The Blood of Old Souls

Part IV: Dilan

Courtesy of the young and extremely talented Iris Van Thol. Thank you, young one.

Dilan raced on all fours, leaping toward the Summit’s House, trying to out dodge the dawn. His hair, swaying in the evening breeze, a cloud of smoke trailing him. Moments ago, he snatched Mr. Noble’s throat in only three seconds — veiny mounds of flesh staining his beard, his teeth pulling in a pool of blood. Mr. Noble died whispering the combination to the company safe, but Dilan was already miles away.

The day started out like any other. Dilan was working the third shift at Noble’s Warehouse. He decided that today would be the day he’d ask Mr. Noble for a raise. Thirteen years as a lowly Entry Level Clerk weighed on Dilan. He had dreams, ambitions. He wanted to travel to amazing places and spend unnecessary amounts of cash that he did not have. He wanted to do what Mr. Noble did, be privileged. He tortured himself day and night. He had the courage, but whenever he thought to ask Mr. Noble, the crushing blows from his past crept into his bloodstream. He knew it would be best to wait.

And wait.

And wait.

And wait.

And before Dilan knew it, thirteen years to the day had arrived. He shrugged his shoulders, tucked in his previous lives, and mumbled a few words of motivation before approaching Mr. Noble.

“This is your day. You can do this. Noble owes you. Noble owes you. It’s yours. If he doesn’t give it to you. Take it.”

The sound of his past lives’ grumbling marked his ears and pushed fear into his soul.

“It’s yours… Take it.”

Dilan approached Mr. Noble. He fumbled with his words at first, but soon, he found stability and spewed out a number of truths about his work ethic and spotlighted his strengths too. Mr. Noble sat in his tiny chair, in his tiny office, twiddling his tiny thumbs, and spoke in a tiny voice, acknowledging Dilan’s presence, but ignoring his words. He is a shrewd creation of a man who smells like buttered cabbage stew and cured ham. His words spilled out of him, flowing without measure as Dilan patiently waited for his response.

“Now, Dilan. Ain’t no way in the Devil’s Hell you can have a raise. I can barely keep the lights on in this joint. Look around. Open those beady eyes of yours. Do you see any glimpse of glamour hanging on these walls? Hell, I can’t even upgrade the fax machine. So, that’s what I got on your raise, buddy. Nothing. Not a dime.”

Dilan began to fade. His arms bloated at his sides. His eyes inflated, poking out of their sockets. His teeth began to protrude, each enamel-laced protrusion now layered with saliva. He tried to subdue the past lives, keep them at bay, but each one gathered up, measuring thirteen years of waiting for happiness. The weight of this was heavy. Dilan’s legs grew three sizes bigger and he began to sprout up like a tree. Mr. Noble sat in amazement, unable to speak. A beast growing before him would soon have its feast.

A moment passed and before Mr. Noble could speak, Dilan exploded toward him, bit down on his neck, and pulled his throat from its rightful place. The past lives warned Dilan. They charged him to run — get away. Far away. Mr. Noble laid quiet at his tiny desk. His tiny thumbs rolling over paperwork. The tiny room shrinking in on him.

Mr. Noble died whispering the combination to the company safe, but Dilan was already miles away.

The past lives urged Dilan to continue, to get to the Summit’s House where a commoner’s throat would make a person two million dollars richer. Louder, the voices became. Louder and Louder. Dilan ran, his mouth slowly shifting to human form, his legs losing their tenacity, his arms, squaring off into their previous formation. Inside his demented head, the only words that remained were:

“It’s yours… Take it.”

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