Chapter 25: The Tragic Case of Albert Hobson

As promised. An excerpt from Chapter 25. Now you can never say I’m not a man of my word. (Well you could but I’ll just deny it

Albert Hobson was an accountant. A humble accountant from Seattle where the majority of his life had been rather, uneventful. He was born. Spent some time as a child, then as a teenager and eventually became a young adult. He met a girl or two, but nothing ever really became of it on either occasion. Albert went off to college, studied accounting, because it seemed the sensible thing to do, and soon became an accountant. More years passed, and Albert Hobson became Mr. Albert Hobson and then just Mr. Hobson. Before long Mr. Hobson was a man approaching midlife and his only regret was that he did not have any particularly interesting stories to tell at cocktail parties. That is until roughly two years ago when he met, at a cocktail party, a particularly interesting man.

This man of interest was named Phillip and spoke mostly in low grumbled growls. Albert remembered distinctly having 2 drinks with Phillip in the hopes that the mumbling and growling would lead him to some type of interesting story to tell at the next tell cocktail party. After the second drink however Mr. Hobson’s memory of that particular night became somewhat fuzzy. As a matter of fact the remainder of the night was a complete blank, which was peculiar because that had never happened to Albert before, not even in college. And even more peculiar was after that particular incident, Albert Hobson had begun to experience, on multiple occasions, losing large chunks of time, during the likes of which, Mr. Hobson could not account for his actions or whereabouts, nor could he explain why after these blackouts, he would awaken, often times nude and almost always covered in dried blood. Dried blood and yet no open, or even recently closed wounds from which the blood could have escaped to cover him and then dry. This specific detail seemed to bother Mr. Hobson above all others, as through his expertly honed powers of deductive reasoning, skills attained through his rather electrifying career as an accountant, he had quickly come to the conclusion that the dried blood that covered his hands and face, particularly his mouth and chin, did not, in fact, belong to him.

Now ordinarily Mr. Hobson would have been delighted to be so knowledgeable about a man who suddenly begin to experience random ad unpredictable black out spells where at the conclusion of which the poor sap would awake stark naked, covered in some unknown person or animal’s dried blood and have absolutely no recollection of the past 24 to 48 hours. Such knowledge of a possibly murderous and blood-obsessed narcoleptic psychopath would have made for excellent storytelling at any cocktail party Mr. Hobson had the social status to attend, as well as for the ones he did not. Mr. Hobson, however, told no such stories. He never said anything to anyone about these occurrences. On the contrary, he went through great lengths to convince himself that these isolated incidents were no more than a reoccurring dream, a very odd dream that he hoped to soon wake from, forever.

“Hobson wake up.” said a foreign voice in a harsh and raspy tone.

Albert Hobson stirred but dare not open his eyes, the dream hadn’t ended yet.

“Hobson! I said snap out of it!”

Mr. Hobson felt a hard, heavy handed slap across the face.  He opened his eyes immediately.

“Wha? What’s going on?” Mr. Hobson asked from his back, his voice trembling as he spoke. He felt dazed, but couldn’t tell if it was because he was still half-asleep or if it was due to the slap across the face. Mr. Hobson put a hand to his stinging left cheek. “Whooo are you?”

Albert was staring into the face of a very intimidating man, his face and head covered in thick silver hair. An expertly trimmed beard and mustache created a framework for a ruggedly square shaped face. Mr. Hobson couldn’t help but think of how the silver mane looked almost more like fur than facial hair.

“I’m Greyman.” The silver haired man growled.

Well of course, thought Mr. Hobson that seems sensible. Hobson sat up. “Is this a dream?” He asked.

“What? No you idiot. Pull it together, it’s almost time.”

“Time? Time for what? Where am I?”

“You’re home.”

“Home?” Mr. Hobson became even more confused. “This isn’t my – What’s going on here? Have I been kidnapped?”

“Calm down pup! Bleeding Sensors, always claiming the victim. If you bastards had known what you’d done to get here, well you’d be singing a different song.”

“Oh God did I black out again. Jesus why does this keep happening to me?”

“Ahhh enough of that, those times are over now. Things’ve changed.”

“What? What’s changed? What’s going on? What do you know?” Albert jumped up and grabbed a hold to Greyman’s jacket lapels, partly in panic, partly in an attempt to shake the information out of him.

“Git yer paws off of me.” A brisk back hand caught Hobson across the face and sent him flying back to the ground. He rubbed the right side of his face that now stung just as much as the left.

“Listen here pup, I’m going to explain everything to you but if ye ever touch me again I’m going to rip you’re bloody throat out myself.”

“I’m – I’m sorry, I’m just so confused.” Hobson dropped his head into his heads. His heart trembled, he felt himself on the verge of tears.

“Calm down boy, I’ll explain everything, but you have to understand, we don’t have much time. So no questions eh?”

Hobson nodded in agreement his face still buried in his hands.

“First off you need to know what ye are and that’s a class A Sensor, top of your class actually, which is odd considering what a whelp you are.”

Hobson looked up from his wallowing only for Greyman to read the confusion written across his face.

“You’re a scout, like a mole, a sleeper agent.”

Nothing…

“You’re a monster mate, a predator, a wolf in sheep’s clothing, both literally and figuratively.”

“What are you talking about? I’m not a monster.” Hobson almost laughed. “I’m an accountant!”

“You’re a BEASTMAN boy! A bloody werewolf! A cross between a man and an animal. You ain’t a man no more, Haven’t been for quite some time.

Storytellers and the Stories they Tell…

I’ve come to find out, writing in itself, is nothing more than storytelling. A fairly straightforward concept I know, but that’s the reality of it. So the first prerequisite to be a writer is to simply be a storyteller. And at least that part I have down. I’ve been a storyteller for as long as I can remember, and not just the lying type of story telling. That doesn’t count.

My earliest memory of story telling goes back to maybe the third or fourth grade. For some reason the teacher gave me free time to do as I chose (only God knows what she was thinking) and I, being the studious young man that I was, decided that to write a story. A comic book actually. And I did. I wrote a captivating tale about a villain with a skull for a head and buzz saws for hands. (Yes, two buzz saw hands!)
I even animated it, I drew the characters inside little story boards within the margins of the yellow sheets of notebook paper than stapled them together along the edges. It was amazing, even if I do say so myself, but it wasn’t only me who said so. I showed my teacher and she was so… so… I don’t know what she was, I guess “impressed” is the best word to describe it. But she was so, whatever she was that she had me read my story to the entire class. I got to sit up in the front of the class, you know like it was story time and the class sat around me and I read my little story to them all.  I would look up between horribly formed sentences and terribly drawn doodles and see eyes wide with excitement and intrigue, waiting in eager anticipation to hear what happened next.
I remember distinctly at the end of the story the Villain or Anti-Hero being violently kicked out of a window and falling to his death, or perhaps not actual death, I can’t remember if I was already planning a sequel or not but you get the point. Skull Head-BuzzSaw Hands goes out the window and my story ends. And afterwards the little handmade comic book goes into the unknown void that was my little desk and was lost for the remainder of the school year. That is until, nearly the last week of school, when everyone is cleaning out there desk and cubbies in preparation for summer vacation, I pulled out this crumpled little yellow comic book, and in retrospect quite foolishly, announced to the class that it was up for grabs before I flung it carelessly into the center of the room. I suppose I was half expecting that no one would be interested in a homemade book and it would go into the trash with a thousand other un-submitted homework assignments, failed spelling test and everything else we would stuff into our desk in hopes of never seeing again. However much to my surprise, my classmates jumped on the crumpled little comic with so much fervor and enthusiasm that it was ripped into a prime number of little pieces and taken by multiple kids as a souvenir for them to remember the school year. Which means they probably forgot it even existed the moment the last bell rang or perhaps they didn’t but I know for a brief moment in the fourth grade I was a storyteller in its purest form. So I guess that’s the feeling I chase now every time I write, to simply tell a story I love and hope that someone else will love it too.
Sometimes I wish I would have kept that little handmade comic book, but I’ve come to realize that’s what stories are for. Not necessarily for the storyteller, but for the tell-ee or the audience, or the reader or whatever the case may be. Once you tell your story, once you get your story out, it’s no longer solely yours alone, but it then belongs to everyone who loves it, and I think I like that.
Anyway.
Till next time,
Lefty