Episode 18 – Half-Job-Bob 

 April 4, 2021

By  Christopher David Roberts

Note: If you are new to Logical Monkey, I recommend starting at episode 1 to get the best out of the story.

I've provided an audio version below for those that would prefer to listen ...

Half-Job-Bob stands erect in one corner of a dark, disused cellar. He is a shadow of his former self. His pale face, streaked with grime and dried blood. There are tear-lines through that filth. There have been many tears since he first woke in the darkness following Planet Ice, although they are less frequent now. He is sure there’s barely any fluid left in his body. He has been reduced to a husk. Dry and cracked like a desert. Totally deplete of moisture. The witch has seen to that. He shudders to think of it. His hair has fallen out at the shock of it, although a few sorry clumps stubbornly cling to the sides of his head. These clumps are no longer black, but a brilliant white, like milk. 

The bare brick walls are filthy and damp. It is freezing in there and his ragged breath escapes in clouds around his unshaven and withered face. The floor is coated in an ancient layer of dust and other detritus. The ceiling is high for a cellar and covered in cobwebs. A set of cold, hard steps climb up into the only source of weak light there is. He assumes this is distant sunlight because it fades away cyclically, to be gradually replaced by a pasty yellow luminescence like that of a street lamp. The room reeks. The smell of his own stale sweat. The odor of his piss and shit, which he drops where he stands, unable to move.

He is being held by some sort of invisible force. A prison of air, stronger than iron. He stands there erect like a statue, muscles twitching and aching, screaming for relief. Cramping with the effort of sustaining himself in that position for so long. His skinny body hangs naked and slumped in midair, supported by his invisible bonds. He stares at the bare bricks of the wall opposite him, unable to look anywhere else. His mind has retreated deep into itself where it dwells on the concepts recently communicated to him by Timothy Tittleworth. The ideas making up Logical Monkey theory. He seizes hold of it desperately clinging to it to prevent himself going mad. He focuses on that one spot of wall, refusing to take in the horror all around him: the discarded remains of half-eaten children, limbs lying where they were tossed. His torn clothes. A girl’s head rolled into one corner, her pale face staring up at him with an expression of terror frozen into its features. And, although she is gone at present, the worst part of the room, the ceiling where the boiling black mass of energy gathers itself and broods. Her face occasionally becomes visible in the depths of this vapour as blue flecks of static electricity flare up inside it like lightning in a storm cloud. Painting the bare bricks of the room in brief flashes of blue. It remains there, gathered on the ceiling during daylight hours only flowing out of the room and up the steps when darkness falls and the pasty yellow light from the street lamp begins to flow down into the cellar.

She’s been gone for hours now. There is always a sense of relief when she leaves, but he’s come to dread her return. Her reappearance is terror to behold, always with an unconscious child in tow, a child she proceeds to devour in a terrible frenzy. When all is done, she stands before him in physical form, as if somehow the feasting on child flesh makes this possible. She stands there before him in the darkness of that damp cellar, a hideous crone with green-tinged skin and fixes him with the darkest eyes he’s ever seen. A bulbous, crooked nose and jet-black hair that reminds him of seaweed. Cloaked in black like a ringwraith from Lord of the Rings or a dementor from Harry Potter. The first time she appeared to him she laughed. The sound of a rattlesnack or the rustle of dead leaves beneath a boot. The dark pools of her evil eyes fixed on his own terrified ones. “I have plans for you,” she told him; “but before that, I intend to make the most of you.” And she dropped her dark robes to the cellar floor. That was the moment his hair turned white. The next morning it was stroon all over his shoulders and on the floor around him.

He barely remembers how he came to be there. He remembers fleeing with Tittleworth, desperately trying to reach the car, and then it had him by the ankle, dragging him back across the tarmac. He desperately tried to claw his way to freedom, his fingernails snapping on the black tarmac and the skin on the tips of his fingers being scraped to the bone. Then darkness. Then, the cellar. He has no idea where this cellar is. Is he even in Solihull? As far as he is aware, he could be anywhere.

During the days that follow he often hears the witch muttering to herself. A dreadful whisper emanating from the very depths of the boiling black mass of energy. A constant string of mad unintelligible ramblings that only deepens his certainty that he won’t make it out of here alive. Some of it sounds like latin, some of it sounds like an old form of English too hard to make out. Those parts he can distinguish are filled with terrible hate and promises of a dreadful vengeance to be meted out on her enemies – whoever they are. He senses incredible anger at her failure outside Planet Ice to do whatever it is she is doing. He becomes certain she intends to use him somehow. To turn him to some evil purpose. A thought that terrifies him more than death. He begins to prefer the idea of death. Almost, desirous of it.

The darkness appears at the top of the cellar steps and begins to creep down into the cellar like a black waterfall. His bottom lip begins to quiver and fresh tears begin to form in his eyes, spilling over to create fresh tracks in the filth. The darkness pools on the cellar floor in front of him and begins to take the form of the old hag. She must have already eaten, a small mercy perhaps that he doesn’t have to see it. She stands before him, eyes fixed on his for what seems an eternity. And then finally she speaks. “Are you ready to serve your purpose?” she asks. “There is something I want you to do. If you do it well, you might yet live.”

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