The Ivory Goat

          Monsieur Matthew Mckoy had always thought of his life as ordinary, barren, and one large heap of nothing at all. There was only matter, energy, and mind in a void. There was no spirit. There was no purpose. What we knew was all there was. Although he was blessed with a wealth of matter, of which most was either shiny, luxurious, delicious, or otherwise pleasurable, he believed that this bare reality was all there was. He was wronger than anyone could ever know.

    It happened when he decided he would go on holiday. He hoped that a change of setting might, through some contrived spiritual crap, help him find a deeper meaning in his life. Nobody, to this day, knows whether this worked. All that’s known is that he indeed found something most extraordinary.

         It was in the local Ebony Box of the town that he found something odd. The line advanced in front of him, and he saw others walking away with fantastic works of art. When Matthew finally reached the front, he shrugged, and put in his entire overstuffed wallet. He closed the box, and opened it again to see a small goat carved from ivory. He removed it, and then walked back, wondering what sort of ivory lecher was worth his entire wallet.

            He went back to his home, and, as he plopped himself down onto the silken sheets of his bed, he examined the figure. It was certainly beautifully carved, with meticulous detail. Everything from the pointed beard, to the curving horns, to the well-pressed suit, was almost indistinguishable from a real goat, aside, of course, from the shining, expensive ivory from which it was carved. Previously, Mckoy didn’t know why the box had given him this, and while this query still remained, he started to glean a meaning from it he hadn’t before. There was just something about the glean in the goat’s rectangular pupils, something about the point of the teeth in its grinning mouth, that touched something deep within him.

 This was not a pleasant sort of touch, and soon Mckoy was able to tear himself away from it, quickly hiding his new possession in his suitcase so as not to see it again for a while. After that he took his extra money from the hotel, went out to sup, and returned to his room to slumber. It was then that something odd occurred.

    He was no longer asleep in his bed, but standing in the lobby of the hotel. It was different, however, than before. Where it was once beautiful, it was hideously decayed. Where there was once newness and elegance, there was now disrepair and ruin, and, all around him, the building was crumbling and corroded. He saw not a sign of any person, as only he even left footprints in the inches of dust which coated everything.

           Confused, he started walking to the stairs, compelled by some instinct he didn’t quite understand. He felt as though, somehow, the answer lay back in his room. At first, he crept warily up the stairs, but soon he abandoned this and dashed the rest of the way. He didn’t know to whom the heavy footsteps he now began to hear belonged, or what it was he, or it, was saying in whatever strange language that was, but he knew he would rather not find out. Soon, story four passed by him in a blur, as did stories five and six, until he finally reached the door to story seven and threw himself through. He made a mad dash to his room, and, to his relief, found it unlocked.

       As he collapsed from exhaustion within his room, he heard a voice above him. “Matthew.” a taunting voice called to him from above.

          Matthew looked up in horror, just before the goat, no longer wrought from ivory, and taller than Mckoy himself, grabbed him by the collar and dragged him to the suitcase. It was then that Mckoy was stuffed into the suitcase, of course lacking the goat, and the goat laughed. It was the most spiteful, arrogant, sadistic laugh Matthew had ever heard, but finally, the dream ended.

   The man in the bed opened his eyes and yawned, and as he got up, he went to the suitcase and opened it, took out the ivory carving, and smiled cruelly before returning it.

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