The Storiesadmin

The Glorious Silhouette Of Mrs. Malcolm Blackstone

The Storiesadmin
The Glorious Silhouette Of Mrs. Malcolm Blackstone
The Double
The Double

The sand feels like a few silken rings endlessly spinning round my fingers as I watch each handful slip through  and into the winds of this strange world in which I have come to live. As I stare at it, transfixed, it occurs to me  to share a piece of sound advice:

A wonderful way to consistently lose weight is to go for an evening walk after dinner. You see, it helps the digestion to walk atleast twenty minutes rather than to marinate in the slop of meat and curd with the immediate horizontal action of retiring to bed. To take that quiet evening stroll afloat in the echoing of thy boots upon the cobble streets in the moonlight- aye there's a proper bookend to the day.

Think upon it as a kind of dessert! After all, breathing in the night air has a decadent quality to it yes? As the old East Indian saying goes

'After lunch, rest awhile. After dinner, walk a mile'.

Don't ye feel a bit depressed following dinner with a positively sedentary activity like nibbling at crumbs whilst staring out the window? It is as though the world of the evening were hurling quiet taunts against the window pane, laughing at your awareness of something... Missing.

With every sunset there comes the spectral darkness casting her navy blue satin across the pink linens of the tranquil day. And again you scream until her powers of sleep take you. You awaken in the morning, relieved that you missed her playful enticement once again.

But are you relieved? Truly? Is it wise that you did not plunge once more into the Frey beyond the death of yesterday to add to the experiences of this- your only life? I'm afraid my lecture has gone to dim reflection- the reason I speak of this strange healthy new routine is because of a peculiar night I had not-so-long-ago.

This bizarre evening was unfolding normally enough. I had finished a sumptuous feast which included a crimson seafood pasta replete with clams and squid-ink-dyed- linguini in a most savory sauce, chased with Zin, some cheese cake and capped finally with aged dark Porto. I touched my napkin to my lips a final time, proud of the used knife and fork left in their correct positions on the dessert plate and kissed the experience a proper goodbye, tipping the waiter as he handed me my frock and bowler. Where once I took a carriage to my quarters I was now cheerfully game to continue home on foot. I had been doing this every night. I did this whither I dined out or at home. I stepped out of the bistro, bidding a friendly farewell to a couple I knew- the Blackstones-anyway, I was greeted with the warm glow of spritely street lamps. I set about listening to the echo of my footsteps on the precariously smooth cobble stones.

But something odd happened to that echo...

It did not cease. And it seemed to be growing louder. I caught a flicker in my periphery...nay. There was no one about me but my shadow. Silence. I moved to walk. Perhaps it was the echo of my friends the Blackstones leaving the bistro and the alleyways were just playing tricks on mine ears. Who knows...

My walk continued and I heard something small scrambling about near by- A  cockroach.  Heavens, he was rather large. The crawly was polite enough to hold fast, avoiding my path and though I went past him with less than a glance I secretly wished to squish him with the fatal tap of my cane. No matter. The stillness of the evening was eerily exciting. No honking of automobiles or romantic bickering of the couple at 94 Commonwealth street. Then there was a sound of trash rustling- a rat. Best hurry past that one. Alas, I was too late. He poked his shaggy grey head out of the offal and upon seeing me,  sauntered down to a spot blocking my way.

Rat
Rat

"Where be you off too?' Those black eyes seemed to ask, it's scraggly whiskers twitching inquisitively. Minding one's own business was not in this one's nature. I was now entertaining the thought of turning back  home. But as I turned- he cut an unsettlingly wide arc around to head me off, fixing me with those dastardly eyes as if to say "I asked you a question sir!". I admit I felt uneasy. I wanted to bring the silver of my handle from the side and send this bothersome rodent flying to a life ending splat against the--

And that is about when it happened.

And by 'it' I mean exactly what I just shared of my vicious wish towards the creature. One moment the twitching whiskered vermin was there. The next it was hurdling away from it's position and meeting the nearby wall with a sickening sound... except with no aid whatsoever from my cane! I started back instantly, then froze, watching this unfortunate ugly slowly slide down the street wall. Now I was feeling quite disturbed. Perhaps I had done it in my irritation with out thinking and somehow... without remembering? I retraced my route leading up to this bizarre event. I now was back to the place where I saw the cockroach. The large bug was right where I left him. --Wait! I stopped and went back to him. He- She- whatever IT- was DEAD; squished it seemed, by pressure applied expertly in the middle by an object pressed firmly on it from directly above... like the bottom of...a CANE. Well I didn't remember that one either!

It is nothing', I told myself and I quickened my pace. And I again, heard what seemed like another pair of foot steps clattering along the cobble stones the same as mine. I stopped and so did they. I looked around. Aside from the same peripheral brush of something where my shadow was- I saw and heard  nothing. I started forward with my cane then realized something. I whirled around and then glanced back at my shadow freezing at the sight of what I saw. I don't know why I caught it in that moment, spooked as I was but I caught it. I can no longer call this twisted entity my shadow. A shadow is a noble servant- taking on all kinds of unflattering shapes to follow you wherever you go. It subsumes it's better judgement at any moment to take your orders no matter how inconvenient the time. O how I miss having a gentle unassuming shadow.

This night I saw my 'Double'. He be the stuff of nightmares. Every rotten thing I have ever imagined doing to someone- I saw he was capable of doing it without hesitation. I shudder to think of what HE did with my shadow. And it was here that he had showed his hand. It was a flicker of a motion- as though he were correcting which hand held the cane. And it seemed the rascal had a southpaw. The realization of this- nay the very implications of this moment posed a threat to all my heretofore attained knowledge of this- our realm. It was too much and I admit I lost control of my proper bodily functions. And there went the Zin and Porto. My black trousers suffered the wetness with dignity. I regained my wits quick enough to leap backward where I found my way into the light of a street lamp. I was safe here. There was no telling what this apocryphal creature might do now that he knew I was aware of him. I breathed in some hasty adrenaline and bolted for main street. My thinking was that he might not try anything if it were a public place.

Mrs.MalcolmBlackstone
Mrs.MalcolmBlackstone

I was soon passing the bistro. And there were the Blackstones. Anon they were merely blocks from their apartment. They looked back at the sound of my clattering pairs of footsteps I brought with me. Malcolm Blackstone cocked up his silver beard which twisted into a handle so perfect indeed many a man might have fantasized about giving it a pull at a neck-breaking speed so as to free the lovely Mrs. Malcolm Blackstone from his greedy old hands. I wouldn't mind The Double stopping by him to shake hands in the least! Curses I thought and went to leave them but I had to look upon...

Mrs. Malcolm Blackstone who looked annoyed with me. I loved that. Even at this moment. Though it angered me as always. I wanted to seize her by that lilly-white neck and force a younger man's kiss upon her---

Nay! Public or no, I must spare her from The Double. And so before reaching them- I turned a corner. Twas not long after I heard a man scream only to be cut short by a dreadful snap. "NO!" I heard myself say! Just as I turned I heard that it was Mrs. Malcolm Blackstone's turn to scream but alas if only I heard the sound of a kiss- nay it was more like-well I've never heard anything of the sort. It was I suppose closest to a bird 'cackling'. As I came around from the alley there was the scene of Malcolm Blackstone. His eyes frozen in a wide realization that money couldn't buy him everything.

He was alone. Mrs.Malcolm Blackstone was no where to be seen. There was only a wafting myst in the warm glow of the street lamp hanging above the man's body. I was in a rage now. I was ready to go through a brick wall if it meant beating my double out of this world. And as I spun around to face him once and for all...I drew my eyes up from my feet to steel myself for battle and where I expected to find the black figure I cut- there was the glorious Silhouette of Mrs. Malcolm Blackstone. And though we all know a shadow doesn't smile- this one was. I could feel it.

I have struggled to describe the nature of this grin. It was as though it/she was saying, "WHO can say WHO is doing the possessing here?"

The Double
The Double

I stood there motionless as only a shocked man could, internally floundering like a drowning sailor- sinking in my lonely lamplit pool of midnight horror. I didn't notice the deathly silence until it was serrated short by the sawing sound of footsteps dragging a limp.

Ah Willy Lafferty. The man just had to bring himself tonight of all nights. And accompanying him was going to be one of his innnocent, obnoxiously redundant questions! Just one tap of my cane on that confounded crutch of his would send his grating inquiries to the front office of Pavement, LTD. It would be so satisfying after that to beat him with his own--

Yae! but I was wiser now- for I turned back to see what she might be thinking and sure enough she was sliding like a sundial towards the oblivious Willy. I had to think fast or Mrs. Malcolm Blackstone was going to level a Fifth Nightmarish point on the scoreboard. And so...

I did the only thing I could think of. I let him have it. The back of my hand. A thunderclap loud enough to shake the Gods. I stole the slightest possible glimpse of my Shadowy adversary. She had hesitated as if confused. And before she could regain her malicious whits- I seized the opportunity

With a stuttering war cry, I kept matters in my hands... and my Fists... and Knuckles. Any shred of nobility I had left was given to Poor confused Mr. Lafferty. Then I realized I was crying. Was he dead though? No he was not. He was barely whimpering. The pit of my stomach was full of a sick feeling. I looked over to the wall. There was her Dastardly perfect sillouhette standing there. With her arms folded. Was this enough to make her leave him go?

Then she curtsied as though giving me some sign of evil respect, bequeathing her fifth point into my one point on our scoreboard. It would be enough. I had ceded my politeness, my social mask I had given the truth, consequences be damned. Aye Willy Lafferty would live beyond this most foul night. It would take a mysterious effect on him however. He promptly disappeared from the neighborhood leaving behind the occasional rumor of a house or a family in Mexico.

Aye. The end of the evening saw me retiring home, exhausted.

I locked myself away from the world for months. I ventured out at night no longer, I'm afraid. I paid handsome coin to procure food of as comforting  a nature as possible. I stayed at home in the evening. I dare not invite a soul over for fear of what she might do especially were that poor soul another lady.

Which brings me to Cecelia. Yay let it be her to whom these, my final thoughts shall turn.

It saddens me that I could not allow her back into my life these past few months. I sought help with this ailment on several occasions. I contacted doctors, psychologists, and even Practitioners of the Black Arts. Not only could none of them help me but Mrs.Malcolm Blackstone's Shadow made a compelling argument that she did not approve of any separation whatsoever.

One doctor became an indecipherable schizophrenic whilst the rest were unspeakably dispatched. That was when I resolved to stay away from the world and belong to her. But I never belonged to her. I have always belonged to Cecilia. Tis a sickening irony that but for a single night which housed my indulgence of a habitual unclean thought towards a wondrously unattainable woman- I was all other days and nights and moments possessed by a kind woman who was quite patient with my reclusiveness. Aye when Cecilia hears of me next, I will have no doubt met my end in this great Mojave-- where SHE, the Blackstone Woman can harm no one. May this desert sun scorch and burn her slowly out of all existence! As for me-may it be quick. I will leave this world with my sanity intact and on my own terms with my Great Uncle's Pistol as I gaze upon a prized locked miniature portrait of my Cecilia. I know this be a morbid letter of the worst kind but just as well-

My friend, I thank you for reading the thoughts of a wayward man. You see I saw you off in the distance and though I tried to wave you away I knew you would make your route towards me- I couldn't help but pray you were not a mirage. I never the less resigned myself to scrawl these final thoughts so that you may read them. I should die and take her with me. 'Tis my last fervent hope that you find this letter with its strange meandering advice and that you take it seriously. So that I might live beyond her in that sense. You will  find my dear Cecilia at the enclosed address.  Tell her she was the only one- the only thing I ever loved in this ghastly world. I hope you will not encounter the Shadow of Mrs.Malcolm Blackstone! May she be vaporized by almighty Apollo! May she toil endlessly under Hades.

Tell my Cecilia that ours  be a tale wherein she was a woman- nay an Angel who provided a sad man with the shining light and the illusive strength he needed against a most foul demon.

I will see you many years from now in the sweet hereafter wherein I will thank you beyond all Earthly forms of gratitude. I ask that you make your life as beautiful as possible, try not to let any dark thoughts linger, always do and say what you mean... and should you heed my advice about the night stroll, don't ever...

{End of Letter}