Shield of Shadows
By Ryan Bridendolph
Copyright © 2010 by Ryan Bridendolph
All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof
may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever
without the express written permission of the publisher
except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
It lurked there, still and waiting, cold and dead yet so full of life. Leisurely it crept forward, the brilliant moonlight giving it pause. Then, arching around the parked vehicle on the other side of the street, its sweet chill enveloped me. As the shadow consumed me I felt a release, but as suddenly as the release came a tightness swelled in my chest, the shadow, ever a heavy burden. The time had nearly come. I crouched, motionless behind bushes, wearily waiting my prey. He had to soon. I could not wait much longer.
My fingers trembled in anticipation, and just as I thought my head would swell and explode a dark figure appeared. It breached the darkness of the shadow, and as it approached the car, the moonlight revealed its nature to me. A man in his forties, wearing a very expensive looking jet black suit. He sported a blood red tie that stood out to me, brighter than the glorious moon, illuminated by my own desire. The red became brighter and more distinct as the shadow dragged the man back into dark obscurity. The moon and clouds were playing a game with me. How fun.
I knew it must be this man. Knew since I first arrived at that party, and saw the tie. That tie! I wondered if he knew it would be his undoing. Leaning against his ride, the man blew smoke rings into the night air, not a care in the world. He should have cared about me.
The man was so rude to me at the party, when I asked about his tie. Treated me like some kind of plague. But even with his vile rudeness, and uncouth attitude, it all came down to that tie; oh how I wished to wrap it around his pretentious little neck!
The orange tint of his electronic cigarette grew dimmer as it gradually bled its charge. I knew I had to move then, before it was too late, before he escaped. Strafing deliberately to the side, I kept behind the row of bushes, using the shadow as my shield. It had never failed me before, and wouldn't now. As I grew closer I could see the smug look on his face. I slowly plodded my way across the street as he turned away from me, and crept behind his car. My razor sharp blade slid, smooth and hungry, from its sheathe, and I waited, still, silent, and cold, for the perfect moment. My breathing stopped as he turned my way, but my shield kept me from his gaze.
He shrugged, nonchalantly, and began to open his door. Now. Forward like a snake I jolted with more venom than a viper. I snatched a fist full of his hair and jerked his head back with a snap and brought my blade to his neck. He gurgled in protest as I gently pushed the knife to his throat, a trickle of red, slick blood sliding down and landing on his tie. How beautiful.
"Your tie is very nice" I told him
My victim struggled to speak, but I wasn't interested in hearing his putrid voice and pushed the knife deeper, "No no. I would never rob you of it. Do I look like a thief?"
His body shook in my arms and his weight sluggishly pressed into me, but as it did the knife nicked him again and he held his own weight. I reached down and rubbed my finger down the tie. It was silk and smooth against my skin. I brought it around his neck and pulled tight, and as his hands soared up to save himself, I dragged the knife murderously across his neck. As he gasped for air blood pooled down his suit. At least the tie was safe.
I found myself to be rather chipper in the early hours of the morning. Such usually happened after an eventful evening. Even with keeping such a late hour, I was unusually awake; I even decided to skip my morning coffee. The thought gave me the shakes. I decided better of it. Routine is good for the mind.
After drinking my coffee, black of course, I pulled on my sweat pants and running shirt and headed out into the brisk morning air. A morning jog was also part of my routine, one of my favorite parts in fact. Loved seeing the decaying trees, leavings falling here and there on the ground.
The few other joggers were a nuisance, but that's why I kept myself away from the parks. Those people were wicked, and up to no good. They always seemed to be watching me, and I hated being watched. So I kept to myself on the back roads when I could.
While jogging up a steep hill, I came across the local appliance store. I paused to peer inside, they always had the morning news on at this hour. I could see the huge TV's through the transparent glass. The news was indeed on, as always. I had begun to become concerned.
They were running a story about a 'Detective Hawk' in Los Venas. He was tracking an alleged serial killer. They flashed photos of the killer's last victim, and my stomach churned when I saw it. The tie. It was on TV, and they didn't even mention it.
I watched, attentively, as the detective gave his suggested profile of the killer. How accurate. This would become a problem. No real clues though, as the News woman had implied, or I'd have been surrounded. Surrounded by those flashing lights, and that sound. I hated that sound.
I became much too upset to continue my morning jog, and turned back to my homestead.
When I arrived home I was greeted by a set table, with three plates placed. Did I do that? I couldn't recall. Perhaps breakfast was ready. The aroma of fried eggs swarmed my nostrils as I entered the kitchen. Yes, breakfast was done. After grabbing the hot sauce from the fridge I prepared the plates on the table. Me at the head, of course, and two at the sides.
Where could my wife be? I know I'm early, but she should be here. Oh there she is.
She was sitting on my right, in front of the eggs I had placed on the plate. "Would you like hot sauce my dear." I asked her sweetly
"No dear, you know I don't like hot things." She answered
"Oh yes, I forgot. And you Tommy?"
My son looked up at me, "No papa. Not today."
They looked so ungrateful, "More for me then." I said, and began eating after dashing on a plentiful dose of sauce. I looked over at my spouse, and noticed she was not eating. She detected my attention, turning her head to face me, and when she did a small stream of blood trickled down her neck and onto her blouse.
"You're dripping dear." I told her
Her eyes became distant, "Yes. It's hard to stop it. You cut too deep. Come tommy, I think it's time for us to go."
I blinked, and they were gone. They never stayed long anymore; and they didn't eat their eggs.
I sat in my recliner for the longest while, longer than I realized, deep in quiet contemplation. When I peered out my window the sun was on its way out, and I knew my friend, the moon, would soon make an appearance. Thinking of the detective made my hand start to shake. Was I afraid? What an awful feeling if so.
Something would have to be down about him.
I decided after, a few moments, that what I needed was a night on the town. It was unusually soon for another excursion, but I could not keep my mind at ease. I needed it. After getting dressed I got into my car and took off towards the city.
Three hours went by, as I went from club to club. I just couldn't find anyone interesting. They were all so…bland. So boring. What had the city come to? I had just about given up as I drifted down a nearly vacant street. Then I saw him. He sat, with his head laid back in blissful rest, alone in his marked car. It sat beneath a flickering street light. How poetic.
I parked down the street and watched, waiting, the cool night air sinking into my skin. Time grinded forward and the jittering returned to me. My bones quivered with anticipation. I hopped out and made my way towards the car, casually, my hands in my pockets. As I passed the car I peered in, seeing if the cop was truly asleep. He was.
I walked around the corner, hiding, and picked up a rock off the road. I tossed the rock and it landed with a loud thump. The officer, jolted awake, scanned around his car, looking for whatever made that noise. He knows he didn't dream it. It was too real.
He go out out; just as I expected, and brought out his thick flashlight. As he rounded the corner I lurched and drove my blade into his neck. He dropped with a gurgle and convulsed on the ground before me. I kneeled down, beside my dying victim, watching the life fade from his eyes. Dark blood flooded the ground around us, and pooled at my feet.
He gasped his last breath, and I scanned the darkness for witnesses, and finding none, I walked to my car. I had been reckless. It was too soon. The act didn't fill the void I realized as I regarded my shaking hands.
I know why; because it wasn't 'him'. That detective from TV. That's who I wanted. Needed. Before he found me. Nathan Hawk, yes, that was his name. I'll find him, and I'll finish him. Then I'll be ok. I won't be sick anymore. Or maybe, he would end me, and I'd find peace.
I laughed out loud as I reached my car, and I shook so violently that I couldn't open the door. There was no peace for me. What a ridiculous concept; peace. There is only suffering.
The cop had not satisfied my blood lust. I kept watching the news; kept seeing him. Nathan Hawk. It was his blood I needed to spill. Some ordinary cop wouldn't do, this was a matter of fate. We were destined to meet in battle.
I spent days, and nights, deep in research, searching for Detective hawk. I had to learn where he lived, where he ate. I must know my enemy to defeat him, and I would. I found his place of residence, and decided, tonight was the night.
I took my beat up car out early, the sun was still up, and drove to Los venas. My adrenaline flared as I got closer to my destination, to the final confrontation. Barely containing myself I pulled onto his block, parking several houses down, and waited, foot tapping, fingers shaking, for the right time.
I counted the seconds as the sun winded down, leaving the stage open for the lustful moon. As the light dwindled I could feel my blood pressure rising. It was everything I could do not to run in now, knife flailing. But I had to move cautiously, of course, this one would not be taken easily.
After an eternity, in my head, the sun had fallen, and the moon was high. I got out, knife in hand, and steadily made my way across the grass and to the home of Nathan hawk. Approaching the house I peered in through the windows, and I could make out, with the help of a flickering candle, a table, set for two.
Oh I hope they saved room for me.
I reached toward the door knob, my heart thumping voraciously, so loud I was afraid they would be alerted to my presence. My hand lingered there, and with diligence, I gradually moved my hand onto the knob and precisely turned it. So slowly I turned it that it twisted without a sound, and I tugged it open with grace.
I peered into the room, lit beautifully by candlelight, and searched for my prey. He was nowhere to be seen. Noises crawled from the kitchen, and I avoided it as I crept and sneaked through each room. They must be in the kitchen.
I entered it, slowly, and was perplexed. He was not at home; but someone was.
My nemesis returned home an hour after I had arrived. His wife, a very lovely woman, and I had been spending some quality time together. He had been too busy to come home on time to the wonderfully delicious meal his wife had slaved over. I found it to be quite pleasant, and was glad I got to partake; it had been some time since I last had a home cooked meal.
My target entered, after fumbling with his keys on the lock. His keys dropped to the floor as he saw us; I with my blade twirling in my fingers, his wife tied to the chair next to me.
He didn't seem to comprehend my presence, and just stood dumbstruck by the door, "Your dinner was getting cold Detective. I couldn't let it go to waste, your wife worked so hard on it, I hope you don't mind."
He was still, and calm, clutching a gorgeous bouquet of flowers in his hand, and when he spoke his voice projected stern steadiness, "Get away from my wife."
I snickered, "No, I don't think will. You basically invited me. I saw on the news you've been looking for me."
The revelation did not faze him, and he remained still, and restrained, contemplating his next move. Our chess game had started to bore me, and the need for blood renewed my shaking. He saw this and took a step forward, his hand going to his gun, and I jerked the knife up to his wife's neck.
"Not so fast" I said to him with a smile.
He paused, but said nothing, simply staring at me with relentless eyes. They were cold, and filled with hatred I had never seen in another person. Was that what my victims saw when they looked at me?
His strong gaze had begun to unnerve me, and I became uncertain of my next move. I had come woefully unprepared, my plan failing before my eyes. I felt light, and fear struck me when I realized my shield was not with me. My shadow had abandoned me. With a slow breath, I resigned myself to my fate. I was going to die, but I had to feel the sweet flow of blood one last time.
I slid the knife closer to her neck, my poor, innocent prisoner, my final victim. Her auburn hair rested on my hand as she whimpered through the tape, and with ferocity I dragged the knife across her neck.
My foe screamed, as he pulled out his gun, and unloaded into me. I only felt the first two shots, then everything became hazy, and I slid to the ground. My body became cold, and wet, the blood soaking into my clothes and skin. I felt, for the first time in my life, a tinge of remorse, as Detective hawk fell to his knees before his wife, clutching her dying body. My final thought, as I drifted into black obscurity, was that it was such a sweet scene.