Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Talking with the Old Man

So, the old man came into my room last night.  I’d been honoring their wishes to stay inside when it was dark (just out of respect for them, not any sort of superstitious fear).  Anyway, he comes in and has a sort of haunted look in his eye.

“You need to know the rest of the legend,” he said.

“Look,” I said, “I’ll respect your wishes, but I’m not about to let you scare me with some old myth.”

“Legend,” the old man said.  “Not myth.  Myths aren’t true.”

I shook my head and started to laugh a bit, but then I looked into his eyes.  That burning look in his eyes scared me a bit.  He wasn’t trying to fool me.  He seriously believed it.

“You need to know what happened that night.  The night we all went out to solve the mystery.  After waiting for a while, we heard a horse in the distance.  And then, a good ways off, we saw a man.  We called out to him, asking who he was and what business he had being out.  Then he started approaching us.  As he got closer, we could see that the man was…well, he was no man.”  His eyes got distant again.  “We too thought that the legends were mere myths.  But that hat.  That monacle.  That axe.  That…”  He shivered a bit.  “That moustache….”

At this point, I’ll admit that I was starting to get just a bit creeped out.

“Normally, he’s not so aggressive.  I suppose it was because we threatened him.  Or, at least, attempted to threaten him.  In the stories, he prefers to haunt his victims, slowly driving them crazy before he kills them.  Looking back on all those deaths, I can see that that was probably the case as well.  But no, the Dapper Fiend sent that demon after us right away.  He killed almost all of us.  And now, I’m the only remaining survivor.”

“Who is he?” I asked hesitantly.  I was, admittedly, very on edge by this point.

“Bartholomew,” the man whispered, as if saying it aloud would call something towards him.  “It was Bartholomew.  He’s the one the Dapper Fiend trusts most.”

“The Dapper Fiend?”

The old man fell silent.  “You should leave soon,” he said.  “I’ve told you too much.  But you see why I told you not to go out at night.  The night belongs to Bartholomew.”  He stood, then turned to me before leaving.  “You got lucky last time.  But you might not be so lucky again.  I pray you are, though.  I pray that you never hear those galloping hooves.  Because the moment you do,” he said, giving me a piercing glare, “all hope for you is gone.”

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