There was something peculiar about the way the man in the mask was looking at her. The fact that he was wearing a mask was okay. It was Halloween, and everyone in town had put on a costume for the big parade in the early evening and trick-or-treating later on. Some of the adults who marched had very ornate and original costumes. The children usually wore something simpler that was store bought. This man’s mask was neither. It was different. It was unsettling.
Jessie noticed him as she was coming out of Mel’s Pet Shop on Main Street. Her mother had asked her to pick up a bag of dog food for their beagle, Trixie, on the way home from school. She paid with the money that was left over from lunch, and now had the bag cradled in one arm with her book bag hanging from her opposite shoulder. She’d seen the blue van when she stepped out onto the sidewalk. It was the first thing that caught her eye. There was nothing unusual about the van. It was blue. It was a van. But it was parked across the street, tucked in an alley between two buildings, and she took notice of its size as it sat up on a higher suspension, looking down on the smaller sedans that passed it by. It was at that moment she saw the man in the mask, sitting in the passenger seat, staring at her, unmoving.
The mask itself was white with black eyes and a small black slit that she figured was the mouth. It looked like a twisted version of a skull. The simplicity of the design made it all the more creepy. There weren’t over-the-top fangs or rivers of fake blood or gross rubber eyes popping out like so many of the other masks that were supposed to scare you. This one looked like it could have been homemade, like someone took the time to make it as haunting as they could, not for shock value, but from their own debauched effort.
Jessie knew he was looking at her. He had to be. She was the only one on the street at the time. Without thinking, she pulled her skirt lower and fiddled with the top button on her blouse to make sure it was fastened. You never know. He could have been a pervert trying to catch a peek at something. When she was done, she waited and stared back to see if the man in the mask would turn away. He didn’t. Instead, he moved his head slowly, motioning for her to come closer.
No way. That wasn’t going to happen. She wasn’t some naive kid who didn’t know anything about the ways of the world. She was seventeen. She was street smart, and she’d been around long enough to know not to walk toward the creepy guy in the creepy mask parked in a shadowy alley where no one can see you. Fuck that. It was time to go. Maybe later she’d tell her friends about it. It’d be a cool story to spin on Halloween, but that would be the extent of it. This episode in her life was over. Exit stage left.
Jessie turned and began to walk down the street. After a few steps, she heard some kind of a muted thumping. She glanced over her shoulder and could see the man was jerking his head and slamming it against the side window. His shoulders and upper body remained perfectly still. Just his head moved, slamming into the glass, rocking the van with each impact. When she spun all the way around and looked at him, he stopped and immediately motioned for her to come over again. Jessie shook her head no and the man started hitting his head harder against the side window.
Mr. Tuttle walked out of the hardware store that was next to Mel’s Pet Shop holding a brown paper bag and a can of gasoline. Jessie saw him and waved him over.
“Thank God,” she said. “Saved by my English teacher. How very Nicholas Sparks of you.”
“Saved you from what?”
Mr. Tuttle was in his fifties, thin and athletic. He coached wrestling at the high school, and although his hair was gray and the wrinkles on his face were becoming more pronounced, he was by no means on the downside of life. He was wearing a denim dress shirt and his muscles bulged from the fabric. His sleeves were rolled up to his elbows and she could see a mat of dark hair covering his forearms. Sexy. He was one of her favorite teachers.
When he got close enough, Jessie pulled him by the arm and pointed at the van across the street. “See that van?”
“See the freak in the mask sitting in the passenger’s seat.”
“What about him?”
“He’s been staring at me ever since I left the pet store. He keeps motioning for me to come over, but that’s not gonna happen. Every time I try and walk away, he starts banging his head against the window. Like, hard. It’s really freaking me out.”
Mr. Tuttle looked across the street. The man in the mask had stopped banging his head and was looking at the two of them. “How long has he been there?” he asked.
“I don’t know. I noticed him when I walked out of Mel’s. Should we call the police or something?”
“I’m not sure that’s necessary just yet. Let’s see what’s what before we waste anyone’s time.”
Mr. Tuttle stepped into the road, and Jessie pulled him back. “Where are you going?”
“It’s probably just some kid pulling a Halloween stunt. You know of any boys that have crushes on you? That’s all this is. I don’t think we should be pulling police resources away from the parade on a silly joke. Come on, let’s check it out.”
Jessie let go of her teacher’s arm and backed away. “I’m not going near that van. If he’s crushing on me he can take off the mask and ask me out.”
Mr. Tuttle smiled. “You don’t have to worry. I’m right here. Let’s get to the bottom of this and you can be on your way with a clear conscious. No sense scaring yourself over what’s probably a very logical explanation. Come on. I’ll protect you.”
That last sentence was what got her moving. Her hero would protect her. It just sounded right. Jessie got her feet moving and the two of them crossed the street together. The man in the mask watched as they approached. Jessie allowed Mr. Tuttle to lead, but kept hold of his shirttail as she walked behind him. He approached the passenger’s door and pulled on it, but it was locked. Jessie peered from behind her teacher and could see that, despite Mr. Tuttle being right next to him, the man in the mask was staring only at her. A cold chill ran down her spine.
“Hello?” Mr. Tuttle cried, knocking on the window. “You okay in there? Can you hear me?”
The man didn’t move.
Mr. Tuttle turned toward Jessie. “Stay here. I’ll check the other doors to see if they’re unlocked. I’m not sure what this is.”
“I’m not staying here. I’m coming with you.”
“No, you’re not coming with me. I don’t know what’s behind this van in the alley and I need you safe. Stay here.”
Jessie fumbled with the bag of dog food and her book bag. “So maybe we should call the cops now that we’ve investigated. That seems like the most logical thing to do.”
Mr. Tuttle nodded. “Yeah, maybe. Let me just check the other doors first. If they’re all locked, we’ll call for help. Something’s not right. Stay here. I’ll be right back.”
Jessie watched her teacher disappear around the back of the van. As soon as he was gone, the man motioned for her to come closer. Again, it was just his head that moved. The rest of his body was motionless. From where she stood, Jessie could see the man was wearing a white dress shirt and a black suit jacket. There was dried blood on the front of his shirt and the part of his neck she could see.
“Mr. Tuttle,” Jessie said as she stepped closer toward the van. “I think I see blood. He might be hurt.”
As she got closer, the man’s head moved with more urgency. He continued to motion for her to come closer, closer. When she got to the window she could see why it was only his head that was moving. The man was chained to his seat. The thick steel chains secured his entire body, wrapping from shoulder to ankles, then bolted to the van’s floor. Behind him she could see another person, a woman. She had on a white tank top and was wearing a white baby lamb mask. She had been tied ankles-to-wrists by rope and was lying on the backseat, facedown.
“Oh my god,” Jessie whispered to herself. “Mr. Tuttle, get over here!”
The man in the mask looked at her, but said nothing.
“Are you okay?” she yelled toward him. “Answer me!”
Mr. Tuttle came running around from the back of the van. “What’s up?”
Jessie began jumping in place, pointing. “There’s another one in the backseat. They’re tied up and hurt. We need help!” She turned back to the man in the mask. “Are you hurt?”
Mr. Tuttle came closer and peered into the van. The bag he was carrying and the gasoline can were gone. “He’s not going to answer you,” he said. “He can’t. I cut out his tongue.”
Jessie froze for a moment, trying to process what she thought she’d just heard. She looked at her teacher and suddenly it wasn’t her teacher she was seeing. This man was dark, his eyes vacant of any life he’d had only moments before. He was calm as he walked toward her, smiling and shaking his head.
“Jessica Monroe. One of my most gifted students. One of those girls who you know will make something out of her life. So much potential. So much promise. Caught in a classic case of wrong-place-wrong-time.”
“What is going on?” Jessie asked.
Mr. Tuttle pointed at the man in the mask. “This is Skeleton Man. In the back there is Little Lamb. No need to know their real names or why they’re in my van. It’s not important. I’m sorry, I don’t have a mask for you.”
Jessie reached into her pocket and took her phone, backing away into the street. “I don’t know what you think you’re doing but I’m so out of here.”
Mr. Tuttle was quick. He allowed her to get to the edge of the alley, then crouched down and rushed forward, snapping the phone from her hand and grabbing a fistful of her hair at the same time. He dragged her back into the shadows and pushed a cloth into her face.
“Funny how life is full of these little instances, these little choices, that mean everything. If you would’ve come out of that pet store, turned left, and made your way home without ever noticing the van or the Skeleton Man here, you’d be enjoying our town parade and heading to Liam’s Halloween party later tonight. All your friends are going to be there. I heard them talking about it all day at school. I’m sure they’ll be wondering where you are. You could’ve turned left and went about your life, Jessie. Instead, you took notice of my van and my skeleton, and now you’re here with me.”
Jessie tried to fight her way free, but his grip was too strong. The cloth had something on it and she was suddenly growing woozy, her consciousness fading. All she could think of was the overwhelming aroma of rubbing alcohol.
“Relax,” Mr. Tuttle whispered in her ear. “This’ll be over in a second.”
The room spun and dipped as Jessie tried to focus. The shapes in front her were blurred visions of color, none of it sharp enough to tell her where she was or what was going on. Her head throbbed. She tried to sit up, but something was pulling her wrists down. There was a musty smell and the aroma of earth.
She shifted in her seat and wiggled upright just a bit, straining her eyes so she could see. The burry shapes began to take shape. She was underground. In a basement or storage facility of some kind. The concrete walls that surrounded her held no windows. Tree roots bled through the concrete, twisting and reaching out for her. A single bulb hung from the center of the room, casting long shadows into the darkness. She took a breath and realized she had been gagged with a rag that was wrapped around her head.
“Ah, you’re finally awake. I was beginning to fear I’d used too much chloroform.”
Jessie followed the voice and found Mr. Tuttle standing in the corner of the room. He was dressed in a black body suit that covered the top of his neck down to his feet. His hair had been died a deep and haunting black and slicked back so it glistened in the light. His face was painted white, his eyes and lips black. Seeing him so different was horrifying. She screamed and tried to push back in her chair, but the rag in her mouth made it nothing more than a muffled cry.
“Save you energy,” Mr. Tuttle said as he walked toward a mounted video camera that was set up on a tripod. “It’s going to be a long night.”
The Skeleton Man and Little Lamb were sitting next to her in the same kind of metal chairs, fastened with their hands cuffed at their sides and their feet tied to the floor just as she had been. Their masks were still on.
Mr. Tuttle fiddled with the camera, then reached into a bag that was on a table next it. He came away with a piece of blue fabric. “We didn’t have a mask for you,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting more than two participants tonight so I had to make do with what was around. I cut up an old shirt and poked some holes in it. That’s the best I could come up with.” He tied the fabric around Jessie’s head and stood back to get a better look. “Yup, that’s fine. You’ll be my Super Girl.”
Jessie couldn’t take her eyes off him, and as she stared, she started quietly working the rag that was in her mouth with her tongue and teeth. If she could get it under her bottom lip, she could call for help. She had no idea if there was anyone nearby who would hear her, but it was all she could think to do. The rag was tied so tight.
Mr. Tuttle turned on the camera and stood in the foreground in front of his three prisoners. “Happy Halloween to all of my followers,” he said. “I am the Scythe. I am Death’s tool. I am your tool.” In one motion, he slid to the side and made a grand gesture toward his three subjects. “These are my guests this evening. As promised, I will kill each of them for you, and you will choose how they die. One will be strangled with a rope. One will be shot in the head. And one will be lit on fire and burned alive.”
Jessie worked on the rag as hard and as fast as she could. She ripped a piece of the edge with her teeth and tried to move it with her tongue. Her jaw was aching. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Mr. Tuttle saunter over to the Skeleton Man.
“This is the Skeleton Man,” he said into the camera. “He is a menace to our society. He is a burden on our system. He doesn’t deserve to live in our world any longer. He is a bum, a homeless beggar who manipulates the giving with no intention of rehabilitation. He does not want a better life. He wants a handout. He wants something for nothing. He doesn’t want to work and regain his status in our world. He just wants to take, take, take. We must rid ourselves of this problem. The choice is yours. You have thirty seconds.”
The Skeleton Man began twisting in his seat, but couldn’t move more than a half-turn in either direction. Muffled noises came from under the mask. It sounded like he was crying. Jessie could see his hands turning white as he pulled against the cuffs that secured him to his seat. His wrists were bleeding from how hard he was pulling.
Mr. Tuttle walked over to the table and looked at his laptop that was sitting next to the bag. “It looks like the votes are in. The Skeleton Man will die of strangulation.”
Jessie watched Mr. Tuttle take a long piece of rope from his bag and walk back over to the man in the mask. She had the top of the rag completely in her teeth now and was pushing it out of her mouth with her tongue, little by little. If she could get it to her bottom lip she’d be able to call out for help.
Mr. Tuttle stood behind the Skeleton Man and threw the rope around his neck. He wrapped his hands around the ends twice for the proper grip, then positioned his right knee in the center of the Skeleton Man’s shoulders. He looked into the camera. “Per your wishes.”
The Skeleton Man tried to resist, but there was little he could do being fastened so securely to the chair. Mr. Tuttle pushed with his knee and pulled with his arms. Jessie could hear a gargled choking sound and thought she might throw up. Her vision blurred again, and she was certain she was slipping into shock. She pinched the skin on her finger to keep from passing out and fought off the urge to close her eyes and leave this dreadful place.
“Scientifically speaking,” Mr. Tuttle continued as he pulled and pushed. “Strangulation compresses the airway and interferes with the flow of blood in the neck. The harder you strangle someone, the tighter the airway compresses and death is quicker.” He pulled up and in on the rope. The Skeleton Man’s neck stretched as far as it could. “Consequently, you damage the larynx, and fracture the hyoid.”
He let go and the Skeleton Man’s head fell limp. It was over.
Jessie was hyperventilating. She could hear her heart beating in her ears. She worked and worked to get the edge of the rag past her teeth. Tears streamed down her face. She was so scared. Little Lamb was sobbing, her shoulders shaking, her head rocking back and forth.
Mr. Tuttle stepped closer to the camera. “Our Little Lamb is next. Your choices that remain are a shot to the head or being burned alive. Thirty seconds.”
Jessie got the rag to the edge of her mouth and pushed with her tongue. She maneuvered her chin out and down, and finally the rag slid toward her lower lip. She took a deep breath and realized she was free.
“This is real!” she screamed into the camera. “Someone help us! He’s really killing us! Call the police! Help!”
Mr. Tuttle jumped when Jessie started screaming. He rushed over and placed the rag back in her mouth, tying it even tighter around her head. “That’s why you were one of my most prized students,” he said. “So ambitious and so easily able to think on your feet. I love that about you. Here you are in the most stressful of situations and you have the mental capacity to work your gag free while death is happening all around you. That’s admirable.” He leaned in closer, whispering. “But your mistake was what you said in your one chance at freedom. You told the viewers that this was real and people were dying when you should have told them who I really am. That would’ve changed things. If my real name was out online, that might’ve saved you. But instead you told them this is real. Jessie, my dear, they know this is real. And those who aren’t sure, don’t care. You see, this is my social experiment. My theory is that people today are so desensitized to what they see through mediums of media that they’ll not only allow me to kill for them so they can watch something a bit different, but they’ll choose how the victim dies. As you can see, my theory is being proven. I haven’t lost any viewers after I killed the Skeleton Man. They want more. As you say, very 21st Century, no?”
Jessie started crying again. There was nothing else she could do.
Mr. Tuttle stood back up and turned to the camera. “My apologies for the interruption. I’ve given you more than your allotted thirty seconds. Let’s see what you’ve chosen.” He walked over to his laptop. “Ah, a shot to the head. Very nice.”
Little Lamb started screaming, but like the Skeleton Man, her voice was muted. She must’ve been gagged – or worse – under her mask as well.
Mr. Tuttle stood next to Little Lamb with the barrel of his gun pushed against the side of her head. “Little Lamb is a slut and a negative influence on our younger generations. She sells sex for money to feed her drug addiction. She ruins marriages and tempts men who would normally be faithful to their family. She has no regard for doing the right thing in life. Sex for money for drugs is her endless cycle that four trips to rehab and one overdose over the last six years could not cure. We are doing her a favor.”
This time Jessie watched her English teacher kill the masked woman next to her. She had to see it, although she didn’t know why. The shot exploded in the small confines of the basement. It was so loud. Little Lamb’s head jerked to the side, then simply blew apart, her blood and brain tissue bursting onto The Skeleton Man who sat motionless next to her. Smoke filled the room. Jessie finally turned away and closed her eyes. She knew what was coming.
“There is no thirty second allotment this time, friends,” Mr. Tuttle said as he turned from Little Lamb and focused his attention on his prize pupil. “By choosing the first two you’ve automatically chosen the third.” He walked back to the table and grabbed the can of gasoline he had bought from the hardware store. “This is Super Girl. She is smart, attractive, a pleasure to know, and an asset to this world. She would have grown up to do great things for our society. She had every chance to be a doctor or scientist or engineer. She comes from a loving family who are also positive contributors to our world. They raised a beautiful child. I had high hopes for her, but alas, she was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. And I can’t have that.”
The gasoline was cold as Mr. Tuttle poured it over Jessie’s head. The fumes immediately stole her breath as she struggled in her cuffs. She coughed and wheezed, hoping to just pass out. The gas stung her eyes and she squeezed them shut. All she could hear was her teacher’s voice.
“I am the Scythe. I am Death’s tool. I am your tool. Goodnight.”
A match struck.
Joseph Tuttle pulled up the collar of his coat to stave off the cool wind as he made his way along the river’s edge toward home. He walked in the shadows, careful not to be seen. He’d already made a grave enough error by parking the van in the alley across from the hardware store, thinking no one would notice. How could he have been so stupid? That error in judgment had cost an innocent girl her life. He wouldn’t allow himself to jeopardize things further by running into someone else he knew.
When the dust settled and the bodies were discovered in the abandoned factory in the woods near the old train tracks, it would be important for him to have a proper alibi. He’d made sure he was seen at the parade earlier that night and rushed home to hand out some candy so people could say they saw him there too. As the investigation moved on he didn’t think he’d ever emerge as a suspect, but one couldn’t be too careful when it came to getting away with murder.
After the show was over, Mr. Tuttle washed the makeup off his face, changed back into his regular clothes, and put on a baseball cap to hide his hair until he could get home and wash the black dye out of it. His webcast he been viewed live by over ten thousand people and his work would be passed on and on into the ether for as long as someone wanted to view it. It had been amazing. He was eternal now. It was his first time, and it had been everything he’d hoped it would be. A start of a new holiday tradition had been born. In time, they would make poems and stories from his work. He would become a childhood warning from parents trying to get their kids to behave: You better get your act together or the Scythe will come and get you. He smiled at the inevitably of it.
A thick mist had rolled off the river and covered most of Mr. Tuttle’s property in a hazy fog. He walked up from the water’s edge, through a small patch of woods, and through his side yard until he reached the porch in front. As he made his way onto the porch, the motion sensor lights came on, and he stopped. A set of black footprints had been left by bare feet. He could see the toes and the ball of the foot, the heel. He followed their path as they climbed the stairs to the porch, walked to the front door, and stopped. He looked around and could not see the footprints starting anywhere before the porch steps, nor did he see signs of the footprints turning and walking away. Strange. They weren’t made of mud. This substance was much darker. Black. He climbed the porch steps and made his way to the door, careful not to touch them. He fumbled for the keys in his pocket and unlocked the deadbolt. He opened the door and turned on the light in the foyer.
The footprints continued inside and down the hall.
Mr. Tuttle stood in the threshold, peering into the darkness. “Hello?” he called. “Anyone there?”
The house was silent.
He walked inside, dropped his keys in a bowl that was on a side table near the door, and turned on the next light. The corridor lit up. The footsteps remained, walking further into the house and disappearing at the landing of the stairs.
“Hello!” he called for a third time, louder. “Is anyone there?”
Again, not a sound.
“If this is some kind of Halloween prank, I’m not in the mood. Come out now and we don’t have to involve the police.”
The wind blew branches together and skipped fallen leaves across the lawn. Mr. Tuttle closed the front door and made his way to the stairs. He bent down and touched one of the prints. The substance on the floor was flaky, not thick and wet like he thought it might be. He stood up and rubbed his thumb and finger together. It was rough. He smelled it. It smelled like…
“Ash,” he whispered to himself.
The house mocked him in its silence. He stood and wiped his hands together until they were clean again. He walked carefully throughout the entire house, making his way into every room, first on the bottom floor, then up the stairs. He turned every light, looked in every corner under the bed. He opened closet doors, and searched both the basement and attic. He was alone. There was no doubt.
The grandfather clock in the dining room began to chime. It was late. Mr. Tuttle made his way into the kitchen and grabbed a broom from the pantry. He swept the ash as quickly as he could until all the prints on the inside of the house were in one pile in the center of the hallway. He took a vacuum from the coat closet and vacuumed the pile until there was nothing left.
When he was done with the inside, he started on the porch. He took the hose from the side of the house and washed away the footprints. It didn’t take long. Soon it looked as if it had when he’d left the house earlier that day. He tried not to think about who had left the ash or if it had been someone making him aware that they knew who he was or what had happened. He rolled up the hose, walked back inside, and shut the door, locking it behind him.
The shower was hot and steamed the bathroom almost instantly. Mr. Tuttle worked the black dye out of his hair and watched as it puddled at his feet and slipped down the drain. The water felt nice. It had been a long day. He raised his head to wash his face and closed his eyes. Just a prank. It had to have been some of his students teasing him on Halloween. They probably got the ash from the fire pit in his yard that he hadn’t cleaned out yet. The most logical scenario is usually the truth. Just a prank.
The soap was washed away, and Mr. Tuttle opened his eyes. His breath caught in his throat when he saw two black handprints on the outside of the shower door, melting away as the moist steam continued to increase the temperature in the room.
Oh my god…
From the corner of his eye, he saw something flash past the bathroom door, but he couldn’t make out any details. His hands fumbled for the faucets. He shut the water off and listened. There was only gurgling of the drain.
He opened the shower door and stuck his head out, but there was no noise and no movement.
“Who’s there?” he called. “I’m not fucking around now. Halloween is over. Come out here now!”
Mr. Tuttle grabbed his towel and wrapped it around his body. He climbed out of the shower and stepped through the fog toward the doorway. He opened the bathroom door all the way and looked out into the hall to make sure he was alone.
The ash footprints stretched from the bathroom, down the hall, and stopped at his bedroom. The bedroom door was shut.
“That’s enough!” he shouted, noticing his voice crack as he yelled. “I don’t know who’s here, but you better get the fuck out of my house or they’ll be hell to pay! You got me?”
No one answered. He leaned further outside the bathroom and looked down each end of the hallway. His fingers gripped the molding around the door until he finally let go and forced himself to walk to the bedroom. The house was silent. There was nothing to be heard except the water dripping from his body onto the hardwood floors. He stopped when he reached the closed bedroom door and wrapped his hand around the knob.
You can do this. This isn’t what you think it is. Open the door.
He closed his eyes.
Open the door, Joseph. You can do this.
“I’m coming in! You have to deal with me now!”
Mr. Tuttle took a quick breath, turned the knob, and threw himself into the bedroom. Only it wasn’t the bedroom. It was the basement of the abandoned factory. He was back in the basement.
“No. Now you deal with us.”
Mr. Tuttle looked up when he heard the voice. His eyes widened with horror as his heart began beating faster in his chest. Jessie was sitting in her chair, her skin charred and peeling off her body. Her eyes were open and so white against her burnt skin. She stared at him and smiled. He could see that her teeth were cracked, some gone from her mouth. Her gums were bleeding.
I’m going to scream. I’m going to scream and I’m not ever going to be able to stop. Help me! For God’s sake, help me!
Mr. Tuttle backed away and hit up against the stair railing. His house, his hallway, his life was gone. When he hit the railing, he looked behind him and saw the Skeleton Man walking down the stairs, the rope still hanging around his neck, Little Lamb’s brain matter still clinging to his suit jacket.
“Get away from me!”
Little Lamb emerged from the shadows behind Jessie. The left side of her mask was blown out, her blood staining her clothes. She walked toward him with her hands outstretched.
“We are Death’s tool now,” Jessie said. Her voice was deep and raspy now. The fire had burned through her vocal chords. “You’re not worthy.”
Mr. Tuttle began to cry. He was frozen in place, unable to move. They were coming closer, but his body refused to budge. “What’s happening?”
“When you lit the match to burn me, the gas ignited too quickly and exploded. Your body suit caught on fire and we all burned to death. You’re dead, Mr. Tuttle. Like us. And this time there are no choices on how you spend eternity. No one will text you and tell you what they want to see. We choose.”
Mr. Tuttle could feel the Skeleton Man wrap his hands around his throat. He watched as Little Lamb approached and began gouging at his eyes. Probing fingers worked inside his mouth, pulling and ripping at whatever they could grab onto. Through the pain and the fear, he could hear Jessie laughing such a terrible laugh, and it was this laughing that finally drove him mad. He would spend eternity being ripped apart, piece of agonizing piece. This was his punishment.
Death would not be kind.