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The Adventures of Tar-man
      by John Rose

[Tar-man Index]

Episode Five

It's very dark here. So dark I often feel as though there were no daylight to break up the monotony of the night, no sunrise and no sunset, no warmth against the wall outside paid back in the gloom of my building.

Old timbers, half-burned, line the walls. Burned lath and rotting mortar from the chinks of ancient stones sits poised to fall, but there is no movement. Only I move through the dimness, only my boots clank on the metal staircase or whoosh across the dusty floors. The dust rolls right back again after my passage, denying my disturbance.

"Believe in me," say the walls. "Let go," says the darkness. Not afraid, I crawl across timbers of silence, over ceilings clutching their substance against the ravages of gravity and time, sighing gently with each little release.

My building and I die at the same speed, and we look the same on the inside. Substantial, quiet, dark, here and there the remnants of a fire or an earthquake whose damage is now almost obscured by age and forgotten. And we have the same inhabitant, but who is that? Who is Tar-Man?


Copyright 2002. All Rights Reserved.