The Night He Visited a Cabin in Dartmoor (Part 2 of 2)Submitted by Tom Sorrell at 2014-01-26 22:55:40 EST
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Martin Roberts, the 38 year old screenwriter, was sitting in the pub with his closest friend in Dartmoor. The man’s name was Desmond. He was 34 and looked like the guy from Lost who played Ben Linus. Martin took a sip of dark beer from his mug as Desmond leaned back in his chair and ran a hand through a tangled mess of brown hair while lifting his mug with the other.
“I’m telling you,” he slurred, taking the first drink of his fifth pint of the evening and slamming the mug on the wooden table. “There are two types of Zeppelin fans. This is not up for debate, you see. It’s just a fact, and a fact is true. I can’t help if a fact is true, can I?”
Martin shook his head, distractedly, as his left leg bounced up and down under the table. He’d been waiting for Desmond to get sufficiently sloshed so he could talk to his friend about what had happened to him the night before, but he wanted the peace of mind of knowing he’d have a “I never said any such thing you drunken bastard” card in his back pocket ready to play if it was ever mentioned again.
“The first type,” he said, between drinks, “hears the end of ‘Heartbreaker’ and waits for ‘Livin’ Lovin’ Maid’ to tear their bloody faces off. And it does, Marty. Every single time.”
Martin chuckled and laughed as he checked his watch. It was 11:11 again. He stopped laughing and looked around, nervously.
“The second type,” Desmond said, with a hint of condescension, hears the end of ‘Heartbreaker’ and thinks ‘Immigrant Song’ should come on and make Vikings sound even more badass than they already are. I just want it on record those people are wrong, even though that song is amazing.”
“What the hell are you talking about, Des?” Martin asked as he took another drink of beer and almost spilled it down the front of his shirt. He put the glass on the table and tried to hide his trembling hands from his friend.
“Isn’t it obvious?” Desmond asked, turning the mug up and finishing the last bit of brown liquid. “If you listen to Zeppelin’s second album you wait for the former. If you listen to Mothership you wait for the latter. And really, Marty, Mothership is no way to listen to Zeppelin. They’re meant to be experienced song by song on an album. An actual vinyl album. It’s the only way to really hear Zeppelin and get what they’re all about.”
Martin sighed. Desmond was always talking about his records. He’d watched High Fidelity entirely too many times.
“And what would that be?” Martin asked.
“They want to live in The Shire and hang out with Gandalf and they want to do it right now.”
Martin chuckled and shook his head, then looked around and pulled his chair a few inches closer to Desmond.
“So listen,” he said, under his breath. “I need to talk to you about something … it’s weird. I don’t know if you’ll believe me or not.”
Desmond shrugged and held up his empty mug.
“I’ll be more likely to believe whatever nonsense you’ll spew if I have another pint in me,” he said, as he stood and headed towards the bar. “I’ll bring you back one.”
Martin nodded and tried to relax, but something was off. The atmosphere of the pub felt thick and there was very little noise. He looked around and noticed several people seemed to be pretending not to notice him, but chalked it up to being recognized as a screenwriter by complete stranger, as if that ever happens…
“I am losing my mind,” he mumbled, putting the mug on the table and staring at the foam on the rim. “Was that a dream or did it really happen?”
The night before was a blur. He remembered an electrical storm and lots of Jameson’s, but at some point he’d passed out and dreamt he’d been visited by a shadowy humanoid figure with large horns and glowing red eyes. This, of course, happened after he’d heard the baying of strange black hounds outside his door. It was an odd dream, to be sure, but he’d gone through it with a sense of extreme calm and woke up with a combination of serenity and despair.
Desmond sat back down and slid a mug to Martin, who picked it up and took a small drink. It was only his second of the night and his stomach was doing back flips.
“So what did you want to tell me?” he asked, with a chuckle. “Did God speak to you or something?”
Martin’s eyes widened. Desmond slapped him on the back and laughed.
“Come on, Marty. Don’t you remember your first night in here?”
Martin nodded. Desmond cackled.
“You said you were a Messenger of the Lord, then you called everyone in the place a limey cocksmoker, then you threw around a handful of cash and we all agreed not to kill you after a lively debate. Funniest damned thing I’ve ever seen. Hey Gabriel, do you remember that?”
A man with crossed eyes and short blond hair turned and nodded. He didn’t smile.
“Kiss my American ass you limey cocksmokers!” Gabriel spat through crooked teeth. “Bah! I should still cut you.”
Martin raised an eyebrow as Gabriel turned back to his beer. Desmond laughed harder and slapped Martin on the back again.
“Gabriel was like the guy in ‘12 Angry Men’ who wouldn’t let the jury find the kid guilty.”
“Henry Fonda,” Martin said.
“Yeah, exactly. He smashed a bottle of vodka and came at you screaming ‘Death to the Yank!’ Remember that?”
Martin sighed and nodded. Desmond put his palms up, apologetically.
“Sorry to bring it up,” Desmond said. “So what happened last night? Did you see The Beast?”
Martin paused for a long moment, then nodded slowly.
“I think so,” he said. “I definitely talked to something.”
Desmond raised his eyebrows and frowned.
“That makes no sense, Marty. The beast is a cat or something.”
“Not The Dartmoor Beast,” Martin said. “THE Beast.”
“The fucking Devil, ok? The Abomination. Leviathan. Beelzebub. Lucifer. Satan, Esquire.”
“Uh huh,” he said. “I’m sure one of those is right. Go on.”
Martin shook his head and stared at his mug.
“But … then … I don’t know. It was really weird, man.”
“Sounds like it,” his friend replied. “Did he try to rape you?”
“What? No, dude.”
“Really?? Wow … that’s weird.”
“Is it?” Martin asked.
Desmond nodded and took a drink.
“Just ask Jonah Hill, dude. He was raped by Satan.”
“That’s a movie, Des,” Martin said.
“Is it?” Desmond replied with a grin.
“Anyway,” Martin said. “I saw his shadow on the wall and then I turned around and saw these two red eyes. They looked like glowing charcoal. His horns were huge and sharp and he was tall as hell. And …”
“What?” Desmond asked.
“He called me his son.”
“Pffft,” Desmond replied. “Who is he, Darth Vader?”
“That’s what I said,” Martin replied. “It didn’t make any sense. But then I got to thinking about something…”
Desmond took a drink and raised his eyebrows. Martin shook his head and moved another inch closer.
“I think it may have been … God … in disguise.”
Desmond blinked, once, shocked, but said nothing.
“He said he’d been testing me. To see if I was worthy.”
“Worthy of what?” Desmond asked.
“Life? I’ve been a real piece of shit and I’m only just realizing it.”
Desmond took a drink and nodded, thoughtfully.
“You know,” he said, finally. “When Jimmy Page was younger he put a mudshark inside in a woman.”
Martin was taken aback. Disgusted even. He shook his head and gulped.
“Dude … what?”
“I mean,” Desmond said, “It wasn’t just him, but he took part in it.”
Martin gagged and frowned.
“Well that’s great, Desmond. What’s the point?”
“When he did that he was one person. Now he’s older, do you really think he’d ever want to do something like that again?”
“Probably,” Martin said, taking a drink of beer.
Desmond shrugged and leaned forward on the table.
“The point is,” he said, “It’s highly unlikely he’d do anything like ever again. He’s not that person anymore. Yes, he was at one point, but the man who did that is most likely gone at this point.”
Martin nodded, thoughtfully. Desmond chuckled and toasted the air.
“People change, Martin,” he said. “It’s what we do. We do it over and over and over. You have to roll with the changes and adapt, or you’ll get stuck in a place you don’t belong in, doing the same things you did before like that Greek asshole who had to roll the rock up the hill.”
“Gesundhit,“ Desmond said, downing the rest of the mug and slamming it on the table. He stood up and almost fell over, but grabbed the table for support.
“Easy, killer,” Martin said, helping his friend right himself. “I think you might have had enough.”
Desmond nodded and laughed.
“The real question, Marty…” Desmond said, his eyes turning from brown to red, like two burning coals. “…is have YOU had enough?”
The man gasped and took a step back. The thing smiled, thinly, and nodded. Martin grinned, slightly, and looked around the pub, shaking his head in amazement.
“I want to go home,” Martin finally said. “I’ve been stuck here for too long.”
The red-eyed Desmond frowned and rubbed his chin.
“Someday,” he said. “When you prove you’re worthy of home I’ll let you return.”
“It’s been 20 years!” Martin exclaimed.
“No,” came the reply. “It’s only been a few days.”
Martin struggled with this for a moment. Desmond grinned and headed towards the bar.
“The time for games is over,” he said. “Don’t you have something to do?”
Martin nodded and smiled, grabbed his coat and left the pub. An hour later, he was in front of his typewriter, doing what he did best. He wasn’t sure what he was working on, but at least he was writing again.