A short visit.
The man’s cane made a sweet tapping as he walked up Wilson Street. It was made of a good hard wood, but even the most talented carpenter could not rightly tell what it was. It had a coat of thin black paint on it as you would see on baseball bats and walking sticks. It was long and slender with a metal point just as you would find on any decent umbrella. The handle was a great wide eye, leering into the man’s giant hands.
The man himself wore a crisp white suit that seemed to fit him as pleasantly and comfortably as a glove. His shoes, great long white spats with light grey laces. His laces sat motionless on his spats, even though they were long and should be flailing all over the place. The man also wore a white trilby hat with a ring of black. It was perched on his head with such precision. The man had light blue eyes that shone in the afternoon sun, they seemed to glint like crystals. Clouds had now begun to form lazily over his head like smoke.
The man in white didn’t seem to need the cane at all, he walked with great fineness, such elegance. The cane however seemed to fit him perfectly, very much, if not identical, to a pair of glasses. He sauntered along the street without much purpose, he didn’t seem to be looking for anything special, he was just looking, his eyes passed over objects with little or no concern. He didn’t seem too concerned about the blackening clouds forming over his head either. And when a passer by remarked in a croaky yet clear voice. ‘If you don’t get under shelter soon you’ll get drenched’ he just smiled at the small piggish man and retorted, ‘ No I wont’ and sauntered on with his black cane making the rhythmic ‘Click, Click, Click’ that was so sweet on the ears. As sweet as silver.
The man walked slowly up the road, even after the piggish mans comment. If anything he was in fact walking slower. A low rumble came from the sky above and for a second it looked as if rain had fallen from the sky, but the next moment nothing! The low droning went on as the man walked leisurely, now curiously looking into the houses that he passed; it seemed now he was looking for something. He seemed to be looking at the windows as one might look at a huge pile of money or a lavish chocolate cake.
And then he saw it and a small smile formed on the man’s thin lips. The indication that he had seen something he liked came immediately, even before he smiled, when lust filled his eyes and for the slightest moment his eyes seemed to shine red like a setting sun in the distance. He walked toward the house he was so intrigued with and reached the door. Just above the mail slot there was a brass knocker. It was the shape of a small grey gargoyle with piercing red eyes. The man lifted his cane, and instead of using the knocker, he rapped gently on the door with it. It made a short thud sound that served just as good as the brass knocker would have.
When the door finally did open the man in white was standing before a small old woman with brilliantly white hair. She looked over seventy but her hair was as thick as sheep’s wool.
“Can I help you?”, The old woman courteously asked, “If it’s about the gas bill I’ll pay it as soon as I get my check from the thieves who made me pay tax for forty y…”
“My name is Mr Greythorn and I saw your sign in the window, is that room still available?” He spoke with a very posh clear accent that was so friendly to the ears.
“Of course it is my dear, why didn’t you tell me that when I first opened the door”, The old woman’s blushing face suddenly relaxed and became welcoming, “Come on in my dear, its about to rain”
“I know”, He said with a small smile stretched across his face and as he stepped into the hall the heavens opened and the rain came down with such wickedness. And in the distance he heard an all too familiar croaky voice shout ‘Oh bugger’ and this just made the man in white’s face light up with brilliance.
“You must be awfully desperate” The old woman began as she took off the man’s hat and hung it on a hat rack next to the door. “To come and sleep in such a small and drab council house”, the old woman was now looking at the man with a thick white eye brow raised, “say you ain’t in any trouble are you mister”?.
The man in white brushed his large burly hand through his thick carpet of blindingly white hair. In comparison to the man in white’s hair the old woman’s looked grey.
“Can’t say that I am” He remarked back at her, “ But I may be if I don’t get some food soon, I don’t mean to impose but…” The woman stopped him in mid sentence and the elderly woman shouted in a high pitched voice..
“Not at all my dear, I am just cooking some stew as we speak” She pointed a small stubby finger towered a closed door, “It will be ready in a minute if you would like to wait in the living room just there” she pointed another short stubby finger at another door adjacent to the kitchen’s. The man simply nodded his head and walked through the door. He came into a small cosy sitting room with a small fire ablaze. On the couch there lay a small fluffy dog. The man walked up to it and looked at its collar. On it was the name ‘fiffy’. He stroked the dog absently as he sat down on the couch next to it.
In the kitchen there came the cry of the old woman telling him she didn’t have any bread. He said it was alright and she went back to whistling tunelessly. The man looked closely at the fire and realised that it was beginning to die down. He thought for a second before he acted. He picked up his slender cane firmly in his right hand and pointed it at the fire. A long jet of green light flew out of the tip of his cane and hit the fire. As soon as it made contact with it the fire leapt into life and the flames began to dance around in all directions. Once done the man put his cane back at his side and relaxed again, stroking the soft hair of Fiffy.
“I hope you like your tea hot” The old woman said as she came into the sitting room with two bowls of soup and two tea cups. The man took both and thanked her, “Not at all my dear, you are my guest and I shall see to your every need and desire”.
The Man in white’s face grew long and his smile faded. He slowly stood up, picked up his cane and walked towards the blazing fire. The old woman stood motionless watching with close scrutiny. He could feel her eyes burning the back of his neck like bad sunburn. Even as the man bent down to the fire place and stuck his hand right into the heart of the flames she just stood there awestruck not rightly believing what was happening right in front of her eyes.
A moment past and the man’s right hand was still in the fire. His face remained calm and determined until at last he pulled out a blackened stub. At this moment the old woman dropped the tray scattering her own bowl of soup and cup of tea, staining the carpet. But before she could move the man in white lifted his cane and pointed it at the old woman with such precision. This time a jet of dark red shot out and struck her on the forehead. She froze in an instant.
“Don’t be hasty now, we don’t want any accidents now”, The man lowered his cane and pointed it at his blackened stub of a hand. This time a very faint jet of blue light protruded from the tip of the man’s cane and right before their eyes his hand began to slowly regain its plush and vibrant colour. The woman’s pupils began to dilate with fascination. As the last of the man’s hand was being reconstructed he took away his cane and with a little flick the old woman was squirming and gasping for breath on the floor. A sinister smile formed on the man’s lips like magic and he spoke with venom now.
“Get up you filthy little animal”, He prodded her provocatively with the end of his cane, but she continued to wraith on the stained carpet getting coup and tea all over her clean white cardigan., “Get up, stop embarrassing yourself”. A loud cackle protruded from the man’s gaping mouth. His hair began to turn a dark ash grey. Dark stubble appeared on his cleanly shaven face. His finger nails became long yellow claws with light stains of red on the tips. His two clear blue eyes turned into gaping black holes and his pearly white teeth turned into charcoal coloured fangs; with points that could pierce steel. His nice new white suit discoloured and turned a dirty stained black. And his oh so clean white spats faded into two short black unpolished shoes. Nothing of the man in white was left.
“Who are you?”, The old woman spat, “I have nothing of value my dear, I have nothing”. The man smiled a toothy smile and stepped forward a step.
“Oh but you do… my dear, oh but you do”, his smile widened with each step he took. Two more steps and he would be nose to nose with the old woman, “My name…”, The man’s smile grew to an impossible length as he took another step towards the cowering woman, “Is Kard Edmon and you will give me what I want”. The man’s feet now touched the old woman. Tears steamed down her soft clean face, she tried with all the strength she had not to cry but she could not defy her feelings. He prodded her hard in the ribs and she gave out a muffled cry.
“This will only take a second” the man in black said matter-of-factly.
“What are you going to do?” the old woman bawled.
“I am going to take your mind my dear, and fill you with emptiness” The man’s face contracted as if he were in deep thought, “I belive…”, His eyes rolled to the side of his head, “They call it Alzheimer’s disease, I think. I have lived long and I still do not know everything” He looked straight at her with a sinister stare. “And I want to know everything” The old woman’s eyes widened in terror as the man in black slammed his cane on the top of her head. A jet a white light shot from the end of the man’s cane and his hand shook vigorously. The eye ball on his cane looked around with excitement as blood trickled from the top of the old woman’s head. The blood turned dark black as it trickled out like syrup. An invisible force lifted the black substance into the air and it shot right through the man’s eye socket with such speed. His head jolted back and his legs buckled. He hit the floor, hard and his eyes began to water.
What has she done to me? The Man in black thought in sudden panic. He had been doing this for centuries and always he had felt better, more powerful. He bolted to his feet and scrambled to the door. He kicked aside the drooling old woman and opened the front door blindly. The fresh air hit him like a wall and his legs turned to rubber. Hundreds of terrible images flashed like lightning before his eyes, yet he saw each one perfectly.
He saw a young girl running down the stairs excitedly to find a Christmas tree with nothing underneath. She quietly sat down on the olive coloured couch and waited. When she heard a noise upstairs she ran excitedly towards it, she bumped into her mother halfway up the stairs; whom reeked of alcohol and stale cigarettes. ‘Mum’ the little girl cried, ‘where have you hidden the presents?’ Her mother looked at her uncaringly ‘Oh … sorry I forgot’. The image faded and was replaced by the same girl, a few year older now standing in a pool of blood as her mother cradled a small boy from which the blood was coming, and saying through a river of tears ‘Johnny?, Johnny?, wake up, mummy didn’t mean it’. The image faded again and this time was replaced by a woman much older now standing over a grave hidden half in shrub that had the names of her son, her mother, her father and her two brothers chiselled into the marble. And she knelt by it with her face in her hands, regretting giving them all a holiday that she could not come on. For they had been in a plane crash on their way to America. Dozens of tragic events shot through the man in blacks mind as he now writhed on the grass that turned to ash on his touch.
The man in black wept, he wept for the woman’s past that he now had as his own. He lay on the discoloured grass a changed man as the old woman lay on the stained carpet singing childishly to herself ‘The wheels on the bus’, for now she was free.