‘I remember him.’ The man lights a cigarette, interrupting himself. ‘He came from nowhere, and in less than two years he had established a kingdom. He must have been a boy back then, barely old enough to shave, but you know.’ Now he shrugs - and you have no idea what he means, but you nod anyway, you don’t want him to stop talking. You want to know everything that there is to know about this tall handsome man in the dusty black coat. ‘You know,’ he resumes, ‘some are just born to be kings. In this world there is definitely an ‘us’ and ‘them’ - and he is a much the ‘them’ as you will ever get them. Do you hear me?’
You blink; your cheeks flush as you try to resist his penetrating stare. You can’t, and your eyes flash down. The muscles in your shoulders are tense; your hands clammed tightly around the mug you have been drinking out. The liquid is opaque; vague - your brain fails to remind you what you ordered. You are sure quite sure though that it wasn’t this. It must have been something more translucent - but then again this whole place is as far from translucent as a place can be.
‘Yeah, you heard me,’ there is a grin in his voice and you find the heart to look up again. His gaze is back to the horizon - the imaginary one, that is, as the real one is very much interrupted by the wall, less than a couple of meters away. ‘Here, he is a king. We call him the Ghost, or, when we adres him directly: Mister D. I am not sure if that’s his name, or short for something - probably the later.’
Now you glance over your other shoulder. The man is still there: he is sitting in a quiet corner with a glass of whisky. He is not being bothered by anyone; there are no people near him. But the tension he has brought to the room; you can still feel it. It is prickling between your shoulder blades, rolling down your spine. When you walked in you were The Stranger - now you are nobody; no-one is looking at you anymore.
‘Mister D.’ The name stumbles off your tongue; it lacks elegance. Across the room, impossible to be in audible distance, his head flashes up. His gaze locks with yours before you can look away. Your muscles lock down; your chest, your tongue, your head everything feels heavy. There are words - in your head, but they are lost before they reach your mouth.
His eyes. They are pitch-black. So much more black than anything you have ever seen. Now you know what it means when people talk about black not reflecting anything back. Now you know how wrong they are: all the shades of black you have seen until this moment contained at least the slightest sliver of light. Not his eyes. There is nothing there; nothing but the darkness that sucks you in, deeper and deeper.
You want to scream, but there is no sound. You want to turn away, but your body does not move.
Now you know.
Now you know.
Now you know.
The devil is real. His name is Mister D.