Killing and Creating

Submitted into Contest #98 in response to: Write a story involving a character who cannot return home.... view prompt

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Fiction

Reporters gathered around the steps of the courthouse like vultures attracted to a corpse ready to pick every bit of rotted flesh off the bones. This was almost literally the case of Carter Sweed. Carter’s empire was built on three thousand lives in the last three years.

              Carter was a tall, thinner man. In the past thirteen years, no one ever saw him without a suit and tie. His hair was slicked straight back perfectly symmetrical, outlining a facial structure that was almost skeletal. The way he moved was just as he spoke. He was very calculated and precise. His presence cut through a room like a hateful word can cut into a loved one’s heart.

              Whenever Carter walked out of the courthouse, he stood proud and unattested, as if he were invincible from even death. Carter held his hands out in the air and motioned for everyone to gather around.

              “Everyone, I will give you the story you want, but it will be given in my own way, and it is most likely to go down only in the history books, because today, our society dies, so a new one can rise. So, everyone silent!” In his last sentence Carter’s face turned blood red. The crowd grew silent.

              Carter looked through the crowd from front to back. “You. In the blue dress suit. Come forward.”

              The woman he picked was in the back of the crowd, small in stature but beautiful with an elegant strength. She was a young widow who had been working as a reporter for three years. She did work alongside her husband a meteorologist, in the same news station, until he was struck by a fallen branch while reporting in the middle of a storm.

              She had never loved anyone so much. Instead of destroying herself, or seeking help, or a friend that might understand, she dug deeper into her work. She stopped spending time with the friends she did have more and more until finally she forgot how to communicate emotions completely.

The only time she ever exposed her vulnerable, fragile heart was when she was home. For most people, a place they called home with someone they loved that no longer lived would be a constant reminder of what they would be missing for the rest of their life. For her, it was a reminder of something beautiful she had. If she stayed there among his pictures, and his things, a piece of him was alive. Home was everything to her.

              “Please, state your name and ask your question dear.” Carter proceeded.

              Today was a little harder than most leaving home, so Elita showed up late, she was dumfounded. She had no expectations of ever even getting close enough for descent footage. She worked her way to the front of the crowd, then stammered over her words. “Yes-well…”

              “Don’t be shy. This is your moment. Seize it!”

              “Is it true that you plead guilty to all the allegations against you? The body count is at 3,235. Being prosecuted for an offense such as that would surely give you the death sentence.”

              “I appreciate your candidness and straightforwardness miss… you forgot to state your name.”

              “Elita, Elita Scott with channel nine news.”

              “Yes, Miss Scott. I plead guilty to the charges. I feel every man should be held responsible for his actions. The number you just quoted me though is grossly miscalculated. There are many others that have died by my hand. Not a life was wasted though. Each one taught me a lesson.”

Carter continued, “I remember the first person I killed was while I worked at a fast-food restaurant at the tender age of seventeen. My manager had been on my case for a while. He was one of those people that had to put others down to feel better about his own miserable life.

              “One day, he told me to make lemonade. I was a shy young adolescent afraid of his own shadow. Looking back, I realize the common sense in adding water and sugar to the mix but back then I lacked the confidence to see what needed done.

“I asked my manager how to make it. He called me stupid and told me that I had made it before, and I was just being lazy. Two words I will not tolerate said in the same sentence as my name. I had, had enough. I took an ice scoop and thrust it into his throat repeatedly till I knew he was dead. I made one mistake. I hid his body. I should never have been ashamed of what I had done. It took away the empowerment of the initial act.”

The crowd remained silent, but Elita continued, “How did you leave the courtroom if you plead guilty?”

“You see dear, I am the world’s first, real life super-villain. With no superhero to oppose me I will take the reins of this wretched city, country, and then the world ,and drive it into oblivion if I have to in order to get what I want.”

              “What is it you want Mr. Sweed?”

               “Domination. It is what every super villain wants. I want a freedom that none other in the history of mankind has ever experienced since Alexander the Great. Though, I take responsibility for my actions I will not pay for them as the so called ‘Justice system,’ would want me to.”

              “What do you think keeps you from vigilante justice? I mean, there could be someone here in the crowd with a gun just waiting to get close enough to use it.”

              “I am a super villain. Everyone knows what I am capable of to a degree, and I know people well enough to know that there is not a man or woman alive brazen enough to try. Not by their own hand at least. Not to mention, I am fairly sure I have more allies than I do enemies at this point. There are already dozens of factions being formed all around the United States that have read my literature and taken it to heart like I prayed they would.

              “Here’s the real news Miss Scott, I own an Island called Hawk Island. It is large enough to be considered a small country. What will happen is a bill will be passed today proclaiming war against this small country. In five days, it will be sieged. This is the only hope the American people have but the United States will lose.

              “I love my country but, just as any man, I love myself more. I will not be persecuted for that.”

              Elita had no more questions. No one did. Fear struck the crowd like an abusive parent to a child. Carter looked over the crowd and smiled slightly.

              First, Carter felt the courthouse steps start to rumble beneath his feet. Then, the sound of engines both on the ground and in the air vibrated inside his head. Footsteps, orders being given, and helicopter blades slicing their way through the air resonated through his ear canals. Carter looked up at the sky and gently closed his eyes with a smile big enough to show his teeth.

              “This might be your last interview, Miss Scott. I’d run.”

              Ten Apache helicopters came into sight. Five coming down either side of the street loaded with highly trained air assault troopers. At first the crowd froze. What could cause something like this. Then, tanks came down the streets with foot soldiers following behind and beside.

              Carter started to laugh. “I guess you’ve got me Mr. President! I’m at your mercy!” He once again held his arms wide open with his hands held open towards the sky. Then he gripped his hands. Whenever he gripped his hands, the motors blew up inside the helicopters sending them flying from the sky. They flew into the buildings, the tanks, and people on the streets.

              Seeing what was happening, command ordered the tanks to fire regardless of the crowd in front of the courthouse. While rounds landed all around him, Carter laughed and walked to the middle of the street with his arms still extended and hands still gripped. Then, he gave a fragment of his own rendition of the pledge of allegiance. “I pledge allegiance, to the flag, of the United States of America, one Nation, under me…” Carter threw his hands down and the tanks rose in the air, then slammed on the ground. Mobs surrounded the tanks, the troopers, and any survivors of the helicopter crash, and started to tear them apart with their bare hands.

              In a panic, Elita and a few others ran inside to escape the commotion. Bodies littered the floor. While the others trembled with fear, Elita knew one statement that Carter had said was true. This was her moment, and she was going to seize it.

              Elita looked for her camera man momentarily, but he was nowhere to be found. She assumed the worse. With nothing but a pad and pen she ran down the hallway to where the trial was held.

              Whenever she walked inside there was more of the same that she had just witnessed outside. Bodies littered everywhere. She examined them closely. There was a gun laying bailiffs hand with a completely emptied chamber. He had shot some of them before he turned the gun on himself. It was evident that most of them had taken their own lives. Even Carters lawyer lay on the floor with a pen through his neck and his hand still tightly gripped around it.

              Elita thought to herself, “What could one person say or do to motivate this many people to take their own lives?”

              As Elita studied the room further, she noticed something. Silence. There were no more explosions outside, no more screams, all that remained was silence. That was until a recently heard voice broke that silence.

              “Come with me my dear.” From the courtroom doorway Carter held out his hand.

              Elita wanted to run. She wanted to run home and never come out again but there would be no use. How could she escape someone that many referred as the antichrist or God himself? She would not be going home tonight. She faced that fact, took his hand, and followed him.

June 13, 2021 15:02

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