The Man in the Black Cloak

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
This story details the experience of a man so self absorbed in the business of others, that he has slowly forgotten who he is, until he himself appears from the shadows to make him come to that realization, in hopes of making him change his ways.

Submitted: May 20, 2013

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Submitted: May 20, 2013

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The Man in the Black Cloak

It’s night.  The sky is beautiful, and painted black with speckles of stars as the moon bathes this city in its light.  The cards head off to destinations unknown, but to the driver, and the people around me all rush to their destinations, knowing the nights are filled with the clandestine presence of thieves, purse snatchers, and muggers.  I’m not afraid though.  I’m doing what I love: Watching the people of this city.  I love to observe the habits of those around me.  The same restaurants they visit.  The same sidewalks they walk.  The same faces that seem to give these people meaning and personality.  I enjoy observing the daily rituals of the urbanites that rely on the many eateries and clothing stores that have become a necessity to the descendents of the once great self sufficient people that once ruled this earth.  But yet, something is not right.  Although I know these people, these civilians of this city, why do I not feel fully accomplished?  Why do I feel so empty?  I look upward.  And I see him.  A figure shrouded in black, looking at me through a window one block away.  I cannot see his face.  Who is he?

Slowly, I get up and begin to walk away; however, I see him again.  I soon realize he’s following me. Who is this man?  Why can I not see his face?  I cannot identify his purpose.  His personality.  It is as though, he has none.

Now, I’m sprinting, away from him, away from the business and affairs of the city people, and into the traffic filled streets, ignoring the yells of the tired and aggravated drivers and their horns, the roars of a mechanical beast within a concrete jungle.  I have never seen a persistent man like this.  But I cannot see his face.  Is this cloaked figure Death? Has he come to take me away from this world?

I turn into an alleyway, and hope ot shake him.  Luckily, there are no thieves or other people of the night, but my judgment was off, my sense of direction flawed.  Dead End.  I turn in fear, as I see the figure in black draw even more near.  I still can’t see his face.  But then, rather than mugging me.  Rather than beating me to a pulp.  Rather than taking my life, he just stands there.  Slowly, he lifts his hood, and what I see scares me even more.  It’s a normal face, calm and expressionless.  He lifts his finger to point at the glass window of the abandoned and unused building behind me.  The light of the moon makes it perfect enough to see the reflection.  I am confused as soon as I see it.  Our faces are the same.  The same nose.  The same mouth.  The same eyes.  Instantly, my own need to observe others takes hold.  But this is not a face that I can read or analyze.  It’s indiscernible.  I turn to face the figure again, but he is gone.

It finally hits me why I felt so empty.  So purposeless.  So incomplete.  The one person I can’t understand.  The one person who still remains a mystery.  The one person who was so selfless as to dwell on the affairs of others.The one person who I can’t seem to observe or discern is me.  Who am I?  In my need to observe others, I had become entirely ignorant to myself.  This cannot go on any further.  Slowly, the emptiness that I felt, begins to fill.


© Copyright 2019 Zikomo Bullock. All rights reserved.

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