A Simple Man

11 minutes read


Not so long ago, I met a simple man; his name was Kieran. He wasn’t too tall or too short. He had a decent tuft of hair on his head. It was a pleasant brown, with flecks of blonde stripped through it. He had worn hands with pressed fingers that only retired tradesmen would acquire, but he was too young to have the experience that his hands seemed to bare. His hands, along with the rest of his body, seemed to have worn skin, cuts, and bruises covering him, and a deeper layer of scars that added to his appearance. Despite his worn exterior, he had a loving expression across his face, welcoming even. He smiled often but never in excess, and his eyes looked upon the world with a kindness that can only be obtained from sadness. Everywhere I saw him, he always seemed to be on the move; plenty of people stopped to chat with him like he knew every tenth person that passed by, but the excuse was always that he was busy and that he had to keep moving.

I followed the man off and on through my work, but there would always be a moment where I would fall behind him by just too much. Sometimes a dog barking at me aggressively, or even a crowd of people occupying the footpath, even crashes happening behind him while I was tailing him with my car, then by the time I get through the obstructions, he would be gone.

It was kind of surreal because I could swear just moments before each event that he had seen me out of the corner of his eye, and it was like he was the one causing these blockades to escape me, which, obviously, is just ridiculous.

While there is still a small collective of those who have psychic abilities, none of them have the control needed to persuade the world to work for them like this, and yet it is the only explanation that I have, which leads me to believe that there are many more things in this universe that I am yet to see, to understand would be better today because this man is clearly the more that I want to see, I just want to understand.

There were many weeks of following that man, many instances of strange instances that ended up stopping me from reaching him. It actually became a fun game by the end; I spent my time wondering how long it would be until he saw me and how long after that I would not be able to reach him. Until one strange day, stranger than usual, I found myself staring down the man; he was sitting in my living room as I came down from my room. It was like he was waiting for an appointment, like a dentist or, you know, just something. I wandered down the stairs trying to hold myself together; I wasn’t even sure what emotions I was hiding from him because I didn’t even know what I was feeling. There was a sense of relief that I had actually found the man I was actually looking for, or at least, he had found me. Then, I was shocked that this elusive man was right where I wanted him, and that concerned me that he had not only found me, but he found me in my home. He was calm, and that terrified me. He wasn’t even staring at me; he was looking around the room as if he was impatiently waiting. In fact, I think that might have actually been the case. I sat down opposite him and waited for him to speak, but he just didn’t; he just stared for probably an hour; I mean, in reality, it was probably about ten minutes, but it felt so much longer; I had no idea what to expect, but it wasn’t what happened next.

He stood up, tipped his hat, which I don’t remember seeing before, and he said just one thing to me.

“Come with me; I’ll show you what you want.”

Truth be told, I didn’t know what I wanted, but I was intrigued more than anything, so I followed, but it was almost like traveling in a dream; every time we turned a corner, we would be somewhere else, and it wasn’t until after the fact that I realized we probably crossed the city in about ten minutes, and we were just walking. Then all of a sudden, I am not sure when, but we were on one of the space stations, and not one of the trashy ones, like the luxury ones with full gardens and the quiet spaces for meditation; you can’t hear a single noise, no busy streets, no factories, none of those nasty space stations where all you can hear is the roar of the machines that are under the floors. It was absolute bliss.

But it was odd; there was virtually no one around; I had heard that the nice stations were only for the elite, but even so, I couldn’t believe how few people there were; I aint never been anywhere where I wasn’t bumped into someone every few seconds, and in that place I would be hard pressed to run between people. It was nice; I didn’t feel alone, not quite, but I felt left alone, if that makes any sense. It’s funny, actually, but I began to cry. It was so overwhelmingly peaceful, I honestly thought I had died for a good chunk of my time up there because there was no way that how I was feeling was meant for the living, kind of a sad reality that is, but I guess that is life, and now that we are no longer up there, it is back to being my reality. Well, I guess ours, all of ours, everyone here knows. Oh, actually, I guess they don’t know because not even I knew what I didn’t have until I had it and lost it again.

Regardless, I have sidetracked a little too much; where was I? Oh, right, so we arrived at this gorgeous station, and without missing a beat, the guy kept walking as if nothing around him was impressive, which I can’t imagine. There is no way that place ever becomes normal. But eventually, he stopped; he had to because we reached a wall, an absolute dead end, and believe me when I say that I was excited about the idea of watching a door appear out of nowhere, so we could walk into a mysterious room full of people that were hushed names in the community. But no, he just turned his face and started talking to me.

“I am very tired of all this cat and mouse; why are you following me?”

I was thrown back by the question because, well, I didn’t even know. I had been hired to follow him and report back on where he had gone, but honestly, I had no idea why my client was getting me to follow them, so I replied.

“I have been hired to follow you, nothing else.”

“By whom?”

His voice in that question was odd; it was obvious that he wasn’t happy with the answer, but the way his voice rumbled as he asked it was unnatural, almost like several voices coming out, but despite the fact I was terrified, I replied.

“A key smith, he never gave me a name, but I recognized a toolbelt he had. Was clearly an electronic keysmith, one of the ones that work on high-grade seals for ships, or like weapons crates.”

It was at this point that I got a chill down my spine; he looked through me like he was staring straight into my brain for answers, and after a short while, he muttered a name under his breath.

“Avim Tre.”

It is a name I am familiar with but not acquainted with, despite my desire to be. The annoying thing about it was that by the time I had heard what he had said, we were back in the busy streets of Bellude. It was chaos, so much noise, it took some getting used to again; the man patiently waited for me to deal with everything before he spoke.

“I have been patient so far and will continue to be for the duration of this conversation, but please understand this. If you ever follow me again, you will find that I am far more violent than I am elusive.”

His voice rumbled like it did last time, and still, it instilled the same amount of fear as it did the first time. I just stared blankly, and yet, he wandered out without needing a response. I had seen enough to know that I did not want to be messing with that man again, although I was going to miss the money that I was being supplied by Avim; if that was who was paying me, I hope so, that guy is a legend in many circles.

I am so sorry I have just rambled on and on; what was your original question?

The Private investigator looked around the room that he forgot that he was sitting in, it was darker than he remembered, and the person he was speaking to was sitting in a far corner and smoking a cigarette, the low burn from it giving minimal light to the man’s face.

“Actually, what was your name, sir? I don’t seem to remember.”

The man in the corner of the room smiled softly.

“My name is not important, and neither is the question I asked; you gave me plenty of information already.”

The private investigator looked around his room as he began to shiver.

“My, it is cold.” He said with steam coming off his breath.

The room was filled with darkness; the walls were not fabricated but natural looking.

“Are, are we in a cave?” He stuttered out as his body started to finally feel the true intensity of the cold.

“We are indeed; I am so glad you were able to spend this time with me. It has been most valuable. But it is time that you wake up to the universe and what it hides.”

The mysterious man blew out a thick stream of smoke that did not seem to end; it continued to blow out and fill the room until the Private investigator could no longer see or breathe.

He awoke in his bed with sore lungs and a headache that consumed his thoughts. It took him a long time before the lights weren’t too bright for him to look at or his body was strong enough to move again. He sat up eventually and shook his head, rubbing his temples as hard as he could, trying desperately to push out the last of the headache. Once he could move, he pushed himself to the sink, where he drank until his stomach started to swell and the urge to vomit kicked in.

“My head, what happened?” He muttered to himself as he held back the urge to vomit.

He looked around his apartment, and everything seemed to be fine, nothing had been disturbed, and his air-conditioning had been set to his favorite temperature.

“I, who was that man? How did I meet him?” He asked himself as he chewed the edge of one of his fingernails.

Slowly he moved his way through his belongings, checking emails and filtering through all the paper he had lying around. He threw everything down in frustration and slammed his fist into the wall to try and release his built-up emotions.

“How was I so calm through both of those situations? What, why, why was I so calm? It must be the psychics, but what do they want to do with that Kieran guy, and does Avim also want to know about the man?”

His stupor was all but gone at this point, and his brain was running over time as he tried to make connections in his brain to the parties involved and their possible connections. But despite his want, he was unable to think of anything that would give him an answer. His stare locked onto a wall, his mind wandering; snapping back, he ran to his coat rack and pulled his coat from it as he ran from the building.

“I need to make a visit to the Hemlock grove.” He said as he ran from his apartment, unaware of the hooded man standing in the hall behind his closing door, lit only by a single cigarette.