Judas felt he knew everyone that came into the Mauve Room. He knew their sunken eyes, the desperate gazes as they searched in vain for a person to help them. He always found it ridiculous that they would look to an Executive for help, but they would still look at him, every time without fail. A deep red glowing band circled their necks, and he knew they had committed heinous crimes, but he couldn’t help feeling amused. They were like beggars, with all their money squandered, and he a nobleman. Even if they gambled their way to glory, he would never stop feeling amused at them.
That morning, it was a woman. Judas never got to know their names. He only remembered their faces, shelving them in a photo album of sorts stashed in his brain. This one had no nose. He’d never seen one without a nose. They were like circus animals, the prisoners. It was quite amusing to him.
“What you laugh at?” The woman asked. She had that crude accent that was customary of those from the Outskirts. It only made Judas chuckle more to himself. He had been doing his job for some forty years, but he never decided to be polite. The guards didn’t care; they had captured the offenders. They had tied them up, interrogated them, slapped them a couple of times. Polite wasn’t a word in their Begspeak-Noblespeak dictionary.
“Oh, nothing. Just the hole on your face.” With that solemn sentence, Judas grabbed the chalice of mauve liquid and threw it on her face. Then he looked away.
Five minutes later, the screams left the room, and he turned around to clean up the remains.
Judas lived in the Mauve Room. Well, it was more an extension of it that he slept and ate in, but everything else, he did in there. He couldn’t even remember that time before his recruitment where he had multiple rooms to himself. Over time working here, Judas had learned to thrive in solitude. It was quite nice once you got used to it.
For fifteen weeks after the execution, Judas woke up and tended to the laboratory. The more of the mauve liquid he poured on an offender, the more he had to recreate and tend to. It was a complicated process for a rare commodity. Early in his career, he had to have a servant to oversee him. Judas didn’t feel any shame for putting the man out of a job once he had learned it enough. Once, years later, after time had passed, the man came back. Judas smiled at seeing his face, but frowned at the red band around his neck.
After twenty weeks of preparation, a file appeared at his mail-slot. The mail-slot was the only work thing that lived in his bedroom, sitting there in a metal outfit. He would have to execute the offender that the file contained.
This time, it was a cold, blue-eyed face. He had blonde hair and piercing cheekbones. It looked as if he had chiseled his face out of ice and spray-painted it pale white. Judas felt no amusement, for the first time, as he looked at the face and sighed… it wasn’t often that he had to execute a nobleman. There would be no laughing or smiling involved, only a solemn ceremony of death. There would have to be a significant period of mourning.
When the day came, ten weeks later, Judas was feeling dread. Dread didn’t normally accompany an execution. They were very rare occasions, like this one. His feet felt heavy as soon as he swung them out of bed, flopping down and sticking to the floor. As he pushed on his shoes, they curled and felt uncomfortable and itchy.
There he waited until the guards pounded on the door. In those times, Judas would try to shut off his mind, to be entirely averse to all things happening, though of those there were very little. When the sound came, he rushed to the door in a flurry of having a purpose. There stood the guards, waiting with the cold-faced nobleman.
Judas kept his eyes down. The nobleman was higher-ranked than him, any nobleman would be, so he had to show them respect even in death. As the cold eyes set down upon him, he felt a shiver. It was cold, cruel, unforgiving. Curse the man who sent it, he thought.
Judas felt unnaturally alone in a room filled with five people. He felt as if the Mauve Room was the one place he’d rather avoid at that time, as if there was no worse room to live in. At the time, he kept his mind silent, as if to shield his thoughts and emotions from the intruder. How funny, he would think later, that when one feels out of place they are so much more efficient in any task laid upon them!
“Well? Get on with it!” the guard shouted. They were an impatient lot, not willing to be any more in the presence of the prisoner than Judas did. As a rule, they prefer not to take up much time with the ceremonies; if they finished early, the bar would be open until midnight. The guards thought with one mind, moved with one motion, mirrored across the four.
Judas had no concept of time, not as the guards did. In a way, he was as helpless as the prisoners, locked up in his little cell. His little room.
“All right, I’m getting on,” He fumbled. There was an awkward silence, the prisoner’s gaze fixed upon Judas, unflinching, uncaring. He picked up the vat of purple fluid, took a deep breath and cast his eyes down. Then, looking away almost instantly, he dumped it on the nobleman’s head. He had done the deed. Now there would be months of waiting… waiting in the silence for something to do other than wait.
Sure enough, twenty weeks later, the file came. In those weeks where there was nothing, barely anything to do, he would shut his mind off to anything, hole himself up in the walls of himself. Deep within the recesses, he found profound peace in waiting. That was the only constant in a life like his.