Graphic Short Story: The Man in Black

When she told me what had happened, like most, I didn’t know what to say or do. She said he knew what he was doing, she said he was lucid. He was not intoxicated and he was not under the influence of any narcotics. Not that this would have made it right. She also said she was just a kid.

At that I was lost. What words can you say, what actions can you take?

This was the first of a series of repeated suffering. She told me of this and she told me of her first time. Her first time when she was not even conscious and woke up in the middle of it.

My pain deepened, and so did my anger.

But what nearly broke me, what nearly turned me mad, and what nearly ended me in prison was not what she told me but what I felt and what I saw.

When I walked in and saw her in a foetal position on her bed and the air was dark, I knew this one was too much. It was not a distant memory of trauma dulled by time. She was present for this. It was real, it was now, and it had been violent and brutal.

I remember a deep, smouldering hatred in place of where my lungs should be. It was the type of hatred that freed one from the burden of consequences. I cared not for what would happen to me personally, only that this person in particular would suffer. I cared that he would suffer orders of magnitude more than the suffering he had caused, was causing. He needed to suffer for the monster he is; he needed to suffer monstrously.

And this is only my pain. Whatever one may think of the suffering I experienced at this knowledge, they can be sure the suffering she experienced was and still is a thousandfold worse.

I watched for years as her suffering was belittled. I felt anger and pain every time someone said she was exaggerating, every time someone gaslighted her. And worst of all, I listened, with fury, as they said, “Well at least he didn’t penetrate you.”, “Why did you go to his house in the first place?” When all they needed to say was, ”I am so sorry, this never should have happened to you.”

The struggles now all make sense. The difficulty in dealing with men all makes sense. The never-ending suffering all makes sense.

I dreamt the pain could be taken away, I dreamt that she could be made whole again, I dreamt of the pale man in black.

She lay crying on her bed, curled up in foetal position. She had just been dumped by another boyfriend because she could not trust him. She did not cry because she had lost this boyfriend, she cried because she was unable to open up to any boyfriend she had ever had. She wanted to, she tried to but she never could. The pain and trauma caused to her always made sure she could never truly trust anyone.

She was silent on her bed, except for the occasional whimper. Her heart was racing but her mind raced faster. Images of what he had done to her arose in her mind like a constant slideshow.

“Be still, Sarah.” Came a voice from the back of her room.

She turned quickly, eyes still adjusting to the dark while trying to focus on the origin of the voice.

He walked slow and intently towards her. He wore nothing but torn black pants and a long black coat, his pale sinewy torso exposed by the small amount of starlight that made its way through the windows.

“STOP!” Sarah screamed, images of her past now flashing into her mind. Not again! Please, not again, she thought.

“Be still, Sarah. Let me take it from you.” The man in black said.

The man reached down and placed one hand on the bed next to her.

She was frozen in fear. She knew what was going to happen and she found herself unable to resist.

The man leaned over her, his long black hair nearly touching her face. He raised his other pale hand as though he was going to grab her, but stopped just short. The man’s hand started to ever so faintly glow red, but it was not his hand that was glowing, it was the space between his hand and her face.

Sarah then realised the red glow was growing larger and brighter as streams of red and black were filling the space between them, streams of red and black coming from her.

Still unable to move, Sarah could only watch in silence as the wispy black and glowing red tendrils made their way from her and into the space between them. As more and more of the glowing stuff left her, Sarah noticed she was becoming less and less afraid, less and less empty.

The man was taking something from her but he was not taking anything she would miss.

Finally, the space in front of her was filled with an ugly red and black swirling energy. It looked like something from the darkest corners of the most hateful mind.

“I have taken it, and given you back what you were missing. Who did this?”

“John…” she whispered.

“Be well now, Sarah.” Said the man as he walked out of her bedroom door.

Sarah ran to catch up with him. “Wait! What did you do?” but the man had disappeared. He could not have been that fast and she did not hear the front door open. Nevertheless, he was gone.

He walked slow and intently through the trees. He wore nothing but torn black pants and a long black coat, his pale sinewy torso exposed in the moonlight. His long black hair wet from the dew that rested on the branches as he walked between them.

His left arm moved naturally with his body and his hand loose and empty. His right arm more stiff, remaining perfectly at his side. What was in his right hand glowed but seemed to have nothing of substance to hold on to. It was a deep, dark red and looked like something only hate could have made.

The intention of his movements silenced the forest. Nothing could be heard, save for the sound of one whimpering man running as fast as his injured legs would allow him; running away from the man in black.

“GET AWAY FROM ME!” the injured man pleaded. But the man in black, with his ever steady stride, kept walking.

“Please! Stop! I haven’t done anything! Leave me alone.” He continued to beg.

The man kept walking.

“Sarah.” Was all the man in black said in response.

The injured man froze for a second, his face, recognising the word, shifted from fear to absolute terror.

“What about that bitch?” he squeezed out, trying to frame himself as brave.

“I have the damage you caused. You will have it back.” Said the man in black.

The injured man’s eyes darted toward the man in black’s right hand. He saw the angry, ugly and glowing red and black substance that was somehow being held by the man in black. His face showed instant recognition before turning back to the angry and contorted way it preferred.

“You will say it.” Said the man in black, as he strode even closer to the injured man. “You will say it, now.” He repeated.

The injured man, now unable to run any further lay helpless on the ground. Face angry but hands pleading.

“I don’t know what she told you but she’s a lying bitch! I didn’t do nothing to her.” The injured man cried as the man in black crouched down, inching his way closer.

The man in black placed his left hand on the shoulder of the injured man, a grip that looked so gentle a toddler could remove it, yet the injured man seemed overcome by the weight of it.

“You will say it, now.”

“Fine! It was an accident, ok!? I didn’t mean to. We had too many drinks and I thought she wanted me to. I thought she didn’t really mean it when she said stop.”

“You lie, John.”

“No, please. Please don’t hurt me! I told you it was an accident.”

But the man in black showed no sign of stopping. He did not even blink. The unwavering stare from the man in black made the injured man worry that every corner of his mind was being seen and exposed.

“Fine! I fucking did it. The bitch deserved it! She had been leading me on for weeks and wouldn’t put out. I thought if she got drunk she would loosen up a bit, but she didn’t.”

In one sharp, imperceptible motion the man in black raised his right hand and pressed it onto the injured man’s face. The angry, ugly and glowing substance forced into his mouth as he violently choked on it. He tried to force the man in black’s hand away but it was like pressing against a statue.

Finally, the injured man swallowed.

The man in black stood above him, still unblinking, still looking into him.

For a moment the injured man thought nothing had happened, he felt no different. But then he noticed something, or rather the absence of something.

He was missing parts of himself. He had been violated and stolen from. He didn’t know what was missing, but he knew he would never get it back.

He looked up at the man in black and began to cry. Then he began to weep loudly. And finally, as the man in black turned and began to walk away, he curled up in the foetal position and began to whimper like a child.

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