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Rated: 18+ · Short Story · Fantasy · #1350070
The first in a chilling series about a serial killer who travels through time


         With a thunderous clang the mighty hammer struck a small piece of hot, glowing metal. It was immediately raised back into the air, and the process was repeated several times, each swing hitting its malleable mark with the precision of a master bowman. Looking up from his work, Hephaestus wiped the sweat from his brow with an old, tattered rag. After only a momentary pause, the great craftsman to the gods continued with his task.~3~

         It had taken almost an hour, but finally the once misshapen piece of metal had begun to take the form of its blacksmith’s choice. A small, thick square, its dimensions not quite perfect, sat silently on the fire god’s table. It was silver in color, and about the size of a half dollar. A curious object, whose function would be unknown to any passersby, it was accompanied by a series of black chain links. Diligently Hephaestus continued, ignoring the perspiration clouding his vision and the fatigue impeding his hammering. Finally, with one loud thud the great metallurgist seemed impressed with his own work. He carefully gathered up the links, and began connecting them.~4~

         Almost immediately after finishing his project there was a sudden bang on the other side of the room, accompanied by an intense chill, so powerful it could easily fight through even the thickest of blankets. Moments later a man appeared, robed completely in black. His hair was long, and he wielded both a long sword and a devilish smile as he approached Hephaestus.~5~

         “Hello, nephew,” said Hades, God of the Underworld.~6~

         “Hello, uncle,” replied Hephaestus. He had always hated his large, divine family, but his Uncle Hades had long been his least favorite of the group.~7~

         “And what are we doing today?” asked the king of the dead, a greedy grin spreading across his face as he looked down at his kin’s work.~8~

         “Nothing that concerns you.”~9~

         “Oh, but nephew, you forget the chain of command. If I say it concerns me, then it does…”

                The great craftsman sighed; he knew this to be true.~10~

         “I have been given a glimpse of the future by my father, and I have seen many amazing things. One object, in particular, caught my attention with its unique shape and function.”~11~

         “Do tell, do tell,” said Hades, sarcasm streaming out of his mouth simultaneously with his words.~12~

         “It is called a watch. People will one day be able to wear these objects and know what the time is,” replied Hephaestus, ignoring his uncle’s chidings.~13~

         “And what does a god need with a time device? We are immortal.”~14~

         “It is not for anything specific, I simply wanted to see if I could make one.” Before the fire god could react, his uncle had grabbed the object off of his worktable.~15~

         “A curious gadget indeed. Perhaps we could have some fun with it?”~16~

         “I do not understand…”~17~

         “Let me take this with me. I shall put it in the hands of men, and we shall see how recklessly they destroy themselves.” Hephaestus looked confused.~18~

         “But uncle, this device does nothing more than display the current time, how could it possibly wreak havoc amongst men?” Hades laughed, feeling pity for his simple-minded nephew.~19~

         “When I am finished with it, I can assure you, it will do so much more…”~20~

         “Like what?”~21~

         “I shall put it in a place where it will fall into the wrong hands. Of course, for the purposes of my task, this person would actually be the correct man for the job, but I think you get my meaning.” The great blacksmith scratched his head, still confused.~22~

         “I still do not understand.”~23~

         “Oh, you silly little boy. You have never been able to see situations in anything other than black and white. Your simplicity is your greatest weakness, and that is why I have always been so hard on you. I shall take this simple watch, and turn it into a great instrument of death!”~24~

         “No, you cannot do that! I did not create it for that purpose!” Though he protested, Hephaestus could clearly see that his attempts were futile.~25~

         “I shall breathe life into this wonderful toy, and give the bearer the ability to travel through the ages. Through the use of this device, he shall fill the strands of time with a river of blood!” Before Hephaestus could argue further, Hades vanished.

                No one knows exactly what the god of the Underworld specifically did to the watch once it came to be in his possession. One thing, however, is quite certain; it is the means for the greatest evil ever put upon this earth to do his bidding…~26~


         Before this story is over, you will call me a monster. You will say that I am insane and that I must be stopped. As you read further, I will continue to convince you of this fact, though I myself do not believe it to be true. That is your biggest problem; well, to be fair, not just your issue, but something that I often find troubling concerning humans in general. That is humanity in a nut shell; always quick to label someone and never willing to get to know them.~28~

         Perhaps you will indulge me, and allow me to tell you a bit about myself before I offend every sense you possess. 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…~29~

         I will not tell you my age because it is inconsequential. I am an immortal, you see, unaffected by the winds of time, and to be honest, I am not even quite sure of the current time period. Suffice it to say that I am old…but I still do not look like your grandfather.~30~

         I was born in blah blah year, in a small town in upstate New York called Wingdale. It was, and I suspect still is a pathetic little place, with few people and even fewer things to do. I left as soon as I could, and have only looked back on a few occasions (loose ends…I am sure you understand).~31~

         At the tender age of three I killed my first animal; the neighbor’s dog. I know, quite the cliché, but I did not do it for the thrill of killing. The man who lived next to me was a jerk of the highest magnitude, and my first murder was to punish him, not the animal. I will never forget the pure ecstasy of watching a living object breathe its last breath for the first time. Exhilarating, I assure you, something everyone should try at least once. ~32~

         In the months directly after my first kill I could not get enough, and before long, I had slaughtered every animal on my street. I moved on to advanced forms of murder, never using the same technique twice. In fact, I have often found myself trying new methods of massacre, simply because using one modus operandi has always seemed boring. Perhaps that is why I never get caught…~33~

         As you can imagine, there was a great stir in grand ole Wingdale as I continued my ravenous rampage on everyone’s pets. Believe it or not, people seem to get upset when they find an errant paw nailed to their front door. So unappreciative of my work; after all, I was only trying to spruce up their homes. A story began circulating amongst the townies about a curse that killed animals. They said it was only a matter of time before humans were the next item on the menu. I could not agree with them more…~34~

         I had not even thought of killing people until I heard the rumors of this ridiculous ‘blight’. I enjoyed killing animals so much that I did not see a reason to move on to other species. But after hearing this, and knowing that I would be armed with the dim-witted idea of this curse, I decided to plot my first human casualty.~35~

         It took years, as I knew even at my young age that killing a human would take much more strength than I had at the time I made this decision. I bided my time, making notes about the people I encountered, and formed a rating system. The deal I made with myself was that I would wait until my fifteenth birthday, and on that night I would snuff out the person of choice. As the day approached, it became clear who that would be…~36~

         There were a fair number of people who were candidates, as I have never particularly liked anyone I have met. My system included demerits, and I decided that whomever accumulated the most would have to go. About a week before my birthday, I made my final decision; Albert Lenaire. He was a pudgy little boy who had made my life miserable since the tender age of five. He was disliked by almost everyone, and I even suspected that his parents would not miss him that much, since his eating habits were most certainly a drain on their pocketbook. ~37~

         Full of cake and soda, and still merry from the birthday festivities, I crouched outside my opponent’s house waiting to see if he was home. A light sprang to life in a room upstairs, and though I could not see through the pulled down shade, I could easily view the outline of his pudgy body. It was like watching the beginning of an Alfred Hitchcock movie, except the subject within the frame was far more obese. I grabbed a nearby pebble and threw it at the window, and as it rapped its mark gently, the glass partition was opened. There was Billy, in all of his corpulent glory, staring down at me.~38~

         “What do you want, freakazoid?” he asked in a menacing tone.~39~

         “Hi Billy! Today was my birthday, and I thought you might like one of my cupcakes.” I held up a large, round treat with chocolate icing so that the walrus of a boy could clearly see it.~40~

         “Oh boy, I love cake!” He quickly disappeared from his perch as I reminded myself that his love of cake was not news to anyone. The front door opened and he waddled outside to where I stood. I smiled at him as he grabbed the cupcake out of my hand and began wolfing it down greedily. A delightful confection of sugar, flour, chocolate, and my own special ingredient, horse tranquilizer, the rotund beast of a boy finished the tasty treat in under a minute. Moments later he was flat on his back, snoring peacefully though trapped in a dream state. He would never wake again…~41~

         I remember regretting Billy as my choice as soon as he was unconscious. I had not anticipated how difficult it would be to move such a large pile of rubbish. But I forged ahead, my enthusiasm aiding in my strength to continue in my quest. Before long I came to an abandoned shed I had used previously in my experiments. It was a quiet, dark little place that provided me with the necessary cover to perform my first murderous virtuoso.~42~

         I had packed a series of knives with me, not knowing exactly which one I would choose. I toyed with the idea of tying my victim down and allowing him the chance to wake up before ending his life. I decided, however, that my first time should be simple. I had also not quite yet learned the delicious tang that is human suffering; a taste unmatched by anything prepared even by the greatest chefs throughout history. I watched my victim sleep soundly as I pondered the best way in which to “do him in”. I took out the large hunting knife I had stolen from my father, believing that holding it may help to shed some light on the situation. Before I could think on this matter, however, I noticed that the moonlight coming in through one of the broken windows had begun to dance along Billy’s turkey-like throat. Seeing this as a good sign, I quickly slashed the fat boy’s throat repeatedly, until what was left was nothing more than a fatty, bloody mass of newly deceased flesh.~43~

         I must say that as much fun as this first kill was, it was a bit disappointing. I had made the mistake many young people make before doing something they have always wanted to do; I was too excited. This realization helped me in my later years as I anticipated future kills, and I must say, the lesson I learned from my virginal murder has lasted me a lifetime.~44~

         The next few years went by very quickly, as I easily weeded out those who did not deserve to live. I never used the same weapon, nor did I display the bodies in any special sort of way. I am not a serial killer! I repeat, I am not a serial killer! I do not talk to god, nor do I listen to voices in my head. Killing is not a compulsion; I simply enjoy it. ~45~

         The ways in which I dispatched my victims during my early years are varied and, if I may, a bit boring. I will not waste your time going through the litany; you do not deserve that. The only important thing to remember about my teenage years is that it was a formative time for me; my learning process as I honed my craft. It was not until my mid twenties that my marvelous career truly became solidified…~46~

         I have always enjoyed flea markets. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, it is a place where people go to sell and buy cheap garbage that no one needs. Often times both the vendors and the patrons have seventeen children, poor hygiene and are devoid of teeth. If you are able to get past these disturbing, olfactory offensive roadblocks, then you may in fact find a bargain. That is what happened to me one fine day, and it changed my life forever.~47~

         As I walked through row upon row of what some people call lost treasures, I felt a strange pull toward a specific section within the market. I continued toward this place, my whole body feeling indescribably increasing warmth as I drew nearer to my prize. When I arrived at my destination, I saw a paltry collection of used and tattered objects, none of which fit my fancy. I scoured the entire area, searching for whatever had caused this stir of emotions within me. As I was just about ready to give up hope, I saw it, glowing brilliantly. A simple watch with black links forming its band, its face did not contain any numbers or symbols, but rather remained completely blank. It intrigued me, so much so that I was willing to inquire about its price, even though that meant speaking with someone far my inferior.~48~

         “Pardon me, kind sir, but how much is this watch?” The man seemed to be asleep, so I tapped him on the shoulder. He awoke with a start.~49~

         “What now? Who?”~50~

         “No, I would like to ascertain the price of this watch,”~51~

         “Ass…” The strange man looked confused as he brushed his long, silver hair from his face.~52~

         “Listen, can you please just tell me how much this costs?” I asked as I handed him the watch, my frustration nearly leading to his untimely death.~53~

         “Oh, this thang? It don’t work no more.”~54~

         “Then why do you have it for sale?”~55~

         “Well, you never know what people will buy.” This is an important thing to remember, dear children, for when you are purchasing items from a flea market it is prudent to be certain of their functionality.~56~

         “How much is it?”~57~

         “You gonna fix it?” he asked. His questions were irritating me greatly, and I made sure to remember his face for future experiments.~58~

         “Does it matter? I just want to purchase it.”~59~

         “Well, alright, but whatcha gonna do with a broken watch?” By this point I became certain of what the man’s future held. But that is another story.~60~

         “I am going to fix it, alright? How much is it?” The man looked at the item, giving it a bit more than a cursory glance.~61~

         “Okay, fifty dollars, it’s yours.”~62~

         “You just told me it is broken,” I responded with vehemence. Vile townies, always trying to rip people off.~63~

         “Yeah, but it’s old,” he said.~64~

         “Age should not have anything to do with price when the object in question no longer works…how about one dollar.”~65~

         “Deal,” he said as he held out a disgustingly dirty paw. I placed a bill in his hand, making sure that my skin did not come into contact with his. After all, diseases are at their most powerful within unwashed hands, and this man did not appear to have heard of the term bath…~66~

         I walked home slowly, staring at my new prize the entire journey. I did not put it on, however, because it did not feel right. By the time I arrived at my pseudo castle I found myself yearning to wear the dusty artifact. As I placed it on my wrist, I found that the metal was quite cold to the touch. In fact, it sent a chill throughout my body, as if every ounce of my being had been flash frozen. Fighting through the now numbing cold, I made to fasten the clasps together, but was impeded in my efforts by a bright flash of light.

              Once the blindness had cleared, I found that the band had linked itself together, with no possible means to remove it from my body. Confused, I reviewed my new toy once again. Its face remained blank, but the former glow returned, intriguing me further. As I continued to stare, I found that letters were beginning to appear, in much the same blurry fashion as a magic eight ball. As the glow died down, a word was left in its place. It simply said, “KILL”.~67~

         Well, I am certainly not one to argue, but as I did not have anyone in mind at the present time, this seemed a bit difficult.~68~

         “I apologize, good sir watch, but could you perhaps specify whom you would like me to end?”

                I did my best to ask politely, just as my mother had taught me. After all, I relished the idea of killing in the name of a supernatural object, and I felt my approach was tantamount to getting more flies with honey. Sadly, the watch did not speak back to me. However, moments later, its face became cloudy as another word began to form. This time, however, it was not a word; it was a four-digit number. In plain, bold letters it clearly said: 1876.~69~

         “I am sorry, my new friend, but I do not understand what you mean.” Once again the object did not reply, and this time, no cloud appeared on its face. Instead, as I looked at my surroundings, I noticed that everything was becoming dimmer and dimmer, until the whole room seemed nothing more than a blur. Before I could ascertain the cause of this sensation, I was plunged into a cold, black place. I shivered uncontrollably, not understanding what was happening. The only thing I knew was that the watch had caused all of this to happen.~70~

         “Where am I?” I asked, frightened for possibly the first time in my life. For a split second I believed myself to be dead, as I could not even see my own body. The watch shone brightly, but not enough for me to view my surroundings. Its light served an important purpose nonetheless; at least I knew I was still in one piece.~71~

         After several minutes of agonizing discomfort, the blackness began to dissipate and I felt as if I was spit out of a giant mouth. I was now in a room, clearly not in my own home, which was covered with the artifacts of the rich. I drank in my surroundings with the fervor of a desert trapped man and a canteen of water, studying every inch of what I assumed to be some sort of magical prison cell.~72~

         “Pardon me, good sir watch, but where are we exactly?” The watch showed me the number 1876 once again. ~73~

         “Ah yes, the same cryptic number. Could you shed some more light on the situation?” The watch became murky once again, and this time flashed a simple message; “Soon”. As I pondered how long I would have to wait, I heard the faint sound of voices coming from somewhere else in the house. Moments later I heard footsteps, and as I looked at the door, I saw the knob begin to turn. I looked down at my new friend, and the face transformed its previous message; it now said “KILL” once again.~74~

         “Who? The people about to enter?” It did not respond, but somehow I knew that was whom it meant.~75~

         “Is there a reason? Not that I am anything other than charmed to oblige, but for curiosity’s sake…” The watch flashed a message across the screen; “FUN”. I laughed, but quietly so that I would not be heard. It sounded as if there was more than one person about to enter my new chamber; killing them would be great fun indeed…~76~

         I quickly hid behind a changing partition, making sure to remain silent as the door opened and two men walked in. I peered through an opening to get a good look at those that were not long for this world. The first man had bushy, graying hair and a thick beard, while his counterpart was considerably younger, his hair slicked back with what smelled like shoe polish.~77~

         “Mr. Bell, we must file with the patent office immediately. I have already heard talk about another man who has invented something very similar.”~78~

         “That is not possible…my creation is quite unique, you see,” responded the man named Bell, a slight Scottish accent apparent within his speech.~79~

         “It is not only possible, it is factual. If we want to be able to start production, then we must file…”~80~

         “Very well, draw up the paperwork. I had hoped to wait until I was finished.”~81~

         “This Mr. Gray is quite tenacious, Alexander, and he will not go quietly into the night.”~82~

         “Don't worry so much, Emile, we shall persevere.” Not very likely, I thought to myself, but I allowed the two strangely dressed men to dream.~83~

         “I will of course need some of your sketches to include with the forms,” said Emile.~84~

         “I believe I have some in a box behind that partition,” explained Bell as he pointed toward my hiding place. It appeared that I would have to make my move earlier than I had anticipated. Looking around the place in which I stood, I spotted what I believed to be a cricket bat. Quietly I raised it up, and as Emile walked into view, I did not give him a chance to cry out. In fact, I doubt he even had time to process my presence before I brought the heavy piece of wood down upon his head. I believe I might have been quite good at cricket; at the very least, I did an excellent job bashing in the young man’s greasy head. The noise caused by both the blows I had inflicted and Emile’s eventual plunge to the ground caused the man called Bell to stir.~85~

         “Emile, are you alright?” he asked, very little concern in his voice. ~86~

         “Just tripped,” I said in the best impression I could muster.~87~

         “Please don’t break anything, if you would be so kind,” he responded, apparently not aware that I was an imposter. Sadly for him, I would only break one more thing that day, and I assure you it was not one of his precious objects littering the room.~88~

         Holding the bat more firmly in my grasp, I slowly made my way from behind the partition. Mr. Alex Bell was now sitting at his desk, and did not even look up as he spoke.~89~

         “Did you find what you needed?” he asked, still under the impression that Emile was alive and well.~90~

         “I found nothing, but I believe you could help me,” I said calmly in my own voice. The graying man looked up from his papers, horrified by the sight of my blood soaked form.~91~

         “Who are you?” he asked in terror.~92~

         “My name is Humphrey T. Schunk. You may call me Master.” I spoke slowly and deliberately, allowing each word to cut into my victim like a sharp blade.~93~

         “What do you want?”~94~

         “What every man wants…happiness.”~95~

         “I have money, I can give you money…”~96~

         “I have a pocket full of coins, my new friend. Please do not beg for your life, I hate when people do that. What have you done that is so wonderful? I will give you an opportunity to convince me.” This is quite often one of my favorite activities, especially since most humans cannot easily find purpose to their lives in the moments preceding their death.~97~

         “I have just invented something that will change the world,” he said in a shaky tone.~98~

         “Not very humble, I see. That will most certainly work against you.”~99~

         “No, I did, I swear it,” he exclaimed, seemingly trying to prove this point to himself as well. I smiled sweetly, making sure this future notch on my belt could see each individual tooth within my grin.~100~

         “And what, pray tell, is this wonderful object?”

         “I call it the telephone, and it allows people to speak with one another even when they are in separate houses!” This statement confused me, of course, as I had grown up with a telephone in my home. I had even seen the creation of cell phones, man’s pathetic attempt to never be alone.

         “Why would you invent a telephone? We have had those for years!” I laughed, and compulsively looked down at my watch. It once again flashed the number “1876”, and finally I began to understand. Tricky, playful little watch; it had teleported me to a different time.

         “If you are referring to the thief Elisha Gray, then you may stop before you begin. He is a fraud and a sham, and his version will not work nearly as well as mine.”

         “You are Mr. Bell?” I asked, curiosity getting the best of me.

         “That is correct.”

         “Alexander Graham Bell?” I asked.

         “Why yes, that is my name. Have you heard of me before?” he asked excitedly, apparently forgetting that he was sitting before a man wielding a bloody British bat.

         “I have indeed, and I must say that your invention will shape a new future. Though I cannot say I like the telephone very much…people connected to each other from across oceans is not exactly my cup of tea. Then again, I have not met a person that I enjoyed speaking with before…”

         “Please, let my invention be patented. The world will benefit from my ingenuity,” he pleaded. His begging was beginning to irk me, quite like a mosquito on a hot day.

         “You said there is another man who invented the same object?”

         “I doubt his functions in the same manner as mine…”

         “I would be willing to bet that it does, perhaps much more smoothly. I have always hated the telephone…” Without another word, I slammed my new English ally onto the top of the inventor’s head. Surprisingly, it was blood that
spurted out of his wound, rather than ideas. I guess it does not matter how imaginative a person is; bash a man’s head, and he will always bleed.

         I did not need to inflict more damage on my already dead victim, but I chose to make a second stroke regardless. After all, I had gotten some terrible news over the telephone before, and this was the man who had made that possible. Looking around the room, I realized that I had made quite a mess. However, as I now knew that I was in the year 1876, I decided that the forensic techniques employed by the local police force would not be advanced enough to point a finger in my direction. Besides, I doubted the watch would allow me to become incarcerated…

         After an hour of sitting and waiting, it was clear that my mechanical friend was not going to send me back to my own era anytime soon. Noticing a safe in the corner of the room, I picked up my trusty cricket instrument and played a tune on the container’s metal sides. It was clearly shoddily made, as the door burst open after only three hammerings. It was filled with a great deal of money and jewelry, all of which I stuffed into a bag. If I was going to be stuck in the past, I was going to enjoy myself in style.

         I left the great inventor’s house shortly thereafter, and found a little inn a few blocks away. The rate for the room surprised me, until I reminded myself where I was. It was a pittance compared to the money I had stolen, and I prepared myself for a long stay.

         Weeks went by, and I felt antsy as I began to believe that I was trapped in 1876 forever. I did not have anything to read, and it turned out that there was no library or bookstore anywhere near where I was staying. I did not know whether or not I was permitted to continue in my murderous efforts, but chose to remain wholesome nonetheless. I decided that my watch had given me a ripe opportunity for blood, and that with patience and appreciation it would do so in the future. I had never been more correct in my entire life.

         Apparently, the murder of Alexander Bell and his associate Emile was big news to the people of the city in which I was currently residing. Humans and their sadness surrounding death; they never question whether or not the life lived by the deceased was a meaningful one, they simply weep and wail and make themselves look pathetic. It sickens me to think about the fact that people had always been like this; melancholy over the passing of a stranger.

              The police force made a public statement explaining that they would find the man who had committed such a ‘terrible’ act and bring him to justice. Not very likely, as even the law enforcement in my own time did not seem capable of this task.

         It had been a boy who had found the bodies, no older than fifteen. He had seen me exit the building, but did not remember exactly what I looked like. I immediately thought of killing him, as the idea of being caught by such far inferior minds due to carelessness made me feel nauseous. However, I do not kill children. Not because I particularly enjoy the little beasts, but due to the fact that they have not yet had a chance to live. As much as I detest humanity, I have always believed that each individual has the right to live…for at least a short while.

         The boy, however, seemed determined to remember my appearance. His name was Brighton Knotts, and he was the son of a milkman. He had been delivering milk to Mr. Bell’s house when he found the bodies, and had been so distraught he had let his bottles crash to the floor. What a site that must have been, the milk mixing with the already present blood covering the floor, the two liquids fusing to make a pink paradise. I regretted the fact that I had not been able to see this curious wonder; I would have very much liked to have bottled the substance to be used as paint later on. Then again, as an artist I have always used materials other than oil and canvas to create my masterpieces…

         Remember the name Knotts; it is integral to my story, for although I did not know it at the time, it would follow me for eternity. Different first names, and a few times, variations on the surname, but Knotts would be a part of my immortal existence whether I liked it or not. I suppose it is a part of the grand design; everything must be balanced. I am a great evil that this world was not prepared for, I assure you, and so it chose to create a line of men to thwart my plans. Some may think of this as a terrible shame; I relish it as an opportunity for a challenge.

         I decided it was time to visit with the boy in order to make sure he did not suspect me. Though I was quiet and kept to myself, the people who met me could immediately see that I was an outsider. This was before I began to study the history of men, and so I was not as adept at fitting in as I would later become. I grew nervous that it would only be a matter of time before one of the ingrates operating as a policeman would begin to ask the right line of questioning.

         I found the boy making his deliveries, and it was immediately clear that he and I were different species. Everyone seemed to like the young man, and he distributed each bottle of milk with a warm smile and a kind word.

         “How much for a bottle of milk, young man?” I asked.

         “Have I seen you before sir?”

         “No, I do not believe so. Perhaps in passing,” I said as casually as I could.

         “I'm afraid that every bottle I have has been spoken for. If you visit my father’s shop you can place an order,” Knotts explained with a smile.

         “I just may do that.”

         “I am sure my pop will appreciate your business,” he responded.

         “Are you the boy who discovered…you know?” I asked, appearing to be disgusted by the word “body” when in fact there was nothing I enjoyed more than adding the word “dead” to create my favorite phrase.

         “Yes, it was me,” he said while looking at his feet.

         “That must have been a terrible sight.”

         “Yes, it was. And I am going to remember the man I saw leaving the place, I just cannot quite picture him…” I smiled, hoping that this would throw my nemesis off my trail.

         “The mind is a curious thing, my new young friend. Perhaps with a bit of patience it will come back to you.” The boy nodded, before looking up at me in terror.

         “You look very familiar,” he said quietly. He did not need to tell me just how familiar I was to him, for the recognition was written all over his face.

         “As I said, we may have bumped in to each other whilst walking down the street,” I responded, playing along with the charade.

         “Yes, we must have seen each other on the street…” I knew that it was my time to exit, so I bowed my head slightly and walked away from him. Pesky little boy; he could have very well been my undoing. I had not gotten even twenty paces away before I heard the shouting.

         “That’s him, the man in black, that’s the man who killed Mr. Bell!” shouted Knotts, determined to bring about my apprehension.

         “The boy is delusional,” I screamed, but did not wait to see whose side the people had chosen. I quickly broke into a run, and sprinted all the way back to my room in the inn. Locking the door, I gathered the few belongings I had acquired in my short time, and began pondering my next move. Perhaps the watch was placed in my possession to punish me for what I had done. Certainly it would be worse to go to prison in the 1800s, before those incarcerated were afforded any unalienable rights. If God did in fact exist, this seemed a fitting castigation for the crimes I had committed against humanity.

         I looked down at the watch, but it did not flash anything across its lifeless screen. Nothing. Not even a simple message to cheer my spirits. I remember this being the darkest time of my existence, as the cold metal of my time travel device seemed all the more frigid, along with the blood in my veins. I decided that if I was to die, I would do so in style. I refused to be someone’s prisoner.

         It had been weeks since I had killed someone, and the absence of blood had made me grow weary. I left the inn, bag slung around my back, and made my way down the street. I did my best to be inconspicuous, but it did not seem to matter. Everywhere I looked, eyes were upon me, and a few times I even suspected that the passersby were planning to apprehend me themselves. Before long I came to a fork in the road; either direction could very well be the path to my imminent doom, and I believed it to be prudent to make my decision carefully. Unfortunately, I was not afforded this luxury.

         “Turn around slowly, and put your hands up!” shouted a man from behind me. Rolling my eyes, I raised my arms and turned to face my assailant. Though holding a gun, he was alone, and I smiled at him coyly.

         “So, you are the one to bring me in?” I asked.

         “That’s right, I am. The things my poor son had to see…just consider yourself lucky you didn’t frighten him to death!” Ah, another of the Knotts men. I did not know this one’s first name, but it did not matter; he was not a child, and was therefore fair game.

         “It is regrettable that your son was a part of this; I assure you that was not my intention.”

         “Whether you intended it or not, it happened. Now, walk slowly to me so I can take you to the police station,” he said, faux confidence his only ally.

         “Yes, of course, that is probably for the best.” Slowly, I made my way to the man, loathing haunting every step I took. Once I was only a foot or two away from him, I decided to try a trick so old it was not even entered into “the book”.

         “It appears help has arrived,” I said as I pointed behind Knotts. The fool actually turned around! It was a silly mistake; I pounced on him quickly and knocked him unconscious. Looking around, I found that lady luck was on my side; there was not another person in sight. Grabbing hold of the soundly sleeping Knotts, I made my way into the alley nearest my location.

         As the sun began to set, my now restrained prey awoke with a start. He struggled for a bit, but I did not allow him to continue.

         “My friend, the process will be a great deal more pleasant for you if you remain still,” I explained as I removed the cloth I had stuffed in his mouth.

         “What do you intend to do with me?” he asked, his panic ringing clearer than his words.

         “I believe you know the answer to that question.”

         “Please, do not kill me. I have a family.”

         “Do not beg, Mr. Knotts, it does not suit you. Your son is old enough to carry on your name, I am sure,” I responded with a smile.

         “Why are you doing this?” he asked, causing me to chuckle.

         “Why? What an interesting question. I suppose it is because my mother did not hold me when I was a child…”

         “That is a terrible shame,” said Knotts, trying to be supportive.

         “No, I am of course kidding. I am simply going to end your life for the fun of watching you die.”

         “Is there nothing I can do?”

         “You mean other than sprout wings and fly away? No, I do not believe there is any chance you will survive this encounter,” I explained, suckling on the man’s misery like a thirsty infant.

         “Please, don't disturb my face. I don't want my family to see me disfigured.”

         “Sir, you speak to me as if I am anything other than a monster. I suggest you save your breath.” Knotts nodded, in the way I have grown accustomed to seeing in this righteous line of men. It was not through sadness, or terror that this man shook his head, but rather an acceptance of his fate. Replacing the rag in my victim’s mouth, I viewed the area in the hopes of procuring a weapon. Nothing presented itself.

         “I am afraid, Mr. Knotts, that I will have to kill you with my bare hands. I apologize for the discomfort you may feel, as I can assure you that you shall not die a hasty death.” Before I could take hold of his throat, however, I heard a boy shouting from a short distance.

         “There he is! He has my father!” Before I could respond, or for that matter, even look up, a series of gunshots sounded, followed by the intense pain of bullets piercing my body. I do not suggest sampling the sensation of being shot; I can assure you it is quite unpleasant. I fell to the ground in a heap, certain that my time on earth had ended.

         But it had not. In fact, as I searched my body, I could find no visible wounds. The agony was most certainly present, but even that had begun to dissipate.

         “He does not bleed!” shouted a man I assumed to be a police officer.

         “He is in league with Lucifer!” exclaimed another man. I was quite confused with the situation, and began to lose focus. My pain grew to immense heights, and everything became dark and cold. The men’s voices now seemed to be distant, and the image before me began to spin at a furiously fast rate. Then, there was blackness. That same desolate place I had been to once before, and as I felt around to find my bearings, I noticed the watch had begun to glow. Peering at it, I could see a message typed across its face. In simple, block letters it said, “CLOSE CALL”.

         “I could not agree more, good sir watch. Where are we going now?” The screen became blank, until moments later another message appeared: “1402”.

         “Ah, another year…and what, pray tell, are we going to do in the year 1402?” The watch cleared itself once again, and hastened to give me my answer; “FUN”.

         “That, my dearest friend, is what I had hoped you would say.” With a soft smile and armed with the images of what I hoped to be an exciting future, I forged onward into the unknown. I did not know what the future, or as the case may be, the past, would bring. But with my lust for blood and a new ally helping to quench this thirst, I knew that wherever I went I would have a hell of a time.

Dry not your eyes, feel free to weep and wail,
For this, dear friends, is the beginning of my tale,
Expect murder, and mayhem, and all other sorts of fun,
Just know you are not safe, kind reader, now my story’s begun!
© Copyright 2007 Adam P. Rothstein (adamr69 at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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