kolchak by Simon Gibson

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The walls of the room were nothing but red bricks. The floor was cold, almost like ice, with the clammy feel that goes with cold stone surfaces. The small amount of light that the dusty window would allow through shone on the one object that occupied this room, a small cabinet. The cabinet was small enough to not really be an imposing object, but in the emptiness of the room it was just that, imposing.

Inside the cabinet, if anyone had ever looked, they would have seen the true reason for this room to be so barren and empty. Inside laid the remains of a man, just a few piles of paper and a small cup filled with sand. Not much, but when you see these things and hear the story of the man that they belonged to, then things become slightly clear to this surreal and almost pointless sight.

The man in question was called Andrew Kolackh. He was a foreign man who had once sought to cheat money from the town, centuries ago, and had often run schemes for the local governor. He was well known around the town for being a two faced character and nobody trusted him, except for the town officials who thought that he was a blessing in disguise. Kolackh was a man who had often been mistaken for a beggar, or a gentleman, or a labourer, or a farmer, many guises had he taken in his work. Although this skill of being able to change your appearance and manner did him well as the chief of all dealings where money was concerned gave him an ability to pass undetected in his task. The task in hand usually involved theft; as such he was not a popular man in any taverns around the locality. He did, however, come against some competition when he tried to swindle a man who, unknown to him, was far more than a mere man. Andrew Kolackh tried, and failed, to swindle the devil.

At first Kolackh did not notice anything was different about his ‘victim'. He too was a man of many disguises and so did not notice that this perfectly ordinary villager was actually something far more threatening. It is said by some that had Kolackh known that the man was the devil then he would have sold his soul. He spoke at length regarding the money that the villager apparently owed the town council. The man in question, knowing the heart of Kolackh, did not see a problem with telling equal untruths to Kolackh in order that the double deception continued. The more interesting side of this is that the devil knew all of Kolackh and his past too was in the devil's knowledge. One must ask why the devil himself would wish to do ill to one like Kolackh as all who knew him, or knew of him, thought little of him that was in any way good. It was also strange that such a deceitful man would not realise or notice the aspects of his puppeteer.

The deception continued for over ten minutes and eventually the ‘man' paid Kolackh. With the money paid it was the beginning of the end of Kolackh. As he received the bag of coins he was instantly overcome with the fear of time. The devil, as recompense for this deception, gave Kolackh a small cup of sand.

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