According to Jack

Jack and his friend got the fancy invitation card the same day. They considered themselves very lucky. You had to be someone to get an invitation to Summerton Villa. Although Jack and his friend hadn’t really thought of themselves as “someone,” they knew you didn’t ignore an invitation from there. The exclusive club was known to be haunted by some of the richest and most powerful people in town.

Jack and his friend Mike had a history of going to exotic parties and even whorehouses to get their kicks. They had used just about every drug, liquor and vice imaginable. He wondered who sent this invitation. It was for an afternoon meeting. There was no other information except to dress casually. Jack and his friend couldn’t resist.

When they arrived at the appointed time and place, they were each shown to a separate room. They were told to enter and each would have their separate instructions. Jack entered his room to find a table with two items on it, a chair and a wardrobe against a back wall.. The table held a thin book and a photograph in an envelope. The cover of the book had words printed on it that said,”Read This First.” He picked up the book, walked over to the chair and sat. When he opened the book, he began to read about the death of a young woman. The book told Jack to open the envelope with the photograph. When he did, he saw a beautiful young girl about twenty or more years old with long brown hair and wearing a black sleeveless gown. She looked vaguely familiar. He knew he’d seen her sometime in the last year, but couldn’t remember where.

The book went on to describe the death of the young woman. She’d been hit in the head with some kind of blunt object like a small club or stick. Since she’d been struck in a certain way on one part of her skull, her hands drew up like claws close to her chest as she died. He’d been given his invitation so that a certain person could ask him to tell what he knew about the girl and her untimely death. He shrugged, mentally, and read on. He was requested to change into formal attire, provided in his exact size, to meet the person face to face. The wardrobe at the back of the room held everything he would need to be properly attired for the meeting.

As he finished reading the book, he began to remember that this place was familiar, that he’d been here before. And he knew that this must have been the place he met the girl in the photograph. He often had long periods of blacking out when he went on his week-long drinking binges. But he usually ended up in houses of prostitution. Oh well, he thought. He’d better get dressed for the meeting.

He walked to the wardrobe and opened it to find a full formal suit and tie suitable for a black tie event. There was even a pair of hand-made black loafers that were so soft, he felt like he was wearing nothing at all on his feet. As he dressed, more memories returned and he slowly recalled that he had been here for sure. With his dressing complete, he picked up the hat and cane provided as the final touch. When he picked up the cane, he had a flashback. He remembered the girl now. She had been hit on the head from behind in a certain way that caused her hands to form claws in front of her body. He seemed to remember seeing her there and wondering who could have done such a thing to such a lovely woman. He had heard somewhere that to be killed in this way was called being “accorded.” As he remembered that, he realized that he must kill the person who had done that to her. The realization that he was able to kill, that he’d killed before, was returning to him. He wanted revenge for the death of the girl. He remembered her now and the time they’d spent together that day. Someone had accorded her, struck her from behind and killed her. Funny, he thought. That was such a odd word to use for a particular way of killing someone. Accorded. It seemed to stick out of place somehow.

As he had that thought, he knew he would enjoy killing the person who had killed the girl. He enjoyed killing people, he realized. Maybe he should do that as a job. Not many people could do that well. Jack knew that he’d found his true nature. As he made his plans, he heard someone coming down the hall for him. He picked up the cane and looked at the picture of the girl one last time.

Someone entered the room while he was looking at the picture once again, he had a sudden flash of recollection that it was he who had done that to the girl. Mortified, he examined the picture even closer. As he looked down at the picture, something struck him hard on the head just below and behind his right ear crunching a piece of his skull into the place where his spinal cord entered his brain. He fell to the ground slowly, his body starting to assume the position that happens when someone is accorded. Funny, he thought as he lay there dying. There didn’t seem to be any pain, just this funny spasm that was causing his hands to draw up into a claw-like pose.

As he fell to the ground, he turned over and saw the feet and legs of the person who did that to him. That sight made him realize that something was different, he wasn’t dying. Well, he thought, someone would pay dearly and with their life for that mistake. Somewhere in his past, he must have gotten a metal plate in his skull and that must have kept him from dying. That was his attempted killer’s mistake and he would pay dearly. He watched as the killer stooped down to make sure he was dead. Jack couldn’t move any part of his body, but his eyes were open and he could still see. Jack saw that the killer was his friend. The strange expression on his face, the look of fascination, of enjoyment, pleasure and excitement seemed out of place on his friend’s face. He put his fingers on Jack’s throat to feel for a pulse. He seemed satisfied that Jack was dead. Jack thought to himself that that was his biggest mistake.

As his friend Mike got up and walked away, Jack thought he would take his revenge on him as soon as the paralysis wore off and he was able to move again. He waited for a while, but he just got more and more tired. Damn, he thought, I mustn’t fall asleep now, now that I know who hit me. As he drifted away, he finally realized that he was dead and that his friend had become just like him.

According to Jack

Jim Hall

Fayetteville, United States

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Artist's Description

What comes around, goes around. How often have we heard that phrase? Sometimes, it’s true. JH

Artwork Comments

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