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Infernis – Chapter Two

September 23, 2012

The man was clearly from India. A Sikh or Hindu. He wore a cloth around his waist and a turban, but nothing–or almost nothing–else. He was trying to sleep or meditate on a some sort of grass mat.

He was poor if this was his home. More like three walls and a rag hanging where there should be a fourth. There was not much of a roof. It appeared as though a giant hand had ripped it away to see what was inside, or a colossal foot had casually knocked the roof and wall away and moved on, whatever it belonged to hardly noticing what it had done to the tiny man’s property way down there.

Despite the condition of his hovel, the man had electricity of a sort. He had two wires attached to his right hand at the wrist and again three times along his central finger. They almost touched at the tip of the appendage and the wires ran from his wrist to his elbow and then to an odd, rusty box, half obscured by trash.

There were flies. Occasionally, one would land on some part of his body. The man winced at the insect’s bite. The right hand would move over and the wires would spark, disintegrating the blood-drinking pest.

But that act would leave behind a blackened welt where the fly had been. A carbonized bump on his left forearm. Then one on his right eyebrow. The left shin. A black blister on his lower lip, which began to swell.

The smell of burning flesh and ozone began to pervade the area. There was no wind to either force the hungry winged insects away nor to blow the smell and smoke away.

As this continued, the man began to transform. His smooth, aged brown skin became a casing of charred, bumpy leather in the shape of a man. The flies finding places as yet untouched by its brood and the sparking wires and attacked his whole body save the right arm and hand where the wires were attached. The rate at which this seemed to occur increased until it the motions were a blur. Hours passed in less than a minute.

Finally, little remained the resembled the man but a smoking effigy. His friends, neighbors, and even family, if he had had any of those, would no longer recognize him. Any passerby would not believe this seared, lump-covered bag of puss had even been a man at all were it not for the curiously untouched right arm extending out of the oozy carcass.

Far, far away, a figure walked. He, or it, walked in exactly the same manner over and over, The thing walked without variation unless some object at the side of the road required a shorter step, a slight turn to avoid. Then it returned to the normal pattern: a slow, even sort of stumble.

There was a noise. Or was it a voice? It did not come from the figure. As it made sound, it changed.

“…hssszzz eyez. Haz handz. Pricked, duzz not bleed. Tickled, duz not laugh. Poisoned…we do not die.

“But wrong us…

“Our name is Legion for we are many.”

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From → Infernis, Novels

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