A/N: Hey, so I'm sorry this story is really short. I wrote it for a short story competition, and it had to be less than a thousand words. I still added some more afterwards, but not much. Please don't be put off my the length! (also, rated T just in case) - U


If I had a dollar for every time I indulged in my atrocious habit,

I'd be a rich man.

By no means am I proud of it, but I can't really help it. It's insatiable.

I try my hardest to live my normal life, but it sneaks up on me, like a shadow suddenly thrown into stark relief.

Nobody knows about my little secret.

Not even my wife. I love her, and she'd leave me if she knew. I'd be put in a straitjacket and locked up in a room with padded walls.

I am not crazy.

I swear.

Take it this way: some people like painting; others like writing. My hobby is a little more… unconventional. Ungodly? Perhaps. The omnipotent entity that purveys us all, that One might be stricken to know of it.

Luckily for me, I don't believe in Him.

My lovely wife is in the living room, her nose in a book, no doubt. I myself am upstairs, preparing.

Preparing for what, you ask.

All in due course.

Just don't say I didn't warn you. Don't start screaming or running away. I won't hurt you.

I have my wickedly sharp knife. It's so beautiful, the way it gleams menacingly, catches the light dazzlingly. It is a ruthless combination of beauty and terror, and I love it. Into my bag the knife goes. The bag is black, just like my jumper. Devoid of brightness and merriment. I am careful not to look too suspicious in my attire, however.

Creeping down the stairs, I slink out of the back door and into the night, the darkness devouring me. I can't rightly remember exactly when I first delved into my habit, but I was a teenager. Just a skinny boy who discovered he could inflict pain on others, after they had spent years tormenting him with cruel names and laughter at his expense.

At first I had only done it to people who had done me wrong. Eventually, though, I branched out a little. Did it to people who I didn't even know. I don't feel guilty when I do it; it just comes naturally, the same way singing or football comes naturally to others.

I am a happy man, as long as this entire affair is kept private from the harsh and judging eye of society. Oh, people simply wouldn't understand what goes on in my head. They would be afraid, and when people are afraid, they tend to lash out. It will be my head in the guillotine. And right now, I know exactly what you're thinking; you're thinking that would serve me right. I know you are, because I may have wondered it myself on a couple of rare occasions.

That's not how the world works, though. An eye for an eye? I don't think so. This is just something I enjoy doing. Now tell me, is that such a bad thing? That I derive amusement from this, perhaps it could be seen as bad, but I try not to dwell on that too much. I just do it, and have fun while I'm doing it, too.

You think I'm a monster, don't you?

Perhaps I am, but you might like me if you met me. If you didn't know my secret.

I prowl the streets where there are few people. The stars wink down at me as if they know what is going to happen tonight, but know they are powerless to stop it.

Arriving at an empty alleyway, I skulk amongst the shadows, revelling in their inky viscosity. At least, they feel that way to me; so tangible and corporeal.

Silently, I bring the knife out of my bag. Grip it tightly. I am not nervous, though; on the contrary, I am never more confident than when I am doing this.

Footsteps.

I stand still and alert. One unsuspecting person will not arrive back home tonight.

It is a young man – he can't be more than twenty-five years of age. He has his hands in his pockets and is softly humming a little tune to himself. A fedora is perched jauntily atop his neat hair. How hateful. His defences lowered, he has absolutely no clue what is going to happen. I almost pity him.

Almost.

I take a step towards him and he hears. He whips around, eyes wide. Placidly, almost serenely, I draw my sharp knife across his throat. The man doesn't even have time to cry out. I have cut so deep that he is dead before he hits the ground.

Blood pools on to the dirty ground beneath him, deep, deep red. He lies spread-eagled, and his pale blue eyes are still open, blank and ghostly. They stare up at me, imploring me of my sins.

I am still clutching the knife, and it drips with his blood. How pleasing it is to be able to cause such beguiling damage. I get a kick out of the faint whisper of the blade, the frightened expression in my victims' eyes as they realise their fate. As they realise they will not see the morning sun. As they realise what they're leaving behind. I like knowing how easy it is to douse the flame of life.

Yes, I think as I observe the young man's corpse with morbid fascination, what a pretty little secret I have…