The Deal to Fame and Success (Chapter 1)

A chilling and ominous story about a mysterious man with a mysterious offer. Will Trey Whitman take this offer? Find out in Chapter 2!


Tommy N., editor

Chapter 1: Just a Man

“ Fetch me the usual,” said a young man, Trey Whitman, to the bartender. 

“Half and half?” asked the bartender.

“Not these days,” Trey murmured in a short breath. “Give me full.” 

The bartender nodded with a concerned look on his face and went to make the strongest drink in the house.

Trey slammed the glass onto the counter as if it were 100 pounds and pulled out a pack of cigarettes from his mini suitcase.

“Hey,” said the bartender. “When did you become a smoker?”

 Trey lit the cigarette and began smoking.

“Call today the first,” 

“All right well,” the bartender paused and took a drink of his wine, “I’m keeping a keen eye on you. This one’s on the house.”

“Oh, thanks, but…

“Trey, I know what you’re gonna say. I assure you it’s not charity. It’s me being a good neighbor to a regular, and worried for a friend.”

 “Thanks,” Trey said while coughing from the smoke.

Trey briskly quaffed his alcohol and continued to smoke in order to suppress all of his horrid thoughts as quickly as possible. However, the numbness of alcohol and cigarettes could never numb the loneliness he felt in his soul which sat in his stomach like a persisting ache. As he began to tune out the chatter of people around him, his mind focused on the humming of the dim light bulb above him. The numbing of alcohol had seemed to wear off in his brain. His ears began to ring as the humming intensified and pierced his ears. The sound flooded his brain and with it, the reality of his depressing life hit him like a punch. He was a failure. The humming became even more unbearable and his vision became blurred. His family was gone. Thoughts raced through his head where a terrible pain intensified. Hope was …

“No, no, NO!” 

    Every person in the speak-easy paused their continuous chatter to stare at Trey as if he was a maniac, which Trey had begun to believe himself at this moment as he re-entered reality. Trey’s eyes bounced from face to face, each of which sported a perplexed and mortified look. He looked down at the table, where his drink had splattered all over. Then, he looked back up at the bartender, who had the same look as everyone else, just with a bit of sympathy in his eyes. Trey was unable to say a word nor could he even apologize. Confused and humiliated, Trey picked up his belongings and swiftly exited the speak-easy as the silence of the room behind him was soon replaced with laughter. 

    Trey dolefully strolled down the poorly lit streets of the inner city, his shadow being the only thing accompanying him. The moon cast a dreamlike appearance on the decrepit buildings and streets and the bare trees which stiffly swayed to the frosty breeze. With his severe lack of proper clothing, Trey profusely shivered in the bitter night. The drinks, cigarettes and liveliness of the speakeasy were gone now, and Trey was back to his demoralizing life, with his only goal being to catch the 11:30 bus on the corner of 72nd street. As he approached the bus stop, an island of bright light in the deserted city, he saw a man sporting a black suit and top hat smoking a designer cigar. Trey was now only a block away from the bus stop, yet the man still aimlessly looked ahead, his suitcase clenched in his left hand. There was something about this man in particular that chilled Trey, almost as if there was something ominous connected to him; Something evil. Trey shook this idea out of his head, telling himself that the man in front of him was a common man like him, trying to get home to his life, whatever that meant. Trey first laid his mini suitcase on the bench, followed by sitting down himself. He looked at his watch and noted that the bus would be there in about 7 minutes, and when he looked up, he noticed that this man was now sitting next to him on the bench, still soullessly looking ahead. He slowly took the cigar out of his mouth and placed it in the pocket of his jacket.

“Cold day, innit?” the man said, slowly patting his thigh. 

“Real cold,” Trey mumbled in a drunken manner.

“For what reason is a civilized man such as you wandering these streets?”

“One could ask you the same.”

“I’m on business, and I happen to stumble upon one of my clients.”

Trey sighed and rubbed his forehead. “I’m here because I’m no civilized man in any measure, at least not anymore.” 

“Well, it seems you’ve lost your passion, haven’t you, Trey Whitman?”

Trey looked up at the man in shock, who now had also turned his face to Trey, revealing an old and worn face with eyes being covered by dark glasses. 

“You know who I am?”

“Trey Whitman, I know more about you than just who you are.”

Trey became uneasy. “What are you suggesting sir?”

“You, Trey Whitman, were born in Baltimore on the 27th of January in 1901 to an impoverished family. Your father was an alcoholic and your mom struggled to put food on the table. Many days, you would go without food and even water. On top of that, you would get constantly criticized by your father, who practically had you as his servant and would horridly abuse you if there weren’t any beers left. From the young age of 7, you would work in a shoe factory many days instead of getting an education. At only 15, your mother died and your father left you and your brother to fend for yourselves as a result.” The man took a puff of his cigar as Trey held back tears, unable to speak. 

“Mr. Whitman, from a young age, you used writing as an escape from your depressing life. You were a talented writer with great potential, but too many times your father burned your notebooks in the fireplace and called your work “a pathetic waste of time”. Slowly, your passion and love for writing was destroyed just like those notebooks, thrown in that unforgiving fire. Despite that, you still felt like you had to write to escape. You would lock yourself inside that little attic of your house and write. No, you didn’t enjoy it, but Mr. Whitman, writing was the only thing you ever had. Now, Mr. Whitman, you’re nothing but a lost cause who’s a high-school dropout. Finally, you got laid off from your job at the factory and now you’re an unemployed drunk still wishing that his books would miraculously gain popularity. You’ve never regained your passion Mr. Whitman, and your writing has no inspiration, nor does it have a soul. Your writing is just a collection of words put in the wrong order.”

“Why are you doing this to me!?” Trey demanded with a trembling voice.

The man became tense. “Mr. Whitman, I’m here for your benefit. You-”

“Benefit me?” Trey said, offended, “By humiliating me? Putting all of the cons of my life wildly out of proportion? By calling me a failure? After all, you are the man whose life is so irrelevant he stocks other men.”

“Listen to me Mr. Whitman!” The man yelled, finally raising his voice, “This isn’t about me! Look at yourself, Mr. Whitman. Can’t you see? Your life has little hope at this moment, and it’s because of all of those failed books of yours. Each one deteriorates your soul even more. If you listen to me, I will be the solution to your troubles.”

Trey’s face enlightened. “Are you a publisher?

“No sir.”

“Then how in this world could you help me?”

“Well, Mr. Whitman,” The man said professionally, “You still have it in you. That is, the passion of writing. It was always in you, just beaten down by your father’s fist. That being said, I can give you something that will release this talent and passion from that cage deep inside you. This something will significantly increase your focus, speed, and most of all, creativity in the field of writing. I promise you within a fortnight, you will have an exceptional piece of literature published. It…

“What kind of miracle drug is this to make one write a bestseller in a fortnight,” Trey chuckled while subtly wiping tears from his eyes, “One can only dream of publishing a book of such respect in less than a year!” 

“Well you didn’t let me finish sir. Sure, it is something of a miracle drug, or a miracle something since I haven’t disclosed yet what it is, and will make your books best sellers in no time. It comes at a cost, however, a cost that for some, I would even say most, is simply unfeasible. Or I should say  almost unfeasible, since they always end up coming eventually” 

Trey was beginning to feel something off about this man again, and his mysterious nature as well as his business deal. Moreover, Trey had no clue how this man knew so much extensive knowledge regarding him considering he had never seen the man in his life.

“Enlighten me on this cost,” Trey said in a suspicious manner.

“Mr. Whitman, all I can say for the purpose of secrecy is that the cost will result in death, but not necessarily of you.”

Trey suddenly felt a strong headache as if a screw had pierced through his skull as he became nauseous. In the back of his mind, he felt the urge to run from this man.

“Murder,” Trey said with a look of despair, “Your business murders people!”


“No, no. I don’t want anything to do with this.”

Just before the man could say anything, they heard from behind them the heavy growl of an engine and a strong fume. Miraculously, as Trey turned, he saw the late night bus.

“Well, there you have it, sir,” Trey said assertively, “I’ll be gone, and we will never converse again.”

The man let out a chilling laugh. “Don’t be so certain, Mr. Whitman, people like you always return, yearning to take the deal. As I say to all my clients, my tactics are impeccable. Impeccable, I say!”

By the time the man had finished speaking, Trey was already walking into the bus, desperately trying to leave that man’s presence. He sat down on the bus and put his hands in his pockets. In his left pocket, he felt a slip of paper he didn’t recognize. He took it out, and he was filled with anger as the man, going by “Classified business Client”, had stealthily slipped his business card in his pocket. He tried to get off the bus to return it to the man, but the bus began to move. He watched out of the window as the bus moved away from the man, who stared at Trey with the cigar in the corner of his mouth. Trey watched as the bus passed deteriorating houses and vacant factories, each giving Trey the familiar feeling of loneliness and broken dreams. However, while Trey felt lonely, he didn’t feel alone. Even as the bus was far from the man and nearing his residence, Trey still felt as if the heavy presence of the man was in the bus. He looked around the bus, and noticed the bus was empty except for an emotionless driver. Trey couldn’t remove from his head what the man had said. Impeccable, it can’t be, Trey tried telling himself, but he still felt that that man was right. That somehow, he would sign an irreversible contract with that man, regardless of whatever cost awaited him. The bus now stopped on his street, and Trey rose up from his seat, thanked the driver on the way out, and attempted to repress the thoughts in his mind once again. Once he reached his hollow front door, he couldn’t help but feel that someone was watching him so he turned around, only to see an empty street with a single flickering streetlight. Tiredness began to take over him, so he opened the door and went inside his house. Looking at his house, a derelict and dark expanse of emptiness only being filled by a chair, a bed, a single light bulb which flickered and barely gave off any light to his dark house, and a grandfather clock he was given from his mother before she died. Trey now truly saw what his life had come to. It wasn’t only the fact that he was deprived of happiness, he barely had any food, nor could he afford it. He knew he had to find a way to get out of his poverty, and thought back to the deal the man had offered. No, I will not kill a person for greed. Trey told himself as he put his coat on the rack and took his shoes off. Tiredness now began to eat at his eyes, and without even changing out of the old suit he sported, Trey stumbled into the bedroom and collapsed onto his bed as if he had no energy left in his hollow body. The last thing Trey remembered was the clock chiming midnight, which muffled an odd thumping sound coming from just outside. Trey was far too tired to process it, and his vision went blank. 

Next thing he knew, he woke up in his bedroom, facing the door, but something was terribly off. Trey’s room was now filled with a dreamy orange light which blanked every object with a warm tint, and shadows seemed to be twice as long as usual giving Trey an unsettling feeling. Trey tried to look outside, but the windows and mirrors seemed to be filled with orange which made it seem that the outside world was filled with fire. He began to feel a similar feeling to when he was with the man, like a heavy presence was near him. Trey felt as if he was not alone. In fact, he knew he wasn’t. He tried to tilt his head to the left only to realize that not only could he not move his head, he was completely paralyzed, only being able to move his eyes. Trey moved his eyes to the left, and in the corner was something that made Trey’s heart drop. Standing in that corner was a striking tall shadow-like figure of a man, about 7 and a half feet tall wearing a top hat. Only it was denser than any shadow Trey had ever seen and darker than the dead of night, almost as if it was a window to nothingness. Most of all, it wasn’t just the shadow reflection of something, it was there. There it stood, right in front of Trey, with its only identifiable feature being a smiling mouth full of sharp and crooked teeth. Trey struggled to move out of his bed, but it was as if he was suppressed by a weight. All he could do was stare at this creature, with a tornado of dark matter swirling around it. He felt more trapped and helpless than the poverty that engulfed him. All of a sudden the creature’s mouth began to move. Trey’s body shook as something terribly cold washed through his body. Then, a terrible whisper pierced Trey’s ears, but it was so loud he could not make out a single word. The creature continued to whisper, and it kept getting louder and louder as the creature’s mouth became wider. A sharp pain stabbed his head, and the pain was unbearable. Trey tried to scream, but not a single sound came out of his mouth. Then, finally, the sound stopped. Trey looked at the figure in fear. For what felt like forever, the figure stood there facing Trey, until the figure raised one of his arms, revealing long and undefined fingers. Trey began to struggle to move as the figure’s hand came closer and closer. Trey could feel the cold dark matter hit his skin as the figure’s hand was inches away from him. The figure held out a finger and his hand extended to an inhuman length. Trey began to accept his fate, but just as the figure was about to touch him, he woke up safe in his bed, the only sound in his room the gentle ticking of the clock. Trey looked at the clock, and it read 4:15 am. Still shaken from his dream, Trey still didn’t know what that figure had whispered, but now, he had the urge to find that mysterious man he saw the past night. He now strongly considered taking the offer. He sat up in his bed and took the business card out of his pocket from the past night. Trey decided that come sunrise, he would see that man again.