The moon was chipped and broken, its face pockmarked with divots and craters, yet still it filtered down, casting fragments of light to splinter as they careened through shattered glass to fall at the feet of the man standing upon the cracked sidewalk. All was quiet and still. Even the decrepit and dilapidated buildings were afraid to moan as jagged breezes scraped through empty windows and doorless frames, dragging their silent fingers along the peeling wallpaper and through basements and attics long forgotten.
Like everything around him, the man was broken. Yet different from all around him, he had no wish to change. No desire to go back to a time before he was alone; to a time when houses rang with heady laughter and the sounds of life. He liked how he was. Liked the way even the heavy night air seemed to part for him, curling away as though repelled by the horrors this creature had witnessed. The man liked being feared. And so he was.
He was feared in the way that children fear what they do not understand. What they were never taught to put a name to. He was a myth, a wraith who left nothing to prove his existence beyond a trail of broken bodies and shredded homes. He was feared as the dark is feared. Because it is unknown. Secret. Capable of terrors yet to be unleashed. The man smiled grimly. Soon there would be no more hiding, no more secrets. He would be finished, his work done. He would rest, lying alone as the dark took him forever.
Close. He was close. He could feel it in every breath of wind, could see it in every shuddering star. Soon, the people would know his name, and the entire world would bay for his blood. But he was not finished. For there was still more to do.
He slipped away, a shadow, leaving the empty structures to breathe a mournful sigh of relief, comforting each other with the soft groans of rotting wood and settling foundations.
The wind whispers against my skin, the soft breeze slipping across my face. I don’t move, though the blood itches as it dries. It covers me. I can feel it pulling the skin taut along my arms. I can taste it on my lips; in every breath. Yet I harbor no feelings of disgust. Rather, pride. This blood is not my own, but a mark of victory and power. Justice. Sit peccatum in pretium sanguinis. Sin must be paid in blood.
The origin of these stains on my skin lies silent on the floor, no murmurs of breath disturbing the placid crimson pool surrounding him. He gasped and wheezed after my first strike, straining to call for help. Odd. It seems like ages ago that I stepped into this room, seeking him; my prey.
The polished granite inlaid into the walls glints in the darkness. The shadows seem to shift and morph in time with my breath, forming the shadows of monsters and gods that snarl from the shadows. But I do not fear them. My purpose is just. My cause, righteous. I am all that there is to fear in this place.