Thirteen Foulnesses By Which Ye Shall Know Them

A Sinister Fellow (via mid journey)

  1. It’s not that he doesn’t blink; it’s that when he does, a shudder runs through him, as if he sees something wonderful or terrible when he closes his eyes, even for an instant.
  2. It’s hard to describe, but it’s like he’s fractionally too fast. He looks over at the telephone, and then it rings. He flinches, and then his hand brushes against the hot metal of the radiator. Also, you have to fight the urge to use the future tense with him – he will speak to you. He will say terrible things. Time will be wrong around him.
  3. When he speaks, you feel the weight of the words like hot leaden weights. Afterwards, you discover fresh and inexplicable bruises on your body, and you have the sudden conviction that an x-ray would reveal terrible messages scratched onto your bones.
  4. The smell that clings to him is not foul, per se, nor overpowering – just strange, some artificial chemical stink. It affects taste, too, lending an unpleasant metallic edge to everything you eat. It’s only later that you realise it’s not going away – his presence has forever scarred your senses.
  5. He’s oozing a clear, sticky fluid from sores on his palms and fingers. It’s merely offputting at first – but later, when he’s gone, you find the fluid in places it should not be. Inside your desk drawer, on the handle of your bedroom door – and on your neck.
  6. No mask. He wears no mask. It’s just his face – his oddly inexpressive face. Perhaps the poor fellow has some nerve damage, and that’s why his face doesn’t move as much as it should. But that doesn’t explain why, after a few minutes in his presence, that your own skin feels so tight and immobile.
  7. When he’s around, you notice things. The murmur of the crowd outside – the random noises of people and fragments of conversation knit together into what sounds like… chanting. The light through the windows – it catches on the torn fabric, and the shadows resemble the spires of some cyclopean city. The folds of your napkin contain secret messages from alien gods.
  8. You know why he makes you uncomfortable – it is because you are prey. In his presence, you become painfully aware of his teeth, and cannot help but imagine him biting violently into your throat. You freeze like a rabbit before a wolf, barely able to speak, your every instinct telling you to bolt for the door.
  9. He haunts your dreams. It’s not that you dream about him – it’s just that he’s always there, passing through whatever weird imaginings or nightmares that play through your head in the way he pushes through the crowd on the street in the waking world.
  10. When you speak to him on the telephone, there’s an odd clicking and buzzing. At first, you thought it was a bad line, but then you observed him as he passed by a wireless, and the sound crackled and faded in and out, a brief howl of cosmic radiation. You suspect he couldn’t be photographed either – and those lesions on your skin resemble radiation burns.
  11. You snuck a look at a psychological textbook, and found a reference to Cotard’s delusion – the belief that you are dead, and are a walking corpse. That’s not the case here. Your delusion (and you are well aware that it is a delusion, it must be a delusion) is that he is dead, but continues to move and walk and talk, even though he is plainly a corpse. He stinks, his tongue is hideously swollen, and his eyes… flies laid eggs there, and they are hatching. And no-one else notices, so it must be your delusion.
  12. As a foulness you shall know them – but not remember When you are in his presence, it’s plain that some terrible corruption has consumed him. When you are in his presence, you can hear that he talks darkly of alien gods, see that there is dried blood under his fingernails, you’re aware of his ragged clothes and strange obsessions. But when you are not in his presence, it takes a tremendous effort of will for you to remember these things. It’s like he’s overlaid with a photograph of normality; when you are not around him, you can hardly think anything ill of him at all.
  13. It is not that he is foul; it is that you are foul. He seems free and sure of himself, he stands in the light of the true and only god, and you are the terrified worm, clinging to delusions or hiding your face in the earth. You know this is not true – it is some illusion, some trick of a false prophet – but at the same time, you know he has claim to some infinitely higher moral plane, and it is wrong of you to plot against him.
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