The Wonder Man

Have you heard of the Wonder Man? They say he can do anything. They say he’ll grant you anything you desire, if you get the chance. They say he’s wonderful. They say he’s terrifying.

No matter what city you live in, there is an abandoned building. People avoid this building. Even the normal thrill seekers have never been in. During a night of a new moon, at exactly 11:59, you will enter this building. You will not take any light source with you. The darkness will be nearly perfect inside, but you will go confidently, heedless of what may wait for you in the dark, for if you pause for even a moment, they may take you.

As you go, taking the twisting paths for miles, you will begin to see things at the edges of your vision. Those are what hide in the dark, becoming more bold with your continued presence. Do not look at them, for that leads to madness and you will spend forever with them. Continue on, as there is no way back now. However, do not pick up the pace, as they will know you are afraid and attack. Continue walking as they creep farther into your vision.

Just as they are about to surround you, provided you did not give into temptation and run, you will find yourself at a door. It is a door that doesn’t seem to belong in the building you are in. It is old, very old, but very well kept. It is wood, with an iron arch overhead and a small, pale-blue window at your eye level. If you look into the window, you will see nothing. The door is lit, though you will not remember seeing it before reaching it. They will recede into the darkness and you will be able to touch the door without fear. Do not turn the nob. Place your hand flat on the door and you will notice it is warm. The door will grow steadily warmer as your hand rests on it. It may feel as if your hand is being burned, but do not remove it. The door is the only thing keeping what hide in the dark at bay.

Eventually, the door will open and inside will be a flower garden. It will seem as if it is bathed in moonlight even though you entered the building on a moonless night. Close the door carefully, you do not want what hide in the dark to get in. The flowers around you will be unlike any you’ve ever seen. They will be iridescent blue and so beautiful that you will want them for yourself. Do not touch them. Make your way through the garden quickly, you do not want to be in it when the moon sets. At the far end of the garden you will find a single crimson flower among the pale blue sea. Pick it. It will smell faintly of rotting meat. Take the flower to the door nearest you.

This door will look like the one you used to enter the garden, except there is no blue window and the door is far more deteriorated. The wood is rotting, there are almost holes in many places. The iron is rusted, threatening to collapse in on the rotting door. You will push it, and it will be much more solid than it’s rotting form implies. It will open easily. On the other side of the door will be a richly decorated study. There will be two overstuffed leather chairs facing each other with a small, wooden coffee table between them. On the table will sit a bottle of wine and two glasses. Everything in the room is dusty and rotting, as if from decades of disuse. Everything, with the exception of one of the chairs. In that chair will sit a man. That is the Wonder Man.

The Wonder Man is a ghastly thing, so tall he cannot fit through the door you just opened. He is very thin, most likely the thinnest person you’ve ever seen. This serves exaggerate exactly how tall he is. He is exceedingly pale. He has tar-black hair that grows in patches on his head and down his neck. His arms are long, hanging down to his knees on his exceedingly tall frame. One arm is longer than the other by almost six inches. All this adds up to a person you would never want to meet in any other circumstances, but that is not what is most shocking about him. What is most unsettling are his eyes. One is devoid of iris, smooth white with a black point in the center. You can feel this one boring into you, judging your worth. The other is black, so dark you may feel there are things hiding in it as well as the building. There may be.

He will rise. He is dressed in the finely tailored clothing of an early twentieth century business man, complete with bowler hat. His fine clothes are at odds with his grotesque appearance. You will be surprised, but do not react. He will offer you the other chair, take it. He will smile at you, showing his broken and jagged teeth, then he will sit in his own chair. Do not speak to him yet. Wait until he has decided to speak to you, he will. After a long while of not speaking, he will introduce himself and offer you a glass of wine. Politely refuse the wine. He will ask your desire and will sit, listening thoughtfully as you tell him.

After you are done, he will smile again, and inform you that he can grant that desire. It doesn’t matter what desire you tell him, he will always say he can grant it, but it comes at a price.

This is your last chance to leave, if the price is too steep for you. Keep in mind, however, that declining has a price too. If you say yes, he will offer you a glass of wine again. This time, take it. You will both drink and you will feel immediately drunk. You will fall asleep.

The next morning you will wake up in your own bed and your desire will have been granted. You now have no more to do. Just remember, the Wonder Man will collect his price.

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