Invitations from Dark Places

Adam had stopped trying to stand, believing there wasn’t any point to it. He hung limply from the shackles on his wrists. The iron cuffs dug into his skin, a dull ever-present pain reminding him of his continued existence.
He wasn’t sure how he had gotten here, to this strange town which was supposed to be in the middle of Kansas. His suffering had crushed him and he had gotten in his car and drove without stopping until he had run out of gas, maybe 20 miles outside of the last suburb of Kansas City. There had been nothing but farmland and in his apathy he just started walking, soaking in the suffering to add to the weight he already felt.
She would not have wanted that for him. He knew that, but she wasn’t here anymore was she. His anger quickly turned on himself and he stabbed his soul a few more times with her memory. His pain had tendrils, coiled around his soul constricting each emotion except anger which was wrung from him until it soaked every inch of him.
His wife was his first and only love. She had completed him in a way that was so seamless, so naturally attuned, he knew she was a gift from God. That was the only part of their relationship where they differed. He would kiss her as she would go to her Bible club thing and to the show, they would give each Sunday. He would tell her he was too busy and she would nod, the only times he would see her smile fade. She prayed for them both until Matt was born then she would take him too.
Adam loved his son, with the dreams of every father. He bought the sports toys and started looking more closely at the little league flyers around the neighborhood. He was three.
As he walked down the road in Kansas he had replayed every memory trying to find fuel for his anger only to find the memories cut wounds that deepened his pain. He hadn’t noticed when the sunset and a black sky removed the influence of the sun, or when the highway turned to a dirt path.
He had a feeling of wrongness when a horse-drawn wagon pulled up behind him. The driver was pleasant enough and the ride finally seemed appealing. The driver tried to start a conversation but Adam was too lost in himself and so they traveled together in silence.
The village was unlike anything Adam had seen before. Stone and mortar buildings that reminded him of recreated villages. Cobbled stone road replaced the dirt path and was illuminated with candles in light-posts. The streets were filled with villagers as they conducted their evening activities. A couple of drunks stumbled down the road singing.
Once he took in the strangeness of the village activity he realized he hadn’t seen a car since he walked away from his. Horses and wagons moved up and down the cobbled stones but there wasn’t a single car or work truck anywhere
“Where is this?” He asked the driver who had pulled the reins to bring the wagon to stop in an intersection of dark streets.
“We’s in Broomsbottom lad. Whr’s ya tink ed be? Mustrs hid tat ed pr’ty ard. Offs ya go.”
Adam hadn’t really listened to the man before and now he was truly confused. “I’ve never heard of Broomsbottom Kansas.”
“Whahts Kasnas? Looks boi.” The driver leaned close, his voice dropping to a whisper. “Getts yurzelf ins doors. Evils en brew’n fers a ong time now. Marks oi words.” Seeing that Adam had gotten off the wagon and had both feet on the street, the driver flicked the rains. “Unio protect eu.”
Adam watched the wagon leave and his vision faded to black.

He woke in a cell, chained to a wall without the slightest clue on what happened after the driver left him.
“You look like a man looking for a purpose.” A slick voice came from the shadows of the cell where Adam couldn’t see. He had thought he was alone and the door hadn’t opened. A black-robed man stepped closer from the shadow. He stood straight and lacked the chains of a prisoner. “What is it that you seek the most?”
Adam hadn’t considered answering. It was one of those philosophical questions that were stamped on check out counter magazines. His mouth moved on its own.
“Justice.”
“Yes.” The man nodded as if sharing a deeper understanding. “Justice for your loss. The loss of your family wasn’t it, how they died without you. It is like a boat, cut from its anchor isn’t it?” The man moved like a specter, his skin was a sickly pale white. “What if you could be the dispenser of justice. I could give you the authority, and the power to give true justice to those that escaped, to give the right punishments to those worthy of it.”
“What do I need to do?”
“Join me, Adam. Let me show you the power you wield.” His thin hand held out a cloak.
Adams chains released and his arms dropped loosely beside him. He looked at his new master. “Show me.”

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