The Laughing Man

Were it not for our chance meeting that night I would not be here to tell this tale. He walked past the alley just as one of Gordon’s thugs raised his gun to my head. I saw him just before I shut my eyes in anticipation of death. But I’ll never forget his expression, an unsettling mix between disgust and pity. And a perverse excitement not even the Devil himself would show.

Time stood still as I waited for the bullet to enter by brain. And in that eternity I heard, not the sound of gun fire, but the grotesque snapping of bone and tendon, the sound of meat falling to the pavement. Then, a laugh. I opened my eyes and saw him sitting in front of me, glaring, laughing. Of course, at that moment I had no idea of his intentions. Fear lingered, grew. This man had saved my life. Why? Only to end it himself? To derive sick pleasure from my torture? The insane laughing grew louder. No longer did I hear it with my ears alone, but from the very depths of my soul did it seem to emanate. Surly this was my end!

Then nothing. The absolute silence broke me free from the shock. The alley was devoid of life, aside from myself. My five assailants lay in lifeless heaps around me, their heads and arms twisted in unnatural directions. In all my 30 years, in all the nights I had seen death, this was only the second time I had lost my dinner. Having regained my composure, I fled. Home was not far, but it was far from safe. Gordon would have me hunted.

February 18, 2007 • Posted in: Fiction

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