He couldn’t take his eyes away from the sight of his hands, covered in blood. Blood dripping steadily to the floor, almost hypnotically. He turned his hands around, as if not believing what he was seeing, as if he was confused, and tried to wipe them against each other, unsuccessfully. A low moan brought him back to the scene in front of him. ‘No, please,’ he almost begged, closing his eyes. ‘Why don’t you just die?’ He looked down to the girl lying on the floor, and cringed at the sight in front of him. She was looking at him with terrified big blue eyes, eyes made even bigger by the pain she surely was suffering. ‘Why don’t you just die?’ he whispered, a tear threatening to start falling across his cheek. ‘Please…’ she managed to say.
Jenson wasn’t sure he would be able to strike her again, but she needed to die, sooner rather than later. He cast a quick glance at his watch, whose crystal was smeared with blood. Ten minutes to midnight, he was cutting it too short this time. The girl kept begging him to help her, or maybe she just wanted him to finish her off, and he felt a wave of anxiety shooting through his whole body. It was now or never, he had to do it. He had to kill, again. With trembling hands, he bent down to grab the bar he had let fall a few minutes ago, and it made a clanking sound against the floor when he lifted it with shaking hands. She heard it, and her eyes grew even larger. He could almost smell the fear emanating from her. She tried to sit up, but she was already too weak, so she barely moved. Her face was covered in blood and Jenson was trying to remember whether she had been beautiful, or why he had picked her. It didn’t really matter any more, she was just another one.
Jenson lifted the bar above his head and closed his eyes for a moment, hesitating, but it was too late. There was no point in stopping now, so he opened his eyes again and looked her straight into hers. ‘Sorry,’ he muttered, barely audible. He stroke and when the bar connected to her head, he felt the shock through his arm, all the way to his shoulder, and he winced. He knew he should hide the body and cover all his tracks, but he didn’t care, he was going to be sick, and he needed to get away from there. As he began running from the scene, he could feel the cold night air refreshing his face, which was warm with the blood that had splattered all over him. Breathing in and out as rhythmically as he could manage, he welcomed the icy coldness in his throat. His nausea was becoming more bearable, but he knew it wouldn’t go away, not until he finished what had become his ritual.
When he thought he was far enough, he allowed himself a moment to rest and catch his breath. Leaning against a wall, he closed his eyes and focused on slowing down his breath and heart rate. He wasn’t out of shape, but the adrenalin, mixed with the fear of being caught, and the guilt, always left him breathless. Controlling his breath, he looked at his surroundings for the first time. Breathe in, one, two, three. He was afraid. Breathe out, one, two, three. He should have made sure she was dead. Breathe in, one, two, three. He shouldn’t have just ran away. Breathe out, one, two, three. In the distance, a clock stroke midnight. He drew in a sharp breath, and waited, but nothing happened. He felt a rush of nausea take over his whole body, and vomited noisily. As he wiped his face with his sleeve, defeated, he let himself slide down to the ground, and started crying.
One more day.
Unable to control his tears, he took a small knife out of his trousers’ back pocket, and opened it. He rolled up one of his sleeves and studied the multiple marks on his skin. He knew the number by heart, one hundred and forty two marks covered his body. It was his way of saying sorry, his way of remembering them. With a hesitant move, he slashed another mark on his arm, and as the blade cut through his skin, he flinched. ‘One more day,’ he muttered, letting out a sigh of relief. He knew he would have to find another one soon enough, and the thought of having to kill again made him feel sick. Today, though, he shouldn’t leave it so late. He knew he was tempting fate, it was his cowardly way of giving up. One day, he would not do it, and that day his suffering would be over. Only, he knew he would always fight against it, but he would kill again, he just couldn’t give up like that, it was him or them… He wanted to live after all, even if his was no life, even if he hated each day, and what each day brought.
Jenson knew he would have to move soon, and find a place to sleep, but the run and being sick had left him exhausted. Maybe tonight they will catch him at last; maybe they would arrest him and put him in a cell, and then, maybe he wouldn’t be able to kill at all. He would then lie down and wait for a clock to strike midnight somewhere, and he would welcome death with gratitude. For now, he was there, and he was free, and alive. Curse or not, he knew he wouldn’t let them catch him. Still shaking, he managed to get up again and start walking. He would just find some alley to hide and pass the night, and then he would make a plan in the morning, but for now, he just wanted to sleep.
As he lay on the ground behind a pair of bins, he stared at the cuts on his skin, and just as he felt himself drifting to sleep, he thought ‘Just one day more.’
This piece of fiction was inspired by a writing prompt found on The Poets and the Peddlers, thanks for such a great idea!