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When I first came to work for the old man, I didn't realize he was blind.
I knew that he was getting on in years... he was older than anyone I'd ever met. Way older than any of my relatives had ever been. I pieced together the fact that he wasn't well in the head, that much was easy. When we were introduced, he gave me a solid thump on the shoulder and called me by the wrong name. Then, he slumped back into his chair with a sigh and started talking with my Mom like I wasn't even there.
That's who sent me to work for this stranger, by the way. My Mother! I don't want to say I lived a sheltered life, but when it came time for me to leave the house and find work... well, suffice to say the speed and ease with which she set this up was quite a shock. I'd never gotten the feeling she didn't want me around... she was kind to a fault, prepared every meal and seemed to live for nothing but my happiness...
Yes, the man was blind. I discovered this several hours into my stay at his dank, junk-filled old house on the edge of town. He called for me, quietly at first, but then with more exasperation in his voice. I can hardly be blamed as he was still calling me by someone else's name.
When I arrived at his side, wondering what was so damned important, his boney fingers immediately worked their way across my chest and began feeling my face.
I was repulsed at first, since his skeletal digits were calloused and worn... and there was no small amount of warts... however, the realization that he was visually impaired quickly sank into my mind and I understood this was the only way for him to "look" at me.
Tolerance. That's a virtue I was taught... which has been tested time and again since I met the old man... Tolerance. Always have to remember that. No matter how gross his late-night coughing... no matter what I find in the toilet or how rough his demeanor... Thank Heavens I already knew not to touch any of his stuff.
I had my place within the house, servant's quarters in a way, and over the course of months I grew to understand and accept the old man a bit more. I still felt uneasy around him, and I quietly resented every ridiculous task he would set out for me, but there was a certain sadness and fear of Death within him that made me set all of that aside in order to make his time on Earth just a little less aggravating.
It was because he was blind, I think, that he didn't know the house was otherwise occupied.
Every so often I'd catch sight of some... thing... out of the corner of my eye. I don't want to say they were ghosts, because they didn't look or behave in any sort of ethereal manner. They were stark white, naked, covered in blue and purple veins from head to toe. They had no eyes, yet sported a miniature slit of a smile. Each smile displayed rows of sharp little canine teeth.
This is what I could gather from my brief sightings, and I wasn't entirely sure of the exact details. However, I could tell with absolute certainty how they smelled.
They smelled like heady, musty, earthy fungus. House mold. Black mold, maybe? I could identify the general odor, but had no way to compare it to the actual poisonous substance. All I knew was that it was very, very wrong.
I went about my business as best I could. I wasn't exactly sure what to do about the things, except for yelling at them at the top of my lungs whenever I caught one skulking around. Maybe "skulking" isn't the right word... they would sort of jiggle this way and that... jiggle around a corner, smiling that mysterious little smile... then they would jiggle right back around that same corner when I shouted at them.
I was comfortable with that, for the most part. At least I had some measure of control over them... they seemed to fear me, probably because they weren't used to be being seen at all.
Then they started getting used to me, as well. The flabby white things would bob to and fro, essentially paying no mind as I gave them the full breadth of my verbal assaults. They would turn and face the walls as if they were ignoring me. As you might imagine, that only increased my rage.
The worst part about this change, however, was the old man's attitude toward my outbursts. I tried to point the creatures out to the old man... tried to lead him to them and get him to run his fingers along their veiny skin. He'd call me insane... he'd yell and scream back at me as I was telling the things to leave his home. I kept telling myself, over and over, that it wasn't his fault. For all he knew I WAS CRAZY.
The old man's rules were wearing on me as well. As long as I was under his roof, I apparently had to abide by his every whim. Not only would he chide me for raising my voice, but he also insisted I go with him whenever he left the house... and that I could not leave the house without HIM! All the while, calling me the wrong name.
It was infuriating, and I suppose that's why I finally snapped.
One of those pale assholes got on my last nerve. The mold-smelling bastard jiggled right past me... actually walked AROUND me... and went to face the wall above my bed. Right where I have to frickin' SLEEP.
It traced its fungusy hand along that wall, leaving behind a damp smear of obscene darkness that smelled exactly like him. Slowly, thoughtfully, it stepped right onto my bed, squatted, and let out a blast of the same malodorous matter.
I lost it.
I ran at the thing... up until now I'd been afraid to touch them. I was sickened by the very thought of it! Now, however, everything had whipped me into such a blind rage that I could only think about tearing this thing apart.
Without even thinking, in a twisted primal fury, I launched myself at the pale intruder and slashed at it with my nails, clawed and bloodied it as best I could, however I could. I bit into its sickening, slick body with my teeth and wouldn't let go until I tore out a chunk of its flesh.
The thing squealed, and it was a pleasing sound that only drove me further into that mindless place within between civilization and chaos. Again and again I bit and clawed the beast as it weakly tried to repel my attack. Its skin slipped and it seemed to have no bones to speak of, so the attempt was entirely useless. Even its toothy maw was too small to be of use.
When the thing was dead... at least I assume it was dead... its lifeless corpse moldered away. Within moments, all that was left behind was a humanoid outline of the same offal it had expelled to provoke me.
Hearing the commotion, the old man felt his way along the walls and ended at my side. He must have been calling me... asking what was going on... but I was deaf to all by the pained cry of the mold-thing.
"Here, what's all the ruckus?" He asked, leaning down beside me.
He blinked a few times and rubbed his eyes. Over his shoulder, I could see the other creatures lined up like a stunned audience to my brutality. One by one, they jiggled around the corner and... I could sense it... they left the old man's home.
"Good God," the old man swallowed hard and passed his hand in front of his face, "Holy Mother Mary, I can see light..."
He patted me on the head with glee.
"Did you hear me, Ronald? I... I think I'm starting to SEE!"
As I came down from the blood lust that had seized me... as I sat there, panting and drooling inhuman blood... I once again found myself wanting to correct the old man, though all I could do was whine.
My name isn't Ronald, it's King.