The Grinning Chiaroscuro

A stranger approaches you one night. Perhaps you are alone under the only lighted lamp in a shadowy streetcorner, or it is an empty bus you ride, sullen in your seat and feeling the late hour. The stranger approaches you with bead black eyes and a voice like yellowed parchment paper rasping against dead skin, and submits a choice in the flickering light of street or bus, of knowing the exact circumstances and instant of your death, or an eternity approaching others with the exact same proposal.

You chuckle at the strange turn of events and choose eternity. His bone white face crinkles into a rictus that is, you realize with growing horror, a smile. It is a slash that expels a hot carcass wind and sprouts a jagged range of yellowred fangs filling your vision like some poison portrait of Transylvania suddenly digging at your neck. A spark of irritation, in your dying mind, conflagrates into a full-out bloom of fury as you behold your very last impression of life, a grinning white red chiaroscuro.

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