Blind Salvation is the debut effort from writer McConnaughay, following the story of Orion Corvus. The superhero-action novel sees Orion don a mask and cape, dishing out his own unique form of vigilante justice and coming in-contact with vicious, heinous fiends in the process.
"There's something. They call it a brick-wall. I call it a brick-wall. We call it a brick-wall. It follows. It towers. It controls. It's mine. It's yours. It's ours. A brick-wall. A brick-wall. Always a brick-wall. It spells, it binds, it intertwines, and it confines all I could ever know. I found the answer. I found the secret. Unraveled. Deciphered. Uncovered. Broken free. I'm set free. The wounds upon her. The wounds upon him. It matters not. I must indulge. I must indulge. There's nothing more. There's nothing else. No underlining meaning. Just this. I want this. I need this. I have this. It's mine. The knife breaks off in the skin. The wound rips off from the blade. The blood slithers down and down like a snake. I'm a snake. I'm a monster. A monster that ignores the plaintive cries and only yearns to inject the poison.
But is there more? Something else? Above this all? Because lately, I feel connected. I feel a yearning. A desire. A desire of something more. There has to be something more. A purpose. Something greater. Love? Is it love? Belladonna sees beyond what I am. The addiction. She sees a side of me that I never even knew existed. She understands me. But does she? Does she really? Cepheus disagrees. Cepheus says I don't care. I don't care about who I murder.
But Belladonna, she finds purpose. She only targets the ones who deserve it. I stand, my cape blowing in the wind, and part of me wonders, do I care? My staffs in my hand, I tightly hold. A dark moon looming over me. The rooftops. The rooftops are where I find comfort. Will people offer their necks on a silver platter for the slicing. I doubt so. The hunt is on. What happens now?"
Some say the road to hell is lined with good intentions, layered with them, they line the road and they help create the walls. Mine has been lined with nothing but suffering and dismay. The accepting of the monster looking back at me in the mirror has become difficult for me to do. The only thing that has been paved on my road has been tragedy.
Besides the agonizing struggles that flourish the road, I have witnessed others on the same treacherous journey. This is another planet's Hell. But what if, I don't want to be this person anymore, this person that brings all this bad stuff to happen? What if, I want to change my ways for the betterment of the world, the betterment of myself?
All of my life, I have been searching for salvation, and for the first time, I think I might have found something close. The brick-wall will forever loom over me, but the answer to the question that forever reels itself over my head is within view.
I can see it.
The answer stumbles from a distance. The words are unclear. I focus my eyes intently, and the words, they disappear, but I know they're out there.
I know if I keep looking, I'll find the words.
Forever, in life, you're going to be faced with questions, questions that you may very well not know the answer to. Not at first.
You're given questions that nobody else can answer for you, not a father, or even a loving girlfriend.
You're given an answer that is sentimental to yourself and not somebody else.
Will I be able to overcome all of the problems I have faced?
Will I be able to continue with this journey and not allow evil to consume me again? Will I be able to achieve happiness? Will I be able to do what my father never could? Will I be able to overcome the temptation to indulge?
Belladonna may not have been willing to follow me into the darkness, but her efforts may have led me into the light. None of it will be easy. Finding the courage to not feed the addict's quenches will be troublesome, but it's something that I must find my way to do.
Will I? I will.
Some parents pass down their good looks, some parents pass down their wittiness or talent.
My father, my father passed down a monster, a monster that killed him and almost killed me.
Some parents teach their children how to throw a ball or ride a bike.
My father taught me how to be … Poison.
I hear the birds as they chirp outside, and I have difficulty sharing their enthusiasm. A bumbling swimming around my ocean of nothingness, talking in riddles, the confusion is there. Cepheus devilishly drives himself into believing what he does is necessary in his happiness, but does he deserve it? I wonder whether or not I ever actually deserve happiness, there are so many people I have stopped from murdering good people, but I didn't manage to save a child's mother, and because of that, he is forever going to wander around, like me.
This isn't the first time that I have seen the vicious 'thing' approach a youth, with Belladonna, I witnessed the same vicious acts of a mugger, but this time, I could have prevented it. I could have saved this child from enduring the splashes and waves that will eventually drown him. The idea of allowing a small child to be driven to a similar evil of my own is frightening. It's something that I would like to be able to pretend I am not capable of causing, but unfortunately, as proven, I am.
The little boy will forever be forced to spend his days on this green and blue sphere looking for validation without certainty of where he's looking to get it from. He'll begin drinking, and find out that it won't work, and then what? He'll find himself sporting a ski mask and pummeling criminals in dark alleyways. He'll break through past the first layer of his addiction and seize himself a more strikingly powerful sense of pain.
"Orion, it's almost three in the afternoon, and you're still not up," James says with a worrisome stare distorting his face.
Hearing concern from my roommate, who has spent the last couple of days sadder than what I had ever thought possible, is startling. I sit up in my bed and stare back at James with an exhausted glare shining off my face.
"I'm fine, just a little tired is all," I respond trying to sound as assuring as possible.
Truth is, I am not fine, I am far from it, I can literally feel myself fading, and it will only be a matter of time before I am nothing more than a demented memory in the hearts of those that hold me dearest. The light coming from the end of my tunnel was never anything but a freight train coming at me with fierce speed, and turning to run away will merely prolong the attack.
I am almost ready to stop dead in my tracks on the tracks and let it come.
I am almost ready.
James looks at me with skepticism before turning around and departing from view while I lean back in my bed and look up at the ceiling. It's as if he can sense the riddles that I constantly talk to myself in. I feel a vibration coming from my back-pocket, and instinctively, I answer my phone.
"Hello," I utter dryly.
"Yes, Orion, this is your father, and I just wanted to apologize about the other day. I understand that you're angry and upset, I even understand that I am probably the last person that you want to talk to right about now. Still, Belladonna really wants to speak to you, so I thought that I should at least give it a try," Cepheus retorts with a tongue sharp enough to take a stab at my jugular veins by itself.
My tired expression dissolves, I feel my emotions shift to frightening panic.
"What?" I holler at the phone with a fuming anger in my voice.
"Yes, she's very upset, I had to go into the other room just to make this phone-call, she really misses you, and she's about to be missing her legs as well, feel free to pay us a visit," Cepheus concludes with a slyness in his voice that makes me want to climb into the phone and pummel him.
A voice whispers at me, reminding me that pummeling him is what got her in this predicament in the first place. Beyond the phone-call, I notice I also have a voice-mail, a voice-mail from Belladonna. The time of the call is from a couple of days ago, and at a little after midnight. My mind drifts back to the vibration that came from my back-pocket from a couple of days ago, and unsurprisingly, at a little after midnight. I press play on the voice-mail and listen to the obscure screeching.
"Orion, it's Belladonna, anyway, I don't know if you're back from the hunting trip but I found someone for us and I think that I already have about enough to prove his guilt. So, we can go straight to the good part, great, right? Yeah, well, I have been doing some research, and I can't seem to get a read on him. I think that we should break into his house in a couple of days, you know, to get more of a read on him, and then we can go for the kill. He's a middle-aged man, but there's something about him, he does these experiments, I think he might be the one that burnt down that house, you know, with the weird fire and all those colors? Anyway, I hope you enjoy yourself, whether your back or not, take care, bye," I hear from the phone, along with a lot of static before it is replaced by silence.
She was talking about Cepheus, I could have warned her.
I bring myself to my feet with great haste after the voice-mail ends, and I depart from the apartment, nearly shoving James to the ground in the process. The time comes that I am riding speedily across the roads on my motorcycle, not caring if a policeman tries to follow me, only caring about stopping Cepheus from doing whatever it is that he plans on doing. I run a red-light, continuing on my way with hatred in my eyes then I hear something in the back of my head, the sound of a child crying at the top of his lungs.
I refrain from driving into a blue truck, the side of the truck is buried in rust. I stare at it, seeing an importance in it that I can't understand before I hear the voice again.
The voice pierces my ears, taking me deeply aghast before I confirm to myself that the crying child is me, but why is he crying.
There's no reason why he should be crying, no reason at all.
Everything's going to be okay, right?
I'm not so sure, but before I can further comfort the past memory of myself, I realize that I am where I need to be.
I fling the helmet off of my shoulders onto the rocky driveway, and then, I barge into the house, and for the first time, I finally see the rooms for what they truly are. The dull and pale painted living room has holes where nails used to be, and squares cleaner than its surroundings.
Pictures used to be there.
I pivot my stance and behold the television set that rests on the stand.
The screen formerly black, has illuminated, and now, I see a child, me, walking to someone, but who is that someone?
He has dark-black hair and a trimly cut beard along with a smile that I know better than to buy as genuine.
The man holds me into his arms, and all of his emotion begins to glow, and I know that it is real. Just as real as Belladonna's.
I drop myself onto the couch and continue to watch the journeying down memory lane.
"Cepheus, lemme see him real quick," I hear a feminine voice call as the video-tape continues.
"Alright, Liz," a younger Cepheus responded to the voice.
I finally see her, a beautiful lady with gorgeous blonde-hair, and she cradles the infant in her arms happily. She places him down on the floor before sitting with him. She holds a small box in her hands and begins to wind at the handle, turning it while a melody follows, until, "Pop goes the Weasel!"
The baby laughs, and I look on with a certain satisfaction of my own.
"She really was beautiful, your mom," I hear Cepheus inform me as the television screen goes black.
I turn to Cepheus and see his dark eyes looking back at me with a strong sternness.
"Where is Bella," I demand.
"Have you ever read the Bible? Your grandmother practically worshiped the man it was about, and she lectured quite a bit of it to me. Your mother liked it too. I never could really believe in the words myself, but it's not fair to say that there isn't a certain relevance to it.” Cepheus smiled dryly.
The smile isn't real, not like the smile of the man on the television.
“There is actually a moment that came where Jesus withdrew himself into the wilderness; he was filled with all this uncertainty, much like how we've spent our lives. He prayed to God out of desperation, wondering about whether or not the treacherous journeys actually were leading to something. A voice came to him, and he pointed out that nothing good has come from his pandering, and that he should take the side of evil. He ignored them and he was killed," Cepheus explains. "The moral of the story, at least through my interpretation, is that you can't let the right thing take over because it doesn't matter. If you do, you'll without doubt face pointless suffering."
"Where's Belladonna," I say, not looking to hear anymore preaching.
"I need you to understand this before we see her," Cepheus begins.
"Just show me where she is," I finish for him.
Cepheus turns away from me and begins to walk on.
I follow him.
He leads me down the hallway of his house before opening a door.
I walk inside and am taken by what I see.
There are several shelves spread about the walls of the room, each filled with a compelling amount of chemicals, some of them resting in beakers. I notice several syringes and look at them in awe, finding myself at the center of the room. In a corner rests Belladonna, lying unconscious on an examination table.
Cepheus walks on to Belladonna before putting something to her nose, and then, she suddenly awakens. She isn't tied up, but she is not moving, I assume this is because of one of the chemicals fed to her.
Belladonna's eyes rapidly move around the room before focusing on me, and her expression turns to desperation.
"Orion! This is the guy that caused the fire, the fire at Jacob Nelson's, he's responsible for Jacob's death," Belladonna hollers with fear.
"Ah, yes, Jacob Nelson, certainly not my crown jewel, the reason I didn't tell you is because it happened before I knew you were on my side. I was caught off-guard by your guys' arrival, and I started a fire out of panic, the fire was, of course, greatly adjusted by the chemicals scattered about." Cepheus confesses with the littlest of guilt.
"What, Orion, kill this guy, and let's get the hell out of here! I can't move! You have to do something! He has me on some drug!"
"To be fair, it was more than just some drug, it was a nueromuscular-blocking drug, the effects are only temporary, but, Bella, I think that you'll find death to be more permanent."
"Don't hurt her," I intervene on the altercation with cautiousness in my voice.
Almost before the words could escape my mouth, Cepheus reveals a gun in his clutches and shoots Belladonna in the side of the leg. Belladonna lets out a scream of agonizing pain but that is all that she can do to react. I charge toward Cepheus with incredible frustration before Cepheus points the gun in my direction.
I come to a halt.
"Let's not jump to any irrational decisions," Cepheus recommends. "I have absolutely no intentions of killing you, but I need for you to open your eyes and see. She's not like us, she's just some girl."
"Shut up," Belladonna begins to interrupt before Cepheus points the gun at her again.
"She doesn't understand us, and you know this, I don't think I should have to keep having to give you these speeches but you absolutely refuse to listen to the words I am saying."
Cepheus tosses the gun forward into my possession, taking me by surprise, as I look at the gun, puzzled.
"I am giving you the chance to make the right choice."
I look down at Belladonna, looking away from Cepheus. My eyes are becoming watery, drenching the fires.
I wonder, for a moment, just who I am, or who I was.
Belladonna will never understand what I was, she wouldn't walk into the darkness with me, but she could have led me into the light, and what I've become.
"My entire life has been a troubled path to nowhere, never knew what was going to happen next, and I was afraid by it. I was afraid because of a disease that you, like me, have had to live with for your life. You've let it win, you've let it distort and configure everything about you. You've given up, but I haven't, I've only lost sight of that. From now on,” I decide, holding the attention of my father with every word that depletes out of me. "I will only kill those that deserve to die."
I point the gun at my father with a mirthless look on my face, neither happy nor sad, but wanting for the moment to end. I tighten my grip while my father looks on without neither conveying a reaction.
I pull the trigger, and nothing happens.
Yes, maybe there was a small chirp from the gun, but nothing else.
I look back up at my father, and he smiles faintly.
"I am sorry that you feel that way," Cepheus says.
He runs my way grabbing me by the throat until he shoves me viciously into a shelf of chemicals, I fall to my hands and knees, trembling in pain before the shelf falls on top of me.
The striking pain doesn't really bring an audible response out of me but I am unable to move.
"You just couldn't stay away, could you? You ruined everything, you destroyed everything," Cepheus yells out, turning over to Belladonna. “Everything that I worked for. Everything that I've spent my entire life trying to accomplish was for him! I've lost everything, you know, the last person to take something from me, I drugged to death. You're special, you took the last shred of humanity from me, this is about physical pain, I want to make you hurt!” Cepheus hollers with fiery eyes and piercing words.
He begins to circle around Belladonna, he begins to circle around his prey, at the moment, he is the king.
He picks up one of the syringes with fuming frustration, slowly, I crawl out from under the shelf.
I didn't break Cepheus out of his trance as he stares down at Belladonna, he throws the syringe to the ground and he picks up his empty gun and pulls a series of bullets out of his pocket. He puts the bullets into the gun, but alas, before he has the chance to strike, I leap back to my feet and take the switch-blade out from my pocket. I put it up to his throat.
"You deserve to die."
With that, I bring the blade across his throat and leave the blood to flow as he drops lifelessly to the ground, staining the floor.
“No,” are the only words that escape from Cepheus' mouth.
Cepheus lays lifeless on the ground, and I look at Belladonna, her face remains panicked but I can see that she is also relieved.
I drop to my knees.
The end has come.
A time started one way, and the end did the same. A blackness would shadow over him, a blackness would keep him from ever feeling what he wanted to feel. What he craved to feel.
It wasn't happiness.
He discarded of that fantasy long ago.
He knew that everything that tried would likely end in dismay and disappointment, but this didn't stop him from trying. What he wanted, he wasn't sure of, but he wanted it, and he wanted it badly.
There was an affirmation from the very beginning that it had swallowed him alive, but this didn't cause his knees to buckle. Quite the contrary, Cepheus tried to solidify himself as a man capable of preventing the inevitable. At the time, he didn't see it as an inevitable, he saw it conceivable. Even if he couldn't get what he desired most, he at least wanted to feel content.
He wanted to have at least some control. Which is how, with precise calculation, he found himself everything that he could ever one day hope to want. He had a beautiful wife named Elizabeth, and they were soon expecting their first child. He was living the dream in the opinion of some, but it wasn't enough. He couldn't appreciate his life to the fullest.
This isn't because he didn't care.
This isn't because he was a cold and selfish person, but because he was afraid. He was more than just afraid, he was downright terrified. An assortment of phrases could be used to describe all that he was feeling; scared, frightened, concerned, or even, uncertain. He held a fondness for his wife, at the time, she was the closest thing that he ever came to love.
Who's to say that it wasn't love? Who's to say what love really is, and that it wasn't what he was feeling. Cepheus didn't know, but he knew that he had to cure himself of this imaginary force-field, shielding him from ever having what he wanted. What he wanted to want. Whether he wanted to feel accepted or loved, was anybody's guess. More than anything, however, he wanted this sickly feeling of withdrawal to be withdrawn out of him, and to be depleted out of his body.
Ever since he was a child, Cepheus felt a desperate desire for something. He never knew what it was but he knew that he had to do something in-response to it.
He did research on everything that he could find to help specify what he felt to be a strong wrongness, and came up short of any significant information. He remained persistent, Rome wasn't built in a day, but it wasn't built alone either. He began to ponder upon whether or not these feelings were felt by everybody.
He threw the possibility out the window with complete confidence, watching it flutter to the ground below. This thing, this disease, had been tearing him apart from the very beginning, it's not something that people can just not acknowledge. It's not something that people can just live with. He finally, after thumbing through page after page, stifled across information that wrote about alcoholism.
He read tidbits before beginning exploration into the concept.
The disease, much like his, wasn't really a disease, not by many definitions, but it existed, and it ground away at its victims. He read that the addictive tendencies could begin without actually taking a sip of alcohol if the alcoholism gene is passed down from your parents. He never knew his father, and only faintly knew his mother. Like a scar, he looked back at them with only a glance.
His mother, he knew, never took a sip of alcohol in her life. She was a “Lady of God” as she often referred to herself as. For many years of his life, Cepheus went to church, but never believed the words being said to him. He'd smile and nod as the preacher beseeched the followers of the holy ghost to better themselves. He'd hear the choir sing in the name of the lord, but could only faintly depict the words.
He might have been able to give it more of a chance, had it not been for his mother's mightier than thou attitude flushing it all away. Even if he bought into the ideas fluttering about, he knew he was not the work of God, and that he couldn't be saved. It was a hard pill for Cepheus to swallow, but he did. He then wandered about the memories of his father. “That sinner,” his mother would always say, but he never knew for himself.
What he did know through memories from his family members is that he hastily used many of his days stabbing his arms with needles. At that moment, Cepheus held a certain honest fondness for his father for the first time in his life. He marveled at the recollection of past memories spurring about in his mind. This was the conclusive answer; he had inherited his father's addictive tendencies.
Did he discover the antidote to the disease? No, not exactly.
He discovered, after shoving a couple needles into his arms that he was wasting his time. He didn't share the same disease as his father, but he might have shared the diseases of some of the people inside of the drug den that he went to, due to filthy needles. It was around this time that he began to learn about drug use, how they work, what they can do, and how to use them to his own benefit.
He learned much of this from a man named Raoul Harris.
Raoul Harris was a thin, young man with slick black hair, usually fixed up in a ponytail. He was considerably tall, well over six feet, and he came across much taller by the way that he carried himself. When Cepheus met him, he was twenty years old, but he still knew a considerable amount about drugs. Cepheus believed that Raoul grew up with the substances, but never actually asked him.
Raoul taught him everything he knew, and pretty soon after, Cepheus began experimenting. He never had the same interests buzzing around him as Raoul, but he was quite a busy bee, trying to find what happens with each mixture of substance. What happens if I do this? Okay, that happens, but what happens when I do this? After his first couple of experiences with cocaine, he lost interest almost immediately.
The addiction-quenching substances weren't nourishing of his hunger. Through time of experimenting, he thought happily that he may not only reveal to himself the little something that he's addicted to, but also how to cure his addiction. The idea fumbled itself merrily around and around, the idea that every individual has an addiction, and he has simply yet to find his. He scrolled through more and more pages, stitching one chemical to the other, but didn't garner any success.
Months elapsed, and hundreds of experiments went along with them, even months after his son was born. He named his son, Orion, naming him after one of the many constellations in the sky. His father had done the same, but never sat through the years to see him grow up to appreciate it. Cepheus' days began to become routine, toss a few chemicals together, and inject them into the bloodstream.
His fingers were always crossed, and he was always hoping that positive results would develop. More often than not, he would be poked and prodded at by his wife, by this point back from work, while he lay lifeless on the couch. She wondered why her husband was unconscious while their son cried inside his crib. He hid the use of chemicals on his body, as well as the disease that was eating him alive from his wife.
He convinced himself that he was doing it for her safety, but he never truly bought into it. Cepheus was petrified by the concept she was going to leave him. He knew she could do better, but often, he wondered, if she knew she could do better. More days and days went by, more time of him experimenting, he sat downstairs in the basement, where much of his study took place, and listened to the sounds of his son crying.
It frustrated him, but he continued working. He realized he was no longer fighting for just himself anymore, he was fighting for Orion. If by some chance his hypothesis held weight and he had found the disease from his father then there could hold some possibility his son would carry the disease as well. The idea worried him more than anything else, it was one thing for him to suffer, but the idea he had brought something in the world to feel the same torment was something in its own.
He needed to find a cure; he had become obsessed with unraveling himself a cure to all of the heartache and suffering that had beckoned its presence into his body. Finally, hours into the day, he had enough and drifted his way dizzily into the upstairs of his house, and once again heard the cries of his son. He went to the crib and glanced at him with eyes of the closest to joy that he had ever felt, and smiled. He smiled as he held his son in his arms, patting him on the back and causing for the tears to soften.
He knew the time was approaching when he would have to be a parent to the child, and it only made him feel more and more uneasy. He brought his son, he brought Orion, to the floor, the child now old enough that not only could he sit up by himself, but he could also crawl around freely. Cepheus looked at him, and his son looked back with a smile now on his face, Cepheus smiled back with a tear falling its way down his cheek.
His heart ached at the idea that this little bundle of joy, as Elizabeth called him, would carry down the same road that he has. The idea that the child would have the same uncertainty, and the frustration was unbearable. Piercing through all of the thought, a knock on the door sounded and everything else turned to mush. Even at the present, Cepheus likes to bury this moment deep. He kissed his son on the cheek, and he brought himself back to his feet, taking one last look at his greatest creation, and then, finally, he answered the door.
"Hello," a man wearing a policeman uniform uttered with a somber look on his face, matching the sadness arraying from his voice.
The man was standing alongside another officer of the law, a woman with short-brown hair, and dark sunglasses. She was looking down at the ground, deliberately looking away from Cepheus. The man, however, continued looking at him with his unpleasant expression, his eyes noticeably reddening with every second of silence.
"Hello, and what can I do for you?" Cepheus responded with a worrisome look on his face before looking back at his son, who had now stopped marveling at his wind-up jack-in-the-box toy, and was now staring back at him and the policemen.
Cepheus continued looking at them, panic building before he heard the female officer make a small cry to herself, and his suspicions were confirmed.
"Is there something wrong?"
"Your wife, Elizabeth Corvus," the male cop began.
"Yes, I know my wife's name," Cepheus interrupted.
"Your wife was in a car wreck, she met in a head-on collision with another vehicle, and ... and the medics, they tried to do everything that they could. They tried to resuscitate her, but they couldn't. We're sorry," the man concluded.
The world, deciding to take a theatrical route, had slowed its pace. Cepheus looked around for a moment, seeing everything more vividly. Then, suddenly, they became more blurry, he became dizzy, his eyes glazed over, and the world around him falling to pieces. The house was the first to crumble, he faintly heard the windows shatter to pieces. Second, he heard the sound of something escaping him, a wispy noise that he couldn't specify.
Afterward, he felt it. He felt something leave him, whether it be his conscious or his soul creeping away from him. He didn't know. He just knew it was gone. His face was pale, and sweaty as he looked back up at the officers, the world began to reorganize itself. The shattered glass accumulated back into a solid piece, and his trance was broken.
"You're sorry? My wife is dead, and you're sorry?" Cepheus responded, his face was stoic, as his face would forever stay. “Get the fuck out of my home.”
The man looked as if he were going to burst into tears and the female might have already, but Cepheus couldn't see past the sunglasses. Cepheus backed away from them, he felt as if he may literally explode into a million pieces, or simmer before dissolving into thin air. Finally, Cepheus closed the door on them, and turned away, the expression on his face as expressionless as ever. He picked up Orion's jack-in-the-box toy and threw the boxed devil to the wall, and out popped the weasel.
Then, he dropped to his knees and a rushing of despicable thoughts danced in his mind. How would he possibly raise a child, and keep him safe, if, even at the moment, he was dying. He wasn't, he knew, but he couldn't imagine himself being away from his child. For him to be exactly the same as his father, but he still held hope that he would find a cure, and he still held hope that his son wouldn't be passed down the tormented disease.
He felt even more afraid, and even more uncertain, but more than anything; he felt angry.
Cepheus knew that he would never have the capability to raise a child. He was too far gone in something else, but he promised himself, and he promised the child that he would find a cure to the disease, or at the very least, he would find a way to deal with it. He'd find a way to channel the vicious and tantalizing evil, but for now, he was beleaguered with desires, and as if he got something of a look into his own inner-being, he realized what he wanted more than anything was revenge.
He wanted revenge against the individual that introduced him to the narcotics, as if for some reason, blaming the man for his troubles. Cepheus was convinced that somehow everything could have been avoided had it not been for the moment that he met Raoul Harris. He needed somebody to blame for everything, he needed somebody to target that would bring him a withdraw from the pain and constant suffering, and Raoul pulled the short-end of the straw.
Cepheus didn't know what he was going to do, but the frustration was boiling in him. The frustration of losing his wife, the frustration of not being capable of raising his own son, and frustration for the fact that he had spent the entirety of his life searching for the antidote for something wrong with him only to come up short. He dressed himself in his leather jacket and jeans before cradling the gun that slept under his bed in a small box in his hands.
On his motorcycle, he allowed for the wind to thumb through his long black hair, and found himself out of Acera in the blink of an eye. He found himself in Urgway shortly, the neck of the woods that provoked shivers up the spines of numerous civilians. The sky had darkened by the time that the Cepheus arrived at Raoul's home, which wasn't a home in many definitions of the word. The place that he resided was a deteriorated trailer where he sold heroin, cocaine, and plenty of other luxurious items.
Cepheus knocked on the door, not in the need of a fix, but in his mind, he was fixing the broken world by taking the man away from them, and sending him away. Cepheus knocked on the screen-door of the house, the frustration brooding inside of him, until finally, Raoul opened the door and looked back at him.
"Corvus, how you been, man?" Raoul Harris proclaimed with an over-the-top grin on his face.
"She's dead," Cepheus replied coldly.
"What?" Raoul retorted with genuine surprise on his face. "You alright, you don't look good."
“Yeah, I know."
"Come on inside, gotcha just the thing to take the weight off," he exclaims until turning around and motioning for Cepheus to come inside.
"Actually, I already know exactly what I want."
"Really, what's that, man?"
With that, Cepheus turned the man around and whipped him across the face with his gun, sending the large man spiraling before landing to the floor. Cepheus looked down at him with admitted satisfaction on his face until pointing the gun directly at his skull with all of the frustration pouring out of him.
"What the hell, man, what I do?" the man cried with fear in his eyes.
Cepheus liked that he was afraid, he liked it much more than he wanted to admit.
"You helped this world take everything away from me, and that is the reason that you must die," the words escaped from Cepheus without any emotion in them.
He hadn't any emotion left within him. It, along with his conscious, had evaporated, never to be seen again.
"I didn't kill no one, man!"
Immediately after those words escaped from his fallen prey, a moment of enlightenment dawned on Cepheus, heating the flames to a higher degree.
"You're right," Cepheus admitted.
Cepheus climbed back to his feet slowly, calculatingly, and began to turn away, finding his way back to the front-door as he prepared to leave. Raoul climbed back to his feet with worry still in his eyes as he walked toward his attacker. Cepheus pointed the gun back toward his direction and pull the trigger, sending an aimless shot in Raoul's direction. The bullet ran forward, and drove to the side of Raoul's face, skinning the side of his cheek badly.
Cepheus left that day with an understanding of precisely what he wanted, he wanted to kill the man that took his wife away from him. After searching through all the irrelevant news filling the newspaper, he found an article regarding the traffic incident. Skimming through all the details he didn't want to have to think about, he found the one thing that he wanted to discover. The man driving the vehicle, the blue truck, that collided into his wife's car was named Will Andrews, and he refrained from obtaining any serious injury from the altercation.
A vicious and devilish smirk stretched across the face of Cepheus, and for a minute, the disease's effects began to disintegrate from existence. The feeling felt exquisite and caught him deeply off-guard. He wanted to have this feeling enter him again, and he thought he knew how. The minutes rolled into hours, and the day was coming to its decisive and abrupt end. He found what he was looking for, he found the address of where the murderer of his wife resided, and the hunt had begun.
Will Andrews didn't live far from Cepheus' abode, merely a mile or two away, and because of this, Cepheus felt there was no reason why it couldn't happen the same night that he had confronted Raoul. However, he knew that it couldn't, he knew that he couldn't afford to take any risk if he desired to walk out of it freely. Part of him wondered whether he even wanted to get away with it, he wondered whether or not there was anything worth going on for.
Then, he confirmed to himself that if he were ever to lose all of his freedom, he'd want for it to happen after he cured his son. The next couple of days were spent studying his victim, studying the workings of Will Andrew, an unmarried truck-driver that made a considerable amount of money. He had an outgoing social life, and would often have been on multiple dates after the week reached its end. Cepheus believed that he could use this to his advantage.
One of the nights as Will Andrew walked his way to his truck after saying his farewell from the pretty little number that he met while driving around his truck, Cepheus struck. Clumsily, but successfully, Cepheus drove his gun over the back of his victim's head and placed him in the trunk of his own vehicle. He looked at the vehicle, noticing the rusty scraping on the side before he got in the car and drove to the man's house. He laid him on a wooden table and leaned him on top of it.
The man's house was nice, but Cepheus had already spent the last couple of hours looking at it while he prepared himself. Cepheus walked around his prey, sizing up his adversary with a demented stare and sweat dripping down his brow. He drove a conclusive needle into his patient's arm, the syringe injecting him with a drug that boldly blocks all neuromuscular transmission at its junction, causing paralysis of its affected skeletal muscles.
After more time for preparation, he brought a smidgen of smelling salt to Will's nose, awaking his consciousness.
"What," Will hollers with firm uncertainty in his voice after his eyes are brought open. "Where, ... where, ... What the hell!? Fuck! Why the hell can't I move!?"
"You can't move because of a little concoction I whipped up for the occasion, it's a nueromuscular-blocking drug, one that is slowly becoming my personal favorite as well. Everything about it has been formulated to perfection. It paralyzes the body, disabling the individual from departing, or squirming, but it doesn't numb the pain," Cepheus began.
"Shit, who in the hell are you? What the hell do you want?"
"Unfortunately, this is about more than physical pain, I'm afraid," Cepheus continued, deciding to ignore his patient's scream. "You took away something very, very important to me. All the work that I've spent the entirety of my life doing has been rendered useless because of you. All I ever wanted, all I ever desired, was to feel loved,” Cepheus said, the first glimpse of emotion shown of him since finding out about her death, but he immediately wiped it away with a grin. “I know, it's stupid to you, but to me, for a time, it seemed like the only thing that mattered. I figured from the very beginning that I was going to be alone, but then, Elizabeth appeared into my life. She looked past everything that I was, and she loved me, and surprising even to myself, I think that I loved her. I overcame my problems long enough to confirm to myself just how I feel about her. She inspired me to change, and you killed her!" Cepheus said, his voice growing louder as the words elapsed.
"Look, I didn't do anything, it was an accident, she pulled in-front of me!"
“You know, I had to take the pictures from my house down,” Cepheus continued. “'Cause I knew that having to see the family that I lost would kill me, like I'm going to kill you,” Cepheus looked down at the man, who grew more terrified after the word “kill” escaped from Cepheus' lips. "I injected you with more than just one drug by the way. Like I said, this is more about making you feel physical pain, this is about you feeling how I felt. First, I injected you with cocaine, the drug that I tried from the very beginning, I hoped it'd make the pain go away so I could be there for my wife, and be there for my son, it failed."
Cepheus could loudly hear the sniffling of the man, but it didn't faze him while the words left him.
"Then, I injected you, one at a time, with some of the chemicals that I allowed to intermingle in my body hoping that I would create something to fix who I am. They didn't work, so I figured that I could give the remainders to you. I would kill you, but pretty soon your mind will turn to mush.” Cepheus uttered with a chuckle. “You'll probably die, but if you don't, then I'll kill you," Cepheus concluded with feelings of almost every conceivable emotion protruding itself out of his voice.
"Wait, you can't fucking leave me here, I need to see a doctor!" the man yelled.
"The doctor has already seen you, and has diagnosed that you only have a couple of minutes to live. Oh, and please don't spend the rest of your life screaming. Spend the rest of your life thinking about everything that you've done, think about everything that you've put me through, and more importantly, think about what you've done to my son. He never had a good father, I can admit that, but his mother, oh, his mother, she was great. You killed her, you took her away from him, Will." Cepheus explained, his face reddening, but his voice is trying to hide the pain.
"No, please, come back!"
Cepheus dropped to his hands and knees, looking down at the ground below, the sounds of whimpering sobs plunged themselves into earshot. He drove a club to the ground, and let out a grunt of frustration. Finally, Cepheus looked up at Will. Will tilted his head to the side of the wooden table, staring at Cepheus with eyes filled with panic. Cepheus' hair blocked his face from view as a humming sound becomes to spur out of his voice.
"Half a pound of tuppeny rice, half a pound of treacle. That's the way the money goes," Cepheus sings to himself. “Your mind will wind, wind, and wind, and then, pop will go the weasel.”
Sure enough, after only a couple of minutes were buried before William Andrew died, and at that very moment, Cepheus came to the realize that he had discovered what his addiction was, and how to feed it.
Belladonna doesn't understand.
I am not a silent protector of the innocent. I don't creak in the cracks and crevices of this troubled world to save the fallen from wrongness. She spirals, twists, and bends over backward for the benefit of the world in a way that I cannot. Do I hold envy toward her? She had the privilege of understanding the disease before feeding it everything it wanted. Yes, but I am too blinded by the addiction to allow for these feelings to swarm into my hive of isolation, my pyramid of blackness, the tower of despair, as well as other synonyms that may follow.
She has found a way to control what she is, to release the evil, in a way that doesn't entirely consume her. It is hard to accept that she's departing from my life, after all, for a time, she stood as the most important figure residing within it, and even still, I hold a certain fondness for her.
I wish her the best, and hope she is able to overcome all of her obstacles, and to leap all the hurdles that the disease will surely provide her. I stare own at the blackness from the rooftops, not wearing a ridiculous costume, not pretending to be a hero, but instead having a motorcycle helmet around unheroically over my head.
I also wear my new black leather jacket, which also has a yellow stripe on the sleeves.
Cepheus insists that we should take baby-steps away from my old ways, not discarding of them instantaneously, but allowing them to fade away in time. He thought that this last time on the rooftops, this last time galloping over buildings, could be permitted. He didn't much approve of me wearing the motorcycle helmet the whole time, believing it to be another example of me trying to hide from what I truly am, but I convinced him that it was necessary.
Cepheus and I both walked around the rooftops, I looked down at all the civilians below, pondering as to whether or not they would go to a desolate location in the future.
“I spoke to Belladonna,” I say plainly.
“She doesn't understand us, Orion,” Cepheus replies. “You need to stop seeing her, you're only going to make this transition harder on yourself. You need to let go of her, she's not one of us.”
“I know,” I say with a firmness in my voice. “I don't need you to keep reiterating it.”
“Apparently, you do,” Cepheus responds, frank.
I turn around from Cepheus and moments later, I feel his hand over my shoulder. It'll be another time for him to haphazardly attempt normality and fail.
“You want to connect with someone, but the pill will be easier to swallow if you stop trying to fight it. You don't love her; you love the idea of her. The idea of getting to be something that you know you'll never have the chance to be. And you can't do that. You can't allow yourself to constantly feel inferior; you can't let yourself think that you are lesser to the extent you need someone like her. And, Orion, if by some chance, you really loved her, you wouldn't want her to be around you,” Cepheus explains.
I can tell he's working me in the same manipulatively way he always done. I shot a look to him, one that he cannot see past the helmet, and I at least know what he's saying is the truth. I have been deluded into formulating this artificial and fictitious reality, passing off what I have created as real acquaintanceship with those wandering around me, but it was never real. I was never meant to be happy, what I was meant to do was bring the conclusion, but bringing the conclusion is something that brings me the closest thing I have ever had to honest happiness.
The stars in the sky are sparkling brighter than I have ever seen before. I look at them, admiring fondly.
I am almost able to depict the sight of a man on one knee holding a club in one hand and a lifeless lion in the other. The imagery dissolves into the blackened sky, and I blunder onward, half-wanting to disappear into the stratosphere before remembering where I am.
With this, a swish and swash of uncertainty overwhelms me, and for the first time that I can remember, I feel afraid.
I am afraid of carrying on what I am doing, afraid of walking any closer to the vicious and remorseless brick-wall. As if a veil of darkness magically draped over my head has been pulled off, I look down and almost have to shield my eyes from the city-lights, even with my helmets clear vision, before my focus returns to Cepheus. Breaking down the walls of silence, I hear the unique and distinctive sound of dismay, a woman's desperate wail, a shriek becoming familiar to me.
I have heard these cries before, and now, something has awoke inside of me.
“Come on,” I say to Cepheus with a sense of urgency in my voice.
“Why?” Cepheus retorts casually.
“Forget it,” is my response before I charge away from Cepheus.
I charge down from the buildings, feeling something, not new, but returning, push and shove its way back inside of me. After galloping over many small spaces between each structure, I make a leap of faith across one of the frameworks with a significant gap, and nearly fall, but manage to keep my balance. Unchanged and unaffected, I continue forward, the stars aligned in my favor, the hunter in my favor, I continue trying to discover where the cries of the woman in-trouble are coming from.
I turn and I don't see Cepheus on the rooftop where I left him, but it doesn't faze me, and I regain my focus. The air beginning to sooth me, and my surroundings beginning to become more and more vivid until finally, I spot who I have been looking for. A little boy and his mother, I have seen this before, but this time, I can stop it from happening. The mugger is pointing a gun in the mother's direction as she helplessly rummages through her purse, looking for money, or whatever it is that the mugger desires. The little boy is hugging his mother's leg and has tears running down his eyes.
I carefully descend from the rooftop from a ladder attached to the side of the building before finding myself behind the man. I bring myself forward with as much discreetness as possible, and watch as the little boy takes sight of me, his mother too preoccupied to notice. I put my fingers to my lips and request he silence himself and feel an uncanny feeling of déjà vu. The only difference is I can stop history from entirely repeating itself.
I can stop this little boy from losing his mother, and I can keep him from having to spend the rest of his life blindly searching for salvation, and living in fear of the brick-wall that towers him. The little boy nods his head softly, obliging to my requests, and I begin to step closer and closer to the mugger.
“You better hurry up, trigger-finger's feeling frisky, hate for a little boy to grow up without a mom,” the man says before shaking the gun around in his hands.
I finally find myself standing just a few short feet away from the man, determined, the snake slithers from its hole, and I charge my way onward toward my prey. I take him off of his feet, sending him to the concrete ground and bringing for me to fall on top of him. The gun dispatches from his hands and is sent whirling out the clutches of the man before the mother picks it up with shaking hands. I pull the man back to his feet and lean him against the wall.
“I stopped you from making what would have been the biggest mistake of your life, and even now, the mistake you have made instead is large and fatal,” I say with a coolness and certainty in my voice.
“Bullshit,” the man responds, shaking, and trying to pull free.
The man headbutts me in the skull, breaking me out of my spell and I begin to search for my composure. He throws a punch at me, sending me spinning before I drop to one knee, he leans my head to the side of the brick-wall before backing away. I have flashbacks of Branden Cutler pushing my head against a headlight. He runs at me with vile intentions weighing on his mind. I manage to turn and roll forward, landing on my feet and causing for his knee to nearly crush itself into the wall. He turns around, pampering his wounds and I wail on him with a compilation of fists to the skull.
I throw my punches to the face of a man who tried to take the life of a child's mother, a person who tried to leave a little boy journeying down the same checkered path that my pieces move on. He falls, blood staining the wall, and I back away, I back away with something reminiscent of genuine satisfaction before bringing my attention back to the family of two. Both the child and mother visibly shaken from the events leading up to this moment. I step onward, closing nearer to them, and they back away, frightened.
I see their expressions alter with a moment's notice before turning to see the man running back at me. I penetrate the flesh of his chest with my switch-blade and toss him roughly to the ground, hearing the awakening crack of his cranium as it drives into the floor. I rest my head against the brick-wall, contemplating, trying to figure out what is happening to me. A remorseless and ever rampant raging rapid of exchanging ideas circulate within me.
Should I do this, or what about this?
I drop to my knees, trying to make sense of this all. I return to my feet before ripping the helmet off of my face and throwing it to the opposite wall of the alleyway.
“Goddammit, this isn't how it's supposed to be!” I yell aloud. “It isn't supposed to be this hard!”
I look away from the family, my heart drowning itself. Even if I don't know exactly what a heart drowning feels like, I know that is what's happening. My hair drapes over my eyes, and I bring my fingers through it, gouging at it. I finally understand what it's like to want to rip my hair out. I hit my head against the brick-wall faintly, again, again, and again. The question is asked repeatedly with great haste, and never fails to reiterate itself to the point of excess, but the answer isn't anywhere to be seen.
A sound is made apparent to me, and I glance next to where the child is standing and take behold of Cepheus walking beside them. His eyes wander off to the body that I left a useless heap, and then, he smiles broadly, before continuing his way into the alleyway.
“You've done well,” Cepheus acknowledges with enthusiasm.
I continue staring at my father with a dumbfounded expression on my face; a look of uncertainty in myself, and bewilderment in what has transpired. He looks back at the mother who clutches her son's hand, absolutely thrilled that she is still alive. Excited for all the birthday parties, graduation ceremonies, and all the other events she'll get to be there for in the future.
“Since you got that one, I think it's only fair that I take this one,” Cepheus utters.
I look at him, confused, before immediately turning my expression to panic. I nudge myself away from the wall and plunge myself toward him, he doesn't wait for me to arrive, and instead, he sends a bullet spiraling onward and into the skull of the mother. She drops to the ground slowly, first to her knees, and then, Cepheus pushes her forward, causing her to fall face-first against the concrete pavement.
My entire world is set ablaze as digestion of the act commences, the demented dancers formerly parading around my demented but humble abode are now shedding tears. The snake cowering back in its fortress, and I watch the expression of the small boy change just as well. I couldn't save him, I merely gave him a sight of hope, and took it away.
Everything ceasing, the blindfold is gone, but in its place is a feeling of whiteness.
I fall toward my father, I fall to one knee, by face resting against his chest. I can feel the tears running down.
Suddenly though, the whiteness is white rage, and I throw an elbow to his sternum, climbing to my feet. He falls to the floor roughly, clearly not expecting for his sinister smile to change, and I begin to pummel him with punches to the face. I let up, I see the little boy running away. He's running away from Cepheus and I, but he's also running away from something else. He's running away from something of greater purpose, a metaphor with excruciatingly powerful realism.
I bring my way to my feet, leaving Cepheus unconscious on the ground, and I look up at the stars. I see a man holding his arms aloft, praying for something, praying for salvation, and I know that he'll never get it. The stars begin to blacken, vanishing entirely from my view, and a lavish smile stretches my face. I turn to the brick-wall, the brick-wall that has forever towered over me, pulling the strings, and hiding everything in question from view.
There is nobody to stop me.
I turn around.
I turn around away from the constant never ending suffering that has been brought. I turn away from the brick-wall towering over me, and I walk away. I'll never be able to completely dispatch this disease out from inside of me, but I don't have to allow for it to consume me.
I see this now with firm clarity.
I try to breathe and with a hollow dismissal of air, I discover an emptiness where something once inhabited. Sadly, but not without trying, I can't for the life of me recall what once resided in the void. A consciousness of overrated spewing might have once lived there. Nothing more than thoughts desiring to fling away every grain of happiness penetrating my devilish sanctuary. Whatever it is, it is gone now, and in place of it is something mysterious and unorthodox, but it can't be seen.
Something that is there, I know is there, but I can't see it, or necessarily feel it, but it's there. The sadistic dancers are free to dance ballistic, not stepping on toes, but stepping on, and crushing the useless and feeble existences of those around me, “One, two, cha-cha-cha!”
Here we go, dosado, take a knife and make a hole, spin your victim round and round, now push her harshly to the ground!
I don't care about any of these people, my prey, I don't see why I ever tried to pretend.
I don't see why I ever tried to pretend that I could gain their acceptance, and I don't see why I ever wanted it. I don't need their acceptance, I don't need their approval, I don't need anything from them, but what I am going to give to them is the end. The end of their lives, and the end of their unfair and unjustified prejudice for me and what I do; all that I've ever done is try to kill them, but they can't even let me do that. Now, they don't have a choice, do they?
Wait, you don't mean any of this, and you know it. You're not this, Orion, you're not.
Who's to say what I am? I thought I could be someone who had justification for what he did, but I cannot. I thought that I someone who could slither out of his hole every now and again without me getting any closer to the towering brick-wall, but I was wrong.
I thought I was something else, but I'm Orion Corvus, I am the hunter, and I denounce everything else, because I am nothing else.
My life has forever been containing an unidentifiable question, a question where the answer is unobtainable, but I am obsessed with finding it. The theories subconsciously jot themselves down and fill the pages of my life. I think I'm getting closer to finding the answer, and I think that Cepheus will lead me to it.
I depart the kitchen with food in-hand, a plate of eggs and bacon in one hand and a glass of orange-juice in the other.
After our waltz with perfect insanity, Cepheus an I said adiós and went our separate ways for the night. I, of course, returned home to see a tired, and unsurprisingly drunk, James sleeping on the couch, and Cepheus went to his house, and probably went ahead and pealed a little bit more paint from his walls. As expected, James is mopey and unceremoniously dull about anything and everything that he does. Probably because of what his father said at the hunting grounds before James went to shoot a commercial through an arrangement by his mother.
George's body hasn't been discovered yet, or if it has, word hasn't made it over to our neck of the woods yet. I almost felt tempted to inform him I killed his bastard of a father, but I feel like that would have done more harm than good. Ah, well, if James wants to be a curmudgeon for all his life, I won't let him rain on my partying parade.
I walk over to my room and sit myself at the foot of the bed, I place my beverage on my dresser drawer, where a medium-sized television rests as well.
I bring the remote to my hands and begin to freely flip through the channels, discovering nothing that immediately catches my eye. An assortment of cartoons are on the tube, some which once lined the layers of my youth, and some that I haven't even seen before. In one, an anvil is dropped on the head of a house cat while it chases after a small mouse. He stumbles wildly in a daze before managing to pull himself forward only to have a washboard clothesline him to the throat and take him off his feet.
In another, a white fox attempts to solve mysteries with his lizard and bird friends.
I browse past a couple more channels, and nothing seems to capture my attention the way the fox solving crimes did. I stretch my hands high in the air before rubbing the grains left by the sandman from my eyes. Taking a small sip of orange juice, I chew and swallow a piece of egg, some of the yolk beginning to dribble own my chin before I wipe it off with my hand. Suddenly, ruining the peacefulness of the morning, in all its glory, I hear somebody knocking on the front-door.
Leaving my plate of food and orange-juice on the drawer beside my bed, I bring myself out of my room. I look and see James not in his former post of the couch before I turn my head up and look to see that his bedroom door is closed, indicating that he woke up simply to make way to his own bed.
I open the front-door and see, unsurprisingly, somebody looking back at me, but surprisingly, it's Belladonna. Opening the door, I usher her into my humble abode, my humble abode that I only faintly remember telling her existed.
She walks in with a sweet smile on her face, and for the first time ever, I know it couldn't possibly be genuine. She's wearing a gray hooded-sweatshirt, and jeans, while her hair looks only moderately groomed.
“Hi,” she says, still carrying the smile on her face.
“Hello,” I respond.
“So, how have you been, I mean, how was the hunting trip?” Belladonna questions aloud as we drift over to the couch formerly inhabited by James.
“Enlightening,” I respond truthfully.
“Oh, really, how?” Belladonna reciprocates eagerly.
Slowly, Belladonna shifts her position on the couch and begins to lay atop my chest. I can't believe that I ever thought she could be like me. Everything about her, there's something about her, and it's loving and caring, and nothing like me. It screams goodness and purity, whereas everything about me merely causes screaming.
“I found the answer to a question that I have been asking a lot lately.”
She shrugs it off my words, with a certain giddiness, like she has something she's been waiting to tell me since I left.
“Hmm..., I found us a new victim, real cold-blooded killer.”
Belladonna is the only person that I have ever met that can make something so barbaric and cruel feel so warm and inviting.
“Yes, I resisted the urge to kill without you, thought it could be special. Maybe light some candles around our alleyway, throw down a little rose petals, and set the bastard on fire.” Belladonna announces with a small chuckle in her voice. “Isn't it great?”
“I killed Silvia Garcia,” I utter faintly beneath my breath, but she hears me.
“What,” Belladonna firmly states, her giddiness replaced with something that frankly scares the hell out of me.
“I killed her,” I repeat.
“What the hell do you mean, you killed her? We agreed that she was innocent!” Belladonna responds with a noticeable frustration in her voice as she climbs off of my chest and stands to her feet.
“You don't understand, I'm not apologizing, I'm saying, it's okay, who cares, she doesn't matter.”
“Doesn't matter? She did nothing wrong, Poison! We can't just kill people, we're not like that. We protect people from these, these things, and we enjoy it but the only reason we can do it is because of the fact that it does some good, because without us releasing our demons, we let these more devilish creatures run rampant,” Belladonna says.
“Actually, for what it's worth, Silvia confessed before I killed her, but it wouldn't have mattered one way or the other. I am starting to realize that I don't have to spend all of this time rationalizing what I am doing, and I don't have to make excuses about it. I can just do it. You can just do it. Don't you get it? You're limiting yourself to criminals because you're afraid about not having the approval of these people,” I respond, my voice sounding frank and persuasive.
“We ARE these people, Poison,” she proclaims, placing a lot of extra emphasis on the second word.
“No, I'm not, and I'm not Poison either,” I reiterate.
“Orion,” Belladonna corrects, her voice riddled with sympathy and pity.
“You should join me,” I say before standing to my feet alongside her. I take her by the hand as I speak. “Think about it, you see someone that you want to kill, just do it. There is no more, did he do this, or did he do that, you just act.”
“That isn't right, Orion. You know that isn't right. This isn't what you believe and I don't know what has gotten into you, but you need to snap out of it. I get it, I really do, I understand what this is and I understand what you're going through, but you can't just let it consume you. It pisses you off, but don't let it cloud everything that keeps you human. If Silvia Garcia really did confess, you haven't done anything wrong yet, don't go over that edge,” Belladonna's voice feels like she's in-front of a podium giving a speech, such confidence and passion in her words.
“I'm sorry, but it's too late.”
“No, it isn't!”
“I am done pretending, and while I'd love for you to join me, I don't have anything else to say for myself.”
“No,” Belladonna utters before sniffling some. “No, Orion. You're the only one that I ever thought understood what this was. I'll always love you for that, but I won't walk this path with you. I hope you find something else to believe in. I really do.”
Belladonna frees her hand from mine, her tears dribble down her face. She turns away and leaves from view. I stare down at the floor below me, not wanting to face or accept reality before I bring myself back into my room.
The smell of eggs is repulsive. I have lost my appetite. I am not hungry anymore, not for food at least.
A game of cat and mouse. That's what I want.
There's something of a theatrical scent roaming the air while I take a sip out of the glass, indulging myself in the exquisite taste of red wine. I swish it around in my mouth for a moment, my first taste of the liquid, and swallow. The air is wet and cool, but with recognizable warmth, though there isn't a single ceiling fan spinning above me. What I do see, however, are multiple brightly lit chandeliers taking their place. The smell of cooked bread, as well as multiple other varying smells fill the room.
The smell of other food that is to be considered too rich for my blood, except for on this occasion. My eyes inspect the inner-workings of the facility; the restaurant entitled, “Lepae's”, and am soon impressed by their decorative surroundings. Lepae's is filled with many, many tables, each draped with a tan-colored table-cloth, and an assortment of condiments, looking nothing like the traditional ketchup and mustard that I have grown to love.
On each of the tables, there also rests eating utensils, wrapped up in dark red paper-towels, and menus showing what is being served tonight. The floor is carpeted maroon with an exotic design of beige flowers. Waiters and waitresses scurry around, hearing the requests, and obliging to them at their soonest convenience. I bring myself back and stare at my seared scallop appetizer, and ponder what I am supposed to do with it.
Making an educated guess, I stab my fork at the petite structure, the structure geared seemingly more toward presentation than anything. To my surprise, quite easily, the fork goes into the object assumed as edible and I bring it to my mouth.
The taste is much pleasanter than expected and I actually find myself bringing the fork down to retrieve more.
I am left chomping at the bits before bringing myself to a second taste of wine.
“Enjoying yourself?” Cepheus questions. His voice sounds about as pleasant as it could in any given situation, which isn't exactly pleasant, but it's almost close.
“Remotely,” I respond verbally before bringing the glass to my mouth for a final sip, swallowing down some scallop.
The truth is that I actually am enjoying myself.
Something about taking the life of Olivia Garcia felt right, and made everything better. It relaxed all of my muscles, bringing the knots out of them, and plain and simple, I feel better because of it.
“Glad to hear it,” Cepheus retorts with a thoughtless smile on his face, one that is especially peculiar. “Your mother used to love this place when she was alive.”
“I never knew her,” I mumble before jabbing my fork into the remaining piece of scallop on my plate.
“I wish you would have, she was great, really just something special,” Cepheus admits, still carrying the smile that seems like it requires more effort than what it's worth.
A waitress walks past our table, wearing a white low-cut shirt and a black apron.
“Miss, I don't mind if you take our orders,” Cepheus says with a sly smile.
“Sorry, we're a little busy this evening, how may I serve you,” the waitress reciprocates with a guilty expression on her face before going back to a normal stare.
“Have you ever been in a trash-bag, screaming,” Cepheus mumbles under his breath, but I manage to catch what he says.
Cepheus looks at me for a second and winks with a smirk on his face.
“Pardon? I didn't catch that,” the lady asks nervously.
“It's nothing, I'll just have some chicken biryani, preferably not with fish,” Cepheus replies clearly.
I have no idea what that is.
“And what will you be having,” the lady utters after nodding and looking at me.
I skimmed through the menu for a couple of seconds before finding that cheeseburger and fries were nowhere to be seen. With disappointment, I simply pointed at the steak, and sent the pretty lady on her way. I asked her about restocking us with more wine, but Cepheus vetoed my ruling, and specified that we couldn't afford to have our minds clouted for the night.
“So, what do you think? Is she next?” Cepheus asks, leaving me to wonder whether he's joking or not.
“Let's give her a chance to get the order right before we condemn her to death,” I reply.
“Such a saint,” Cepheus responds before leaning back in his chair and releasing a breath of air.
Soon, the same waitress arrives back with our food, and rudely, she forgets to thank me for essentially saving her life. She reveals our food, giving an individual plate to each of us, and takes away the plate originally holding the appetizer. The food is gone in a matter of minutes, minutes that fill in comfortable silence at our table, with only the biting down of food and the sound of discussion from the other parties pouring in.
After both of us have finished, Cepheus lets out a quiet burp before repenting himself by uttering the words, “Excuse me,” under his breath.
Serial-killers are generally very polite people.
That's a fact.
“Full, or are you hungry for something else?” Cepheus finally says aloud.
I feel my attention suddenly being swiped away from digesting my food and placed on Cepheus. I see a couple of people make way for the door, and I secretly hope that we'll be doing the same very, very soon.
“As a matter of fact, I am,” I reply.
“I know you are,” Cepheus says so calm and unshaken that it almost comes across as a whisper.
We vanish, out of the restaurant, conveniently forgetting to pay, and are sent on our way with anticipation shifting through the veins of both of us. I wanted this, the hunger is growing, the more I indulge, the stronger it gets, but the better it begins to feel. It is never quite as good as the first, but good enough to make me want to carry on again, and again. The flames brood inside of me, as they have always since the very minute that George Schultz life was concluded.
The power, the everlasting fillings of superiority against these people, and the control.
We finally found ourselves back at Cepheus' house, only a couple of blocks away from the restaurant, and about a dozen or so miles away from my apartment. Cepheus' house is simply orchestrated, nothing out of the ordinary, nothing eccentric, it just is. That's all that it needs to be, and that's all it is.
As I come forth to the driveway, Cepheus puts his hand in-front of me and brings me to a halt. I look forward at his silver Harley-Davidson, the shine, incredibly recognizable, is easy to appreciate.
“I have something for you, you know, for the occasion, give me a second, and I'll go ahead and get it,” Cepheus responds with a detectable excitement, almost sounding sarcastic, in his voice.
Cepheus is showing a wider arrange of emotions than what I previously knew him for.
Earlier, he made a joke, and now he's showing excitement, I almost want to use a cliché and ask him who he is and what he has done with the real Cepheus.
I didn't, of course, remembering being shot in the chest once by my father is enough. Time goes by, and Cepheus is nowhere to be seen.
At last, I look and see a garage-door opening before seeing Cepheus step out from the garage that conjoins to his house, pushing a black and yellow motorcycle down the driveway and to me. The shine of the motorcycle is every bit as glistening as his. He throws something in the air toward my direction, and instinctively, I catch it. They are the keys to the motorcycle; I hold them in my hands and stare back at him.
“I figured that you might want something to get around besides jumping from roof to roof, and I know how you like the colors,” Cepheus explains with the closest thing to joy I have ever seen on him.
“Thank you,” are the only words that I can seem to allow to escape from my mouth while I stand frozen, looking back at him.
I haven't had much in the way of emotion to lend lately, drained and depleted, actually, but this feels different. I've never been one for driving any particular vehicle, I never actually had something like this to call my own. I spent most of my years after high-school doing nothing of worth, and only last year because of cleaning the wallets of my victims, have I had any substantial amount of money.
However, this was more than somebody buying something for a friend; this is my first gift from my real father. Likewise, to never being one to drive, I've never been one to drive fast, but all things change.
* * *
Zooming past the other fleeting vehicles, I drive onward with a look of satisfaction displaying on my face beneath my dark-colored helmet. Cepheus is a couple of seconds behind me but is gradually gaining speed, the lights of the city are shining down on me. It feels nice to have the lights look down at me for a change. Cepheus swivels his motorcycle toward mine, forcing me to move to the opposing lane.
There isn't much traffic in-sight. It is a couple of minutes past midnight, most civilians are smart enough to realize that they should stay inside. Acera is statistically known for having the most infamous serial-killers, but a large majority of the crimes happen at night. In other words, if you stay inside, you're safe. I continue to drive onward with growing speed, I feel my phone in my back-pocket vibrating, and am left to believe it is James.
After George's untimely decision to provoke his murder, the clarification came that James had left the hunting trip after his father's numerous colorful comments for a commercial gig. When James informed George that he was leaving, he, either, naturally decided to follow his mother's instructions to always be himself by acting like a crazed alcoholic. After disposing of George's body, I met back up with James at the hotel.
When he asked where his father was, I informed him that I took a taxi from the hunting grounds back to the hotel after I realized that James left. I slowed the motorcycle down for a moment, long enough to pull the phone out of my pocket before Cepheus swipes the phone out of my hands.
“Ha, you aren't going to talk on the phone now, are you?” Cepheus asks with skepticism in his voice.
The night beamed down on both of us and with an unseen and uncharacteristic smile, I grab the phone from his clutches and place it back into my back-pocket.
“I guess it can wait,” I say.
“Great,” Cepheus responds before speeding up on his motorcycle and traveling long ahead of me.
I begin to speed up as well, accelerating on the throttle, and find myself back beside Cepheus. Cepheus glances at me for a moment before we begin to slow down once more, he motions to the right. I turn, and see two gentlemen palling around with their fallen friend, and by “palling around”, I mean striking him over and over with their fists.
“There's one for both of us, and one to split, either figuratively or literally,” Cepheus announces with his sadism showing.
My eyes glare back at him before I nod. We take a turn into the alleyway, drawing the attention of the individual being pummeled as well as the perpetrators.
“What the hell is it? You want some, too?” I heard a Hispanic voice call before looking in the eyes of a slightly husky individual, with long black hair, a black mustache, and a sleeve of faded tattoos on his arms.
“They ain't leaving, so that must be it. What the hell you want? This isn't your fight,” another voice calls, this voice coming from a white guy wearing a plain white t-shirt and a skull bandanna over his mouth.
“We have no intention of assisting either side, just our own,” Cepheus responds calmly.
Slowly, Cepheus begins to climb off of his motorcycle before removing his silver helmet from atop his head and placing it on the seat of his motorcycle. Cepheus' hair flows down easy, however, both individuals laugh once they see him.
“Little old to be out playing cop, ain't you?” the long-haired man with the faded tattoos says, holding his side.
Cepheus walks forward with a cold glare drawn on his face, walking slowly near his prey until finally, he comes head to head with the dark-haired Hispanic. The man looks back at Cepheus with no sign of fear in his eyes only for Cepheus to take him off of his feet with a headbutt. The man drops to the ground in pain. The man with the skull bandanna walks toward Cepheus from the side and Cepheus removes a gun from his pocket and points it at the man without looking.
Cepheus finally turns to the man with a look of confidence in his eyes before he regains his focus and turns back to see the tattooed man running off from the alley.
“Dammit,” Cepheus hollers before oddly, unfastening a long belt from his jeans, and walking back to his motorcycle, still pointing his gun at the man with the bandanna. “Take care of this guy for me.”
I can't help but be very curious of what he could possibly be doing with his belt, but nevertheless, I direct my attention to the bandanna wearing fellow as Cepheus follows the other man the run with his motorcycle. I climb off of my motorcycle for the first time only to be attacked from the side.
I drop to my knees.
The man takes a satisfied breath, for whatever reason, happy that there isn't a gun pointed at himself anymore. I fall on my back, roughly against the concrete ground.
I tilt my head to the side and take sight of the man that had been beaten prior to all of this. Blood is dripping out his mouth and he lays lifelessly in a seated position, leaning against the wall of the alleyway. I try to climb back to my feet only for the man in the bandanna to run and drop his knees to my side, knocking all of the wind out of me. I breathe heavily for a moment until I make my way back to my feet and look to see the man ready to throw a punch at me.
Alas, his intentions would be put to rest, due to me moving out of the way in the nick of time, provoking for him to punch the wall beside me. Letting out a loud yell of dismay, the man turns back to me only for me to drive my switch-blade into his chest. Blood begins to pour from his wound. I am feel the dampness on my hands. He leans against me before I step out of the way but make certain to keep him on his feet.
His eyes have worry, and he squirms as I pull the blade out of his chest and bring it across his throat, making the blood lost seem insignificant. I stop holding him, and he falls to the ground and lays, dead.
I hear the sound of a bullet being fired from a couple of feet away, and turn my direction to the dead man's victim. A small-sized man with blood running down his chin, and he looks at me with a worried expression.
I hear the sound of a motorcycle moving. But quickly, I make way toward the fallen man and grab him by the chest, pulling him back to his feet. I see his face, the face of someone innocent, someone whose biggest mistake was simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I look at him and at that moment, an overabundance of thoughts begin to dance around in my head. At once, I walk him over to the right end of the alley, and toss him to the side, roughly causing for him to hit the sidewalk before I turn back.
At the other end of the alleyway, I see the front-wheel of Cepheus' motorcycle slowly come into view. The rest of the motorcycle comes to sight as well. Cepheus joins me back at the alleyway, but he isn't alone.
Behind him, hanging from the back of the motorcycle with a belt wrapped around his neck is the Hispanic mugger.
Cepheus smiles back at me, clearly happy with himself.
“Well, that takes care of that,” Cepheus says before removing the belt from around his victim's neck.
His victim doesn't gasp for breath. He doesn't try to defend himself. He doesn't do anything.
“Hmm, we seem to have lost one,” Cepheus notices. “Where did the other one go?”
“I was too preoccupied with this bloody heap,” I say, pointing to my handiwork. “The other guy just ran off and I didn't have time to stop him. After all, he was already half-dead anyway, right? Where would the fun be?” I say before looking at my prey, once again with a smile on my face.
Cepheus nods. He understands that the thrill of the hunt is crucial, and we both depart the scene of our first kills together, and our first bonding moment.
I didn't have time for whatever heartfelt speech Cepheus planned to grace me with. I didn't even bother to ponder how he knew where Silvia Garcia had went. Every breath of this impure air entering me is contaminated with the existence of Garcia. She desecrated my existence, she made me show remorse.
I could accept the terms when Branden Cutler escaped from my hands, it was of my own fault, and Cepheus even helped me rectify the wrongs, but Silvia, Silvia is different.
Silvia Garcia didn't survive on luck or chance; she survived because my mind was too boggled that there was actually something true and honest within me. She survived because I did something very stupid, and I wasn't going to allow for that to happen again. I don't have time for Cepheus to hand me one of his rifling of words. That, and I don't feel like hearing them, even considering how well-thought out they could very well have ended up being. I do not have time to smile and nod, there isn't any of me that is looking to feel right now.
At the moment, I can't think of anything more useless than feeling, I don't want to discover anything besides the satisfaction and pleasure only the conclusion of a life can bring me. I don't have it in me for anything else, I do not feel like smiling, nodding my head, or being enlightened on the intertwining thoughts buzzing around my father's mind.
I don't feel like anything.
Apathy, thy name is Orion.
Cepheus would have to save his pensive melancholy for another time.
Cepheus explained, with his quiet but deep voice, that Silvia Garcia is quite a ways away from where we are. She took precaution after her encounter with those nameless and naive vigilantes. Her acting may have been admirable enough to convince one of the vigilantes of her innocence but that would be the only person that she convinced of anything.
No matter how much she cried and pleaded, nobody would believe her foolish and silly stories, regardless of how accurate they could very well have been. Silvia Garcia may have hoodwinked one of the killers, but the other, the final one, didn't care one way or the other. Silvia realized that nobody believed her wolf cries, and started to look for protection. She came up short to a large extent, without much to show for it. After all, there is only so much that a dimwitted, narcotic-abusing, potential murderer can do, and it wasn't very much. She certainly couldn't succeed in scoring any legitimate protection, not like Branden Cutler who managed to scavenge up a compilation of burly gentleman to stand by his side. However, like Cutler, she went to the one place where she felt at her most comfortable. She is an addict and is deeply lost in her addiction, so deep in the well that she could never be resuscitated back to the surface, Silvia went to the one place where she felt herself, not secure, but enabled.
This meant a lot in-terms of her protection, in that it wasn't anything particularly convoluted or craftily carved together. Silvia Garcia did the impossible of laying low while being inexplicably high. Silvia Garcia was hiding herself in a drug den, specializing mostly in heroin. Why Cepheus seemed to know so much about it seemed irrelevant to me. Branden Cutler was smarter than her, his most addictive tendency brought himself into a place of alcoholics that got into fights for the hell of it.
Silvia Garcia's most addicted tendency gathers individuals up and places them into a defenseless, alternatively wakeful and drowsy state. She may even be more defenseless than before.
This is how it should be.
I follow the steps once traveled by Cepheus, the darkness refuses to recede, but I don't especially have a problem with it, the darkness has proven opportunistic to my benefit. Since ditched away from staring at the Sidian Inn, Cepheus and I are right where we need to be.
Silvia's location is actually quite a distance away from the Sidian Inn, and isn't in actuality, even within the same city.
Acera is a big part of Maharris, and perhaps even rightfully so, the city could translate into many happy postcards. Acera has its flaws, of course, statistically speaking, it has been credited as being the location of some of the most vicious and conniving serial-killers. Ivan Black being among one of the most prominent before I took his life, and Maher, a gang once run by Alfonso Alvarez, has continued to run a muck even after I took the life of the leader.
However, Urgway could quite possibly be the most dangerous, an area lacking order, and infested with serial-killers, rapists, and pedophiles. It's as if to say all the serial-killers that don't get caught in Acera, come to Urgway for relaxation. The difference is that Acera is mostly dangerous at night, and if you lock your doors, you're probably safe. In Urgway, you never really know, because there aren't very many obstacles keeping actions from occurring, not a strong authority figure to wag his finger at the criminals and tell them, “No, No!” They enforce particularly strict curfews for Urgway as well, and if you step into an alleyway, you can expect to be mugged.
Urgway also isn't the eye-candy that Acera is, and where Acera shines with its glamorous city-lights, Urgway shines for being the scrumpy, and more deteriorated side of the area. The side that you always knew was there but never really wanted to believe existed. Cepheus and I looked forward at the drug den that supposedly held Silvia Garcia, a small and wretched trailer. Streams and streams of toilet-paper hung from sides of the house, along with various small trees to the side of the tiny mobile home. The toilet paper was soggy and damp and looked like it had become caked in the side of the walls. Scatterings of empty soda-cans, wrappers, and black bags of trash lead to a pair of concrete stairs leading inside. All the grass is either dying or dead, and has transitioned into a sickly yellowish color. There are two cars parked in the driveway, one in-front of the other. The one in-front is a Chevrolet Astro, coated in dirt, and with the first half being a darkish blue, and the bottom being a pale white disguised as brown by the mud. The second car is the same rugged junker of a car Belladonna and I saw Silvia Garcia leave at the Sidian Inn.
Cepheus and I stare at the trailer, both with the same fiery passion, the sight of blood in the water. We both know that the kill is quickly chugging on the rails, and our damsel is soon to be run over, but I can't think of the next step to take. I am not afraid, not nervous, not anxious, just unsure. The sky seems to be doing the impossible of getting blacker, and I couldn't ask for an easier task to accomplish. However, I have always grown accustom to specific methods, and lately, they have blown away like dust in the wind.
Is this the start of something new, a further installment in my new perspective toward things?
I don't have the answer to that.
My staffs are in my hands, but I have trouble believing I will be using them very much for this occasion. I walk onward into the night, stepping on the crinkly, dead grass, before beginning to circle the trailer. I can't hear any sign of commotion, but suddenly, breaking the deadening silence, I hear the sound of a dog barking hysterically. I jump, deeply aghast as I turn and see a robust-sized larded bulldog pulling itself my way.
Bracing myself, I guard my torso with my staffs as I hear the rustling of a chain moving, and thankfully, the dog comes to an abrupt halt, running out of leash. No good lasts long before a spiral downward, and the dog continues to howl away at me. It would only be a matter of time before I'm heard.
A thief, I am not.
To my good fortune, I didn't need to be, because Cepheus would take it upon himself to charge forward and punt the dog directly in the sternum.
The dog whines softly before crawling away from us.
“Dogs,” Cepheus mutters under his breath, and I have trouble disagreeing with him.
I follow Cepheus as he trails in-front of me and we continue our way at the back of the trailer. I could ever so faintly hear the sound of my heart beating; we had to have been seen.
The jig is up, Orion, run!
However, I say nothing; just continue walking until taking sight of a window. I walk ahead, hoping to see a peek inside and discover if our dearest and sincerest companion remains. The glass expected for the window is nonexistent, and instead, there merely rests a window screen peeking into the trailer.
The den is small, and because of this, the view I am provided gives sight to a significant amount of the room. I could see a washing machine right below the inside of the windowsill with a couple of pennies and nickles lying on top of it. Further inside, I could faintly see the faces of three individuals: two men and a girl. The trio rested unconsciously on a couch, next to them is a wide-pile of syringes, all looking as if they're dead, and I started to feel scared that somebody had beaten me to the punch. I turn back to Cepheus just to make sure that he is still with me, and he is.
“Look at all those pricks and their needles,” Cepheus says, carrying the same stoic expression that I've come to expect from him.
I circle back around to the front of the fortress out on High Street, and come to the front-door. The door almost parallels the window in the sense it's not really much of a door at all. Doors are generally supposed to keep people out. I poke my finger against the handle-less screen door, and I am in. I move my way through the darkened room. And as I continue, inadvertently, my knee collides quietly but harshly into what feels to be a coffee table.
I cringe silently in pain for a moment and try to hide my irritation.
The dog barking was fine, but violent coffee tables are where I draw the line.
I look down at the coffee table, and the items resting upon it, … speaking of lines.
I keep moving in the darkness, and then, just like the coffee table, I am aggressively attacked, turned around by a deeply powerful individual that I can barely lay my eyes on.
He flips a switch, illuminating the room before manhandling me by throwing me against a wall. I thought the wall might actually break for a moment by the sound it made as my back slammed into it. I look at him and his bloodshot eyes, and for a moment, I begin to truly appreciate just how large of a man he is. Even on my tiptoes, the man is taller than me by well over a foot and a half. He has slick black hair and a ponytail that I briefly see slap over his shoulders before he flips it back behind him. A scar is also noticeable on the side of his cheek.
“Who the fuck are you?” The man called out plainly. “What the hell are you doing here?”
He clubs me in the chest, over and over again, causing for me to drop my staffs to the muddy carpet before grabbing me by the throat with both hands. He flings me in the air and I land atop that vile and vicious coffee table, crashing through it, and making a loud thrash in the process. I see the wood scatter and lay there for a moment or two and then he apparently decides that we're friends and assists me back to my feet. But then, throwing away our new found companionship, he attempts to drive another fist in my midsection, but I insist otherwise and bring a knee to his gut. I take the knife out from my back pocket.
The knife feels minuscule and ineffective in my hands when I look at the burly fellow but I know the end of his life is approaching. All at once, I prepare to drive the knife into his throat as a gun goes off before I have the chance. Blood spurts from the forehead of the man's head, and so does a bullet before it hits the wall and comes to a halt. The man drops to his knees and then he falls to the ground. I stare up at Cepheus.
“Good timing,” I utter weakly.
“You didn't want to kill him anyway, you don't know if he's a bad guy, after all,” Cepheus responds while we continue walking further into the now illuminated room.
The inside of the trailer paid homage to the outside with the same assortment of litter splattered about, although the inside had a big dead guy inside it for variety. Cepheus and I move forward after I pick up my staffs and look to see the trio of two men and one woman lying out of it on the couch. Our scuffles not distracting them from focusing on their coma.
“Oh, shit, Jesus Christ, oh, shit!” we hear fill the room, and naively, I get excited for a moment, but what would he be doing here? “You killed Raoul!” follows the false advertising.
Both of us simultaneously turn to see Silvia Garcia bolt out the front-door. Cepheus points one of his guns up in her direction, aiming intently at her head, but I hush the gun down.
“No, not this one, this one's mine,” I say before running forward with the white-hot intensity fueling me once more.
I follow her out the front-door and hear it cling against the side of the trailer roughly as I fling it open. She hears it too, and begins to strengthen her pace. I charge fourth toward her with whimsical desires of marking something important off of my checklist, and begin to close in on her. The traffic is nonexistent, and she eventually slips and stumbles off of her feet onto the sidewalk next to a closed down mini-mart called, “Hamill's”. She comes back to a vertical stance hurriedly, only for me to go for a presumptive strike at her with one of my staffs.
She trembles beneath it causing me to strike against the glass entrance door of the mini-mart. Taken by surprise, I mistakenly toss my staff threw the window and send it flinging down one of the aisles. The staff slides a mighty distance and falls away into the darkness of the store. She desperately tries to crawl away but I pull her back to her feet before she has the chance and pin her against the wall. Sickening tears are running down her face as she looks at me with a panicked look in her eyes.
“What do you want?” Her eyes move frantically, every bit as afraid as the last time we met, maybe more. “Where's that girl, that girl that was with you before, she knows that I didn't do anything,” she squeals with a high-pitch to her voice.
“She's not going to be joining us for the occasion, I'm afraid,” I respond coldly.
“Please don't kill me, I didn't kill her, I didn't kill mommy!”
“You can save your chanting, they are not going to save you this time, nothing is going to save you this time. You mistakenly believe that this is about you, but this isn't about you, this is about me.”
“You can't kill me, dear God, please!”
“You misunderstand, you're not in any position to inform me on what I can or cannot do, you see, when the mask is on, when the lights dim, I'm not looking for your approval. I don't need your approval, but you need mine, because if you don't have mine, it'll mean death. I'm starting to think that it doesn't matter if you have my approval or not. But, you, Silvia Garcia, do not have my approval. You are going to die one way or the other tonight,” I promise.
Her eyes are bloodshot, but something tells me they're not bloodshot for the same reason as the man recently killed by Cepheus. Terror runs through her veins, and she's afraid.
“I did it,” Silvia mumbles to herself.
“I did it,” she repeats. “I killed the bitch, and I'm not sorry.”
“Good,” I admit. “But I never cared.”
Since the very beginning, even when the dinosaurs walked alive and well, the world has been painted in black and the world has been painted in white.
It's that simple.
There is good. There is bad.
Those that bring goodness into the light, or conjure up evil in the night. The ability of differentiating one from the other is supposed to be within everyone's comprehension. After all, they are complete opposites, one can bring warmth and happiness, but the other is doomed forever to bring cold and remorseless suffering. One is on the left of the spectrum, and the other is on the right.
The distinction is supposed to be something fathomable, something that can be understood, whether it be one way or the other.
But it's not.
For some, it can be tricky to find the line within the shades of gray. The line, like the equator, implied but not visible. Sometimes I wonder whether or not the line between good and evil is even there. Who's to say every existence isn't brought afloat to the surface simply to be pulled back into a hole six feet under?
Who's to say every existence is not useless? That the ways of the animal, intently searching, looking for a way enables his survival, never left us? Are these just the words of the addiction while it pokes and prods trying to get me to continue to indulge? I can't say for certain, but I once believed that Belladonna could be the piece to the puzzle that has always eluded me, a piece that could complete me.
She is the nearest to good that can counteract my evil, she is the closest to an angel that can pierce past the gates of my hell. She's an angel that knows what it's like to have an addiction sitting on the saddle trying to get her to trot and gallop to what it desires.
However, we're not the same.
A time once existed where I looked at the mirror and I could see a creature, a darkened deformity with a chance of being good. I feel sadder to realize that the monster staring at me with those remorseless eyes of never ending self-loathing belong to me.
I am too far gone.
I am too long addicted to pull myself out of this slump. But the addiction has its salvation. I couldn't see it before.
No more will I have to jump through hoops while I look for the simplest form of justification for my actions.
Instead, I can simply strike my prey, like the hunter that I am, and like the hunter I was born to be.
I'm not looking for anything anymore.
I'll weather the weather whether everyone agrees with what I do or not, but the world will have to understand. The world doesn't have a choice in this; a time has come when I am not putting it first. This isn't about what the it wants; this is about what I want. The world has watched me struggle to walk on my own two feet, and laughed, never offering a helping hand.
What can you do when everyone else feels like your arch nemesis? They have seen me fall to my knees, scared and afraid, and struck me without mercy. I have spent my life having to bend over backwards just to feel worthy, to feel good enough, but it's time that I kick back.
Still, carefulness is indefinitely necessary.
A new lease on life won't silence the fact that the simplest of mistakes could lead a most unfortunate case of death on my part. A boost to my self-esteem by realizing that I don't have to twirl and twirl like a spinning tire will not bring modification or alteration to the fact that murdering George Schultz was a mistake. An incredibly great mistake, capable of ripping the ozone layer a hole the shape of a smile from a certain kitty-kitty from wonderland, but a mistake nevertheless.
I can't afford to make any more miscalls.
Once the mistake happened, I beheld it with a certain satisfaction, sad at what I'd done but not really regretting any of it, but wondering what the hell I was going to do to get myself out this little dilly of a pickle I was in. I wandered around, with both my fingers crossed, hoping James hadn't decided to come back to see my bloodied masterpiece. He hadn't, of course, and as far as I could see there was nobody else that had. The night was approaching, and soon it would engulf the body from view anyway. Nobody in their right mind would be hunting at this late of an hour unless they wanted to play flashlight-tag with a grizzly bear.
I, of course, most certainly, still took heavy precaution. If an abusive drunk is killed in the forest by his son's roommate and nobody else is around to see it, did it really happen? Unfortunately, yes, but at least for a while, I want to make it look like it didn't happen. I later came to find out that James had taken a taxi to wherever it was that he was heading. However, at the time, I was somewhat surprised to see the Cadillac resting happily atop the dirty ground outside the grassy realm.
The grassy realm that is primarily used for hunting, oh, and animals trying to live their lives in peace and harmony, but mostly hunting. I looked around and I came to the happy understanding of how alone the vehicle was. I didn't see any other cars anywhere near it. Had George known somehow known that I was going to kill him and deliberately parked the vehicle away so that his body could be moved discreetly!? What a sweet-heart!
If so, that was very thoughtful of him, and just for that, I'll resist the urge to further at poking holes into his skin.
I could not simply grab the body by the legs and leave a trail of blood behind me. Leaving smears of blood seems disgusting and like something people would look down upon, which is something that I will not sit for. The night was too dark, and even more buried by the trees, even if somebody knew of my presence; they wouldn't be able to identify the body.
This provokes a risky, but quite necessary happening, because I can't leave the body out in the open very much longer. The trail might be a problem, the trail could quite possibly be seen by someone and be thought of as animal blood, but one could only be so sure.
There has to be a way to stop the overflowing of blood that I was forgetting.
After playing catch with my ideas, I hog-tie George and head on my merrily way to dispose of the body.
Keeping to my promise, I didn't once stab George again, but I covered the wound with a masking tape I found inside his Cadillac. A majority of his blood even decided to stay inside of him for the occasion.
I resisted the urge to tie him to the hood of the Cadillac and simply laid him face down in the backseat of the car.
After removing the tape, I began to thoroughly inspect the wounds from the body and began discarding of certain superficial details that might connect me to said crime. I wiped at his torso, making sure there were no finger prints behind at the wound when I taped it, and then, I removed any remaining remnants from the beer-bottle from inside of him. Speculation came after, and pretty soon I was wondering how I would be able to rid of the body. I thrashed and dashed with fast thoughts speeding through me as if they were on a race-track, but I didn't find anything. No bells or alarms went off to speak of. I look up, and there are no light-bulbs over my head either.
I could have easily just taken him home and made it look like he was drunk and fell on a shard of a broken beer-bottle or something. However, I needed something significantly more substantial. It wasn't as much about keeping the body hidden permanently as much as it was about keeping the body gone until I was long gone from Hardan. A couple of days, a week, maybe even a month, just long enough to create a significant gap between the death and my visit to Hardan.
My decision for the matter happened with the lifeless body of George driving itself off a road into the Amisoic Sea, with a shard of the windshield already cocooning itself in his liver. Cans of alcohol scattered throughout the car, and from his drinking binge earlier, alcohol already in his system. The car drove fast, before it fell in the ocean below, causing a splash.
The minute the car dunks itself into the pool of water, I realize that it is actually a slam-dunk for me as well.
I'm actually pretty good at this, if I wanted to; I could probably go the more traditional route of murdering people. However, I realize that if I did so, I wouldn't get to wear a cool cape and the thought washed away faster than James' drunk and abusive daddy.
This was last night.
But tonight has come, and there are things that need to be taken care of.
There is manure that needs to be scraped off from the bottom of my shoes, once and for all. When I left for my adventurous ride to oblivion, there were a couple of things that greatly needed my attention.
Belladonna and I had been trying to help the polluted environment by discarding of the unearthly trash that was Jacob Nelson, we were given a very unwanted surprise. A fire, one with a large array of colors, one from an individual successfully creating himself a diversion, enabling for his escape. There wasn't much of a reason for curiosity to be laid upon it anymore, honestly. A man was trying to kill another of his own, he saw a dilemma, he caused another problem, and solved the first one. There is no reason to believe that it was anything personal, but there is no reason to believe that it wasn't. Even still, I don't want to share the people of Acera with somebody else, and if it's within my power, I have to dispose of said person.
The other problem was brought about by Olivia Garcia.
Belladonna played by a multiple of specific guidelines and adamantly wished to continue to follow them through thick and thin. After a disgusting display, Olivia convinced the ever-naive, Belladonna into believing that the world was nothing short of dancing skeletons and bloodthirsty rainbows. I decided that tonight would be dedicated toward the more instant gratification, the one that I knew I could take care of the easiest.
I will be subtracting the world of Olivia Garcia, and nothing is going to stop it from happening.
My eyes glare downward with the ferociousness having just joined, feeling natural. The sky blackened, and darkness rained over the city lights, as if putting a layer over them. I glare, staring angrily, determinedly, and with strong focus at the Sidian Inn. I am waiting for something to happen, but what am I expecting?
The building to suddenly set itself a blaze, and the cause of the fire to die thus killing two birds with one stone? A clue to sprinkle itself upon me along with the exceedingly dimmed darkness?
Silvia Garcia isn't here.
“Silvia Garcia isn't here,” a voice agrees with an emotionless coil of certainty and dismay in its voice.
“I know,” I respond with an equal showing of cold certainty radiating from my own.
I turn to Cepheus, in most circumstances, I would go the theatrical route of smacking my hands to my cheeks, and have my mouth opened wide to finish the surprised expression. Alas, I didn't have it in me to be surprised; I didn't have much of anything left in me lately, except for this. I am curious to find why he has gifted me with his presence regardless. Why, after all of this time, has he finally decided now would be the opportune moment to speak to me.
Maybe it's because Belladonna isn't tagging along with me on a venture, but I looked forward to getting answers.
“Do you know where she is?” Cepheus asks, ever so calmly.
“Do you,” I retort back without leaving the merest second of silence between us.
“Where's the bride then?”
“Don't worry about her.”
“She not joining me on this kill, she doesn't agree with it.”
“See? She's not like us.”
“No, she isn't,” I agree with noticeable disappointment in my voice.
“You shouldn't be surprised.”
“Are you going to tell me where Silvia is?”
“I want to be there when you kill her.”
“I want to be there when the time comes that it dawns on you that these people, the people proclaiming to be our peers, are useless. They don't matter.” I tune out to what he is saying.
I am tired of hearing speeches about this, that, and something else. The time for action has neared, and I don't have any interest for anything else. Nevertheless, he continues:
“What we do to them is no different than what they do to each other. They eat away at each other, while we're consumed by something else, something greater, something that tweaks the fabrics to create a greater being. We are that greater being, and I think you're starting to understand that,” Cepheus explains with a seriousness pouring of him that I don't care enough to have admiration for.
I feel so fucking nothing... and everything. So strange.
“I think that you're starting to see that you don't have to pander like a puppet on a string to these blithering idiots, you don't have to search for validation, whenever it is only people like you and me that have the power to cast judgment. If they don't believe in what you do, so what? If you don't believe in what they do, you end their lives, like flicking a switch, you turn them off. It doesn't even matter if you don't believe in what they do. I can't think of anything more trivial, there's no reason to,”
“Just show me where Silvia is.”
The sunlit sky peeks down at us; barely sneaking through the trees. The rickety sound of a bullet being fired, escaping the clutches of a rifle, patrols itself with great haste, ushering in the bleating shriek of a deer. The bullet has struck its target, and now, it is merely a matter of time. The deer is taken aghast as it gallops forward with desperation fueling it. That, and instinct, but it won't do any good, and that is clear without a clue or a hint to the happening being necessary. The deer manages to run a distance of around one-hundred yards with its head held high in the air before dropping to the ground.
The bullet is mine, and now the life of the deer has been brought into my possession as well.
“Damn!” George Schultz says, sporting a pleasant look on his face. “Damn!”
“Well said.” I respond.
“You've gotten yourself the first kill of the day, boy! I was beginning to think you boys hadn't a lick of sense when it came to hunting, but I guess I was only half-right,” George says after taking a large gulp of beer, glaring at his son, James, who was trekking behind us while we made way toward the fallen game.
I ignore the backhanded compliment.
To be perfectly honest, I couldn't possibly care less about anything escaping George's mouth. There might have been a time where I could have humored his idiocy. A time where I could have repressed irritation from the constant berating he gives his son, but that was long ago, and in a galaxy light-years away. The tides have turned for the deranged and dangerous vigilante, and not for the better.
It would seem as though my eyes can't be shut without being graced with the vicious and remorseless projections crawling around my inner-being. I am simmering with a mixture of frustration and uncertainty, and once again, I can feel a reminiscent feeling squeezing its way through my crackled pores. I can feel the blindfold, covering my eyes, begin to tighten. I can feel the sickening withdraw stronger than ever.
Cepheus believes I am the epitome of evil, but how would he know? Cepheus left me on this blue and green structure to be beaten to a pulp because of something that I didn't know how to deal with. I am starting to have feelings of uncertainty, but they only conclude in furthering my anger. With all of this loathing, why do his methods seem so tempting? A way of living without restrictions, without having to search helplessly for the closest form of justification possible, feels whimsical and filled with beauty.
No, Orion, stop it! You haven't let this thing, this virus, spread entirely through your veins, you don't have to allow for it to control the steps you take. You're a good person, Orion. Why else would you only target criminals if this wasn't the case?
I follow George down the dark thick, red, glutinous trails of blood left behind by my fallen prey. We see the deer, dead on the ground, lying lifeless, obviously, with its tongue hanging out of its mouth. George looks on with joyous glee oozing out of him, along with the aroma of alcohol, and cheap cologne. The bullet from the rifle looks to have gone into the deer's liver, causing the blood to decorate the ground so profusely.
I've found that I actually like hunting, and I like to think that I am quite good at it. Mind you, deer have absolutely nothing on the game that I usually hunt, and provide but a mere smidgen of the satisfaction. It was still an enjoyable activity without question, and something that I might like to do again sometime. Of course, I would love hunting, my name actually means “The Hunter,” the name that my father … The redirection of thought back to my father is all that it took to deplete every bit of the enjoyment I could have been having.
“Ha! You got it good,” George announces with a chuckle before stumbling over his own feet drunkenly.
It looks as if he is going to pat me on the back but I walk away before he has the chance.
“What's with you?” George asks with curiosity in his voice.
“I'm fine,” I say, ever so coldly, before continuing to walk away.
While I am walking, I stare down at the grass below, moist with dew, and my ears give attention to the high-pitched calls of the birds frolicking throughout the woods, the crickets chirping, and the croak of a nearby frog. Under the trees, the air is clean, soothing even, and the sky is shaded out of view. An atmosphere that I could have appreciated once before, an atmosphere without blemish, but even that point in my life felt an eternity ago.
I turn to see James running my way, and my face distorts in something almost somewhat relatively close to a smile, kind of. James has been with me for the rockiest of roads, and has stuck through it all from the very beginning. Throughout this never ending roller-coaster of a ride, James has been by my side. Even if the flips, twists, and spins have left me growing cold and isolated, James is still a friend.
I am coming to understand we had more similar of a childhood than I had once believed, his father has spent most of the day insulting him. This makes me wonder why George even bothered to invite James in the first place, if not to make amends, what else is there?
“Look,” James says with what he believes to be an understanding smile. “I know that my dad can be a little bit overbearing at times, but you can't take it personally, I mean,”
“Why are you defending him, James? He doesn't treat you the way that a father should.” I ask him calmly but firmly.
“He's my dad, I gotta try, you know?”
“No, I don't know.”
“You don't get to pick your fathers, but you only get one. I mean, no matter all that he has done, he's still my father. I'm just trying to make this work,” James responds.
James looks out at where his father is standing, and looks down at his muddy hunting boots before heading back to the deer with an unpleasant expression resting on his face. I am left staring back at them while they try to find the quickest way to bring the deer out of the forest. I can feel myself fading, I am losing myself. What is happening to me?
I follow the blood-trail before joining James and his father while they gaze at the fallen deer.
I stare toward George for a moment until my eyes wander to James. George is only a couple of inches shorter than James, and only one or two inches shorter than me. However, he is much skinnier than both of us minus his belly which hangs slightly over the waist-line of his pants. George has a more menacing ensemble draped over him, however. A pair of camouflage pants, along with a shirt and cap to match.
James and I opted out of the idea of going as all out as he did for the occasion. We merely wore greenish gray-colored jackets over white t-shirts, and jeans. George looks at the deer intently with a perplexed stare on his face before taking yet another sip out of what appeared to be a different can of beer. Throughout the day, he had done a significant amount of drinking, making various trips out of the forest to the Cadillac to retrieve it from the trunk.
It was only fair that we left him to handle the task of how we were going to load up my prized kill. A kill that won the hearts of millions, and multiple hollers of the word “Damn!” from James' drunken father.
“We'll need to get this deer to the car,” George says with a certainty in his voice.
I open my mouth as if preparing to speak but even then find myself drawing a blank, I wanted to thank him for his idiotic pearl of wisdom, but I didn't have it in me. My mind is in absolute shambles, and unfortunately for George, this means that I won't be able to point out his stupidity at a consistent basis. If only my acquaintance, James would be a kind fellow and pick up the slack, but alas, James seems to have dispatched himself from speaking when it comes to speaking to his father.
George looks at me for a moment, provoking for me to nod my head back at him, humoring him, and showing that we are on the same page. If only George knew that I was in a whole different library of thought. This isn't to say that there is a rampaging circus of rascals banging their drums violently in my head. Rather, I hear the faint tapping from a metal beater against a triangle. For some reason, nothing is frolicking greatly in my head.
I want to be able to take a moment and think things over, and recollect on what has happened over the last couple of days but can't bring myself to.
I feel agitated, hostile, and withdrawn, but can't actually bring myself to try to find a solution to my query. Maybe this is just what life is, a vast assortment of time and effort dedicated to the discovery of a whole wad of nothingness. Maybe life never actually leaves behind its primal state, and we're still merely just small children looking for answers that won't be found. All crying, angry, and sad children consumed with validation from other people when we have still yet to accept ourselves.
This optimistic thinking is unable to bring me out of this sinking boat, but I guess life is always harder for the people who dream. The riveting rifling of thought did bring to me a question, though. One in a million.
I've been riding the fence of who I believe in more, but what cause do I believe in?
Where do I draw the line in feeding this insatiable quench?
Is there even a line in existence that I won't cross?
Can nourishing my inner-demon by taking the life of an innocent be unjustifiable?
My eyes wander down at the deer, the blood is no longer pouring from its open wound, but a considerable sized puddle has been left.
A noise is all it takes to finally bring me back to reality, a noise of simplicity, a ringing sound, a phone. James walks away from the deer with his cellphone in his hands, held against his ear. “Gulp!!” is the sound that follows accordingly after the series of events. George loudly taking a sip from his beer bottle. A sip with an emphasis so loud that a single exclamation mark wouldn't do it justice.
Clearly, it is something that he wanted for me to hear.
“Okay, 'Rion, in-order for us to get the deer loaded back in the Cadillac, one of us needs to get the rope back in the trunk. And since it was you who scored the winning kill of the day, I nominate that it should also be you that gets the rope,” George drunkenly slurs with an uncanny logic that nearly sent me stumbling.
I didn't bother talking. I let my eyes stifle their view away from George and went on my way. I hear the snapping of twigs happen under my feet, and secretly wish that it could be somebody's neck.
The reason that I secretly wish this is because it's wrong, isn't it?
I am beginning to become more and more unsure. Where is this rule-book instructing me on what is wrong and what is right?
Belladonna claims that it's justifiable if the individual is deserving of having his or her life included, but Cepheus doesn't share the same opinion. Cepheus believes that he doesn't have to justify anything. He believes justification isn't necessary, and accepts himself as being a heartless and remorseless individual, and he believes that I am also.
There is a small assurance mingling itself into the weary debate, something that almost pales in comparison to its opposition.
An assurance posing as David while he prepares to go to war with Goliath.
The thought that I'm not like my father.
The thought that I am not the epitome of evil, and that I don't hold resentment toward those who don't feel the way that I feel.
These words feel, oh so, good slipping off of my tongue and frolicking in the air happily, but do I really believe them?
Is there truly any real certainty behind this assurance?
I finally find myself at the Cadillac once walking what was more than a couple hundred feet, and I stop for a moment, I swallow a great deal of air. Pretending as if this is actually only to somehow make all of the worries go away, I take another breath, and another. I am waiting for the time to come that I actually start counting to ten, thinking that it'll take the anger away. That's what it says on the TV shows and the book and all that, that if you stop to breath and you count to ten, it will become easier.
I regain my composure, and my perspective sways back to the matter at hand.
I open the front-door to the Cadillac and pop the trunk by pulling a switch under the driver's seat. The wind blows in my hair, and I look at the black clouds glaring back at me before finding myself holding the rope on my shoulders and heading back to the hunting grounds.
“What the fuck do you mean you're leaving!?” I hear yelled from a distance.
My feet begin to accelerate at a faster pace, not running, but close. I find myself standing beside an intoxicated and pissed, middle-aged man, and his handsome, but worried, son.
“My mom just called and said that I might be able to be in a commercial for a company and,”
“Oh, your mom says that, does she really? Well, great balls of fire, why the hell are we just standing around here for, we should be out kissing her ass. What about what your father says, huh? Did that ever occur to you?” George yells, anger spews out of his voice.
James looks down at the ground, his face becoming an unnatural color, while George looks to be only getting angrier.
“Look at me, boy, when I'm talking to you, or so help me, God, I'll slap that pretty boy look right off your face. You think that little slut gives a damn about you? Don't make me laugh, if she did, maybe she would've stuck around for you. You hear that, boy?” George says, his face now profusely sweaty and reddened with frustration in his voice.
He was just being petty now. Desperately trying to get a rise out of James, but that didn't seem to be happening.
James continues to stare at the ground, and is noticeably shaking before finally glaring up at George with an embarrassed anger on his face. George stares back at James with an expression of satisfaction before smacking James. A hard enough smack. Not enough to take him off his feet, but sure as hell hard enough to hear it connect from a distance. James stumbles for a moment before walking forward and staring at George, his shoulders arched up and frustrated, staring at his father with a large look of hatred in his eyes, hatred for a man that spent the last twenty-one years treating him like shit.
James doesn't act on his rage though, and instead, he pivots to the opposite direction of his father, and storms away, leaving sight.
“Yeah, walk away like you always do, little pussy,” George hollers with a demented satisfaction in him.
The type of satisfaction that could only be discovered from someone of tremendous cruelty. Someone so completely consumed with himself and by bitterness that everything else pales in-comparison. George laughed up a storm, and beyond that storm might have been self-hatred, but there also amusement that was absolutely flourishing in its misbehavior and hate. I begin to feel all of the frustrations that James has toward his father inside of me. Maybe an overstatement, or maybe not realistic, but rather to say that my own frustration feels absolutely amplified. I feel frustrated and fuming. Intermingling with all of my anger, my uncertainty, my frustrations, and there is only one thing that I can thing of to do.
“I bet your mom never told you that her so called acting career, was in porn.”
James is already far from view at this moment, leaving George to only hope that his son remains in earshot. The man is only looking to make a spectacle nothing more and nothing less, and it's a show that isn't for anyone else but himself. He's the entertainment to his own world, and his conflicts outweigh everything else. Everything else is irrelevant and needless.
“You little prick!”
Eight. George finally comes to realize my presence and looks at me, not with the friendliness he once offered, the friendliness that his son deserved to be graced with, but with anger.
“What the hell are you looking at?” George asks before walking drunkenly toward me.
Nine. George finally makes his way over to me and stares at me in his drunken stupor, and then, he does something that he'd surely come to regret.
He spits on me.
And that is all it took to postpone the countdown. George backs away from me for a moment before turning around and attempting to drive his beer bottle over my skull, but alas, it'd be to no avail. I grab the beer bottle out of his clutches and charge him forward against a thick tree. George exclaims his dismay aloud, but nobody is around to hear it. It's as if he didn't make a sound. I cling the bottle against the tree roughly, causing for the bottle to break in-half and leave me a sharpened shard of glass for my troubles.
“What the hell, leave me alone, what the hell's your problem?” the animal wails, but it falls on deaf-ears, the hunter is too focused.
I drive the edge of the sharpened glass into his liver. Something already severely damaged by years of abuse. He stifles thoughtless, aimless, like a grasshopper with its head ripped off, arms still twitching.
I step back away from him for a second. The heat in my body still built to a surprising amount, but I step back nonetheless. He manages to walk a good series of feet until dropping against the grassy plains. There, his blood scatters around, painting the ground as if it were a canvas. The life of the man has been brought into my possession. The life of the man has been brought into the possession of the hunter.
“Ten,” I utter to myself softly.
I actually feel better.