He stood in the unbearable heat of the hellish darkness and answered the withered man’s question—“Jerry, wasn’t it?”— with a bitter mouth: “No.”
The gnome of a man turned back to his heavy desk and buried his face in its dusty tome as the lone candleflame wrothe shadows aurasome around the hairy reaches of a balding scalp precariously dusted with thin powdering drifting to snow on the dun rough of his smock. A wrinkled crookfinger upraisingly trembled.
“Aha!” he twinkled fingersomely, jagged nails tracing a chord in the wan light to stir the bloated dust motes that swam like torpid bumblebees in the thick air. His leathery face fissured into a creaky smile that resembled a rotten red chrysanthemum. “The man with the big guns, Excalibur-like, lost his horn?”
His face fell as he peered past pitted and cracked ancient mahogany paneling at non-existent holsters and invisible gunmetal. “I don’t expect you have a sword stashed somewhere on your person?”
“I’m naked, asshole.”
The guffaws that issued over the sheafs of bound hide clattersmelt like rotten chrysanthemums, if such flowers smelt of dredged bogcorpses. When gravity slowly descended upon his geriatric mirth and the folds of his face, his expression, robbed by entropy, trembled into its usual position and yellowmaw teeth soberly chopped three simple syllables: “You’re new.”
“You’re telling me. What the fuck am I doing here?”