They said they felt a scorching passion—a wave of rage wrapped in a cloak of scarlet ribbons. Their tears were drawn by awe, rather than panic or apprehension. It was beautiful, they said. I requested one of the men on the old wooden benches to describe to me what he had seen, and, shifting towards him, noticed a misty glaze veiling his eyes. He was still asleep, lost within the ordeal. What an intriguing figure he was…absurdly tall, yet lanky as a brittle twig, with a shaggy head of charcoal locks. Even trapped in fog, his eyes threatened to escape from their sockets. It was an image of madness.
After a number of fruitless attempts to begin a conversation, I found it prudent to continue my interrogations elsewhere. I had taken only a single step when the nameless man recaptured my attention. As I turned my head towards him, he started to whistle a light melody. I could only describe it as haunting—childlike, but eerily so…a broken lullaby. I returned to the man’s side, but he didn’t seem to notice me. His eyes continued to stare ahead, and I could swear that they’d grown larger in the few seconds since I’d seen his face. I turned so that I could see his features more clearly. As I moved closer to him, I realized that his eyes did seem to be expanding, or rather, crawling out of their sockets. Somehow, I found it difficult to look away…
My breath hitched as my wrist was snatched in a bony grip, cold but moist with sweat. I made an attempt to pull away, but the man’s grip was unyielding. He suddenly stopped whistling and pulled my face towards his…then cackled. His eyes were bursting with pressure, but he didn’t stop staring at me. It wasn’t until now that I realized I hadn’t seen him blink once. Even as their host dashed into hysteria, the orbs remained open, bulging, writhing. In the midst of his laughter, he began to shake violently. His grip began to tighten, and I could only pray that he would die then. But his laugh was growing louder. And then it was only the two of us—this demented figure and myself. He started to sing.
“Come and play with Darling here,
Come and love me true.
Forget your pains and troubles, Dear
And surely they’ll leave you.
Your wishes, dreams, your fantasies—
I confess I know them all.
My sweet, surrender to these melodies
And die within my call.”