Wastrel, he lent up against the damp, brick wall, as though basking in some ancient, opulent palace.
“Are you ever gonna get off your arse?” the older man scowled, pausing in his sweeping of the roadside.
“You ain’t the boss of me,” the youth replied.
“If he catches you, you’re a dead man.”
“I’m trying to look out for you.”
“Either try harder, or clear off. Leave me to catch some rays, old man.” The youth pulled his skeleton bandana down over wicked eyes and pretended to snore.
“That’s it you little snot, I’ve had it. You may think you’re just it, and you’re right, I won’t tell the boss, but he’ll find out. He ALWAYS finds out.”
“Pft! Do one, why don’t you. I’ve got me some ladies to charm,” he sneered, lifting his bandana up enough to wink an eye at three passing beauties.
“For crying out loud, Pete, they’re some of HIS girls! You got a death wish?”
The youth gave the girls another wink, slapped each of his biceps, then sauntered over to the old man. Grabbing him by his wrinkled throat, he said, “What’s he gonna do, kill me again?”
It was the reflection of the girls in the old man’s eyes that got Pete thinking. Either the old guy was shivering violently, or they were? The beauties backed away into the depths of those old pupils, as they turned from onyx to red and started to contract to tiger-like slits. Pete didn’t let go though. Oh, no, much to tough for that. Afraid to show weakness before those he sought to impress, he tightened his grip. When the old man did not react, he tightened it some more.
The old man took the physical abuse without complaint. He even smiled politely to the girls, who all bowed back.
Pete didn’t understand; he was a knew arrival. But when he tried to raise his fist to strike the old man only to find he couldn’t move it, he suspected the truth. His eyes closed, or tried to.
“I offered you help, friendship, advice,” came a voice of shale. “You refused it.”
“Too late boy. You’ve been judged unworthy, useless, foolish. If you won’t work, can’t work, don’t work, there is but one use left for you.
When the fires started, the skin burning off the old man’s exterior self, his real body stood revealed in its place. As the maw that had almost swallowed the universe, pinprick teeth mixing with dagger-like incisors, opened to greet the youth, he paused.
“So, you think I can’t kill you again, eh?” came a voice this time of honeyed silk. “I shall feast on your ignorance for eternity. Every, single day of it,” he laughed. But it was an awful laugh, a terrible laugh, as the city, the girls and all hell began to burn.
The first thing the youth once called Pete heard, as the agony of his initiation morning in hell was complete, was his own bones being crunched upon. The second, his soul.
(Image courtesy of loveblack on deviantart.com)