Iniquity

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic
“Iniquity” follows the thoughts of a mysterious mortuary worker; a sociopath with a bitter view of the world around him and, short of feeling the need to cleanse it, he is more just angered by aspects of modern living and it is a prime paradigm of this, in the shape of his receptionist colleague, that tips him over the edge.

Submitted: January 12, 2008

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Submitted: January 12, 2008

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Iniquity
 
A stranger to death? No, I am no stranger. The greater part of my life has been spent in the company of the dead. So why then is it that one death in particular more than any other should shape my very existence? Day after day I spend in that forlorn room, sitting beside the corpses of New York’s forgotten victims. Forgotten by choice? Or by IGNORANCE? But then what use is someone when they are dead? What purpose can there be for a decaying, festering piece of meat? Am I iniquitous, then, to feel befriended by them?
 
Mere feet above my head, the people of New York go about their daily business. From the entrepreneurs to the hot dog vendors, the senators to the vagrants. Not one of them caring who they step on or who they harm, so long as they bring home the bacon for little Suzie and little Joe. They are all the disease of our miserable spit of land. The illness. The virus.  Am I iniquitous, then, to rejoice inside when another of them is brought to me, another to be hidden away behind their own silver door?
 
And so it came to pass that I had to take her. She was one of the worst. Sat upstairs, filing the talons of her hands. Hair, so casually draped over the perfect figure of her back and chest. Answering telephones, filling forms. A cog in the machine. Taking her life was never a choice I had to make, only how I took it. I cannot be near them when they yet have breath, you see. It brings about my anger, some might even call it RAGE. But when they are dead, yes. An empty brain cannot judge you, an empty eye cannot despise you and an empty lung cannot affront you. I am calmed by my dead. The stench of a rotting corpse soothes me, reassuring me that they will all meet their end. Am I iniquitous, then, to have felt the want to add to my collection by my own hand?
 
Manifestingwas the plan in my mind. Urgency took a hold upon me. She could not stay. No, of course not. But my fingers asked me questions: How then? HOW? TELL ME HOW! But quiet. Be quiet now. We were not ready. She couldn’t know. We could not let her know!
 
 A game! Yes! That is what it was! And all games need us to be judicious, if they are to be won. Every impulse in me told me to kill, but no! Calm, we had to be calm -- calmer than we ever were -- to avert suspicion. So I had to study. Study her. She was a book to be read.
 
Every evening, at 6pm, she would bring me a list of those bastards from above who had died today. I would not smile. Be polite, yes, but never smile. She could not know that my heart was dancing to learn of more of them departing. Exactly how all the others were, that is how I had to be, so that she would never suspect. And as she turned to leave -- every time -- as she turned I would catch the scent of soft petals from her hair. Sick. It made me sick. A lesser man may have lusted over that alluring aroma. But listen then, listen carefully when I tell you – I am not one of them! As the bouquet fragrance flowed through me, my pulse quickened, I began to salivate – the ache of the need to harm close to overcoming me. But I did not let this show! I remained calm. Brilliant, I know! Most would have been apparent with their want to hurt, maim, kill. But I simply stood, until she was enveloped in the darkness of the corridor. The darkness I blessed; it made my task far easier. The dust I blessed; it muffles the footsteps, you see. But that smell still lingered, clinging to my nostrils. My rage built. Tonight would be the night.
 
To the office upstairs I followed her. Not too close, she could not know! Once or twice I thought I heard the gentle beat of her shoes cease. I stopped, hardly daring to breathe. My foot hung barely an inch from the ground; I dared not lower it for fear of making that one diminutive sound, that one tell-tale tap that would ruin my masterpiece. Silence is an art, and I am the world’s finest artist. I feared my heart would give me away, hammering, thundering at my chest. Where was she? Had she heard? Did she know?
 
It began again. Tap. Tap. Tap. I allowed a moment for her to pull away, a fine strategy, I’m sure you’ll agree. Had I commenced immediately she may have sensed the impending doom. But I had to remain cautious, vigilant. Had I left it too long she would have escaped the clutch of death’s outstretched hand.
 
Softly, softly I lowered that waiting foot and continued my silent march towards winning this game. A slow metallic creak, from the corridor ahead! She had reached the door to the staircase, and I was fewer than 10 yards behind without her noticing anything amiss! A second creak -- the door closing -- and I slipped through, quieter than silence itself, unseen, spectral, no more than a shadow’s shadow. My dexterity made a whisper of my movements.
 
I allowed the door to close of its own accord and looked towards the head of the stairs. I could see her now, silhouetted against the lights from the lobby above. One could describe my ascent of the stairs as uncanny; one might think that that was not a man moving -- swiftly but so remarkably softly -- through the veil of darkness, but a ghost. The wisest man alive would not have given the slightest suggestion that concealed in the shadows, a man lay waiting to finish his day’s work.
 
The office door opened and closed promptly, bathing me in a lone silence, broken only by an infinitesimal click moments later, as if locking her door would keep her safe. I allow myself the smallest gasp of laughter. A locked door is impassable, you may think. You jest! You think me brainless! I’ll tell you how -- for it is quite brilliant -- how I came by another copy of that key; the key that (at all times, I should add) remains solely in the jacket pocket of my victim. You see, in the days prior to this night I had been hard at work, working ceaselessly, in fact, to ensure that no bump, no hiccup would get in my way. When she brought me the list on the night three days former to this, I asked, as casually as you like (and with the precision of a practised deceiver), if she would be so kind as to help me with one of the bodies.
 
“I just need an extra pair of hands for a moment. Don’t worry, I shan’t keep you.”
 
I did not press the matter, but allowed her to accept in her own time. Seconds -- no, moments -- before she touched the body, I suggested, in an affable tone -- and as if the thought had only just struck me -- that she remove her coat. She wouldn’t want it to get dirty, after all. She obliged, and at the perfect moment during the procedure, I am able to slip my expert hand into the pocket of the discarded jacket and lift out that very key!
 
I unlocked the door without the slightest trace of that giveaway click. And I see her. I began to approach the desk she sat at, scratching a pen at a form. If you had seen how unhurried I was! As the minutes turned to hours I am near her, low to the ground like a stalking panther. From my sleeve I drew a thin but deadly wire - the perfect tool. I am close now, so close! The spring-time scent reached me. I could taste her! That sickening smell of the world outside! Why I had to do it, finish her, there and then, you must now understand! My blood began to boil, my fingers ached with anticipation! WE ARE SO NEARLY THERE! YOU SEE WHY! SHE IS A PLAGUE! EVERY ONE A PLAGUE! In her last moment -- in the reflection of the window pane before her -- she caught me, but no! She had not the time to resist! My wire ensnared her throat and I pulled with a strength that consumed me. She could make no noise as she struggled, and for several minutes I pulled and pulled at that wire. I knew she could no longer be alive, but I pulled yet, until the tiniest trickle -- slighter than a thread -- wove its way out of her mouth. As I slackened my grip, from a place I did not know, a grin spread across my face, knowing that I had won!


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