Strange Character, Part II


Part II, begins directly after part I

(Artwork by César Arias)

Part II

He saw the spire of his dorm poking over the luscious darkened green tips of the trees. An edifice of conjoined brick stout against the hazy reality of Virginia heat, and it was always cool in there, he remembered. It sometimes calmed him in a vague way, as if it could cool down his body to a normal temperature and kill me or my fellows; we flames who set fire to his life. But it was not to be for hope is as hollow as fear. He will have reason to listen to me once we get to the inner core of his tiny room, a one man kingdom.  Because I know it is there he dares to dream recklessly. Because I know there I will have voice to speak to his inner hollowness. I can give him remedy for his pain; I can give him power. Therefore It is my duty to vouchsafe for him a vision: power to the powerless, voice to the voiceless and violence for the rest. This is a tale as old as time itself, and soon it will unfold itself in a new setting much unlike my previous assignments, scattered like pieces of bone all across the sea of ages.

Students of learning take note, for you too are also unsafe as I follow in the footsteps of this one.

Yes, I am an agent to the celestial plane and I have sailed far in case none of you already knew. But today I play the salesman anew. The product is freedom and triumph over fear and the price is life. A special bargain offered to very few -he is just now entered through his own door!

The time is now.

Black Glasses closes the heavy dorm room door behind him. He moves to lock it. Soon, soon! I can feel my own excitement rise within me, like something operatic and full of doom. Yes, it is like the male opera singer voicing something dramatic and terrible, to shake the stars and soon to send some part of the world crashing down. I feel like this whenever I attempt to angle myself to enter into contact with a new mind, a new student ready to learn my doctrines.

He sat on his bed. And I sat next to him, the springs of the mattress creaking. For the first time he noticed me, and it was he who spoke first.

He was calm. “Who are you?”

“You know very well who I am.” I returned. “And I am here only for you. Only for you. The others are temporary; their happy lives will glide off the surface of life like rainwater. The earth produces billions of them. Their names will mean nothing.  But you-”

He finished for me “I am different.”

“Yes, YES.” I responded. “You ARE different. I can help you. I know how it is to eat the bitterness of life, to see the things you want and can never have. That is why I am here.”

“I hate them.” Said he in low tones.

“Why do you hate them?”

“I hate the way the sun shines on their faces in the morning. I hate them laughing in the cafeteria. I hate them fucking in the bushes. I hate them at the sports games. I hate the ones in the library. I hate the ones with good grades thinking good of themselves. I hate the smug teachers. I hate the foreigners trying to be as good as the Americans.”

“How can they ever think they can be as good?”  I asked.

“I don’t know, but them trying sickens me, and they fuck me over too. All of them and they should be the ones helping me. I hate them, I hate them all.” He shifted, then laid down on the bed. He avoided the dark spot on the blue mattress where he wet himself nightly.

“I can help you.” I said. I motioned at the stains. “This, I can end this forever. You will never foul yourself in fear again, no – indeed your enemies will have cause to dread your name and dread your words and actions. I can pick up your pieces and make you into a melody of fear. I can make them notice you and fear you – respect you. I can do all this and more, trust me. I will promise you anything you desire. Together we can be strong.”

“I hate them. I want them to know that, I want them to understand. I want them to see what I feel. Can you do that?”

“Absolutely. Is there anything else?” I responded.

“Can you…” He began to ask, as he thought back to the lovers he saw in their almost-hidden spot “get for me a woman. I’ve always wanted to touch real breasts. They way the looked at each other. . . was . . . something. I’d like to have that once.”

“Why do you want that?” I refuted. “That is only a distraction. Do you want to be a pair of cows like them fornicating in a field or do you want to be STRONG?”

“Can you do that?” He was apparently going to insist.

And I was bound again to tell the truth. “No, I cannot. Sadly love is something beyond my power. Love can only be given willingly, I cannot force man, woman, child or beast to love you – but only to tremble in your shadow.”

“What happened to your promises? Anything I desire? I want a woman, and I want one now.”

This was always a sticky point for me. So many of these angry ones crave love even as they spurn it. I have to direct their energies elsewhere. “I can help you. If sexual companionship is what you desire, that experience I can create for you. Sleep and you shall have it.”

“And what about the other thing?”

“About power?” I asked.

“About them listening to me.” he was impatient.

“Together we can make them listen. Eyes bloodshot and wide open they will listen and watch and feel. They will feel as powerless as you do now. That is one thing I can do for you, something no lover can give. They will experience fear and relive the crucible, the humiliation that has been your life, and at last they will understand. Will you agree to co-operate with me? To make it happen?” I took his hand in mine. It was cold and clammy. “We can build something strong.”

“Yes…” he began to tremble “I want to be strong.”

“We will be strong,” I said “Now sleep, and dream of the wonders that you can work.”  I laid the sheets over him, and before long he was fast asleep.

It was then that I began to lace his dreams with images, like seeds in the clouds to spurt fourth rain. These were new dreams for him, and a new mental horizon was going to expand for him tonight.

A world of pain and bitterness was enfolded in his brain – the only reality he had ever known. He sailed through a sea of wild and vain dreams torn from the minds of prisoners to be executed tomorrow. First there was a sky of grey, rent by churning, boiling clouds brewing as before a deluge. Then: the earth split itself in chasms – and wells of blood shot up from the sullied terrain. Then: the hypocrites and the Christians, the rich and the poor drowned away into the abyss of their own terror deep and profound, a cycle which feeds into itself forever. Violence begot of paedophilia, a wound festering in his hollow soul for years. A victim longing for a victory. I whispered that we would commit them all to his judgement. Justice and vengeance would rain from the skies to drench their upturned faces with their own unworthy blood, then death, wonderful and merciful would sweep down the curtains of life on them, on him, on the whole mess. War which is the same as life would end for everyone, victim and victor alike. I whispered to him other comforts – some secret words in confidence which I shall not utter here.

After that, his mind at ease, I gave him a woman in his dreams. Her flesh was soft and at home, pliant to his every touch. They had sex and for the first time he didn’t piss in his bed, but rather woke up in a pool of his own semen. For one time he had made it work well enough, and for that he was grateful.

Over the next weeks and months he grew to be more than a student to me. He was my son and my lover. I nurtured his hate through phases of rejection and even phases of faith, and from this ruin he rose strong and towering; a colossus and a stone face with no feeling or remorse. Wonderment befuddles me to look on him for he is a doomsday machine as sure as nuclear bomb. To think that it was my very whisper that shaped him into this.

Just now I sent him away, probably for the last time, intent and confident. The course of events has been set into motion, and I must melt away to choose another. Yes, even if he fails I must choose another. This is my work, for I flit among the stars and the nations and the races of every place, and I hold the ears of the powerful, the powerless and the destitute in my hand. I am the last refuge of those who are afraid and the instant companion of those who are desperate. I am hate.


Strange Character, Part I


Strange Character

I met him first in the campus cafeteria, his head down and sunglasses on, dreaming dreams violent and intense. Then I just watched for a long time. I watched as he didn’t answer the white shapes floating around him, and I watched as the hours passed on and on into the noon and into the dusky fall of the sun and he didn’t move a muscle. Head down and sunglasses on he was unaffected by the ghostly vacillations of happier people. It was then I knew I had found a good one.

He moved and I moved too. He pushed aside the infantile light blue plastic stool and raised his begloved hands from the surface of the cheap white cafeteria table. Then with slow deliberation he stood tall. Of course he didn’t see me. The laughing asses around him took notice of his dark body for the first time, just then.

They stopped Haw-Hawing through their thick southern accents and for a second, and experienced a flash of tiny doubt. The were possessed of an idea that perhaps this comet, this asteroid, this burning flame from outer space would land on their planet and end their age too. They took notice of him all right. The freak that horrified the white beautiful blonde was here, terrifying in outsider power, part barbarity, part mystery – the appearance of a crude and menacing loner. For a second he was both King Kong and a nether shadow. The white girl to his left moved aside for a moment. Her boyfriend moved his right hand to her shoulder, shielding her weakness with his own. Now they were silent. He turned his back to go, and they blanched.

I was delighted with my choice. A bold fierceness so wonderful one rarely finds. I rose too, unseen. We simply had to meet.

Along the halls he passed alone. The merrily laughing half-drunk dough faces of the others reflected off his dark glasses. And through those glasses you could see the whole world reflected, though twisted with dark intent and scowling hatred. Out of that building he passed with deliberate strides like a foreign object into the night and across the natural plain that separated the dormitory houses. His small frame was hidden under layers of dark, rough, cheap cloth. Now twilight was come. Its shadows spread and hid him well, and all seemed to fade into the gray.

He glided past lovers in sheltered glades whose bodies were reflected and changed in his glasses. He saw their bodies mingled and favours of drunken college boy-girl love exchanged with mouths and genitals, favours he himself had not yet enjoyed and a surge of envy coursed within his veins. His veins surged like the storm; they were suddenly too tight, screaming for space.

I know very well this is how it happened, and this is how he felt, because I, following along with likewise darkling step, felt the flood. I felt a red tide of envy seethe within him and saw his shoulders crimp feeling pain, then I felt a silent boiling that threatened impetuously to crash over the horizon, but not today.  No, he was not yet ready to become what I wanted him to be.

Still there was something to keep it in check. A kernel or seed of hope, a bolt across the door of his wounded heart that kept pain from spreading into action. It was then, too, that I knew my work. I would throw open the doors of this one; so that into the world his hands would fly and do my work and commit swift enormities against his varied and numerous enemies.

Lovers in glades take note now, for you are no longer safe as my shadow follows his.

He stopped and stared at those lovers, and he dressed as dark as the night and as a result was not seen. His eyes were fixed, bulging, hidden. He was surrounded by shadow. He reached downward on himself in his envy. That envy aggravated by pornographic lust conjoined a violent, secret fantasy and resulted in a bliss. He watched the male cum, his cock like a pistol shot her in the face, once twice and again and he was gone. Gone before they even knew he was there to watch it all and wish he could join in. All they heard was the zip of his zipper.

And then he was off. The campus was huge, twice as large as Central Park, so there was a long way to go. He had already had a little fun at least, though tainted with poisonous spite, so he was in a mood to watch those rich white animals play. Play they would for him, animals in a zoo, trash, whores, skanks and hicks. Next he saw a group of young men, their bodies golden yet dimmed in the night, and the last weakling rays of the sun reflected on the clouds in a brilliant red, and shone them up like creatures not of the soil. He saw them playing with a ball, some game.

One took notice, and immediately like a shadow before a light I had to flit away like a leaf, and blown by the wind I found temporary home in a faraway tree. With eagle ears though I could hear what passed, and as since the moment I had first seen the image of my young man’s eyes through those dark glasses, I felt the sea of his feelings as acutely as my own. I saw as he saw, felt as he felt – hand in hand we experienced this world.

The one who took notice, walked up slow and graceful with sweat all the while moving slowly across his sculpted chest, evidence of his active friendship and interest in the sane and social world. His face was obscured by the shadows, but his words were clear enough.

“Hey man, you wanna play?”

There was a long pause as my student, over there, faced by an outsider went through silent crisis.  He was brave as a shadow but when confronted would shrink. This was important. I would not only have to build his stature, but also build his will. From this meat soup of a coward boy I would make his mind into a fang of venom to sink deep within the bodies of others, and make them his. Through a storm of steel and blood he could be purified away from the scared and frightened slave fearing his own creeping inferiority. Paradise for him was possible, and in my hands, the gift.

My student stumbled. “Stop. . .FUCKING ME!”

The ball player was profoundly confused for an instant, but responded nonetheless, “Dude I just asked if -”

“FUCK you.” Said the black glasses, with a gut full of fast defiance, and turned. In that second retort was none of the shy pants-wetting self pity of the earlier panic. It was the taste of fear that quelled his own; that was one good thing to notice also.

I was pleased. I knew that my student, black glasses, though he lacked his own reserve of fast and ready power could at least draw the strength of others and in so doing become strong and steady – able like a rolling ball of earth to gather more and more until reaching a certain point. I was gathering this information of him to make him unstoppable. I needed a plan, and I would soon apply to him the alchemy that I knew so well, to transmute pain into power, my only gift. I flew down from my perch now to rejoin his side, silently. We walked.

He passed the jocks and they dropped away, as they twittered mindlessly over his inappropriateness, and entered into the woods, which enveloped him. Yes, they surrounded him, but did not touch him. The night trees swaying in the breeze could not move him; nor any birdsong did he hear. Only rage filled him, something hard, tight and deep down always pushing tight skin, wanting to break through. As oil on water, he oozed by, unaffected by all – a time-bomb which could but listen to its own tick. My assignment was to nurture this, to bring it to fruition.