A Matter of Perspective:

By: Hugo Reed

Chapter 1: Salem

2nd Corinthians 5:10 –

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in body, whether good or evil.

Salem watched silently from his bench in the park as throngs of people passed by, unwilling to acknowledge him. Oh sure, they see could physically see him, but they looked with eyes that cannot see truth, and so it hurt them to look upon him.

They would say that he was ugly, sickly or just plain dirty. To them, he supposed he was. However, he knew they could not understand what he understood, and therefore saw the world through a different lens. For when he looked at them he could see, in a moment, their greatest sin.

It is a gift he was blessed with some several years ago; his parents prayed over him to make him into the prefect weapon of God, and so he was made. On that day he was given a new name, and new purpose. They dubbed him Salem, which meant peace. That is what he was meant to bring to the sinners of this place, and he knew he would.

He'd already picked out a target a few minutes ago. It was an old man with a long brown overcoat. Others knew him by a name that Salem didn't know, as he had never met the man. Still, Salem did have something to call him.

Rapist…

The moment Salem looked at him the word flashed through his mind and he could see the old man for what he was. No doubt there were a few others that knew the truth, but they weren't able to bring him peace… Salem would.

He fingered the weapon he'd chosen for this job, a thin icepick. It was sturdy, and totaled about seven inches long. It was easy to find at a home improvement store, and that made it perfect. Salem had three rules for keeping himself out of jail.

1. Change up weapons, targets and places every couple kills.

2. Never kill more than three people before moving locations.

3. As soon as the target(s) are dead, run, change clothes and get out of town.

Even though most didn't believe it anymore, moving from place to place in the country wasn't hard. Trains and barges still moved from town to town. Even hitch hiking down the interstate could get you from A to B quick enough. He had been killing his way back and forth across the country for almost a decade now.

His parents regularly wired him money orders to complete God's work, and as far as he knew he'd never been a suspect on any cop's list. It helped that he hadn't been stupid yet. Most people think that killing in the sight of others or in broad daylight are ways to get caught, but that's only if you were sticking around, which he didn't do.

The best way to get away with a kill was to move quickly. Salem was so practiced now that before cops could secure a scene he would be several blocks, maybe even a mile away. By the time they sent out a search and description of him, he'd already changed clothes and was heading out of town.

Honestly, Salem felt that he was a bit unfair to the cops. It had to be hard to organize a search team in an hour, and almost everyone in the world has some strife in their life: an ex-girlfriend, a co-worker they hit once, a motorist they cut off on the road, ect. Couple that with his rules and it was likely they didn't even know there was a serial killer.

It's not as if he had a standard method of operation or target, at least not that they could see. Salem chose his victims based on their sins against mankind and God. He picked out murderers, corporate thieves, adulterers… and rapists.

The old man was standing up and repositioning his cane to suit him better. He had a bad left leg, judging from the limp. Realizing his weakness, Salem moved forward, hand in the pocket of the leather jacket he'd bought. Honestly, he liked the jacket. He knew he'd be sad to get rid of it, but some things are more important.

His feet hit the pavement and he walked briskly, but didn't run. He'd learned not to do that. People panic if you run, but brisk movement is fine. The old man didn't even turn towards Salem, focused on his bad leg.

The young man's blood started pumping through his ears and hands and he could see red and hear the voice of angels.

Smite him… Make him sit before the throne…

He thrust forward with the icepick and it broke through the man's clothing and skin like butter. He straightened up and gasped, and Salem knew it hadn't really hit him yet. Salem stabbed him twice more in the back before the rapist turned to the youth, shock across his face. As their eyes meet Salem saw through his irises right into his very soul. Looking at him, he didn't see a poor old man, he saw a rapist.

Salem leaned forward and whispered, "And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that come judgment."

Hebrews 9:27, an old favorite of his.

Salem saw the verse connect with nothing in the old man, and he jammed the icepick into the rapist's face, through the cheekbone. Blood spilled from the wound and over him, and he watched the life slowly drain from the old man's face. Slowly, he went limp, and eventually fell over, still clutching his cane. Salem turned and sprinted pell-mell away from the body, out of habit instead of fear.

Killing hadn't been scary for years.

He could hear women scream and people calling 911 operators. It didn't matter. He had a bag stashed in an alleyway nine blocks from there with a fresh change of clothes, a washcloth, water bottle and a plane ticket. It had been three years since he'd last visited his Mom and Dad, which should be plenty of time to avoid suspicion.

People on the sidewalk did give him curious glances, but they're all too busy with their lives to even try and stop him from flying past them. As soon as he reached the bag he smiled lightly, and washed the blood off his hands and face. The clean up wasn't perfect, but it didn't need to be. It's not as if his prints were ever tested, or as if they would swab him for bits of blood.

Salem changed into jeans and a t-shirt before tossing the bloody clothes into the bag, and left the alley, cool as you please. When he was a mile or so away, he could dump the bag in a sewer or fire barrel.

Some people might be scared traveling with incriminating evidence on them, but Salem was not, for he was a weapon of God, and the LORD would make sure he didn't go down.