Walking along the cliffs that night the sea air filled my lungs. I could feel the grit of the sand that bled into my shoes, taste the salt on the wind. Though it wasn’t the sea that brought me out on that night. It was the rage that moved my feet. The rage that had built inside me until I could barely contain it. It had been a while since I had felt such fury, but now that it was upon me...it begged to be released.
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I, like the moon, seemed to hide as I approached the man standing in the tall grass. While I was drawing closer he bent, then stood again, then bent, then stood again.
He could have been anyone, yet everyone. Standing there in front of me, his very presence enraged me further. How could he be so confident? Standing alone on a dark night fooling around in the grass and for what?...only to be killed by me. He had bet his life this night he was the lion and not the lamb, and only the blade in my hand told me that it was a fool’s wager.
I contemplated my move for an instant. As I drew the blade over my head, I used the butt of the knife to strike him on the back of the neck. He reeled forward and spun on his heels. The look of surprise only added to my anger.
“How could you not have been expecting me?” I screamed as I lunged towards him.
“Whuhhhaaa?” was all he could mutter as I drove the blade home. My rage drove the knife deeper into his abdomen until I hit the back side of his rib cage. I had no time to revel in my handy work as I twisted my tool and pulled it free of him.
His surprise turned to horror with the realization that he was mortally injured. That only added fuel to my fire and I drove the knife in again, this time higher, missing his heart, but clearly striking a lung. The gurgle was unmistakable as I withdrew the knife again.
His hands found my knife and tried to stop my wicked advance. I slashed at his hands then aimed for his throat, he was to quick and fell away before I could quench my angry thirst with the kill I so richly deserved.
The tall grass and the darkness of the night seemed to swallow him up as he fell. I was forced to lean forward to find my target. As I did so, he managed to mouth the words
“How did you know...How did you find us?”
I moved the knife to his throat, then paused. The rage still begged for satisfaction, begged me to bury the knife in his throat and watch the life leave him. Yet I held my blade as I bent to his side.
“Did you say us?” I whispered
“The girl...(gurgle)...it was her fucking cell phone, the call did go through?” He asked
“What fucking phone call?...what fucking girl?...”
As I stared back at him, even in the dim light I could see the life drifting away from him. My rage had been satisfied, even if not with the ferocity it demanded. I shook him, but he was gone. I pushed the knife into his throat just the same, but it held no glory, with the eyes dead the joy was lost.
I fell back in the grass, staring up at the dark sky. “What us?” I asked myself, allowing my breath to slow. I had learned before that people would say some crazy shit when they are in the midst of being murdered. It wasn’t the first time somebody had mentioned other people, hell, one guy had even asked me to say goodbye to his wife while blood poured from a gash I made in his neck. I mean, imagine, telling the guy that is killing the fuck out of you that he should go pay a visit to your wife if only to say goodbye.
I had just about convinced myself that it was nothing more than talk, when I heard it. It was small, no more than a whisper at first. Then I heard it again, this time a little louder...by the third time there was no mistaking it...somebody was saying the word help. It seemed to be coming from a nearby tree. I stood to walk towards the tree and heard it again this time louder.
“Help Me....is anybody there?”
As I walked towards the voice, I kicked something in the tall grass below. Looking down I saw the distinctive illumination of a cell phone.
I picked up the phone, I could see the display was blinking the word “panic” and had three numbers directly below it “911”. I ran the few steps towards the voice and found a woman in a fetal position holding her throat. Most her clothes had been ripped from her body. She looked up at me in horror.
“Are you all right?” I asked. She stared at me for a moment, eyes straining for some recognition.
“Is he gone?” She gasped, still holding her throat.
“You’re safe...You’re safe.” Is all I could think to say.
“Thank God you came along, he tried to kill me.” She began to sob. “He was strangling me with my own scarf.” She said, teetering on hysterical, yet clutching her throat and still unable to emit much noise.
Considering my options of fleeing or killing her I bent towards her, the bloody knife still in my hand. Just as I had decided that I still had enough rage to carry me through finishing off the girl the world exploded. Light seemed to flood from every direction, white burning light, mixed with blues and reds. Before I even had a chance to realize what was happening I heard a loudspeaker announce “Freeze, this is the police!”
Still stunned, I instinctively dropped the knife and cell phone, stepping away from the girl. I raised my hands above my head and before I could do much else, I felt a shoulder hit my stomach with incredible force. Knocking the wind out of me I soon found myself on the ground and in handcuffs.
The next few hours were a bit of a blur and I wasn’t really sure of all the details. I can say that some time around midnight they came to my cell and took the handcuffs off of me. I knew something must have changed because they started calling me Mr. Johnson and asking me if I needed a cup of coffee. One of the police officers was kind enough to apologize to me and to explain that arresting me was understandable, since they had found me covered in blood and holding a knife.
Walking out the door of the Police Station after killing that man at the beach was strange, but not the strangest thing to come of that night. Four and a half weeks later, I was brought in front of a city council meeting and given an award for bravery in the face of personal peril. The Mayor of our small town shook my hand and told me he wished more citizens were as brave as selfless as I was that night. The woman I saved hung a small medal around my neck and kissed me on the cheek, then thanked me for saving her life. She went on to say that I was a hero and that she would never forget me.
It’s been over six months since that night on the beach. That experience changed my life in many ways. I think I have gained a new respect for life. I’m not sure if I’m technically a “Hero”, but I feel different somehow. Don’t get me wrong, the rage inside me still thirsts for blood and I have no choice but to quench it. But, now I wear the medal on the nights when I go out. I pick them more carefully now. I’m not sure I always get the bad ones...they look bad though. And sometimes I pass people over, sometimes they just look, well...like nice people, so I move on.
And since that night, I take extra time now, to make sure...my victims walk alone.
It wasn't my fault...I fell asleep and missed my stop.