He was absentmindedly reading through a newspaper, trying to avoid all the articles about murder and death. The front page was emblazoned with a photo of a woman crying out next to a body bag with the headline “When Will the Murders End?” Another article was titled “Fire the Chief of Police.” Another showed a ghastly charcoal drawing of The Wretched Man with the label “What is the Wretched Man?” Isaac glanced at the charcoal sketch of the Wretched Man, it was surprisingly accurate to what he had seen in his past. The drawing was world renowned and had been sketched in the mid-1800’s. The face was obscured in shadow, of course. Because no one who’d seen his face had lived to tell about it. No one except Isaac.
Isaac took a long hard look at the sketch and then placed it on the small replacement table he’d bought. He pushed away from the table and walked over to the living room. After rummaging through a cabinet, he came back with Emily’s sketch book and a pencil. He closed his eyes and thought about that night as a child, when the Wretched Man latched onto him. He opened his eyes and began drawing the face. He started with the eyes, or what could be considered eyes, just those hollow, mangled, sockets… The dining room chilled over as Isaac sketched the face of The Devil. He turned to the mouth, that gaping maw, so large it could swallow the world. That jerky skin and ashen color.
The rot and stench permeated off the paper and the air reeked of sulfur. The monster came alive in the paper and Isaac sketched furiously, unable to stop. His shoulders sagged as his hand took on a life of its own. A piercing scream filled his ears and his vision started to cave in.
“STOP!” He gasped. He flung the pencil away from him and took a deep breath. Isaac wiped the sweat from his eyes and stared at the paper in terror. His heart skipped a beat and he exhaled.
“Thank God… I didn’t finish it.” The sketch was only half complete, just the eyes and mouth had been drawn. Isaac backed away from the sketch, trying to escape from the hateful aura that was pouring out from that face. He ran to the kitchen and grabbed a lighter. He grasped the sketch and held it to the flame. The flame did nothing. Isaac stared incredulously at the sketch. The Wretched Man stared back. Isaac grabbed the paper with both hands and tried to rip it to shreds, but he may as well have been ripping at solid steel.
“Jesus Christ…” Isaac gasped. The paper shivered in his hand.
The fireplace flickered out of the corner of his eye and without hesitation Isaac tossed the paper onto the flames. He turned away and refused to look at the results. He stumbled back to his breakfast and sat down heavily, putting his face in his hands.
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