• Noctum Eterna

    The same man- scarred, knotted muscles, a sentient cannonball- stands at the foot of his bed, swinging Xan’s arm pendulously in one calloused hand. The man in the bed, the inventor, tries to look through him, consciously pushing the sensation of a phantom limb out of his mind, attempting to ignore the tingling in the air where his right shoulder, bicep, forearm, fingers, hand, should be. He knows that the being before him cannot possibly be before him. He knows that the hulking figure is just a memory, a snippet of a scene from the robbery months ago.

    The man swings his arm without blinking or moving. Xan meets his inanimate gaze.

    ‘I need to stop with the drugs,’ the inventor sighs. He wipes his tremulous left hand over his mouth, the sweat on his upper lip glistening like shoe polish, sizing up the intruder. ‘You’re not here, Mister Lazurius,’ he says quietly, ‘I shot you, point blank, through the forehead, three weeks ago.’

    ‘You’re not dreaming, Mister Crane,’ Lazurius responds, voice strangely monotone.

    A few moments later, Xan sits up, breathing hard only when his screaming stops. The man is not there. It is doubtful that he ever was.

    The inventor does not check to see if he has two arms. He is too preoccupied with the coarse blanket of fur spreading over him, the canine teeth growing in his mouth, the blood gushing from the tender scars.

    In the last moment before the wolf takes over, he jams the syringe into the stressed vein in his neck, fingers slipping over the plunger before it finally depresses.

    He falls asleep in the oscuratin’s lull, becoming a man once more as the blood turns the sheets a heavy red.

    If he dreams, if the man was a dream… he does not remember.