The Messenger


I sat in the back of the taxicab, watching the light from the streetlamps being reflected in the water droplets on the window. I heard nothing but the soft drumming of the rain against the roof of the taxi and the low murmur of the engine as we drove slowly down the abandoned streets.

I looked ahead at the taxi driver staring straight ahead, and asked him if we were about at my destination. He took his hand off the wheel to pull the cigarette from his mouth and said that we would soon be there. Without another word he jammed the cigarette back into his mouth and returned his full attention to the road ahead. I settled back into my seat and began staring out the window again, hoping that the rain would stop, or at least slowdown, before I had to leave the warm, relative, comfort of the car.

Within ten minutes we reached my destination, a lonely house at the end of a small cobbled street. We had driven far from the city center, and we were now in the run down outskirts of town. Factories loomed in the fog and rain, while others remained hidden in the fog. The rain had eased to a drizzle, and a thick fog was rolling in from the docks just down the road.

I quickly handed the man his money, and got out of the car. He wasted no time in leaving me there; he seemed to be very anxious to leave that part of town. I could not blame him myself; this seedy section was known for its gangs and violence, especially after dark. I wasted no time in making my way to the front door and gently knocking, hoping that he would answer quickly.

The house was a tall, but slightly leaning mid-19th century affair. It was obviously once an imposing and impressive structure, but years without upkeep and the chemicals from the nearby factories had taken their toll on the ornate decorations. All that was left was a drab, peeling paint that barely covered the grotesque carvings that existed on the walls. The entire house made me feel uneasy, as if I, or any other mortal, was not supposed to be there. It had a very otherworldly feel to it, one that I could not attach to one thing about the house, but just the house as a whole.

I approached the house with some trepidation, and lifted my hand to use the ornate knocker on the door. But then I saw what the knocker was carved as, and withdrew my hand in horror. It was an unholy thing, a terrible face of indescribable evilness, and within its mouth it held the body of a person, maybe a child. Why would anyone carve such a thing? I asked myself, and decided to instead just knock sharply at the door. I was quickly let into the dark foyer. The door closed quietly behind me, shutting out the dim lights of the lone streetlamp. I was bathed with a perfect darkness, my host unseen and unheard. Soon the sound of a striking match and a candle flared to life. I then was able to see the face of my host, an aging man with a gnarled face and grizzled hair. He did not look exactly threatening, but I was nonetheless uneasy in his presence. The whole place exuded an air of the unknown, and maybe, the unknowable. I could not pin point the cause of this feeling, but something about the man, the house, the setting, all seemed wrong.

He silently led me back into a long hallway, and then off it into a sitting room. The room was, at one time, unquestionably ornate and stately; but time had been particularly unkind to it, and it had the presence of a place unlived in for many years. The man went and sank down into a leather overstuffed armchair, and I sat down on the edge of the dusty couch. I stared intently for a moment at my silent host, and then from my bag I pulled out an aging yellow folder, thick with papers.

The man was now staring at the folder in my hand, and I eyed him to see if he would finally speak. He still held his silence, so I thought it would be best to start, least I be there all night in the dreadful house.

“Excuse me, but I believe that you knew a Mr. Ellington?”

My host stared at me for a moment, and then slowly nodded his head.

“I am sorry to say, that he passed away last week, and his last remaining relative, his grandson, went through his papers, and found this.” I pushed the yellow folder a little farther on the low coffee table.

He just sat there, staring at the folder, not saying a word.

I rolled my shoulders and continued, hoping that something I was about to say would cause this silent old man to speak. His quiet unnerved me even more that the house did. “These papers were instructed to be burned, but Mr. Ellington’s grandson requested that they be delivered to you. Do you have any idea why he would have requested this?”

The man still just sat there, in his damnable silence. A panic was seeping into my bones, and ice water was infusing my veins. Why was he affecting me in this way? Why would he not speak? He sat there, not saying a word, and yet he was doing more damage to me now than a thousand years of torture could do.

Why was this? I had no idea. I could not think straight, I could not think at all. I was spinning down and down into a mental black hole from which there was no escape.

I had to get out; I had to escape this man and his booming silence. I let out a wild yell and flew out of my seat. I ran for the sitting-room door and yanked it open, before turning around for a last time and seeing that the accursed devil-man had risen from his seat and had taken steps towards me. His face was no longer the face that I had seen in the foyer. It was twisted, evil, and cunning. It was a face of a thousand nightmares of the peoples of the world. I couldn’t stand it; I had to get away from this grinning face of death. I tried to run through the door, but he grabbed me and pulled me back into the sitting room. I crashed into the coffee table and the papers in the fateful folder flew up and made a graceful arc in the air before raining down on me like the rain that still beat outside.

My head swam with colours and visions, and before I blacked out, I saw the front of a piece of paper that had landed on the floor by my head. It said, in the shaky and unsteady hand of a person gone mad,

I have discovered the truth; you will not have me like you had my uncle. Take my offering, the messenger, instead.


1 Response to “The Messenger”

  1. 1 K. Cooper
    February 2, 2010 at 1:53 am

    Very good ^_^

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