The Lost Mind
He held his breath and fired. Listened... Waited... Held his breath until an overwhelming wave of dizziness washed over him and his knees buckled and he was grounded. Why he always fell to the ground and blacked out afterwards, he wasn't sure. 'GET UP! GET UP! You're not done!'
The successful shot smelled like a cross of burning hair and rotten eggs. He pulled himself to one knee and shook off the wet clay and mud. Thunder roared in the distance and a flash of lightning illuminated the pools of water in front of him. Odd he didn't remember the rain but his stonewashed jeans were drenched and the indigo dye was staining the rainwater pool he had collapsed in with an eerie blue blood. How long had he been out?
He had been stalking his prey for over the last month, waiting until the right time to strike and then slip in. No mistakes, no missteps, the execution had to be perfect he told himself. He had waited patiently over the last two years watching, observing, and learning. But that was alright, to kill a shadow you had to be a shadow.
He looked up, mapped and counted out his steps to his victim. Little rain drops trickled down his forehead and tickled his nose, but the fresh rain was abating and the intense tsh tsh tsh had given way to the thousand clicks, clacks, clocks. Deliberate and thorough, covering his trail correctly was timed and simple. By limiting his exposure and leaving no victim there was never anything more than some broken off puzzle pieces to an elaborate stage like perfect cosmetic surgery.
He found it so hard to be himself but so much easier to be someone else. It was invigorating and heart-pounding and made him feel alive. He put his hands up to his face and breathed in a deep taste of smelling salts and vinegar. He supposed he should feel sympathy but he didn't. His victim laid motionless scrunched over like a puppet who had had his strings cut. The vic laid with his head sagging on his chest, a grey wool overcoat kept what was left of a shell neatly in place like a fifty pound sack of potatoes that had its drawstring pulled for the last time. The choice was always his, his vic never had one. That was the oddity and sacrifice of being infamous; you were replaceable literally.
He remembered ten winters ago when he decided to make his mark- it wasn't a very significant day, not anything major in history had happened. Just a bunch of birthdays and 4 people killed by lightning strikes. He was lightning now and above the natural order.
He never made a point to pick out stars but the catchall of it was kind of nice. Yes, it was harder to get away with but the fire and adrenaline of lying to the whole world was something that always gave him a soothing calm and peace. The cops and press would try to piece it together but by then he was already gone.
He laughed to himself as he grabbed the vic by the shoulders and dragged him across the rain slick asphalt. It always worked of course and it didn't matter if his vics were famous or just someone he wanted to be, just as long as they were rich.
The Executioner was still warm in his pocket and he could swear he could hear the crackling of electrodes like two little snake devils whispering to be let out again. Reaching in to check the safety - he recalled how innocently he had stumbled upon his little autopsy answer device in the emergency room. He remembered the first year resident trying to sedate the out-of-control drunk and watching the sheriff's deputy with lethal accuracy taser him from 15 feet.
How he had picked up the very same model the next day and with a little extra juice from a car battery and razor-sharp contact points he had found his coma-inducing black beauty with a big extra bonus when he accidently misfired and shot the taser into his own head. His head started to fry and he couldn't let go of the trigger as his muscles started to seizure and convulse. The voltage was low enough that it wouldn't kill him and the two electrodes created a circuit through his brain that didn't allow the rest of his body to undergo the electric shock. He remembered starting to scream and then blacking out.
Hours later when he awoke and was amazed to find besides a huge headache he was fine, but how? His finger still had the taser's trigger pulled and the electrodes still lodged in his head. Looking down he found that he had overloaded the capacitor which had stopped the shock but that the 9 Volt battery attached was reading fully charged. Charged full of what he thought? His head hurt and he ripped out the electrodes and put down the taser. Feeling drained and not thinking clearly he started to unscrew the positive and negative connectors at the same time and was immediately shocked again. But this time he instantly felt amazing, warm, alive, and stronger. The shock was intoxicating and he grabbed hold of the connectors feeling the current pulse through his arms; it was as if the current was a form of pure nourishment. A taste was all he needed.
After that he tried with animals but to no avail and later found runners and joggers in the early morning or late night through the park were the best subjects as they would wake up with a headache not remembering anything after a few hours. The problem was the new ambrosia as he called it was addictive and he found it was not enough. Later, he grabbed a huge battery and drained a homeless person for twelve hours. Thinking that the juice would be less from a malnourished he found it was actually better and that the physical stature need not apply. He tried again on the same homeless person, monitoring, watching, and recording on how long he could keep his lab rat going - stretching each of his sessions longer and longer trying to get the best nectar. What was he consuming? He felt so powerful. It had to be the soul he was drinking, and that this is what the Greek gods had had on Olympus. Ambrosia was human souls. Who ever created Zeus wasn't all that clever?
All his findings led up to one inevitable conclusion, the longer he drained the homeless man the better the ambrosia was but that even though the current wasn't enough to kill that the body gave up and died at around 24 hours. He took a big risk and drained the homeless person's friend, and found the conclusion the same. This was the maximum length he had with any one vic's life. He put the men back just like they were and waited to see what the police would do. He got lucky that the authorities just thought both old men had died from exposure. He had found his death stroke - study his victims well enough and give the authorities a plausible natural circumstance as to why they died and he would never get caught.
Everyone had their sins and vices to die from. It was simply a matter of finding out what they were and letting people believe that they had given into them. Am I a devil or an actor, he thought? He preferred actor as he had always wanted to be an actor but never had the star quality looks and so had gone to medical school to save lives. And saved he had he had thought before, but no not really all those years of plastic surgery had made him realize how repulsive his rich patients were and how he could save their soul's from their own vanity now.
The rich could always afford the time to be away from everyone and everything and that was their luxury of being rich. Most families, especially those from known drug addicts, would never ask for an autopsy.
One simple white business card with an address for a park in the neighborhood was all he needed: I HAVE FOUND SOMETHING THAT WILL SAVE YOU. Poetic and simple like a scalpel cutting into a tummy button. It had always worked because his vic's always thought they had something to lose. And lose they did. He wasn't going to pacify them or free them from their mortal coils here on Earth. He was just going to free their soul for his own and then bury them in their own vice vanity before it wrecked his own pure soul. He was nature's gatekeeper.
So simple, so pure, so godly. He dropped the body, pulled his umbrella and started walking to his car. He knew he shouldn't use an umbrella but there were radio towers, sky scrapers, and huge trees lining the park so he wasn't worried. Another tasty treat and he would be satisfied for another couple years.
He was basking in his soulless ego and never heard the thunderstorm intensifying. The black was replaced with flashes of angry red and blue and the thunder let out M-80 after M-80. Like screams from heaven, a battle cry had been given out. Then from the sky above a single bolt of pure white light shot down and struck. It liquefied the demon's mind and scrambled it from the inside out making the battery explode in his backpack like a stick of dynamite.
Nature, it seemed, had had enough.