The Killer

December 9, 2009

‘So, you kill people for sport.’

The sound of gun fire came from far below them. Bullets whipped through the air as guards mercilessly cut down woman and child alike. It was a beautiful, calm day.

‘Not sport.’ he said. His voice was gruff and strained. ‘Sport implies rules, players, points.’

‘So what do you do?’

From here you could see across what was left of the city. Crumbling tower blocks, dilapitated shops and fragments of road as far as the eye could see. To a man as sophisticated as Emerald Jones, there was a distinct beauty to the land he surveyed. It resembled in many ways Dorian Gray’s portrait, a dark reflection of what was always there.

Jones had come to this office complex after rumours of a working phone signal could be gotten on the roof. He had shot the man who told him that, but did not doubt the fellow at all. You didn’t lie about things like phone signal. Information like that was incredibly valuable, worth even your life.

Not to Emerald Jones.

‘Kill.’

‘That’s it? Kill?’ Jones eyed the man up and down. ‘You’re… blunt. I appreciate that.’

The stranger nodded and looked at the view. He was an odd fellow, wearing several different kinds of goggles around his neck such as scientific and protective goggles, with some riding goggles afixed to his hat. The large overcoat disguised his figure completely. It was only the beard that told Jones this was a man at all.

There was an uneasy yet civil air between the two at this moment. Jones had killed all the people hiding here as he climbed to the roof, only to be confronted by a solitary man and blood smeared across a table. The man was obviously well aware of what was going on below, the guns being loud and clear even up here. In a city this silent the slightest sound carried.

Jones had recruited the men from a football stadium a few months ago. Another group of looters, but the muscle let Jones get what he wanted with little argument and maximum bloodshed. They were a tight nit group of lack lustre minds, but accepting enough of Jones and they believed his promises of power and women readily. The idea was they were heading north to Manchester where apparently they had working electricity, whereupon they would establish control and become rulers of whatever dregs were there.

The real plan was to go further North to Scotland and gather up the various tribes and rural communities there. Jones would form his own small nation, and lead them to conquest over the bordor until he was in posession of all the resources. Jones was a charismatic man and he knew it, it would be incredibly easy once they had made the journey.

‘What did the people do?’

This surprised Jones. ‘Whatever do you mean?’

‘The people here. What did they do.’

‘…no point in lying to another murderer. They were in the way.’ Neither man gave a hint of expression or emotion.

‘You want the phone signal.’

‘I’ve an ally in Nottingham who controls the phone signal there. I wanted to tell him I was coming.’

‘Wasn’t necessary.’ The man looked at him. Through the goggles Jones stared into unblinking eyes. ‘They weren’t hurting nobody.’

Jones suddenly felt very vulnerable. In that moment of eye contact, he felt more exposed than he ever had before. This man seemed to look at some other quality of him. This man who he now realised was actually taller than him, and possibly bigger from the size of the coat. ‘I kill who I like. Take the water, take the food. You wish to pass judgement on that?’

‘Is it sport to you?’

Jones was quiet. ‘It’s fun.’

‘No points?’

‘No rules.’

‘No players.’

‘Just killing.’

The man shifted his hat and swung round suddenly. The overcoat splayed out behind him and the goggles round his neck clattered against each other. Once again he looked at Jones in that strange manner.

‘You kill as… as well.’ Jones stammered.

‘Yes.’ Still strained, still gruff.

‘You have a problem with how I conduct my business?’

Emerald Jones stood his ground. He distanced his feet to get a steady stance, rested a hand on his gun and pulled a knife from his belt which he toyed with. He tried to return the stare.

‘You are a gangster. Killing with poorly defined reason and enjoying it.’

He’s not so big, Jones thought.

‘You think this world is now yours for the taking. That strong people like you now get to flex your views on morality and assert yourselves as examples of what men should be.’

He can’t hit me before I shoot, Jones thought.

‘You wish to head north, control resources then take what you want.’

He thinks he’s smart, Jones thought.

‘You leave bodies with signs so people know you. You beat up the Walkers so that your name is spread. You want to make a Legacy. Your ally is just someone you may have to kill later, your men are disposable muscle, and the people you want to rule are just compensating for the infeiroity complex you felt as a child because your father used to defend the village you were raised in.’

He’s… he’s not so smart, Jones thought.

‘You don’t understand that you’re not the first with these plans. Manchester, the city you lied to your men about, was ruled by just such a man before the Children of the Law took the city back. It’s productive, well maintained and well on its way to rebuilding what was lost because the community feels safe and motivated, not the fear you would use to rule them.’

I’m smarter, Jones thought.

‘Soon as you get on one of the motorways, your men will be identified for what they are and killed by the army and their working vehicles. You will be captured, interrogated and killed for what you’ve done here, killing an entire military safe zone.’

Oh no, Jones thought.

‘You didn’t know that, but now you do. And now that you’ve left your name they’ll know you’re bad news. They’ll radio to everyone to shoot on sight. You’ll have to take the country roads and face the Rovers and country folk. You don’t have a chance.’

Oh God no, Jones thought.

‘I might rape you.’

Jones dropped his knife and his legs gave way.

‘Emerald is a stupid name.’

‘How do you…’ Jones began.

‘The gem around your neck. I’ve never eaten black man before.’

Jones slowly crawled backwards now. Everything was wrong with this man, everything. He killed for fun, he took and he murdered and he enjoyed it. This was nothing to this man.

‘Wha… who are you?’ he asked, feeling a wall behind his back.

‘The man who was on the table was called Henry. He has, I mean had, a child downstairs. She was fourteen years old. I removed his kidney and made him choke on it until he died of asphixiation. I removed the limbs and tossed them over each corner of this building. The head is in a supply room on the fifth floor. His genitals in the men’s toilets on the sixth. The torso I threw over the edge.’

‘Why!?’

The man slowly advanced on him. Still he bore a blank face, still he stared at something entirely else about Emerald Jones and still his voice was gruff.

‘The scar across my neck came from a general who stabbed me with his fork over dinner. The scar down my chest from a woman with a pair of scissors who wanted her baby back. The scar on my leg from a dog who I forced to penetrate his owner. The healing wound on my shoulder came from a Rover I dragged into this city by his hair. He cut me with a blade from some hedge clippers.’

Why me, Jones though. Why me!? There are worse people in the world, and he was facing one now. He prayed for forgiveness, for help, for anything. He swore to never do wrong again, to never kill or take or breath if it would let him live today.

‘You don’t curse. That’s all that seperates you from the other people I’ve killed.’

‘WHO ARE YOU!?’ Jones screamed, the man now standing above him, looking down.

‘John. The Killer.’

He unbuttoned his coat and drew a long blade from an inner pocket. He balanced it in his hand, shifting his grip, testing the edge.

‘I’m sorry’ Jones whispered.

The Killer washed his hands in a sink in the women’s toilets on the sixth floor. He had dragged one of the women Jones killed and placed her upon a toilet so she stared into the mirror across the wall. Happy with the state of his hands, he used the woman’s skirt to dry them and left. Out here were the results of Jones and his men. Written across the wall was “Emerald”, in what the Killer presumed to be whiteboard pen. It was a disgusting tribute to the man’s ego.

Descending by stairs, he found his rucksack of food hidden underneath a body and stepped outside. He took a deep breath in and marvelled at how warm it was for September. Removing his overcoat he hung it over his shoulder and strode down what was left of the road. Far above him, steadily increasing in volume was Jones’ voice screaming in terror.

One second… two second…

Jones hit the floor as every bone in his body broke in the impact. He gave one last gurgled scream as blood gushed from his mouth before he died.

The Killer kept walking.

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3 Responses to “The Killer”

  1. Phase said

    Certainly influenced by Fallout.

    Still, original in its own right, and unsettling. Good work.

  2. Rutskarn said

    Well. That was…well.

    Disturbing. Well written, quite disturbing.

    In From Breakfast to Hell, the protagonist–a good guy–shoots a guy because it’s more efficient than saving him. In From Breakfast to Hell, a person staunches a wound with the severed hand of another individual. In Crossfire Tango, the protagonists are lowered to eating the biohazardous garbage of an unscrupulous butcher. My various short stories involve lawmen executing unarmed, surrendering fugitives, people going slowly insane as disease liquefies their brain, a principled and idealistic captain who is forced to order a massacre of a village–and is then repentant of this–and a man who butchers an audience with a singing, operatic troupe of automatons.

    I am calling this story disturbing.

  3. Rutskarn said

    (That first story’s actually First Ink. Typo, sorry.)

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