Perfect Sacrifice

1902 March 3rd Monday

Its Monday, Monday, Monday. It's getting close. I have to find it. I have to find the perfect one before it's too late. Thursday, Thursday will be here soon. But which one, which one is perfect?

1902 March 5th Wednesday

Wednesday. I haven't found it! I haven't found the one. I have to leave. I have to get out and find it.

I wasn't always like this. I was a normal child with a decent home life. My parents weren't extremely wealthy, but we had plenty. My parents always loved me and took care of me. They didn't die tragically or mistreat me in anyway. I did my homework and excelled in school. We had many friends and held parties out of our home. We were on many lists and were the life of the party. I got accepted into university and worked on my medical degree. I passed my tests and became a certified doctor. Then, I was hired by a local establishment.

I've done well in my business, although I have never been substantially successful. I suppose the place I work is more family-friendly. We are a little shoppe located on the lane, squished between two other shoppes. We see a regular host of customers, many of them women who insist that something is wrong with them when their clearly is nothing wrong. But their patronage allows for our shoppe to be open, so we do not complain. I get along with my coworkers and I'm really polite.

I like to think of myself as a good, honest gentleman. I just happen to have a secret. I do not know her name, for she has never spoken it to me. But she is a girl so beautiful, so perfect, so wonderful, and fantastic. She's my everything, my reason for existing, the air in which I breathe. Oh, she found me on a day that I don't very much like to recall. I have good days, brilliant days, but there are times when I have dreadful days. This is what I am speaking about – I haven't always had these terrible days.

When I was younger, it was more like a downcast few hours, then maybe a nervous day. I never did anything. I would sit patiently in my seat, patting my hands or wring them together. I was a very well-behaved child. I just have a slight fidgeting problem that my parents would often comment on. They took me to many doctors but they never found any problem with me. I took some medication a few times, medicine that was administered by doctors. They thought that perhaps I had a nervous disorder. But the medicine never helped me. Then, they thought that perhaps I had had a twitch. They thought to give me other medicines, but each of them never helped either. My nervous twitches, as they called them, weren't very noticeable, so my parents weren't very worried. It would all be okay in the end though.

I grew out of this little nervousness spot. I became very popular with my mates and peers. I suppose those days foreshadowed what was to come, but no one ever suspected, not even me. Although, I could say that I've always felt different from ordinary people. It's just something in me, pulsing against my skin in time with my heartbeat. I could never name it, but I could always feel it inside of me. When I asked my father would it could be, he told me, "It is your genius. You are destined for greatness, and it is calling you." And so I lived my life, pursuing what I could. I thought my greatness would be bestowed upon me in a matter of time. I did all that was expected of me and more. I thought for sure God would throw his graces on me, and I would be rewarded for all my hard work. I thought to make my mother weep at my success and my father burst with pride. These are things that I strove for in my life when I had cared. I truly thought my greatness, my destiny, was to become wealthy beyond belief and perhaps to find a suitable bride to share it with and create well-bred future heirs.

But then the day came when my true destiny was thrust onto my shoulders. And as I stood on the streets with my fingers burning under the hot liquid, I saw myself. I felt myself for the first time. And it was on that day that she found me, this beautiful treasure about all treasures. This lustrous diamond that shone so brilliantly in the darkness. She smiled down at me that day, a tiny smile with painted lips. But it was the look in her eyes that changed me forever. My, they are my whole sun, and I will do anything for them.

She accepts me, takes me in, and holds me in her cold embrace. I wait patiently for her to come again, and come she does so that I will give unto her a gift she so desires. This is our relationship, this is the private world in which we have made for ourselves. She is a goddess, and I a masterful painter that wants nothing more than to please her with the greatest gift on earth.

So I have to find it. I have to find it in time.

1902 March 6th Thursday

The curve of the delicate neck, the soft tender flesh that lies just under the neck. I have to be careful. I don't want to ruin it, though it looks so tender and sweet. I want to taste. I want to run my tongue over the young flesh, but I restrain myself as I always do. I can't ruin the canvas, now can I?

I hear my coworker call from the other room.

I'll make an excuse. I always do. They never think twice about it.

1902 March 8th Saturday

It's rather hard finding just the right one. I need one firm, young, and perhaps in slight illness, just to make them a bit frail. She likes that. She likes them sweet and tender. She likes their thin limbs and flushes to their cheeks. She likes the sparks in their eyes and the softness of their inexperienced hands. Dazzling young beauties, made especially beautiful in the light of the setting sun as it shines through the cracks in windows. But I'm missing something in my calculations. There's a certain spice that appeals to her, a certain shade of a certain color, the right fabric. They have to have something else, hidden under the skin.

I'm sure I'll find it again.

1902 March 9th Sunday

An old family friend calls. He tells me I haven't shown up to any of the parties he has invited me to join. I look to my front door. Pushed up against the wall are stacks of letters. I'll get to them, eventually. I turn back to the conversation. I laugh, and I lie.

They aren't important anymore, not since I found her.

1902 April 4th Friday

I sit amongst the rotting trash in an alley. Head in my hands, I blubber on. I can hear the sounds of the poor around me – the cries of children, the yelling of parents, the drunken men, and the whores on the streets. I hear the screams of cats, and the smashing of objects. I bang my head into the wall behind me. The sky breaks out into a downpour, drenching my soiled clothes. I stare up into the grey clouds. What am I missing?

1902 April 12th Saturday

I come to work with a smile on my face. My colleagues sit around chatting before we officially open the doors. One of them holds the newspapers. I try to ignore the front cover: WANTED FOR GRISLY MURDER. I tell them I have a wonderful garden with stems ended in enormous blossoms of various coloration. I tell them that they are larger, longer, thicker, and more colorful than any florist in town. My secret? They want to know my secret. I laugh, telling them it is only the delicate care of the soil that makes the buds so great. I promise I'll pick some for the shoppe.

1902 April 14th Monday

I'd been called to assist my friend at the bed of an acquaintance. A house call is not too uncommon, but I had been rushed to this scene. I still carried the flowers wrapped up in my bags. Yet I was given little choice when my friend pushed me along. I have to keep up appearances, after all.

I almost hadn't noticed her in the corner, her tiny body pressed against the wall. She stands on tip-toe in her dressing gown. Her head is down, allowing for her curls to fall forward towards her face. Her pouty lips are set in a deep frown, and her reddened cheeks enhance her youthful appearance. I hand her one of the flowers, but she does not take it. Instead, she eyes me and retreats into her room. My friend calls for me.

Lucky. She's lucky.

1902 April 18th Friday

The woman tells me how gentlemanly I must be to help such a woman. She smiles at me and pats my face gently with her gloved hands. I tell her I will let her know where if I should find her necklace, and with that I shut the door to her carriage. The horses take her towards her destination, somewhere in towards the setting sun. I turn away and head in the opposite direction. My heart thumps in my chest. My hand begins its incessant quivering. I reach into my coat pocket and pull on the silver strand that I had previously hid there. I pull out the necklace and pop open the latch to reveal a picture of the woman's great granddaughter. My lips crack into a wide grin. I think I should pay a visit.

1902 April 23rd Wednesday

It is never hard to keep them from spoiling. A good paint never goes bad, after all. She'll sit in the corner of the room along with all the others. She's good, like a perfect little doll, after the injection. My only job is to keep the paint pure until she comes. And she'll come. Thursday. Thursday. One more day.

I look over my latest buy. My soon-to-be masterpiece. I touch the neck gently and the weight of the head falls into my hand. The eyes look up at the ceiling. I can see the water in them, see the fear frozen in their glassy stare. I whisper ever so gently. The pulse only speeds up.

1902 April 24th Thursday

I awake to the feel of the sun's beams on my face. I roll over to find myself face to face with a discarded lamb. I touch it gently. I knew I was dreaming about something, something tenderly sweet. I brush the hair from the still face. Then I move to get on my knees. Across the room, sitting in her chair, is my beautiful golden goddess. Always quiet, always appearing from thin air, she comes to me. She sits in this chair, this single chair that faces the entire room. She sits like a queen on a throne, her arms stretched along the lengths of the rests. Her hair cascades freely down over her shoulders, her large eyes staring straight towards me. My heart leaps and jumps in excitement. I bounce onto my feet and run to her. I clasp her hand in mine and kiss it tenderly. Thursday. Thursday. Thursday has come. Thursday is here. My sweet, my love, my only reason for living. She has come.

She's waiting for me, growing impatient. She wants to see my latest work. I drop her hand quickly and rush back to her present, still peacefully perched against the right wall. I grab my knives.

1902 May 15th Thursday

I look to see her reaction, so happy and so sure as I was that I had finally done the right thing. I am like her pet dog, awaiting for her approval. I smile widely, showing all my teeth to her as I point at what I have done. I wait for her praises, I wait for even a nod or a smile or some semblance of approval.

But it never comes.

My breath catches in my throat, and my heart flutters and then stops, as if it somehow were caught in a grip. I imagine it twisting in my chest, struggling to break away from its captor. But the fingers press harder on it, and my smile fades from my face. Wetness pierces the corners of my eyes. I reach to my head, grasping my hair wretchedly and pulling. "I've failed! I've failed!"

With my admittance, my heart is released so that it pounds against my chest, rushing blood to my ears. My legs crumble underneath me, and I fall to my knees on the cement floor. I feel my bones crack, but I use my arms to drag myself towards her. Tears flowing down over my cheeks, they drop on the back of my hands. I reach her chair, and utter a terrible sob as I look up to her. Shaking violently, I raise my hands to clasp her's. I hold them, squeezing them, as I weep bitterly in front of her. I press my cheek to the edges of her fingers and close my eyes, allowing myself to sink below her. I mourn for my failure, mourn for my silly pride that had thought I had done well. I mourn to show her how much I want to please her.

I begin to kiss her hand, so smooth and small in mine. I can taste the saltiness of my own tears, but this does nothing to stop me. I dare to raise my face to peer at her lovely face. Her eyes look down into me, into my soul, and I feel a repulsion beyond any words. My jaw shaking, I cry harder as I throw myself against her.

1902 May 16th Friday

It wasn't enough. I have to do better by her. Even if I have to search the world all over, I would blister my feet, chap my skin, and wear my bones so that I might find the one that would make her smile again. I shouldn't have been so careless. I should have seen through that form, should have noticed that it pales in comparison to something so beautiful as before. It was like rotted rat meat sitting in the acid of a cat's stomach, and what I need is the meat of bird so fair that any hunter would gladly give his best to catch. So my search begins anew.

1902 June 3rd Tuesday

He makes a grab for my arm and turns me around. I unfold my arm from his fingers as he begins shouting at me, the words passing through me. He grabs my shoulders, and shakes me violently as if that would cause response. His eyes are searching mine. I can see the plea behind their color. I finally focus on his face and part my lips. He awaits my response. I give it to him in the form of an outstretched neck and widened jaw as I move to sink my teeth into the side of his face.

He screams, but it doesn't matter. I've already lost control. I feel something inside of me melting into a state of relaxation as I rip apart his flesh. He stumbles backwards and falls on the ground. I cover his body with mine, not willing to waste the flesh. He grabs at me, hitting and pulling on my clothes. He struggles underneath me, but this only relaxes me so. Drunk as I am on the redness, I sink my teeth into his neck and rip apart where I know there could be no recovery.

It was good we had closed shoppe for the day as there were many attending a lecture across town. It was just he and I left. They wouldn't return for a while. I have time.

It isn't hard to dispose of the remains in the river. I find a dog and wound it so that I can explain the mess in the room. I will tell my colleagues that I had rescued it from being beaten, but I had been unable to save it. They'll believe it. So kind you are, they will say. Such a gentlemen, they will say. Always in the shining, approving light of fools.

1902 June 12th Thursday

I hurl the knife away, where it bangs against the wall in a sharp clatter. I rush towards her. My chest heaves rapidly with air pushing out through my teeth. I seize her face in my hands and lift her to look in my eyes as I stand over her small seated form. I seek to capture her sight in mine, and I press my eyes with force, hoping that I can get her to see inside of them. See all that I have to say, all that I have tried, all that I am willing. Tears threaten to wash over my lids, and I press hard inwardly to keep them from falling as I stare at her. I whisper with a trembling voice that I try to force into contain. The words I say – a beg, a plead, a groveling cry: "What do you want?"

And when no response comes forth from her thin lips, I vigorously shake her head and then press my forehead onto hers. I took a steading breath and clear my throat. The tears I can no longer keep back, and they rush over my cheeks. "What do you want?" I whisper once more.

Still, she does not answer, and my frustration and pain exceeds my limit. I let her head go and screech with all my might at the top of my lungs, "What do you want?" I feel the spit fly from my mouth as I talk, and my body quivers. I grab at myself and hang my head to cry. I know she will not answer.

Worse than any mother, worse than any ruler, worse than any God, she will ignore me until the end of time unless I am to give her what she wants. I allow my body to collapse on the cement floor, the wetness of the kill welcoming me into its warm embrace.

1902 June 13th Friday

The police come to question everyone at the shoppe. Having already assumed the worst, my colleagues cry before the investigators can finish their sentence. Seeing myself as the only sane one, they turn their attention to me. I haven't seen him, of course. I have no idea what he does outside of work. Lie, lie, lie, I tell myself. And while I'm talking with them, I let my mind wander off. Its only Friday. But it's Friday. Only six more days. Six. How am I supposed to find the perfect one in six days? I grip my hands and wind them together. I shuffle my feet. The investigators repeat their question. I've lost track. I stare at them while everyone looks at me. He was a good man, I say. I fear for all good men, I say. My words cause a stir in the others, who suddenly worry about their own safety. They ask the officers questions all at once. I turn away and fall back into my own thoughts. My wringing grows violent for a moment, but I try to hide it behind myself. My mind races, and I feel my heartbeat quickening as my breaths become shallow. I'm not listening to them anymore. It was only a while later when someone touched my shoulder that I finally relaxed my shoulders. I turn to look at them as they stand around me. They close the shoppe. Someone asks me to bring the flowers for the funeral. I nod, not trusting my tongue to form the words.

1902 June 20th Friday

I wander the dampened streets of downtown. Failure is etched in my soul. I feel it like a knife as it cuts into pieces of my being. It carves out little by little, leaving tiny pieces stitched together only by a thread of disaster. My clothes have long since torn and dirtied while I'd let my hair grow out by now. Women shake their head at my appearance, but I care not what they say. I spit at them as I pass by, loving to see them jump away from me. They aren't perfect. They aren't even half as perfect as the first. I laugh at their misshapen forms, their hideous features.

I'm mumbling, words falling so quickly from my mouth that it's like I'm bleeding out from a wound somewhere in my chest. My hands are swollen, dry, and cut up from pressing and pressing. I dig my nails into the tender skin. The heat sticks to my body, forming tiny droplets around me. My hair matted against me, but I refuse to take off my coat. The sweat drips into my new wounds, where it burns dully.

I pick my hands again and again. One for Friday, one for Saturday, one for Sunday… It'll be here again. It'll come again. I need to be ready. Where? Where could it be? I need the perfect one. The perfect sacrifice to appease my goddess. I scan the people of the crowd. Their lifeless, their stupid, their dreary, their flat two-dimensional forms pressed against a pane. They would never do. Never. Never. I can't be so foolish as to bring another one of those to her. She'll know right away. She won't even bother coming through the door. She'll stop coming altogether. I won't see her anymore.

I'm seized for a moment by my own ghostly soul. It freezes my physical form momentarily before I shake brutally, causing my leg to twist out from under me. I cannot control my movement. My eyes are frozen gazing upwards into the sky. My hands curl inwards to my chest. A feel a vibrating pain rise up in my muscles. My heart stops for a moment. The pains in my muscles gather inwards into my chest. My breath escapes my lungs as I fall forward onto the cobblestone streets. I hear men in their carriages yell at me, and someone across the street dares to rush to see to me. I am dragged from the open street before any passersby hit me. But I am released easily from my form and jerk from their touch. Back in full control, I right myself, thanking them as quickly and surely as I can before I dash away from the scene. I can't be caught now. I can't be caught. They wouldn't understand. They wouldn't see why I have to do this.