Read The Night Walk Men Online

Authors: Jason McIntyre

Tags: #thriller, #suspense, #life, #train, #death, #history, #destiny, #thriller suspense, #twins, #rain, #storm, #weather, #mcintyre, #jason mcintyre, #obsidion, #fallow

The Night Walk Men

BOOK: The Night Walk Men
5.84Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

 

The Night Walk
Men

 

A Novelette by

Jason McIntyre

 

 

<> <> <>

 

 

Published by &
Copyright
©
2011 Jason McIntyre

Smashwords Edition

 

 

Fiction titles by Jason McIntyre:

On The Gathering Storm

Shed

Thalo Blue

Walkout

Black Light of Day

 

Learn more about the author and his work
at:

www.theFarthestReaches.com

 

 

All rights reserved.
Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part
of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into
a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means
(electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise)
without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner
and the above publisher of this book. Thank you for respecting the
work of this author.

 

 

<> <> <>

 

 

First: The Fuse Is
Burning

 

You want to chat about the
weather first?

Well, fine.

We can talk about that
first. If it’s important.

Before that, though, you
need to know one thing.

This is going to be
painful.

This is going to be a
bowling ball dropped from waist height on your toes. A dentist’s
chair plus a drill plus small talk. This is going to be coming down
from on high. Or finding your spouse in bed with another. Or
murder-suicide. Or heavy metal from the neighbour at three in the
morning. This is going to be the doctor telling you it’s
inoperable. Or a chemical burn on flesh. Or pepper spray and a
wrongful conviction. This is going to be a fire eating your life’s
work. This is going to be Your First Time. Or Your Last Time. This
is going to be twelve fresh body bags going under the yellow tape
and into the house at the end of Sheppard Street. This is going to
be malevolent eyes in the dark staring down into a crib at a
screaming baby. This is going to be painful.

But we can chat about the
weather first. That’s no big deal.

I’ll start by telling you
something you didn’t know, something you’ll probably think is
trivial. Something that even your local weather man likely hasn’t
heard.

More people die when it’s
raining. Did you know that?

Certainly, when it’s
oppressively hot for days and days, even for weeks at a time,
you’ll hear about the old and the infirm and how they just can’t
make it through. How they’ll lean back in a chair, fade away and
expire. That happens all the time when it’s hot. And during the
holidays, that’s a big time for us too. You’ll have large numbers
of folks simply switch off like bulbs in the attic. The lonely and
the depressed, they’ll up and do something regrettable while
they’re alone or they’ll succumb to sheer emotion – two outcomes
that don’t offer an “undo” option.

But it really is raining
when the lion’s share take that last bow. There’s just something
about it, something that doesn’t jive with human guts. Dollar for
dollar, day for day, soul for soul, it’s the rain that finishes
most life sentences with that final period. It’s the patter of
water on pavement, water from sky onto road and roof, water against
the clapboard siding of an old home that brings most of us out to
do our Work.

Be aware. When it’s mild,
when it’s temperate, we’re there. We’re always there and that’s a
promise. But when it’s raining, we’re there in droves. We’re there
for keeps.

That’s a
guarantee.

You want to chat about the
weather first?

Fine. We can definitely
chat about the weather first.

 

 

<> <>
<>

 

 

Second: The Gathering
Gloom

 

This is the story of a
beautiful young girl named Gabriela who would live a beautiful life
but take a bad step.

And, before details of our
fair young one, you want to know who I am, don’t you? You want to
know who I am and what I have to do with all this – what I have to
do with our dear Gabriela.

Well. All I can say to you
is: In due time.

You’re not ready just
yet.

But I will tell you. No
wink, no smile, no foolin’. I’ll tell you everything you need to
know.

In the meantime, though,
I’ll start by telling you some other necessary pieces, things
you’ll want to keep track of, things that matter in the grand
scheme. Now, don’t think I’m being morbid, but I need to say a few
things about Death.

Death has no prejudices.
None that I’m aware of. Well, unless of course you count a
discordant bias for the elderly. Or that heaving soft spot for the
unhealthy and for the careless.

I should tell you that
I’ve
seen
Death.
I’ve seen Death nearly every day. Just today, in fact, I witnessed
Death walking down McMurchy Street. In what city, I cannot recall.
And for what purpose, I cannot tell you. But at what time,
that
I do remember. It
was just before high noon and He was there, moving south,
determined. If you had eyes and were at my side, you’d have seen
Him too. He might have been searching for a sick child, might have
been hunting for a young fellow who didn’t look both ways before
crossing.

A crow voiced his concern
from a still treetop. A windchime rattled to life and sang a tune.
There He was: plain as the day was blue, a whirling dervish. A
presence. A storm. Just a tall shaft of invisible breath, drawn
from nowhere, seen only by its dent in the world. There, on that
street, it was a tiny tornado, a hurricane of force the size of a
large man, or maybe two small ones going piggy-back. It grabbed
litter and dust and gravel from the gutters, hailed it like
bullets, threw it like darts in a spectacle of fury and
concentration. Around and around and around.

Just the wind, you ask?
Just a torrent brought by nature’s fingers? Well, I looked around
and the day itself boasted of no winds, no breeze, no scented push
from the west. There was no rustle of leaves – not even at the
crow’s perch overhead. There was nothing but silence and stillness
all around. So I say no.

The crow could feel it. So
could I. And one day you’ll feel it too.

 

 

<> <>
<>

 

 

In the beginning, He
rehearsed his discourse but now knows it so well he can say it
without flinching, backwards and forwards. He will not well up with
tears when He arrives to say his piece. He’s done this too many
times to let it affect his thinking.

And what is this
discourse, this piece?

Imagine, if you can. He
may hunker down beside you and whisper it in your ear, unseen to
you, invisible, but heard clearly. Or He may stand before you and
shout it like judgement. Or He may pass it to you in a song note on
the skin of a breeze. But the discourse is always the
same.

 

“Someone dies,” He says.
“Every day, every minute. Every continent, every island, every
everywhere. Could be you. Could even be me. No one knows for
certain at this late hour. But I am contrary to you in every way. I
am black volcanic glass to your white palomino skin. I am Obsidion
and I am eternal. But I am not immortal. I can die. I see but am
not omniscient. I can be blind. And I am not alive but I live. I
walk at night and when the rains come. I am a foot soldier in the
ever-stretching, never-ceasing de-cade. I equate what is unequal. I
simplify what is convoluted.”

 

What does it mean? Well,
I’ll answer all your questions soon enough. You have my word on
that.

But in the meantime, you
should know that He tells the truth. He can’t help it. (And neither
can I.) It’s bred into him, it’s as much of who He is as what He
does.

He
is
contrary to you. He
is
the Tall Dark Figure
to countless. He
is
Obsidion. That’s his given name though he’s been called a
hundred different things. By a million different men and by a
million different women. Some have called his kind the Perpetual
Guests or the Foreigners Afar. During war time, the worst stretch
for His kind, when trenches and mass graves are filled with bodies,
some began calling his kind the Night Walk Men. You should know
that he
is
one of
many. One of an innumerable militia.

 

 

<> <>
<>

 

 

Again, forgive me if this
comes across as gruesome, but you have asked so I will do my best
to answer.

Two dogs had to die in a
suburban neighbourhood near Bellingham, Washington before any of
these wheels (or these words) could begin turning.

It was a Sunday afternoon
in July and Obsidion was finally in search of His own
understanding. He had been doing this for so long and was near his
own end. He was heartsick, couldn’t seem to keep moving forward. He
needed to know one simple answer: could he step out of his charge
to find solace from the things he’d done, from the things he would
one day do?

You should know the dogs
were a vicious pair, a Rottwieller and a Bull Mastif named Deus and
Machina. They didn’t so much live as they existed, surviving from
meal to meal in a neighbourhood renowned for its problems. Deus and
Machina had the run of five conjoined backyards along a gravel
lane, burned out dumpsters and the train tracks. Plain and simple,
they were a security patrol for the owners of those five houses. A
handshake among them agreed that a good loud bark and a good deep
bite is better than any alarm system set to alert a sluggish police
force that wasn’t allowed to draw their weapons anyway.

Their master--their
first
master--was a vile
woman who taught them to crave raw carcasses and praised them to
snarl at passersby. If these dogs were ever to get out, to get past
the chain link fence, or manage to finally leap it, the other
neighbours all feared their children might be the first to get
mauled. The block lived in constant fear of Deus and
Machina.

As the sun stood tall in a
deep blue sky, Obsidion descended into the long shared yard. He
knelt on the grass. And the dogs could smell Him, could sense Him.
But could not see Him. He spoke to them, tried to clear their minds
but their minds were muddled, troubled, made unreasonable by
madness. They were too far gone, Obsidion decided. The two dogs
were riled by Obsidion’s presence, stirred to movement and noise as
if by a coming storm. They growled and bit at each other. Saliva
blew outward and yellow teeth grabbed at mangy coats. Their
barking--their
fighting
--roused the neighbours. Windows opened in back
bedrooms.

“Someone dies,” he said to
the dogs, “Every day. Every minute.” And when Deus and Machina
dared come close to the Tall Dark Figure, He snatched them up, each
violently by their collars. He squeezed Deus until his neck broke
and then He let his own teeth sink into Machina’s gullet until both
dogs whimpered and fell away from Him. He knew the madness in them
was not their fault so he took them as gently as he could. And then
He looked up at the sky overhead.

He expected to hear the
clouds rip open and an arm of wind to reach down for Him. He’d
heard stories of it happening like that. But nothing appeared.
Somewhere, a bird chirped. The day stood tall as it had before. And
His question had been answered.

He left the dogs there.
Their first master appeared in the yard and ran to her puppies. She
began to sob. She laid down in the hot green grass with them and
closed her eyes as she cried. She never saw what had silenced
them.

 

 

<> <>
<>

 

 

I can hear Him, as clearly
as if he was standing beside me. Montserrat would say this to
Obsidion in his plight, this to Him as He cries:
Come now, o brother, come! O brother! Why does
your heart fill so with tears? How now, brother?

And Obsidion would ask why
he needed to carry on, why these tasks had been thrust upon
him.

BOOK: The Night Walk Men
5.84Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Fever by Gow, Kailin
At First Touch by Tamara Sneed
Another Small Kingdom by James Green
The Cortés Enigma by John Paul Davis
The Decision by Wanda E. Brunstetter
Shadow of the Wolf by Tim Hall
Death in a Family Way by Gwendolyn Southin