He stands back and looks at the scene, a young man surveying the carnage of the broken man seated before him. Something doesn’t fit here, something isn’t quite right, misplaced or forgotten, he’s not sure which and knows that it is too late for such worries.
A dull moan from the chair, scarlet red lines fall from vivid wounds, slashed through flesh. Blood seeps from him in a slow gentle ooze, a dozen or more thin lines adding to the macabre vision. He looks down at the man, tortured and throbbing with dark pain, spent and pleading for his executioner to end it, pleading for release, pleading for his life. He watches as the man makes another exhaused attempt to free himself and once more is met with the same resistance as before, the bloodied ropes cuttnig ever deeper.
He turns to the table behind him, takes a sip of cold water then turns and throws it over the seated man. Another shock of cold, a gasping breath.
He is puzzled now and closes his eyes for a moment, gathering himself. He revisits the plan, the training and a spark of guilt flares within. This isn’t what was meant to happen. This is wrong.
Concentrating hard, he casts his mind back, how did he end up here?
He remembers some details perfectly, breaking into this apartment, waiting quietly, patiently until they came home. It should’ve been the simplest of executions as they sat down to watch TV. Two shots and then he’d turn and leave. Yet, he was still here.
Squeezing his eyes tight he can see arcs of red as she slumps forward, can hear the cries, instant shock and anger, as the man succumbs to fear and rage. He can see his own arm outstretched, can feel the weight of the gun and yet, nothing. That is all he has, until now.
He reaches out to hold the mans face, fingers on slick cheeks, cupping his chin. He looks him straight in the eye.
“Who are you?” he asks. A simple enough question.
The man in the chair looks up, confused, startled at the softness of the voice.
“Who are you?” he asks again, already growing weary of all of this.
The man in the chair starts to speak, his mouth opens but no sound is made.
He is growing tired now, and can feel the light in the room changing. He was told this would happen, but still something isn’t right, this isn’t what was meant to happen.
Slowly he walks behind the man, reaches down and starts to untie him. In a soft quiet voice he starts to mumble.
“I don’t know why I’m here, I’m sorry for what I’ve done, this isn’t right, I’m sorry for what I’ve done. I don’t know why I’m here. You should go now. I’m sorry for what I’ve done. I should go now, I should be somewhere else now. You shouldn’t be here. Are you sorry for what you’ve done? I will go. Do you know why I’m here? I’m sorry for what I’ve done. You should go now”.
He stands back and lets the ropes fall, and watches the man rise unsteadily and without looking back, stumble out through the door. He hears him start to scream, a low beastly noise that makes him smile. He can feel the light and warmth in the air on his skin, and turns to the window to bask for a moment in the sunlight.
He steps closer to the window and watches as onlookers turn and stare, their eyes searching for the source of that awful noise.
He smiles. He knows this isn’t the way it should be, knows that something has gone wrong but each passing moment tells him something has changed. He hears the man screaming as he leaves the building, dashing out into the busy street below. And finally he realises what is wrong.
His mind skips back to that building, the long corridor, the cramped office and the young man sitting behind the desk, telling him the stories of the building, telling him that nothing is ever truly right in this world. He can remember the dulling darkness that descended after that day, that he walked in for so long with the sunlight unable to penetrate. He can remember it all.
He looks down again at the street, watching the man stumble onwards, the onlookers starting to point as the man stumbles out into the road. A man still alive.
He closes his eyes and lifts his face to the sun, feeling the warmth spread across his cheeks, he too feels alive, so very alive. His senses reverberate anew, and he wonders what will happen next.
Down in the street the man falters and falls forward. A bus driver slams on his brakes, more screams fill the air.
Stood at the window he looks down, all of this happening in an instant. The bus skids, the brakes fail to hold. The man lies prone, no-one can save him.
And then he remembers the inscription above the door of the office, throws his head back and screams.
In a small cluttered office a young man sits behind a desk. He rarely speaks, for he has no-one to speak to most days, so he just sits there doing his job. His gaze remains flat as he monitors the goings on of the building, the to-ing and fro-ing of his working day, the machinations that play out at his behest.
Suddenly he looks up at the doorframe, and with a contented sigh reads the faded inscription once more.
“Trust in Fate”.