He looked up at the ceiling and a plump raindrop smacked him in the eye.
“Argh,” he moaned, rubbing away the offending liquid. “It’s raining bloody lemon juice.”
Victor sat curled beneath his jacket until the rain stopped, and then got to his feet. The library around him was bright again and instantly dry, while he was drenched through his suit in juice. He hung his jacket over the back of the reading chair and undid his tie, dabbing his forehead with it where the paper cuts stung the most. Throwing the tie onto the table, he noticed the book lying there. He picked it up.
“King Lear. Huh.”
“Lear?” said the blind man, removing his hood and turning around to face Victor.
Victor tossed the book onto the table and glared at the blind man.
“Well, look who decided to wake up,” he said.
He peeled off his soaking business shirt. A large, greenish bruise marked his side where a flying encyclopaedia had struck his ribs. Victor touched the wounded area and winced.
“Are you happy?” he demanded. “You just stand there like a statue while all the books in the room beat the living snot out of me.”
The blind man stretched out a bony finger.
“Ye… Ye speaketh of Lear,” he said in a trembling yet still overacted voice. “Then thou knowest my lord? It is you, is it not, Edgar?”
“Yeah, sure,” he said, wringing his shirt with little effect, before discarding it on the floor. “Why not?”
“Ah, sweet mortal coil! Then thou shalt help thy poor father.”
“Help you?” asked Victor. He looked, appalled, at the blind man’s gruesome visage. “What do you want—some bandages to cover those bloody holes in your face?”
The blind man pointed to his haemorrhaging eyes sockets.
“Bleeding rings,” he said.
The blind man smiled.
“You will help me see again,” he said.
“Ha!” said Victor, massaging his shoulder where a hefty volume on fly fishing had assaulted him. “I hate to break it to you, but there’s no cure for gouged eyes.”
The blind man’s face became grave. He hid himself in his hood, bowed his head and drew his arms into his cloak.
“Oh no, not again,” said Victor.
“Wouldst thou betrayest me?” said the blind man.
The room darkened and thunder rumbled.
“No, wait!” said Victor.
Wind swirled and shook the bookshelves.
“No, no! Okay, I’ll help you! You’ll see again—I promise!”
The blind man made no movement or response. A punch between the shoulder blades felled Victor. On his hands and knees, gasping for breath, he looked behind him on the floor and saw his attacker: a King James Bible the size and weight of a stone tablet.
“No,” he wheezed. “I’ll help you. Just stop the storm.”
Books dived from the shelves, whirled and launched at him; lemon juice rain began to fall; Victor ran for the door. He reached to open it but then stayed his hand: the cane toad door knob had doubled in size, and the boils on its skin were now bursting in hideous fountains of pus. Victor retched and stepped back, but the teeming rain, coupled with a photographic journal striking him like a stray discus to the back of the head, spurred him on. With crawling skin and a cry of revulsion, he squeezed and turned the door knob and fled the room.
© 2019 MILES VENISON ALL RIGHTS RESERVED