Nine flew through the window in a shower of sparkling, jagged shards of glass which sprayed across the floor like psychotic confetti. He landed in a motionless crouch, arms tighly held into his chest, head bent down, nose touching his tightly clenched fists, long black coat touching the floor in a circle around him, disguising his compressed shape like a dark storm cloud holding back the lightning.
He raised himself up to his full height slowly, turning his gaze towards the far corner of the room. The worn chair creaked as the rooms occupant sat forward into the dim light, pale wasted skin stretched over sharp cheekbones and nose, dark eyes fixed on the visitor unwaveringly “I knew you’d be here”.
“It’s your time old man, you can’t fight me”
He sat back and smiled “I’ve done more in my time than you can even dream of…”
The tall figure moved forward into the light, he was strong, young, tensed like a longbow pulled back and held by a fingertip “It’s mine, you know it”.
They held the moment between them, solid like iron, fragile as life itself. Tick…tick…tick…tick…tick…
Silence. It was midnight.
The old man moved with unearthly speed, pulling the butt of a shotgun from the side of his chair, laughing out loud as the weapon moved through an arc towards the visitor, bringing it’s barrel to bear on his successor.
But the tall figure was already moving sideways and forwards, flowing through the air itself, he seemed like black water in that long coat. From within its folds the old man saw the light catch and run along something thin and silver as a hand deftly drew it into the air, and then it disappeared from sight.
He panicked, breathing fast, couldn’t explain it, he was on the floor, paralyzed, staring up at the visitor. He was the strongest there had ever been, this wasn’t possible. But the long silver blade that the vistor pulled from his heart said otherwise.
Eight heard the first chime but not the second.
The visitor stood up from the lifeless figure. He was now the keeper and he had work to do. Things would be different, they had to be. When he sat in that same chair in one years time, worn and burned from the madness and the thrill of it all. He wanted to extend a hand to his replacement and see the gesture returned.
There could be no more like the recently departed.