Friday, June 24, 2022

2 Minutes. Go!

The sun sat low on the horizon, capping the outcropping of rocks that the family referred to as "the cousins" - in the valley, the cattle moved slow, and Joel knew that this would be the perfect time for an attack. He was nervous. Sweat soaked through his shirt, and the hints of breeze did little to cool the heat radiating from the trail.

The horse was about done. This bothered Joel in terms of survival, but not of bond. The horse was about dead. So be it. He'd been stealing and trading horses ever since he'd left home weeks ago. This horse needed to make it to the next town. That was it.

His rifle lay across his lap, and he lifted it to his eye, sighting down the barrel and right into the ear of Black John. He could see the whole thing in his mind. Black John falling to the starboard side of his horse. The others scrambling. Trying to find safety. Hiding behind the hoofed meat their livelihoods depended on. 

Next, he would toss the dynamite. The ensuing stampede would scatter the cattle. Many would be injured. He would leave those to die the way Black John had left his girl: without water, without food, and without hope. He could finish any of the 'pokes off with the rifle if the blast and stampede didn't do the job.

This wouldn't bring Sarah back. Nothing could do that. But it would settle things a little in Joel's brain to know that the men who raped and abandoned her were laying dead in the dirt on a trail very few people knew about. They would be food for scavengers. 

He knew that it all hinged on this moment. His life, his freedom. The law wouldn't catch him, but a murderer is never free. Joel spit into the dust and shook his head. Who would take care of Emily, the little sister who had tried to keep him home when he'd left on this grisly mission?

But it didn't matter. He was locked into a code that didn't allow for these kinds of questions. He raised the rifle. Pulled the trigger. Black John fell just like Joel knew he would. He packed the dynamite back into his saddlebags. The rage was not gone, but it was tempered.

A life for a life would have to suffice.

Friday, June 17, 2022

2 Minutes. Go!

You want to know about the selection process. There isn't one. I'm not lurking in doorways, stalking them on the way to work, the way home when they are exhausted. No, they come to me. I am made aware of them, and this starts the combustion. The picture is the catalyst. They want me to know about the places they go, the things they eat. They create their own maps - they make it a goddamned treasure hunt practically. String together enough clues, and you can begin to taste the blood. 

No, I do not choose them. But I accept them. I welcome them with open arms.

Like a chameleon, I will adapt to my environment. I will change my color, my spots, my clothes, my money. I can become anyone they need. That's part of the secret. 

There is already a relationship by the time I see them in person. One-sided, I'll grant you that, but a relationship nonetheless. I have already inhabited their desires. I am the perfect friend, boyfriend, confidante, leader, boss, parent. Whatever they need. Whatever it is they advertised for. 

I make my approach subtle. I am an apex predator, and I am liquid when it is called for. It is unnecessary. They do not expect me, and this is their folly. An antelope spends most of it's time avoiding the lion. Focuses so much attention on survival. We have lost the fearful edge, and this is my advantage to exploit. 

Sometimes they last a week. Never more. Sometimes less than a few hours. Sometimes, I play with my food. I won't run out. I'm not worried.

The next one is only a mouse-click away.  

Friday, June 10, 2022

2 Minutes. Go!

It is a slow descent. That's what they don't tell you. It's not like you wake up one day ravenous. You take small bites. The anger starts to taste good to you. Fear is a reflector, and you can smell it on people. Everyone is afraid of something.

You start with something small. Stealing tips off a table. Spitting in the communal punch bowl. You can key someone's car - just little 'fuck your day up' shit. If you like the way it settles, you keep going. You pull a wallet from a lady's purse. You start taking things that don't belong to you.

If you stick with this program of gradual escalation, you will, eventually, make it to the big leagues. Your torture and murder - that kind of thing. Manipulation. Emotional theft. These are the fields of discontent you can traipse through. Innocence can be plucked in any season.

Eventually, you will flame out. You will become overconfident or paranoid or both. You will give into your baser instincts. You will develop addictions and other crutches. You will be ruined the way you have ruined others. 

This is your legacy.