(previous chapter can be found here: http://thejohnrillos.wordpress.com/2012/09/17/laurum-hills-part-3-the-eggenning/)
“Hello most decrepit and foreboding gentleman of small stature and startling, crippled appearance,” little Giuseppe Gustavio Jr. cried with glee upon gazing at the wheelchair-ridden stranger behind the heavy oaken door, “Please do wheel yourself in, we would be most grateful to make acquaintance with someone so advanced in age and misfortune as you. You look ill sir, and perhaps a tag angry, would you like me to fetch you some water, or perhaps a bottle of peppermint schnapps? We aren’t quite sure what it is, seeing as we are nothing more than a ragtag conglomerate of less than well-fed, bathed, civil, or even remotely endearing orphans. But we do have an excess of this schnapps stuff if you happened to…”
And at that very moment, the wheelchair-ed mister scooted his way into the orphanage. Silence fell upon the impoverished entourage, as the highly vocative Giuseppe Jr. fell to the floor in a fit of deranged sputterings and spasms in a manner most similar to his older namesake. The unwalking old man, or Unwalking Old Man as he will soon be called, or the Old Man for short, or The Old Man if you are fond of capitalization, slowly crept forward, eyeing the blue onions. The multitude of orphans made not a peep.
After the lengthy persistence of an agonizing silence, apart from the raspy whisp of a breath that barely extended past the lips of the Old Man, and the muffled sobs of a now-seizing Giuseppe, The Old Man spoke.
“Your dwelling place is most quaint, most quaint indeed. However. You must leave. At once. You must come with me, it is time.”
The words seemed to float from the Unwalking Old Man’s mouth, they were soft, but empty like a less-than-perfectly inflated air mattress. The words seemed to drift throughout the interior of the orphanage, grazing the walls in slow motion. The air gently hummed as the words touched it, or rather, it shuddered. His voice was one of great authority, but more like the authority of a possessing spirit. The way he spoke demanded cooperation, it demanded action, but it crept along your insides like the slender arms of a wraith, chilling and consuming. His voice was that of the cold, and the orphans reacted as such.
“Bring what you can carry, and we will depart at once…” The Old Man remained frozen in place, waiting for the children to respond. There was a slight shift of the crowd, yet the children did not know quite how to respond. They looked to one another, as their minds were slowly enfeebled by the grasping tendrils of a very scary adult’s command. And just as they had almost made up their minds to go gather their less than humble belongings, a tenor ranged male voice piped up, and a boy stepped forward.
“Gee sir,” John Rillos said, “Not that we disrespect your sudden authority in our lives or anything, but isn’t it a bit strange that we should bend to your rule uncompromisingly? I mean, we have done quite well without adult influence in our lives.” He gestured to the rotting walls with blue onions nailed about, the collapsing ceiling, the shallow pools of tears collected in the corners, and little Giuseppe Gustavio Jr. exquisitely convulsing next to his wheelchair. “We have really done well for ourselves. You can’t just expect us to follow your bizarre and unexpected leadership on a whim? How can we trust you, most gracious and aging mister of less than stellar physicality?”
“Perhaps I should show you a magic trick.” The Old Gentleman said, and at the tip of a hat, he tipped his hat, which was previously unmentioned.
A vortex pounced from the darkened underside of his top hat, and consumed little mister Rillos in a flurry of furry white, twisting doom. The child’s scream was only audible for a moment, as it was instantly drowned out by the high-pitched squealing of the twisting doom tornado. John, the child of moderate height and width, was lifted into the air, and crushed as easily as a grape, and the vortex swallowed him up into the depths of the Old Man’s now mentioned magical hat. Then, as suddenly as it appeared, the vortex receded. He jovially popped the cap back on his head, gave it a good spin, lifted it back off. With a cartoonish and endearing pop, a tiny head that mildly resembled John, but not quite, popped out and rolled across the floor, followed by the distinct scent of bacon grease and some currently undubbed hot beverage. All of the children applauded, with the exception of John Rillos, who was now quite dead.
“Now pack your things at once children, and we will be off.” The Old Man hoarsely whispered in italics.
The children all obeyed without hesitance, even little Giuseppe Gustavio Jr., who had just slipped the little head of the person who was not quite John into his little pocket. Soon, they would be off.