more scribblings

more scribblings

by Matthew Brewes on Wednesday, August 8, 2007 at 11:54pm
The man looked like a drawn blade, cold, hard and dangerous. Even as he lounged in repose, one arm casually over chairback, leg cocked over the opposite arm, he exuded a palpable aura of sudden, swift and deadly violence. Perhaps it was his eyes, grey as winter moons. Perhaps it was the angles of his body asthetically thin under fine clothes but leaving an impression of agile strength. Perhaps it was the fact that the long and elegantly tapered fingers of his right hand were ever so casually stroking the hilt of what was essentially three feet of thin, sharp steel. Choose one, but make no mistake, no matter what the reason, the man at the back table was certainly one with whom it would be extremely unwise with which to fuck.
The eyes flicked over the other denizens of the darkened dive, almost blades themselves, cutting through the hazy murk to strike quickly over each bent back, lashing across faces. The faint etchings of a sardonic smile played about his thin lips, but soon gave up the game for lost. Any semblence of mirth had long ago been wrung out. Only a dark, bitter humour at the continued follies and nievete of mankind lingered, but even this would only ever bring a sneer of contempt from those austere lips, never anything so frivalous, so actually human as a smile. Not for a long time, not ever again.
The other patrons took no notice. It was not unusual to find such a well-heeled weapon in thier midst, although perhaps not one quite so menacing. They all knew to keep thier distance, both the predators and the prey. To be alive at all in this particular den was to know precisely where you hung on the food chain and not to have any pretensions about rising any higher. There were certainly a fair number of dangerous men, and a fair few women as well in tonight but what made them extremely dangerous was the fact that each and every one recognized that they were currently not the most dangerous here.
A shuffle near the door announced the arrival of a new patron. The eyes leapt razor bright to the doorway, the mouth tightening slightly as if the eyes told it an unpleasant story. The figure now making it’s way through the densely packed tables was lithe, it’s movements fluid almost to the point of being oily; in fact the man seemed almost to insinuate himself through the bodies. He was bald, rat faced and pompous, dressed in hideous, gaudy, foppish finery from head to foot and other than his sinuous movement presented a figure that in this place and time seemed almost to scream “victim” at the top of it’s lungs. Of course, anybody actually heading such screams would very quickly find thier own sudden pain drenched squeals quickly engulfed by several fathoms of river water. Appearances, as always, are decieving. Except when they are exactly as they seem to be.
The newcommer sat opposite, the sardonic smile that had so quickly fled from one set of lips settled happily onto his as if embracing a fond and familiar companion.
“Marat, you seem so dour my friend. One would think that as long as one was sunk up to his neck in such a lair of iniquity as this, one would take advantage and enjoy one’s self more.” Even his words sounded greasy and slick and it was just as well that they had the lubrication as a sentence like that would prove impossible to voice without it.
“One might, if one were so inclined.” The words were scalples flying through the dense air. “however, one is not and this particular one feels put out that you are late Varassant.” The mouth tightened further, eyes flashed a little colder, the only visible sign of the annoyance that coiled within.
“Tut, tut, what is time between such boon comrades as ourselves?” The smile widened and the slippery words now found themselves pickled in honey.
“Money, Varassant, money. That is all there is between us.” The other, Varassant, paused, his false smile faltering just a little as his own annoyance rose, gaining a slight advantage over his control but was stifelled quickly.
“Very well, if you would skip the pleasantries it is as you wish. I only thought we might be able to enjoy eachother’s company for a brief moment before starting in on business. I do after all consider you one of my good friends, Marat.”
“That is because you are a fool.” The words themselves were softly spoken but still seemed to breach the air around them as if all the hosts of hell were singing at the top of thier lings. Inwardly, Marat winced, knowing that it had been foolish, this lapse in his iron composure, this sign of weakness, but Varassant always managed to bring out the worst in him.
Once more the smile faltered, but this time, when it was hoisted back into place there was a certain new smugness to it. “Very well then, has the deed been done?” The question was posed in such a way that even a nieve listener could hear the daggers concealed in the word “deed”.
“Of course it has, else I would not be here. You know that full well.” Once again, impatience flickered in his words. Why this farce every time? Why couldn’t the unsightly little pimp just pay and have done? It was all Marat could do to keep from passing his blade through the vulture’s gullet and the grotesque bird knew it well too…and knew full well it would never happen, which is probably what galled Marat the most.
Once more the smile, once more the honeyed words. “Of course my friend, I would never for a second doubt your prowess, nor your integrity.” A softly clinking bag landed on the scarred tabletop betwixt the two. Niether moved, simply watched. This was, however, one contest in which Varassant was outmatched and he could only hold Marat’s gaze for a few moments before his eyes darted back to the table, defeated.
“Very well then, I suppose we are done. Until next time, my friend.” As he rose, Varassant leaned forward and very softly whispered “I will forgive you this once, as we are ‘friends’ but I do advise you to guard your tounge in future. Steel does not make you immortal.” As he straightened, you could see no sign from Varassant that he had issued a dire threat. Again, all smiles and courtesy, he bowed in mock fashion and slithered out as he had slithered in.
Marat eyed the bag on the table for a moment before snatching it off of the stained wood so quickly it appeared simply to have arrived in his palm without bothering with the distance between. He felt he needed a drink. He always needed something to wash out Varassant’s taste. A drink and then out. There was more work tonight, and no rest for the wicked, literally and he needed to cool himself. One drink.
After his glass, Marat stood and strode out into the cool night, a drawn blade of flesh and blood. The room behind him suddenly became a great deal safer. The night before him became that much more dangerous. Just like a blade, cold, sharp and deadly.This is just a character sketch and there will be more to follow…Marat is one of my favourite characters, and I hope others may find him as interesting as myself…enjoy…


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