The Watch: Epilogue
Veronica reclined in her bed, her body weak with age. The arthritis in her back and hands was painful, but she had grown used to it over the years. At 93 she felt done. Even though she never married or had children, she knew it was better this way. She got to live a long life. She saw the world, she wrote a book, she created memories. She even went on a game show and won a few thousand dollars. That money would be donated to the children’s hospital near her apartment after her death.
One might think dying alone was a sad way to go, but Veronica was proud of herself. She had managed to live out her years unscathed, and as if her body knew it was time to go, she cloistered herself in her home and waited it out.
It didn’t matter if Keres took her soul. There was no one else nearby for him to harm.
As she dozed, she remembered the spirit that had helped her so many years ago. The man in black who had watched over her. The ghost that tagged along when she was brought back to life in her parents well-meaning, but painfully selfish, deal with the demon. She never saw the man again, and she hoped he found peace wherever he was now.
Veronica felt her eyes getting heavy. Her limbs felt like lead as she began to drift between the living and dead. She saw her parents and the house in which she grew up. She watched herself in the lake that claimed her before the supernatural brought her back.
And then she saw Keres. He stood over her, his sinister grin wide as he prepared to consume her soul once and for all. Veronica grinned back, not because she was glad to see him, but because it seemed he hadn’t noticed she was all alone.
“It’s time to collect,” Keres growled.
“A deal’s a deal,” she answered.
Keres searched the room to make his declaration to the next soul, but soon his demeanor changed from victory to confusion. His proud gait turned into an angry stomp as he moved from corner to corner before returning to Veronica lying on the bed.
“What is this?” he yelled. “I’ll find whoever was here. I’ll claim them too.”
Veronica laughed deep in her chest, not unlike the demon’s guttural chuckle that haunted her for decades.
“There is no one else,” she whispered. “No family. No friends. Just you and me.”
Keres’ eyes widened in horror. Veronica assumed that he was simply angry that he’d only get one soul this day, but soon she realized his fear ran deeper.
In the far corner of the room, a door formed, one that wasn’t there before. Through that door a figure she didn’t recognize stalked through. As he approached, Veronica saw that it was another demon, but this one wasn’t as hideous as Keres. He was dressed like a gentleman and seemed clean and well groomed. The only way you’d know he was evil was from his yellow eyes and his too-long chin.
“You’ve failed, Keres,” the stranger began. “Twice. Two deals have gone uncollected now. You let a mere human outsmart you more than once.”
“No,” Keres stuttered. “NO!”
The new figure waved his hand and Keres erupted in flames. Veronica watched, stunned. While she enjoyed watching Keres go down, she was afraid of what this visitor would have in store for her. Was there a penalty for deceiving demons? Would he collect her to make good on the failed deals?
The well-dressed demon approached her bed, a serious expression in his eyes. He looked at her, letting his gaze run up and down her fragile body as she slowly died. Finally, he spoke.
“Impressive, Veronica,” he said. “Keres was one of my better employees, but you managed to dodge him twice. So here’s how this works. I can’t take your soul because I didn’t make the deal. Rules are rules, unfortunately. You are free of us, Veronica. Well played.”
And then he was gone as was the door he came through and any other sign that demons were once in her room.
Veronica closed her eyes and let sleep take her.