A covenant sealed by mortal blood
Stands unbroken, 'til breached,
An abrupt end comes,
The gift must be returned,
Aye, the mortal must pay with a life.
These words rolled out with a flash of lightning followed by a loud clap of thunder in the sky, making the inhabitants of the earth wonder whether the sound signaled rain or something ominous.
The majestic, ancient clock undulating solemnly within the mist of clouds in the sky shimmer as the minute hand struck 12, signaling the end of a mortal's blood contract with the Deity.
A winged Collector came forward before a big throne, took a bow before the Deity and upon receiving an unseen affirmation, covered himself with his powerful wings, fell backwards like he had no care in the world and dived down through the clouds unto the earth.
Benjamin gripped the phone tightly in his hand, anger written all over his face, a vein that ran from his temple down to his jaw ticked fast like it would bust soon. He gritted his teeth, "what do you take me for, Desmond? I will take nothing less than $1.2million for that painting. It's an original and I spent a week of sleepless nights on it. You are my agent, man. Earn your pay!"
With that, he banged the phone on its handle. His secretary peeped from behind her desk, wondering what had made her boss such an angry, mean, conceited man.
Benjamin stood, walked to his mini bar and poured a finger of scotch into a glass, took a sip and stared at his first watercolor painting gracing his office wall. Painting of a rare bird.
He had a flashback to that day he approached Mister Artist with the only copy of the painting, confident that his painting would be accepted after working on it for more than two weeks. His painting was flat out rejected as amateur work. It hurt so much he almost took his life that night.
He walked to the Winston Bridge at about 11.45 pm that night, ready to climb on the rails and end it all when Isol walked by. "Wow, Bengy! Is that you?"
Benjamin turned, took a look at Isol and knew the meeting was a turn of fate. He had to make good use of the situation. "C'mon man! It's been a long while. Went by your old tent. Jack said you stopped coming around. What happened man? It's been what? Five years now?" Isol rambled on.
Isol was a half-caste, his father was human who had a one-night with a celestial being. After five months, a winged celestial dropped Isol off and his father brought him up in indigence. Isol was familiar with every nook and cranny of the town. It's been rumored that whoever wanted access to the Deity could contact any half-caste. Isol was the connection for the low income people.
"Isol, you gotta help me. Take me to the Deity." Benjamin asked desperately, the plan of suicide forgotten.
"What?! Do you know what you are asking? It's no joking matter, man."
"I know what I ask. I'm ready to pay the price". At that declaration, Isol stared long and hard at Bengy who held Isol's gaze to show his seriousness.
Isol took Bengy outskirts town close to the mountains, in the middle of the night. It was a fearsome meeting. The winds blew strongly that night, stirring up dirt and dust as they drew close to the mountain top.
Unexpectedly, an eight foot tall celestial being dressed in white robe with large wings spread out in flight dropped from the sky in a twinkle of an eye, to stand beside Benjamin. Isol ran and hid behind a tall shrub about twenty feet away.
Benjamin could not believe his eyes. His heart almost gave out at the magnificent sight before him. The Being's eyes glowed, irises were as clear and colorless as window glass. He stared down at Benjamin who appeared like a tiny person before him.
"Mortal, what deal do you seek to make with the One? I stand as a Representative. One request is all you get which must be sealed with your blood. If you fail to uphold your part, I will come to collect your soul."
"One deal is all I need!" Benjamin screamed hoping the Representative could hear him up there. "I want to be the best painter the world has ever known."
The winds stopped abruptly. The Representative shut his eyes. Benjamin's mouth became dry, out of fear, wondering if he had made a mistake or said the wrong thing that could likely get him killed. It would be a relief anyway.
The Representative's eyes opened at once and glowed more, and the winds started to blow again when he responded, "You must help the one artist who reminds you of you. Should you fail, this covenant ends. Your desire is granted, mortal."
At the last word, the Representative rose slowly into the sky, spread out his wings in mid-air, glided to the right a little and shot upwards into the clouds like a light. Benjamin watched in awe.
This was seven years ago. Since then, Benjamin became a household name in that town. He never knew poverty again. Only the rich could afford his painting. As Benjamin grew in popularity, Mister Artist lost his reputation in an unexplainable way and left town for good.
Benjamin was still nursing his drink, when a strong wind blew, shattering the window glasses into tiniest pieces. He quickly took cover behind the sofa in his office. His secretary screamed and hid under her desk. When the shattering noise stopped, Benjamin peeped.
In the center of his office stood, a celestial being just like the Representative. Benjamin could not stop shaking from fear. Something must be wrong for this Being to be here. As the Being collapsed his wings, he turned towards Benjamin and his eyes began to glow.
"Mortal. I am a Collector. You have breached your contract. You have failed to uphold your part. I have come to collect."
Benjamin's eyes grew twice their size as he rose slowly from behind the sofa, shaking. "No, no, no. I have not. I-I…"
"Mortal, you forgot from whence you came and became captivated with money and fame. Remember that young, upcoming artist who sought you out at your celebration dinner with the Mayor two years ago?"
Then Benjamin remembered.
"You turned him down, forgetting you were once like him. You let money, pride and fame cloud your sympathy. You have failed. I have come to collect."
"No, no,... Please… I-I… you do not understand…"
"You have a solar day to put your affairs in order. I will come for you."
At that solemn declaration, the collector dematerialized and vanished. Benjamin could not move. He stood still, in shock, with his mouth opened.