Monday, October 12, 2009

Monday Malevolence

"It's always the quiet ones, you know."

-from The Book of Matches


  1. "Michel, are you in there?"

    No answer. He's been sequestered in his chamber for hours. Every night, after all have sought their slumber, he sits in silence.

    "Monsieur? Etes-vous là ?

    I wonder. What is it that he does? Since his wife and child had died, he's been a hermit.
    Distant. Aloof. So quiet.

    I hear him. His instruments tapping. His voice.
    Random and trance-like. And the again, silence.


    Locked away with his astronomy books. Astrology as well. Ancient scripts and journals. Always at night. Mysterious.


    I worry for him. His age is no longer an ally. So silent. It's always the quiet ones, you know.

    Michel de Nostradamus, what will ever become of you? Do you even know?

  2. Wicked awesome, Walt. Nostradamus on a Monday... you're starting the week off right. As an aside, the documentaries I've seen on Nostradamus give me the willies.

  3. I worry there's a human in the house. Maybe at the top or underneath, although I've combed the insulation, dredged the cellar and searched the attic. Maybe in the wiring, though I've traced it from the box to all the burnt out bulbs.

    Son, you can't trust the quiet. You can prove that humans exist by finding them. Unfortunately, you can't prove they don't exist just because you can't find them. It's always the quiet ones.

  4. “Mrs. Daniels, you’re his next door neighbor. Can you tell me how well you knew Mr. Blenheim?” asked Detective Henrich.

    Mrs. Daniels patted her curlers and blushed coyly – an effort which was largely wasted. Detective Henrich really didn’t care about what she looked like, to be honest. Just another middle-aged suburban haus frau. And just another night on the job. Well, actually not just another night.”

    “Mrs. Daniels?” he prompted again.

    Mrs. Daniels cleared her throat and coughed. “Um, barely, actually. I mean, you know how it is, Detective - he seemed all right. Quiet, you know. But so polite and all that. Always took his trash containers back in, right away after the pickup – not like some on this street.” She tossed a baleful glance towards a house further down the block.

    Turning her attention back to Henrich, she added, “But – errr – I didn’t really know him otherwise. You know? And how can you really ever know someone anyway? Right? I still can’t believe it. It doesn’t seem real. I mean, did Mr. Blenheim really ki – oh my! Is that that reporter – you know who I mean - from Channel Five over there? What’s his name?” Mrs. Daniels patted her curlers again and straightened her bathrobe.

    Detective Henrich made a mark on his note pad. He sighed. “Thank you, Mrs. Daniels.”

    The detective turned away from Mrs. Daniels and her curlers, and headed over to the morgue wagon. “Doctor?” he said, addressing one of the people from the Medical Examiner’s office.

    “This one’s number six,” said the Doctor, shaking her head. “Your guy must’ve been a real piece of work.”

    Henrich nodded.

    “Anything from the neighbors? asked the doctor.

    “Just the usual. ‘Didn’t really know him.’ ‘It’s always the quiet ones.’ You know.”

    “No, not really, Detective. Because I still can’t figure out how no one around here had the slightest inkling - ”

    “I know,” said the detective, “The smells. The sounds. But - ”

    A covered gurney, guided by two uniformed men, suddenly materialized by the ME’s van.

    “Excuse me, Detective,” said the doctor, “but I have a lot of work to do right now. Looks like number seven has just arrived.”

  5. Walt and B.N. - Wow! Creepy-good! You guys are awesome!

    So WendySparrow - you gonna write too?


  6. I thought you guys might be getting sick of me... I didn't want to be THAT person... you know? (Of course... it's always the quiet ones.) Just kidding... it just seemed to fit. I'll come back with something in a sec.

  7. Umm . . . Sick of you? I think you have flashy fiction confused with dontyoudarecomment fiction. That's just silly, Wendy. We're all about the comments.

  8. "I thought I'd find you here," he said, walking into the auditorium.

    The professor was leaning against a seat's back staring at a chair. "He sat here, Ted," the older man said, pointing at the chair in front of him.

    Ted, sighing, leaned against the chair beside him. "You didn't know. You couldn't have known."

    "He asked one question all year. One question," the professor said. "It took me off-guard. I shouldn't have answered it. I knew I shouldn't, but I did."

    "He probably would have figured it out without your help." Ted patted his shoulder, consolingly, though he was lying. There were five people in the entire world that might have been able to answer that question and only one of them was easily approachable.

    The professor looked older than he had a month ago. He'd aged twenty years in a short amount of time. His hair looked patchy as if he'd been pulling it out in tufts. Now he took off his glasses to wipe moisture that had accumulated on the bottom edge.

    Ted pretended not to notice the older man's emotions. He had nothing to say... after all. What could be said? It was too late.

    "You're not the bad guy," Ted tried. "HE turned it into a weapon. THEY are the ones about to use it as one. You just helped a student who raised his hand."

    "No... I did much more than that... so much more. I just didn't recognize the moment until it was too late." He rubbed both his hands down his face, the quiet shadow of the man that had once won a nobel prize for physics. This was to have been his last semester teaching. A spurt of laughter broke through the older man's mouth, startling Ted. "He was auditing my class. Did I tell you that? He was auditing my damn class, Ted. Pass or Fail. The irony is that I failed, Ted. I FAILED."

    Ted licked his lips and said, "We should get down below ground. The dean sent me to make sure you made it below ground."

    "It doesn't matter."

    "You didn't know," he said again. "It's always the quiet ones, you know?"

    The professor laughed again, that dry hollow sound that wasn't humorous. "T.S. Eliot once said that 'this is the way the world ends not with a bang but with a whimper.' A quiet man for a quiet end, Ted." He shook his head and added, "No, I'll stay here. I'll sit a while. Go on, Ted... go on."

    Ted nodded. He touched his shoulder and then left him there contemplating the chair that had once held a man determined to end the world.

  9. I have an overabundance of two cents, B.N. I didn't want to overwhelm you in pennies.

    Awesome post, RJ.

  10. Holy cow! You all are awesome! And Wendy, we LOVE new blood around here so comment on, girl! Your stories are great!
    Walt, amazing...again.
    B. you know I love your, wonderful sense of humor.
    Lighty, I love Mrs. Daniels! LOL

  11. speaking of blood, where's your sacrifice Deb?

  12. Deb, Wendy B., Thanks for the support. Quickly finding a comfort zone here much to my pleasure. Enjoying all of your works and learning much as I go along.

  13. LOL, B.! My sacrifice? I'm tearing my hair out over my WIP right now! I'll write tomorrow, promise! hahaha
    Walt, enjoy! We love to egg each other on and we always have a good time! I love this blog!!

  14. Row upon row, they line the shelves. Some are behind glass, smudged with fingerprints. Some gather dust in distant sectors rarely traveled. Some are locked in cabinets and never looked upon.

    The silence is a comfort to some. Others know better.

    A library is not created to release books to people.

  15. Deb - what WIP? Tell! Tell!

    Scattercat- what a fantastic endline!

    Walt - yep - Deb is right. We do love to egg each other on. This is just a fun place to be!

    Wendy - I loved the growing tension in your story. It's like you kind of knew where it was going but hoped it wasn't - and yet it really was.

    BN - dontyoudarecomment.fic??? hahahahahahahahhaha!

  16. I loved it, Scattercat. You are a master with words.