It was dark and a full moon lit the street. The doors to the Hotel Raoul stood impassive as ever. Suddenly a man appeared on the floor. He gasped for air, his voice raspy and weak.
“Help me!” he said. “Someone help me.”
Another, short man, walked over to him from a little distance away. The one on the ground looked up, his cut and bruised face turned to the short man.
“P-pook?” he said.
“Mr Bisset,” said Pook cheerily. “How was the ordeal, you were successful?”
“Help me…” said Bisset. “For God’s sake help me.”
“I shall make an assumption perchance that my question would be answered in the negative,” said Pook. “Ah well, it is good for the master to know the servant’s toils I think. Then he can truly appreciate the service given to him.”
“They came, they were, what were they?” rambled Bisset. “Abominations, yes, abominations disguised as angels. Please help me man.”
“Well,” said Pook, “you will no doubt be pleased, nay ecstatic, to hear that I am most certainly capable of offering you assistance. Indeed, as a precaution against just such an eventuality I have a doctor and, not one but two, nurses waiting but a short distance along.”
“You’re good… a good man,” said Bisset, “Fetch them.”
“I do have one small favour to ask first though,” said Pook. “I assume you will be more than happy to acquisie under the, shall we say, trying circumstances you find yourself.”
“What are you talking about,” said Bisset.
“I need you to sign over control of your organisation to me,” said Pook.
“What!” said Bisset. “Of course not, I’d rather die.”
“Very well,” said Pook and made a waving gesture with his hand toward the end of the street.
“Stop, stop” said Bisset. “Are you serious?”
“Indeed, I have never felt further from humour in my life,” said Pook. “As proof of my vast sincerity in this matter, let me show you a contract.”
Pook, still smiling, produced a piece of paper from his jacket pocket and an expensive looking pen. He opened the piece of paper and pointed to a space.
“Sign here,” he said cheerily.
“You, you…” said Bisset. “This is an outrage.”
“Actually it’s rather more like a coup, but we can perchance discuss semantics later.”
Bisset swiped at the pen.
“Where’s the ink?” he said.
“Oh I prefer blood, it’s more… permanent,” said Pook. “Look, you have some already.”
Pook stuck the pen into an open wound and Bisset screamed.
“There we go, all done now,” said Pook and handed the pen to Bisset.
With a shaking hand the broken man signed the contract. When he was done, Pook took it, folded it and returned it to his jacket.
“Actually there is no doctor, or even a nurse,” said Pook.
“You…” started Bisset.
“What there is, is this,” continued Pook, and grasped Bisset’s head.
There was a sickly sound of tissue shifting and moving. Bisset stared open eyed, his mouth moving soundlessly. His wounds began to close and the bruises cleared to pure skin. Pook stared impassively, his breath shallow. When it was done Bisset stood up, unharmed, undamaged.
“How?’ he said.
Pook’s eyes looked glassy as he stared into space.
“I am that, that you should fear,” he said in a flat mechanical voice. “That, that rules and that, that you will kneel to.”
Bisset looked in awe and went down on his knees, timidly bowing his head.