The blind man removed his hood and blood spurted from his empty eye sockets as though shot from a pump action water gun. Victor dropped his jacket and stumbled back, trying to shield his face. For a solid minute the gory sprinklers drenched the room, only tapering off to a dribble after having turned the library—and Victor—into a gruesome Jackson Pollock painting.
A strange drop landed with a heavy pat on the sleeve of Victor’s blanket robe; then another on his turban. One by one, with gaining frequency raindrops pattered down upon him, only this time he noticed the downpour was dark and had no smell. A fat, moist drop slapped one of his fingers protruding from the robe, and stuck to it. Victor looked down at what appeared to be a glistening, black crayon. The crayon twisted then squeezed itself like an accordion. Victor shook it from his finger in disgust and then drew his hand inside the blanket. A carpet of long, thin leeches accumulated drop by drop, writhing and gorging on the blood-soaked floor.
With a shudder Victor abandoned the attempted rescue of his jacket and squelched his way across the room, shaking and brushing off the bloodthirsty worms as they continued to fall. But there was no way out. The doorknob, which after its earlier transformation was now a boil-riddled cane toad, had left its station on the door and was now sitting upside down on the ceiling. It was too high for Victor to reach, and there was no way to open the door. The blind man cackled and coughed like a movie villain with a chest infection. Victor glared at him.
“Damn it!” he yelled. “You think this is funny? What are you trying to do anyway? Damn leeches!”
Victor stomped the floor and felt a cluster of bursts like bubble wrap; blood spewed out from under his shoe. The blind man laughed again. Victor clenched his fists and, as fast as he could in his fleecy layers, charged the blind man.
“You sick bastard!” he yelled.
Victor had his right fist cocked and ready to fire at the back of the blind man’s head, but as he drew near, the blind man spun around holding a Tommy Gun. Victor dropped to the floor in panic and rolled past the blind man, just as the gun unleashed a deafening volley inches above his head. Victor scurried to a bookshelf and crouched.
The rain stopped.
A wounded bookshelf by the door creaked under its load where the blind man had stitched it with a seam of bullets. He looked vicious as he waited, still, listening, his machine gun poised. Victor sat frozen against the bookshelf, inwardly cursing his bulky robes, possibly effective against paper cuts and lemon juice, but no defence against gunfire.
He slowly unwrapped the bath towel turban from his head, careful to keep silent. The blind man tilted his head to one side then the other, his ears scanning the room. Eager to release himself from the last wrap of towel, Victor’s hand slipped and ever so slightly tapped a book on the shelf behind his head. The blind man turned and swept a barking firestorm across the shelves. Victor laid flat and could only watch in terror as the bullets smashed into the bookshelves above him, sending down a rain of splinters. After a few seconds that seemed an eternity, the blind man held his fire and listened again. Victor dared not move.
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