12 Oct

Girl child monochrome photo article-2165262-13CD3F2E000005DC-198_470x635_zpsf9dcd1ba.jpg

The child was dirtier than most – filthy you might say if you were being kind – and she stood in the broken doorway with tears creating paths of clean skin down her face.
“Is it true what the man said, mummy?” she asked.
“What man, scruffilocks?” grated her mother weary of doing the housework in a world so filled with the detritus of people that nothing stayed clean, not even for a moment. It all seemed such a waste of time. But that’s all time was good for: wasting. After all, breathing was well-nigh impossible even now the war was over.
“That God died,” said the child. “That there isn’t any God any more. That we can do what we please, and no eternal punishment. No writhing in torment. No Hell.”
“What man was it that said such a terrible thing?” demanded the mother, collecting a sack of cockroaches and washing them down the disposal shaft.
“It was the man in black,” said the child, blinking. “He comes by every so often, always in black, always singing, always happy even though he tells the most dreadful stories.”
“And he said that God was dead?” asked the mother, pulling the filthy child gently towards her and stroking the lice in her hair with a troubled hand.
“That he did, mummy,” smiled the child. “He said that once upon a time there was a serpent, a great snake, and it gobbled God up and spat his bones out, and that made the mountains…”
“It’s just a silly story told by a silly man…” her mother comforted her by saying. “God can’t die! Not even if an army of serpents come by and try to gobble him up! It’s plain impossible, so take no notice of the silly man and his mindless stories…”
“But he showed me, mummy…”
“What? He showed you stuff? Now don’t you go looking at stuff strange men show you!”
“He showed me the mountains…”
“Silly child! You have to travel for days before you see any mountains, past the glowing seas and the ruined forest!” chided the mother.
“Or close your eyes, and think…” whispered the child. “If you close your eyes and think … mountains … they’re there in front of you, huge as Universes and snowy capped! And the biggest one, the one that reaches highest, that’s the crumbling skull of God!”
“This is all too silly for words!” exclaimed the mother.
“And the smaller mountains … they are, mummy, they are the bones of God, all decaying, weathered, wind-swept, dusty….”
The Mother was about to clip her daughter round the ears when there was a knock at the door.
“Now who can that be at this time of life? Just you wait till I see what this is!” she stormed.
It was a man dressed entirely in black, save for the wan paleness of his face and the red fire in his eyes.
“Who are you?” she demanded.
“I am … looking for a believer,” the man said, his hoary voice like frost cracking on a broken window in a cold January. “I am looking for she who sees the light. She who understands great things. I am looking for Innocence….”
“Just you go looking somewhere else!” raged the mother. “There ain’t no innocence here!”
“No. I have come. This is it,” sighed the man, his eyes flickering like a bonfire in autumn before the atmosphere failed and fires would no longer burn.
“What is it you want?” demanded the mother, irritably.
The man held his hand out towards the child and she glanced back at her mother. Then she took the two steps necessary and took the man by his hand.
“I’m coming, daddy,” she breathed. “We will do it again, like you promised.
“Almost all of it,” hissed the man, “but not quite…”
© Peter Rogerson 12.10.14


2 Responses to “THE MAN IN BLACK”

  1. pambrittain October 19, 2014 at 7:23 pm #

    I do hope this will be continued.

  2. Peter Rogerson October 19, 2014 at 8:00 pm #

    I;ll have to return to it then…

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