- Vol. 04
- Chapter 06
“I must say you are looking well, young man,” uttered the rattling skeleton perched on a rock in front of me.
“Um. Thank you,” I replied. There was something a little strange about this articulate skeleton. He had a human frame and a deer’s skull. The antlers were particularly impressive. I found myself staring at them while he spoke. I couldn’t figure out what was so strange about him.
“I am glad you have come to listen to my wisdom, young man. I will show you truths that are irrefutable as well as falsehoods that are also irrefutably true. Do you see my finger before me?”
He waggled the bones of his index finger. I heard a light scraping as he did so. The sound made its way to my ears with a slight delay as if I was standing a long way away from this man-deer-skeleton. I could see him clearly, though. A small beetle crawled out of his eye socket and up onto one of his antlers.
“My finger represents wisdom, young man. With this finger, I can control life and death and everything in between. Do you understand me, young man?”
“Oh. Yes. Of course,” I stuttered. I was waiting for my brain to catch up with the visual and auditory stimuli that pounded my head. Every small movement of the man-deer-skeleton’s skull confused me. His rippling ribs confused me. I thought the protruding finger was beginning to make sense, but the sound of its scraping confused me. I couldn’t figure out what was so strange about this being.
“Now I am pointing it at you, young man. Do you see? Now I am pointing it at you.”
I stared at the finger and then back at the antlers. They seemed to be the most expressive part of the man-deer-skeleton’s presence. The little beetle had reached the tip of an antler and its shell cracked open revealing two wings that began to vibrate and carry the beetle upwards and then infinitely downwards. The antlers began to crumble, slowly at first, then with a burning ferocity. The skull dissolved next, then the ribs, then the arms, then the legs. It all happened in the space of a few seconds or minutes. Maybe seconds.
A detached finger hovered in the air in front of me, still pointing towards my chest or my face. Maybe my chest. It hung there, motionless, waiting for me to do something or nothing. Probably something. Then it dawned on me. I realised what was so unusual about this encounter. I perceived what was so strange about this man-deer-skeleton.
He wasn’t wearing any shoes.