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Stories Before Bed

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They were created to love one another, the opposites that fit together like pieces of a puzzle to make a picture that was all color, all vibrance. She was grace and beauty, a blank untouched canvas, overprotective and loving sculpted of pure luminescence in white; he was a photograph that had been shot with the film cap on: all black, all dark. But he looked at her in the impossible lights of the zones, and he saw the perfection of her blank face, the slope of her body, arms that drifted and flowed like water, and he knew peace.

But the monster wasn’t sated, and the darkness spread; perfection turned...trite. Turned to mocking over-bounds. Turned to something he couldn’t stand. He loved her, but he hated her, hated her idealism, hated her path. And from her, he hated the symbol of unity --

(It’s...it’s...Masked Mister, did I make them? Or did they make me? I can’t remember. It’s so fuzzy.)

(Shh, child, it hardly matters; life finds a way until it doesn’t. The start doesn’t matter, only the end, wicked and lonely as it may be.)

--so he chose to destroy it all, wrote it up as a holy mission. And he believed it, believed in it because it was better than the truth: he hated all the things he was not: perfect, light, weak. He hated the surge of emotions that could render someone angry, hated the envy, hated the glutton. He hated the reminders of just how far removed from humanity he was.

It all became a flaw in those around him, below him. His teeth --metaphorical until it was physical-- grew with every swing of his bat. His eyes lost their color. His steps grew more and more harsh, more and more determined, and--

(I hurt, Masked Mister. And it’s so dark here now. Why did you turn down the lights?)

(Shhh, child, it won’t be much longer now. Our time together is coming to a grand finale soon.?)

--and he destroyed. He destroyed things, people, who had nothing to do with his plans, defenseless addicts in basements, self-contained workers panicked in the hallways. Everything was ruined, and he came, he came with the weapon dragging behind him, dragging like death across the ground, three halos for the trinity, the holiest of holies, hovering behind him. He came for his queen to break her crown, and he came for the child already draped in red.

He tricked this world and the other, tricked you, you reading this, into caring, into following his master plan, into following these words right now, into feeling for him. He tricked you, and he tricked the foolish Judge, and he tricked the ever-knowing merchant as he stood over the corpse of his young friend in the basement, a scalpel in his hand.

And that is why he was the black photograph: because, Reader, Puppeteer, even you couldn’t see through to his intentions, to his complexities and his simplicities. He was always cloaked in darkness while claiming to work for the light.

(Masked M-Missster? I...hurts...)

(Go to sleep, little Hugo. You have fought long and hard, and now it is my turn to take up the fight, even if I have read through the script and know how it ends. Rest, so I can confront you fatherson with a your face over mine.)

A corpse of a cat at his feet, the monster met with resolve the ghost of his past plastered on the body he knew so well (too late really). There was a second, only one, before that nightmarish, bloody hand tugged the switch down and all the world followed him into the peaceful dark.