" Please allow me to introduce myself
I'm a man of wealth and taste
I've been around for a long long year
Stole many a man's soul and faith "
- The Rolling Stones

Nick yawned and started to undress himself. He was very tired and exhausted
by yet another long day of hard work. He decided to go straight to sleep,
not to continue to read his new book tonight. He yawned again while he was
changing into his pj's. As he did every night, he kissed the framed picture of
Julia goodnight. He looked forward to the delicious drowsiness of sleep. He
didn't know that this night would be different from everything he had
experienced before ......

Nick woke up suddenly in the middle of the night. He was a very light sleeper
and had sensed that he had heard a sound. He was alert at once and tried to
look around in his room, but it was just too dark. His eyes met the shining
numbers of his alarm clock: It was 3 a.m., way too early to get up, even
for Nick. After a while, when he was just starting to go back to sleep
again, Nick heard that sound again, he quickly sat up up and switched the
lights on. He looked up with a start and saw a man standing at the end of
his bed.

Nick wanted to pull his gun at him, but found out very quickly that he
couldn't move. "Damn it !" he said quietly and tried to calm himself down.
He took a good look at his late visitor, who didn't say a single word. The
man looked extremely strange with pitch dark hair and distinguished
features. His eyes were black,too and seemed to pin Nick to his bed. It
gave him the creeps. The stranger wore a long, dark coat which made him
look even more scarier.

" What do you want from me ?" Nick finally asked.

" Well, actually I'm here to give you a precious gift. " the man said in a
soothing voice and smiled.

Nick started to get interested in this guy, it was obvious that he wasn't
any "normal" friend who had decided to drop in for a little meeting. But he
was also sure that he had never met this man before, he would definitely
remember that !

Nick thought about screaming for help, but he didn't want to get Derek and
his other friends to get involved into this strange incident before he knew
how dangerous his visitor really was. And he had to admit that he was kind of
curious what this guy wanted to tell him.

" It seems that you won't just disappear again, so let's talk !" Nick said,
surprised at his own calmness.

The man seated himself next to Nick and groaned as if he was just at the
beginning of a exhausting matter.

" I finally found some time to visit you and tell you about my offer ," he

" And what offer would that be ?" Nick asked him.

" I give you the enormous chance to eliminate everything you've ever did in
your life," he said as if this would be the key to wisdom.

" And why should I do this ?" Nick asked amazed at this man's madness.

" I think we both know why. There were several ... uhm ... incidents in
your life that you and your friends would be really better off without. "
he said slowly, choosing his words carefully.

" So wait a minute. Do I get you correct that you offer me to pretend that
I've never lived ? Really great but, no thanks, I think I have to turn
that offer down !! Oh, and thanks for dropping by !" Nick said sarcastically.

" No, it wouldn't be pretended; It would be as if you have never lived.
Everything you've done would be erased," he answered, not showing that he took note of Nick's sarcasm.

" Again, thanks, but I think that you're a complete flake," Nick said.
His visitor didn't look angry at all.

" At first sight, it may seem so, I agree. But you'll realize that when you
take a closer look at it, that it really isn't such a bad deal, but quite
the opposite !! " he tried to assure Nick.

" So let's get started right away ! I'll show you how the lives of your
friends and family, how they would have turned out without you. " he said.

" This is rubbish. Let me go or I'll scream for help !! " Nick warned him.

The man smiled like a lunatic: "That would be pretty useless, my friend.
Just relax and look at what I have to offer !"

Nick knew that he was right and tried to relax his muscles. There was just
no way out for him. He'd never involve his friends in a situation like
this. And he also knew that he has been through a lot of worse situations
and he had always find a solution !

" So let's begin with your first big mistake that was the trigger for all
your later wrong-doings," he said. Nick shivered, he had a slight idea what
this guy was talking about ...

" You were five and your little sister was two and a half ... " he started.

" No !!" Nick wanted to scream, but he could only get a hoarse sound out of
his throat.

" You dirty son of a bitch !!" he said intensively.

" This morning, you'll be so thankful for opening your eyes, " the man
said, pretending not to hear Nick's insults.

" Let's continue: You were five and she was two and a half. It was on a
beautiful summer day."

Nick looked at the wall facing his bed. A film was projected there, like in
a cinema. He saw himself hand in hand with his with Faye, his little
sister. They were joking around. And he saw his Mom, saying this words he'd never
forget, no matter how much he tried to repress it.

" Nicky, please take care of Faye for a while. I've forgotten something. "
she said and stroke the hair out of Nick's little face. He smiled proudly
because his mother gave him so much responsibility. He nodded and his
mother went back to their home to get something for their picnic. She had
surprised him and his sister with this idea this morning. They had gone to
this wonderful meadow, not far from their house.

Faye started to annoy Nick, she wanted to run around and look at stuff.
" Let me go !" she screamed with her little shrill voice. Nick, still
watching this scene, knew what would come next: " No, no ... " he said quietly.

His visitor smiled at him: " Now you start to understand, right ? "

Nick tried to ignore him, then he turned back to the screen.
" Faye, stop it ! " he said as a young boy to his sister.
" Mom told me to wait here and watch over you ! " he boasted.
Faye just started screaming, this was her usual answer to everything she
didn't agree to. She just screamed very loudly and Nick got nervous. He was
afraid that someone would hear his sister's crying and blame him. Maybe
that person would even think that he was a bad brother !

" Ok, ok, you little whiner ! But don't run to far away, you baby !" he
said and as soon as he let go of her hand, she was gone. He watched her
running down the meadow.

" No ! At least tell her that you love her !! " the "old" Nick said, " You
idiot, tell her ! " But of course, the little boy didn't, he was now on an
adventure of his own. He had found a strange looking piece of glass laying
in the grass and started examining it. He was still completely in his own
little word when his mother returned.

" Where's your sister ? " she asked him.
" Uhm, she wanted to stroll around a bit. " he said, still playing.
" Didn't I ask you to take care of her ? " his mother asked angrily and
started to call out for her. But Faye didn't appear again.

" I look for her and you stay right here. " his mother insisted and gave
Nick a fierce look. She continued to look for Faye, but couldn't find her.
She searched all hideaways a little girl would find fascinating. A little
bit later, she started to get really nervous.

" Nicholas, come and help me ! " she said to him, pulled him up from the
ground and pushed him with her. He was about to start crying when his mother
suddenly shouted: " Oh my God ! The lake !!!! " They hurried towards the
peaceful little lake that lay behind some trees. They could see her even
from this distance, she lay facedown in the lake, not moving. Her white
skirt was all dirty and messed up. " NO !! " Nick's mother screamed and ran
towards her little girl. She was able to get her out of the water because
it wasn't very deep. She hold her tightly and then spoke to her frightened
son: " Run home and go to the Millers, tell them to call 911 !! "

Nick tried to realize what was happening but everything was just spinning
around in his head. He hesitated for a second, then he starting running. He
ran faster than he had ever run before. It felt as if his lungs would
burst and he was afraid that he would die, too. Back at the lake, there was
Mrs. Boyle, now on her own, still holding Faye tightly.

With this, the scene ended and the wall became dark again. Nick was silent,
still in a shock about what he had to relive. He remembered the funeral
only a few days later. He was supposed to be with some of his parent's
friends, but he had somehow managed to sneak away and watch the funeral for
a short time, standing behind the iron graveyard gates. He'd never forget
how that cool iron felt on his face. He remembered that tiny, tiny white
coffin with the white lilies on top of it. Until then, he didn't even know
that children died. He thought of himself, as every child does, to be
immortal. But from that day on, he knew that he could die in a snap of a
second. This was the day his sleeping problems started; He was afraid to go
to sleep, afraid that he would die, too. He felt the tension between his
parents and the looks of reproach from them. It was never said aloud, of
course, but in his heart, he felt that he was responsible for his sister's
death. He learnt to live with guilt.

Shortly after Faye's death, his father quit his job and became a member of
the Legacy. And from then on, everything got worse with his Dad.
The visitor interrupted Nick's thoughts: " And this is what would have
happened if you would have never been born. " he said.

Another film started playing on the wall. Again, it was at the meadow, but
Nick could only see his Mom and Faye. They were laughing and joking around
while they packed they stuff and got ready to go home again . Nick
shuddered. Then there were different scenes, each of them showing Faye,
growing up. He saw her growing to that beautiful woman she was never
allowed to become, he saw her at college and finally at her wedding. The
last scene was Faye, saying hi to her children after coming home from work.
Children that were never born. This was just too much.

" Stop it, stop torturing me, you freak ! " Nick tried to yell, but again
he was only able to whisper. The visitor smiled again: " Hush, hush, my
friend. This is only the beginning, Nick. There is one more thing: Do you
remember what happened to your Dad after Faye's death ?" he said. Nick
closed his eyes as he remembered the rapid changes of his father's behavior.

" Exactly. We both know that you are to blame. Right after the wedding,
your parents drifted apart and your father developed a serious drinking
problem. "

" That's not true ! He was a drinker and violent even before my sister
died. " Nick protested.

"Well, that's true. Kind of ... But he was never as violent as after her
death. You are responsible for your own scars, buddy. " he answered.

" Stop telling me this crap ! I mean it's just not true ... right !!? "
Nick said, not sure what to think. Everything got mixed up in his head. He
had spent days of his life thinking about these things and now this freak
said it aloud. So could there really be some truth in it ? He realized that
he developed a severe headache.

The stranger sensed his insecurity and decided to continue his show.
" And voilą, here's your next big mistake ! " he said and yet another film
started playing.

Nick lifted his head slowly. He saw himself years ago as he met Liz for the
first time. There was a short sequence of their happy times, like
surprising her on her birthday by driving to a beautiful beach house. Then
he saw Liz telling him that he was the only one for her and that she wanted
to spent her whole life with him. And then, Nick remembered his feelings
when she said this. He was scared to death, scared because he didn't want
to lose his freedom, but also because he was so scared to turn out like his
father. So he decided just to leave her in the morning, sneaking out
silently. He didn't have the guts to face her and to see her crying.

" What's wrong with you. you idiot ! She's such a beautiful woman ! And see
what you did to her ! " he said angrily and showed her Liz on the next
morning while she was reading Nick's short note that he had left in the
kitchen. She broke down, crying, grasping for something to hold onto.
" You might want to know that she didn't have a relationship in the next
two years, she just couldn't trust any man. Without you, she wouldn't have
to go through all this torment. " he told Nick.

" But let's just go right on. "

Nick saw himself, way back, crawling through the jungle.

" Boyle, you'll go ahead and look for enemies ! " Richter said. Nick nodded
and went to his position. Nick watched himself as he struggled through the
deadly jungle. He couldn't close his eyes, although he knew what would come
next. He was sneaking between the green trees and then,suddenly, the noise
behind him started: The enemies were everywhere, bombing the jungle behind
him. Everything turning to flames. He took cover, but he couldn't hide from
all these screams behind him. They chilled him to his bones. The next
scene showed Nick as he returned and found all his fellow soldiers shot,
some could only be hardly recognized as humans.

" Any beginner would have smelled that ambush ! These men didn't have to
die. They died because you weren't paying enough attention. They all had a
very bright future in store, but you destroyed it ! " Nick's visitor blamed
him. Nick felt that everything he said was like a little needle that hurt
him. This guy seemed to have find a way into Nick's mind and all his hidden
memories. And he didn't mind exposing him to the daylight. The man showed
him a short synopsis of how the lives of the men would have turned out if
they hadn't been killed in the prime of their lives. Nick felt as if his
heart was just a cold lump in his chest, he started shivering: " Why don't
you just leave me alone ? " he asked angrily.

" Damn it, I thought you began to understand. You can give all these people
their lives back again, Nick ! Even Julia ... " he whispered.

" No ! Leave Julia out of this ! " he warned him.

" How could I do that ? This is one of your biggest, and let me add this,
most stupid mistakes. It wasn't Derek's fault, it was yours. She was your
gift and you didn't cherish her. Man, you seem to be a real serial killer,
Nick ! " the man said and smiled his creepy smile. He took a bow to the
screen and said dramatically: " Connemara, Ireland. "

Nick and Julia were sitting in a cafe. Nick knew that he just wouldn't have
the strength to face this once again. This was just too much. He saw them
split up to do some research, then there was that field again, that bloody
field. Julia was crucified and her dead eyes looked blank at him. He saw
himself kneeling down beside her and screaming, screaming up to the sky, to
a God, he couldn't any longer believe in.

" You know, she had a wonderful life in front of her, too bad you never
allowed here to live it. And do you know what is ironic about this ? I
don't think that you really grieved about her, you grieved about yourself.
You never told her that you love her, you lost the big, and only love, of
your life; You grieve about your lost future with her. Isn't death an
egotistical thing ? What about her future, her plans ? " he said, stepping
closer and looking Nick in his eyes. Nick backed up when he saw that his
eyes were completely black, they had no pupils.

" Well, there were also some recent mistakes by you while your working in
the Legacy, but I don't have that much time ! " the man said sarcastically.

" So what is your exact offer ? To relive my life ? " Nick asked, too tired
to protest in any way.

" No, no, that's more the deal of the Other Side. My offer is to make it
able for you to erase all these mistakes that you have done in your
pathetic life. All these people could still be alive ... " he said.

" So it would feel as if I have never lived ? " Nick asked.

" Yeah, right. I admit, that's the bad part for you ... You would have to ,
uhm , sell me your life, ok ? But every contract has its fine print, right ?
" he said jokingly. " But you have to remember that all your friends would
be alive and kicking, and you have said yourself more than one time, that
you would die for them. " he added.

" And why do you make me such an offer ? " Nick asked suspiciously.

" Well, let's just say that I have the power to do it. I've done a quite
good number of deals all my life. I'm a really good businessman. " the
visitor boasted.

Nick closed his eyes and all these scenes he just saw haunted him again.
All this guilt he had lived with all his life came back, burning inside
him. He saw Julia in his mind's eye and his dead buddies. He knew that he
was to blame for all this, his doubts came true. He often felt that he was
unable to deal with this guilt, he would think that it's gone, but it just
needed a word or a gesture and it was back again,as vivid as ever. It
didn't stop nagging inside him. Suddenly, Nick felt very sure and calm. He
knew exactly what he had to do: " Ok, I think that's a fair deal,"
he said to his visitor.

The man smiled: " Perfect. I have a contract with me, just to make sure that we
both get what we want. Just sign it and we're done. " he said and presented the
paper to Nick. He took the suddenly appearing paper and took a close look
at it. " Do you have a pen ?" he asked, almost failing to speak aloud
because of his dry throat. The man smiled at him. " We have to sign it with
our blood or it won't work. " he said. " Those are the rules ! " he added
and shrugged.

Nothing could surprise Nick any longer, so he just nodded.
The man handed a knife to Nick, but just as he was about to cut himself,
Nick's door opened. Kat entered the room: " Nick, whatever it is, don't do
it ! " she screamed and ran towards him. She grabbed the contract and tore
it apart. Nick looked confused at her, not knowing why she appeared so
suddenly. The visitor stepped toward Kat, obviously angry. But Kat faced
him: " Leave ! " she ordered him. Nick wanted to interrupt her, but she
gave him a look to stay where he was. He was happy to have someone taking
the control, even if it was just a brave little girl.

His visitor backed up and started to vanish: " I'll get you sooner or
later, Boyle ! I need people like you in my kingdom, strong-willed, but also loyal to
death. " he shouted before he was finally gone. Nick looked puzzled at the
spot where his visitor stood just seconds ago.

" Kat, you little angel !!! Thank God ! But how did you know that I was in
danger in the first place ? " he asked, still amazed at the skills of this
little girl.

" Nick, don't be stupid ! You know that I can see things. I just woke up
and knew that you were in terrible danger. " she said smiling.

" Kiddo, I almost did a big mistakes . I've forgotten to think about my
living friends ! " he said, relieved it was all over. Kat didn't know what
he was exactly talking about, but as he opened his arms, she hugged him
tight. She looked out of the window: " The sun's rising, Nick. You've
promised me that we would get up very early and make breakfast for
everybody ! " she reminded him.

" Ok, you get dressed and begin to set the table, I'll just take a shower
and get dressed, too. Then we can get started, huh ? " he told her. She
nodded and went back to the room she usually stayed in during her
sleep-overs in the Legacy House.

After Nick took his shower and got dressed, he sat at his desk and took his
journal out:

" Tonight, I've almost done the most stupid thing you can think of. I
almost sold my soul, and my life with that. Now, I can say that it was
completely stupid and that I was a complete moron. But earlier today, it
all made sense to me. I was raised with guilt and shame and when this kind
of behavior was planted in you, it grows and grows and can't be easily

I thought that I could sacrifice myself for something that is already far
far away. It's hard for me to learn that you can't play tricks on your own,
or other's people's, fate. Whatever happens, happens. If you live your life
with questions like "what would be if ... " you'll kill yourself, slowly,
but surely. It's easy for me to write this down, but living like this is
very hard. They are still days were I'd love to give everything up, but
they become fewer and fewer.

It was also a hard lesson for me to learn that hey are people who really do
care for me, that I mean something to them. I can't live like I used to
because of this, but it's a wonderful change.

And there's another thing I've found out: Even the devil can't harm you
when there's the pure and innocent love of a child to protect you. And
that makes me believe that, after all, maybe the world isn't completely

" Nick, come on, we're late !! " Kat shouted impatiently. Nick smiled,
closed his diary and went downstairs to join her.

- The End -

A big thanks to my best friend Steffy ( I look forward to that apartment !!!)
and also a very, very big thanks to Alyssa. Without her, this story would
still only be in my mind !! She was always very patient and not tired to point
out all my mistakes. Now, I even know how to spell "jungle" !!!