|THE WILL OF THE WATCH PART II: REVOLUCION!
By: ADAM P. ROTHSTEIN
I shall bathe in your blood, I find it’s best,
Superior to all scented soap,
Then I’ll rip your heart clean from its nest,
And squeeze it ‘til it beats its last hope.
I kill without remorse, neither pity nor shame,
They call me monster, perhaps it’s true,
Just know when you see me within your door frame,
I come bearing death and the gift is for you.
If you could travel through time, would you do it? Would you take the plunge into the unknown, armed only with your wits, and face the many challenges that go hand in hand with this unique style of tourism? I can travel through time; and I choose to do so, as well. It is great fun, I assure you, though most likely my site seeing choices are different from your own.
Where would you go if you could walk between the ages? Perhaps you would watch DaVinci paint a masterpiece, or view the building of the pyramids. Some might choose to witness important legislation, like the signing of the Magna Carta or the inception of the first Continental Congress. All very interesting choices, though they would not be my first. The pyramids, for example, took many years to complete, and therefore I doubt it would be very interesting to watch. I do not make it a habit to spend my time at construction sites, so I believe I would not only be lost from an engineering aspect, but also bored. Paintings, while they can touch the soul in places one did not know existed, are also an example of things that are better viewed as finished products. Watching a man mix his paint and then stroke his brush across a canvas does not seem like a grand ole time to me. Then again, the things that excite me personally are quite a bit more dangerous.
I like killing people. Have I mentioned that already? Perhaps I have, but if not, let me reiterate this fact; I like killing people. Since the tender age of fifteen, when I killed my first human, I have slain too many to count, and have enjoyed every last second of it. For those of you who do not know me, my name is Humphrey T. Schunk. I have no friends, and therefore, no nicknames. You may call me Humphrey, or if it so pleases you, master…
How do I do it? A question many have asked me, both from the supernatural aspect to the more mundane, moral question concerning my callous attitude toward human life. If you would really like to understand who I am, you need only read a line from the book of Job. The Lord giveth, and I take away. It is as simple as that.
Let me assume for a moment that you have gotten over the whole “killing thing”, and are now curious as to how I manage to journey between time periods. The answer to this question is also simple, though the meaning behind it is not. I possess a special watch, one which I assure you shares my lust for blood, and has been my ally through the lives of many men. In fact, it is the watch that chooses my destinations, and I am but a humble servant, always catering to its will. Let me put your mind at ease; though the watch may make certain decisions regarding my work, it is not as if it forces my hand. It chooses an age of man, and I do the rest. If I may stray from being humble for a moment, I think I do my part very well. Very well indeed. Just ask anyone who has had an encounter with me over the centuries, and they will tell you of my prowess. Then again, they may just complain about being deceased.
Before I go on and on with my ramblings, it may be prudent to find where we last left our hero. The hero I speak of, at least in this story, is me. After being shot repeatedly back in good old 1876, I was taken to the darkness, a place that I have come to realize stands between time. I have named it the darkness for good reason; there is no light at all, and quite often the luminosity from my watch is the only thing that assures me that I am in fact still alive. It is where I await my orders, until the watch has chosen a new location. In this instance, my good friend decided to send me to 1402, a time period that I knew little about. Even now, I still do not have a great deal of knowledge…but at least I have memories.
As I sat huddled in my dark, empty space, an area outside of time, I patiently awaited my next journey. Pain coursed throughout my body, as my gunshot wounds, though not visible to the human eye, made their presence known through excruciating agony. I did my best to shrug off the pain, utilizing my excitement for murder to ignore these physical ailments. The watch did little to comfort me; in fact, I began to believe that perhaps it enjoyed my misery. Unlike normal watches, this time piece used me as its instrument; it did not allow me to sustain injuries, but my comfort was not its first priority. Shortly thereafter, the cold began to set in, causing me to shift my focus from the aching to the now numbing, dulling sensation of near freezing. Suffice it to say that I was not in a good place.
But the watch is merciful. The watch is grand; it is an ally and a friend. It not only keeps me alive but it provides me shelter, and allows me the opportunity to heal between journeys. I knew, deep down in my heart, that though my discomfort had reached epic proportions, it would not last forever. Such is not the will of the watch; there was a great deal more killing to do, and I was the perfect man for the job. As I moved swiftly toward an unconscious state, my mechanical comrade flashed a simple message; “READY?” it asked in big, block letters.
“Always, my good friend.” The watch did not respond, at least not with words. It does not often say very much, simply because it does not need to; actions speak quite a bit louder than words. The darkness began to dissipate, the arrival of light acting as the warmest blanket I have ever encountered. Before I knew it, I felt the sensation of being spit out of a giant mouth. I landed in a lush, green field, surrounded by rolling hills and tall, waving grass. There were trees everywhere, and wild flowers growing on a hill side not far from where I stood. I filled my lungs with sweet, succulent air, cherishing each breath I took. The place in which I found myself was quite beautiful, like something out of a romantic poet’s dreams. I took the time to enjoy my surroundings, but only a moment; I had not travelled to the year 1402 to paint a picture. Though perhaps I would create a masterpiece nonetheless…
My pain had completely disappeared, leaving me vital and vibrant, a state of mind conducive to the task at hand. I did not have time to revel in this feeling, for a strangely dressed man riding on horseback was galloping in my direction. He wore a silver head piece, which I perceived to be a protective covering, along with full battle armor. A sword flapped up against the side of his horse, silently waiting for its turn to wreak havoc. I hoped above everything that it would not get its chance.
The man stopped short as he arrived at my location, and looked me up and down more than a few times. I suppose I must have looked as strange to him as he did to me, since I assumed that polo shirts did not exist in this time period. Before I could say anything, he began to shout in a language I did not recognize. As I searched the inner parts of my mind for some semblance of understanding, he drew his sword and pointed it at my throat. The language barrier remained, but his point was made clearly; a blade to the neck could only be translated as the international sign for “you don’t belong here”. The strange man became more agitated as I looked down at my watch. Perhaps my ally would provide guidance, since I was treading unknown waters. The screen lit up, and flashed a simple block message; “TURKISH”. Knowing which language the man spoke was not very helpful, since I did not speak a word of Turkish. Very suddenly, I found that the man’s voice had begun to trail off. His lips still moved, but as the minutes passed, I heard him less and less. My ears began to ring, and I prepared myself for the darkness, assuming that the watch had perhaps made a mistake.
The ringing culminated in an overwhelming pop, at which point the man’s words began to make sense.
“What are you doing on my land? Why are you dressed so strangely?” he asked with an angry expression painted across his war torn visage.
“I am a traveler, just looking to pass through. Do you know where I might find accommodations?” I responded in perfect Turkish. I surprised myself, and apparently, had also caught my new friend off guard as well. That sneaky little watch; its power seemed limitless in my mind. It had either taught me Turkish or simply allowed me to understand; whichever it had chosen did not matter. What was important was that this funny little man and I could now converse freely.
“You may not stay here. Pass through or you will lose your head. These are my orders.”
“Pardon me, my good man, but I do not believe I like your tone. I have done you no harm.”
“I will not allow any more white men to stray me from my mission; my people will go to war,” the man said confidently. I looked down at my watch, which now flashed another of its simple messages; “KILL”. I held it up to my mouth and kissed its screen.
“Thank you,” I whispered sweetly as I sized up my opponent. He was armed and I was not, but I still liked my chances. Before he could say another word, I grabbed his foot and pulled with every muscle I possessed. Quickly he fell from his perch, and once on the ground I beat him senseless with nothing more than the hands god gave me. With the damage that I inflicted, I believe it may be fair to give Satan more of the credit for my fists…
In a matter of minutes, all that remained was a bloody pile of flesh and armor, the materials which once comprised a man. My hands and face were covered in blood, and I breathed in deeply, enjoying the air even more this time than before. Removing the armor from the dead man, I fastened it upon my own body. The horse had not moved an inch, clearly showing no loyalty to its recent rider. Patting its nose, I attempted to make it my friend.
“Would you mind terribly if I rode you? I know how pitiful a life of servitude must be, but if you will help me get to town, I will happily set you free immediately.” The horse neighed, and though I doubted it had understood me, it was obvious that it would allow me safe passage. Making sure I had not left anything behind, I climbed onto my new hoofed friend, and looked down at the corpse I had bludgeoned.
“Perhaps if you had not been so rude, you would still be amongst the living. Sadly, it is a mistake you will be unable to rectify.” I dug my heels into the horse, and the beast began galloping toward a beautiful mountain range. I only hoped that the bloodshed in my future would be as breathtaking; I had a feeling it would be…
After several hours of riding, I realized that I still preferred automobiles; my groin hurt terribly, my backside was most assuredly as red as a beat and I had only just arrived in town. A distance that would have taken an hour at best by car, but a day’s worth of agony on horseback. In fact, my pain was so great that I did not notice that many of the people surrounding me were staring. Looking around, I continued to miss these glances.
The town before my eyes was not a town at all; in fact, with the many large stone buildings, it was clear that in this day a place like this was considered a city. There were hundreds of tents on both sides of the road, with merchants enthusiastically attempting to sell a wide array of items.
“I can see that you need a new sword, my friend. I make the best in the land…”
“Perhaps a flower or two for your lady friend, I’m sure she would repay the favor, ha!”
“Fresh melons, picked last week. They are juicy, they are ripe…”
Each of these vendors, though selling very different goods, competed with each other harshly. When a man stopped to buy a weapon, the fruit salesman would run from behind his table in an attempt to steal the customer away. Suffice it to say that it was a dog eats multiple dogs world…
As I strode further into the city, I began to notice that everyone around me was staring. Not at my face, but rather, at my armor. One person brushed up alongside my horse for a moment, and then cowered in fear. When I said nothing, the man simply yelped and ran away. It seemed that whomever I had killed had been an important man; more in my favor, it was quite clear he had at the very least been a feared man.
“Can I interest you in fresh beef, Lord Timur?” a street vendor asked.
“I am sorry, whom?”
“You are not Lord Timur,” the man replied quietly.
“Is that the name of the man I killed?” I asked with a smile.
“You have killed the king?”
“The king? Well Humphrey, I do believe we are in uncharted territory here. I do not think I have ever ended a royal life before.” I allowed myself a moment to ponder the situation; either these people would tear me apart for killing their king, or they would crown me instead. I did not know which of these avenues they would choose to walk upon, but I did know the choice I hoped they would make.
“The king is dead?” asked a different merchant.
“It would appear so, yes,” I replied with a large smile. Perhaps if I could make these simpletons comfortable with me they would allow me to live. The first vendor turned to the street and began to shout.
“The king is dead! The king is dead! And this man killed him!” Panic jolted through my veins, and made its presence more veritable than my own blood. My hands became ice sickles, and I began counting the number of people in my midst. Over a hundred at first count, far more than I could handle on my own. Armed only with the dead king’s sword and my passion for murder, I decided that should they choose to kill me I would at least take a few of them with me. Perhaps this is what the watch had intended; a massacre in the village square, the streets running red with the blood of the innocent. Sounded more enjoyable than a catered affair in my own mind; then again, I have often been criticized for my peculiar taste…
In a matter of moments, the crowd in front of me had doubled; everyone appeared to be in some sort of a stupor, as if some generous noble had bought them all copious rounds of shots.
“Were you the one to kill our king? Was it really you?” asked one of the men in the crowd.
“The man I killed wore the armor I am currently wearing, and if that man was in fact your king, then yes, I suppose I did.”
“Thank you,” said the man. I could not help but feel a bit confused.
“Your welcome?” I posed this more as a question than a response, and my new friend before me grinned.
“He was a terrible tyrant, and now that he is dead…”
“You are king,” shouted a man as he made his way toward me on horseback. He was the only other Caucasian person in the crowd, and his presence intrigued me. His horse was as white as snow, so much so that even an albino would call it pale. His chainmail shirt glistened in the sun, and I had to admit, he was a very impressive sight to behold.
“Pardon me, my good sir, but I do not believe I have had the pleasure of your acquaintance.” The man held out his hand, and removed his helmet.
“My name is Geoffrey Knotts, colonel in his majesty’s army. I have been sent here to re-establish order. There is great unrest amongst these people and their opposing ruler. And who are you?” Before responding, I could not help but notice that this man’s name was Knotts. At this point I still thought it was coincidence, although a pretty large one. Twice I have met men named Knotts; perhaps they were following me. If only I knew how accurate this statement was…
“My name is Humphrey T. Schunk. Please feel free to call me Humphrey.”
“That is a strange name, and an even stranger accent. Where do you hail from?”
“Oh, I am a traveler mostly, and the road is my home.”
Nodding, Knotts began to speak.
“Suit yourself. There is much to discuss, and if you would follow me to the castle I will explain everything to you.”
“That would be wonderful,” I responded. I looked down at my mechanical comrade for some guidance, but it did not offer any. It simply flashed, in big bold letters, “FUN”.
“As you wish,” I whispered, and glowered at the man called Knotts as he rode in front of me. He rode his horse quite perfectly, his body adjusting easily to all of the bumps along the road. I felt every imperfection on my path, and as I gazed upon Knotts once again, I felt the hatred pour into me with the force of a tidal wave. No matter; I would deal with his perfection soon enough…
The palace was made of simple, grey stone, its portal curved and its buttresses flying. Actually, I apologize for that; I know nothing of castle architecture. I just really enjoy saying the word buttress; try it yourself. Now how can you possibly tell me that was not a great time? Oh well, apples and oranges; I kill people with a powerful lust in my heart, and you help people whenever you can. Such is the way of the world.
Getting back to my new home, I followed Knotts through the entrance and found myself impressed with the palace’s interior. The floor was made of beige and orange marble, and it had been polished so diligently I could swear I saw my own reflection.
“The horses will be fed, and then put in the stables. I hope you do not mind that?”
“Of course not,” I replied.
“Very well then. Let us walk to the dining hall and have a meal. We have much to discuss.” I nodded my head as I followed my righteous guide, thinking of dastardly ways in which to end his noble life. A slash to the throat? No, too Jack the Ripper. Perhaps I could procure some gun powder and blow him sky high. That seemed like fun, but I felt my counterpart named the Uni-bomber might be a bit upset that I had stolen his Modus Operandi. Whatever means I chose in the end, I would make sure it was painful. I could not understand it then, but I sensed that this man was here to foil my plans. And that was unacceptable.
The dining hall was just as impressive, with marble walls and a large oak table in the center. Seated around the table were many chairs, one of which was considerably larger than the others. Knotts pointed to the throne-like chair.
“This is your seat, if it fits your liking.”
“I think it will be just fine, thank you.” I sat down quickly.
“Is there anything in particular that you would like for dinner?” he asked.
“Please ask the chefs to make some local delicacies; I enjoy experiencing new tastes.”
“Very well.” Knotts nodded to another man in the room, whom I assumed to be a servant. He then took the seat opposite mine. He folded his hands in his lap and leaned forward, a curious grin painted across his angelic visage.
“Strange happenings today, am I right?” he asked with a smirk. I found myself yearning to tear that look off his face, but I was able to control my urge.
“I do not understand your question,” I said, doing my best to play along.
“I think you do. You just happened to come across a king in a land where
one keeps the possessions of the man he kills. That is quite a bit too coincidental for my taste.”
“My apologies, what I meant was, killing a man is not strange for me. I do it all of the time.” The man called Knotts stared at me in disbelief. “He is scared,” I thought, and I soaked up his discomfort like an all powerful sponge.
“I am surprised you speak so freely.”
“Well, if I am the king like you said, then I doubt I have anything to worry about.”
“You are the king, that I can assure you. What I am now asking myself, however, is what kind of ruler will you be?”
“Whatever kind I choose to be, I would suspect,” I said with an evil grin.
“So you shall be a tyrant, is that it?” At this question I could not help but laugh.
“Tyrant is such a strong word, and one I do not like. Suffice it to say that as long as my new constituency goes along with me, there will be few casualties. How tall is this building?”
“I am not sure, but it is quite large.”
“And is there access to the roof?” I asked eagerly. The man before me seemed confused.
“Yes, of course. Were you hoping to view your new lands?” I shook my head.
“No, I was just hoping to push a few people over the edge, but I wanted to make sure it would be from high enough to get a delicious splat.” I laughed with glee, and watched my dinner companion shift in his seat.
“You cannot simply throw people off the edge of your castle. That would be irrational, as well as immoral.”
“Trust me, good sir Knotts, our moral codes are quite different.” Before he could respond, a man came out holding two silver trays. Steam emanated from within, and I found myself licking my lips. Not just because of the delicious aroma now permeating throughout the entire room, but because of the fun I was bound to have. As Mel Brooks once said, “It’s good to be the king.” I planned to test the limits, and see just how great it could feel.
The food was delicious, consisting of some kind of meat in a creamy, orange sauce. I did not inquire as to its origins, as I feared that learning this information might cause it to make its second appearance as a nauseating, slushy puddle on the spot directly in front of my seat.
“That was wonderful. Thank you Mr. Knotts,” I said politely. The least I could do was act courteously before killing him. Call me crazy, but I like to put my victims at ease. It makes it so much more satisfying once they realize there is no escape from my wrath.
“Thank you, though I myself cannot take credit. Now, we have a great deal to discuss. Your people are on the brink of war with a man named Bayezid I. Have you heard of him?”
“I cannot say I have.”
“No matter. He is your rival Ottoman ruler, and a crazy bastard at that. He and the previous king, Timur, were at odds with each other. But now that you are king, certainly we can avoid such terrible bloodshed. That is my job; I was sent here to help cooler heads prevail.”
“Would this be a bloody war? Many casualties?” I asked.
“Yes, of course, numbering in the thousands on both sides.” I licked my lips greedily, relishing the dream of an epic battlefield filled with death and despair. In fact, it sounded like an excellent spot to have a picnic.
“That is a considerable amount of people.”
“I am glad you see it that way. I will send contact at once to the kingdom of Bayezid, and explain the new situation to him.”
“I do not see a reason for that. We will go to war as planned; he will understand the situation once my soldiers have busted down his door.”
“But certainly you cannot mean that; you do not even know what the dispute was about.”
“I do not need to know. I simply want to go to war for the fun of watching the events unfold. I assure you, it will be quite a bloody affair.” I laughed as the man named Knotts lost all coloring in his face.
“You are a monster,” he replied quietly, afraid that uttering the words in a louder voice would only make them more truthful.
“I am glad you finally understand. Now, if you will excuse me, I am going to find someone to torture.” I nodded my head toward my opposite, and stood from the table.
As I walked down the hallway, it occurred to me that I did not know where I was going. I spotted a middle-aged servant polishing a suit of armor, and I walked over to speak with him.
“Hello good sir, might I have a word?”
“Yes my lord,” he said as he bowed. News must have travelled quickly.
“Do you like that suit of armor?” I asked attempting to make conversation.
“Yes, it is very nice. Though it cannot be worn.”
“And why is that?”
“The joints have been welded shut, as it is a display piece only now.”
“I understand completely. But could a person get into it? Even if they could not move?”
“Yes, I suppose. But they would need someone else to help them get out of it.” I nodded my head, smiling at the gentleman.
“Would you like to try it?” I asked sweetly.
“Try what sir?”
“Try the suit, my new friend. Do not worry, I will let you out.” The man
seemed nervous, but returned my smile nevertheless.
“Of course, my lord. Just remember to let me out quickly, since the armor is airtight.”
“Heavens, do you honestly think I would just let you suffocate to death? I am insulted, sir!”
“No, I am sorry, I had no intention…give me a moment sire, and I will do it.” The man took a deep breath, opened a series of clasps and removed the back plate. He stepped inside, contorting his body to fit the shape of the armor.
“May I replace the back plate?”
“If that is what you wish. Just remember that I do not have a great deal of air,” he replied in a nervous tone, his voice muffled a bit by the steel that now surrounded him.
“You have my word,” I said in a comforting tone. I quickly fastened the back, making sure that each of the clasps had closed tightly. It appeared the man was correct; after a cursory glance, I was convinced that there were no openings that would allow oxygen.
“My lord, my breath is becoming heavy,” said the man in the armor. I chuckled to myself, but not loud enough for my victim to hear me.
“Just a little longer,” I responded quickly.
“Can you please let me out? I am very uncomfortable.”
“Just a little longer.” The armor began to shake, but remained firmly fastened to the ground.
“My lord, I cannot breathe!” screamed the man in a throaty voice.
“Just a little longer.” The suit began to shake more violently, and the man became desperate.
“I do not have any air, I will die!”
“Just a little longer,” I said as I tapped on the helmet. I spotted a small dagger hanging on the wall, and I removed it. Holding it in my hand, I used it as a mallet and hit the armor like a gong.
“My head, I am in such pain,”
“Just a little longer.” The armor made a sudden lurch forward, and then a loud breath was released.
“That will be long enough,” I said coyly as I laughed to myself. I opened the back of the armor and the man came tumbling out. He did not move, but I could make out the faint sound of breathing.
“Perhaps I was wrong; I think I should have left you in there a bit longer. No matter.” Grasping the dagger firmly in my hand, I bent over my prey and slashed his throat, allowing the blood to flow in its crimson perfection, staining the white floor with its stream.
“That was fun,” I muttered to myself. Another servant walked by, and his mouth opened in horror.
“My lord, what have you done?”
“I have simply entertained my fancy. Clean this up or you will be my next experiment.” Whistling a carefree tune, I walked further down the hall, satisfied with the work I had just completed.
Word travelled quickly in my new kingdom, talk of a vicious tyrant who made their last ruler look like a pope. As I sat in the dining hall the next day, eating a hearty breakfast, I found that everyone around me remained silent. It was as if they believed that one wrong word, or a sudden movement, might be the catalyst for their demise. This was ridiculous, of course; I would have just as gladly killed a silently still person as a man running and screaming at the top of his lungs.
“It is such a lovely day; would any of you like to accompany me on the roof? I hoped you would explain to me the borders of my new lands.” The silence remained, and hung in the air like a menacing stench. It did not appeal to me, not at all.
“I said, would someone please come with me to the roof,” I repeated with a hint of vehemence. Only a hint; I did not want to give away my intentions immediately.
“I will go,” said a young man who could not have been more than fifteen. This would not do; I do not kill children, not since my first murder. It had been allowable then simply because I had been but a child myself. Every man has his scruples.
“No, I would like someone older. How about you?” I pointed to an older gentlemen, probably in his thirties. The man jumped as he was recognized, and seemed unable to speak.
“Perhaps I was not clear; this is not a request, my good man. Please lead the way.” Without speaking, he nodded his head and made his way out of the dining hall. With a toothy grin, and fantasies of what the day would bring, I followed my new friend, towards high climbing and assured death.
When we reached the castle’s top, I breathed in the fresh air and looked down upon the countryside. Turning to my tour guide, I clapped a hand on his back and smiled.
“It is a beautiful day, am I correct?” The man seemed a bit more comfortable in my presence, and returned my show of pearlies.
“Yes, your highness, we have been having excellent weather.”
“What is that down there?” I asked casually. The man moved his head in the direction I had pointed, but looked confused.
“I’m sorry, I do not know what you mean.”
“Just go a little closer, you will see it soon enough.” The man walked closer to the edge, but still did not see what I had meant.
“I still see nothing, sire.”
“Really? It is so vivid, I would hate for you to miss it. Perhaps a little closer?” The man nodded and walked to the very edge of the roof. As he looked down, I walked silently behind him, until I was only inches away. I could hear his breathing, which became heavier as I approached.
“I apologize, my lord, but I still see nothing out of the ordinary.” I nodded my head.
“No worries, my good man. I suppose the people down below, living their life in its normal fashion, are thinking the same thing. Perhaps we could give them something to remember, a turn of events they could never expect.” The man looked at me sideways, but seemed eager to be helpful.
“Yes, it may be a nice morale booster; with an impending war, I’m sure the people would be very happy to…” Before he could finish his sentence, I placed both of my hands on his shoulders and pushed with all of my might. What happened at first seemed to unfold in slow motion; he tried his utmost to regain his balance, but in the end, gravity claimed victory yet again. Once over the side, he fell rapidly, screaming the whole way down. People in the square watched in horror as he made his descent, and one man, standing directly beneath him, was too stunned even to move. My victim hit this second man with a thud, and the two of them lay motionless on the stone covered ground, convulsing in a puddle of their combined blood. I whistled in amusement.
“Two for the price of one, you cannot beat that!” I laughed heartily, and walked back into the castle. But not before taking what would be one of my favorite mental snap shots. Ivan the terrible had thrown kittens off the roof of the Kremlin for amusement, and I had thrown a servant to his death, hoping for a cartoon splat. I realized just then that I was in fact quite a bit more terrible than the former…
As one could have guessed, the mood in the palace was both somber and frightened; it appeared that the people within my midst were unsure of what would happen next. The man called Knotts walked over to me, with a very serious expression on his face.
“Do you honestly think you can get away with murdering random people for no reason?”
“Yes, I do. And if you are not careful, good sir Knotts, I will add you to my list.” This was a lie, since I have not ever seen the need in making lists; and if there was one, he was most assuredly at the top.
“Why? Why are you like this?” he asked in amazement.
“That I could not tell you. I was abused as a child, though, which may be aiding in my supposed madness.” Knotts nodded, as if he understood.
“That is a terrible shame.” I laughed, doing my best to horrify everyone within earshot.
“No, I am sorry, that was a joke. I do not have a reason for killing; the good Lord breathes life into His people, and I enjoy watching that breath extinguished.”
“You are a blight upon this earth, and as God is my witness, I will stop you.”
“I doubt that very much, but I cannot blame a man for trying.” With a loud grunt, Knotts left the room, and as I found out a little later on, began his journey back to England. He would have a wonderful tale to tell his monarch, and I could not help but imagine the look on the despot’s face. It was a shame I would not be there to witness his reaction.
“M…my lord?” asked a servant to my right. I almost killed him on the spot for interrupting my train of thought, but I decided against it. If this man had forcefully faced his fears to speak with me, he deserved to be heard.
“Yes, what can I do for you?” I asked with sincerity.
“I have gotten word from our generals that they would like to speak with you.”
“Very well, ask them to join me in the dining hall. Bring drinks for everyone.” The man bowed very low, and scurried from the room. Discussing war in the place where I took my meals seemed fitting; after all, what is more delicious than the thought of death?
After only a half hour of discussions, I found that planning for war was actually quite boring. There were maps, and talks of strategy, not to mention a reason for the impending battle. As if man needs a reason to kill his fellow; as I have learned through history, often times he does not.
“We will meet them in Ankara, which will be a strategic vantage point from our end. Bayezid already has troops stationed there,” said one of the generals.
“That sounds excellent, general.”
“You may stay here in the palace, or view the battle from the hills above the field…”
“Oh no, I believe I will place myself in the thick of it.”
“Yes, you heard me correctly. I want to see the looks on their faces as I stab them through the heart with a dead man’s sword. I want to witness first hand their cries of terror, and watch with glee as they writhe and scream in pain.” The generals looked at each other uneasily, but bowed their heads.
“We will leave as soon as you would like, your highness.”
“Directly after lunch; after all, it would be irresponsible to murder people on an empty stomach. My mother would be quite upset.” The men took their leave and left me with only my thoughts. This suited me just fine, since my thoughts focused solely on the blood I would soon spill.
The journey to Ankara was both difficult and long, the once pleasant weather turning into an angry, boiling inferno. My troops sweated through their cloaks, and even the nobles wearing armor appeared to have sweat stains throughout their bodies. This did not matter; nothing worth doing comes easily, and going to war meant sacrifices. The weather did not bother me nearly as much, as its efforts to cook me alive were impeded by my deep anticipation. My yearning kept me cool; it also added a noticeable bounce to my step, one which I learned later was a rallying point for my soldiers. It seemed that an excited monarch easily incites the masses, and puts them in a frame of mind conducive to battle.
We reached the battlefield after a few days of riding, everyone in my party weary and on the brink of exhaustion. While I have never cared for human life, I decided to let my men have a night to rest before facing Bayezid’s army. I did not care if my men lived or died, but I needed enough of them to live so that I could wage war on the rest of the free world. Perhaps I would be Julius Caesar, or Alexander the Great, and sweep across the globe raining down death and destruction while imposing my will upon its inhabitants. The thought made me almost giddy.
“Sleep well tonight, men, for tomorrow we march straight into battle,” I said calmly. The tents were up, the sleeping arrangements made, and with the sun nearly ready to retire for the evening, I decided to turn in myself. I could not begin to imagine how pleasant my dreams would be.
I awoke on the following morning feeling refreshed, as my sleep had been both deep and thoughtful. The sword I had won in a deadly duel lay by my side, and I removed it from its sheath. The blade was long and sharp, and as I walked outside my tent, the sun glistened along its hilt. It seemed that my cold steel was ready to bring forth gushes of warm blood, and for that I loved it. Looking across the hills, I could clearly see the camp of my enemy, and I found myself wondering what their thoughts were on this beautiful morning. Were they afraid? Were they anxious? Or were they simply in a similar mental state to my own; excited and eager. Truthfully, I did not care very much; I would slash their throats and rip out their hearts with the same vigor and enjoyment nonetheless…
“And so begins the war of the day,” I whispered to myself as I patted my horse’s nose. I jumped onto his back, and began to ride through camp getting everyone ready. Before long, they were standing in a group at the edge of the hill.
“Men, today we march into battle. Our swords will glisten in the sun, until they have finally been allowed their first sip of blood. A drink, I assure you, that is most addictive. The scum across from us will not have a chance; not with our brawn, our brains, and our will to fight!” The men cheered loudly, and I felt confident that we would achieve victory on this day.
“We will destroy their army, and then march into their capital. Their women and children will become our slaves, and we will slaughter every last adult male, be he twenty-five or ninety-five. We will make them suffer, and prove that it is our kingdom that is the superior force. The world shall learn of these events, and before long, they shall bow at our feet. And when they do, I assure you my brothers, we will slice off their heads and further prove our dominion over men. For they are weak, and we are the greatest force ever assembled under god!” I shouted this last part, assuming that the addition of god’s name would incite them to rain down further destruction. After all, if there is one being who has killed more than I have, it is the man or woman that we call god.
Pointing my sword in the direction of our enemy, I screamed at the top of my lungs.
“Charge!” The men did not have to be told twice, and followed my lead toward what I hoped would soon be a valley full of blood. My horse’s hoofs pounded the earth with great force, shaking the ground as I rode. I came upon my first enemy, a young man wielding a long sword and a grimace, and easily killed him. Ah, to murder with a sword; I have used so many different mediums to end a person’s life, but I firmly believe that man was meant to hold a blade. The feeling was exhilarating, I assure you.
The first hour of battle flew by, the smell of blood already quite prevalent amongst the sweet aroma of wild flowers. I wished that I could somehow capture this smell, and use it later on as popuri. The memory alone has often brought me comfort through some of my darkest times.
Before I could contemplate this odor further, a man charged at me, screaming at the top of his lungs. He wore no armor, and held what appeared to be a spear. At first I was insulted; if a man wanted to kill me the least he could do is prepare properly. I removed a small dagger from a sheath attached to my leg, and threw it at the man. It flew silently through the air, until it found its mark. It cut through the man’s throat, and made itself a home there. The point stuck through right under the back of the man’s head, and blood poured from his wound at a rapid rate. After only three or four more steps, he dropped to his knees and lay still. I did not linger on this small victory for long; there were so many others left to play with…
Noon came upon us quickly, and though many of the soldiers on the field had already begun to grow wearisome, I found that my own energy was only increasing. In one string of five minutes, I killed ten men. The first two were trampled by my horse, five were killed with my blade through their hearts, and the other three from spears I had stolen from a few of the deceased. I could not remember a time in which I had had more fun, and I doubted that time would ever exist. As I turned to survey the battlefield and look for my next victim, I heard the shrill calling of a horn from close by. I looked up in its direction, and the sight I beheld was quite surprising.
It was Geoffrey Knotts on horseback, accompanied by what looked to be an entire unit of soldiers.
“There he is men, do not stop until you have killed him!” The men roared in approval, and charged down the hill. I smiled, and looked Knotts directly in the eye. It was now or never. Kicking my heels into my trusty mount, we flew through the soldiers, making a beeline for the noble man who once again attempted to thwart my plans. He could have just gone back to England, where he might have lived a long and happy life. Now, however, he had chosen to come back, and that would end his chances for any type of longevity.
As I drew within ten feet of Knotts, my horse gave out a loud whimper and fell to the ground. I was thrown into the air, and landed at my enemy’s feet.
“I had hoped I would be the one to stop your evil from spreading,” said Knotts as he raised his sword and stabbed it down hard. I rolled to my side just quickly enough, and the blade missed me by mere inches. Getting to my feet, I watched with amusement as my opponent attempted to remove his steel from the earth.
“Is it stuck?” I asked calmly as I strode over to him. Just as I reached his position, the sword came up from the ground with such force that it nearly knocked Knotts backward. I slashed my blade at his throat, but the nobleman blocked it with ease.
“Surely you can do better than that,” he said with faux confidence.
“Indeed, I believe I can,” I responded with vehemence. I made to stab at his heart, but he pushed my sword away once again with his own. Grabbing my blade in both hands, I faked up high, caused him to raise his own weapon, and then went for his legs. The armor he wore stopped me from slicing his leg off, but my parry knocked him on his back nonetheless. He looked up at me in pain, clearly having had the wind knocked out of him.
“Why do you do this? Why must you kill?”
“Because I enjoy it. I believe I told you that a few days ago.”
“You will not win…evil never triumphs in a world filled with good,” said Knotts in that despicably noble tone used by this nauseating line of men.
“Take a look around you; do you see any good left? The only thing that fills the world is suffering. And I shall show everyone my own unique brand,” I retorted with a chuckle.
“There is good within my heart, and even if you kill me, that bright force will last for an eternity.”
“I believe you are mistaken; if I stab you through the heart, you will die. And then, my good man, there will be nothing left of you. At least, not after the insects have had their fill.” I raised my blade as high as I could, ready to deal the fatal blow. As I brought it down, however, I felt a terrible pain in my back. Upon inspection, I noticed that an arrow was sticking out a few inches. In fact, as I looked down at my chest, I saw the bloody metal comprising its tip. I quickly turned around, as another hail of arrows came storming towards me, looking like menacing, wooden rain drops. A few more hit their mark, and I found myself in excruciating pain. Two stuck out from my left arm, another in my chest, three in my leg. I limped toward my new enemies, completely forgetting about Knotts, knowing that the end was near. Either I would die on this battlefield or return to the darkness; I had already decided which I would prefer.
“You shall not kill the innocent any longer,” shouted a voice behind me. I swiveled around as quickly as I could, and just had time to see Geoffrey Knotts swinging his blade at my head. It was a blow that surely should have parted me from my crown, but as the cold metal made contact with my flesh, everything went dark. Light did not exist in this place, and I knew exactly where I was. Groping for my neck, I found, with a great deal of relief, that my head was still attached. I looked down at my watch, its glowing luminescence the only form of light in a place named for its cold absence of illumination. In simple, block letters it said, “FUN?”
“Yes, good sir watch, before the end it was quite a bit of fun. Did you enjoy yourself as well?” The watch did not answer, but it did not have to; I knew exactly how it felt. I shivered as the numbing, frosty wind nestled itself in my heart, and though I was in a great deal of agony, I knew that my wounds were temporary. I would stay here for a bit, heal up, and go on my next adventure. This I was quite sure of; such is the will of the watch…