The True Monster

You’re passing a court house and a screaming man is being pulled from a police car. He pulls his arm free and points at you.
“You did it and I’m coming for you – dead or alive “.

I got out of my car, closing the door and leaning back against the frame. My glasses were a little greasy, so I pulled them off, cleaning them, then set them back on my face to watch a man being dragged into the courtroom. “You did it!” He screamed at me across the street. “You did it and I’m coming for you, dead or alive!”

There’d be peace, now. No more late-night parties. No more band practices. No more listening to the headboard crashing against the wall after he brought some prostitute home. We all complained about him, the entire building, but nobody ever did anything. The landlord didn’t care, as long as the rent was paid on time.

In the end, it was easy. A stolen credit card, the order of a limited-edition knife, a stolen package. The blade was numbered, seventeen out of a run of fifty, with a unique blade shape. I wiped the blood off on her blouse just to make sure they could outline the blade. I buried it in a dead fish I found in the dumpster, knowing full well that wouldn’t mask the traces of human blood. It couldn’t possibly be easier to trace to him. Fingerprints on the knife were challenging, but in the end I didn’t need them. I left a thin sheen of blood on his doorknob, and he left bloody fingerprints on his own door. Everybody knew he saw prostitutes, everybody knew he had a temper. When the cops came around to question, I didn’t have to lie to say I thought he might be capable of the murder.

I should have felt remorse. I’ve always been told that ends don’t justify means. I’ve been told to have a heart. That I’m a monster. I’ve always known something was wrong with me. And they’re right – humans are social animals, community animals, it’s the very basis of much emotional response, tying us into a web of our peers. Without those needs and responses, I an unfathomable to most.

But he was no better. A different kind of monster, one who has access to those ties and bonds, and rejected them. We were different, him and I, but the same in certain ways. Both of us deserved to be marched before judgment, for different things. My day would come. But today, this was his day.

Author: Eric Eshleman

I'm not real.

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