From that moment forward Aaron thought about nothing but his impending death and the appearance of the gentleman. He drank coffee constantly and vowed that he would not sleep. Experience told him that the end would come in less than three days. It would not be long.
By the second day he was jumping at shadows. Every sudden movement, every object glimpsed out of the corner of an eye made his heart skip a beat. That he would soon be killed again had taken a back seat to his need to know the wherefore and why behind his years of torment. He refused to let himself consider the notion that he might be denied an answer.
He put himself in a situation that might hasten the appointed hour. He parked in an underground garage and went back when he was sure that most everyone else would be gone.
As he walked back to the car in the dimly lit space he didn’t see or hear anything but he felt sure the time had come. As he put his key in the door he hear a click behind him and turned to see a shotgun pointed at his face. The gentleman was grinning.
His knees were shaking and he could hardly speak but he felt gratification as the shotgun slowly lowered.
“All these years, all these deaths. I just want to know why. Please.”
The gentleman cocked his head and regarded him for a moment.
“Frankly I’m surprised you haven’t worked it out yet. Very well then. You’re dead Aaron. You’ve been dead since the first time I killed you.”
He smiled at the look on Aaron’s face.
“But…I’m not dead, I’m standing here talking to you. I’ve lived so many lives since…”
He faltered and stared in disbelief as the gentleman shook his head.
“Do you really not know who I am?”
Aaron felt a chill. It came to him all at once. It was there in front of him the whole time but he must have suppressed it.
“Yes, I have many names. It matters not which one you use.”
“But why? Why did you choose me? That was a contract my blood dripped on. You tricked me!”
The gentleman threw his head back and laughed.
“It’s what I do, surely you know that. As to my choosing you, oh no my friend, I did not choose you. You came to me.”
“What do you mean?”
“You were living a life of indolence Aaron. You did nothing of consequence. You were unproductive. You gave nothing. You took everything.”
Aaron felt his knees giving out.
“And for that I am to go through eternity in this…this living hell?”
The irony of his description was not lost on him. The gentleman shrugged.
“You were the author of your fate Aaron.”
He reached up and tipped his hat once again.
“See you soon.”
Aaron’s brains covered a large section of the car and wall behind.