The Nobody

The attic's boarded walls and floors creaked and snapped lightly from the swelling brought about by the chilled, moist air. The insulation had failed over the years, and the weathering had left small holes in the roof's shingles, and splits between the boards. The blinding, artificial luminescence of the helicopters' search lights intermittently poured in. The light was just enough to brush the horror stricken features and glisten on the dead eye of his last victim, vanishing gingerly and angling away, withdrawn and saying farewell with a final shine on the blade of the axe that lay next to him. He sat against the cold wall on the uncomfortable, splintering floor, relaxed and examining his latest kill from beneath tattered hair.

She was pale, her skin a frosted sheet of ice, cold with death, and the last trembling moments of fear. Upon her face was locked that last distorted expression of terror, wide-eyed, glazed of old tears, lips cracked and blue, and her hair bedraggled and knotted from struggle. Her face, however tell-tale, left nothing to be said of her body, as her head lay severed, rested on its left ear against the wooden floorboards. Her face reminded him of tales of Japanese horror, tales of cursed souls left to spread their suffering in the realm of the living. In effect, she was just that.

She lay there staring at him, making eye contact with him, judgmental and depressing, as if to ask him, in a breath that had already passed, "Why?" He sucked his tongue at the back of his teeth distastefully, thinning his eyes at her, irritated at the hypothetical question.

She kept staring at him. Judging him. Tormenting him without life in her veins, perhaps the last of it dripping between the floorboards from her neck. As the seconds passed, it was as if she spoke, silently, furiously screaming at him, and it was deafening. He sat grating his teeth together, self-conscious and self-loathing.

His eyes drifted from her, shy and malcontent, but magnetized back to her dead gaze as the intense, blue beams poured through the rooftop. Again and again, the question renewed itself, "Why?" Eventually, the question of why became a question of whom, a question of what it meant to be who he was. Why, indeed, was he a ruthless killer? Why was he who he was? And who, indeed, was he?

Nobody.

In truth, he thought with an apologetic look, his existence knew no substance of name or purpose, no history. Therein, perhaps, lay a void with need to be filled, a chasm of emptiness that he had, somehow, solaced in the violent act of murder. For concern of origins, his mind knew only derelict chaos. Images of blinding lights, sparks and low flames, the scent of embalming fluids, medicinal chemicals that he could not place, and the sounds of blades against blades, all in sync of a tragic serenade as he lay flat on his back, fading in and out of consciousness.

The light and clarity, however momentary, of that scenery were fleeting and short-lived. His earliest moment of semi-sound mind was in an engulfing darkness, and his vision faded from the fog of slumber into a sharp, subliminal understanding. The room lay in splinters and shambles, surgical beds overturned and bandaged in the shreds of their own sheets, surgical instruments astray from their drawers and scattered with them across the chrome-plated tiling. The low hung lights were torn from their wiring on the ceiling, and a lone, violently sparking wire writhed in the air, giving brief, flitting intervals of light to the room.

A heavy, swirling vertigo accompanied his consciousness. His vision seemed to flash from one point of view to the next against his will, randomly and slowly shifting, and sometimes hurriedly during come-and-go moments of heart-throbbing panic. As the tattered wire lashed and flicked a final few static bolts into the air, the bulb of the next light down the row flashed in brilliance and exploded in droplets of fire, giving a soft light to the room with its dying fuse heated to red. In that light, he saw terror.

At a slight distance, bodies littered the ground in the manner of fleeing horror, struck down where they stood before they could get away, some outstretched as through to crawl away, some curled into fetal positions, all of graying skin and of bloodied clothing. Some were chemists, others were surgeons, and a few, but obviously not enough, were soldiers. Among the pile of corpses was but one survivor, barely conscious, a doctor pinned between the weight of two heavy soldiers, his own limbs broken and twisted.

As this man stared at him, his features displayed all of the signs of terror that his energy-drained body could muster; quickened breathing wracked his ribs, and his muscles twitched, but his face was exhaustedly immobile, staring at him from beneath welling tears and charred skin. A sharp pain in his head struck him, but he could still hear the doctor's movements as he pressed his palms against his temples and winced, shutting his eyes hard.

He could hear him slapping a frustrated hand at the holster of the soldier nearby him, attempting to tug out his gun but failing. He could hear the jingling and clicking of the rivet buttons as a jittery hand undid them, the sliding of metal from rough cloth as the gun was drawn, the distinctive, sequenced clicks of the hammer pulled back by a weakened thumb. He could almost feel the man's convulsive shaking as he drew in short, hard, whining breaths and the metal of the gun lightly rattled in his unsteady hand.

He looked up to face the terrified doctor once more, along with the barrel of a readied glock. He couldn't speak in his own defense, but a slight groan of discomfort was enough to sway the nervous doctor's trigger finger. At the sound, his body jolted with a terror-stricken scream, and without thinking, he fired three panicked shots. Each clinking burst from the barrel left him recoiling before the doctor's eyes, but there was no pain. He examined himself, pierced and bloodied, red flowing from between his teeth, but there was no pain.

He looked up to see the doctor's face, glasses dusty and cracked, face glazed with new tears over fine facial hair, baring his teeth in a heavy wince. He could hear the doctor's soft, pitiful, sobs, and he muttered incoherently, forming words slowly between sniffles and gasps, "…What have we done…? God…forgive us…"

As he watched the doctor's final movements, the entirety of his being was overcome by a seething combination of rage and sorrow, his skin taking on the tone of faded gunmetal, and covered in protruding, jet black veins. The blood that seeped from him became as black as his waking darkness, and he could feel this muscles in his face tightening and pulling back, exposing his blackened gums, and his jaw seemed to dislocated as he released a terrible, chilling, ambient moan against his will.

The sight struck the doctor with terror, his sobs driving him to convulsion. Slowly, he drew the end of the barrel beneath his chin and raised his gaze to the ceiling, pulling the trigger and, with a jarring burst, painting the wall red with pieces of his skull and his final rest, relief from terror and regret.

As his vision shook once more into violent, displaced vertigo, he knew that he was nobody, and his grudge would bleed into the masses. He woke into terror and violence, a horror that would infect and curse those that would deny him a self. As he passed out of conscious thought, his eyes rolled back in their sockets, and he wondered where he might wake again, what terrible sin he would commit.