The Heavy Thin Man. (Short story)

The Heavy Thin Man:

The ground shook as the frail man walked, his eyes black as the night sky above him, but missing the stars that gave it its comforting glow. Only flickering flames reflected in his eyes as he trudged forward, every step shattering asphalt and crumbling the glass panes of storefronts like sandcastles. Streetlamps flickered and failed as he walked, bulbs overloading and exploding as this man who appeared so outwardly normal passed them.

His tattered coat was haute couture, of the homeless variety, fingerless gloves revealing stained fingers that moved up to scratch at the stubble on his weathered face, his lips moving soundlessly. He paused at the steps of an unassuming shop, still lit at this very late hour, black eyes focused on the door. Unlike the chaos around him, the shop remained placid and calm, the rattling of the ground seeming to not effect it at all.

Whether this upset the man or not, it could not be told from his expression which remained as blank as ever, one foot lifting to the first step. The response was as immediate as the thunderclap that follows a bolt of lightening, but unlike that this reaction was without sound. The man was cast backwards, suspended in mid air for a brief instant before his unusual gravity slammed him to earth with preternatural force, spiderweb cracks exploding across the ground, stopping abruptly at the bottom step of the stoic shop.

The door opens from within, a soft chime which announced the entrance and exit of customers echoing up and down the street with a soft, sweet sound. A man exits, his plain white shirt and black tie slightly rumpled and as unkempt as his hair. “Well, I can’t say I’m surprised to see you,” he says as he leans against the frame of the door. “I do have to say I wasn’t expecting you this soon.” The deceptively thin man at the center of the pavement spider-web sits up, black eyes alight with flickering flames, his voice like the grinding of flesh and bone and stone.

Perianserathmetan.”

The foul-speech taints the air and while the man in the doorway doesn’t flinch, he does twitch a finger in the thin man’s direction, “Manners, sir. You are on a public street.” The man that was not a man, or was perhaps more than a man, cocks its head at an impossible angle and replies in the same mind-numbing tongue.

Geranthanilganferanth.”

“Yes, I know why you are here. You cannot have her,” said the man with the black tie and unkempt hair. “You know the rules, my home is a sanctuary. Now, I will thank you to leave before you expend my hospitality.” The thin man rises up from the cracked street as though the effort cost him every ounce of strength he had left, dry and bleeding lips parting to laugh as the foul-speech is vomited forth again the tone far more threatening this time.

Serahngthyalithgar!” it uttered while taking a step forward, fists clenching and unclenching with obvious intent. The man in the doorway took a step forward too, letting the door behind him close, his dark brown eyes glittering with irritation.

“You’re about to cross the line, Daemoriathenac,” the foul speech tainting his own tongue for the first time in what felt like ages. It tasted of death and rot, stank of evil and felt like eating shards of glass. The thin man took another step, cackling softly to itself, dark ichor dribbling forth from between cracked and ruined teeth. The man sighs and straightens his tie and steps down to the bottom step. “Can’t say I didn’t warn you,” he mutters as he takes a thin cigarette from a pack in his shirt pocket he slips it into his mouth.

Five steps away, the creature visibly strains against the gravity it produces, the ground buckling beneath its weight, cracks in the skin it had procured appear and foul-smelling fluid seeps from them. Four steps. The man on the bottom step before him would be easy prey once it reached him, for certain. The man snaps his fingers, a spark of flame igniting and setting the cigarra alight, the fragrant smoke inhaled, but a tiny bit of it curling up and away, almost in slow motion. Three steps.

The flesh-sack inhabited by the other-worldly creature was starting to come apart, the foul ichor spilling onto the street now, leaving a snail-like trail with each weighted step. Two steps. The man on the steps exhales the smoke towards the deteriorating body advancing towards him, ignoring the grasping hands that stretched out towards his throat. The smoke invades the nostrils of the thin man stopping it dead in its tracks, gagging it so that it could not speak. “I wonder how you are going to explain to your master that you not only failed, but actively violated the truce?” The ground at the feet of the thin man begins to glow red, the scent of boiling ichor and melting flesh hidden by the sweet scent of the young man’s cigarette. Panic enters the eyes of the thin man for the first time, the young man smiling at it in a way that was almost condescending.

“The problem for you is I have no intention of letting him know. You’re just going to disappear… and he’s going to think you deserted him.” The young man stubs out the burning tip of the cigarrette on the thin man’s forehead, which caused him to shudder and convulse in place as his flesh slowly turned to ash. The young man watched, watching as an invisible breeze blows the fine particles down the street.

He sighs and shugs, flicking the cigarette butt into a drain. “Why’s it always gotta be the hard way?” he muttered as he turned and opens the door to his shop, a soft note hanging in the air as the door closes behind him.

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