They say that, after your first kill, it gets easier. And it does, if only because nothing else can quite match the first bleeding, lifeless body to fall by your hand.

Its been years, but he still wakes up in the night, eyes wide, body clenched in an icy sweat despite the fact that the room feels hot enough to make him suffocate. He pulls at his hair in an attempt to drive out the images of blue lips, blank eyes, and blood dripping down his arms though it's not his blood. He feels a hand grip his wrist deperately, hears that slashed voice box gurgle and keen in wordless pleas. He even feels the rattling breath of the Grim Reaper down the back of his neck as the victim's eyes go dark.

Tears fill his eyes and he chokes, fumbling under his pillow for the talisman he always keeps nearby. Shaking, he holds it out with one hand, as if to ward off the foreboding presence in the room, though he knows it's all only in his mind. He chants and prays in an unstable, quivering voice and finally the power of faith allows his instincts to calm. He cradles the talisman close to his chest and wipes the cold sweat from his brow, resisting the urge to scrub his hands of blood that's no longer there.

No other person he has killed sticks to his mind so vividly as that first one; that first simple draw of a blade that forever damned him to hell. There is no cure, and if there were he wouldn't seek it, thinking these nightmares to be more than he deserves. What right did he have to go to heaven anyway?

He the killer.

He the demon.

Even hell would spit him back out in distaste.

Curled tightly around his pillow and blanket, he finally falls into a disturbed, restless sleep as the sky lightens in welcome of the dawn that chases the shadows away and places in his lap another name to assassinate.


I was listening to Cherish by Ai Otsuka when I wrote this. My mind was doing some wandering and the words to a story about the nightmares of a seasoned killer formed in my mind. Of course, I had to write them down, and here it is. The fangirlish part of me likes to think that the unnamed man is a shinobi(ninja).

I originally thought of him having a knife under his pillow, but the talisman quickly won over that. People generally think that people who work as assassins, ninja, etc, are more prone to not believe in a higher power than normal people. That's obviously not the case here and I really liked that thought.

Read, review, and all that jazz,