An old man, with ancient eyes that look like they have seen everything, and seem to pierce the veil of time itself.
An old man with piercing blue eyes and long, unkempt grey hair and beard. His face is weather-worn and wrinkled, yet almost seem to have a youthfulness to some parts, such as his lips. His clothes are made of a tough cloth, sturdy but show signs of wear and tear. His hands are worn and wrinkled, yet there are no callouses and his fingers are long and graceful. He moves with a vigor that belies his age, and if not for his insanity, he would appear to be a man in his early 70s. His eyes are the real descriptor, however – they are ageless.
There is not a lot that you know of this man before he dropped into your life. His background is shrouded in mystery and time. Without his warning, you would have been erased, just like your friends. If you had friends. The only reason you remember them at all is because the Old Man told you you did.
Strange though. Either his insanity is just that, a psychotic break from reality. Or it is something far more cunning. A way to hide. You can’t really decide. One minute, the Old Man is babbling about nonsense, and the next minute he looks at you with those eyes. Those eyes that can tell the future or decipher the past. Those eyes that stare into your heart and know just what you are thinking. And then he tells you something that sends shivers up your spine. Something that scares you so much you want to crawl into his insanity with him, and just forget what is happening.
Darkness and dread. He tells you things, things no man…no person, should hear. Things only H.P. Lovecraft himself could write onto paper. I bring him up because the Old Man says he knows the man. “Strange fellow. Always wore black. Sick as well. Hmmm.” That was one of the few moments when the Old Man was lucid, remembering “the lad” fondly. Well, the lad died nearly 75 years ago.
One thing is for sure. The Old Man has latched onto me. Onto us. We’re supposed to be “the Champions of the Universe” which, when revealed by the Old Man elicited many seconds of joviality that was oddly, well, normal sounding.
Each one of us has a story on how this came to be. On how he found us. The Old Man says that “the Universe” found us.
Which brings me to the last sentence that the Old Man had said. Something which brought on insane laughter.
“Better to burn out…then to FADE AWAY!”
What does that mean, except for the pop culture reference? Are we all fated to die in this upcoming battle? Why does he look so sad when I ask that, so sad and looks away into the darkness as though remembering friends long gone?