Sunday, 2 August 2009

And now for something completely different 2

Due to the fact that I'm currently sunning myself in beautiful Maderia (with my laptop close by of course) I have no inclination to write a proper entry this week. Instead i present to you the second part of this little story, the first part of which I posted a couple of weeks ago. Un fortunately I really dislike this little bit and despite rewriting whole chunks of it i'm still not particularly happy with it.

Contrary to cliché killing is no easier second time round. While the situation may be more comfortable; the Scotsman was disturbingly professional, the horror of robbing a man of his life, no matter how much he deserves it, is always profoundly horrific. While the adrenaline may override sensibilities in favour of instinct, as soon as it is out of your bloodstream the true implications of your actions hit with the force of a high speed train. While I am certain that I am doing the right thing, I cannot get over the horror of killing, no matter how justifiable.

Our victim this time, although victim is not the right word; victim implies innocence and the man we killed was far from innocent, was relatively senior within the government; more so than the first that I killed. He took the same route home every day so planning the attack was easy. The choice of location was not very different from the scene of my first murder; dirt and grime covered the walls and litter was strewn across the street. I could hear the barking of dogs in the distance above the drone of cars. The only thing in the entire street which carried any semblance of modernity was the security camera, perched in the corner of a building, painfully out of place in the dingy street.

I waited for what seemed like forever in the entrance of a long abandoned house before the man walked past, wearing a smart, but well-worn suit and carrying a briefcase, slightly tattered, as though it had seen it’s best days; a perfect reflection of the neighbourhood. He walked quickly, apparently anxious to be home; perhaps he had a family waiting for him, kids waiting for daddy to come home so they could eat the meal lovingly prepared by a dedicated wife. I stepped out behind him and followed him, far enough not to attract attention, close enough not to loose him, I did not care that daddy wasn’t coming home tonight. When he reached the end of the street the Scotsman stepped out in front of him. Our target stopped dead. Although I could not see his face, it was clear from the way that his body stiffened that fear had him in an iron grip. He knew what was coming.

“I mean you no harm, I haven’t done anything, I swear!” he called out desperately, holding his hands up to protect himself from the Scotsman; he did not expect the crowbar to the back of the skull. He crumpled and fell to the ground. The blow had killed him instantly. The Scotsman slit his throat anyway, just to make sure. We did not speak as we returned to the tunnels

The woman walked up to the man writing the diary. Crouching beside him she spoke.

“I’ve been wondering ever since you started” she had an American accent, quite nasally; probably from the north east, maybe New York. “Why do you keep a diary?”

The man stopped writing and put the small book away. “It’s the first chance I’ve had to write for pleasure since all of this started.” He did not need to say what ‘all this’ was. She looked at him inquisitively so he went on; “I used to write, back when they didn’t read everything you wrote and check it for antigovernment propaganda.”

“Why did you stop?” Her voice rose, embracing the spirit of rebellion which lingered in the swears

“Fear. Fear that I would write something they didn’t approve of and get arrested. I wrote my opinion and when it became illegal to have an opinion unless it had been approved by the state I stopped writing.” The man sighed, lost for a moment in nostalgia of a better age.

“Did you ever have anything published?” Her question pierced his memories.

The man laughed. “I was never good enough for that, I didn’t want too anyway; I wrote for myself and I wanted to keep it that way.” There was a haunting pause. “How about you?” He spoke eventually, more out of desire for conversation than information “What did you used to do?”

“I used to write computer code, design websites, hack into places I shouldn’t hack into!” she accompanied the last few words with a chuckle of embarrassment.

The man smiled, but the balaclava masked it. “Criminal?” he asked jokingly.

“Nah, I didn’t used to do that kinda’ stuff, I wasn’t in it for the money, I just wanted to challenge myself, you know, I got a sense achievement from hacking stuff, as if I was beating the system. I had to stop when they started cracking down, they didn’t use to mind so long as you didn’t steal any information, but then they started caring and so I had to stop; I didn’t want to wind up in prison. When I joined the rebellion I stated trying to hack into the government’s system, trying to use my skills for something productive.”

“I’m afraid I can offer much assistance there; I’m useless with computers!” they both laughed at the poor joke, more out of formality than amusement.

There was a silence in which they both noticed the Scotsman watching them from a few metres away.

“You said you wrote reports, what did you used to do?” the woman reignited the conversation.

“I worked for a business; it was one of my jobs to write reports of our particular sector’s progress to the board, very boring, very technical. I hated it!” she laughed.

“I used to design websites for companies…” she paused for a moment, contemplating. “You said you were writing a diary because you had to stop writing once this all started, but why a diary in particular? Why not just write a novel; the same sort of thing that you used to write?”

The man stopped to think. “I needed somewhere to vent, somewhere to write down my thoughts, my…” he trailed off with a sigh. “I suppose I had to justify my actions to myself and try to get clear in my head exactly what had happened, and what is happening.” The conversation trailed off, the two masked figured sat, deep in thought.

Next week... holiday snaps, as usual

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