I knew a man once, a placid, pleasant fellow. Rarely did you ever see him raise up with anything other than complete pleasantness, as though his world sat on a perfect axis of easy measures. And yet on occasion, when the night bore in and the moon hid it’s bright hurrah behind dark and brooding skies; well then he turned. It wasn’t an anger that faced you head on, but rather a simmering grimace of menace that left you under no uncertain terms that you would cross him at your peril. Did I ever cross him, ever dare to push buttons that would see a string loosed that would strike me flat across my cheeks? Yes; yes I did.
It was winter, a long cold lonely kind of winter when not only did it seem that it would never end but rather that Spring would never come back. I had been to the Ship with friends and I had noticed Harry as normal in the corner of the bar, quiet, unattached. It was as he liked it. You left him alone to just be. I had seen him rise all of a sudden. The hour was late and we had all been drinking for some time. On his way out he had caught the back of my wife hard in the back and not, as he would always normally do, offered an apology. Jess had looked at me with eyes that said it didn’t matter but I, full of drink myself, had gone after him, determined to exact an apology for the wrong.
We had stepped outside, him first leaving at pace across the dark deserted path by the church in chilling darkness, and me afterwards calling his name. I lost sight of him for awhile and it wasn’t until I came around the corner of the east side of the church that I came across him just leaning on a grave and waiting for me,
‘Harry,’ I breathed, ‘your manners were missing?’
He said nothing. Rather his head fell back and then, as he turned back to me, I swear I saw eyes alight with a glow of red and stare of spine tingling anger. Fear took me and I stepped back, apologising for intruding and retreating back down the church yard. He stepped forward, menace steaming from him as I tripped on an upturned slab which may well have been set aside for my demise.
Moments passed and Harry did not arrive. Rather silence greeted me and when I looked up, he was gone.
The following day I asked him about it and he had no recollection of any of the above.