Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Hearts of Darkness, Part IX

His hearing came back first. There was a booming, a thump, distant vibration, then noise ricocheting in his direction. It was more rhythmic than chaotic though, almost like music. Breathing in, David caught the stench that triggered memory. The rot. He jerked away from the contemplations, feeling sore muscles beneath naked flesh. Wood pricked his skin, and glass, and cold. He creaked his eyes open to see a blurry room with skeletal walls and unevenly spaced floorboards. A gaping hole in the structure cast blinding brightness on his prone form. David tried to move again, and recoiled from the pain.

He remembered what would usually follow the disorientation and mystery. People with their hands on him, grabbing and pulling, faceless assailants that always ushered him back to the cage. The pain was much greater this time, and the soreness, to the point that this time, even though he knew they were on their way, he would not try and hide.
He had killed all those men, after all.

The stench made him frown. Made him realize that time was passing, and he could sense no one approaching. Just the strange, booming music, and now and again snippets of unintelligible conversation. David tried his eyes again, and found the scene around him clear and in focus this time. He turned his head. That didn’t hurt too much. At first, when he laid eyes on the very large man, he didn’t recognize him at all, then things in his mind snapped into focus, too.

Again, David tried to move, but gingerly this time. He groaned as he rolled onto his side, then screwed up his face as he sat up slowly. The man, the giant, was at one of the skeletal building’s windows, looking out. He seemed to have no awareness, or at least care, for David’s movements.

After David was sitting upright, panting from his efforts, there were footsteps. No, not footsteps. The building cried at each step’s application of weight on its old braces. The big man made no sound at all, unto himself.
David turned to see him moving in a wide arc, around and into David’s field of vision, but he was several rooms away, visible through the framing beams. Between two slats, the giant placed an old radio, and then turned it on.
At first, it was only static, and then, with a few careful adjustments, the device began playing voices.
More music. David had never heard Jazz before, but assumed that’s what he was listening to. He waited through the trumpets and drums and piano for things to make sense. He looked into the face of the man, and saw the same expression from… how long had it been? David opened his mouth, and the big man went back to twisting on the dials.

This time following the static was speculation between radio DJs about recent violence in Bay City. One person spoke about the police discovery of the bodies of several men on the top of a parking structure, and the other questioned if it related at all to the wild animal that tore through the shopping district. David remembered the concern and superstition the news people on the island would press into their words. These two were somehow more detached. They simply both agreed that people should stay indoors come nightfall, and that it would probably be another bad Bay City winter.

The large man turned off the radio with a succinct click.

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