CHAPTER ONE

The joyous atmosphere that once surrounded the Cornell estate was swept away. Now only a sombre chill filled the air. The family were sat in the foyer, now released from their bonds. Cilly was sat next to Emma, Linda took notice of this and wasn’t pleased. She felt insulted that her daughter would rather be grieving beside a stranger than her own mother. Walt was sat inside the master bedroom, across from Cornell who laid unconscious at his death bed. Hours went by as everyone waited for news of his health. Fortunately one of the many attendees of the wedding was a renowned surgeon. He along with the help of some paramedics rescued Cornell; they even managed to see to Maurice’s wounds.

Walt himself couldn’t help but feel responsible. He held the man and his family hostage, he purposefully scared them, while Louie maimed their staff. What hurt the most was how he disappointed Cilly. Instead of saving her father he nearly killed him. It seemed as Walt’s homecoming was more calamity than comeback. On a subconscious level this was what he feared; back in Hell he actually made something of himself. Earth was a different story, his first attempt was such a washout you wouldn’t blame him for wanting to stay downstairs. It seemed as if he was jinxed, destined to fail even.

While he sat there patiently awaiting Cornell to awake, he pondered on whether he should continue working amongst the living anymore. He came to the conclusion that he just wasn’t cut out for it. He was going to return to the fiery pits. He knew Emma wasn’t going to like it. He dreaded the thought of telling her. Perhaps he wouldn’t, perhaps he’d just slip into the night never to be seen again. Running away from a problem was always easier than facing it. He felt sick, to even think such a thing. She was all he had left, she deserved an explanation. Cilly on the other hand, there was no way he could face her; he just wasn’t strong enough.

Suddenly Cornell starred to stir. He opened his eyes to see Walt sitting in the shadows.

CORNELL
Is this Hell?

WALT
No. You’re still alive.

CORNELL
Heh, only a matter of time right?

Walt hanged his head.

WALT
David, I’m sorry. I didn’t want this to happen. I shouldn’t have pushed so hard. I should have respected your choice.

CORNELL
No. You shouldn’t have.

WALT
What?

CORNELL
Using a man’s daughter against him, you’re a real ruthless son of a bitch.

Walt could hear footsteps approaching.

CORNELL (CONT’D)
She’s a good kid. I never spent much time on her, because… she never needed it. I always knew she was gonna be okay. She doesn’t take after me or Linda, that’s why. I swear she must be somebody else’s.

WALT
She, urm… she’s stubborn. I think that comes from you.

Cornell managed to muster a smile. The door creaked open, and through it entered Cilly.

CILLY
Dad. You’re awake.

She gently closed the door behind her and glanced at Walt. He wasn’t sure whether she was pleased or displeased to see him. He assumed it was the later.

CILLY (CONT’D)
I heard Walt talking and I assumed you were up. How are you feeling?

CORNELL
I’m not sure. I don’t what to feel or what to think. I just know I… I wasn’t the best father to you.

CILLY
What are you talking about?

CORNELL
No, listen. Cecilia, it’s true. I can deny a lot of things but I can’t deny that. I thought the key to the right upbringing was wealth. I neglected all the other things, like picking you up from school, helping with your homework or remembering your birthday. I just feel like, one day you were a baby and the next you were a young woman. I missed everything in between.

He began rubbing his eyes. Cilly tearfully accepted his words.

CORNELL (CONT’D)
There’s just so much I want to say to you, things I should have told you long ago. But there’s just no more time.

CILLY
Dad.

CORNELL
I’m sorry.

CILLY
I know… I know.

Cilly grabbed a hold of her father, the two held each other closely as they sobbed. Walt knew what it meant to accept someone for all their faults, to love them relentlessly and to see them go. It’s a pain he wouldn’t wish on his worst enemy, and to see it happen to this girl chipped away at what humanity he had left.

CORNELL
I’m ready… I’m ready to break the deal.

WALT
You sure?

CORNELL
After everything you’ve done to change my mind, you want me to second guess myself?

WALT
I just want you to be certain. Breaking this deal means, losing everything. Your money, your possessions… your home.

Even Cilly was stunned to learn this.

CORNELL
What? Our home?

WALT
Everything you ever had or earned as Gregory Cornell has to go away. Even the name.

CORNELL
I might have some second thoughts.

CILLY
No, dad. We’ll manage. We don’t need any of this.

CORNELL
I know you don’t but what about your mother, she won’t be too happy to learn this.

CILLY
Don’t tell her. Do you still not understand, it’s either you burning in Hell forever or mom wearing sheep skin slippers. Don’t be an idiot.

Cornell felt a spark of pride over Cilly’s display of assertiveness.

CORNELL
You’re right.

He stroked Cilly’s cheek.

CORNELL (CONT’D)
I just need to say my peace with everyone, and then we’ll break the deal.

WALT
Dave, no more second thoughts. You’re sure?

CORNELL
To lose everything, yeah.

WALT
You won’t lose everything. No matter what you’ll still have Cilly, and I’m not the type of monster to kick a family out on to the streets. I’ll do what I can to help them.

CORNELL
Thank you.

Walt and Cilly left the room. They then went to break the news to the rest of the family. Walt instructed them to say their peace with Gregory one at a time. He wisely withheld the fact that soon they’d not only lose Gregory but everything else as well.

Louie was sat along side Emma, serving her drinks and using all his charm and wit to woo her. She was very clearly vexed with his company.

WALT
What’s going on here?

LOUIE
Beat it, Walt Disney. The lady’s taken.

EMMA
No I’m not. Is this all you do in Hell, just strike out repeatedly with women?

LOUIE
Striking out? I ain’t striking out. You were just about to bang me.

EMMA
What the fuck is with this guy?

WALT
Emma, how many times do I have to explain it to you. He’s the living embodiment of evil, what did you expect he’d be like?

EMMA
Taller? Darker? Handsome? Anything but this.

LOUIE
Hey, just be glad I ain’t red with goat legs.

Emma hit back the glass of whiskey and burped.

LOUIE (CONT’D)
What’s going on with that bitch who had the heart attack?

WALT
He wants his soul, so the deal’s gonna be broken.

LOUIE
Not bad, you did good kid.

WALT
Do you not remember this guy at all?

LOUIE
I can’t say for sure, I’ve made so many deals throughout history. Give me some time I might recall something.

WALT
Hey, Emma… I know you wanted to talk.

She shot out of her seat, grabbed Walt and made for the nearest exit. She couldn’t stand to be in Louie’s presence any longer. The two walked over to Cilly’s reading spot by the bird bath.

WALT (CONT’D)
Em, listen I’m really sorry about earlier.

EMMA
Don’t be. Louie told me everything. He has a rap sheet on everyone, I know I was just one of your charges.

WALT
It’s fucked up isn’t. The fact somebody can just condemn what we have. It’s not enough society has to tell us what we do is wrong, now there’s a higher power booing us. Why is it so wrong?

He touched her cheek.

WALT (CONT’D)
We’ve never hurt each other.

EMMA
You have hurt me, you just never realized it.

He was taken aback, he never thought he could break someone’s heart.

WALT
Emma, I’m sorry for whatever I’ve done.

EMMA
I know. But Walt, we’re practically brother and sister.

WALT
We’re half cousins.

EMMA
That doesn’t make it half a sin.

He pulled her closer.

WALT
They just don’t have a name for what we are.

She pushed him back.

EMMA
You’re in a good mood.

WALT
Cilly’s dad is gonna get his soul back. She’s gonna lose everything, but she’s a strong kid. I don’t know I just feel good about it all.

She smiled.

EMMA
Me too.

WALT
I was about to call it quits, and just run back to Hell.

EMMA
You always did give up to easily. One thing I always hated about you.

He hanged his head.

WALT
It’s crazy, isn’t it. That little girl has more balls than me.

EMMA
Don’t be so hard on yourself. She hasn’t had to learn the same way as you, and she isn’t a little girl.

WALT
I guess you’re right.

She fixed his collar.

EMMA
Do you want to do this job?

WALT
Yeah, I do.

EMMA
Can I ask why?

WALT
I believe in what Hell is. Humans can’t act without consequence. They can’t screw good people for their own agenda. Yet they do anyway. Why? Cause life turns a blind eye. It doesn’t have balance. It doesn’t have karma, and it certainly doesn’t have any justice. But in Hell, these people finally get what they deserve. And I love it. But if people that don’t belong there are trapped, then the system doesn’t work. And I can’t have that.

EMMA
So you’re sticking around?

WALT
Yeah, someone has to.

Emma was delighted to hear it, although she’d never let him know. She gave him a half smile. Of course he could see straight through it.

WALT (CONT’D)
But I’m gonna need an assistant. Has to be a gorgeous female, no way about it. She’s got to have killer legs, and strawberry blonde hair. You know anyone?

EMMA
I might. How’s the pay?

WALT
Six figures.

EMMA
Oh, I have the perfect person in mind.

Their little moment together was interrupted by a sobbing Cilly. She crashed into Emma’s arms. Walt’s heart sank, it meant only one thing.

CHAPTER TWO

On the first day guests arrived to attend the wedding of Vivian Cornell and Timothy Avery. A day later they returned for the wake of Gregory Cornell. Walt, Emma and Louie invited themselves, despite knowing they weren’t welcomed. But who was going to stop them. After their display at the wedding the Cornells were well and truly afraid of them and steered clear of their presence. The only reason Walt and Emma attended was because Cilly asked that they be there.

As they lowered the casket into the ground, Cilly stood beside Walt, Emma and Louie. Across from them was Linda, Vivian and Kirk. Linda was applaud by her daughter. In her mind she had drawn the line in the sand, she chose demons over her own family. When her husband died it wasn’t her arms Cecilia came crying to but Emma’s. She hated that she had now taken to calling herself Cilly. She felt it was a rejection of even her name, how long would it be before she dropped Cornell as well. Linda was further humiliated by her daughter and her friends when they restrained her like a disobedient dog. She came to the conclusion that if Cilly no longer wanted to be apart of the family then she was no longer welcomed.

During the wake as everyone mourned, Linda shut herself away in the study. AS Emma comforted Cilly, Walt and Louie kept to themselves by the open bar.

LOUIE
I remembered something about the deal. Someone to be exact.

WALT
Who?

LOUIE
The wife Linda, she was there when we made the deal.

WALT
Something isn’t right. His death was just a little too poorly timed. Look at how they rushed this funeral, what do you think someone would find if they examined the body?

Louie put his drink down.

LOUIE
Walt, you’ve been in Hell long enough to have a sense of who’s a scumbag and who ain’t. Me, I can take a look at a guy and tell you whether he’s a saint or a sinner, you know how?

WALT
Intuition?

LOUIE
That’s a part of it, but what really tips me off is the taste I get in my mouth. Sins have a particular flavour to guys like you and I.

WALT
I have noticed something off about my taste buds since I got back.

LOUIE
What’s the taste?

WALT
Penny, like I’m chewing on a penny or bronze.

LOUIE
That’s the taste I’m talking about.

WALT
Its disgusting.

LOUIE
Get used to it. Everybody’s gonna give off a little bit of that taste.

WALT
No wonder I’ve drinking so much, I can’t stand it.

LOUIE
Why don’t you try talking with Linda Cornell, see how delicious she is.

Walt could see it clearly know, Linda Cornell killed Gregory Cornell. It was the obvious answer; the reason why had to be even more apparent. Money. Cornell told her his decision and she acted exactly how Walt expected. Selfishly. He instantly felt responsible; he should have been stricter with the family. He wanted them to cherish their final moments with their father, how could he deny them a good bye. He was once denied a farewell, and it haunted him to this day. His hands began to burn with steam.

LOUIE (CONT’D)
Whoa, Walt you’re over heating.

WALT
Let’s go have a chat with Linda.

Linda was stood before the fire place in the study. Simply gazing into the fire. She thought to herself “I’ve lost both my husband and my daughter.” She felt as if life had been unjust with her; bringing Hell to her door was a cruel jest from God. She didn’t deserve any of this.

Walt and Louie entered the room. She glanced over her shoulder and sighed in frustration.

LINDA
Please, leave. I want to be alone right now.

Walt causally stepped towards Linda. She turned to face him. Louie took a seat and observed. The fire crackled as Linda simply glared at Walt.

LINDA (CONT’D)
What more do you want? You’ve ruined everything. You drove Gregory in to the grave and now you’ve turned Cilly against me. This was supposed to be a happy day, Vivian was supposed to be on her honeymoon. We were supposed to be a family!

Walt simply starred, as tears streamed down Linda’s cheeks.

LINDA (CONT’D)
Say something damn it!

WALT
It’s okay, I know you’ve been trough a lot.

He wrapped her in a hug. She was surprised to say the least.

WALT (CONT’D)
Ssshhhhh, easy now.

He stroked her hair as she wept.

WALT (CONT’D)
Don’t shut it away Linda. Let it out.

She embraced his clasp and wailed heavily. Perhaps it was the guilt nipping away at her conscious or the comfort of a stranger, but she felt easy about accepting her emotions.

LINDA
This has to be a dream. It can’t be happening.

WALT
No, Linda. You need to accept this. You need to accept what you’ve done.

LINDA
I haven’t done anything.

WALT
Yes you have.

Linda struggled to release herself from his grasp, but the heat of his body punished her every time she tried to push away.

LINDA
Let go of me!

WALT
Linda, stop fighting and just accept your sin.

The steam from Walt began to grow larger and his eyes began to spark like a furious flame. What was it that set fire to his gas? It was simple. It was the reminder of Annie. The scar she left him was what caught aflame. Louie marveled at Walt’s display of red hot anger. Linda’s skin began to turn red, she looked like a ripened tomatoe. If he persisted any longer she’d suffer from second degree burns.

LINDA
Please stop!

WALT
No, we’re making progress. Tell me Linda. Tell me, what you did to Gregory.

LINDA
I can’t. I can’t……..

She went limp, giving up the will to live. Walt released her gently. She slid to her knees. Choking on her tears.

LINDA (CONT’D)
He didn’t give me a choice… He was going to give away everything. Even our home… he was going to make us homeless just to save his own skin.

LOUIE
He gave up his soul for you, don’t you remember? The two of you were broke, virtually homeless on the streets. You had just been laid off from the corner store for stealing out the cash register. On top of it you just had a miscarriage, you felt kinda low so you tried to take your own life. It didn’t quite work out so well.

Linda collected herself and turned to Walt. She knew it was no use lying anymore, the truth had finally caught up.

LINDA
My parents told me not to marry him, David. But I did anyway, just to spite them. We were young, I never thought life would deal us such a lousy hand. For years we starved, neither of us could hold down a job. There was no hope of us ever getting a mortgage for a home; the debts we already had were too much. Then came the pregnancy. We could barely, look after ourselves let alone a child. But David he was over the moon, he always wanted to be a father. The idiot never had any notion of what it would really take. So I… I got rid of it, he thought I lost it by accident.

Louie jumped off the seat and stepped towards Linda.

LOUIE
He only thought what you told him.

She nodded.

LINDA
I couldn’t live with myself. That’s why I tried to… I’m not a monster. I do have a conscience. The guilt ate away at me every day. David he drank and gambled, like a fool. He thought Lady Luck would change everything. Then you came. Said you wanted to help us. All you wanted was a soul. David gave up his without a second thought.

WALT
How did he die?

LINDA
When he told me, he was going break the deal and what it meant… I was so afraid, so afraid of going back to being that woman, that filth… I just. I had to stop him, I pressed the pillow against his face. Couldn’t lose it all again.

Walt felt well and truly drained, he couldn’t hate Linda. As much as he wanted to. She was just a weak willed individual, and he’d seen his fair share of them. He himself used to be one. He walked out the room. He decided Linda’s punishment would have to wait for her in Hell.

The whole ordeal took Walt back to a time when he wasn’t too different from the Cornells. The moment he never wanted to return to. The night that broke him beyond measure.

After Annie’s return, her and Walt were determined to make the most of what time they had left. He retired from his life of crime, while he was poorer; he wasn’t in prison. Which made it a nice payoff. The two built some semblance of the life they always wanted for each other, even if it was several years later than what they expected.

Annie was staying over night in a hospital for a chemotherapy session. She was laying in the bed watching the T.V, beside her was Walt. He was searching online for wedding chapels. As she grew increasingly bored with the episode of Kitchen Nightmares she turned to Walt. She wanted to remember every single detail of his face. She had grown used to savoring every moment, but that still didn’t stop her from regretting her past. All those years she wasted, denying herself what she really wanted. She often thought how things would have been had she met Walt before Phillip. Would she still be here lying in this bed fighting cancer? Is that what fate was, an inevitable defeat. If so what would Walt’s fate be once she was gone. That was what worried her most. She wished she could leave him with more than just a crystal pendant.

WALT
How soon do you want to do this?

She wasn’t paying attention to what he was saying. She was too distracted with her worries over the future.

ANNIE
Huh?

WALT
The wedding? Annie, how soon do you think we can do it?

ANNIE
As soon as we get out of here.

She stroked his hair.

WALT
You sure?

ANNIE
Of course, we aren’t putting this off any longer.

WALT
Well you better pick somewhere then.

He handed her the laptop with a page of different local chapels. She raised her eye brow.

ANNIE
A church? You really think they’ll let us marry in one of these?

WALT
Yeah, why not?

ANNIE
If you think they’ll let us in then go ahead. But if they start throwing holy water at us, I’m saying I told you so.

He kissed her head.

WALT
How cute, you still think you’re right about everything.

ANNIE
I am. You know I am.

She smiled.

ANNIE (CONT’D)
I was right about you.

Walt felt as if he’d finally done something right. To him Annie was his destiny. And for the first time in twenty nine years he was an optimist.

A nurse entered and instructed Walt that visiting hours were over. He gathered his belongings.

WALT
Time for me to go.

ANNIE
Walt, there’s something I wanted to tell you tonight. It’s something important.

He huffed.

WALT
Don’t tell me you’re breaking up with me again.

She chuckled.

ANNIE
Not a chance. But, I need to tell you something, I’ve been keeping in for too long. It’s about why I left.

He wasn’t sure what she was getting at, nor was he sure whether he wanted to it. He didn’t want any doubts about marrying Annie, not that he could ever have any. Walt worshiped her. He just wanted the heavy stuff to come after the wedding.

WALT
Okay, tell me later.

She reluctantly agreed as he kissed her.

Annie solemnly watched him, and for some reason felt compelled to say “Goodbye” as opposed to her usually send off “See ya.” Walt picked up on this and corrected her.

WALT (CONT’D)
I ain’t saying goodbye, cause I’ll see you again.

His words comforted her, as he left waving at her along the window. Unfortunately for Walt that was the last time he saw Annie. When he arrived the next morning her room was empty, when the nurse broke the devastating news to him. He fell to his knees bawling in anger. He thought he had more time. He roared with all his might, he wanted his voice to reach anybody who would listen. It simply wasn’t fair, was God punishing him for all his misdeeds. If so why did Annie have to die. She never set out to wrong anyone. She was one of the good ones. Her only mistake was loving him.

For all intents and purposes Walt himself died on that day as well. He knew this, he became a meandering husk working at one bar, and then drinking at another one. When he did eventually die he was more relieved than upset.

CHAPTER THREE

Walt stepped outside to clear his head, where he saw Cilly alone in the Tennis court. He approached her, the two hadn’t really talked since her father died.

WALT (CONT’D)
Hey, you okay?

CILLY
I don’t know. I can’t even process how I feel, I don’t think my brain’s actually registered it.

Walt wanted to comfort her, but he felt he lost the right to do that when he failed Cornell.

CILLY (CONT’D)
It’s not your fault Walt. He just couldn’t last any longer. It’s funny, he was always on time for everything else, but saving his soul had to wait.

Walt contemplated whether he should tell Cilly the truth regarding Cornell’s death. It was bad enough having her father die and go to Hell, but to have her mother be the one that sent him there; was too much. Ignorance is bliss after all. He didn’t want these events to affect her the same way Annie’s death broke him. Was it even his place. He was a representative from the underworld; if not him then who else. While everyone patronized Cilly, he could at least be the one to respect her as an adult.

WALT
Cecilia, your father… he was killed.

Her head span.

CILLY
What?

WALT
It was your mother… Linda, she killed him when he told her he was going to break the deal.

CILLY
No… no!

She screamed.

CILLY (CONT’D)
NOOOOOO!!!!!!

Walt could do nothing but watch. It was probably the most helpless he felt in a long time. She continued to cry pounding her fists against the astro turf. He knelt beside her.

CILLY (CONT’D)
I can’t accept it. I can’t let this happen.

WALT
You got to. You can’t fight everything.

CILLY
Wouldn’t you? If Annie was down there, wouldn’t you do everything you could to save her?

He never even asked himself the question, he always assumed, hoped she was somewhere better. But what if she was there? Then there would be nothing that could stop him. He would not rest until she was free.

WALT
I would never stop.

CILLY
So I can’t either.

Louie and Emma stepped on to the Tennis court. Cilly jumped to her feet and pounced towards Louie.

CILLY (CONT’D)
You need to release my dad’s soul.

LOUIE
I ain’t got to do jack shit.

CILLY
You don’t even want his soul, you wanted to release him. Can’t you just do it now?

LOUIE
Kid, contracts from Hell are unbreakable with the exception of a loop hole; or another contract voiding the previous one.

CILLY
Then’s let make a new deal, my soul for my dad’s.

Emma wanted to slap Cilly for even suggesting such a thing. Walt’s heart nearly jumped out his chest.

EMMA
No! You’re not doing that!

CILLY
I can’t just leave him there to suffer!

LOUIE
I like your moxy kid, but I ain’t taking no more souls.

Walt was relieved to hear it. Cilly was so determined he didn’t think he could stop her if it came to that. He did pick up on the fact that Louie wasn’t in the market for souls any more, then what was he after?

WALT
Louie, you’re gonna make a deal with me.

LOUIE
Are you people deaf? I ain’t after nobody’s soul anymore! And I already own yours, you idiot.

WALT
Yeah, but you don’t own my shoes.

Louie’s ear perked. He knew the man had a desire to see a soul crushed beyond hope, striped of his pride and worse even his shoes. Louie even stated he’d relish the conquest over Walt.

LOUIE
Okay, name your game. Poker? 21? Black Jack? How about Chess? Hell I’ll even play you at god damn Pokemon cards if I need to.

WALT
I’ve got a special game in mind. One that luck plays no part of, a game of pure skill.

LOUIE
Then what is it?!

WALT
Emma! Get me Connect Four!

The Devil and the human soul of Walter Scott were set to do battle in a game of strategy, with armies of red and yellow soldiers.

LOUIE
These poker chips?

WALT
No, they’re the pieces to the game. Do I have to explain this to you?

CILLY
Walt are you sure you want to play for my father’s soul over a game of Connect Four?

WALT
Trust me Cilly, the ball’s in my court. Louie is a guy who has breakfast, lunch and dinner in casinos. He knows every trick in the book. If I were to play him at any other conventional game; say Go Fish, I’d surely lose. But look at him, he’s clueless.

EMMA
Yeah, but Walt… you’re terrible at Connect Four. I always used to beat you.

WALT
Well, at least we’re both as bad as each other.

CILLY
So the odds are 50/50. I’d take that over what they were before.

Walt stepped towards the board, stood across from him; was the Devil.

WALT
You ready bitch?

LOUIE
It’s time for you to eat shit.

I wish I could write this in an epic fashion, but honestly I don’t know how to describe it any better than; Walt placed a yellow piece and then Louie placed a red piece. It wasn’t even exciting to the spectators there. Emma began tweeting at one point, while Cilly was more frustrated than anything. Walt had missed several opportunities to win the game; he was simply too dense to realize what he had set up. Louie was no better, he even forgot which color was his at one point. Neither of them were quick thinkers, instead opting to second guess every single play they were about to make. Their decision making process alone could take up to ten minuets. Cilly was almost at the point of rooting for whoever so long as they ended this game.

LOUIE (CONT’D)
What the fuck is going on here?! I can’t make sense of shit?!

WALT
Wait, look here. You can put a piece there, it’ll give you three.

LOUIE
Oh, thanks.

EMMA
Walter! Are you helping him?!

Fortunately, for Walt Lady Luck did play are a part in this game. The two used so much of the board to the point, where the only spaces available fell in Walt’s favor.

LOUIE
Shit. I guess you win.

WALT
YES!

Emma and Cilly jumped into the air screaming; mostly over the fact the game was finally over. Louie conjured a contract.

LOUIE
Here you go, it can now be broken.

Walt took the parchment and handed it over to Cilly.

WALT
Shred it.

CILLY
So all I do is tear this up and my father’s free?

LOUIE
That’s right doll, you have my word he’s out of there.

WALT
I’ll go personally escort him out. Louie can have a pretty lousy memory.

LOUIE
Fine, be that way. Walt, I hope you realize you got lucky this time. I ain’t the type of guy to make the same bet twice.

WALT
You don’t want my shoes anymore?

LOUIE
Nah, I don’t think it’s gonna be so easy to break you. You ain’t the type of guy I thought you were, not anymore.

Louie threw the Connect Four board onto the floor and began stomping away, before finally leaving. Walt was relieved. He watched as Cilly finally tore the contract into pieces. As the pieces slowly fell to the floor, he felt a wave rumble inside him. He was heating up again. Cilly laughed as she threw the shredded parchment at Emma.

WALT
You got anything you want me to tell your dad?

CILLY
Tell him… thank you.

WALT
Thank you is that it? No, I love you or there’s always money in the banana stand?

CILLY
He knows I love him, what he doesn’t know is how much I appreciated everything he did.

EMMA
It’s true, we never really say thank you to those were closest to. Especially if we owe them a lot.

Walt smirked, he found the whole concept corny.

WALT
Okay, Brady Bunch.

CILLY
Walt, wait.

Cilly ran over to Walt and kissed him on the cheek.

CILLY (CONT’D)
I think Annie would be proud.

The swell of emotions set fire to Walt’s body, as he touched the cheek were Cilly kissed him; his legs turned to burning embers. A mild wind helped sweep more of the glowing flakes away, it was almost beautiful to watch as Walt burnt out like the smoldering coals of a fire.

EMMA
Walt?

WALT
It’s okay, I’ll see you guys soon.

EMMA
You better.

He burst into a shower of fiery flakes dancing in the wind. Emma felt bittersweet, she was happy to see her cousin again; even though it was only for a few days. She held him to his word and knew he’d return.

CHAPTER FOUR

Cornell stood under the glass dome of one of the many airport terminals in purgatory. He marvelled at the number of planes in transit. The stars danced high above, they seemed much closer here than what they did on Earth. Walt was a couple of paces behind him alongside Daryl.

WALT
Thanks for the flight Daryl.

DARYL
No problem. You know he’s the first to leave Hell in a long time.

WALT
I can’t decide if that’s a good or bad thing. Still either way, I can’t stand the idea of someone being there when they aren’t supposed to.

Walt approached Cornell, who was still in awe of the vision above.

WALT (CONT’D)
You know you’re gonna hurt your neck if you keep looking up like that.

CORNELL
It’s incredible, the stars are so much closer. Where are we? Like is this another planet?

WALT
No. It’s a different dimension.

CORNELL
A separate dimension?

WALT
Here’s your ticket.

Walt handed Cornell a silver ticket.

CORNELL
Ticket to where?

WALT
The afterlife, Heaven or whatever you want to call it.

CORNELL
This isn’t it?

WALT
No, this. This is purgatory I guess.

CORNELL
After what I’ve seen, it’s Heaven. Thanks for getting me out of there.

WALT
Don’t thank me. Thank Cilly.

Cornell smiled.

CORNELL
I don’t know what I did to deserve someone like that looking out for me.

WALT
Neither do I. Also she wanted to say thank you.

A tear climbed it’s way out of Cornell’s eye.

CORNELL
I’m really going to miss that girl.

WALT
Come on man, I’ve had enough of people crying.

Cornell wiped his eyes.

CORNELL
Sorry.

WALT
It’s okay.

CORNELL
Can I ask about Linda?

WALT
I’m not gonna do anything to her, can’t say she won’t be taking your place down stairs though.

CORNELL
I don’t blame her, you know. After everything we’d been through, she would have fought tooth and nail to keep it.

WALT
It doesn’t matter what life deals you, it’s about the play you make with the hand your given.

CORNELL
Like any game someone has to loose right?

Walt straightened his shoulders and shrugged.

WALT
It’s been a real experience Dave, and no offense but I hope I never see you again.

Cornell chuckled, he couldn’t agree more.

CORNELL
Can I ask one more thing of you?

WALT
You’re pushing it.

CORNELL
It’s Cecilia, please look out for her.

WALT
Sure, but she probably doesn’t need it you know.

CORNELL
Yeah, I know but I wont be around anymore… And I’d like someone I trust watching out for her.

Walt nodded.

CORNELL (CONT’D)
Thank you.

Cornell extended his hand, Walt shook it.

CORNELL (CONT’D)
I mean it, Thank you. What you did for me, I have no words.

Cornell then walked through the terminal gate and beyond to parts unknown.

Walt returned to Hell. That night he sat at the Casino bar once again, sipping on whiskey sours alone in thought. He held his pendant out and warmly gazed at it. Louie entered the casino floor, and spotted him straight away.

LOUIE
Heyooo!

WALT
Hey, what are you doing bitch?

LOUIE
Came to do some business meetings and have a little drink.

WALT
We don’t do little drinks.

He handed Louie a tumbler glass of scotch served neat.

LOUIE
Nice.

Louie gulped it down, Walt reciprocated with his own drink.

LOUIE (CONT’D)
I asked around about how you died?

WALT
Well, what did you find out?

LOUIE
Nothing.

WALT
What?

LOUIE
Sorry, I asked everyone. No one knows how you got here.

Walt was disappointed, but he never got his hopes up to begin with.

LOUIE (CONT’D)
Also, I got to ask. I know you’ve been asking around about a name. Annie Olsen.

Walt poured himself a glass of rum.

WALT
She was… She’s important to me.

Louie chose not to press any further, he knew if Walt hadn’t spoken of her before then she clearly wasn’t on topic.

LOUIE
I can tell. Anyway, I searched the database for you. Don’t worry kid, she ain’t here.

WALT
That’s what I thought.

He sighed.

WALT (CONT’D)
You know, part of me is actually kinda disappointed. At least if she was here I’d still get to see her.

He knocked back the rum angrily.

WALT (CONT’D)
What’s wrong with me?

Louie stood up.

LOUIE
Did you know there are more souls down here than there are upstairs. There’s nothing wrong with you kid. You’re the same as the rest of us.

Louie said his piece and went down the escalators. Walt returned to his pendant. It wasn’t just a memory of Annie. It was Hope. It gave him the resolve to see a future; one where he’d escape Hell and see her again. As he smiled at the brilliant crystal, he remembered what Cilly had said about gratitude.

WALT
Thank you, Annie.