episode 213 - Stinky Pete and The Nightmare Man
Across the room, reflecting the pale light of the place back from her golden skin better and brighter than it had been, Alyssa Grove was uneasy. She felt like she was being watched. Her skin was crawling. Crossing her arms across her chest, she appeared suddenly defensive to the young man before her, who had been plying his woo upon her with increasing desperation.
"Listen,” he said, “Can I buy you a drink?”
Alyssa nodded vacantly, her eyes dragging the room slowly from side to side. “Just a cooler,” she whispered. “Bartles and James or something.”
He nodded. “I’ll be right back!”
But Alyssa was already gone. She’d found a dark shape in a far corner. It was from there that the flesh crawling gaze emitted. “Stinky Pete?” she muttered only half aloud. The air between she and him rippled briefly and brought to her nose the dark and pungent waft of soiled laundry and unwashed humanity, the slow decay of illness consuming corrupt flesh. She wrinkled her nose and gagged a little.
“Alyssa?” The voice that spoke her name was a relief.
“Nighty?” she queried, choking back the bile in her throat.
From the darkness at the back of her mind, and simultaneously, from all of the shadows shifting around her in the small nightclub, stepped a tall, gaunt figure faceless and all in black. This was The Nightmare Man, Alyssa’s new best friend.
“Is there anything wrong, my Dear?” He spoke and his voice slithered clammily over your skin and through your mind. Or was it the other way ‘round?
Alyssa laughed; a short, brisk laugh. The thought of Stinky Pete giving her the evil eye might have concerned her not that long ago. Now she had The Nightmare Man wrapped around her finger, there was little that could worry her. “Nothing much, my shadowy friend,” she smiled. “Just a black hole by the name of Stinky Pete, who’s making me a little nervous with his unrelenting glare.
“Pete and I are old friends,” Intoned The Nightmare Man. “I will remind him.”
Folded in the shadows of his now fetid corner, Pete closed his eyes and saw The Nightmare Man coming. He moved not through the darkness so much as within it, emerging from the shifting eddies of light and shadow behind Pete’s eyes to stand a living shadow before him.
“Your attentions are not wanted, Stinky One.” The Nightmare Man sent rattle snakes down Pete’s cerebral cortex, and laughed.
Pete gurgled a bit, twitched briefly and became stinkier still…