the onks

the onks


The vicious little thing, that looked like an ordinary eight years old boy, had a rotten day. He had the onks. Gnomes were prone to get the onks, especially  the young ones; and being a member of the royal family did nothing to prevent that. It was bearable in human disguise though, mingling, watching these oafs, and doing little mischiefs was entertaining enough to stand the bad days.

Continue reading “the onks”

Out of the Carnival and the Soul

a Chuck Wendig prompt (202 words) - here

“Pablo? Wake up, you’re gonna be late again.”

Only one person says my name like that. That soft, honey like sound, the smile at the end of the sentence. She always used her smile as punctuation.

So thirsty…

My love is gone, and I’m alone with a big ass hangover, sprawled on the couch. “Gimme five more,” I mumble out of habit, only five more minutes…Damn Carnival, I drank enough to pass out.  How did I make it back then?

I try to remember her scent and pretend I can reach out, and touch her hand, to hear her breathe. Maria…

But she’s gone.



I had the strangest dream. I have made a bargain with an old gipsy last night. My smile and my soul for another body and soul. I still hear the old man laughing his head off…

“Come on, hon.” The couch moves, a weight shifts to hoover over mine. Fingertips  and a brush of coconut scented hair brush my cheek? What? “Did I scare you?” I… I can’t believe it!

“Maria… How?” She’s here? Her warmths under my palm, her face… It’s real!

“Oh, sleepyhead. It was just a bad dream.”


green goes great with bruises

  • content warning
  • HWWF 2015 assignment

„Nice…” Mary licked her lips with concentration. She bowed down over her right hand. „Careful now!” She whispered to herself.

The nail polish brush stroked evenly over the arch of her right middle finger. The creamy butter yellow of the coffee table clashed with the sparkling aquamarine of her nails.

The dull metronome on the kitchen wall ticked away a bit too loud. Shabby thing, she thought. The new photo wallpaper of King’s Cross Station, she put up herself, didn’t go well with the white and green porcelain clock. Mike brought it back from some garage sale. Yesterday she saw a golden rimmed station clock on the shopping channel. That would go just fine.

On the big TV screen, Emily Garner’s Jewelry Show flickered on mute. Pearl earrings and pendants waltzed into full shot. Mary leaned back and chuckled. Those earrings were pricier when she bought them last week. „Ha!” She felt lucky, hunting down the best bargains. That was her world. She could start as a pro-shopper. That’d be a great job, her dream job, in fact. Being the wife of a private eye was boring her out of her mind. Mike was nice, but never glamorous, or mysterious. Mediocre at best. The last time he wore a smoking was at their wedding.

The keys chimed as her husband rammed them into the lock of the entrance door.

„Home, hon!” Mike’s voice disturbed Mary in her admiration for the peridot pendant on the screen. She turned up the volume.

„Kaaay!” She said, eyes glued to the TV.

„Dinner?” Mike asked head poking into the living room, but Mary didn’t answer. After waiting several seconds he went investigating the kitchen instead. Nothing. The stove was cold, and there was nothing prepared in the fridge. The freezer was stuffed with frozen lasagna, and something that looked like mac’n cheese. “Dammit, Mary.” He closed the freezer and sighed. He had enough of these kind of welcomes. He felt like someone had put his head into a bucket full with ice, and his heart on the grill. „Hey, Mary? What’s for dinner?”

„What you order, Mike!” She hollered from the couch. He just stood there, head hung, arms perched on the kitchen counter. He tried to breathe in deeply. This wasn’t what he wanted to come home to. After all those hours in the car, on stakeouts, he longed for something home cooked. For something that could warm him, from the inside, like the thanksgiving dinners his grandma had made.

Mary was different. She ate like a bird, when she wasn’t on some weird diet. Everything to fit into her fancy clothes. She had absolutely no passion for cooking, music, or movies. Everything he loved. The only thing on her mind was money, jewels and fancy clothing. She worked hard for her ideal beauty, that he had to admit. But beauty was only skin deep.

Mike picked up the phone and dialed. „H’lo, yeah. I’d like to order a big pizza. Yeah, uh-huh. Top it with extra cheese, anchovies, olives, onions, salami and bacon.” Mike walked over to his wife, poked her on the shoulder, and pointed a finger to the phone. She shook her head. „Yeah. To 2352, Remington Avenue. Yeah, okay. You too.” Mike put the phone back. He thought of a shower, but decided to have a smoke instead.

Mary didn’t allow him to light a cig inside. It made the curtains yellow, she used to say. Somehow, it was convenient. He wanted out, so he could breathe again. He grabbed the lighter and threw a look at his wife, marveling at some stupid jewelry. Shopping channel. Again. He decided to take a closer look at their bank account. He’d be damned if he missed her addiction, or something. His shoulder leaned against the door, he slowly pushed down the handle.

In the living room, Mary snuggled into the couch cushions. That necklace with jade and gold was breathtaking. Only four hundred ninety nine! They were kidding. So cheap! The dark haired model wore it with a dark green satin robe, with a deep décolleté. She looked astounding. Mary scrambled to get the phone. She dialed.

The entrance door blew open. The sound made her jump, and the phone fell to the ground. „MARY!” Mike roared from the entrance. She stood. He was hunched over, carrying something big and heavy in his arms.

„What the… Stop that! Don’t carry the trash back in!” No! That was a human! It dawned on her the instant she closed her mouth. Dirty sneakers, black jeans, black hoodie, a hand flopped down and dangled lifeless from Mike’s grip. She couldn’t look away.

“Come on! Don’t just stand there!” Mary didn’t move, eyes bulging. “I found him outside, behind the trash cans.” He groaned, the man was heavy.

She scrambled to make room. “Is he… Is he?” She stuttered.

Mike laid him on the couch. “No.” Now she saw, it was a young man, limp and dirty and senseless. Blonde hair, bleeding from several cuts on brows, cheek, nose and mouth. His face was blueish purple on the left side.

„Oh god,” she gasped, hands covering her mouth. Mike turned around looking at her. She’d pass out, if she had time to get worked up.

“Water, towel, peroxide. Now.” She rushed into the bathroom. Mike’s hands seeked for a pulse. His face relaxed, „strong and steady.” He stroked over the man’s brows with his thumbs, then on the jawline. No crepitation, that was good. His hands checked shoulders, elbows, hands. Seemingly okay. Nothing broken, as far as he could see. He pulled the lower eyelids down. White. Eyes rolled back into his skull.

Mary came back with everything he asked for. “Most likely, it’s a nasty concussion. Don’t worry,” the pained expression on her face didn’t ease. He smiled at her. She was pale, her eyes glowed with the fire he used to love. There was a glint of the magic Mary meant, so perfect, so kind and caring. She was still alive in there, just hiding all these years, in the skin of this person he married. He was relieved that it still existed. For a moment, he imagined Mary’s beautiful face and her burning eyes above him, glowing in the darkness, rocking above him… Rocking him. His mouth went dry.

„Hon, I’ll go check outside,” she looked at him anxiously, „please clean him up a bit.” She was just nodding holding tight the bowl with the water. He needed to breathe.

Mary knelt down beside the man. „Why us?” she asked. The man on the couch looked peaceful, like a sleeping child. In fact he seemed to be in his early twenties, a lot younger than she thought. Her fingers wetted the cloth. The smell was overwhelming. Carefully she touched the face. She could tell, it was beautiful, even with dirt caked on his temples and the back of his head. His brows were long, lips arched like a Mongolian reflex bow. Under her hands, the skin became brighter and brighter. She set the bowl down and cupped his bruised cheek with her hand.

His eyes flew open. Green!

That moment broke into her, like a green bottle’d burst into million shards glistening in the sunlight. She gasped. The green focused on her, it begged her barely audible. “Please…” How gorgeous he was… She’d cut herself on that green. How sweet that pain would be! The green hid again behind his eyelids. A tear ran down the bruised cheek. She felt the young man sink back into the softness of unconsciousness. Mary stared in awe. She smiled a little embarrassed smile. She blushed and wondered how anyone could hurt such a lovely being.

She took his hand and squeezed it. “I’ll take good care of you now. Everything is going to be alright.” She whispered into his ear.



The screen flickered to life. A simulation of the landscape hidden under the thick blue methane and helium clouds unraveled itself. My custom navigation grid stretched over it, and listed all promising magnetic anomalies in the partially viscous crust. Areas of seismic instability stretched further into the polar regions. That was what the analysis program showed me in the lower right corner. I threw out my right index and thumb and the writing faded away. I did not plan to stick around to witness any crust activity.

Through the bull’s eye the surface seemed so peaceful and lush blue. It reminded me of Earth. The upper atmosphere showed a relievo ribbon of white clouds further to north to our orbiting position.

What bothered me most were the atmospheric pockets and the wind velocity, unpredictable and vicious. Even the CPU had problems showing me depressurization timely. Scooter was approaching faster than the simulations showed. Something was off. I had less time than calculated. That peacefully looking blue under me was deadly. It was ready to tear me and my glider to shreds. If anything went wrong, I could only hope for a fast death.

To my right side the com came to life. „Crap,” I sighed. Of all crew members on duty it must be him.

„What did you just say?” Rains’s guttural voice filled the tiny cabin of my glider. I didn’t have time to put up with his yapping, so I ignored him diligently. „Decker? Protocol?” The best I could do for now, but he was one annoying fellow. „Do you copy?” I’d sign him up, if there was an Olympic discipline called annoying. I bet he’d be top ten. “Decker!”

“No time, Rains.” I needed to focus. „Buckle up!” This was going to be quite a ride. I pulled my straps tighter and started the sequence. The countdown appeared on the screen. Ten seconds to detachment.

„Decker! Is this your idea of—„ I pinched my fingers together and the tone died instantly. I grinned into the video feed and watched Rains ugly face deteriorate.

Five seconds. Rains was signing me something. First he pointed at me with his index, then he seemingly slammed his middle finger into the screen. Ouch. I only could imagine how pissed he must be, losing this bet to me, so I blew him a kiss. I got to be dolphin and he had to be mother hen. My name was going down in history, not his. The first human to drift with Scooter around Neptune.

Two, one.


A deep rattling went through my seat, and my stomach lifted off. My glider shuddered and moaned as the winds caught my wing panels. Rapid acceleration swept me to the left, and the glider bucked. Scooter’s vanguard storms caught me in a powerful stream. Air speed indicators spiraled insanely. Exceeding sound velocity! Already! Although I was sealed in properly, I felt the static charge stinging on my skin, even the air tasted sour. I imagined the sonic boom reaching Rains, making him spill his hot coffee.

Stabilizers were screaming, thrusters working at maximum performance. The blue darkened to a steel-gray. The slipstream sucked me down into the lower regions of the atmosphere and the storm picked up speed. The grey withered to a blueish black. The wind screamed around my little plane. Unbelievable! Lightning flashed inside, nearly blinding me. Everything shook, sounded as if someone was throwing rocks at me. Must be hail, methane hail. God of hull integrity stay with me.

Scooter was approaching. I was the very first human to meet it. The first one to see its funnel. Face to face with the to fastest cyclone in the solar system.


My cabin was lit dimly by the instruments and screens. The read-outs went head over heels. I couldn’t make out a thing, the information was changing so fast. Simulation toppled over simulation, illuminating the darkness washing in from outside. The hail went as fast as it appeared, leaving me with a cracked porthole. Between the towering cloud formations I was just a speckle thrown into a blender.

To my right Rains was still there, waving his hands frantically, mouth moving like a dying fish. I unmuted him, and a thunderous scream filled the audio feed. I jumped in my seat.„You—„

Rains looked as startled as I was. He furrowed his brows. The scream lowered in tone and volume to a metallic screeching and low-key buzzing.

„Wind? Interference?” I don’t know if I was audible. No reaction from Rains.

Then the screeching got louder and louder. It filled my cabin, my head, the console. It got so loud that I tried to put my hands over my ears, although I was in my suit.

I saw Rains muting my audio feed and staring at me.

The noise got louder and louder. It hurt. It clawed at my eardrums, tore on my nerves. The air felt hot. I smelled blood. Rains eyes bulged.

Can it get even louder? Nausea was on it’s way. Unbearable!  My stomach shook, my lungs vibrated.

I screamed.

I screamed at the noise.

I screamed at Rains.

I screamed.

Alec, the (war)time-tours guide

A Chuck Wendig prompt - create a character(283 words *IknowIknow*)

Ah, is this gonna be one of those interviews? I’ll have none of that. Thanks.

Of course I know what you wanna ask!

‘Sex, age, job, full name and shoe size? Pimples on my ass?’

Well? I’m a time traveller. Obviously.

Don’t stutter. Ugh … Please, could you stop wasting my time? You know what? Shut up! I’ll talk. I tell you something people never ask.

I travel through time. And it’s horrible.

I can’t shake off the wooziness. I’m nauseous nearly all day. Can’t eat or drink too much, cause I throw up.

I have to eat a lot of sweets, so my brain doesn’t crash after a jump.

My hands shake whenever I get stressed, and I’m stiff in the morning. And not the good kind of stiff. My cold joints hurt, my back aches and it stops when I’m moving. So I have to move. Constantly. I have to run, jog so I can walk properly.

Nightmares are my routine. 

How’d you feel, if you’d forget your daughter’s first steps, or her birth? Yes, I’ve been there. Seen her, laughed with her, hugged her, nuzzled with her and sucked in her sweet scent…

Tell me, would you trade those memories?

For money?

For some egomaniacs, who plays war-safari and kill, without risks? Cause they’ve got privilege, ‘n enough money to buy themselves the right to kill people.

I want to throw up, every time I see one of those sleek suits.

The doctors call it temporal multi-sensorial memory runaway. A special kind of retrograde amnesia.

But you’ve heard of time traveller’s disease, haven’t you?

There you go. Now do something with that!


A Chuck Wendig prompt - 2036 words
genre: supernatural horror - found footage


With a flicker of blue light, the screen comes to life. It’s evening, the streetlights flare on. The lens zooms in on an old, abandoned looking house, with bashed in windows on ground level. There is a wooden porch with some missing slats.

Someone smokes there. A little red dot gleams lazily just above the handrail.

There they are…“ A male voice whispers to himself. “Showtime.” A bush winks into the field of view. A shadow moves in front of the ember. Suddenly the cameraman shrinks behind the bush.

Click. The frame blacks out.


The camcorder glows, showing the facade of the abandoned house. The cameraman stands in front of the porch.

Finally!” Steve Garner bellows. ”You’re late! What took you so long?“ He moves from the further end of the ill-kept porch. „I said seven pm. Not eight thirty! Not fucking nine!“ He is getting more and more visible with every step.

Dude. Chill. Car problems…“ The voice puffs, as if pumped out. The frame shakes as he takes all the three steps at once up to the porch. Steve moves closer, nearly bumping into the camera. Tiny remains of the chipped white paint stay on the right side of his black T-shirt. The other man is half leaning half squatting near the entrance. His dark baseball cap reveals only the tip of his nose and  his stubby chin. Nevertheless, he seems to observe everything very intently.

Damon? Are you stoned?” Steve’s face comes closer eclipsing. The look on his mug is just for a moment the usual flashing smile. He brushes over his blonde hair and loses the mask of a decent human being. Anger burns though his blue eyes. “If you are, then this is your last gig. Ever! Now pull yourself together.” He beams on Damon, like a kid through a magnifying glass on ants. „Where’s the food? I’m starving.

A hand stretches into the lower left corner of the screen, holding two white plastic bags. Steve takes both of them and turns to the other man, handing him one. „Hey Vince!“ With a thumb Steve pushes Vincent’s baseball cap up his forehead, revealing his dark hairline. “Don’t just sit round, look alive. Can you take that off?” Vincent’s jaw muscles start working under his skin.

Locking eyes with the camera he growls, „Keep that outta my face!“ He does a death stare into the lens, then pulls his cap deeper.

Cut it out. Let’s eat,“ Steve puts his palm over the lens.


Hi! My name is Steve Garner. Welcome to Haunted Hunter.“ He flashes full teeth straight into the cam. That hideous smile makes the cameraman cringe a tiny bit. The Ladykiller shudders in the frame.

Disgusting,“ Vincent mutters and walks into the picture. He shakes his head and crosses his arm before his chest. The smile freezes on Steve’s face.

Tonight, Vincent, Damon and I are going to spend a night locked in this wonderful place.“ He waves at the door in the background. „Beware! The Old Talbot Mansion,” he lets it sink in. “We’re going to investigate the house from bottom to top. It has a juicy wicked past, with 22 confirmed deaths. Sprinkled with cruelty and torture.“ Steve turns around and walks to the door. The creaking planks sound like a wooden sigh of relief. „This is Vincent, our new clairvoyant. Straight from Transylvania. Vince, say hi!“ His yawn and the way he leans on the doorframe makes him look bored out of his mind. “He is our psychic rod, hopefully channeling us some ghosts or demons.“ The camera zeroes in on him. He winks, indecisiveness sweeps over his face. Vincent seems to be pondering what he is going to say. His lips tighten, then relax into broad smile. „See? No fangs!

Steve chuckles, „Did you just channel that joke? That was ancient!“ He holds up the key to the entrance and winks. „Let’s roll!


It’s dark inside. From the windows, the streetlights wash in. Damon kills the lights of the camcorder and switches to infrared mode. Steve closes the door behind them, and locks it casually, pocketing the keys.

On the screen, two greenish glowing backs appear. They walk a bit deeper into the building. The old wooden floor keeps whispering with their every movement. Vincent tests the laths, if they’re safe enough to step on.

Now we are inside Talbot Mansion, floor level.” Steve explains his plan to the future audience. “In the coming hours, we’re going to search the place for apparitions, orbs, disembodied voices and other paranormal occurrences. We’re aiming to record poltergeist activity on tape.” He straightens his posture. “Normally, we would start in the attic and work us through to the basement. However, the reports on violent deaths culminate in two neighboring rooms on first floor. Also the basement is famous for strange appearances and disappearances.“ He turns to glance at the camera with a knowing look, then wiggles his brows expectantly. The psychic stops, as if he has suddenly run out of movement.

„So, what do you say, tiger?” Steve pats Vincent’s back. “Where should we start?“ The touch seems unpleasant, his shoulders and arms tense up. Hands clench into fists. For a moment his limbs twitch and his back straightens, making his silhouette taller and bigger, than before.

Shhh,“ Vincent hisses.

Eyes rolling, Steve retracts his hand from the shoulder. He takes two steps back to the camera and whispers. „This is why I have invited this psychic bloodhound.” He throws an annoyed glance to Vincent. “I was told he’s always on spot. We let him concentrate on the energy and advance then.” He smiles friendly. “Cut!


The frame moves to show the ancient parquet flooring and the tips of two pairs of sneakers. “Don’t you ever shush me again!” The outraged voice belongs definitely to Steve. “Capisce?” The tips of the sneakers move out of view. “You can kiss the money goodbye, if you behave like a prick!

What money,” Damon asks.

None of your business!” Steve barks back.

Seriously! What mone—

Something’s wrong…” Vincent’s barely audible voice trails off, “different evil…

What?” Steve clicks his tongue. „You’ve picked something up? Already?“ He shakes his raised euphoric fists. „This is gonna be so good! Quick, Damon, get me back on.

The frame swipes across the dark room, approaching a smiling Steve. He covers nearly all of Vincent’s back. “Till then let me tell you about this Manson.” He inhales, “It was built in the 1831, by the rich Barnaby Talbot. He made his fortune with sugar, rum and gum. Reaching everything he wanted to, he decided to get married. A beautiful young girl named Elisabeth G. Wilson was the chosen one. Coming from a well known, but poor family, Elisabeth must’ve thought she hit jackpot.

In one corner of the frame, tiny yellow orbs appear. They rain down on trembling Vincent. One appears to fly right through his shoulder and disappear before entering Steve. “Hey, Steve…Look!“ Damon’s voice interrupts the history lesson. “We’re already deep in.” A hand with a pointing finger stretches into view. “Orbs! Up there!” Steve’s head flies up, following the finger.

He pulls out a digital camera and takes some pictures. “Nice!” He nods to himself. “Do you hear or see anything unusual? C’mere ghosts. C’mere and show off. C’mere demons. Come’n get us…

A barely audible guttural vibration stops Steve and Damon. „Was that you?“ The frame pans to Vincent’s back. “Did you just growl? Please, tell me you growled.

What’s with him?“ Damon’s leery voice shakes. The picture swings back and forth between Steve’s confused face and Vincent’s back.

We go.“ The psychic starts walking down the hallway, rapidly disappearing from view. „Now,“ his voice demands from the darkness. The cam shakes as the two man scramble to follow Vincent deeper into the building.

The frame glitches on the top and bottom. It fuzzes out, dances and topples. The footage stutters, distorts and flickers. „Hey, what the—“ Damon grunts. The video blurs, the focus seems to be off. „Uh, hold on!“ He shouts,„I think the cam’s a goner!

Steve’s figure fades into the darkness of the stairway. The hall flickers again and blacks out.


Go!“ Vincent’s distorted screams filter through the misty static. „Go! Go!

Two fuzzy men are running down the stairway. Their movements flicker through the footage. Elbows, backs, heels and sides tumble through something fog like. The handrails and steps are barely visible for the cam. They’re wheezing.

Move!“ Damon passes Steve and overtakes Vincent. The video shakes violently. The fog lightens somewhat, as they move downstairs. They’re running like hell, taking two or three steps at the time, wide eyed, pale and sweating. The old wooden stairs shake in the rhythm of their stomping feet.

Is it following?” They keep looking back. Even though they see nothing, they don’t stop running. They aren’t even slowing down.

Vincent glances upstairs into the thick darkness that seems to be slowly descending. His face can’t hide how worried he is. The video catches Steve’s horrified expression.

The psychic clutches at his right side. The sight of his dark glistening right hand shocks him visibly. He opens his mouth, to call for help, or to say something, but nothing comes out. He can’t keep up. Nearly tripping, he catches himself on the old wooden handrail, that shakes and crumbles under his grip. He crashes into Steve’s back, both nearly fall over.

A horrifying death scream rips the air apart, then chokes off into silence. Both men freeze in motion. They are at the end of the stairs. Steve gapes into the lens, pale, trembling, jaw slacking. His eyes turns to stare at something in the solid darkness. There’s nothing. The camera zooms into the descending black mist. “It’s moving,” he breathes.

Damon finds his mouth first. „What the hell was that?” The frame moves to Vincent. “Vince?” Damon’s voice trembles. ”Man? What was that? Bloody hell! What’s happening?”

Steve whispers,”It’s coming to get us …“ Vincent nods, unable to speak. The sound of marbles falling down the wooden stairs echoes.

Come on!“ Vincent shows Steve his bloody right hand. „Oh my God!“ He gasps and presses his hands on the right side, where Vincent’s shirt glistens. “Ohmygodohmygod.” Drenched in sweat and cold to the touch, he starts shaking. „Why didn’t you say something,“ the additional pressure makes him cringe and hiss.

Interference,“ Vincent rasps weakly. „Too late …“ is all he manages before his knees give out. Looking down on himself, he notices his limbs started vibrating violently. Not sure, if it’s caused by the blood loss, or the presence, or the haunted place, Vince slacks into Steve’s arms.

Above them the stairs creak and moan, as if something heavy has been dropped on them. And that weight was moving. The dimly lit hallway pokes into frame. „Fuck!“ Steve grabs Vincent, hauls him over his shoulder and runs as if the devil is right after them, which probably is true.

Vincent can’t tell, he is busy bleeding out.

Steve reaches the door.

Lock’s jammed.

Of course!

Damon rattles the door. “Lemme out!” Nothing.

The house doesn’t want them to leave.

Vincent mumbles something. He swears. What is that? French? Italian?

The creaking and breaking of wood is much louder now. Vincent mutters Romanian curses into Steve’s back. He has to handle things his way, if he wants to survive. 

The keys!” Steve screams. What he can’t see, is the massive wall of darkness two feet behind them. Damon shrieks when he catches the black mist on tape. “No!

Vincent shuffles and wiggles from Steve’s shoulder and brings his back to his. “Don’t look!” He groans to Steve and the camera. “Whatever happens, don’t look!” Facing the phenomenon he rips his shirt open. His pale torso reveals banning tattoos over his thorax and abdomen. „Not today, fucker!“ Vincent growls.

The darkness stops.

He whispers a nordic prayer to Fenrir, the wolf swallowing the sun, and howls.

The ripping sound in his throat transforms from a howl into a piercing banshee shriek. The frame glitches in the moment right after the blackness advances upon Vincent’s pale silhouette.

how to disrupt “the sacred silence” and ruin mankind

- Part 1 and 2 -
- Part 3 -

Sneeze minus six minutes.


Harold grunted heaving his ample body up the narrow stairs. „Damn you stairs.“ The chilli kicked him in the guts repeatedly, before he noticed the dark silhouette staring at him. It stood quietly at the stairhead, in complete silence, waiting and staring. „Captain Pain, sir. You wanted to see me?“ Harold gasped. He felt stupid for being startled like this.

„Move along. I have work for you.“ The dark figure said and turned to walk away. The movement looked so slick, as if it was floating away from the stairs. Harold stared at this for a second or two, and thought of the first time he met Pain.

That one damned November night… On Earth, to be more precise United Territories, Bay area 132-ish. Harold wasn’t sure, he had been wandering the whole night, climbing fire stairs, hiding in the shadows, looking for the perfect spots to observe his favorite apartments, or spying out new ones to visit. From time to time he encountered other humans on the rooftops, but he preferred not to interact to with any them. The night was his hunting ground, and had no impulse to ruin it with the babbling of other humans.

He had been followed for quite a while. Harold knew that, felt that, under his skin, on the back of his nape. It burned like a short circuit, like a loose wire. The hot tingling  warned him whenever he was in danger. He had dubbed it his “creepomatic sense”. He remembered the soft gleaming of a cigarette always behind him, in some distance…

That blasted night he kept himself busy. His mind didn’t come to a rest after visiting his favorite apartment. The peaceful elegant atmosphere, the paintings, the books, the liquor – it usually calmed him down, after a stressful day at the museum. He remembered, that particular day was hellish. Someone clogged the ladies lavatory on second floor. Coincidentally several school classes visited on that day and some jerks blew up a stall in man’s restroom floor level. What followed was an ungodly mess he had to mop up, and all the toilets had to be sealed off that day.

When Pain got to him, he was in a vulnerable position, bodily and in mind. He had been ignoring all the unusual noises and his creepomatic sense, which was screaming at him. He was deliberately kneeling – also very unusual for him- ready with the lock and turning the doorknob. Fifth door, ninth lock, his mind kept on blustering.

Suddenly he became aware that someone was standing behind him, but far too late. The side of a hand came crushing down on the side of his neck, like an airplane onto a mountain side. Short violent blow, well placed.

The world went black.

In his first shock he nearly shat himself.

Coming to tied up like a the cattle he saw in old cowboy movies and documentaries, he knew that something awfully bad was about to happen. Either he was going to be branded or arrested.

He thought a detective, or worse – the police had him. Though the universe being the universe and having a sick sense of humor, the police would have been the best thing happen to Harold. But not with this universe. No, sir!

The man bringing him to bay seemed a dark muscular blur with the most disturbing grin he ever saw. It was Pain himself frowning at him, patting his head. He looked so damned proud of himself that Harold wanted to punch that face with a chair.

Pain sat on the floor in front of him, in the hallway he just opened the door to, in his hand a can of beer. What followed was half an hour of calling names, negotiating, which involved being kicked in the nuts and bowels. Harold shuddered at the memory and decided to push those thirty minutes back into the furthest corner of his mind. His subconscious stated that there was an agreement at the end of that half hour. He would keep opening doors, never asking and that he would follow Pain wherever he went, as his servant or lap dog or whatever pet Pain felt suitable. In exchange he wouldn’t be arrested, nor going to jail. Even better he was under Pain’s protection, or supervision – you may call it what you like…

Nothing much changed since then, maybe the lighting got better, and he had a ridiculous amount of space between him and other people’s apartments, the Earth in general.