Friday, 15 February 2013

Organ Man (Part 2)


7

He awoke at dusk where the light changed from oranges and reds to deep blues and deeper purples. The shadows twitched and fought with each other, vying for wall space before being absorbed together into the one collected shadow of night. Outside, there was a chorus of cicadas whose musak David felt more than heard. Inside, it was hot; David felt hot sweat score his armpits and run down the small of his back. He gasped, and was about to reach for the fan switch when he heard a knock on the door.
            “David?” It was his mother. “David? Are you in there?”
            He gave a grunted, slurred reply.
            “Dinner’s ready, love.”
            “Down in five,” he returned, again in a slur.


8

“Are you all right?” she had asked him as he came to the table, and he must have looked like shit, for his father, usually restrained to the point of emotional constipation, repeated the question.
            He had nodded yes, and sat down and tried to eat. Dinner was take-away, of all things, and the sight of greasy chicken thighs detracted from the meagre sense of hunger David felt. In the end, he ate two or three thick, greasy french fries and half a cob of corn. Concerned, his mother did all those matronly things that mothers tend to do; she placed a cool hand upon his brow, announced that he had a slight fever and should go promptly to bed. She said that she would bring him some ice cream and jelly in five minutes and some aspirin.
            So, he plodded back to his room, confused, sick in the stomach and so damned hot. Sweat poured freely from his face, down his back, from his armpits. His stomach churned, his knees clicked with every second step. He could feel each individual vertebra in his back crackle with electricity.
            A slight fever, he thought candidly. Slight, my arse!
            In his room, he slumped heavily onto the bed, perspiration almost instantly soaking the covers and his pillow. There he lay in total unearthly silence, sweating, hot, the chorus of cicadas gone. His hands felt hot, his feet felt as if they were on fire. Even his ears felt scorched. He lay in silence for what seemed to him to be hours, but was really only scant minutes until a gentle poke at his shoulder alerted him.
            “Mum?” he groaned.
            “It’s okay, honey,” she said, propping him upright, placing the promised bowl of ice cream into his hands.
            He ate it slowly, without enthusiasm and watched as his mother set the ceiling fan into motion again,
            thump-thump-thump!
            and even though the breeze was cold, it did nothing to stem the horrible sweat pouring from his body. At length, he pushed the bowl away, settled back on the bed. He felt his mother’s hand once more on his forehead, heard her whispering gently into his ear… and then he was asleep…


9

He jerked awake suddenly, felt a scream catching in his throat. He glanced at the led display of his clock, and it told him it was 1:31 am. At first, it was pitch black; then gradually, shadows detached themselves from the general gloom. He could see the window outlined with a surreal grey colour, the curtains moving in and out like wispy ghosts. His mouth felt dry, as if he had guzzled a bucket full of sand and his heart and lungs smashed against their cage of ribs in perfect unison with the throbbing sensation inside his head.
            He groaned, and sank back down onto his pillows, and closed his eyes for no longer than a millisecond when he heard a voice…
            “David!
            His eyes opened slowly, feeling gluey and sticky, a chrysalis breaking open to reveal the mature insect within.
            “David!” the voice whispered in a singsong articulation. “Da-a-vid! I’ve been waiting for you!” A high pitched giggle followed this remark, accompanied by scurrying in the bushes near the window.
            David froze in his bed, the sweat on his body crinkling his flesh, sending the sensation of something small and furry running down his limbs. He tried to say something—anything! —but his throat was so dry, emitting nothing but a savage croak. And still the voice beyond the window beckoned, plaintive, derisive, demanding immediate action.
            “I’ve been waiting for so long, David. And now it’s time, David. It’s time!
            Time for what? his addled mind asked.
            But there was no answer, only the next entreaty. “Are you ready, David?
            Ready? he asked himself, ready for what?
            And this time, there was an answer: “Are you ready to take the next step?
            David shook his head, the coldness in his body turning into dull aching vices, crushing his joints, burning him. He tossed on his bed, rolled over, and ducked his head beneath the pillows. Still the voice wouldn’t leave him be. “When you’re ready, David, you come on over. You come on over, David, you come on over!
            No, he tried to say, but his throat had frozen over. He lay in bed, trembling, and still he was sweating, cold, clammy sweat that made him feel like a fish. He smelled his sweat and his fear, so much like the nervous smell of the old man in the School of Arts. His mouth tasted of bile, and then, suddenly, he realised he had thrown up all over himself.
            “Ugh!” he breathed, and “Ugh!” again. His repulsion propelled him out of bed and frantically he removed his vomit-stained shirt, threw it away. Outside, he heard more rustling in the bushes; the sound was manic, as if a large animal were thrashing about out there. And the voice: “Come on over, David. Tell ‘em that the Organ Man sent ya!” This was followed once more by the wicked high‑pitched laughter and a further shake of the bushes outside…
             …and then, all was silent. Just like that. And David was cold and shivering and half-naked, smelling of nervous sweat and vomit, his head pulsing in time with his heart. The curtains danced in the breeze, waving like material arms, beckoning him, pleading for him to heed the Organ Man’s invitation. But David coughed, spat out a large wad of undigested French fry, his knees threatening at any moment to collapse underneath him. His attention was drawn to the window, allured as if by a magnet. For more than a minute, he stood and stared at the waving curtains and the grey outline in a perfect oblong. He stared, tasting choking bile in his throat, feeling his lungs expand and contract, expand and contract, feeling his breath tear through his chest. The wind was alarmingly cold, more like winter’s frigid kiss than summer’s long, warm caress. He felt icicles tease his naked skin, felt a frozen hand cup his testicles, and squeeze them so taut that it was painful.
            He stared at the window, and the window stared back, a large, unblinking, angular eye with a single dark pupil surrounded by a lighter grey iris. The curtains fanned out, gesticulating, the material soft, though scratchy, like the tongue of a cat. They reached out, these spectral hands, and rubbed against his face, against his bare torso…
            He jerked alert suddenly; aware now that he was only inches away from the window. He gave a startled gasp as the realisation was at last driven home, and backed away a few awkward steps, wrapping his arms around his body in a vain attempt to ward off the cold.
            And then he heard it… its droning unmistakable, a single rising tremolo that built upon itself over and over and over again…
            …the organ.
            David shook his head, sank onto his knees, a wretched sob breaking out of his chest.
            NO! his mind screamed, and then, he softly articulated, “no.”
            But the organ music sang out in a blatant affirmative, so much louder than before, more strident, more resonant. It filled the entire soundscape with its ferocity, keening, wailing, and roaring without end. David held his ears in his hands, tried to scream over the cacophony, but it was no use. The Organ Man was in control and his instrument was shouting his triumph, announcing to no one else but David that he was there and that he was the master.
            David let out a moan of self-pity, rocking back and forth where he hunched like a rag doll. There was no stopping the Organ Man, playing now as if he were jerking himself off, such was the fervour in the playing, the overall impression of the noise. And just like that final spluttering of ejaculation, the music died suddenly, and silence rumbled through David’s world with the subtlety of a sonic boom.
            “Oh, God, he sighed, sitting upright again. He was sweating again, cold, fish sweat. It stank worse than ever now, reeking of fear and puke. He was drenched in it, wore it like a T-shirt made out of thin ice. “Oh, God,” he muttered again as his stomach rippled and a lace of bile dribbled from his lips.
            Apart from his harsh breathing, there were no other sounds. It was quiet… quiet like a graveyard. The Organ Man was silent, the organ was silent; nothing moved, or made a sound. It was like death. And then, there came the voice.
            “David Reardon? Do we have a David Reardon out there?
            It was loud, as loud as the organ had been, sounding as if the Organ Man were speaking through a microphone.
            “I repeat: is there a David Reardon out there?
David shuddered at the mention of his name, his entire body collapsing into a string of spasms. He shivered, his entire body quaking, and before he realised it, his bladder had decided to empty itself in a warm flood in his pyjama shorts.
            “Come on, David. I know you’re there, awake, afraid. You needn’t be afraid. It’s not as if I’m gonna hurt you. What do you say? How ‘bout you come on over and we can jam. How ‘bout it, Dave, old boy? Wanna jam with the Devil?
            “I—” David began, but the words he wanted to say were coated in a slippery stream of bile.
            “Come on, David. Quit pukin’ on yourself and get your scrawny little arse o’er here. The sooner it’s done, the sooner you can put an end to all this shit. Come on, boy. You know what I mean. What are you afraid of, boy? Me? I ain’t gonna hurt you!
            “No!” David whispered, wiping his mouth. His sides hurt from the dry retching and his guts felt as if they were turned inside out. He was kneeling in the remains of the scanty dinner he had eaten; shredded chunks of corn and curdled milk, lying on the carpet irradiating their very own special feral stench, mingling now with the sweet-tang stink of David’s piss.
            “Come on, kid. You can’t imagine how lonely I am… how desperately lonely. Come on over, just this one time… just this once!
            No, his mind retorted. No! and he remained where he was, kneeling in a puddle of his own urine and vomit, feeling the gruesome conglomeration cool and coagulate around him. Above him, the curtains teased and waved, festive spirits alive and free, jiving in the fresh breeze that belonged to winter, that belonged to the unfathomable creature in the School of Arts, the horrible demon called the Organ Man.
            The music began to play again, this time, a dirge, the notes melting against each other slowly, chillingly. Every chord the Organ Man struck dug into David’s body, rattled his teeth, his bones; he felt every body hair rise from the skin, the hair on his head prickle with electricity. And the Organ Man spoke: “If not for me, then for the Organ! It is for her that you come, my pretty!
            David trembled, cold, sick, smelling of his own refuse. The music was infiltrating his mind, music like a weevil, boring, boring, and sinking into the soft flesh of his brain. Without his knowing it, he was parting the curtains, feeling their silken caress on his naked body. His fingers snatched the window open as wide as it could go, and he plunged through it, out into the night. It was hot, very hot, how David imagined the surface of Mercury would be, but all the same, he felt so cold, as if he had spent the last half hour immersed in a bathtub full of ice water. What was more was that the air was heavy, making David feel as if he were wading through it, the way one wades through the surf.
            The organ called him, pushed him, poked him, prodded him through the hot and heavy air, over the rough, unrelenting ground. Through the backyard, out onto the dirt lane out back, where he stopped, his breath expelled in shock. He was staring now at the School of Arts, or rather, where the decrepit old building had previously lain. Now, it was totally changed, looking more like a spacecraft from a Star Trek movie than a tacky monument to learning built in 1812. Lights flashed everywhere like psychedelic will-o’-the-wisps, chasing one another around and around the building to the accompaniment of the surreal organ soundtrack. There were myriad colours: reds, yellows, greens, blues and every shade, tint and hue in between. And like tiny satellites, they revolved around the School of Arts, splendid now in a shimmering haze of metal, like the hulk of a shining spaceship.
            David could only stare in stupefied horror, and despite the oppressive heat he could feel on his limbs, he was deathly cold. His brain was numb, the music from the hellish organ acting like a powerful narcotic, deadening his senses. If there was such a thing as sensory overload, then he was sure he was at that point now. With the music and the flashing lights, he supposed he should count himself lucky that he wasn’t writhing around on the ground in the midst of an epileptic fit. But maybe he wasn’t lucky not to be… for what horrors awaited him should he venture inside?
            Should he venture inside?
            But even before an answer could be formulated, he watched in terrified fascination as his feet picked themselves up and placed themselves further and further along the track, bringing him unconsciously towards the great hulk that used to be the School of Arts. And thus, the building drew closer; a monolith brightly festooned with every conceivable colour, alive with the loudest of loud soundtracks splitting the night sky. Somewhere inside, the Organ Man was frenziedly manipulating the organ, threading music into the night, threading his soul into the night, amongst the colours and the glitz. And David was helpless to stop him… in fact, he was being drawn to him and the devil in the machine, but for what sinister purpose, David didn’t know, but the creeping sensation in his guts told him that it wasn’t going to be pleasant, not by a long shot.
            The music stopped once more, and dead silence ensured, broken once more by the thunderous amplified voice of the Organ Man.
            “Well,” he announced, “about fucking time you showed up!
            “I—” David began, certainly not for the first time, but his mouth snapped shut with a loud pop when he saw the Organ Man standing before him.
            He was dressed much the same as he was before, except he looked much, much neater. In fact, David was tempted to believe he looked like pictures he had seen of Beethoven, dressed in a neat jacket of navy blue, with a nice rippling ruffle around his neck, the same as the two ruffles on the end of his sleeves. Finishing the costume off was a pair of tight corduroy pants and a pair of pointed moccasins that looked so much like joker’s shoes that David would have laughed if the situation were different. It wasn’t, so he didn’t; instead, he glanced over the rest of the Organ Man’s features. His hair was certainly rough in that Beethoven fashion, standing on end delightfully, due more to the properties of static electricity than untidiness. His eyes were dark pools, staring intently at David, and his smile was large, the thin lips splitting to reveal straight teeth in great multitudes. This wasn’t the old man, David decided forlornly. This was a different person—
            thing
            —altogether.
            The Organ Man bowed low, a mocking gesture done gracelessly, with arms pirouetting like those of a marionette. He straightened, grinning still, and approached slowly. David was too frozen with fear to back away.
            “Why,” the Organ Man stated, his voice normal, returning to that nasal lilt that it had when first they met. “The young lad’s gone and peed in his pants!” He laughed, and it was that crazy high‑pitched giggle as it was before, outside of David’s window. “Never mind,” the Organ Man said. “We was all afraid when it came to our turn. And yes, there was always something to be afraid of… but, hey! I’m here, you have nothing to worry about.” With that, he placed a cold hand on David’s naked shoulder, gave it a little squeeze. “You’re cold… freezing!” the Organ Man hissed. “Oh, God! Can’t have that!” He whipped off his jacket, and held it out for David, who stiffly took it into his hands. “Put it on,” the Organ Man urged, and David hardly failed to notice a sparkle alight his eyes.
            David only stared, his mind reeling in every direction. He held the jacket in his hands, and it felt thick, heavy and warm. But there was something wrong with it. Something evil about it.
            “Put it on,” the Organ Man repeated, his words flat, a sound akin to slapping wet clothes on a rock. “Put it on and come inside. She’s waiting for you.”
            “S– she?” David implored. Oh, God, it’s so damn cold out here!
            But the Organ Man only smiled and it was a smile of which the very worst nightmares were made.
            David held the jacket at arm’s length, clutching it between thumb and forefinger. Something inside his head told him not to put it on, to cast it aside and to run. He stared at the Organ Man, now dressed in his ruffling shirt and tight corduroy pants, trying to fathom the reason behind this elaborate scheme. The Organ Man only waved his finger at him, and still smiling, said, “You’ll feel better if you put the jacket on.”
            David shook his head, his teeth chattering despite the awesome heat.
            “Put the jacket on, David. I command you to put the damn thing on.”
            David shook his head once more, and the Organ Man stomped his feet.
            “Listen! Do you want me to put it on you myself?” he demanded, his voice nothing more than a sibilant hiss.
            David tried to resist once more, but when the Organ Man began to march towards him, he decided it was better to tempt fate. He shrugged the jacket over his shoulders, and almost instantly, the cold was gone.
            “There,” the Organ Man stated, hands spread out before him. “You see? There’s nothing to be scared of!”
            David nodded dumbly, unsure of what was happening. It was all too much at the moment, with the lights and the weird hulk of the School of Arts. He cast a nervous glance around him, hugged the jacket tighter around his body. Suddenly, he began to relax, his mind began to ease away from the panic switch. His erratic heartbeat slowed, his lungs began to compose themselves. All the while, the Organ Man was smiling; his entire face was alight with what appeared to be happiness. However, the longer David stared at his face, the more the happiness looked like a sham, like the painted face of a clown—demonic, cold even.
            This time, when the Organ Man touched his shoulder, he didn’t flinch. Even when his mind screamed for his body to move, it didn’t. It remained where it was, accepting the proximity of the Organ Man as if he were David’s best friend. And when the Organ Man began to lead David towards the cavernous doors of the School of Arts building, David felt his body moving as if under no obligation. Just as the organ had pulled his body against his will, so too was the Organ Man, leading him into the School of Arts, through the double doors that were impossibly big, foaming with what appeared to be fog, swirling with colours from the massive light system within.
            “We’re going to go inside,” the Organ Man stated. “We’re going to inside, and we’re going to jam with the Devil.”
            With one foot methodically placed in front of the other, the Organ Man led him into the School of Arts and towards the organ, which belched fog like a cheap disco special effects machine and blew coloured light into the air. It was surreal, a veritable monolith of a machine.
            The first thing David noticed was the almost endless forest of pipes reaching for the heavens, or so it seemed. There were so many, in different sizes, all of them polished so amply that David could see his gaunt face reflected in every single one, distorted, twisted, a massed assortment of crazed gargoyle faces. They melded and changed like globules of oil on the surface of a lava lamp, and it didn’t take him too long to realise just why. For as he watched the thousand or so twisted duplications of his face mould into various ugly mutations, he realised suddenly that the pipes themselves were moving; they were writhing about as if they were living, moving creatures!
            David stepped back half a pace, his mouth hanging open in awe as the taller of the pipes loomed above him, a predatory sea serpent. He half expected them to grow mouths, and the mouths to grow fangs. He was even expecting them to lurch down at him, snapping, biting, to sink those impossible fangs into his flesh. But they didn’t. They only writhed and wiggled, so much like large metallic noodles with the neat little flute openings through which they belched smoke and light and, when the time was right, sound.
            There were teeth, however, in the shape of the organ’s many keys, but they didn’t have the capacity, David hoped, to bite. The ivory keys glistened the brightest shade of white David had ever seen before, reflecting the hovering globules of light so perfectly that at first, he thought he was looking into a segmented mirror. The ebony keys were similarly polished, appearing as holes between the ivory keys, holes big enough to lose your hand in. And there were thousands upon thousands of keys; at least five discernible rows, stretching far beyond the reach of any man’s arm span, rendering it virtually impossible to play without having to stand up and run from one side of the row of keys to the next. The same unbelievable configuration ran true for the foot pedals. As David stared in utter disbelief, the only logical thought that entered his mind was simple, what kind of creature could possibly play this… thing?
            “Isn’t she beautiful?” the Organ Man enthused. He had gone much closer to the contraption than David had. He half turned to face David, his smile lost in the swirling of different colours of light. “She’s so… alive… so charged. So—”
            “—repulsive,” David offered, before realising what he had said, but the Organ Man either didn’t hear him, or was ignoring him. He approached the organ as a disciple would approach Jesus, his mouth hanging loosely, his eyes glowing brightly with delirium.
            “Oh, my baby, my precious,” he muttered. “I’ve brought him to you, my precious! I’ve brought you the successor!” The Organ Man sank to his knees before the organ, and David was certain that if it had feet, then the Organ Man would caress them with his lips. “He has come as I said he would… as you said he would. The successor has arrived!”
            David felt a sudden chill encircle his belly. Successor? Successor to what? He stared long and hard at the writhing organ, its pipes swaying as if they were fronds caught in a wind. He stared at the gaping clefts in the pipes’ ends, at the glowing white and black keys; he stared at it all, his mind working inside his head. Successor, his mind repeated. Successor to what? And then, the Organ Man rose, his eyes glistening, filling with tears. He smiled at David, really smiled at him, and with a wave of his hand, beckoned him to approach.
            He was powerless and could only watch as some invisible force pushed him towards the organ, which was pulsating, emitting a powerful feeling into the air, a feeling that pierced David, pierced his mind, and touched his soul. The organ was reaching out to him, extending a spectral hand towards him. It wanted him; needed him. The feeling was at first illuminating, mourning for a sense of loss, a loss that David felt as a tangible entity in his heart. The feeling was complimented by splashes of bottle green and deep blue light and other peaceful colours; purples and mauves. From the pipes, there came a soft hum, almost like a sigh. David suddenly felt as if he were filling a hitherto empty space, that the organ was a living soul in want of companionship. In the flickering seconds that he felt all of this, he was willing to just close his eyes and allow his body to tumble haltingly in the organ’s direction… but then, as he approached, everything changed.
            Need turned into lust, the hand held out for supplication began to snatch and demand. He sensed a change in the organ’s psyche. No longer was it driven by need; no longer was it stung by loss. It was hungry, in need of souls, and it wanted David’s soul… it wanted it desperately. He opened his eyes and the lights had changed to fiery reds and hot yellows and oranges. The music was horrible, cacophonous, staccato bursts that rent and tore at David’s ears. And now, he fought against his body, tried to command it to stop, but it was to no avail. The pipes swayed and belched fire and ear shattering sound and the Organ Man leapt from one foot to the other in joy, because his tenure of the demon organ was soon to end, and David’s was soon to begin.
            He understood now what he was being prepared for, and he fought. He tried so hard, tried to force his feet to root themselves into the floor and stay put, but it didn’t happen. His left foot first edged forward, hesitant at first as if considering David’s frantic pleas, but then, sliding anyway. And his right foot, not wanting to be left out, followed suit. Left… right… left again… right again… until he was at the Organ Man’s side, and the grinning Organ Man waved his finger at him, as if admonishing him.
            “Don’t fight,” he said. “Don’t fight. The organ always wins. It always wins.”
            David’s eyes locked onto the Organ Man’s for the shortest of possible times, and in that time, understanding passed between the two. Understanding and more… so much more. The Organ Man stared, and his eyes were wide, trembling like a rabbit caught in the headlights of a car, brimming with tears. His lips were moving, but no noise came out. He mouthed a single word over and over again. It could have been “sorry,” but the Organ Man looked far from sorry. David was his ticket to freedom; he had no need to feel sorry for him. And yet, in that split second, his eyes conveyed a message so stark, so profound that David knew that there was still humanity clinging to that thin frame…
            But the heartbeat was completed, David moved on, closer, closer to the organ on the dais. There was a stool set in front of the monolithic beast; a stool that looked more like a miniature throne studded as it was with stones and gilded with gold plate. David found his body easing itself onto the stool, found it to be comfortable, oh, so comfortable as if it were tailor made for his bottom.
            And maybe it just is, a stray thread of his mind spoke in a hollow cadence. Maybe this entire place was designed with you in mind; a palace for you to rule as a lord, subject only to a higher being, in this case, the devil in the organ.
            The thought would normally have scared David, but now, he was in such a state of torpor that nothing could touch him. He felt a cauldron of different feelings crash over him. He felt scared, omnipotent, melancholy, pious… aroused. They were all there, a seething paradox in his belly, rumbling, volatile, burning. He felt hot and cold, he felt hungry, sick… he felt horrible, confused. All the while, the organ closed around him, the music entered his head, bringing with it one instruction. One simple innocuous instruction…
            Play.
            And David froze… remembering…
            It claimed my soul after I struck the first note… It’s that easy, David, all it takes is for your finger to press a key… and you’re gone.
            And you’re gone.
            And you’re gone.
            The sentence played and replayed in his head, echoing around and around as if he had shouted it down an endless chasm. He stared at his hands, poised above the middle row of keys, inches above them and trembling in anticipation.
            Play, the organ ordered. Become my minion.
            And David watched his fingers dip, lower… lower, inches vanished between his fingers and the glowing keys. He could see their mirror images floating up to meet the real ones, could see his face reflected in the cavernous smile of five rows of keyboard teeth. He could feel the tension rising in the Organ Man and machine alike—the air was so thick, so cloying and hot that David could almost swear it was sitting on top of his shoulders.
            And still his fingers dipped, down, down, down… to the space of a fine hair between fingertip and ivory keys, to the point where his fingers actually rested on the keys. He could almost feel the valves wanting to open, to spray forth their music like an ejaculation of semen.
            Stop!
            Was it his voice? No; somebody else.
            “Stop! someone miraculously shouted over the chaos of colours and floating, disconnected images. Ab insidiis diaboli, libera nos Domine!
            The organ squealed as if in pain, a loud, high note that made David shout out in pain. And in the same instant, he was thrown backwards, caught on an apocalyptic gust of wind. He felt the world spinning around him, saw it from every conceivable angle, saw the organ, surrounded by a lurid assembly of lights, emitting a loud blurting of noise, and noise it was. There was nothing musical in this hideous outcry of rage, pain and frustration that split the very fabric of the universe. The peal of anger was so animal, so primal; the kind of primal anger vented upon the earth by a volcano or an earthquake.
            There was the Organ Man, leaning against the wall, his hand at his throat and the most desperate look of fear plastered across his face. His eyes were so wide and so white that his pupils were almost invisible. His lips moved into an ‘O’ of fear, relaxed, became an ‘O’ once more so that he was mimicking perfectly the breathing of a fish. His gaze was not on either the organ or David, but on the person who had interrupted the midnight ceremony.
            He stood at the far end of the hall, surrounded by a halo of light, dressed in a long flowing cloak made from material blacker than a starless night. In his right hand he held a leather-bound book, while his left was raised, the fingers splayed like a magus, pointing at the organ. “In the name of the Holy Trinity, I command thee begone!” he shouted at the machine, and the machine gave another discordant shout as if in pain. But the newcomer was not bothered by the noise. His face set in grim determination, he stepped forward, his eyes blazing with fury. As he stepped forward, he revealed behind him another, older man, one whom both David and the Organ Man recognised at once, though it was only the Organ Man who could acknowledge this man’s presence with a name.
            “Raymond!” he hissed, his voice a furious hiss. He reached out his hands pathetically, like a gorgon, scratching the air hopelessly. “You cur! You betrayer! You Judas!” But he was reduced to silence, as was the organ, whose long trill of rage seemed to fade as if it were sliding down a long tunnel.
            As David watched, the lights began to fade, the noise began to soften. He looked at the pipes, and no longer did they tremble or writhe. They shrank, falling into themselves like molten glass, returning to their normal size and their normal, rusted state. The five keyboards gave an enormous shudder, clicking like stiff vertebrae before collapsing one on top of the other until they were restored to the original dual keyboards. The bright colour faded as if someone had poured thick yellow syrup over the keys, spreading like plaque over teeth. Lastly, the stool shrank in upon itself like a potato chip packet in an oven. The horsehair stuffing bulged through the stretched vinyl before emitting a loud tearing noise and breaking through the surface. All of this happened in milliseconds, accompanied by a rushing of air towards where the organ stood as matter rushed into the vacuum created by the organ’s transformation. Into the vacuum went the lights and the fog, whirling around a single dark portal before even this portal was sucked into itself with a tiny pop!
            All that was left was the Organ Man, trembling in fear and frustration. He stood looking around him, at the hall, returned to its dark tomb-like countenance, at the priest, his brother, and then at David, who lay where he had been thrown by the organ’s rage, cold and bruised. It was dark, so horribly dark, the only light being a torch that the old man now trained on the Organ Man. After a long time spent in bone jarring silence, he smiled, and waved a bony finger at the trio sharing the hall with him. And before either the old man or the priest could gather their senses to move in on him, and maybe finish it forever, he began to sink between the gaps in the floorboards… melting like a candle, flowing dark and treacly over and into the floor…
            But before he had totally vanished, David had keeled over, exhausted.