I Am Become- Mitchell Shellman ’16

“Pull the switch.”

“This isn’t right,” someone mutters from behind, safe in the shadows. Everyone is facing a window dividing the rooms with two men on the other side, one sitting and the other standing by his side, both facing the audience.

“I said to pull the switch,” growled the large man, muscles clenching.

“Ahem, Inspector, I think you may need to press the intercom button.” Face flushing red, the man turned to look at the slight woman, a splash of color in the darkness.

“Of course, thank you, Iris.” Nobody dared to laugh. The room was silent as a morgue, despite the number of people packed onto the two rows of benches. The large man rose, strode to the wall, the ground trembling beneath him, his rage resonating through the benches. A finger jabs the intercom and static fills the air, the electric buzz unnerving everyone in the room. “Officer Zed, pull the switch.” Through the window, the man standing next to the chair salutes, pivots on his foot and moves to the wall. Everyone stiffens, the moment approaching rapidly.

The man in the chair finally stirs, lazily looking through the window, “What, no final words?” A sneer cuts across his face. “I see my lesson in Justice didn’t take. Typical, really.” Zed stands to the side, unsure of what to do. This wasn’t protocol. Everything was wrong with this case. “Didn’t you ever think it a little too convenient that you caught me in Olympia?”


“Inspector Don, something’s not right. Why stop now? We weren’t even close – he played all of us.”

“It doesn’t matter. We caught him, Zed. It’s over.” Stepping past the police cordon the Inspector crossed into the room. A woman slumped against the wall, legs splayed out, palms upright on her thighs. Don knew what had been in each – a silver coin with an owl and a gold coin with a helm; both had a set of scales on the other side. A handkerchief covered her face. Each side of the handkerchief had an upright red crescent with a jagged bottom.

“Took her eyes out. No name on this one. Not like the others. Said he would only tell you. He’s in the living room.” They crossed into the next room. He was sitting there, a pair of cuffs around his wrists and a restraint around his ankles. He wasn’t going anywhere – five guns were locked on him.

With a snarl, Inspector Don rushed across the room, smashing the man’s face in, pouring out weeks’ of frustration and impotence. Not one gun moved. Finally, “Don, come on, let’s take him in.”

“We finally got you, you sick son of a bitch.”

Through the blood, “I see why they call you the Earth-Shaker.” Pulled to his feet. Thrown into the back of a transport vehicle. “Dike – Justice. That’s who she was. Justice.”


The same man now sat in front of Inspector Don, bruises faded and eye swollen shut. They didn’t have a name, so the jumpsuit had the name he’d left at each site – Hades. Some sick joke.

“You know,” he went on, “Hades was the only god not allowed on Olympus. For this crime, I must be punished, I admit.”
“What about the lives you took?” A vein in Inspector Don’s forehead threatened to burst. “They were innocent!”

“Innocent? Oh no, all the gods are guilty. I would never kill a human; they’ll all come to me eventually. Why should I speed along the process? But, excuse me, I must return to my kingdom and see to the punishment of a few new souls.” He winked his one eye and leaned back, serene.

“Zed, I said pull the damn switch!” The officer jumped, looked through the window for some support. No one made eye contact. Again, from the shadows, “This isn’t right.”

Officer Zed pulled the switch, lightning jumping across Hades’ body. In Don’s eyes, this was justice – not that woman, not the others, nothing that had happened these past five weeks was just. Until now. Lightning danced in Don’s eyes as the body thrashed in front of him. Under his breath, “Send the bastard to the kingdom he wants. Send him to Hell.”


Three days later, Iris came into Don’s office. “Letter for you, sir. Maybe take some time off? You’ve earned it.” A smile flashed as she left. Don never understood why she always wore so many bright colors. He turned to the letter with as close to a smile as he ever made. No return address.


Inspector Don,

A valiant chase indeed. I really thought that you and I would have longer together. Alas, our time was cut too short. Poor Hades, though, taking the fall. Perhaps we’ll cross paths again. I have a strong feeling that we will; after all, memories eventually grow stale. Though, I must admit, I was hoping that you would have learned more – a sign that your lessons must continue. Until then, rest up. I want you fresh for the next chase.

            From a friend, why shorten your name and Officer Zed’s? Zeus and Poseidon working together, now that’s unheard of. A word of advice for next time—Hades may rule the underworld, but Death populates it.

Forever bound,



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