After the Belphegor Pocketwatch was successfully retrieved, our investigation had come to a dead end.
On one hand, Pearlie’s theory about the seven deadly sins seemed to be an accurate one: the silver spoon for gluttony, the golden cuff for greed, the brooch for lust, the gun for wrath, the pen for envy, and sloth for the pocketwatch.
But if that theory was true, then we were missing one.
We went over the notes. We searched urban legend and creepypasta forums. I even went to antique auctions, searching for anything that gave off a familiar evil aura.
But that final piece was nowhere to be found. As far as we could tell, it didn’t exist.
The origin of these objects were up for debate as well. Pearlie pointed out that perhaps whoever made the first six jewels and crystals simply didn’t make a seventh piece. But even that didn’t seem right. How had these things been created? How had someone created pure evil?
It wasn’t until two weeks ago that I got the letter.
By then, I was almost settling back to a normal work pattern. Pearlie was starting to look into starting college. The safe was never mentioned.
The letter showed up Friday, and I’d almost assumed it was junk mail. I’d almost tossed it before I decided to make sure. I opened it up and read it.
Come to the return address written on the envelope. Bring the six strange and deadly trinkets you have. Come alone. Don’t come armed. Don’t tell your assistant where you’re going. Expect never to come home.
Don’t you want to complete your set?
– The Owner of Starlight Inn, A. Lyons.
I was up all night considering whether I should go or not. Knowing that the seventh trinket existed was almost enough for me to put this case to bed. Almost.
But what did it do? And furthermore, what harm could it cause, out there, without me to keep it locked up? By the time the sun came up, I had already packed. I’d hid the trinkets in a secret pocket of my suitcase. I left Pearlie a note, telling her I had business out west and that I’d call when I knew I’d be coming back. I made sure that I left her enough money to get by on her own.
I made the long drive to the inn, not stopping except for gas. It was a long drive, impeded further by construction traffic. When I finally got there, I was nearly dead on my feet.
The inn itself was a small affair with hardly over a dozen rooms, but the lobby was clean and there was a no smoking sign on the front desk, so I didn’t feel nervous as I walked up and rung the bell. Perhaps it was just the exhaustion dulling any natural paranoia though.
A woman shuffled out front, wearing an oversized pink bathrobe with a nametag reading ‘ELYSE’ clumsily pinned to it and stifling a yawn. “Want a room?” She asked.
“Hello, I was told to come here by a letter?” I almost went through my bag to fetch it.
“Do you have the trinkets?”
The woman was now much more awake than I was, leaning in over the desk to get uncomfortably close to my face. I only nodded. With that confirmed, the woman fetched a key off the cork board behind her. “Room 113, end of the hall. Don’t worry about giving me your card, it’s on the house,” She said before eyeing my bag, “Need me to carry that?”
“I got it, thanks.” I gripped it a little tighter before I walked down the hall. I’d assumed I’d meet with ‘A’ in the morning and figure out why she was so willing to tell me about the seventh trinket.
I passed out on the bed the moment I laid down and woke up the next day feeling like I was burning up.
Each joint in my body ached as I weakly tried to take off my shirt, figuring that driving for about two straight days had weakened my immune system to the point that I finally got sick. I don’t get sick too often.
“Take it easy, love. Let me help you.”
This wasn’t the scratchy voice of the woman out front, this was a voice soft and smooth as silk. My eyes opened to see the angel next to me. Their dark hair cascaded down in waves almost to their hips, features pale and perfect, like an ancient sculpture. I was too shocked by their beauty to ask how the hell they got in my room, but that was also likely because of how sick I was.
Thin fingers undid my shirt buttons and they helped me shrug out of the shirt. I looked around to see that my suitcase had been ripped open. All six of the trinkets were laid out on the nightstands next to the bed, three on one side, three on the other. “Who are you?” I managed to get out, my tongue feeling thick in my mouth.
“Your ‘A’.” Pulling the shirt away, the angel folded it before standing. “How do you feel?” My groan was probably enough response, judging by how their lips twitched from a repressed smile. “I thought so. I’m going to make you some tea and run you a bath. You smell.”
With that, the angel left, leaving me alone in my fever ridden misery.
I drifted off to sleep after that, but all I got were nightmares. Nightmares of women chained in darkness screaming for help, a young boy’s head being crushed with a rock, a man pleading for mercy as rats chewed on his skin. When I woke up I felt worse than ever, and that churning in my stomach wasn’t going to end well.
Thankfully A heard me start to gag and ran to my side, wordlessly offering me a trash can. I wished I could’ve thanked them, but the moment I opened my mouth vomit spewed out my mouth and splattered inside the offered bin. Gas station hotdogs and stale donuts do, in fact, taste worse the second time around.
Quietly, A took the trash can and started sifting through it with their fingers. Just the sight nearly made me want to puke again, but A just shook their head and placed it back down before going to the sink and washing up. “Not yet. Just keep resting. This is not going to be easy,” They said.
“Why did you send me that letter?” I tried to lever myself up on my elbows but just collapsed on the bed as the room spun. “Where’s the last trinket?”
A quietly chuckled before returning to my side with a damp cloth, wiping off my sweaty face. “Soon, my dear detective. Don’t rush these things, it might kill you in the process. You’ve waited nearly ten years, I think you can wait a few more days,” They said. “Now let me get that tea for you.”
I was waited on hand and foot the three days I was wracked with that illness. I took to calling my mysterious ‘A’ Angel with how well they took care of me. Somehow, despite being several inches shorter than me and probably not over a hundred pounds, Angel could carry me to the bathroom without breaking a sweat. During these days, whenever I was coherent enough to listen, Angel would tell me stories.
The trinkets got their power from their crystals, and despite resembling existing crystals, they were nothing you could find on earth. Their origins were from the hearts of evil. Someone who truly indulged while letting others suffer had produced the Beelzebub Topaz, a French aristocrat who later died in the revolution. The Sathanas Ruby I had was probably the most recently formed, coming to fruition in a man who delighted in causing pain and suffering to innocent people during World War Two.
I asked how they’d been created, but Angel would only chuckle and help me drink more tea.
We’d talk about other things as well. Angel was the owner of the hotel after it was gifted to them by their father. All this time they’d been watching me, wondering if I’d actually complete the collection.
“Has anyone completed it before?” I remembered asking.
“It’s been a long time though, and many people attempt only to fail after collecting around three. It’s a lot of evil to have around you, not everyone can help themselves.”
Perhaps it was a bit of an ego stroke to hear that I was so close to completing the set, unlike so many others, but I had no time to revel in that as my stomach rebelled again.
Angel also told me who had the final trinket.
As a boy, he always pushed himself to become the best. Have the best grades, be popular, have the most friends. This pattern followed itself into his teenage years. His girlfriend had to be the most beautiful girl in school. He bought one of the nicest cars a teenager could afford. It wasn’t because he felt like he had to have them, it was because he knew he deserved them.
This changed for a while after his father died. His father was a beloved member of town, a hard worker, and one amazing private investigator.
The grief of this man’s son nearly turned him into a hermit, but he pulled himself together to realize that this was what he could do. Become an investigator. Fill the hole left behind. Perhaps even eclipse the father with the light the son gave off.
I attacked Angel when I realized who they were talking about. You can imagine how that went, given my condition at the time I probably couldn’t fight a kitten. Angel wasn’t violent back with me though, just pinning me back down as I insisted over and over again that I wasn’t evil. I was a good person. I was doing this for everyone that had been directly harmed by a trinket.
Angel just smiled the most patronizing of smiles and kissed my forehead.
“I’m going to go get you something to eat, dear. I hope you can keep it down.”
I didn’t, but it was still a kind gesture from a person I’d been trying to strangle.
By the time the sun went down on the third day, I could barely make it to the trash can. I’d go from so hot I was sweating buckets to so cold my teeth were chattering and I was covered in goosebumps. I still insisted to Angel that I wasn’t evil, I was a good person. They’d just nod and spoon feed me more soup.
When I started heaving again I realized I felt something in my throat. I’d not eaten anything solid since I came here, but I could feel it was hard. I leaned over the trash can and barely got out ‘There’s something in my throat’ before I spewed out my stomach contents…. And something else.
With hands shaky with how weak I was, I reached out and fished it out from the stomach bile and half digested chicken soup. Angel gasped quietly as I raised it into the light.
It was a diamond. A diamond that had a faint purple tint.
My breakdown following the realization what had just come out of my body was violent, according to Angel. I barely remember it, but when I came to the room was trashed. The trinkets scattered about, holes in the walls, lamps knocked over. During my tantrum Angel just watched to make sure I didn’t hurt myself too badly. The worst of my injuries was bruised knuckles and perhaps a little bruised pride.
The diamond still remained in my hand during all of this.
For days I struggled with this realization. Thankfully Angel let me keep staying for free at their inn as I got my head on straight. I had finally completed the set. Each of the trinkets were now in my possession.
But had this come at a cost?
At last though, I reached my epiphany. I went right to Angel when the realization struck me. I had to know the answer to a very important question:
“Are there duplicates of the other crystals? Or is it just the seven?”
Angel smiled, delighted that I’d finally figured it out, and nodded.
This search will never end for me. I have to keep collecting these trinkets. There’s not seven. There could be hundreds. Thousands. Evil exists every day and some so potent that it gains its own form as something that appears beautiful, but was claimed from bile and blood.
Angel has agreed to fund my search, I’ll be selling my house and living at the Inn now instead. Pearlie will be coming to meet me soon. I haven’t told her how I got the seventh trinket, but perhaps it’s better she doesn’t know. She might not believe that I can stand in the face of this evil and carry on.
I am possibly the only man in the world who can make sure that these trinkets never cause grief and pain again.
After all, I’ve not changed since I came into possession of Lucifer’s Diamond. What can these other trinkets do to me that I cannot face?