The Stranger I
Rotten flesh. The man smelled of rotten flesh. His appearance was just as pungent as his stench. Large dark scars covered his moon crater face. His jet black hair was spiky as it was not long enough to hang from his head. He wore a simple black robe, similar to that of the beginning times. The robe danced around as the breeze blew by and gave view to the red splotched pants underneath. The pants used to be white, but have been stained over and over, giving them a dark pink tint. His eyes matched his coverage. The whites of his eyes stained with the strain of red blood vessels. His pupils and border pitch black, one would be unsure where the eyes and pupil began. To stare at it would not answer of where each began, but only deliver frightening new questions unable to jump tongue and pass lips.
He marched with a particular rhythm. He had sway to his steps, almost an elegant dance. He glided evenly with his every move. The distance from side to step did not change the great length his stride. He walked with a methodical purpose, to reach his destination, he had business to attend. His left arm hung on his left side while his right rose to meet the giant katana that rested across his shoulders. From its’ black handle to the tip, the blade had jagged edges. The sword itself was thin, but reached far beyond the ends of his body. The sharp bright blade easily could be as tall as he was, which could be why he laid it against himself, it being holstered would prohibit walking.
Was there a smile on his face? No, it is a grin. A grin only a mother with a mischievous child could know. A look that spoke a thousand words, but the lips never parted. Those unspoken words that could strike fear into brave men. Evil verses from a dark man, straight from the grin.
Red, orange, and yellow light reflected off of his face as the Stranger made his way through the village. The colors faded in and out between the darkness of the overcast night. The flames grew with each passing moment and the smoke made it hard to see any more than a few inches in front of one’s face. The man stopped. In front of him laid the bodies of several of the villagers he had killed. He had scavenged the whole village and seemed unsatisfied with his empty result. He looked both ways and scuffed. He kicked the carcass of a man who laid in fetal position. The kick launched the body of the man well over 40 feet away. His thud was louder than the crackling and snapping of wood and materials from the village buildings, huts, and market places. The force of the impact finished the job of his partially severed legs which now shot in different directions.
Laughter erupted from the Stranger, hoarse and deep laughter straight from his soul. And then, his smile returned to his wicked grin. The laughter echoed off the walls of the buildings and rubble. Another sound joined the chorus of the echoed laughter and rustling of flames. Whimpering. The whimpering of a child. The stranger looked down to see a little girl where the man’s body was curled up. No more than 3 or 4 years of this world. The girl was covered in blood, but not her own. Her blue night gown was now purple, soaked, and heavy. She covered her eyes with her with her arms and continued to weep.
The stranger cocked his head to one side and stared. His sword slid slightly from his shoulder and gave a slight shriek and groan as it pressed against his robe. He sucked his teeth but his grin remained fixed, nothing had changed, yet his eyes stirred. The black void hidden within the red of his eyes didn’t soften, but opened. He nudged the girl with his foot near her rear. She shrieked and began to cry louder. The stranger grunted and turned and spit. He raised his sword off his shoulders and pointed it towards the girl. She stopped crying. She lifted her head from her arms and looked at the man. The tears in her eyes disappeared, but the streams down her cheeks remained.
The stranger inched the blade closer to her face. The child stood up and looked at the katana. Wiping away her tears she stepped closer to the steel point. The stranger stopped his katana. Her eyes fixed on the point of the blade. She reached forward with her right hand. Extending her hand, she stretched her index finger. She lightly pressed the finger against the tip and her skin immediately gave way. Warm blood pulsed from the small prick on her finger. She pulled back slowly from the sword. After seeing the blood on her finger, her eyes changed. No longer were her eyes sad. No longer did her eyes seem innocent. Her eyes swirled and became empty as her lip quivered. The quiver unnaturally shook and morphed into another shape. The quiver evolved into a grin that matched the stranger.
The Stranger pulled back his blade and placed it on his shoulder. He let out a laugh so loud a nearby door frame engulfed with flames collapsed. “Got a name kid?”, asked the Stranger. The kid blinked several times and just continued to grin. “Yeah,” the man replied “I don’t like to talk either.” He picked her up with his non sword can and help her against his breast. “Let’s get out of this shit sack of pigs meat. I still haven’t found what I am looking for.”
The stranger and the kid left the town while its flames expanded higher than the horizon. The fire’s sounds overtook the few screams and cries that remained as the lives of the people burned out as quickly as the hope of that village, that evening.
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