Paradise

    It had been a long, quiet trip, and rain pelted the windows of the beat-up suburban with all the force of the wild. Dryrhon LeLargue motioned to a diner just off the highway, and pulled to a stop.

    Finius Lynch was just barely finished with his bowl of O-shaped noodles in tomato soup when his father suddenly rose from the table.
    "Are we done?" he asked, and his son nodded. Together they then left the small stopover and strode to the car. "Son," he said, and Finius waited. "You know I'm not a bad person, right? Everyone has to make a living."
    "It's not really my call, Dryrhon."
    "Right."

    After an awkward two hours, the two finally made it to Finius' new home: what what may have been a beautiful mansion was now an almost uninhabitable hovel, with a collapsed wall and the wafting scent of urine coming from seemingly underground.
    "We're not seriously living here, are we?"
    "Of course we are!" he exclaimed passionately, adding, "Do you honestly think I could live in anything less than a mansion?" Stunned, the boy almost considered asking him what kind of lifestyle he had lived before turning to crime, but thought better of it, lest he find out something more unpleasant than the fact that he had a hit man for a father. Dryrhon smiled and rang the doorbell, which let out a chime like that of a mouse who had swallowed an alarm clock.
    "Come in," said a gruff, ancient voice, the door opening to near-darkness.
    "Pa," said Dryrhon, "d'you have to keep the house this dark? You realize we have a special guest," he added, motioning to the skinny child to his right.
    "Well, hello," said the furrowed man curtly, "nice to have a grandson." He then wobbled off to some unseen room. The boy nodded slowly, and, holding hands with his father, was lead into the large living room in front of him. It was quite grand, with dusty, worn furniture that had kept pretty well despite years of abuse, and on the ceiling hung (Finius wondered how securely) a large crystal chandelier. Had it not been for the suffocating piles of dust dancing through the air and resting upon the floor, the place would have been nearly habitable. Dryrhon hit a switch and after a few hesitant flickers the room swelled with an orange glow, with small rectangular beams of white light scattered on the furniture here and there, reflected off the crystals above.
    "Paradise, isn't it?" he asked. Inspecting the place more intently, the boy noted a strange green stain on the ceiling, and a faint dripping sound somewhere...

The End

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