Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #84
He did not even blink, merely sighed.
“Ah… So you are my apparition tonight.” The Climber stood frozen as the man sat up and went to his bedside cupboard. He pulled out a bottle of something thick and brown along with two cups.
“Why do you wish to torture me so, spirits of my past? You do realize I did it for your own good?” He seemed so… old. His back sagged and heaved as he talked, he carried weight on those thin shoulders. The Climber lowered the antler. What the hell was he thinking?
“You know, when I first took ownership of this place, no one told me about the men up higher. Until I received my first requirement.” He spat out the last word, almost as if it was foul tasting in his mouth.
“I know you are not real, but it helps sometimes to talk to myself, hm?” He poured two cups full of the brown liquid. It oozed into the glassware, thick and viscous. Light played off its foul looking surface. He took one cup and downed it in one swallow, grimacing as he did. Then the other.
“Tastes like it was scraped off the ass of one of those sheep, but it’s the only alcohol around here. Every night I have a figure visit me. Those who I kid myself into believing I save.” He tilted his head back, closing his eyes and massaging his temples.
“My first requirement, 10 fresh candidates. Preferably children. God what was I thinking. It arrived in a paper letter, paper! Signed with real wax. That was when I was told of the flip side to being mayor. The ‘Tax’ as they called it.” He rummaged through his drawers once again, pulling out a rough paper letter. Almost in tatters, wax seal cut and smudged.
“I gave them what they wanted, each month, for ten years. Until I stopped. I came to my senses hm? That was when they started sending heads. Every person I passed on to the top, kept in frozen chests, sent down the supply chute with my name on the lid. Faces still screaming. I… I tried sending them the requirement again but they just sent back the fingers of those children. Written with their blood on the letter were the words that still haunt me to this day. ‘Too Late’.” He took a large shuddering breath. Mustache quivering as he did so.
“I tried convincing those who went up, tried to tell them that they shouldn’t, they wouldn’t listen. So I started doing what I do know, putting them to sleep before they can be hurt by those monsters up there.” He paused for a second, this time locking his gaze with the Climbers. His eyes were watery and sad.
“The question is, am I any better than them?” He dropped his eyes, ashamed. Suddenly he stood up, eyes flaring now.
“So strike me down my ghost! Kill me! For then I can finally be released of my guilt!” He threw the glasses at the wall where they shattered into a fine dust. Panting. Chest rising and falling rapidly.
“Aye, but you are not real. I only speak to myself.” That was the moment the Mayor noticed that the antler was missing from the wall.
“Y-you are real! You survived!” His eyes were wider than moons. He fell back and crawled up to the wall. At that moment, the darker voice took over in the Climbers mind. He pressed the antler close to the man’s neck as he leaned down. Dried blood flaking off of him. He must truly look like a ghoul.
“Show me the way to get out to the next plateau.” The Climber hissed at him in a hushed tone. Who knew what could be waiting on the other side of that door?
End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #84