This story is by Charlotte Brown and was part of our 2016 Winter Writing Contest. You can find all the Winter Writing Contest stories here.
Louis Dix was a master at the Art of Prae. He looked into the hearts and minds of people and provided the illusion that they sought. He could deliver everything your Mind’s Eye desired.
In his travels, he found a perfect spot and decided to make it his home.
It was hard at first. The nature of the town’s people was to be suspicious of newcomers. Crime plagued the town: murder, rape and robbery were a common occurrence. He needed their trust willingly. He could not exist without it. Mr. Dix made it his mission to put them at ease and gain their trust.
Therefore, he Fed. And he Fed well for the next two weeks while he removed the ills of society from this gorgeous little town.
No one spoke ill of Mr. Dix, he was the nicest man in the world. The residents saw him as a Southern man with an open heart and closed lips. He spread his love on all the residents.
He loved to love. He took companions throughout his life and loved them to death. Their life span was 500 years but he never found love that lasted that long. He assumed that they had grown tired of him somewhere between the 300 – 400 year mark, therefore creating the need for him to shorten their life span. Some went quietly, some fought and pleaded for more time. They could not fool him. He knew when the Thrill was gone, when the Love had Faded. He would not be with someone that could not keep up the Illusion of a Happy Relationship. When it was over, it was over.
Then he met and Acquired Larry. Larry loved him. He really loved him. Larry requested to have his Life Renewed to be with him for another century or so. Louis didn’t know if that was possible and told Larry that he would have to check with the Wise on the process of Life Renewal. Larry bugged him every day about it. Louis was ecstatic and nothing or no one would ruin it.
But someone did. The Town’s People elected a Sheriff with a chip on his shoulder. Sheriff Balton was brash and Louis did not care for him. The Sheriff also had a problem with two men being in love and living together “in sin”.
In September of that year, a murder happened in the town on a Friday night. The Sheriff was at the door Saturday morning to take Larry away.
Due to Louis’s genetic structure, he was not able to see Larry at the jail. He went to court to catch a glimpse of his love. He was not able to “visit” him, talk to him on the phone, or pass messages to him. For the first time, his Powers were useless. He could feel the pain that Larry was going through – the beatings at the Sheriff’s hands, the loneliness, and the violation from other prisoners, the humility.
He felt the electricity cursing through Larry’s body when they executed him.
Two weeks later, the true killer was found. Louis took his time and savored the pleasure in killing the Sheriff.
The loneliness was unbearable. He could not exist hundreds of years without Larry. He never wanted anyone else to feel this pain. No one, human or otherwise, should lose a loved one based on mistakes. Humans should not have the power to kill who they think are dangers to them. They are not capable of making a correct determination – they guess at it. Their Justice System is flawed and rifled with mistakes. He could not allow their mistakes to create more mistakes.
He would seek out a Friend of a Friend from Another Time. Louis recalled that this man was a great Statesman and an Educated Lawyer. He would go to him, talk to him, and ask him to help the Humans with their Justice System. Louis was sure that someone like this man would welcome this difficult task.
He readied for his trip. It would be the last trip he would make. The man who he was going to see would demand a lot for his Services. Louis knew that his Power was coveted and he would have to lose it to ask for this Service. Louis knew he would not make it out of the meeting. That was fine, he was ready to die. So that no one else would suffer like him.
After receiving Confirmation, the meeting was set.
He left immediately. He did not want to be late for his appointment with Croix.
Croix is sitting in front of the fireplace enjoying his cognac while the jazz quartet plays a sultry Miles Davis tune.
A long legged redhead walks up to the fireplace, pauses and extends her hand to guide Louis Dix to Croix.
Louis pauses before he sits down. “Thank you for taking time to see me, Mr. Braesan.”
Croix motions for Louis to sit in the chair next to him. “As a habit, I do not take meetings with strangers twice removed. Explain your connection to our mutual friend.”
Croix takes another drink.
Louis puts his hat and cane on the table. “Mr. Braesan, I have come with a request for your Services. I assure you, I am not a threat and mean no harm.”
Croix sits his empty snifter on the table. A waiter walks by, picks up the empty snifter and replaces it with another cognac. Croix glances at the snifter and turns toward Louis.
“What Services would that be?”
Louis removes a white pocket square and wipes his face. “I have suffered a devastating loss. My love was taken from me due to a human error.”
“You want him to come back?”
Louis shakes his head. “He cannot, it has been too long. I want to make sure that no one else experiences…”
Croix is irritated by Louis’s story. “State your request.”
Louis leans forward. “Their justice system is flawed. Innocents have received judgments of guilt while the evil ones are inflicting horror.”
“Why should I care?”
Louis senses Croix’s impatience. He pauses before he speaks. “You have been affected by this very situation in your past. That is the reason I requested this meeting.”
Croix responds in anger. “How do you know what I have experienced?”
Louis knows he has Croix’s attention. “I am willing to give up my life and my power if you will take up this cause.”
Croix is riled and insulted at Louis’s power play. He composes himself before he speaks. “I was told of your power. The Art of Prae.”
“I am able to project the wish of the mind’s eye. I am the last of my race but I am ready to relinquish my power and die.”
Croix picks up the snifter. “I am sorry to disappoint you, Mr. Dix. I cannot Acquire your power. I lack the compassion to care.”
Croix stands up. “I would say that this meeting was a waste of your time. I will not kill you today.”
Louis is upset. “I beg of you to reconsider my offer.”
Croix picks up Louis’s hat and cane and puts it next to Louis. “You are more useful to me alive.”
Croix touches Louis on his shoulder. Croix “melts” into Louis.
Louis shows a painful reaction.
After five minutes, he is sitting still. Louis smiles and picks up the glass of cognac.
Croix (as Louis) “Yes, Mr. Dix, you will be very useful”.