a short story
“The Lyogith lives on upon the dance floor of Mr. Dia’s.”
Who? The abandoned nightclub? What??
Peter was reading meaningless dictums one after another, when he came across this one.
“Don’t give up.” “Mental health, not corporate wealth.” “Smoke grass & eat ass.” The chalk writings on a public board outside of a food stand. Supposed to be inspirational or something. It stood next to the courtyard of his own apartment building. Peter came here often to eat. Reading the board was a way to pass the time while waiting on the order and often he’d find at least a few to Snapchat. Sometimes he took a piece of chalk and scribbled some of his own bullshit down on here. He held the chalk now, but continued to mouth the words he’d just read, “The Lyogith lives on.” Next to the sentence, written in a bold and vibrant shade of red chalk, there was another strange marking. Not a letter, it was much more complex. A star with one, two, three… He couldn’t make sense of it.
Mr. Dia’s was an abandoned night club, Peter knew that. He walked by it on the way to get over here. But ‘The Lyogith’? What in the world was that? He found himself laughing about it.
But why is this funny? Have I gone mad? Ha-HA!
“Order ready for Peter!”
While eating, Peter continued to mull the phrase. He had to get it. Couldn’t get it out of his head. Completely fixated. He googled it. No dice. Dammit. I’ve always wanted to go into Mr. Dia’s. It had been closed in the time he had been living over here.
Well, clearly I’ve gotta get in there. I should get going. The wind picked up, chilling him, as he set his feet toward the abandoned nightclub. Things were gonna get chilly tonight, he knew.
The sun was down. The people were in the bars, or at home. The moon was showing itself upon the cleary sky overhead. Peter approached the side entrance of Dia’s rubbing his hands together and breathing into them. He considered the side his best bet, thinking the front to be assuredly locked. The back was surrounded by a barbed fence. Peter weighed his options, looking at his cold hands in the night. First, he might as well try the door. To his amazement, it simply opened. He stepped inside before thinking, in an effort to get out of the cold.
Well, here I am.
Peter glanced around. First instinct told him to look for a light switch, but he didn’t know where to even look. It was nearly pitch dark, save for some moonlight streaming in from one of the high windows upon the center of the room. It was bright enough to light his path. Lucky. The side door led into the hallway where the kitchen was. It was empty, save for some stainless steel tubs and stuff like that. Peter didn’t really look at any of it, he just kept walking forward. He reached the central dance floor, and stepped out into the moonlight bathing it with an aura of eery coolness.
It was a wide area. Peter put his head on a swivel, turning every which way out of some instinct of fear. The direction of the front door was completely dark, he couldn’t see through the tinted windows at all. The way he had come was the same, there was only a small circular window on the side entrance door. From there it looked like there were two more paths leading around and behind the stage. He started up at the window near the ceiling, where the moonlight was streaming in. Peter considered the meaning of a crescent.
The longer he stood there, the more out of place he seemed to think he was. Me in an abandoned nightclub, alone, breaking the law to be in here. He almost chuckled aloud. On impulse he covered his mouth, not wanting to awaken anything. Anything? There isn’t anyone here, fool. But what if there was? Ha-HA!
I mean, how long has this place been abandoned? Why is it abandoned? And if it’s been derelict this long, why hadn’t anyone come to tear it down? Why no new tenants for this primetime location? It was right next to downtown, near all the bars young people frequented. There was no downside Peter could think of. All in all, lotta money to be made in this place. Too bad. Peter put the unsettling thoughts to rest.
Hands in pockets, Peter circled around once more, sighing. His eyes adjusted, he could see better. The path behind the stage at the forefront of the dance floor, he wanted to go back there. He started that way, thinking he would write ‘Deep Throat was here’ in the bathroom or something, and then get out of here. Enough was enough. This was stupid anyway. Stupid drunk made up a word, Lyo-gith.
“I’ve been waiting, for you.”
A slow roll of words from the mouth of a half-man, half-beast. On cue, a tall man stepped out of the shadows to his left. Peter side eyed him. A chill ran down his spine. So startled was he, that he forgot to verbalize his fright in any way. Unmoving, he could only make out the figure’s silhouette. Towering and slender, the speaker was perfectly still, hands behind his back. He hadn’t actually seen him walk, persay, he kind of just slid into his frame of reference.
“Who-” Peter began to turn, but as he did the tall man presented something. From behind his back, an object on a chain appeared. A watch?
“That’s enough of that,” the slender man purred. Peter couldn’t move. He was still only able to look at him sidelong, he had only turned his head a few degrees from where he had been facing. And now he couldn’t move at all. He began to panic. Sweat poured along his body. Jaw gritted in attempted defiance, he breathed quick, short breaths through his nose. He struggled even to blink.
“You are under my control now, young man. You will do as I say. Don’t worry, this will be quick.”
Holding the chain watch with his left hand, twirling ever so slowly on its vertical axis, he reached his right hand into his pocket. Peter continued to fight. It felt futile, as if his body had just given up all authority. But it wasn’t physical. It wasn’t painful. Peter had never had sleep paralysis, but he’d heard about it and he assumed this is what it might feel like.
So he’s hypnotizing me or something. What the fuck. What do I do, what do I do. What can I do. Am I helpless?
The man eventually fished out what he was looking for. In his right hand, he presented a small pen or something.
“Now, draw it. Remember to get the proportions correct. Don’t get lazy. Don’t want any rotten runes. Not again,” the silhouette cackled for a bit.
He tossed the little pen into the air, and before Peter knew it he had righted himself and reached out with enough precision to catch it, unconsciously. It was a small piece of red chalk.
“Get to work,” the man commanded. Facing him full on now, Peter noted he wore a truly absurd hat. Before he could inspect it with a closer look, he dropped to his knees and began to draw lines onto the ground right at his feet, in the center of the room. Moving with a meticulous grace unfounded and completely beyond his own capability, Peter couldn’t blink as he watched himself go. No part of me is controlling this. Working efficiently, he began to see the image unfolding around him.
He drew a star, rather straightforwardly to begin with. Then came random flourishes of the chalk, in wide semi-circles, repeatedly starting one anew with a vigor, nearly breaking it at times. Forceful presses into curved lines leading to no logical end. Wayward shapes in and around the star, angles which had no basis in the geometry he could recall in his own mind. Two-dimensional and three-dimensional objects seemingly borne of a crucial and innate talent within a true artist. And yet, here Peter was, no real talent for art,creating this masterpiece. He found himself drawing here, sprawled out, for a long time. He would lose track of his own hands crossing lines in between his own legs. He was almost always off-balance but he never fell down. Someone was in control, always.
The tall, hat-wearing man watched and waited patiently for his subject to finish. Peter concluded the final line, a circle at the head and just to the left of the primary northern point of the star. He dropped the chalk as soon as the finishing touch was put upon the dance floor of the night club.
“There you go. Aaaand that should be it. Let us see, let us see, clear out now boy.”
The tall man strode forward, Peter stepped back not of his own volition. He was out breath and drenched in an unearthly amount of sweat. While he was at it, he didn’t realize how strained and exacting his muscles and posture was. Nor could he comprehend how much time had really passed.
Stepping into the strange symbol, and the moonlight shining down upon it, the silhouette finally turned around with a flourish. He was laughing, snickering, bellowing to himself. He brought his hat low to the ground in a bow apparently directed at Peter’s sprawled and heaving figure below his towering form.
Peter looked into his smiling eyes with terror. This face, his face…
The lanky figure’s final words.
A blue glow began to envelop the markings upon the ground, Peter saw with unnerving immediacy. The dance floor itself was lighting up, coming to life before their eyes. Strangely colored and shifting flames licked from out of oblivion on the second story balcony all around. Orange and then blue, then red, then magenta. Each of the men looked around in amazement at the vivid paintings on the walls. Not visible before, the man cackled and the boy whimpered at the visceral depictions upon some cosmic landscapes of oddly incomprehensible futures. There was brief pause, before a cacophonous shriek sourced from somewhere inside the walls. Peter tried to cover his ears but found he didn’t have the energy to. He let the sounds wash over him and take him away, briefly, in an instant, to the burning skies of some place he couldn’t yet remember. Vibrantly red lines of liquid began to slowly pour down the walls of the first and second stories. The shade of the moonlight took on a sickly crimson, the blue light emanating from the markings began to turn this coloration as well. Red smoke poured up from underneath the tall man’s now trembling form. He looked up in abject terror at the rising of a blood moon within the window. Peter glanced up from his prostrate position on the dance floor, fresh red liquids pooling around him, at the strange appearance of the man’s terrible face in this moment. Is he crying tears of blood?
Red mist and revving sparks engulfed the man on the dance floor completely. There was no scream, there was nothing left, save for the clink of his chain watch hitting the ground from its short fall. Peter, finally able to move his own body, pushed himself up from prone in the new silence of his surroundings. Blood, or something like it, dripped from his body. I… I feel fine, I guess. This isn’t mine, Peter dawned.
A guttural voice, shrouded in an unknown interference, surfaced from… somewhere. Somewhere nearby, Peter understood. The sound and cadence of it shook him to his core.
“uhhhh…” Peter managed.
“It is the Immortal Source-Blood of–
“Wait! wait. What in the holy fuck is going on!” Peter shouted, hysteric, hands out, circling round and round looking and looking. Blood dripped onto his sneakers. This is madness, this is madness. The moon appeared to be silver again. From somewhere in the club, he thought he could hear a beat.
The deep voice spoke once more, exuding an otherworldly candor.
“Well, you tell me…
~ art by Sana Takeda