A Mythical Night



A man meets an eccentric man on his way back home from the office, and he has what can only be called a mythical night.
Reading time: 7 minutes.


A Mythical Night

XTales.net xtalesnet Suraj Singh Sisodia beastboysuraj



There was something different about that night, something magical. John was on his way back home from work. He got off the bus and strolled towards his building. It was about half a mile from the bus stop. He was in his mind, probably humming a song when he bumped into this gentleman.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” John apologised. “I didn’t see you there.”

“It’s not your fault,” the gentleman clarified. “How could you have seen me? I’ve just arrived here.”

“Okay, um—have a nice evening.”

John started to leave, but the gentleman crossed his path. John got a little worried.

“Excuse me, uh, Mr...?”

“You can call me John.”

"Oh, okay, nice to meet you, John," the gentleman shook John's hand. "My name is—well, I have many names, but you can call me Adam.”

"Okay, can I help you, Adam?"

“Yeah, I was just wondering—” Adam looked at the sky and stopped abruptly. He began to admire the night sky. “Oh, would you look at that? How can darkness look so beautiful?”

“Uh—is that what you are wondering?” John asked. He was confused.

Adam turned around. “Oh, no, no,” he said. “I was wondering what do guys like us do for fun around here?”

“Uh—fun?”

“Yeah, you know, like moonshine and laadiiees!”

"Oh, uh, well, you can get alcohol at that bar across the street, but I can’t help you with the other one?”

Adam looked across the street, and his eyes lit up. “Ah, I see,” he said. “Well, one thing at a time. Let’s go.”

“What?”

“Yeah, let’s go. Let’s have a drink.”

“That’s very sweet of you, but no thanks. I was headed home.” John pointed away.

“Oh, no, no, no,” Adam grabbed John’s wrist. “ You have no idea how much I have craved companionship.”

"No, seriously, I have to get up early. I have work tomorrow."

Adam made a face. He grabbed John’s wrist tight and dragged him across the street. John wanted to free himself, but he didn’t. Something about Adam convinced him not to do so. Or maybe he wanted to be dragged into a bar. He was sort of fed up with his mundane routine.

“Oh, you must really be very alone,” John said.

"You have no idea. The last time I was here, you guys were travelling on bullock carts."

John laughed at the joke. They both entered the bar. John ordered them each a beer. They waited until those beers arrived and started talking.

“So, what do you do, John?”

“Oh—um—uh—I do a boring work of handling files at this offi—”

“Hey, no job is boring,” Adam interrupted. “At least, you have a job.”

“Yes, yes, I mean, if you look at it that way—”

“John, let me tell you something,” Adam interrupted again. “You might think that your life is not worth living, but that’s not true. You have no idea what you have. I wish I had your life. I will live it to the fullest.”

“I don’t think that my life is not worth living,” John explained. “But thank you for saying that you want my life. May I ask what you do? I mean, you look like you own at least a dozen five-star hotels."

“Oh, these?” Adam pointed towards his clothes. “These are borrowed. I have to return them at dawn.”

John laughed again. “What?”

“Yeah, I’m here just for the night.”

“Well, that explains everything.”

The bartender came with the beers. John and Adam started sipping, and no one said anything for a few minutes.”

When they finished their first beer, John insisted on leaving, but Adam forced him to stay and have another beer. John didn’t want to get drunk with a stranger, but there, in fact, was something about Adam. John felt safe with him, so he went on to drink, not one, not two, but five beers.

By the time they walked out of the bar, John couldn’t tell the ground and the sky apart. They were walking in a random direction.

“Hey, where are we headed?” John asked.

"Uh—a very charming lady used to live around here. I had the best night with her the last time I was here.”

“Whoa! You are a dude! How long back was this?”

Adam paused for a second and replied, “A hundred years ago.”

John laughed again. “Man, she must really be old by now," he said. "Or probably dead!" He laughed at his own joke.

Adam, however, did not laugh. He said, "No, no, I am looking for her great-granddaughter.”

John was about to burst into laughter again, but Adam pulled something out of his pocket. It was an old watch, more than a hundred years old. Along with it, he also had a just as old photograph.

“I have to give this to her,” Adam said.

John peeked at the photograph, and for a second, he felt the effect of the beer washing off. It was a photograph of a couple. The woman in it was wearing old fashioned clothes. And she was standing next to Adam in the same clothes he was wearing right then. The ground skipped under his feet. He thought that maybe he was too drunk, and that's why he was imagining such crazy things.

“What on earth is that?” John asked.

But before Adam could answer, they both heard an arrogant voice.

“I’ll take that!”

A strong man appeared out of the darkness, waving a knife in front of them. John took a step back in shock, but Adam just stood there carelessly.

"Oh, hello, good evening, nice gentleman," Adam said, smiling at the man.

“Adam, what the hell are you doing?” John barked. “You are gonna get us both killed! Just hand him the watch!”

“Hand him the watch!” Adam mocked John. “The nerve.”

“Yeah, he’s right, champ! Just flick it over, and I won’t gut you two.”

"Listen to me, gentleman. This is a quite valuable possession of mine. I can't give you this. Besides, it's not mine to give away."

“Dude, just give him the watch!” John screamed again. He was terrified.

“Okay, tell me, why do you want this?” Adam asked curiously.

“Enough jokes!" the man mumbled to himself and took a few steps forward. John immediately backed up, tripped, and fell over.

“No, wait!” Adam raised his palm. “I mean, you don’t have a desire to acquire this watch. You are a good man, yet you are doing it. Why?”

As John helped himself up, the strong man looked at them both. He was surprised.

“Wh—how do—what do you—how do you know that?”

“Oh, so it is true!” Adam exclaimed.

The man thought it over whether to tell them the truth or run away. Then something happened. Adam walked over to him and placed his hand on the man’s shoulder.

“It’s okay. We are all friends here.”

“Are you sure about that?” John asked. He was still a little cautious.

The man burst into tears, and he did not look strong at all. Adam comforted him. The man held back his tears and said, “My—my daughter—she—she is nine. She has this disease. I need this—I need this money for her blood transfusion. Every month! Every month, I come here! Every month, I do this!”

Adam was sympathetic, but John was looking at them, back and forth, trying to understand what was happening.

“I don’t wanna do this! But if I don’t get money for the blood transfusion every month, she'll—she will—she will...” He could not finish before he started crying like a nine-year-old kid himself.

“Oh, I am sorry, man,” Adam said. Suddenly, “Wait! I think I can help you!” he jumped with excitement.

“What?”

“What?”

“Yeah, come with me.” Adam started walking and looked back. “Come on, don’t worry, I won’t hand you over to the authorities! Just follow me. John, come on, there’s still one more adventure left.”

John and the man followed Adam to a cemetery. Adam then had the man dig up a grave marked ‘Adam Hitchcock'.

"So, you took over this poor man's identity," John said, looking at Adam.

“Told you, I have many names. Next time around, I think I’ll be John.”

The man found a heavy leather pouch. He looked at Adam, holding it in his hand.

“Go on, open it,” said Adam.

The man opened the pouch. It was not a very bright night, but John still caught a glimpse of about two dozen gold coins. His mouth fell.

“Take this,” Adam said sympathetically. “Save your daughter’s life. Let her see the world!”

The man climbed out of the grave and hugged Adam as tight as he could. John also wished the little girl good health. When the man had left, John turned to Adam.

“Man, who are you?” he asked.

Adam looked at the first ray of light at the horizon. “Oh, it looks like the time is falling short,” he said.

“What do you mean?”

“I told you, I am only here till dawn.”

The first ray of sunlight broke through the darkness of night. As it touched Adam, he started disappearing with the darkness.

John saw that, and something heavy dropped in his stomach. “Wait, will you ever come back, at least?”

Adam smiled. “I will, but you’ll be very old by then,” he said. “Or probably dead.”

John chuckled. His eyes got teary, so he hid his face. When he looked back up, Adam was gone.

...

John woke up on his couch in his apartment. He looked at the clock; it was three in the afternoon. His headache was killing him. “Man! What a dream that was!” he exclaimed. He stood up, and he felt something in his pocket. He took it out, and his jaw dropped to the floor.

It was an old watch with a photograph of a pretty lady wearing old fashioned clothes with a handsome man donning a shimmering white suit.


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