The man, dressed in a perfectly fitted one of a kind coal black suit stood tall and slim at the other side of the room, right hand in his pocket,
languishing against the back side of that infamous desk. In his left hand he held a fresh lit cigar. He didn't hold the cigar in the normal way, he
held it with a flat palm, tucked tight in between the index and middle finger. As he put it up to his mouth and pulled, the teeth on the other side of
the palm somehow held onto that ever-present smile. His eyes penetrated those of his predecessor sitting uncomfortably across on the far side of the
round room. He leaned forward and walked to the wall where an old record player sat alone atop a thin legged coffee table and pulled across the stylus
and started a record.
The other man nervously repositioned himself in his tan leather chair and looked down at his own cigar. Over the last month or so he had been called
in to the office ten or fifteen times. More so than he had in the previous six years all together. But there didn't seem to be any good reason for the
visits. It was starting to seem like he was being put on display for some sort of sick pleasure that he could not figure out. Of course it was
probably just paranoia though. The smile on this one put everyone in a state of paranoia. And the way he was always putting his hands in his pockets.
Nobody in this business ever put his hands in his pockets. People of their stature were too busy, busy with their hands. The hands were a tool of
distraction, or used to communicate the real demands that lingered behind the sweet words of a forked tongue.
When he looked back up, the man in black was still standing at the record player. He seemed to be all neck and ears. His hair was kinky, but so short
and perfect, it was almost like a second skin. At least it had grown a little grey during the last five years of his tenure. If nothing else, at least
that made him seem a little real. What was he thinking? Was this going to be the moment where he explains the meaning behind all the strange visits
over the last few weeks?
The suspense was excruciating. He looked down at his own disheveled suit. He was sweating severely at the palms, beads were starting on his forehead
and his heart was racing for some gawd awful reason. Despite the cigar he could smell the leather in the chairs. He could smell the polish as well,
worked and rubbed into the chairs, couches and various other furniture by overcompensating manic hands. Come to think about it he could smell the
carpet as well, and the wood, the tiles, everything in the room. And that grandfather clock was pounding at a pace that seemed to drag the seconds
down.. "Tock... Tock...". His senses were on supercharge. Slowly the record player started a song. Some distant memory of the words of the song came
to his mind, but the piano music that played was sadistic and creepy, it reminded him of the twilight zone. ..."Nobody's heart.. ..belongs to
The man in black turned and came over to sit down. For a split second, his eyes strayed down to the book that sat on the coffee table next to the
bourbon bottle, glasses and the ash tray. He poured both glasses, picked one up and leaned back in his chair. Crossing one leg tightly over the other
he looked up, showing all those teeth. All those teeth.., God there had to be too many teeth in there, and that smile, it was like the Cheshire Cat.
"Bill." He smiled and bared his teeth as his head tilted slightly upward, eyes locked. He sat there waiting, staring, smiling.
The music plunking away in the background was unbearable. He decided to just speak what he was thinking and see what came of it. "Sir. I was just
wondering about all of the recent visits we've had. To be honest, I'm not completely sure why I'm here. Two or three times a week, you've invited me
over, but it seems, all we talk about is basketball, weather, or some other mundane subject. I don't want to be wasting your time, but I feel like
there is something going on, but, I just have no clue what it is."
"I like having you around Bill." The smile springing into action as soon as the words left his mouth. "But tonight is a special night. I brought you
here tonight because I wanted to share this monumental moment with you. Nobody else in this place interests me in the way that you do Bill. Nobody
else is real. You wear your heart on your sleeve, Bill. When I'm with you I can see the torment and the uncomfortable struggle that you have borne for
all these years. You're the only one around here that has ever had any idea of what is truly happening." He picked up the book, reached out his long
arm and held it out. He held it in outstretched fingers that were long and dark, finger and nails that were unconditionally perfect.
That book. Bills heart completely dropped. Fear rushed down through his body, cold and numbing. That book. That book had been the beginning of
everything that haunted him. It was full of nightmares. Things that could not be true. Things that if were true could not be believed. The air turned
to salt. His lips stuck to his teeth.
"Go ahead, take it. Have a look, there are some new additions."
"But Mr. President?"
Again, the smile.
He took the book, broke the cover and flipped through a couple of pages. It was not the same book. It was the same book. But the things it contained
had been altered, and corrected. Each chapter had been finished, each story had been worked out, each mission accomplished. He turned to the back of
the book, to the timeline. When he had had the book, the timeline had ended in the year 2055. That was the date that all of the scientists had said
would be as far into the future as the human race would go, given that nothing catastrophic happened. The scientists had crunched all the numbers.
Global warming, mass pollution, ecosystem collapse, peak oil, the slowing of the oceanic currents, the collapse of the dollar. It had all been in
there, among hints of other more nefarious things that could never be thought about.
But now it had been changed. The timeline ended with a date, Jan 1 2014, and the words. "Begin the reaping" in bold red letters.
Bills head was reeling, he could barely hear that miserable song with the ringing in his ears.
He closed the book and sat it on the table, putting his forehead in his palms. He tried to force out the ringing, tried to regain his composure and
looked up at that smile, that wicked smile, like an upside down umbrella made of ivory piano keys.
"Sir. Where are my wife and daughters? I haven't heard from any of them in over two days. They haven't returned my calls. Whats going on?"
"Don't worry about them. They're fine. They were flown out to Denver yesterday morning."
"What? What do you mean? Denver? Why wasn't I flown there? Why weren't YOU flown there?"
"I'll be there"
"Sir, whats going on, please?"
The man in black tipped back his glass of bourbon, sat the glass down and leaned back in his chair. He held Bills gaze for a moment and looked as if
he was admiring the finest piece of his own life's work.
"You know it's all owed to you Bill. We moved the date forward by 40 years all for you. 40 years, do you know what that means? I'm going to get a nice
long vacation now. The council has convened, and decided that enough work has been done."
edit on 30-12-2013 by Quauhtli because: (no reason given)
“I don’t know what you mean. What work are you talking about?”
The man in black took a long pull on his cigar, raised his leg and crossed the other one over it, leaned in and seemed to contemplate his response.
“We know what you’ve been spending your time doing Bill. We know that you’ve been researching and posting almost everything you can find on that
website you created after your terms were up. All those books about making ideas grow viral. You’ve got no idea what you started do you? In the
weeks to come, if we hadn’t moved the plan forward. People all over the world would be coming out into the streets. They would destroy everything
we’ve worked so hard to achieve. You’ve woken the sleeping giant, Bill.”
“You see, we’ve had to keep the masses asleep while they built our empire. It was always about the empire, Bill. For five thousand years, we've
grown the population, we've used the people to reach down into the earth and pull out it’s life blood. We used them to pull it’s minerals up to
the surface, to clean out it’s forests and bare it’s earth for us, We have created a blind society in order to make this planet suitable for us
and our children. We’ve waited so long, and we have hesitated about when the right moment would come, but you’ve chosen the time for us, Bill,
you’ve pushed our hand. Now it is time for the reaping to begin. We couldn't just sit by and wait for the people to wake up and claim what’s
rightfully theirs, now could we. We were unsure before, but now we are confident. We have no choice really, it’s time for us to begin.”
"Thank you Bill.” He leaned forward and tapped his cigar. The stone-like ash fell on the tile floor and broke like tiny grains of sand that bounced
off in every direction and floated up in a spiral. The lights in the room flickered twice then dimmed out. The cigar ember reflected off of the dark
mans teethe and eyes.
"History is like a good cigar Bill, it winds around and around and around, up and out in perfect symmetric circles, but it can never escape the
burning ember of truth that consumes it.”
As the hot yellow glow came in through the three windows behind the man in black, Bill looked first down at the ash still circling on the floor. The
grains seemed to accumulate and grow upward in a small spiraling cloud. He noticed that the mans shoes seemed to be fading into ash grains as well
and rising into the cloud, then his legs, then his body, rising into the growing spiral of smoke and sand. Bill looked up at his face and the last
thing he saw was the white teeth and eyes smiling with a light emanating from within. Just like the Cheshire Cat, brighter and brighter. Those teeth
and eyes staring back. But the face was gone. Everything was gone, just the teeth and eyes and smile, and then they were gone too, fading back into
the growing glorious light that came in through the windows.
edit on 30-12-2013 by Quauhtli because: (no reason given)
Nice, I'm trying to think how that would work without changing the title and half the story...
In my head, it's all clear, but it's the first short story I've written, so I'm not sure about how confusing it may be to someone reading. I'm
wondering if anyone picked up on who the characters are and where the scene takes place.
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