had been intending to cut his arms off. That’s why when her sword cut through the empty air of the illusion, Ereiel was caught off guard. She stumbled a step forward, before she went to turn towards the empty air where her opponent had seemed to be. As she turned, she found herself not only face to face with the demon. Ereiel also found his obsidian black sword buried up to its hilt in her stomach. Ignoring the gasp of pain, the demon withdrew his sword. Then before anyone else could react, he brought the weapon across, easily removing Ereiel’s head from her shoulders. The demon almost casually dismissed his sword.
As the body of Ereiel collapsed, the man let out a dark laugh. “One down, one more to go.” Billy made to scream but it was cut off as the demon wrapped his, this time real hands around the boy’s throat. Squeezing, the demon began to speak. “Really now, is it so surprising that this meat sack had wanted revenge on his killer? Usually that wouldn’t even be enough for him to make a deal with one of my kind. I’ll let you in on a secret. The reason he was able to negotiate was the fact he also wanted you to die. Spiteful fuck of a man was your Pa.” With that last little bit finally spoken the demon chose to end his duty. With a small grunt, the demon crushed Billy’s windpipe.
After a moment of silently listening to Billy struggle to breathe the man spoke, his tone much too calm for such a situation. “You know I have been watching you for a while. I could’ve attacked at any time. Only reason I didn’t was I knew that bitch would interfere. I wasn’t sure exactly how, but I guess marking you like that answers my questions.” With his piece said, the demon smiled and walked past Sandra towards the stairs that led up to the bedrooms.
Sandra woke with a start as there was a sharp pain across her cheek. There crouching in front of her was the man with black eyes. After a brief moment the pain from her injured ribs came rushing back. This forced Sandra to let out a pained gasp as the man stood. “Well, at least one of you isn’t going to sleep forever.” The man said in a teasing tone as he pointed towards Billy. Billy who wasn’t moving, not even his chest. Towards the corpse of what had once been her little brother. As a distant thought Sandra was concerned about why Billy wasn’t wearing pants. Sandra let out a choked, high pitch yelp. Any further sound was cut off as the demon buried his foot into her chest. There was not enough force to cause injuries, but enough to take her breath away. “Now none of that. So, I have both good news and bad news. Good news is unlike your little bastard of a brother and that bitch of a failed angel you're not going to die today. The bad news is I'm going to need you to take the fall for at least his death. The bitch doesn’t matter since she dissolved into dust to be lost on the wind or some other poetic shit. Unfortunately, you humans need something to blame tragedies on.”
Finally catching her breath Sandra practically spat out her response. “No one will believe that I did this. They know I love Billy and I want nothing but the best for him.” The demon gave a slight smirk, before he laid out his devious plan. “Maybe not, but they will believe the evidence that I planted. They will believe ‘your’ journal that lays out your decent into madness. Everyone will believe the story of how you fell in love with Billy. How the little ball of love and hope and pureness came to have a place in your heart, and fantasies. The story will be a tragic love of an older sister who though that the little brother she loved oh so much was too pure for this world.”
The demon gave a sick and unnerving smile before he continued. “The authorities will believe how you just wanted to finally be fully connected with Billy. Then looking they will find that you were chocking him to weaken him as you violently raped him.” Sandra felt so nauseous at the tale he was spinning that she vomited. The remains of her lunch mixed with the tears that were freely falling. Instead of being disgusted the monster wearing human skin simply rolled his eyes before he spoke again. “Don’t get weak now, this is where in my humble opinion the story gets good. Apparently, Billy was more skilled from all his play time with mother dearest then you expected. This caused your body to be rocked with an orgasm. While lost in bliss you happened to squeeze on his neck a little too hard. This caused him to die choking on blood from a damaged windpipe. After you came down from one hell of a high you passed out due to injuries sustained from poor innocent Billy fighting for his life.”
At this point Sandra was crying heavily. Past her tears she asked a simple question that had been plaguing her mind for the last couple of minutes. “Why?” The demon made a show of appearing to think for a moment before he replied. “I am a demon, so of course I tried to make the cover something special. I wanted it to be as sacrilegious, revolting and fucked up as I could. To be fair to myself I think I did a hell of a job on that front.” The monster took a moment to laugh at his own wordplay, before continuing on in a more serious tone. “I know, I know. You meant why do any of this in the first place. Well, that is simple. The universe has certain rules. Redemption for past failure is impossible. Once you fail you are marked for all eternity. Freedom from moving past trauma and trying to make a better life is merely an illusion. It’s called the cycle of abuse for a reason. The rule you embody is the fact that there will be times when you are doomed because of powers outside of your influence. The world is a stone-cold bitch that doesn’t care. Story time is over. It’s time for you to take a nap.” The fiend sent a punch towards Sandra’s face, knocking her out.
The scream of pain and terror that was heard hours later when the parents of the siblings came home was nothing short of heart wrenching.
Sandra shot the psychiatrist a hate filled glare as he prattled on and on. Taking a moment to sigh heavily the psychiatrist spoke once again. “Come Sandra, it has been six months since the incident that landed you here at our esteemed Saint Dymphna asylum. I think it is about time to talk about why you did what you did to your brother.” At the mention of Billy, Sandra flew into a rage. “I have already told you pieces of shit that a demon was responsible. I did not and would not ever do something so vile to Billy. But you chuckle fucks refuse to listen to me!” At the increase in volume an orderly that was outside the door barged in in case the dear doctor was in trouble. The doctor gave a slight shake of his head to show it was fine. After the orderly left the man spoke in a calm manner. “Ah yes, the fiend with the black eyes. Tell me about him did he tell you to do that to Billy?” Gritting her teeth as to not scream and draw more unwanted attention Sandra spoke again. “No, he did it himself. I don’t know who he was but he seemed determined to kill Billy and Ereiel.”
The psychiatrist perked up at the name Sandra had mentioned before belonging to a as she claimed fallen angel. “Let’s talk about this protector instead did she tell you to do anything?” Consumed by rage Sandra bellowed her reply. “Enough of this shit! I don’t hear voices, I’m not mentally ill. I also didn’t kill my brother during an orgasm I got from raping him! From where I am sitting you all are a bunch of sick fucks for believing such a vile story. I have fucking told you over and over that you need to hunt down that God be damned demon! Get your fucking hands off of me you bitch. I’ll kill you all! You must be working with that fiend. I swear I will kill you all then hunt down that bastard of a boss of yours myself.”
That last little bit was brought on by the orderlies rushing in to try to detain and calm Sandra down. With a speed that spoke of practice one of them injected Sandra with a dose of a tranquilizer. As quick as the outburst had started it had ended with a now mostly sedated Sandra being dragged out. With a sad sigh the man spoke to the unresponsive Sandra. “Damn it I wish I could help you I really do. But first you have to accept the fact you are sick. I wish we could blame literal demons. Unfortunately, only our inner demons are real. Take her back to her room and raise the amount of safety checks conducted on her. I would hate for her to do something stupid and never get the chance to recover.” The orderlies nodded before moving to follow orders. The man sighed for what felt like the fifteenth time in as many minutes.
Moving to his desk he pulled out a bottle of whiskey and poured himself a nice stiff drink. “I really do wish demons were the cause. That would make for a nice clean explanation. All I see here is a grieving mentally ill girl.” The man downed his rather full glass in one go enjoying the burn as it went down. “I’ll do my best to help but damn it she has got to let me in.”
Wow is this really that terrible of an ending? ( joking)
Maybe. I'm not trying to be difficult but I am curious as to why. Is this legitimately not a good ending is it curiousty or did i mess something up somewhere?
makes sense. I wasn't indecisive. On ithe ending what happened was I had a more stereotypical good end planned out. The demon didn't plan for the sigil or anything Eri shows up same kinda logic saves the day they fight. Sandra provides a distraction at a critical moment and good guy's win. Every one walks at least if not liking each other at least respecting each other. Then the day before i wrote it as i was finishing the planning I had a though that went something like ' bit what if I made it a bad end.' I would have to write it out but i totally could post the good end.
I wouldn't say that ending is terrible (except from Sandra's perspective, heh).
If priests known religion is real, they could help Sandra out. Alternatively, Sandra can summon another fallen angel to prove it (if only she'd asked Billy how he met Ereiel!), unless there are more requirements than the blood of an innocent and a crude circle.
Demons can either manifest writing or perfectly copy handwriting, and if he manifested the journal, there'll be no receipt for it. More importantly, Sandra was pretty beat up, how did the examiners consolidate that with the journal? Did the demon clean up before leaving? I know murders can get investigated pretty thoroughly, but I'm sure it depends on circumstances.
With hell being literal alongside other mythologies, it does make me wonder if it is a belief or geography based thing. Pa certainly failed to exemplify Christian values, but that'd hardly be a mark against realism.
I'll let Mizal cover the big picture, and I'll say that there is no obligation to have a 'good' ending, and 'bad' endings can work.
The issue is that 'bad' endings often end up being edgy (and here I use edgy to mean shocking but devoid of meaning). You certainly have shocking elements here, but are they devoid of meaning? Given the demon's speech, there was at least an attempt at meaning, which I appreciate.
Pivoting to a 'bad' ending might mean you don't set it up sufficiently in the earlier parts tho.
Anyway, while the demon could've been lying, given this is the ending, it does seem him talking about 'the universe [having] certain rules' was exposition & the story moral.
Redemption for past failure being impossible seems like an odd moral to me, considering the role of redemption in Christianity (but being a universal rule stops me from questioning this as a world-building issue). I suppose the contrast is neat tho (but it doesn't feel explored).
However, while the moral itself doesn't sit right with me due to how absolute it is, if we ignore my personal disagreement with it, the real issue is that it renders the prior story a bit moot.
The cycle of abuse is not perpetuated because it shaped/traumatised Billy and his relationships for life, it is perpetuated because Billy summoned a Fallen Angel who allowed his Pa to meet a demon (by killing him), who then abused Sandra. If one considers oblivion better than eternal torture, Pa got the good ending by having his soul eaten. This ends up contradicting being 'marked for all eternity' due to failure, since Pa failed at both being a good Pa and at being a monster (he failed to break Billy), so he should've also been stuck in some 'cycle'. I feel this undermines the moral.
The Angel mentioned in the titles is also reduced to a plot point, Billy could've found a gun manifested by Norse Fairies and shot Pa, I don't think the ending would've been different. Maybe I just need to reread the earlier parts to see how they fit together (not like I'm the best at spotting thematic through lines anyway).
Setting up the ultimate inevitably of failure early could help it all read more like a classic Greek tragedy, which certainly didn't have 'good' endings.
The part at the end with the therapist lamenting that demons aren't real seems to point at Sandra's situation being tragic, but it rings hollow because demons are real in the setting. If it is commentary on the woes of irl humanity, it falls flat for me since I'm still focused on how a fictional demon ruined the life of a fictional protagonist. It might be a bit too short to offer deep insight, but maybe it had a better effect on others?
Anyway, the actual execution does still seem good to me, since the scenes are strong, so as I said at the start, it isn't a terrible ending. The tone shift into very dark maybe feels a little sudden, but I don't think it is inappropriate given the circumstances (i.e. literal demon). It isn't exactly out of left field either, considering Billy's past.
Maybe it just feels like it could've been better? Maybe I feel it cheapens the previous instalments? I'm not sure. Maybe I was just invested in the characters and am sad to see the story end like this.
The pessimistic moral seems like a departure from the previous instalments, perhaps it needed stronger foundations to feel more concrete, but as it is, it ends up feeling like the real moral is 'shit happens' (which is rarely satisfying/cathartic). However, the ending is only terrible for five of the characters, and is itself alright.
So, while it is not what I was expecting, it still ends the story strongly (even if I still question that moral).
Looking forward to whatever future writing endeavours you undertake, as I'm sure they'll also be engaging.
P.S. Like an absolute idiot, I ended up losing my initial write-up, so forgive me if some of those frustrations ended up coming through in my tone, lol. I liked my first version of the 'setting & plot' better. Anyway, good work finishing this, it wasn't a small project. Feel free to question any of my points here, it is easier to do when the work is finished (since no new information will be revealed), so if I misunderstood anything it is easy to correct me.
Couple of things, first the supernatural is still mostly unknown in this world. Maybe some bishop or priest gets attacked bit it's still not a known thing. An example would be joan of arc. In both the story world and real world some think she was just mentally ill. Some have faith and believe, but no one can prove. Us as the readers know this sides exist so its we know she probably did hear an angel but in the world they don't know. Secondly the moral thing really was just the demon being an asshole and taking personal shots at others. No redemption for the fallen angel and he was there because pa got killed in defense of billy. The last part was more of idk anything about you specifically but sucks to suck you got screwed. The actual moral is that you have to be diligent in defense of your happiness ERI was standing guard and still missed the fucker watching the house. Sandra should've bren more concern a strange man was asking for Bill (short for billy). Going back to the joan example the psychiatrist, is more commenting on how she appears ill. Thats why he was so insestint on asking if she hears voices. The more meta comment was about how if probleme were caused by demons it would be easier. We could point and blame then also maybe hard as hell but we could fight them. But most mental health issues are mire nuanced and stealthy. Alot harder to fight the inner demon, but if that fucker manifested? Alot of hands would be thrown
The rape part seems slightly implausible. Surely, she could have demanded to get a rape kit to prove she hadn't had sex recently.
Yeah probably. At first i had a part in here that stated that when she woke up she was sore inbetween her legs missing pants and that vomit and tears were supposed to mix with a suspicious puddle but I felt i couldn't do any of that with the seriousness and respect it deserves so i cut all of it. It's one thing to imply but i wasn't comfortable going all the way with it. Maybe she was just too shocked and shut down for awhile? But yeah i had thought of that