Atlas had promised this would be the last. But I knew it wouldn’t be. I didn’t know if he was lying to himself, or just to me- but I knew it wouldn’t be the last. As I approached the lonely street corner I staggered with the intoxication of my own disparity. I’d learned that if I didn’t think about what I was doing then it would be that much easier. God was crying again, and the streets were as lonely as I felt. I was crying again, and the shells would soon be as empty as I felt.
Even in the darkness of the night I could see her beautiful silhouette. She was clinging to her child as if she believed the devil himself might rise to pry him from her hands. She made no attempt to run as I drew nearer. It was hard to believe that the infant in her arms would grow up to become one of the most evil men to ever live. Well, would have grown up to be. They were always evil, at least so said Atlas.
Resolutely, I drew my pistol and pointed. This she expected, but what she didn’t was where I pointed. As I aimed so solemnly at her beloved child, I stared straight into mother’s eyes. “Say Goodbye.”
She closed her eyes as if she herself would be drawing her final breath. And mixed with the heavy rain water were tears that only a mother could cry. And I closed my eyes. “Say Goodbye.” I was doing the right thing, Atlas had assured me. Yet he knew these people I was killing were also killing me. “Say Goodbye.”
With a hole between his eyes, I said goodbye.
As I faded back into the awareness of my current presence, my mind showed me what a significant change had overrun me. I was a killer. I am a killer. But was I once a man? Is the capacity to be ruthless what it means to be human? Surely the world tells me so. Or is to reject the evil so inherent to man’s very nature what it means to truly become human?
It was only ever about choice…those brief moments when I might stare fate in the eyes. And defy him. I was never cursed with the ability to feel remorse. My only desire was to prove that I alone was able to dictate the course of my future. I was a hero to some, a villain to most. It’s a disease. I once felt such a strong contempt for those who wasted away trading sweet affection with the lips of a replenishing glass. Only later did I realize that killing was my glass, and it was never full. It’s a disease. How miserable to realize your are the mere insignificance you so readily scorn. It’s a…
But those beautiful moments of fulfillment. The euphoria, if only for a second, of watching the manifestation of my own will. And what greater will than to rule over death himself. But the truth is that I can’t even rule my own death. It isn’t chains that hold me. No, they at the very least allow the preservation of dignity. It’s not chains that hold me. It’s strings.
Death is a puppeteer.
If fate is the nemesis, then who shall be the hero? How foolish to think I could best this evil. Yet now not only do I lack regret, but I feel strongly as ever in my ways. Even in death, my convictions have not left me. But the pain does not lie in death itself, but rather in the knowledge that comes with it. I have but one true enemy left; all others are dead. I have seen to that myself. But that enemy carries no bullets, holster, or pistol. So I shall wander this earth for all eternity if I must, until I know whose bullet resides within me. And I cannot rest until I return that bullet to its rightful owner.