This story is by Aaron Jenkins and was part of our 2018 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
The knife, ever so swift to deliver such a clean cut, dripped warm with the blood of the man and woman who were parents to the now orphaned child. This particular night was cold, the kind of night where one would walk down an empty street filled with broken glass and shadows cast by the buzzing light above as it flickered towards deaths precipice; as if to reflect the night itself. These distinct shadows homed the reverence of the reaper himself, siphoning the calamitous souls in a Caulfieldian essence.
While the night itself was presented in a just chill, the ground near the bodies was nicely insulated in its coagulated sheath. It was almost as if time were frozen still, if not for the driblets of the metallic nectar falling from the blade every few seconds, as no sound or movement transgressed for what seemed like an eternity.
The boy looked upon the armed shadow, and without so much as uttering a single word, sat down on the cold ground next to the corpse of his former mother. To his right lay the stuffed animal bear that his parents had gotten him earlier that day for his birthday, now stained with the hemoglobic hue of the sanguine amrita.
The figure ushered his darkness toward the boy, who could now see the angelic cross among the obsidian garb, and picked up the bear. Turning to the child, he sat the bear in the boy’s lap. He was gone in the blink of an eye, leaving the boy there to harrow with the image of the shadow with the angelic cross to burn forever in his mind.
Osiris walked into the dimly lit room, its walls jet black as with the deeds done to keep it constructed. As he went into the center he found the man who he came to see, the only person in the world of which he was afraid… the man in the ebony robes with a white cross on the left breast.
The man was expecting Osiris; he had known for a long time that this day would come.
“Sir, once again the scouts have failed to return. I presume that they too have coalesced with the night.” Osiris said as he knelt before his fear.
A moment of silence polluted the air as Osiris waited for a response.
The man lifted his head, turning his gaze upon Osiris, then looked back down at the maggots that were devouring their way through the carcass of a dead rat.
“How poetic, that we get to bear witness to such an event, don’t you think, Osiris?” The specter said, in which Osiris replied,
“How do you mean, sir?”
The man continued to watch the feast for a few seconds as the larva preyed upon death itself for life.
“This rat, it was once a living thing, and now it is just food for something else. A pile of putrid nutrients that serve as a grotesque reminder that all living things will someday be extinguished. Much like our organization here. We used to be a prosperous society of only the most pernicious assassins, and now look at us, the state of decadence we have come to embrace is nothing more than that of a dead rat being digested by maggots.” The man uttered.
The torch hanging loosely on the wall was flickering, causing the shadows to waver in unison. The room was made of dirt, as were the walls, both saturated with the rustic scent of years’ worth of blood absorbed earth. A place where only the truly wicked could call home.
“Yes, it is true, we may be the only two left now. A powerful guild that once had a multitude of members, now down to two. Even in the last twenty-some years, we had around a hundred, to begin with. What has happened to all of our brothers and sisters?” Osiris breathed, his expression was a mixture of fear and sorrow.
“That is the question,” said the man, “what happened indeed. I think we both know what the best course of action here is.”
Osiris stared at the man with a puzzled look.
“Perhaps we should abandon this ship and continue on down the road of life.” Osiris offered.
To this, the man seemed to think for a second. Though he already knew there was no life where he was going.
“Yes, perhaps we should. I’ve grown weary of this place, it’s time for me to move on.” The man said as he began to walk around the room.
Osiris still sat on the ground thinking about what this man had just said to him. Only a few words went through his mind about the subject when a blade had come around from behind and slit his throat.
Osiris’s body slumped to the floor as the blood slowly pooled up around it. The liquid so glossy you could see the reflection of the torches flame from its surface. The body twitched a few times before going completely still. No matter how many times the man saw this happen in never ceased to intrigue him.
The man watched as the execution was finalized and the person once known as Osiris turned to nothing more than another nameless corpse in a puddle of its own velvet blood. If this were any other day, he may have even smiled about the kill.
For many years he had looked forward to this day. The day it would all end. The guild, the killing, the phantasm of a man he had become, but most importantly, the guilt. He had spent so long secretly killing off every single member of the guild while acting as its leader. That was after all his sole purpose in life. In order for him to attain this position, however, he had needed to become a cog in the machine he so sought to obliterate. The slayer of innocent men, women, and children. His hands had taken more lives than anyone else individually in the guilds illustrious history, but what were a few hundred lives compared to the hundreds of thousands the guild would continue to otherwise take? A necessary sacrifice.
He knew though, that for the guild to be completely erased, he too must come to an end. This was more of a blessing than anything else in the world could be in his opinion. Every innocent life he took sickened him and he was ready to atone for those transgressions, even if that means an eternity in hell, or wherever monsters like him go when they expire. The realization that he was about to free himself from the twisted torment of an existence he came to know as life made him relax, every bit of bodily tension evaporated. Even after all his time preparing for this moment, he couldn’t help but succumb to knowing absolvement was moments away.
A single tear streamed a trail down his face.
The man then got down on his own knees. Surprisingly, his hands were steady, not a single bit of unwanted vibrations coursed through them. This was the only way to end the existence of the man he had created. He raised the blade, and then with one swift motion he thrust it into his stomach, twisted, and yanked it to the side. The pain was unexpectedly tolerable, the feel of the warm fluids gushing from his wound produced more feeling than the wound itself.
Unable to maintain his position he fell to the ground from his knees and landed on his side. The already void eyes of the man were draining even further now, soon he would truly belong to the night as he knew he someday would.
With the last few seconds of the man’s life left, his mind began to wonder. It took him back to a summer day in which he was a normal human being, or at least impersonating one. He thought of the cottage he often stopped by and of the little boy who he had seen there on a few occasions.
David, that was his name.
With the man’s last thought he remembered how happy David was to get a stuffed bear for Christmas that had once belonged to the man… even though it had a pink tint to it.