This week we're back with our favorite insane old man. I have so much fun writing these interludes because I know exactly what is going on, even if no one else does. And I can't wait until it all unfolds for everyone. You can find the Google Docs version here. Enjoy!
Three rag dolls lay before the old man on the rug. He leaned against one arm and lounged beside them, head angled down and eyes focused on his toys. The burn marks didn't look so bad from this angle. He had decided to throw the other girl into the fire too. The boy━definitely a boy, not a man━would get his burns later. Right now, he needed to get ready for them. Well, they all needed to get ready for more burns, but the boy was the least tempestuous of the three, so he got a free pass this time along.
"Good job, boy," the old man congratulated, hugging the doll to his chest and then rolling over top of the other two dolls. "I'm so very proud of you."
He lay there for a long time, hugging his favorite while punishing his not-so favorites. They were all his favorites really, these three. He shouldn't be so harsh with them. But he was just so angry. Why didn't they learn? Why didn't they see what they were doing to themselves? So much pain for so little reason. At least things were going well for his boy. For now.
There was a knock on the door. The old man's head came up with a jerk and he threw his doll aside, leaping and bounding across the room to get to the door. "Who is it?" he asked with a giggle. He was decidedly energetic today. It was quite nice. "Who, who, who is it? Friend, friend?"
"Yes, friend," a familiar voice came from the other side. "Would you mind so much if I came in, ancient one?" So formal. But Pet was always formal. Always talking big, always asking questions, but always giving the old man everything he wanted. He would serve, serve, serve, until there was nothing left. Food, drink, toys, everything! And all with a happy face. It was almost like Pet wanted to do it. That was the point, the old man supposed. All of them thought they wanted to do it. It was much more fun that way.
"Come in, Pet! Come in!" the old man danced away, singing a jaunty love song that he had written days and ages ago. The girls had all loved the song. Even his Mindsisters. And the twins had always been stuffy, so that was saying something. They were both dead now. And maybe he would die too. He wasn't sure yet.
Pet strode in the room with a tray of pastries in his hands. The old man danced towards Pet again and snatched one, two, three pastries off of the silvery platter. "You seem to be in a lively mood today, ancient one," Pet said, pulling his robes tighter about him as he looked at the dead fireplace. "Aren't you cold?"
"No, no," the old man said, ceasing his dancing to lay on the rug again beside his favorite dolls and shove the pastries in his mouth one after another. "It's never cold up here to me. Never cold. Too hot, though, sometimes. When the fire is on. But the fire has to be on sometimes. Otherwise I might die!" Every word was muffled by pastries. They clung to the roof of his mouth in the most wonderful way.
"You won't die, ancient one," Pet said, smiling gently. "You'll never die."
The old man didn't argue with him. Pet didn't understand. Everything died. Even he and his friends would die. But he would have fun, yes he would, while it all lasted. It had been so much interesting seeing the story unfold. Now it was the last chapter and things needed to wrap up nice and neat. The death of the main character was always the end of a tragedy, and a tragedy this was.
Death, death, death. Tragedy. It all made sense.
"You can leave now, Pet," the old man said as he danced over and took the rest of the pastries off the platter. "I can eat these just fine by myself."
"Alright, ancient one," Pet said, nodding. He went to the door. "Just remember that I'm still here for the rest of the day in case you need anything else."
"Yes, yes," the old man said, nodding as he stuffed more pastries in his mouth. The door shut behind Pet and the old man was left alone once more. He turned to his dolls, still laying on the rug. He took three pastries and looked at the dolls closely. He dropped one on top of the boy and the fireball. None for the grumpy one. She would have to stay grumpy.
The other two would have something sweet. At least for now.