Serializations of the Hitherby Dragons novels

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– 1 –

Linus Evans walks forbidden paths. He emerges at a financial services firm in America. He uses his antichrist powers and corrupts his way to a position in middle management.

“You wouldn’t turn away the antichrist?” he says, trailing a finger down the throat of the HR manager, who shakes his head.

The walls begin to bleed.

Linus Evans stakes out a nice office, even though he doesn’t have his general certificate yet. He hires an assistant. He thinks about killing and eating his assistant but winds up writing awful, Gothic poetry instead.

Then he arranges for an orgy.

He makes subtle plans. He dreams teenaged boy dreams. In the end, though, he chickens out. He just cannot make himself attend.

He wanders the room afterwards.

He tries to figure out what exactly happened; what the various articles of mess mean, what they portend.

Then he sighs. He is distracting himself unnecessarily.

This is not for edification nor for sexual gratification. This is a test: Linus Evans vs. Jeremiah Clean.

So he wanders the room. He worsens the mess in subtle ways.

He shutters the windows.

He slinks away.

That night the building is dark. Jeremiah Clean comes in. He cleans up everything obvious. He mops the blood from the walls. He corrects an unsavory vibe. He marks up the grammar in a few pages of brooding poetry that Linus Evans has left tauntingly on the desk.

He is the building’s janitor.

His expression is equable and calm.

He looks like just another janitor, albeit a janitor with a particularly strong stomach and powerful copy-editing skills. At least, until he looks around the room again, he looks like that.

Then there’s something odd in him. Then there’s a strange light around him, a strange sense of strength.

He frowns a little. He shakes his head.

“I know you’re there,” he says.

His voice has an echoing ring to it. It breaks the barrier of the ordinary. The dirty stockings that had been hiding behind a piece of abstract wall art slink out.

Jeremiah Clean, he picks them up. He gives them a scolding look. He tosses them into the incinerator chute.

They cling for a moment to the metal, above the fire, but their heart is not pure.

They fall in.

They burn.

They die.

Linus Evans is standing in the door of his office now. He is standing in shadow, his body a silhouette. His thoughts are unreadable, particularly if you are not a telepath.

“How did you know?” he asks.

He says: “I didn’t think anybody would find those.”

“Mr. Evans,” says Jeremiah, and he nods his head, and he walks right out that door.

You wouldn’t think there’d be room, what with Mr. Evans standing right there in it, but no one can stop Jeremiah Clean from going anywhere he wants to go.

No one can stop him from anything, really.

No one can stop Jeremiah Clean, because his heart is pure.

“God bless it,” cries Linus. “How did you know?

But Jeremiah Clean just hands him a glass of water to put out the fire in his mouth, and he walks away.



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