Good evening, sir!

Ah. I see you are surprised to see me. You should not be. After all, you asked me to come, not in so many words and certainly by a name I have not heard in a great many years, but you did ask. I ask you not to reach for the pistol you secret underneath your pillow. You can not do me lasting harm with it or any other weapon you possess, I assure you. And do not press the alarm button on your bed rail. I would be gone before the first of your…button men? I believe that is the correct term. Yes, I would be gone before the first of your button men would arrive. Were that to happen, you would never see me again and that, sir, would be a great loss for both of us.

You see, we stand on the brink of a momentous decision! If you’ll forgive a small joke, I stand on the brink. You sit, still rubbing sleep from your eyes — ah, the work of Hypnos! — on the brink. No? I stand while you sit on the…? It is not a funny joke? Ah, well. In any event, the next few short minutes will bend the very course of fate and perhaps even the turning of the world. So clear your mind and your eyes, sir! I require your clearest thought and your most acute vision.

First, allow me to introduce myself. Actually, allow me to tell you first what I am not. I am neither a member of law enforcement nor an emissary from the Giordano family. I am, in fact, a collector and you brought me here of your own free and, may I say, indomitable, will. My name, you will remember in due time, I am sure. But, as I said, I am a collector. I gather to myself items; some of them rare and unique but each of great value and, dare I say, use to me. I am here because you, my good sir, have something I consider nearly beyond price.

Your soul.

You have the most deeply-stained and corrupt soul I have ever encountered, and I have seen more than you can imagine. Your would be a rare prize in my collection. It would hold a place of great honor, of great honor indeed! 

Do not laugh! Oh, you must not laugh. Not here. Certainly not after what you did to get me here. You read that book, did you not? The book you tore from that dying man’s hands? I know what you did to him to take every drop of blood from him. I also know what you did to his wife and his children, one by one. You used their blood, and more, to call this meeting.

I heard you. I have come. I am here.

And I know exactly what you wish. You desire power, yes, and fear? ? through very specific means? You are a particular man. I admire that. It would please me to grant you your heart’s desire — the death of every member of the Giordano family, everywhere. Men. Women. The old and the babies in their cribs. None of them must die quickly, though. That would not do. You want them to die but you also want them to suffer.

You like that! You smile! Of course, there will be no direct evidence that you had anything at all to do with it, but those who need to know will know. Your name will become…a legend, a story, a nightmare tale told to children. A warning.

Oh, sir, that desire is all I need to confirm that your soul is indeed special. I have searched for the likes of you for centuries, as a man may search for a prized painting the name of which he does not know but which, when he finally lays eyes upon it, he knows in every brush stroke and detail. You are, in short, a monster and I say that with the utmost admiration.

I must have your soul. I. Must.

Which leads us to this most important question: Do we have a bargain? Do not grow greedy with me. I have named my price. It will grant you far more than you ever dreamed. You will get no more from me. Indeed, you will desire no more. So do not haggle. Simply recognize that we have reached the vital moment and agree to–

Yes? Oh, great joy! Let me sit a moment. May I draw this chair close to you? Excellent. You will not regret your decision tonight, no, not for many–what? Ah, nothing. Nothing at all. It is of no concern to this moment.

Now. Please hold very still. I must extract my price from you. It is the work of but a moment. See this jar? Focus on it carefully and you may even see the transaction take place. Some find the focus distracts them from the gentle, but insistent tug that you will feel in your lower stomach…there! Did you see? Yes, yes. You are cold. I should have told you. The cold is expected now. You will, unfortunately, have greater difficulty feeling warm. Your associates, such few as you will have, may notice a certain…harshness to your demeanor. But was that ever a concern for you? Was anything a concern but power? No. No.

You can’t take your eyes off of it, can you? See how lovely, dark, and deep your soul swirls in the jar? It is too exquisite. Oh, and quite safe as well. I would not allow it to come to harm for it is mine. It is mine.

My part of the deal? Feel no fret, sir. I am not the devil. I play no silly tricks. You will see, come the morning, what I have done for you. Everyone will see and will know and will fear. Just lay yourself back down and sleep, if you can. I am told the soulless often have troubling dreams.

Good night, sir. 

I hope you have enjoyed these five Monsterlogues as much as I enjoyed writing them for you. This final piece was, I think, the most fun to write. It contains not one monster, but two. Only one speaks here, of course, but there is another monster there. I’m sure you noticed.

I owe a lot to my friend Rachael Sinclair for her art and her relentless support. She has earned many truckloads full of success and I hope they all arrive for her with joy and satisfaction too. I also owe a bunch of you for loving my stories just a bit and for sharing them with your friends. Y’all on Facebook know who you are!

One last thing. My newsletter Thursday! will start next month and I’d very much like you to get that very first edition. It won’t cost you anything but your time, but I hope you’ll find you spent that time pretty well. I won’t give away too much about Thursday! but I’ll tell you, it’s my intention to give you just the kind of newsletter I’ve always wanted to get. So. Subscribe, please!