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Author Topic: The Counting Song  (Read 5260 times)

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Slimebeast

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on: 11:52:15 PM 08/26/13
"Have you ever heard the Counting Song?"

I drew a sip from my glass and leaned back on the tall, wooden chair. I'd stoked the fire well enough, and it seemed to adequately warm my guests.

"The counting song?" Harris repeated, "I'm sure I haven't!"

"Neither have I." Wallace added.

The two men could've been brothers. Both heavy in stature, balding similarly, with nearly identical gray pants, still flecked by rain. At least Wallace had opted for a mustard buttoned-up shirt while Harris seemed casual in a powder blue t-shirt. That helped keep them separate.

They even seemed to share the same facial hair.

That is to say, they each got part of it. Harris the thick mustache and soul patch, Wallace the wild sideburns.

"I'm sure if I sing it to you, you'll remember." I smiled. "My Father taught it to me, and his father taught it to him... and so on. Just one of those things, I suppose."

"Well, if you've called us out here to sing..." Wallace started.

"You could've done that over the phone." Harris finished.

"No, you're not just here to listen to my haggard, off-key voice. That's part of it, though."

"When will we see your specter?" - Wallace.

"Yes, the phantom." - Harris.

"In time, gentlemen. First, the song."

The three of us had long been men of adventure. We sought out the Yeti, searched for the Jersey Devil, and we had plans to visit Loch Ness "when the stars aligned in our favor". Each of us wanted to witness something beyond human understanding. Something that gave meaning outside the ignorant, pedestrian "civilization" of man.

Little had any of expected that all of these failed, very expensive escapades could've been avoided if I'd simply remembered my Father's song a bit earlier.

The song, as I was told, could bring such a creature directly into our midst, though it was to be performed only under very specific circumstances.

Circumstances that had just now come to pass.

"Here it is, friends." I took another sip and cleared my throat. "Forgive me if it sounds a bit raw."

And so, I sang.

"Ten lights in the room.
Nine notches on the broom.

Eight symbols of pride.
Seven chairs put aside.

Six logs burning hot.
Five livers in the pot.

Four boots wet with rain.
Three glasses of champagne.

Two friends for which to pour.
One man is at the door.

A stranger, it's true,
not unlike me and you.

Black, white and between,
Gentle, cruel, kind and mean.

Round, square, short and long
This is his counting song."

After I finished the song, short as it was, the two men with their blank faces merely stared in disappointed confusion.

"I don't understand." Harris shook his head, stroking his chin.

"Don't you?" I smirked.

"Hey!" Wallace was the first to catch on. "Two friends for which to pour. That's us!"

Harris looked into his glass of champagne, then to mine, then to Wallace's. I could almost hear the anguished Mother's cry of his brain struggling to birth an idea too hefty for the established canal.

"The champagne," Harris nodded slowly, "And the chairs. That's why we're sitting on seats from the dining room. Three here, and seven set aside."

The two of them were now seized by the giddy, child-like joy of spotting the hidden clues around them.

"That broom! The handle is notched!"

"Eight... Nine... Ten different lights in the room. And that smell... you're boiling kidneys, am I right?"

"You have eight 'symbols of pride' displayed! Four trophies, three mounted animal heads... and your medal of honor is in the curio!"

"Oh! The four rained on boots. Those are our boots! Ha ha!"

"What's left? Ah, the logs. Five logs in the fire."

It doesn't matter to me which man said what, nor should it matter to you.

"That's all." Harris bore a wide grin. "We've spotted them all. Is that the game?"

"No." I murmured.

"Then what IS the game?" Wallace seemed confused again.

"I mean, no, you haven't spotted them all. Remember the last one? The most important one?" I was growing a bit tired of their dull-witted nonsense.

"Uh-uh." Harris looked at Wallace.

"Nope, that was all of them." Wallace turned to Harris.

"The man." I snapped. "The MAN. At the DOOR. This is the source of all our trouble!"

I stood from my seat and turned toward the fire, the rage clearly visible on my face as I did so.

"The Yeti, the Chupacabra, we've never SEEN hide nor hair of them, and I am thoroughly convinced that the cause of such disappointment is YOUR feeble-minded fumbling. Forgetting to bait the traps... leaving our food for the bears..."

"Now wait one moment..." Harris started, furrowing his brow and raising a fist in protest.

Quickly, I turned, bringing the fireplace poker down onto his thick skull.

Not as thick as all that, as it turned out.

Wallace had only but a moment to let out the most pathetic yelp before the poker ran him through at the heart. The ease with which the super-heated metal passed between his ribs brought me only the most fleeting sense of shock.

When the twitching stopped... the stupid, infantile, aggravating twitching... I sang the song for them again.

This time, I gave them the correct version.

"Ten lights in the room.
Nine notches on the broom.

Eight symbols of pride.
Seven chairs put aside.

Six logs burning hot.
Five livers in the pot.

Four boots wet with rain.
Three glasses of champagne.

TWO... DEAD... ON THE FLOOR.
One man is at the door.

A stranger, it's true,
not unlike me and you.

Black, white and between,
Gentle, cruel, kind and mean.

Round, square, short and long
This is his counting song."

I had surmised they would not catch the flaw in my song, the break in cadence... "Two friends for which to pour" and its extra syllable should have rung out like a gunshot in their ears.

Alas. The both of them remained too dim, too uncultured to spot it.

There was a knock.

Then a second.

The slow, solid thrust of that unseen fist told me my guest had arrived.

I opened the door and let the man in.
« Last Edit: 12:01:27 AM 08/27/13 by chwolf »
If I should live until I wake, I pray the web my death to fake.



goolygoo

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on: 12:14:31 AM 09/07/13
The twist: It turned out the man at the door to be a police officer who promptly arrested the crazed lunatic who just murdered his two "friends" with a hot poker!



Slimebeast

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on: 12:29:29 AM 09/07/13
:O
If I should live until I wake, I pray the web my death to fake.



Meaty Okra Tea

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on: 02:11:57 PM 09/08/13
It's hard to feel sorry for two morons who can't tell livers from kidneys.



Slimebeast

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on: 07:54:45 PM 09/08/13
Haha!
If I should live until I wake, I pray the web my death to fake.