Short Story: "He Doesn´t Want You To Be Alone"

What happened to Charles in life isn’t really clear—some say he lived and died in the early twelfth century; others say he was killed during the Spanish inquisition; the more modern tellers of his story assure that he served during the First World War, went mad and died in a British asylum in the fifties.
None of these versions of Charles’ time are likely to be true.
The truth is what happened to Charles in life is not important, as it was his death what turned him into what he became in afterlife—what he is today. The only certainties we have about Charles’ life are these two: first, he was a good man; second, he was a lonely man. He lived alone, he died alone, and he rotted alone.
It is a good thing that he died alone, too, as the manner in which he died—by his own hand—was so gruesome it would drive any onlooker into madness not unlike Charles’ own.
Loneliness is a harsh companion, and it had begun rotting Charles’ mind long before he expired. Most who have heard of Charles say that he had locked himself in a small shed that used to house work beasts. He spent his last days alone in complete darkness, listening to the whispers in his head, smelling their horrible breath and seeing their tortured shapes despite the absolute absence of light. They fluttered about him, never letting him forget how alone and miserable he was.
Having grown to hate the loneliness and the monsters it hid in its dark bowel, Charles decided to free himself from them—not by finding the light and learning to accept the company of others, as that was too terrifying even for one used to seeing monsters—but by removing the senses through which he could perceive them.
Charles found in the shed a knife that was rusty and dull. Soldiering through pain not often felt in the fleshy realm, Charles rid himself of his eyes, of his eardrums, of his nose and of his tongue.
What Charles didn’t know is that his body had become weak and starved, and could not stand the mutilations he had inflicted himself in those final days of madness. Thus, without his true wanting, Charles died a deformed creature—and remained such as a spirit.

If one was to encounter Charles nowadays, he’d see an ethereal shape that mimicked that which he had possessed during his final hours: he’d see a small man, so thin one couldn’t believe there was anything between his bones and skin, and a face that could no longer be identified as a human’s: it would be eyeless, tongueless, a triangular gap would be where his nose used to, and blood would be pouring from every orifice, staining his wrinkled flesh.
Truly, Charles’ visage was one that would inspire fear to the bravest of men, but it betrayed the true spirit behind it. You may recall I said Charles was, in heart, a good man. He had known loneliness like no one ever had before or since, and knew of its dangers—after all, it was precisely that loneliness what killed him.
So now Charles fears others might share his fate, and starves to keep company to those who need it. You see, Charles doesn’t want you to be alone. Spirits travel in the same waves of ether human thoughts do, so Charles knows when you’re alone.
Charles knows when you think about him and remember his story, now that you’ve heard it.
Thus, Charles visits those who know his story when they find themselves alone and scared in the dark. He senses fear and loneliness, and wishes to repel it to protect you. If you ever find yourself lonely at night, and afraid, think of Charles, and he will surely come to you. The more of your fear he senses, the more certain it is that he will appear to you. Though he cannot speak in lack of a tongue, he is a good soul.
And he doesn’t want you to be alone.
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About The Damn Beast

Pre-op trans-minotaur, sci-fi/fantasy/horror author, metal singer, videogame journalist, pop culture blogger. I also lift heavy things and put them down again repeatedly to occupy more space.
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