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I, Stalker: Part 1

street_leaves
I find myself on a dark road.  There are leaves plastered to the ground from trees long taken into by the deep autumn cold.  There is a shadowy mist in the sky covering everything in a sheet of moisture.  My mud soaked boots leave devious footsteps behind me.  The leathered trench coat I wear can’t take much more of this weather, but it’s lasted me this long; I am sure it will last me a little longer.  The collar of my trench coat frames my face, focusing my vision forward.  The woman…I can’t believe she runs into a dark alley.  She may have seen me, doesn’t she realize that my eyes are accustomed to the dark while her, her virgin eyes, are still night blind.  What a fool, she’ll never see me coming until it’s too late.  I almost feel sorry for her, but then again, I do this for her.  I can’t let a little pity fool me tonight.

 

I bury my hands in the folds of my pockets and find the tools of my trade.  A small but well crafted blade and a simple length of rope make up my collection of brushes.  She is my canvas.  Together we will make beautiful art for the world to see.  I need to change her; to make her perfect, god knows she is nowhere near that line of perfection on her own.  She needs my special touch.  In time she will be.

 

I grow near to her.  She is scared yet she has no idea why.  She feels as if someone is watching her, following her.  She is right, yet for the moment she remains immune to the change I offer her for there are far too many people for me to perform my art.  I will be patient.

 

Finally she has made her fall from grace.  She has entered my world, a world devoid of human life, all except for her and myself.  This neighborhood is empty of lamps; the buildings have long since been evacuated due to misuse.  I love her for this.  She no longer is the key to her own fate.  I am her god now.  I am the one who will form her in my own image.  Her blood will make a lovely paint, her organs an artistic frame.  It is time to begin my task.

 

I hesitate.  An uninvited soul is in limbo with us.  He is a man I have never seen before.  He approaches her so I retreat back to the shadows.  She is smarter than I thought; she had someone meet her here.  Her eyes betray her, fear clouds those soulful windows.  I can taste the panic exuding from her.  He intends to hurt her.  His skin is dirty; unlike me he is no artist.  He is flawed, dirty…wrong.  He should no be here.  He is violating my sacred ground.  He reaches for the woman with filthy hands.  Now he desecrates my canvas!  He pulls out a gun.  How brutish.  This I cannot allow, he is trying to steal my work, my life, my ambition, my inspiration.  I must not let this happen.

 

He does not notice as I approach him from behind.  They never seem to notice.  I remove my razor sharp paint brush and slip an arm around his neck.  The woman still does not notice me, yet this uninvited guest understands my presence all to well.  The knife slips through the air as the man looks up.  Now he screams as the blade is buried deep into his left eye.  Blood bursts forth as he falls to his knees screaming in agony.  I despise this action I take.  But I can not risk losing this potential piece of art.  It is not until the mans blood splashes against her face that she stop panicking and glances up at me.  She looks directly into my eyes and for just a split second I hesitate.  Has she actually seen me?

“Leave now,” I say as I tilt my head towards her.  I think she catches another glimpse of my eye.  My mistake, a mistake I should not have made.  I let her look into my soul and now she knows it, even if she doesn’t realize it. Finally she runs, looking back once, yet this time I make sure my back is to her.  I turn to the man and see him slowly rise to his feet.  He is larger than I thought he was, a good head taller than me, and quiet thicker too.  He will make and adequate piece of art tonight.  It will be his contribution for causing me to lose my intentions.

 

I take the rope out of my other pocket and walk behind the man, temporarily still dazed.  The rope fits snugly over his thick neck.  The pressure I apply is enough to make the veins in his throat nearly explode as his second eye begins to fill with blood.  He finally loses consciousness but not without a struggle.  It took me twenty minutes to get him to fall unconscious.  That is the longest it’s ever taken me to prepare my art for actual work.  I begin the process.

 

It has been four days since my kismet destiny has been seen.  She is not staying at her home.  This is bad for me.  I have never lost a piece of art before.  I do not worry about the law. I know what I do will cause me punishment if I am captured.  I will not be captured, I cannot be captured.  I have discovered this long ago.  Year, perhaps decades ago I learned this.  Time itself no longer has meaning.  Up until now that is.  Until this day, I never looked back at what I did.  Now I find that my unfinished product is haunting my mind.  I must find her.  She must be completed, my work must continue.  I will find her.  That is what I do, I find them, I perfect them, I move on to my next work. This is my task.  I do not know what it is that compels me.  Perhaps it is the inner voice that forces me to finally finish a piece.  The voices I ignore for as long as possible.

 

I will wait until tonight, if she is not back after the midnight sun rises, I will find her myself.  It doesn’t matter where she is, she will be easy enough to find.  They always are.  My last piece of art was that man in my studio.  It only seems fitting that the place one could call my home is directly across from my only escaped artwork. Luckily my studio is not far from here; hidden, but easy to stumble across.  I am like the funnel spider of humanity, silently urging the mass of flies into my lair.

 

I like it here.  There are so many people, if you can call them that, which need my help.  They have all been tainted by society.  They must be cleansed, they must be purified. This will happen through me.  I have been chosen by some unseen force to bring about this change.  I cannot remember when I did not do this, but I suspect there was a time.  There must have been.  I must have been a child at some point.  It does not matter.  All that matters is the art.  My product must be finished for me to move on to my next piece.  This will be my greatest achievement yet.

 
man in window
My window is filthy; I must remind myself to keep clean.  To the rest of the world cleanliness seems to have no meaning anymore.  This is one of the reasons I think I was chosen for this, this grimy work that no others could bring themselves to do.  Society has turned most people into sniveling insects, doing what they are programmed to, leading lives best led to a slaughterhouse.  Yes-men, no-men, yes-sirs, and no-sirs and anything-you-say-sirs pollute the population.  Sometimes I thank god that I have been sent to help these people, sometimes I wonder if it was God himself that sent me to do this work for Him.  It would not surprise me.  What I do is more holy than any priest could imagine doing.  Not only do I purify the soul with pure emotion, but also I purify the body from all the disgust of sinful and hateful life.  God should be proud of me, in fact, he must be.

 

The sun, the only thing I retreat from, has been alive in the sky for a few hours now.  I am relaxed again, the usual feeling of lost time is returning to my mind.  The gray foam that loudly forces me into a deep dreamless sleep is soon to return as well.  The light, I don’t remember if it used to be beautiful.  I don’t make the light.  Obviously it must be horrid.

 

It is still light out, but just barely.  I am startled awake by the foam of nothingness retreating.  It is replaced with deep voices, inhuman, rough and chaotic telling me to awaken.  It is good that I did.  The sun is low in the sky, hidden from view for hours by now.  I shake my head to rid myself of the sound of those voices. My window has been cleaned.  I do not remember cleaning it before the foam hit me.  I step to it and look out.  Laughter creeps into my soul as I see my lost art return.  She feels safer, but not safe.  She is looking around, yet not in fear this time.  She stares out of her mind in search of something.  It only takes me a few moments to realize that it is I that she is looking for.  Yet I ask myself, why would she look for me when it is my job to find her.  I remain invisible to all others, yet she has seen my soul through my own eyes.  She knows me better than any other and because of this we are now linked.  She knows that I am near.

 

This will make her art that much more exquisite.  I must prepare for tonight.  It would be rude of me to keep her waiting too long.  She will be my first willing subject.  The rest fight me at first.  They want to hold on to their flawed ways.  The transition, I understand, is a painful one.  Yet, pain is beauty.  That is the one testament of society that still holds any truth.

 

I find myself sharpening my blade even more than I usually do.  I want the cuts to be clean, the brush marks to be smooth and even.  I take a piece of short silken cord from a shelf.  It is smooth to the touch, yet stronger than any hemp rope could hope to be.  I place both objects in my pockets.  I decide to leave the gag, yet instead I reach for a different third object; a rose…simple, elegant, and sensual.  I feel it is appropriate for the occasion.  This will be the most romantic night of her life, and I will be the one to give it to her.  How many people can say they have experienced love, and I mean true love from their creator?  No one, not even myself, yet I give her the next best thing; the love of her perfector.  Where god left off on her beauty I must bring about a change so dramatic that God himself would be awe struck at what I have done; A creation for the creator.  How perfect this will be.

 

I step to my mirror.  I look into my own reflection and marvel at the perfection I have molded.  The necessities are all that is needed.  One does not need eyelids to keep ones eyes.  One does not need a nose to smell.  One does not need teeth to eat, nor a tongue to taste.  I have all of these things.  Yet I do not use them.  I keep them as a reminder of all there is out there that does not need to be.  Life in this sense is an illusion.  I am the sandman’s worst nightmare.  I awaken people from his dreams of reality into a new realm of pulchritude.  I bear their souls to a remarkable change, and none of them thank me for it.  Then again, approval is in the eyes of the multitude and those of my kind are but few and far between.

 

Time is running short tonight.  The dark sun has begun to rise and the sky is a deep purple.  Twilight; the perfect time to leave my asylum of retribution.  No one else around here seems to be able to see well at this time of the day.  My dwelling is no more spectacular than any of the other simple stone multi-storied structures in this city, dingy and moldy with age and neglect.  It is nowhere near as lovely as my studio, but it suits its purpose.

 

The air is brisk with the autumn wind.  At least it feels like autumn.  Considering the fact that I no longer seem to have a clear understanding of time anymore I could be completely wrong about the seasons.  But it feels like autumn; the dead smell of a coming winter is heavy in the air.  The cool air has no affect on me.  I simply pull the collar of my coat up over my neck. I look down at my hands.  The skin on them is whiter than I remember.  The loss of color only confirms that this world of flesh is more of an illusion than the world of the mind.

 

Soon I suppose I will no longer have need of this form.  One day my work will be complete and I will have to start with a new medium, yet until that day I am content with this imperfect form of a man, if you could call it that.  Man, woman, child, old, young, timid, alive, dead, it’s all the same, flesh, weak, and easy to succumb to the simplest vices.

 

Even though I love my work, I detest the blank canvases all around me.  They destroy themselves slowly with toxins; they bruise and damage each other.  They make changes not for beauty and perfection, but for pain and suffering, and those are even only used to gain a physical prize; to reclaim a home, a country, a child.  I do not bring this to others.  I do not intend to cause suffering.  How could someone suffer going through a dramatic angelic change such as the one I put them through.

 

She is not leaving her home.  I half expect this.  She has had a taste of change, and now she cannot decide if she liked it or not.  She does not know if it is bad to like it or not.  And best of all, she does not know if she can tolerate others who have not been changed yet.  This is good for me.  She will see my perfection and instantly bond.  Our fate has been sealed.   I know that she is one of the few who will be added to my gallery willingly; perhaps not physically, but emotionally she will blossom to me like a rose to sunlight.  Perhaps it was her taste of death at the hands of that vagrant who now adorns my walls; perhaps she is just more perceptive to change than the others.

 

As I approach the door of her apartment complex, I notice a young man sitting behind a desk.  His badge says security and for most others this would pose a dilemma.  Yet his presence and gun do nothing to hinder my progress.  He does not even look up as I walk behind him.  He does not stir as I pull out the sharpest of my brushes.  For a brief moment he glances up from the paperback he is reading.  I am nothing more than a looming shadow to him.  He shivers once and returns to the story in his hands.  I have long ago forgotten how to talk and listen to other people, all except for that night in my studio.  I told that woman to leave, and she heard me.  She listened to me.  She did as I told her.  Few have ever done that before.  No, no one has ever done that.  Perhaps this will be easy.   I walk behind the guard.  My knife makes the back of his neck into a simple, yet elegant piece of art.  His blood is mostly soaked up by his white shirt.  His cries go unheard because my blade severed his windpipe from the back of his neck.  He reaches for his gun but his fears blind him.  He still does not quite understand what is going on.  His transition will be far too quick.  This should appease the voices in the back of my mind long enough to let me truly prepare my finest art.  The gun tumbles from his fingers as his eyes, still filled with fear, cloud over.  I can feel that dark presence that urges me to finish my work quickly laugh with glee.  The fear I have fed it will keep it happy for now, I can only hope it will be long enough.

 

Once again, no sirens, no people screaming, nor any panic.  It is as if people are so blind to change that ones like myself simply appears as nothing more than a shadow looming in the corner of the room.  As long as one ignores the prospect of change enough they feel safe enough to not worry.

 

A few moments later, I stand in front of her door.  How I know this is her apartment I can not quite say, but I know that destiny has led me this far.  I can hear her breathing.  She walks from window to window inside of her cubical like home.  Perhaps it is a pretty place that she dwells in, but she is the one that needs the work tonight.  She needs my skill to accomplish that.  I can tell from her lack of space in-between her steps that she is in anticipation. Why should I keep her waiting?

 

I can smell the silk robe she wears, the light peach she places on her skin in the form of perfume is strong as well.  Sadly she is one of the few that do not need this to hide her imperfections.  Her imperfections are beautiful as most are disgusting.  I can see in my mind her flowing dark blond hair, her hazel eyes, her body that she keeps fit with exercise and stress. I have given her more reason to stress, or at least that’s how she feels.  I truly only offer her relaxation and understanding and clarity. She will see, in time.  I put my hand in my pocket and knock on the door.  I feel her jump at this unexpected company.  I hear the snap of a cell phone closing.  She was arguing with someone a moment ago.  She is still angry about it.  I can tell in her footsteps.  She expects a man to be standing there at her door, but not me.  I am a very unnerving surprise for her.  She expects the person whom she loves, when all she will get is the person who loves her for what she truly is, or least, will be; perfection.

 

I hear her pulse quicken as she nears the door, she is holding a glass of wine.  From the smell, it is most likely floral and white.  She moves the latch.  She pulls away the lock and then stops.  I made a mistake.  She looks out the small peephole of her door.  How could I, the artist, the one who sees all that is to be seen, have missed that detail?  She surprises me again as I prepare for this to become more challenging than I anticipated.  She continues to open the door.  Even though she saw me again, she is continuing to open her home to me.  She opens the door a little, just enough for me to get a glimpse at her grotesquely made-up face.  I will have to remember to wash that mask off first.  She looks at me for a moment and then surprises me yet again.  She smiles.  No one has ever done that; I do not know how to take this strange change of pace.  It is different, but not entirely unwelcome.  It would be hypocritical of me to complain about change.  She seems to have no fear in her eyes, oh, how the voices will be angry.

 
Rose
“It’s you, isn’t it?” she asks with a bit too much innocence mixed with intrigue.  I look back at her without moving my lips.  I can understand her.  I can feel the voices edging forward.  I can feel the echoes they send urging me to kill her now.  For a brief moment the gray haze of sleep clouds my vision.  I shake my head a bit and pull my hand from my pocket and force it towards her.  She jumps back an inch.  The haze retreats finally, along with the voices.  Much better, now we are playing by my rules again.  She surprises me once more as she closes the door only for me to hear the chain undone and the door creak open all of the way.  She stands before me in nothing but the silk robe I smelt on her before.  She is smiling, blushing actually.  She takes the rose from my hand and then takes the hand itself, leading me into her home.  Her skin is warm.  I am even more confused now than before.  I still do not know what forced me to bring a rose.

“Would you like some coffee…umm, what was your name again?” she asks.  I think she actually expects me to answer.  She leaves the room for a moment before returning with a small vase for the rose.  I watch her carefully place it on a table.  I can feel the gray haze trying to return yet again.  I give my head a small shake to clear my thoughts.  I look from side to side and realized that I must take control of my work before the voices return to do whatever devious plan they had imagined.  I pull out a small piece of cloth: still damp from the chloroform I soaked it in all morning. I walk up to her slowly as turns to ask again.

 

“Jon,” I say as I bring the cloth to her face.

 


To Be Continued in Part 2…


Return To Short Stories…
 
Return To Home…

 

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