This was the first fiction story I'd ever written, and in the past year it has gone through so much editing and evolved so much. Quite honestly, I'm proud of how far it's come. I know it's still not perfect, and I don't expect it to be, but I hope you like what you read.

Also, let me just say that the sentences being so short was a stylistic thing. Anyone who's read anything else that I've ever written can tell you that I am absolutely the queen of long, winding sentences with a ton of detail… Anyways, to the story!

~oOo~

I stared down a young boy. He slowly became lost in the crowd that was exiting the factory. He doesn't know what he's dealing with, I thought to myself, chuckling. I entered the alleyway with Nathaniel.

Nathaniel was my best friend. He and I worked in the gun factory on the far end of the city, spending our weekends fumbling with the weapons in a dimly lit room. We had first taken the job to put food on the table for our families. After they had died, the job was our only source of money. When we weren't working, we were dreaming up elaborate, better worlds.

Some called our daydreaming childish. I called it our escape from the world. In this fantasy, he was a secret agent for the President. I was an assassin. Everyone in our neighborhood said that Nathaniel and I were insane. This was a lie, of course. I am not and never will be crazy. But this perception often had its benefits. For Nathaniel, it was a way to be alone and unbothered. For me, it was a cover for the death that lived on my hands.

I had discovered the beauty of death when my family died. There was perfection in death, in the way that it continued forever. No matter how things changed, death would always be a constant. I quickly became obsessed with it; with its endless cycle. No one knew how far my obsession had gone. No one but my victims.

This hobby, this obsession, this life went deeper than any living being knew. It was the only comfort to me; the only way to make sense of a life so stripped of any meaning or purpose.

The only people that I had ever cared about were gone. Not even Nathaniel mattered to me. I knew deep down that I was only humoring in playing our game of make-believe. For a few months, before his family joined mine at the grave, I had lived alone on the streets, while he lived happily in his home. He had never been truly alone like I had.

While I lived alone, I began sneaking into nearby apartments and killing people while their backs were turned. Men, women, children, whole families! It didn't matter to me. Whoever was home when I arrived died. I would raid their home and take what I could before disappearing into the alleyways at night.

It was partially for food and supplies, but usually the sole reason I killed was to fill the empty hole that had once been filled by my family. If I couldn't live with my family, neither could they. These people were worthless. Really, I was doing them a great honor by allowing them to die.

When Nathaniel's family had died, we moved into their small, dusty apartment together. No one questioned why these young boys were all alone. We began working in the gun factory, and I began to feel at home again with my new family. Nathaniel would never be family to me, but I felt connected with the guns. I could speak to them, and they understood me. I was their creator: I had brought them to life, and they were grateful. For a long time, they were all I needed.

My bloodlust had faded for some time, but eventually I could no longer control it. I bought a knife and hid it under my bed, away from Nathaniel's prying eyes. I began to sneak out at night and nourish my hunger again.

My usual death for lowly scum was a knife in the back, a quick and unexpected death. But as the year had rolled on, everyone was prepared. The news of a string of murders had gotten out. They were on their guard.

I was prepared as well. I had been practicing my aim with the guns that I had borrowed from the factory. I was working on one of my own, building it at home and making it perfect. I would steal the occasional part from the assembly line, slipping it into my pocket and taking it home. My work was almost finished, and soon I would be able to hold this creation up to their head as they begged and pleaded for mercy. Never would I grant it, though. No one deserved mercy. Not while I was alive to punish them.

A month ago, a police detective had arrived at our apartment for questioning. Not about the deaths, but about why we were living here on our own. He had only been armed with a small handgun. He was dead.

Dead.

Dead, dead! Never to return! Just like everyone else would be. Not I, though. I would live forever. I would have eternity to do the one thing that still mattered. Avenge.

Just the word sent shivers down my spine, readying me for a fight, lifting my spirits with the prospect of another death. I needed to avenge my family, of course, but there were others out there as well who had been wronged. Even those who I had killed already, they were gone now, and so they should be avenged as well. I couldn't do it alone, but I wasn't alone at all, really. I had my new family.

Oh, how I loved this second family. They would never quite replace what I had lost, but they were nothing to be ignored. They were just so beautifully crafted; so shiny. I felt sorry for the poor things, though. They would never see the blood of a person. Most of them were just for show or target practice. Always practicing, waiting for their turn with death.

I entered bedroom and pulled my gun out of a drawer. I had stolen the last piece today and I quickly added it to her shining body. I paused, admiring her finally finished frame.

Out of the small, dusty window in the corner of the room I saw a young girl returning home from work. I had talked to her in the factory weeks ago. She reminded me of my sister. They had the same small stature, the same brown hair and wide green eyes. She seemed to be around twelve years old, the age my sister had been when she died. I looked forward to killing her, finally avenging my poor Jeanette.

A life for a life. I avenged death by introducing death to more lowly humans, as I would forever.

It was an endless cycle.

It was perfect.

I took the gun, and loaded her. I paused, admiring her, deciding what her name would be. My sister's name slipped into my mind. Jeanette. Perfect. I could begin my new life with my sister by my side, as it should be.

I aimed at an imaginary person on the wall, picturing the young girl from the street. I pretended to shoot out her heart. Her lungs. Her eyes. Her brain. I touched the trigger lightly, backed up, aimed, and pretended to shoot again, and again, and again.

Blood was trickling from the girl's small body just like the rain that was beginning to fall outside. I imagined another body on the wall. It was Nathaniel. I paused. This was my friend. It didn't matter. Blood was pouring out of Nathaniel's body within minutes.

My mind prepared another body. But I was done with imagining. I wanted to kill.

The girl outside my window was farther down the street now, running home through the quickening rain. I opened the window, aimed at her small figure, and pulled. "Bang!" She collapsed on the cement, giving a wounded cry.

Jeanette was now lightly smoking. She looked even more beautiful now. She was happy. She had tasted blood.

The girl was still alive. She began to stand up, shaking and terrified. I shot once more, and she fell to the wet, bloodstained ground.

Nathaniel heard Jeanette. He ran into my room, looking at me in a mixture of horror and amazement. He was proud of me. He shouldn't be proud of me. He should be proud of the girl. She gave Jeanette the opportunity to kill. It was a noble sacrifice, indeed.

A woman on the street saw my open window. She saw my grinning face peeking out of the window and the gun in my hand. She cried out for the police.

Policemen materialized from the dark corners of the street. Then they were at the front of our shabby apartment building, breaking down the door. I saw Nathaniel run for the fire escape. The armed men surrounded me, ripping Jeanette from my hands. I struggled, fighting for Jeanette. I wouldn't let her disappear, not again. My fist connected with someone's head. An arm wrapped around my neck, and the world became laced with black spots that grew until I couldn't see…

The cycle of death is over.

Ending with me.

~oOo~

Thanks for reading! Please leave me a review and tell me your thoughts on this. I'd like to make this as good as I possibly can, so all help is appreciated.

Goodnight,

~StarlessRaven~