Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Fear Itself

It was on a rainy afternoon I took to my desk and set myself to the task of writing a new tale. My days of blissful adventure had long past and on this occasion I decided the purpose of the prose should be not to bring forth the naive excitement a child craves, but the terror of men who know of all the great evils of the world.

Toward the evening hours I was believing myself to be making good progress when I heard a knocking upon my door. Outside of my windowpane I saw my good friend Robert's face. As of late it was not as jovial as it had been in his youth for he had returned home from foreign wars a changed man. Me and my kin felt a duty to watch over him as he had his countrymen. Sometimes Robert would see things that were not there, cry out in his sleep and suddenly become afraid.

On this night he came to my desk to ask me to reassure him. He knew that on this soil he was safe, that the monsters of war had not followed him yet he all of a sudden would be overtaken by an all encompassing fear of those monsters. He tells me that this day has been worse than most and he wants me to watch over him, his wife, and his house.

Because I enjoy his company, I thought that his monsters might become inspiration for mine, and his wife tends to keep his cupboards well stocked I did not mind watching over him this night. I gathered a few belongings, most notably a pen and my journal and rode with him.

Upon opening the door I was greeted by his wife, Elizabeth and his youngest son Alexander. While I sometimes envied Robert in his good fortune of finding someone I was still undeniably in those wild years men have in their youths. Elizabeth was a good woman and Alex, from my eyes at least, was all a man could ask for in a son.

Going over to his ice chest, Robert asked me if I wanted a drink. He mostly asked for himself, knowing I was a teetotaler. I politely declined while he pored himself a glass of vodka.

"I wish he wouldn't do that." Elizabeth said.

"One shot shouldn't hurt him too much." I replied.

"Yes, but it sets a bad example for the boy."

Laying a hand on top of Alexander's crown I asked how the boy was doing. Was he getting good marks? Did he get into the usual scrapes and troubles a young lad of his age does? The general consensus among his parents was that he was quieter than his father and I had been as boys. Rather than strolling streets and the legends they hold for children he preferred the legends of books. It worried his father a bit, but his mother remembering Robert's stories was content.

Not long after Robert left the salon to see Alex and his younger daughter off to bed. I used the time to ask his wife about the troubles Robert came to see me about.

"We all have things we see out the corner of our eye, sounds we hear in the back of our heads. You and I, we can ignore them, because we know that if we do much ill will not occur. Robert can't. For him every sound and every shadow may mean his death. He tries. He really does, but there are times when he looks at me and I know he loves me, but at the same time he is afraid of even me. What's worse is he fears himself, what this fear might make him do. I trust him. I trust him with my heart and with my children, but he trusts not himself."

"Ah, It will be alright Liz. Has he seen a doctor?"
"Twice a week, he seems to get a bit better immediately afterwards but beyond that he still fears, but masks it."

We turned our heads to see Robert, walking back down his staircase.

"Talking about me I suppose."

"I'm sorry but it seemed it would be easier this way," I said.

"I don't mind. She's right. I fear. The doctors tell me there is no quick fix, but time and life. To just live every day the best I can."

After that conversation we all retired for the night. Robert and his wife went up the stairs to prepare for bed. I was going to sleep in the parlor we were talking in. I decided to leave the lamp on and continue my writings. Unaware I fell asleep pen in hand.

I was awoken by a loud scream and a bang. Running up the stairs a heard a crying Elizabeth and Robert dead. She was reading a note he had written over and over again. After that it had become apparent that he had indeed asked me over to look over his family and house, it would just be a bit longer than expected.

Note: Okay I know the ending is cheap, but everyone yells at me that I don't finish stories and it seemed like the quickest way to end it after I got tired of writing. I'll expand or retcon the story later but right now it's tied in a way where my mom won't say she won't read it.

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