“ yet each man kills the thing he loves
by each let this be heard
some do it with a bitter look
some with a flattering word
the coward does it with a kiss
the brave man with a sword “
~ Oscar Wilde
It was a lonely quiet day, as the night before was a lonely quiet night. Fat grey clouds hung in the air, clustered together, fighting to block out the radiant spring sun. The air felt heavy as if a great warm blanket had been pulled across the simple town of Draycott. The water tower looking down carefully over it’s residents like a wise old owl. And it was on the railing of this weather beaten tower that a tall figure sat. The young man hadn’t lived in this town his whole life, but he had lived here long enough for people to know his face when they saw it. The town’s people were polite folk and often said hello when they saw him. “Hey Tristan! How’s the new job going?”
“T-man! You coming to the park tonight?” While he appreciated the sentiment behind these statements, part of him wished he was invisible. In the two years he’d been here, he’d had some issues with himself. But if we were telling the truth, everyone could tell the problems had started well before Tristan Mallory moved to the small lake side town.
The watchful young man stood up from his perch on the small platform that encircled the water tower. He was finding the bumpy surface rather uncomfortable after sitting on it for so long. His arms rested him on the railing, making the sleeves of his jacket bunch up around his elbows. It was nice up in the tower, just far enough out of town that nobody noticed you, yet just close enough that you could notice everybody else. And on a clear day a nice breeze laced with the scent of wild flowers would roll on by. It was a good spot, and he was glad he’d found it. Technically, Tristan shouldn’t be up there. There was a sign that said ‘No Unauthorized Entry’ hung on a chain across the stairs leading up to the platform. And if he was caught by a ranger or the cops, he’d probably get a warning. Or maybe even a ticket. But he couldn’t care less. As far as he was concerned, this was his perch. His… quiet place. Somewhere he could be apart of it and still keep his distance. Tristan was definitely what people would call a loner. He had few acquaintances, and rarely saw anyone outside of his work at the greenhouse. But he liked it that way, it kept people safe.
The dark snaking ink of a tattoo on his forearm peaked out at him from the edge of his sleeve. It was a fierce and malicious piece of work, and the story as to how Tristan had acquired it was not a pleasant one. When it was out on display, the people that he talked to would often marvel at it, and ask what the meaning was. While he didn’t like drawing attention to it, he was polite, so he’d smile kindly and just say that he liked the design and that there wasn’t much behind it besides the fact it looked cool. And most people would agree, it did look cool in a kind of dark twisted light. The way the eye seemed to follow you as you moved, how the antlers curved around like scythes, the fangs so sharp looking that you’d think you’d cut yourself if you touched them. One time and old lady scolded him for it in the supermarket, saying “You’ve got the devil on your arm boy! How horrid!” And when she said that, Tristan could almost swear he felt it grow tighter around his skin.
A cool wind began to slowly rise as the clouds over head started to darken even more, signalling that the sun was beginning to set and that night was starting to fall. And that Tristan should probably head home. He let out a deep hearty sigh and made his way down the creaky rusting metal steps, each one letting out a different pitched shout of protest. It was a fair walk through the forest to get to get back to his house, but it was one he always enjoyed. And at this time of year it was particularly nice. The fresh green spring shoots were poking through the earth as he walked along, sometimes he’d even see a rabbit hop by before it spotted him and it would quickly race off. The bird song chirped pleasantly as he strolled along, rather relaxed and content. The sky began to darken even more as he made his way deeper an deeper into the forest. Many people were curious as to where Tristan lived as his mail box was one of the ones you collect from at the post office, but he always politely declined to say. He was definitely a private kind of person. Not that he was ashamed of his house, oh no, in fact he was rather proud of what he’d created. And as he began to approach it now a small smile etched onto his features. It was a quaint little cottage a hop skip and a jump away from the lake’s shore. Made from old dark recycled wood and windows, with a little brick chimney, and a small green house coming off the side. It was warm and kept the rain out, so as far as Tristan was concerned, it was a good house as any. As he made his way up to his front door, he pulled a lighter out of his pocket and lit the oil lamp that hung by his door. Just in case.