Hyperion – *fiction based on a real person, for whom I’ve drawn up a personal profile* (Knight-type)
Soldier H.’s wars are behind him. He never really recovered from them, but he tries. Tonight he’s not particularly successful. He leaves his friend’s wedding with an urge to shut himself away from a shallowness that chokes him, but an old cripple intercepts him at the train station. H. feels pity for the old man and entertains him in what he believes is the babbling of a pruned brain, but the reality turns out to be much different. The old man holds H.’s greatest secret in his hands, a secret that will unlock a side to him he preferred forever buried. The scene depicts the pivotal moments.
It’s three in the morning, and I must leave Luke Cavanaugh’s wedding. I hurry by picturesque little houses with colorful lights at the windows, snow crunching under my boots, and replay my good bye to Luke’s family. My refusal of their hospitality may have come across a little blunt, but then again, so did their war-story-mongering. I couldn’t have taken the “Wow’s” and “Holy shit’s” of Luke’s Hollywood-educated brothers, not again.
Things look different at the train station. No trace left of “pretty” and “fairy-talish” here. The place is deserted, the walls crumbling. Lonely mast lights haze in, adding to the eeriness rather than easing it.
I sit on a bench made of now icicled iron, facing the tracks. The cold bites through my long coat. I try to defy it – the winter, the past, the resignation. My muscles contract at the icy breeze when an old cripple with a cane emerges from the chipped station doors, the sight of him a bit unsettling.
He stops, looks around, fixes me. The picture makes me feel guilty for having gotten away with both legs, and I try a friendly smile. He responds with a disturbing display of bad teeth and the glassy gaze of a nut. I’ve had enough of spooky to last me a lifetime, so I stand and take some distance from the one-legged mummy with a cane. I come to a stop, eyes ahead following the rusty tracks, but keep my ears sharp just in case the mummy can still swing a bat by some miracle.
“Hyperion,” he rasps behind me. He sounds no less disturbing than he looks. Great, a loon.
“Dracula,” I return the salute. The guilt is still here, and the least I can do is humor the poor soul.
“Not quite your thing, weddings, is it?”
“How about vodka?” I can picture him with the cane under his armpit, metal bottle in hand.
“Not my thing either.”
No way, he’s a pimp? I lose a small laugh, but catch myself fast. “Not tonight.”
“You’re a hard man to please, I see.”
“Are you trying to please me?”
“I rarely try, Hyperion, I mostly coerce.”
Those words. Too familiar. They send my blood boiling. I’m no longer cold. My jaw tightens, but I keep still. He’s just a loon.
“Then coerce me, Sir.”
“I have something of yours. You better turn around before I break it.”
“You go ahead and break it, Sir. I don’t mind.”
“That bold mouth of yours. I should slap it bloody.”
No way he could’ve known these words. These exact words. My body stiffens, my fingers seeking to pierce my palms. I want to turn around, so bad. I sink my head and press my lips, determined beyond reason not to give him satisfaction, but the urge grows.
“You better stop right there. The situation might get out of hand.” I can feel my lip curl over my teeth, and my tongue testing their growing sharpness.
“I can club you down with one hand, and yet you defy me,” the poor bastard blurts.
There is no such thing as a third coincidence. I can feel the creature inside boil to the surface. It exhausts me, I can’t keep it down. I turn to face the doomed lunatic, aware I can’t help his sealed fate. And when I see what he holds in his free palm, the creature bursts out. I try to stop as I launch toward him, and drop on one knee to break the run. It’s too late. My knee slams like steel in rock, and the floor splinters under it.
*Liked this? Please share your feelings in a comment. Hyperion’s whole story will be published in a Christmas Story Book for Adults on the 15th of December, so stay tuned for Gift Promotions and other Goodies.
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