Monday, July 27, 2015

The Scent of Infinity: Short Fiction

The Scent Of Infinity
 Chris Costello

He drifted into the bar, appearing seemingly out of nowhere. He passed right through a couple of tables, and his feet didn’t quite touch the floor. The guy-for lack of a better term-was handsome, but only if you looked him dead on. If you turned your head to the left, if you squinted just right, you could see he had all the wrong angles. Things just didn’t line up the way they should, and geometry was apparently something he elected to ignore.

He sat next to me at the bar. They always did.

“Geneva Cthulhu?” He asked. His voice was smooth as silk, but it worked in reverse. It started in my brain and crawled its way out of my ears.

A feeling of dread festered in my stomach, but I managed to keep my face expressionless. It was a necessary skill in this business. “It’s pronounced Thulhu.” I said. “The C is silent.”

“My apologies.” There was that voice again. It was like a chisel, chipping away at my soul. What was left of it, anyway.
Instead of replying, I nodded to the bartender. I needed a stiff drink to keep my sanity from falling away. It was already peeling at the edges, but that was to be expected. It came with the job.

The muscle-bound man behind the counter returned my gesture. Then he poured me a glass of something black and steamy. I’d never seen it before, and I didn’t know what it was. I didn’t much care, either. I was fine as long as the alcohol content was high.

I took a sip. It tasted like acid, but it got my heart to stop hammering in my chest. Not a bad trade off.

“I need your help,” Said the guy from dimensions from beyond knowing. “I’ve lost something, and I was told you could help assist me in finding it.” His voice wasn’t so grating this time. I made a mental note to give the bartender a big tip after this was over. He deserved it.

“Probably.” I replied evenly. “What are you looking for?”

“That’s a good question. I don’t know how it would manifest in this plane.”

I sat up a little straighter in my chair. “Oh, really?” It’s extranormal in nature?”

The guy chuckled. “I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t.”
“Fair enough. What’s it look like on... Wherever you come from?”

“On my home, it’s a glimmering spheroid of cosmic energy. It has seven point potentialities. It’s the color of death, and the scent of infinity.”

It always was.

I puzzled this out for a minute, taking a long pull on my drink as I did so. “I can find it.” I said after a moment. I didn’t know if this was true or not. But I had a knack for finding things that didn’t belong in this universe. Or maybe they had a knack for finding me. At any rate, this kind of thing was right in my wheelhouse.

“Excellent, Ms. Thulhu.” He said, getting to his feet. “We’ll be in touch.” The guy that was not a guy smiled, and my glass dissolved into a puddle of goo. I made a mental note to add that to the list of expenses.

He disappeared, leaving behind the stench of burning reality, of quarks and gluons and dying stars. Not many of the other patrons noticed, but those that did would soon forget it. The human mind wasn’t made for that stuff. I wished like hell I could forget, but that was impossible. The best I could do was work hard to keep from going mad. I’d made some bad decisions on this front before, but I wasn’t quite ready for a straightjacket just yet.

I ordered another drink for the road and headed out to find something with the scent of infinity. Whatever the hell that meant.

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