“I feed on the guilt, the regret, that emanates most strongly from those who have committed what they know to be evils, told what they know to be falsehoods, and willingly undertaken what they know to be betrayals.” The thing spoke in a gurgling but understandable manner with the nightmare of mandibles where its mouthparts ought to have been,

“How lucky for you, then, to be here on Wall Street,” I said. “You must be very satisfied.”

“I am engorged, friend,” the thing said. “I had worried, based on the tales of this place, that it was amoral. I once nearly starved to death when a serial killer I was relying upon in lean times turned out to know neither guilt nor remorse. But these things? They know full well the evil they wreak, and whether the guilt festers at them or not, I devour it all the same.”

“What about me?” I asked.

With a wet snuffling, the guilt-thing spread its mandibles wide a moment. “Peh,” it said, dismissively. “Edible, but thin gruel indeed. I would starve if that were all I had to rely on.”

“Thank you, I suppose…?” I said.

“You’re welcome.” The guilt-thing drew what looked like a knife made of brilliant inky obsidian and held it to my throat. “Now that you’ve seen me, state your business and be done with it,” it burbled. “I try not to slaughter the cattle, but I’ll gladly cull you if you stand between me and my feast.”

“You’ve nothing to fear from me,” I said. “I just have one question: can you tell what a person is guilty for? Because if you can, I may have a job for you.”

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