With a long, dry slurp the last of the quivering black feathers disappear between his pale lips. Mr. Gone licks them and wipes his face with a handkerchief from a pocket. His gaze, behind his sunglasses, never wavers. He leans on a long, bone-white cane.
“A pleasure to see you again, Ephram. I see you have done…relatively well for yourself, given the, hem, circumstances.”
Joe responds with a glazed look, his weight rocking slowly back and forth. He blinks.
“Things have changed a great deal since you left us. You’d hardly recognize the place. But other things…have not changed at all.”
Joe looks around dully at the seething sea of electric grey. What…what is he standing on? It feels…so solid…but
“It seems that, heh, fortune has drawn us together once again. Mine, not yours, of course. Regardless, I have something for you, Ephram.”
Joe watches the bone white cane as it lifts from the ground and extends toward him, touching him lightly on the sternum. When it returns to the ground, to bearing some of Mr. Gone’s weight, there is a cold, itching, familiar sensation there, which spreads like a plague through his body.
“Just one more secret, Ephram. Just one more among so many. I hope you like it.” A thin smile spreads across Mr. Gone’s cold lips, tugging the pallid skin of his face. He reaches up and lowers his sunglasses, revealing the far deeper darknesses behind them, and winks, closing one darkness with flesh for a moment, and then opens it again, revealing
Joe sways, tries to look away, can’t. He’d forgotten, but now he remembers. A low moan escapes his body, which begins to shudder, with sobs, with mad laughter; he never knows, it doesn’t matter, it never does.
Mr. Gone swings his cane around as he turns on his heel, and walks away, humming softly to himself – a lullaby for everything, as it were.