The Killer

He withdrew the knife from the chest of his latest victim. He examined it for a moment, watching the blood trail down the blade, drip off the edge, and onto the ground. Fascinating; without a heart to pump it and veins to guide it, blood succumbed to the pull of gravity. As they said at funerals, “ashes to ashes, dust to dust, every man returns to the earth.” Every dead man fell to the ground, and even the blood that had been taken from his body returned to the earth.

With that thought, he kicked his victim to be sure he was dead. No painful grunt or cough, no flinch or movement. Good, he had finally given up the ghost. This one had hung on for quite a while. He had struggled against his bonds and tried to chew through the rope in his mouth. The Killer shook his head; a desperate man will cling to the faintest hope of escape. Even in the face of certain death, some people refused to accept their fate.

The resilience of the human race astounded him. People could be faced with the most insurmountable odds, and if given a sliver of hope, they would fight with every tooth in their heads for survival and success. Was it greed that inspired them? A thirst for more, more money, more life, more time? Was it fear? Did the fear of death, failure, or the unknown spur them on to survive? He was unsure, but whatever it was, it seemed to thrive on hope. Regardless of how bad the probability, if there was a rumor of success, many seemed to cling to it.

There was no limit to what a man would do to survive. They would walk across a mile of broken glass if it meant that they could evade death for a few more hours. Why did they have such an amplified fear of death? Death was such a beautiful thing. He did not consider himself a murderer; he felt like more of an artist. When he displayed his work, people would take pictures, study it, and write about it. If he was really creative, it would be on the news. Perhaps it would not be displayed as artwork, but that did not diminish how he felt about it.

This would be his last piece for a while. The police were waiting outside, and they were going to take him for a long interview. They would stick him in a white room with a psychologist; some shrink who would ask all the wrong questions. Why do you do this? What makes you kill? He would have to answer, to the best of his ability, their useless queries. Was it because his mother beat him as a child? Was it because the football team stripped him naked, tied him to the goal post, and stuck an apple in his mouth all those years ago? Was it because he never really fit in?

Who cared? What they should be asking is “what does all of this mean? What is the significance of each piece?” It is not the events in an artist’s life that shape his work, but his personality and his reaction to the world around him. His art reflected how he saw the world. He saw the world as a dying place, drained of its life blood. He drained the bodies of his works for this reason. He saw the world as a cold and menacing place. There was no warmth left in it. It was full of cruelty and injustice.

He was not a psycho. He was not killing willy-nilly, causing meaningless destruction. No, the bodies he displayed were a very poignant commentary on the state of mankind: dead, cold, and yet somehow still shockingly beautiful. He believed it was because of the spark of hope that still rested in each man’s heart. No matter how dire the circumstances or how excruciating the pain, none of his artwork ever fully gave up their hope of survival. He liked for them to die with that last bit of hope still in their eyes. It was beautiful. Even in their last moments, as the life slipped from their bodies, they clung to the thought that their rescue was on the way or that there was still a way out.

He sighed. There was no time to finish draining this one of his blood. The police and the media would have questions for him, and it was time to make his name known. He would be remembered forever. Perhaps they would eventually see him for the visionary he truly was. Maybe one day they would show his work in art schools across the globe, using it to teach and inspire young artistic minds.

That day was not today. Honestly, he would probably never see that day. Very few great minds were appreciated while they were alive. It was not until they were long gone and their work had been analyzed for decades that they were recognized for their genius. He, like Socrates before him, was massively misunderstood by the public, and like also like Socrates, he would die at the hands of the republic.

How ironic; they would punish the man who showcased death to the masses by killing him. One day they would see it. Someday they would appreciate it. When he left that house and walked out the front door, they would sentence him to death in the name of justice. They would label him a killer, a madman, and a fiend. One day, they would see his artistic eloquence and rejoice. One day, he would be named among the greats. The best and brightest minds were always misunderstood at first; in time, they will grasp the depth of what he was so desperately trying to tell them. One day, they will understand. But for now, it was time to face the music, as it were. He would suffer through his martyrdom, knowing that his reward would be eternal glory once he was gone. Their enlightenment would come some day.

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