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Redemption - Dr. Samuel Moore

"Mr. Hughes, in the event of your sudden passing, do you have your final arrangements in order?” 

The voice was calm and disembodied, coming from the shadow that enveloped the greater part of the room. There was a certain arrogant tone in the voice, tinged with boredom. It was the voice of a man who had done this type of thing many times before.  

At the center of the room, Hughes sat dressed in a gray suit, the kind an ostentatious banker would wear. He shivered in fear from the mysterious voice veiled by darkness. He was too terrified to even form a coherent thought, let alone answer the question.  

The voice continued. “Do you read your Bible often, Mr. Hughes? Remember what it says, I believe in the book of Matthew, about how none of us know when we shall die.” 

Hughes finally found his tongue and yelled out, with shaking in his voice, “Why am I here? Why are you doing this to me?”  

He struggled against the grip of his restraints, wincing as they pulled against the bruises on his arms. Matching bruises shined on his face, and hair was plastered to his forehead with sweat. “Great question, Mr. Hughes. Let’s cut to the chase. Do you know a man by the name of Eduardo Berlusconi?” 

            “Yes, I do,” Hughes said quickly. “He’s dead, for a few years now. What does that have to do with this? With me?”  

Silence hung in the air. Hughes heard approaching footsteps as his captor moved into the light. He looked severe at first sight but was softened by his curly brown hair and dignified by a tailored black suit. His pristinely polished black shoes shined in the light. Despite his impassive expression, his steps were methodical, hinting at a violent side. 

The captor, Dr. Moore, shook his head, “How we so quickly forget the dirt we do to people. You’re correct, Mr. Berlusconi left us for a better place.”  

He circled Hughes and recalled, “I was fortunate to prepare Mr. Berlusconi’s remains. That was some of my best work, I must say. Would you agree, Virgil?”  

Suddenly, a large muscular man stood up from behind a piece of dust-ridden equipment. Hughes recoiled in fear. 

“Yes, Dr. Moore, it was fine work.” He said in a calm deep voice as if he hadn’t just risen like a vampire from its coffin.  

“Thank you, Virgil,” Dr. Moore said. He faced Hughes. “Let me introduce you to my trusted friend Virgil. He’s an employee of mine and you’ll find it interesting that he’s also the great nephew of Mr. Berlusconi.”   

Dr. Moore paused, watching Hughes’s eyes go wide. “The family trusted me in choosing one of his favorite finely tailored suits that matched his casket.

He would have been pleased. What a fine service as well.” He reminisced as he strolled around the room. 

            As Dr. Moore passed Virgil, the long-bearded man stretched to his full height, cracked his neck, and stared down Hughes. 

Dr. Moore stopped in front of Hughes as he struggled against his restraints. “Mr. Hughes, I was hired by Mr. Berlusconi’s widow, and she asked me to deliver this message to you.” Dr. Moore reached into his breast pocket and pulled out a white envelope. 

“I didn’t do anything wrong!” Hughes blurted out.  

“I didn’t mention you did anything wrong. Is your conscience speaking, Mr. Hughes?”  

Hughes remained silent, eyes glued on the letter. 

“Let’s move forward, shall we?” Dr. Moore said, spiraling towards the latter end of the space. He swiftly opened the envelope and cleared his throat. 

“Mr. Hughes, 

I’m sure you’re securely in the hands of Doctor Moore. You’re in this position because you conned a lot of money from my beloved Eduardo. It didn’t stop there; you also swindled my son from his inheritance. He has a wife and three kids. Now the family business has closed, and those bad investments you set my late husband up with went belly up. However, unlike us, you made a fortune from those bad investments. My good friends did some research to find that most people who deal with you have lost their money. Mr. Hughes, I’m not as nice as my late husband or children. I’m an old Sicilian woman with tradition to uphold. Had this been 30 years ago, I would’ve taken care of you myself. You’re wrong for what you have done to my family and many other innocent people. Doctor Moore has assured me he will take care of you. I promise to attend your funeral and curse your remains. Enjoy the last moments of your life.” 

Dr. Moore, feeling utterly fulfilled, folded the letter back up, placed it into the envelope, and into his breast pocket. He turned to Mr. Hughes with a fierce look, saying, “Mr. Hughes, I see you made a real enemy of her.” He laughed as he looked over at Virgil with a smile. The colossal man’s expressions were mostly shrouded by his large beard, except for his eyes that crinkled at Dr. Moore’s smile.  

Dr. Moore continued, “Mrs. Berlusconi’s such a lovely old woman with a mean streak. I’ve heard stories about her days in Sicily that made me cringe. I'm a mortician, so you know they had to get pretty gruesome.” 

Dr. Moore tilted his head to the side as he surveyed Hughes. “Do you know how I found myself in this profession?” Hughes stared at the floor. “Desperation, Mr. Hughes. Desperation can be a powerful tool in creating one’s destiny, but for your situation Mr. Hughes, it was never about desperation, was it? Just the insatiable greed that has eaten away at your virtues.”  

Hughes met Dr. Moore’s vehement gaze. 

“Are you going to kill me?” Hughes asked.  

“To give you a terse response, yes. Today, your soul is going to be carted away by the grim reaper.” 

Suddenly, Virgil grabbed a hand full of Mr. Hughes’s hair and pulled his head back to expose his pale neck. With his other hand, Virgil revealed a brown-handled straight razor in front of Mr. Hughes’s face.  

“Mr. Hughes, you must always watch your surroundings.” Dr. Moore said in a disciplinary tone. He shook his head and said, “The straight razor before you belongs to Mrs. Berlusconi. When she handed it to me, I could feel the lives it has taken. She said to use it for her one last time.” 

“Please don’t do this to me! Help!” he yelled.  

Dr. Moore taunted, “No need to yell. No one can hear you.” He smirked and continued, “I hope your family will be using Samuel Moore Funeral Home. If so, I assure your family will be comforted in this time of sadness.” 

Hughes panicked as Dr. Moore exited, and Virgil brought the razor to his neck. His screams echoed from the room until Hughes was abruptly cut off and embraced by a final silence. 

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