Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Creeping Thing: Part Nine

There followed a breathless silence, as the Green Man and Ms. Madison stood in the doorway, looking at the seated figure, holding up their hands to shield their faces. At last,as their eyes adujusted to the light, they could make out the pale, bloated features of a man in black, a skull-cap on his head.

"Welcome to my hiding-place," he spoke again, voice soft, amused. "I see that the reputation of this house did not deter you."

"The reputation that this house is evil?" The Green Man laughed, shaking his head. "You and I both know that evil comes from the hearts of men, not buildings, and not monsters. Men."

"A crusader," the man laughed. "No wonder you wear a mask. But your young associate is unmasked. Is that not a weakness?"

"No." The Green Man shook his head again. "Once someone did kill one of my associates. No-one has done so since. Not since the man's body was discovered." The voice of the Green Man was grim, unyielding. "But youwear a deeper mask - Mr. Lemon!"

Ms. Madison started violently, as did the figure in the chair.

"How?" the man in the chair demanded. "Lemon was found dead, like the others, his face horribly mutilated."

"A body was found and identified as Lemon," the Green Man spoke softly. "But you and I know that the body was that of someone else. You are Mr. Lemon."

"Yes!" the figure laughed. "I am Mr. Lemon, a man the world believes to be dead!"

"And so you can avoid the charges of murder and fraud which you are due to be arrested on." The Green Man nodded grimly. "You thought to escape the justice which is due to you. But no man can escape the vengeance of the Green Man."

"No man?" Lemon laughed. "Look behind you, Green Man!"

Ms. Madison let out a gasp of shock. There, looking at them, was a pair of glowing red eyes.

"Green Man!" Lemon laughed, "meet the creeping thing, my terror!"

Closer and closer crept the ghastly thing. Ms. Madison could smell its fetid breath. When it howled, she could only scream.

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