By Joseph Logsdon

How many more hours did he have to live? Richard stared into the void, perfectly aware that he was going to die. Although he had lived a long life, something just didn't seem right. He wasn't ready to die, not until he confessed his mistake. The living room was like a tomb, cold and wet. In that moment, Richard started to panic. There was no denying, someone was watching him.

"Who's there?"

There was no reply, only the faint sound of the air. Richard tried to stand, but couldn't manage the task. He sat in his chair, helpless and afraid. Death seemed so close, and that the same time, so far away. He gasped, puzzled by what was happening. The door slammed open, sending an echo through the house. She walked into the room, beautiful and seductive. Richard screamed, completely confused and bewildered.

"Fear not, I'm only here to help you," the woman stated, shutting the door behind her.

"Who are you? What are you doing in my house?"

"Hush now, we wouldn't want to wake the neighbors," she laughed.

"Can't a man die in peace?"

"Why die, when you can live?"

"What are you talking about?"

"If you could fix one mistake in your life, wouldn't you do it?"

"That's impossible, and you know it," he grunted.

"You've committed many mistakes in your life, most of which you regret. I've been watching you, patiently waiting for you to die. Now that the end is near, I'll give you one last chance," she laughed.

"What are you talking about?"

"Tell me, what is your deepest regret?"

"I guess, looking back, I never should've left my girlfriend. She waited for me to pick her up from work, only I never came. Instead, I got drunk, no longer caring about her or anything else. If I had the opportunity, I'd go back, win her heart, and forget it ever happened," he cried.

"What year was that, 1951?"

"How do you know that?"

"I know everything, contrary to what most people think. I'll give you one hour to change your future, so you better make the most of it. That being said, there is one condition," she hissed.

"Condition? What condition?"

"If you fail to win her back, I get your soul," she laughed.

"What are you, some kind of demon?"

"Insult me again, there won't be any deal," she hissed.

"How do I know this isn't some kind of scam?"

"Given that you're about to die, does it really matter?"

"Well, when you put it that way, I guess I'll just have to trust you," he laughed.

"Now, close your eyes," she commanded.

Richard closed his eyes, ignorant of what was happening. She kissed him, tightly and firmly. He tried to pull away, to no avail. There was a moment of silence, followed by the playing of loud music. Richard opened his eyes, only to find himself kissing a completely different woman. He pulled away from her, disgusted with himself. The saloon was a dark and empty place, full of sin and crime. Richard approached the bar, slightly shaken by his surroundings. He saw the bartender, Sam Masterson, an old friend of his.

"What will you have, Richard?"

"Uh, Sam, what year is it?"

"What do you mean, what year is it?"

"What time is it?"

"You drunk or something?"

"Answer the question!"

"1951, like you didn't already know," Sam answered.

"Now, will you tell me the time?"

"Cool it, will you? I've had a rough day, so forgive me for being rude. It's nearly midnight, not that anyone cares around here," Sam laughed.

"Uh, I have to go," Richard exclaimed.

Richard tried to leave the bar, and he would've, if it hadn't been for that sultry blonde. She grabbed his shoulder, focused on his beautiful blue eyes.

"Buy you a drink, my treat," she whispered, breathing against his neck.

"Miss, I really don't have time," Richard replied, trying to get away.

"Are you sure? I'll show you a good time, permitting you'll let me," she hissed, placing her hand on his leg.

"Save it, I'm not interested," he huffed.

"You're lying, otherwise you would've ignored me. Say, how about we go somewhere private? I'll buy you a drink, then we'll blow," she laughed.

"Dolly, if my friend isn't interested, then he isn't interested. I, on the other hand, would gladly have a drink with you," Sam stated.

"It's okay, I can handle this," Richard replied, anxiety flowing through him.

"Suit yourself, I was only trying to help," Sam stated.

"On second thought, we'll just skip the drink. I'll get my car, you get your coat, and I'll meet you outback," she whispered.

Richard froze, taken by her appearance. It had been years since he had been sexually active, so he was quite smitten with her. He grabbed her hand, almost blushing in the process.

"You just won't give up, will you?"

"I know what I want, and I know I want you," she stated, walking away.

Richard stood in the saloon, excited by the fact that a young woman was interested in him. Richard knew he had a mission to accomplish, if only he could remember what that mission was. Strangely, it was almost as if he had never been an old man to begin with, like everything had suddenly been erased.

"Hey, weren't you supposed to be somewhere?"

"What are you talking about?"

"Don't you remember? When you first arrived, you seemed awfully panicky, almost like you were in some kind of danger. Now, all of a sudden, you seem to be calm and collected. You're one oddball, if you don't mind me saying," Sam laughed.

"I'll be seeing you," Richard stated, leaving the building.

Richard went out the backdoor, certain she would be waiting for him. She pulled up in her car, looking quite beautiful. Richard opened the door, enamored by her smile.

"Are you one of those square, always do what they're told kind of guys, or are you one of those wild guys?"

"Does it matter?"

"It depends," she stated.

"Depends? Depends on what?"

"On whether you want a square, always do what she's told kind of girl, or a wild, always into trouble kind of girl," she stated.

"It doesn't matter, as long as you're good in the sack," Richard stated, closing the door.

"Well, in that case, there's only one kind of girl for you," she hissed.

They started kissing, each of them devouring the other. She kissed his neck, wrapping her tongue around him, using her womanly allure to distract his weak mind. Richard moaned, overtaken by pleasure. Passionately kissing, Richard started to realize what he was doing. Her hair went from blonde, to dark brown. The kiss ended, along with his life. Just like before, Richard had made the same mistake. Her eyes glowed red, sending chills up his spine.

"By the way, aren't you forgetting something?"

"That isn't fair, you tricked me. I would've gotten her back, if only you hadn't interfered," he gasped.

"What did I do, except try to give you a chance to redeem yourself? That just goes to show you; once a cheater, always a cheater," she laughed.

"I beg you, give me another chance," he screamed.

"Now, why would I do that? You had your chance, you failed. Not to worry, you'll have plenty of time to think about this, now that your soul has become forfeit," she laughed.

"I'll be good, you can count on that," he screamed.

"Good, bad, it doesn't make a difference," she laughed.

The End