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Drama Fiction Horror

 

A cold, biting, wind whips through the gaps between the high rise blocks, chilling my face and hands, as I walk towards the sanctuary of my home. This city has grown so tall that now the sun never reaches the pavements and people exist in a semi-dark world; lit by the glow of mobile phones as they shuffle about their business. The once bright street lamps are dimmed and discoloured by years of neglect; most remain useless and dark, unlit for years. The teams of patrols employed in their repair long since finished and redundant, crippled by successive government cuts.

This, however, is my city. The place I live, love and hunt. This city has grown so vast it is possible to walk all day and never glimpse an area of green. There are few shops to visit or places to eat and socialise. This city has become a virtual world, a collection of megabytes, gigabytes and terabytes. A place where few people leave their homes because there is no longer a need or desire to do so. There is also the danger. 

I enter the dark, dingy foyer of my block. Discarded shopping trolleys, redundant now they have served their purpose and carried their cargo home, litter the space. Overflowing bin bags, split and torn by ravaging vermin, spill their unwanted rubbish onto the cracked and damaged floor. The lifts have long since stopped working. Maintenance is a thing of the long, distant past. I carefully pick my way through and climb the stairs to my apartment. Flight after flight of polluted, soiled and crumbling stairs. The walls dripping with graffiti and peeling posters, dimly advertising a happier time. 

I enter my apartment and shut out the rest of the world, safe in my own haven of peace. Sliding the bolts and chains across the steel-backed door. I flick on the stereo as I pass it. 

The Geordie blues band, The Animals, are singing, ‘We Gotta Get Out Of This Place.’ Eric Burden’s deep, rich voice blasting out from the wall-mounted speakers. There are few neighbours left to hear his gritty words.

His words mirror exactly my sentiments, I think, as I walk over and stare out of my lounge window at the city sprawling beneath me. I love it here but, at times, I hate it with equal fervour. 

Stepping out onto the balcony of my twelfth-floor apartment I look down at the ant-like figures hurrying about their business on the pavements far below. Small lights moving in the gloom.

City life can be noisy and, indeed, lonely but I relish the privacy of being unknown to others, of being anonymous. Anonymity feeds my appetite and fuels my desires. It’s different in the countryside, the rural location of my mother’s cottage calms me and I bask in its light. As soon as I arrive there I feel the tension stripped away and I relax at last. All is peace there.

In the city, I see people as potential targets, as victims for me to take advantage of. That’s another thing I love. This power makes me feel alive, sharp, honed and ready to spring. I hold that image in my head; in my mind’s eye. Me, curled tight like a predatory snake; awaiting my prey to come close enough for me to strike. To inject my venom and render them powerless against me. Defenceless against my strength and agility; my superior power. Some have been known to fight back but most are paralysed by fear and surprise. 

From my secure vantage point, I look down upon my prey, so far below. I wonder which, if any, will be my quarry tonight. When fully dark the city becomes my hunting ground, the gloom my cloak. People walk, staring at their small screens, listening to music on headphones or earbuds, totally unaware that danger stalks around them. 

When I strike I love to hear them scream. To experience the power I hold when I plunge the knife into their soft, yielding flesh. Watching as their thick, red, lifeblood streams from holes I have just created. I love the smell of it, metallic and coppery, warm on my hands. Then as I see their life slip away from them I watch their eyes dim and finally, quietly they are gone from this world, off to who knows where. 

Satisfied, I leave their lifeless husk to be discovered. Found by innocents stumbling around in the darkness. I do not need to hide them, they have served their purpose and I am at peace again, until the pull of this wonderful hunting ground entices me back. 

I killed last night and afterwards I stepped out onto this balcony, the air fresh and tinged with the predawn light, and I listened to the screaming of the sirens, knowing my latest offering has been discovered and the police will still be no nearer to catching me. Hearing the siren’s wail helps me to relive the act, the sirens are my trophy, an extra reward.

Tomorrow, I am leaving the city to visit my aged mother in her country idyl to recover myself. To disentangle me from this ruthless predator and become, once again, my mother’s son. 

She knows I am coming to see her, her little boy is returning to her nest. Her sweet child who left to work in the city, a place she never goes because she reads daily about the danger there. 

‘How can anyone do that to another human being?’ she asks me as we watch the television news together. ‘What sort of animal prowls and kills indiscriminately?’ She asks me as if I would know. For this is me in the country. A separate entity to the city dweller I become upon my return there. The countryside where I grew up and love to return to, versus the city I live in now and the place where I satisfy my desires. They will never, can never mix. Two places I love for different reasons and where I spend my time for different purposes.

March 18, 2021 13:37

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