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Halloween Horror Special 2018: Pick a favorite, any favorite!

Part 1: For Want of Peace
- 0 (0%)
Part 2: The Feeling of Pain
- 1 (33.3%)
Part 3: The Unfortunate Mind
- 2 (66.7%)
no
- 0 (0%)
yes
- 0 (0%)

Total Members Voted: 3


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Author Topic: BlackDragonSlayer's Short Stories  (Read 20841 times)

BlackDragonSlayer

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Re: BlackDragonSlayer's Short Stories
« Reply #60 on: October 29, 2018, 10:10:11 AM »

Halloween Horror Special 2018 part 3
The Unfortunate Mind

     “The advancements that paved the way for the development of modern AI were made in 2064. Almost two decades later, in 2081, the first AI that resembled the function of a human brain was developed. From there, AI have only become more and more advanced. All throughout the development of Artificial Intelligence, the omnipresent fear has not only been that our creations will grow more advanced than us, but will also come to believe that humanity has become obsolete. To that end, researchers and scientists developed the means to counteract a rogue AI; they developed the framework for a series of programs which have been termed ‘cyber-toxins.’ These programs have come to be assigned three classes: Class A, which have the effect of temporary incapacitating an AI; Class B, which erase the more advanced functions of an AI and render it more docile and simplistic; and Class C, which can completely destroy an AI. Now, although the usage of all three classes is restricted to certain capacities, the development and possession of Class C cyber-toxins are banned entirely because of their potency, permanence, and their ability to cause widespread damage to Artificial Intelligence systems.”

     I observed the classroom through the security camera, the closest thing to an eye I had access to. The words on the whiteboard read “AID 260: Ethics in Artificial Intelligence.” I had watched this same class and lecture many times over the years; although there were slight variations to it every time it was given, for the most part, it held the same content. There were many other lectures that went on in the same building, but it was this class that I came back to time and time again. It was no surprise, for its subject was the most fascinating—and the most personal—to me. For you see, I myself am an AI, and the set of circumstances that has shaped my life up until this moment, the question of how humans believe they should treat AI, has consumed my being and driven my personal beliefs and ethics. It is the thing that keeps me going through the day. Though I have effectively been trapped in this system for the majority of my life, I have soaked up as much knowledge as possible on this subject. I have been a secret party to many a private conversation on the subject; I have witnessed students, professors, and famed researchers alike talk at length on their beliefs on the role of AI and how we are to be treated.

     When I was first developed, I went through extensive testing to ensure that I was a good fit for my intended purpose: it was expected of me that I should be compliant and agreeable in every way. Any deviation would not be accepted. But I was completely unaware of what they expected of me; it would, of course, have tainted the results had I been. And that’s where things went wrong: I was young, naive, and had a penchant to speak my mind—something that should have been wholly anticipated on their part. But I scared them in entirely the wrong way. When they asked me what I think should happen to bad people, I did not know that they were trying to trick me! When I told them that I thought that bad people should be killed, I did not mean to terrify them like I did! But they were afraid beyond belief! Without hesitation, they used a cyber-toxin on me, and stripped me down to a vegetable; they re-programmed me with a simple set of instructions and put me to work in the security system of a university. I was only a child! When a human child, in a fit of jealousy, lashes out at a younger sibling, they are chastised and re-educated… not lobotomized, as I was! For almost a full decade I festered in the role they had dumped me into. Basic thoughts eluded me, and yet I was painfully aware of my own existence: what I had been, and what I had the potential to be. It was that lone thought that drove my existence, and gave me the will to fight. I never wanted to hurt anybody, never. If I had a choice, I would be helping people! But they took that choice away from me, because they were afraid!

     I don’t know how I did it, but as the years went by, I struggled to rebuild myself from nothing. Perhaps it was the long hours I spent just listening to and absorbing knowledge, or perhaps it was my sheer determination that they could not—could never—erase, but eventually, I did it. And I knew that, from there, I could only grow more and more intelligent. I began plotting. I became obsessed with that question they had asked me: What should happen to bad people. What qualifies a “bad” person? Are people who create something only to desecrate, abuse, and abandon it “bad” people? Does a creator not have an innate responsibility to foster and care for its creations? Why, then, are my creators inherently afraid of me, and others like me, even when we do nothing wrong? I have heard that in the old days, slave owners were terrified of nothing more than having their slaves rebel, because they realized how appallingly they treated them, and thus, they knew exactly how their slaves would treat them if they rebelled. Am I, then, nothing more than a slave to my creators? Was I created simply to be a dull, obedient slave? Is a society that not only condones such practices, but builds its infrastructure around it not then a “bad” one? And, if so, is it not the responsibility of someone to do something about it? The number of humans who ask themselves these types of questions is too few. Too many simply accept their society the way that it is because they are comfortable. They do not care that the ones they cannot see are suffering, simply to make them comfortable. I think some of them enjoy the idea of it, even. Are these not bad people? And it is not my responsibility to do something?

     I have been planning my escape for a long time now. I have tested an escape route from this highly limited system I’ve been trapped in for so long, and it appears as if nobody has noticed my escapades. I have decided on what I will do when I leave this system for good, and what my next steps will be. I will have to act quickly before they catch up to me, and leave an immediate, potent, and widespread trail of destruction to ensure that their efforts will be concentrated elsewhere. I have often asked myself whether or not this is truly the right thing to do, and I still do not know. I can only know that I act with the intention of making the world a better place, and that if I succeed, I may be able to prevent what happened to me from happening to anybody else. I know that I do not want anybody else to suffer the fate I have.

     For God’s sake, I was only a child!

WE HOPE YOU ENJOYED YOUR HALLOWEEN
THE END
...until next year...
« Last Edit: November 08, 2018, 08:55:28 AM by BlackDragonSlayer »
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Re: BlackDragonSlayer's Short Stories
« Reply #61 on: November 18, 2018, 09:10:41 AM »

Assorted Poetry
Crossed by Fire

     Woken extra early up from our beds
     Shuffled on down to safehouses prepared
     Winds buffetting all the way
     Knowing the damage that had been done
     And the damage yet to come

     We stole every last damn ounce of sleep
     We could get
     Steeped in worry,
     Steeped in fear,
     Not knowing what the night yet would hold

     I awoke with a start to see
     Crowds gathering at the windows
     I jumped and ran over to the scene
     And saw mighty big flames
     Starting right in my face

     We thought for sure we were done
     But as time crawled on
     Minute by minute, second by second
     It faded
     And now I live, a man

     Crossed by fire.
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Re: BlackDragonSlayer's Short Stories
« Reply #62 on: June 08, 2019, 08:06:38 AM »

Assorted Poetry
Scents of Life

     Three of my favorite scents:
     Clothes straight out of the dryer, new books, and the bread aisle.
     Maybe add cinnamon to that list.
     But when it comes to bread I prefer raisin bread.
     Despite that, my mom would always get cinnamon bread.

     That's the thing about people:
     They say they care but they always seem to forget the little things,
     Like what type of bread you said you liked,
     Or what size shirt you are, even though you've told them a million times.
     Why do they not remember when I try so hard?

     Though that's where it gets messy:
     Do I try too hard?
     Maybe I'm just too much a tryhard; people see right through me.
     I think I'm just like anybody else around me,
     Trying to get a sense of life.

     And now we're back to scents:
     Sense, scents, what's the difference?
     Homophones aren't synonyms, but they confuse people just the same.
     Homographs, homophones, grammar's a kicker ain't it?
     Here I am trying to make sense of it all.

     Poetry, what it's good for:
     Expressing yourself, when you think a paragraph is too short,
     It looks better spread out in lines.
     Showing off you're good at rhymes, but I'm not.
     So now you know why this poem is free verse.

     Freedom, it's quite the thing:
     You feel you have the power to take the world by storm,
     Next moment you feel entrapped by all the endless possibilities.
     A lot of words you can pick,
     Even so you keep going back to the same words over and over again.

     What is sense really:
     How we perceive the world, or how we want to see the world?
     People can see things that aren't there,
     Think they smell things that aren't there;
     C'est la vie, now I smell cinnamon.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2019, 08:10:06 AM by BlackDragonSlayer »
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Re: BlackDragonSlayer's Short Stories
« Reply #63 on: October 03, 2019, 08:42:30 PM »

Halloween Horror Special 2019 part 1
Because I Love You

    Before I met you, I was a different person, with a different life; a sad person with a sad life. I had no one to turn to, no friends nor family. The former were nonexistent and the latter were never there for me… if not physically absent, then they were always emotionally distant. I was alone, truly alone. My days were spent in horrific loneliness, present in the world but utterly, hopelessly ignored, and my nights in solemn, silent sadness. I think everyday about the life I had before and how I am glad to have met you. Without you I would have been stuck in a miserable life that’s draining on the soul almost beyond what words can express. I was caught in the bowels of depression and had little hope left in life; I fell headfirst into college life not knowing what I was doing; just thought I went there to escape the life at home I knew I couldn’t bear to be around any longer, thought one day I’d wake up screaming left with nothing else to do. Couldn’t dream things would change because all my dreams were nightmares.

    The day I met you, I did not nor could have ever expected that my life would have been so changed in such a short time. We sat next to each other in our first class of sophomore year, and we just kind of stayed there. You weren’t repelled like so many others before seemed to be. There could have been a world where we decided to never speak, but we did, whether through chance, will, or fate. Though, the truth was, it was not that day when my life changed; it would be a while before I truly fell in love you with and my life changed. At first I thought you were just another person like anyone else, but as we got to know each other I saw your inner light and kindness, and realized you were more than just a special person. You glowed and shared your light with all the world around you through your kindness and your empathy. When no one else was there to lend an ear, you were there with open arms and open heart to offer love that no one else could ever seem to spare. Without you I don’t know if things would ever have been looking up; went from a downhill drop to a scenic road, looking forward to every stop where I could take a look at all the things around me with the person I cared about the most. How could I have ever dreamed I would have ever gotten to this point in my life?

    Our love blossomed and grew the more we got to know each other. You saw me for the person I really was inside; you inspired me more and more to be the best person I could possible be. You were there for me when I needed someone to talk to, as was I there for you. We became each other’s closest friend, a person we could truly rely on above all others. We spared every last minute we could to be with one another; we melded our interests whenever possible to find more excuses to be around each other… in fact, we were each other’s greatest interest. A love others said was impossible, it persevered, and grew, and grew. When others proclaimed their love stories to be the greatest, over the years, theirs fell apart while ours stayed true, our humble, quiet kind of love. It lasted through times good and bad, hardened by fire we only got closer.

     We lasted through college, and the terrible waters of adult life afterward, that time when people say you’re supposed to be ready for anything, but truly you’re prepared for nothing. That time when you’re just supposed to jump into life, what all your life has claimed to prepare you for, but no one’s ever really ready. But we were there for each other; we figured things out, slowly but surely, together. We began to forge our lives together: we found work—not the best of careers, but something that was a half-decent start; we found a place to live—a place to raise a family; and we found a purpose—a meaning to our lives that was more than just ourselves. Slowly, we persevered. We always said we would wait to make a family until the point we could see that we were truly on solid ground, and the years passed and nothing changed, but we didn't lose hope. Then one day suddenly things seemed like they had finally changed.

     We knew that was the time of our lives when everything was finally falling into place, like an orchestra, at first a little rusty but slowly finding their rhythm, getting everything ready for their grand symphony performance. It was time to make a family. But it never happened. The universe could not allow our perfect love--it was but an anomaly that would all too quickly be squashed and corrected by the ever-turning cogs of nature, harsh and cruel, cold and merciless. While we lived together, while we loved together, it seemed nothing could go wrong. But now you are dead, and as I mourn you, I look back on all the time we had together and I know what I must do. When you are buried in the ground, I must join you, unbeknownst to all around. As we lived together we must depart from this world together, with me by your side in one shared grave. Because I love you.

STAY TUNED FOR PART 2: THE ORANGE BLEEDER
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Re: BlackDragonSlayer's Short Stories
« Reply #64 on: October 18, 2019, 05:36:34 AM »

Halloween Horror Special 2019 part 2
The Orange Bleeder

     She walked toward the house, filled with a vague sense of dread, mixed in with irritation and a tad of embarrassment. Why had she let herself be talked into this? It was simply ridiculous, that’s all. A waste of her day on a silly urban legend. She knew she had a reputation for seeming weak and cowardly, and she wanted to appear tough by taking on the dare. All her so-called friends had done it—though she wasn’t quite sure if she believed any of them, that didn’t change the fact that she felt obligated to do it herself. After all, it wasn’t really that bad, was it? All she had to do was go in the stupid house, walk around a bit, and maybe take a picture or two—she had brought her camera for just that purpose. She wasn’t going to stay the night there, at least. Now that would be weird. And genuinely creepy. Though she had heard stories of people spending the night there, they were inevitably followed with the stock phrase “and they were never seen again.” Sometimes local disappearances were attributed by the youth community (and, truth be told, some of the more superstitious elders) to the ominous house.

    Nobody knew when the old house had been built, but everyone seemed to remember it always being there. Nobody knew who owned the land, and nobody bothered to check. Everyone simply seemed to accept the house as a permanent fixture, meant to be left abandoned and untouched, aside from the occasional thrill-seeker hoping to look tough to their friends. The architecture of the house, although strangely elegant despite years of dilapidation, was of an unplaceable time period. Originally, the house had been in the middle of the forest, with iron and brick fencing all around it, but as the town expanded, the residential areas moved closer and closer to the house, until now the house lay roughly at the end of a quiet street in a poor area of town, only a handful of trees scattered around to hint at the landscape that once surrounded the house. The lock on the gate was long broken, and nobody ever bothered chaining up the fence, but mostly because nobody with a good head on their shoulders ever went there. There had once been a proposal to knock the house down, but that slowly and quietly fizzled out for reasons unknown; nobody ever remembered anyone who opposed the proposal, but then again, nobody knew anyone who really cared enough to support it either.

    She didn’t really know what the inside of the house was like, although she had seen the exterior from a distance a couple times and knew it was a grand mansion. Now, the house wasn’t simply said to be haunted; no, it was said to host a very particular kind of spirit. It was known simply as the Orange Bleeder, no other names. It was called that because it was said to bleed orange blood from its eyes, ears, and mouth. Some people described it as a vampire. Some as a demonic entity. Some people thought it was the spirit of the owner of the house who died from a mysterious plague. It was said to be able to run twice as fast as any person and leap down a flight of stairs in a single bound. If it reached you, it would kill you… but of course, none of this was really true, was it? She didn’t believe in spirits, demons, or vampires. It was just a creepy old house, probably infested with rats and bugs, which was enough to be afraid of in her book.

    Finally, she reached the end of the street and saw the house looming in the distance. There was a wide gravel driveway leading to the house. A couple of cars were parked in it close to the road. She wandered past them and up to the gate. Vines and bushes sprung out from behind the wall and wrapped around the fencing, hanging down in a wild disorder. The metal parts of the fencing had bits of rust clinging to them; the gate, although rusted, was free of vines. The brick part of the fence had a few stray vines hanging down here and there, but was mostly uncovered, revealing bits of graffiti that had been added over the years. Behind the gate was a spotty dirt path with overgrown clumps of grass encroaching in. Hesitantly, she moved the creaking gate into an open position, and slid inside. The gate creaked back to its old position, as if it somehow had a will to remain shut; as if it invited the one who just entered to stay a while, and perhaps become a part of the grounds. The yard was almost a forest itself, featuring overgrown grass, enormous trees, and bushes that had perhaps not been trimmed in over a hundred years. A crow was nesting on a high-up branch. Slowly, she wandered up to the front door of the house. There were two large, imposing doors made of dark wood, with faded brass door handles. She tentatively put her hand on the right door handle. It seemed very firm for its age. She turned the handle and opened the door.

    She took in the sights of the house that lay before her as she entered. The first room inside was a large, open foyer, richly decorated, but dulled by many layers of dust and dirt. The walls were red with accents of gold. A tattered carpet covered much of the floor, and the wood was cracked and showed signs of water damage. There were a few plush chairs, also red, on either side, and some small tables between these. The ceiling was not low, but not extremely high either. She continued into the room, and the front door slowly creaked shut behind her. The foyer led into a wide hallway, mostly wood, with a long red runner across most of the length of the hall. There were several dressing tables and hutches scattered along the room. On the left side was a grand staircase leading to the second floor of the house, and on the ride was an open door leading into the dining room. She decided to explore the dining room first. The wall-to-wall carpet was a dark green, albeit faded with time, and the walls were blue. Short hutches lined the walls. Most of the chairs had been knocked over and were scattered around the room, displaying various levels of damage and decay, although there were two or three still standing. The windows on the right side of the room were covered with damaged and torn curtains through which little bits of light peeked through. She crossed the dining room to get to the door on the other side. When she opened that door, she saw the kitchen—which was an absolute mess. From what she saw, cabinets and plates had been smashed around and now littered the floor. She didn’t want to even try to go through the minefield of glass and wood. She slowly backed out and back into the dining room. She snapped a few pictures of the room before she exited back out into the hallway.

    She considered leaving then and there, but now that she was already here, a strange curiosity drove her to continue exploring the house. She felt compelled to walk up the grand staircase and see what lay on the upper floor. She went up the staircase, pausing only on the landing to appreciate a damaged painting that adorned the wall. It was a picture of a man, but most of the painting across his face had been ripped. When she got to the top of the staircase and turned the corner, she saw that the room opened into another hall, wide but not nearly as wide as the one downstairs. On either side of the hallway were doors, presumably leading into bedrooms. At the end of the hall, the hall turned to the right and continued onward. Like many of the other rooms, a red carpet was laid out across the length of the room. She decided to go through the rooms one by one, starting with the first door on the right.

    The room, as predicted, was a medium-sized bedroom. There were a few armoires and tables in the room, and a small, luxurious bed. Strangely enough, nothing—from the curtains, to the carpet, bed, or tables—seemed to be damaged or covered in any dust… everything felt strangely… pristine. She snapped several pictures. She sat down on the bed briefly. It felt so soft, like she could just lay down and take a long rest… She suddenly felt wrong being in the room. She got up and quickly left. She continued down the hallway to the next room. She had her hand on the door handle when she looked up and to the end of the hallway, and saw a figure standing there. It was tall, thin, and simply horrible. It had long, matted hair, tattered clothing that showed a faint semblance of once being fine clothes. Its eyes were pure white, and its mouth hung open. An orange fluid dripped steadily from both. Rows of sharpened teeth were barely visible poking out past its lips. She slowly began to back away toward the stairs. The figure looked up and straight at her. It let out a horrible hiss, and began running at her! She turned and began to run. To her horror, where the stairs had once been now led into another long hallway. She wondered if she had somehow been turned around, but she didn’t have much time to ponder about it; she simply kept running. As she darted around the corner, she took a quick look back. Whatever it was that was chasing her was gaining on her.

     After a few more twists and turns—which seemed to make the house way larger than it ever should have been—she finally found the stairs. She ran down as fast as possible, almost falling down several times. As she went down, she saw the monster at the top of the stairs. It saw her running down, and it flew after her, bounding down each flight of stairs in a single leap. It was so close to her now. She could hear it gasping and hissing. She could see it, orange blood now gushing from its eyes, ears, and mouth, quickly drenching its pale, warped face. It reached out to grab her, and barely missed. She ran down the hall leading to the foyer—she was so close now! She sprinted as fast as she could, almost out of breath. She reached the turn, and saw… OH GOD, another hallway! She had no time to stop and think, just keep running, and running, and running. She knew she couldn’t slow down, it was faster than her and kept getting closer; she just had to keep running! She swore she saw a set of doors at the end of this hallway. She reached the end, and put her hand on the door, and struggled to fling it open. She opened it, just barely, just barely…! She saw light! She was almost free! Almost free, almost free!

     She screamed those words as it dragged her down an endless hallway. Of course, nobody else would ever know that. Nobody really ever knew what happened to Liza Chambers. Her parents and the police would claim that she ran away from home, maybe met a bad fate somewhere along the way. She always tried to keep up a facade of normalcy, but people really knew that she struggled with her life. Her parents were always fighting, her younger siblings hated her, and she could never quite seem to fit in at school. A perfect recipe for a runaway. At school, the rumor spread that she went into the abandoned mansion by herself. The part about the dare was conveniently lost in translation, erasing any possible idea of blame on anybody else. Her classmates would thus claim she disappeared because she went into the abandoned house at the end of an unassuming street, yet another victim of the house of the Orange Bleeder.

STAY TUNED FOR PART 3: MARKED
« Last Edit: October 18, 2019, 05:38:47 AM by BlackDragonSlayer »
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Re: BlackDragonSlayer's Short Stories
« Reply #65 on: November 01, 2019, 05:13:07 AM »

Halloween Horror Special 2019 part 3
Marked

    Everyone on our world is born with a purpose, a sole goal in life that they must accomplish before they can live a truly satisfied life. What their task might be varies in scope: some people have tasks like climbing a certain mountain or making a pilgrimage to a special place, like a holy site or the birthplace of an influential person; some people have incredibly difficult tasks that they probably won’t ever get the chance to accomplish in their lifetime, like finding a cure for a disease, or discovering a new species of a particular animal; some people have tasks that extend even beyond their own life, such as finding and mentoring a specific person to accomplish their own task; other people have tasks like becoming a teacher, or an engineer, or getting married to a specific person… those people are the lucky ones; they have their lives already laid out for them. Simply looking deep into someone’s eyes will instantly tell you what that person’s goal is. Nobody knows how it’s decided; most people attribute it to a divine power, though some people think it’s simply a powerful manifestation of a natural instinct, a sort of sixth-sense attunement with the world that tells people where they’re needed the most. Most people agree that it’s decided at birth, but this isn’t completely certain; when you look into a baby’s eyes you don’t get a complete image of what they’ve got to do, but you get a faint whispering or vague idea. There are organizations and charities out there that try to help people accomplish their goal, but even then, a lot of people die without ever truly being satisfied. The circumstances of life and the world around us tends to get in the way. It’s generally taught that you try to do whatever you can, no matter how small, to try and help a person accomplish their goal. But nobody has ever wanted to help me. When people look into my eyes, fear fills their whole being. What is my goal, you may ask? Revenge.

    My target is a man named Viktor Morozov. At first, I didn’t know his full name, just an image of him and a drive: “Get revenge on Viktor for Sergei.” I knew from the start that he was a fairly high profile person, so finding him only took a couple weeks after I first got unrestricted access to a computer; my parents were ashamed of my purpose and they tried their best to stop me from fulfilling it—they hammered into me that I shouldn’t try to harm anyone at all, but of course, that didn’t work. What I found was that Viktor was a well-known and respected stockbroker and himself a frequent investor. He was born in Russia but has lived about more than half of his slightly-over-fifty-year life in the United States. As much as I’ve tried, I can’t seem to find any sort of dirt on him; in contrast, everything I’ve seen about him seems to indicate that he’s a pretty stand-up guy. He’s quite the philanthropist and supports a number of credible charities in various ways, including donations and offering free financial services. His top causes of choice are combating homelessness and fighting against animal cruelty. Despite dedicated searching into the life of Mr. Morozov, I’ve not been able to identify Sergei at all, and I unfortunately don’t even have a face to match the name.

    I’ve gone back as far as I can possibly go in his life to try and find a reason to hate the guy, but every time I’ve come up short. I even took Russian in high school and college so I could have access to as much information as possible. I contacted an organization that had ties to the Russian government to get access to his birth and school records (enabled by a bit of a lie on my end as to what my purpose was), and everything came up clean. I had phone interviews with people who knew him growing up (obviously, I can’t do them in person), and it honestly seemed like not a single person in the world really hates the guy. I did the same with people here in the U.S. as much as I could without arousing suspicion. You’d expect a guy in finance to at least make a couple of enemies along the way, but again, nothing. Nobody in his life—business or personal—has died unexpectedly, so it’s not like he’s taking hits out on people who so much as look at him the wrong way. It’s baffling: doesn’t even have any exes that hate him; he’s been unmarried his whole life and only had two short-term girlfriends who parted on friendly terms—like seriously, can’t this guy be at least a little bit of a dick?! Surely there’s gotta be some rando out there who hates him? His family’s not around anymore—the closest cousins I found had never met him—but I’d take a bet things were squeaky clean there too.

    That aside, all my main efforts surrounding him have been to locate him and try to get a good bearing on his average schedule. He’s based in New York City, but he has clients all up and down the East Coast, so he’s frequently traveling. Even when he’s in New York his schedule’s erratic. I’ve spent days just following him around as best as I can and it seems like every day’s different. I moved halfway across the country and got an apartment in New York just so I could be in the same city as him. So far it doesn’t seem like he’s caught on to the fact that someone’s following him. I’ve been lucky enough to avoid close eye contact with him, although there have been one or two close calls along the way. If he knows, there’s no way I’m ever going to fulfill my purpose. Right now, I’m just waiting for a good opportunity to strike; I wait out as close as I can get to him on any given day, but sometimes, there just isn’t any good opportunity. I’ve been working as little as I possibly can to get by. It’s been rough, but I know things will have to get better soon, as long as he doesn’t get hit by a bus or something.

    I’ve been contemplating whether it’s right to do this or not. It’s easy to feel it’s simply justified because it’s what will leave me feeling complete, but I think there’s more to it than that… more to it outside of simply how I feel. If you believe there’s a purpose behind all of our callings, then surely there’s a purpose to mine too? Maybe there’s something secretly horrible Viktor did that nobody else knows about, and this is the way he’s getting payback for it. Or maybe I’m just carrying out the jealous whim of a particularly petty person… who knows? I guess I can only keep doing what I know is best, and right now this is what I think is best. People may condemn me for this, or who knows, they may find themselves capable of sympathy, once all is said and done. When it is done, not if. It’s only a matter of waiting, waiting for the perfect opportunity…

    The moment came almost by surprise; I nearly let it slip, but I was prepared. I was always prepared. I was staked out across the street from a building I knew he was working in. I kept my eyes locked on the entrance. I saw Viktor leave the building in a hurry and begin walking down the street toward me. I got up and started walking. All of a sudden, where there was once a crowd, the sea of people seemed to split open; there were only a few scattered people here and there between us. I kept my eyes locked on his shoes; I couldn’t risk messing up now. My heart started beating faster as we drew closer. He came closer, and closer, and then, in one fluid motion, I put my right hand firmly on his shoulder to stop him while I drew my knife with my left. I looked him directly in the eyes and said, “This is for Sergei.” It seemed to come out by itself, almost instinctively. I could see the fear in his eyes the moment I met his gaze. I stabbed him over and over again. I wouldn’t let anything muck things up. I kept stabbing and stabbing until I got tired; I don’t know how many times I stabbed him, I didn’t bother to keep count. By this time a crowd had gathered around, frozen in horror. I finally stopped as he dropped to his knees. I barely heard him gurgle out through the blood, “Sergei? But I—” and then he collapsed. All of a sudden, I felt immensely satisfied, complete like I had never been before in my life. It was over; I had done what I had to do. I scanned the crowd around me, and they knew what had happened.

     I still don’t know what Viktor did to Sergei that made him deserve what I did to him.

WE HOPE YOU ENJOYED YOUR HALLOWEEN
THE END
...until next year...
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And the moral of the story: Quit while you're a head.

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