Tuesday, October 25, 2011

It's Good to be Afraid-- 25, October


James Murdock was a set of watchful eyes. He was drifting down Main Street now. The weekend's festival had been a bonanza for him. Unfortunately, rather than fulfilling his desire, it had fed his hunger.

While James had had voyeuristic tendencies in his life, this new plane of existence had presented so many opportunities for him that it became the meaning for his existence. While the human body could no longer stir the sexual desire in him he had felt as a living man, he now found that he thirsted for the hunt. He had spent countless time prowling the streets, unable to enter houses, but able to peer in through every window, watching. Sometimes he would have to wait for hours before finding what he wanted.

The fall festival had made it too easy. Everything was public. Everything was open to the prying eyes of the dead. Public toilets, changing rooms in the shops, they only made him regret that he couldn't be in more than one place at a time.

Now it was over. The sense of having to hunt prey had lost its luster. He supposed after all this time, maybe he didn't want to look so much any more. Maybe he would like to touch, or even talk to one.

His aimless drifting continued. His toes hung inches above the ground. His arms sagged to his sides like dead weights. His head was a wilted flower on a broken stem. Then something grabbed him.

He recoiled in shock, but the grip was strong. James looked down to see a strange creature had him by the right wrist. Its shape was nearly indescribable. Most of it was made up of a series of oblong insectile abdomens, but their connection to each other was transient, giving it the appearance of writhing even as it held still. A single, long, finger-like jointed appendage protruded from somewhere below the mass of bodies, and the end of it was wrapped around James's wrist.

He couldn't discern a face, but he knew the thing was looking at him. James yanked on his arm, but the appendage sent searing pain through his wrist. While he was terrified, he was also exhilarated at this sudden ability to feel things-- even if it was pain.

“Having some trouble there, Mr. Murdock?”

Someone was talking to him from behind. James turned his head to find yet another strange figure. This one was mostly human, but his legs were clearly deformed. He also had 2 small protrusions on either side of his head. Along with his white pointed goatee, they gave his head a triangular appearance.

“I. . . I'm caught,” James said.
“Take my hand. That's all you have to do,” said the old man.

James could see there were more of the strange creatures behind him. He tried not to look at them. The situation felt hopeless.

He reached out. The old man took his hand, and the pain in his other wrist was suddenly gone. James almost had time to smile, but then one by one, everything was gone. Buildings faded away, then color faded out of the world. The road below and surrounding trees fell into a haze, then vanished. At last, the blue sky above became black.

He looked back at the old man. He was James's only link to anything now. His grip on his hand was the one thing suspending him above the black abyss.

“We must be a million miles up,” said James.
“A million,” replied Old Scratch, “And a million more.” Then he let go.

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