There’s a place somewhere, where treachery isn’t a question, and lies are gone from existence. Good reigns and bad has been forgotten. It may be asked where this place is, for anyone who wishes to go. Listen if you want to keep it in your mind, shut your ears if you don’t. This place, it’s not far from here or there.
The man stared accusingly at the flap of paper before him. An expression, that if seen, would not be understood. None of these things were understood anymore. But this man who knew, he used it with a fierce faze. He waited for the words before him to reveal themselves like an X on a treasure map.
Across the lane.
After days of searching, questioning with a forceful smile, he had found the first words. The first clue on his treasure map.
Lies a single knife.
The second clue had come easily. A woman, old with age, had looked confused when he had asked the question; do you know what murder is? She had been chopping carrots, and had used the knife to point out the window. “The birds probably know better than me.”
An ebony handle of black.
The ebony had come when he entered the piano man’s room. He had been playing a soft song, everything was soft these days. He hummed the tune now, relinquishing in its sweetness. His mind tried to remember the words, what were they now? “A whisper of a black cat.” The man had been singing when he left.
The sun dare not shine.
The young girl, had been staring from the room as he talked to her mother, muttering a rhyme for rain. He had heard her soft voice as he turned to leave. “If you can make everything better, can you make it rain?”
Through the alley.
The bricks had been crumbling the day she was found. The day it had found him. The scream that followed to his ears; and whilst others thought it was one of delight, he knew otherwise. The foundation of everything were giving way.
Six doors past.
The next clue on his map. It had been seven minuted before he had rushed to the scream to find no one there.
A lantern’s shine.
“You must have been hallucination dearie.” The old woman had muttered from her confined state in bed. “Too many bad dreams without the lights on.”
The final one, the treasure on his hunt.
He stood, staring at these words. The only thing he hadn’t written down was the starting point. He pulled a pen from his coat.
Folding the pen away, he knew he had found every clue. He began his steps across the lane. It was an easy task, no cars travelling at this hour past dust. And there it lay, a knife of singularity. It would be this knife that thrust itself into the victim’s heart. He picked it up, feeling the black handle of ebony. The victim wouldn’t have time to see the flash of it against the moon. The sun had left its path till morn. He slipped the knife into his coat.
Just there, form the corner of his eye, an alley presented itself. He didn’t bother to look around to check no one would follow; no one expected suspicion these days. So why did he?
He came to a pause at the foot of the alley and adjusting his sight his sight he saw doors on one side. One door. It flashed past him as he went, the next rearing up the same. Six doors behind him, he chose the seventh.
There it was, the lantern shining down upon the interior of the small room. Stairs drifted to the left, trailing to an unknown space. To the front though, hung a portrait. A small painting; a girl smiling with that countenance he saw in only one other. It was a forced smile. He reached and picked the frame off its hook, turning its back to face him. An arrow signalled to the right of him.
Replacing the picture, he moved up the stairs, the arrow starring at his back.
Through the door that rested at the top.
He was unsurprised when he saw the girl resting with her eyes to the window. Older than the portrait, not much though.
Knowingly he went and placed the knife on the table beside her.
“It’s odd that it’s just us two.” He had never heard her voice, though he recognised its familiarity.
He knew easily what she was talking about. “You’ve just got to live with it I’d say.” The pain of knowing, of understanding, that life still held treacheries. Of knowing the word murder.
Her head turned sharply. “No we don’t. All we have to do is tell them, show them.”
Kill a man and see how people react. He had thought it once before. “What’s the point? They’re happy aren’t they.”
Her head and returned to the window. “But I’m not.” Her hand softly slipped to the table. “Together you know, we can bring it all back.”
He stared hard at her, knowing she was watching around her. “No.”
“It will be easy.” A smile slipped to her face. “I’m not going to change my mind. Even without you I can do it.”
She hadn’t touched the knife still resting on the table. It was his hand that enclosed around it.
“Think, you don’t really want everything to be bad.”
But all she did was look at him and smile, a smile that he knew would never change.
Back; past the lantern, six doors away. Down an alley, that held no sun. Over where an ebony handle had been found of a single knife. Across the lane.
Once there he pulled out the sheet of paper lying in his coat. Each clue of his map that had led him to her. He crossed out the X. She didn’t matter anymore, a knife resting in her heart.
A last thought slipped into his mind, as he walked away into the night; one’s better than two. And it remained that way for many years.
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