He was on a train. The world whizzed by him in a blur, the green leaves and brown bark of the trees meshing together in a medley of earthy tones. The colors, along with the speed and light swaying of the car, calmed him greatly. Not that he needed it. His business bothered him little. It got unsettling at times, but he liked it. To see the emotions flit across their faces was a fascinating spectacle, almost magical. Especially women. They always had that one extra emotion, that one feeling that never ceased to flatter him. But he wasn't picky. It didn't matter to him. Men, women, and children too, were fair game.
His fingers, all but invisible, raced along the keys. As he barely tapped the small, square buttons, various programs flashed across the bright screen. They swiftly popped up, and then darted away just as fast. He almost didn't even need to look. The familiar set of his hands, the bend of his neck, the click of the keys; each movement was now a subconscious reflex. His many trials and errors had turned him into a seasoned professional. Now that he'd worked out the kinks, it only took around thirty minutes. A long, agonizing thirty minutes for those as demanding as him. But he'd done this many times before. Somehow, even the gentle rocking of the train and the thunks it made as it sped along the tracks seemed repetitious. His mind hovered in a sort of Zen, unperturbed, totally at ease in his element.
But now was a moment of excitement. Elation pulsed through his veins. Soon. Very soon. The half-hour wait that had become routine was now in the final stretch.
Within minutes it was all his. A few brief moments, and he'd have his golden ticket. But an inkling of impatience seeped into his thoughts. He kept his hard drive spotless and updated so it was as efficient as possible. And still it wasn't fast enough. Unconsciously, his rhythmic smacking of the keys sped up. In one lithe movement, he swept his hand through his dark, artfully messy hair. A nervous habit.
He was so close. Just a few more clicks and—
"Excuse me, Sir," a voice said. He snapped his head up, fingers locked in a dead stop. A blonde woman stood before him, tall and lean. She wore a blue suit that was significantly oversized. Her hunched shoulders swam in the large blazer, thin legs looking grotesquely brittle as they extended from the baggy pencil skirt. Her light hair was slicked back, and the tight bun made her head seem impossibly small. She looked like a frail librarian and was shockingly out of place on a train.
"I don't mean to be a bother," she said, going red, "but may I please punch your ticket?" He gauged her reaction, then his own expression. He himself knew the rare emotion of irritation sending tremors of anxiety rolling through his body. He was hyper-aware of the knife he had concealed in the front pouch of his pack, and the itch in his hand to whip it out and shove it through her throat. But, judging by the blush seeping rapidly along her pale face, he concluded that she only saw his perfectly messy brown hair with blond highlights, evenly-toned skin, full lips, flawless teeth, and brilliant blue-green eyes. And she was probably intoxicated by his innate air of peace and comfort. As he checked his facial arrangement, he realized the set of his beautiful features was a mask of serenity, nothing more than a soothing placidness. So he decided it was safe to gaze up at her through his lashes and flash his blinding smile.
"Of course," he murmured, keeping his voice soft and alluring. "I apologize for making you wait." As he leaned over to retrieve his ticket, a ray of golden sunshine broke through the window and glinted of his silken locks. He heard her gasp quietly and frowned slightly to himself. Disappointment tugged at his heart that the sound was not a rasping puff, which signaled the final breath. And it hurt him to let her breaths continue. But he quickly yanked out the piece of paper before he could find the hilt of his weapon. With a small sigh and intense stare, he handed the blonde the ticket. First, she dropped the puncher. Then, as she attempted to retrieve it, she kicked another passenger in the arm with her deadly heel.
He rolled his piercing eyes as she finally righted herself and punctured the thin strip of paper with a shaking hand. How long could it honestly take? The heat from his black computer was suddenly burning into his legs, a white flame of frustration ripping through his body and shredding his congenital restful composure. He felt his control slipping as the fire rampaged along his nerves. Without warning, his fingers brushed along the rough fabric of his pack. His skin touched the zipper of the front pouch, his sacred hiding place. The cold metal was soothing against his warm hand, a whisper of the smooth, icy blade…
No. He couldn't. Not yet. He was so close. Just out of reach. His attention flashed to the computer screen. Literally seconds left; the sight sent impatience roiling in his stomach. In his mind's eye, he could already see the blood spilling, scarlet liquid coating the shimmering knife, the life slipping out of their frightened eyes…oh so close…
He just had to fight it. Battle the urge. Focus on the control. As he dragged a long breath through his nose, the woman looked up, his ticked finally poked. Her mouth fell open slightly as she took in his new menacing glare. His brow hovered darkly over his now-chilling eyes, light pink lips set in a tight line of restraint. Though his face was still captivating and beautiful, she wanted nothing more than to escape his ferocious expression. She knew her mere presence was trying his last nerve.
"Here, Sir," she stuttered, politeness disappearing as she chucked the slip in his general direction. The blond clacked quickly and noisily down the aisle, sending a wave of perfume-saturated air breezing into his face. With each breath he took, the fresh scent sailed through his airways, a calming aroma of nameless flowers and warm honey. A clean smell, yet tastefully sweet. Assuaging to him in particular, it seemed, he was suddenly serene, once more in utter control. The wild, raging anger had ebbed away as soon as it had come. He found his hand resting on the keyboard of his laptop, no longer stinging with the dire need to rip the glinting blade along the jugular artery pulsating beneath her pale, weak skin. His muscles were his once more. They were not slaves to his obsessive desire to kill; they responded to him and him alone now.
And there, on his blaring computer screen, was his creation. No, not a creation. His baby. This is what he craved. This was the beginning of a dream come true. This was what he would surrender everything for.
This was his life now.
With a steady hand, he traced a finger around the edges of the program. The screen, so smooth and delicate, glided beneath his touch. It was his gateway to a world where he could slake his lust for bloodshed. Month after torturous month had been spent on this gem, perfecting and testing and resetting everything one could imagine. It was finished.
Everything was coming together now. His plan was set, his weapon was in position, and the virus was finally ready. The time was now.
He felt a great sense of complacency. Running a large hand through his thick locks, he stared at the back of the scared woman's head as she punched others' tickets. He'd reigned in his necessity to kill her. Never in his life had he ever had to do something so difficult. And, though it was her fault in the first place, she'd put his self control to the test. He'd been given the chance to refine it, and he'd taken it. Another skill was added to his immense arsenal of abilities. He'd cleared his gorgeous head. Not an easy feat. He felt compelled to do something for her, to thank her. To repay her somehow.
She would not die today.