Blood splattered onto Jason’s face, but he didn’t care. He could admire its beauty later, but for now he was absorbed in the thrilling task he had assigned himself. He swung out again, the wrench he held in his hand making contact with his victim’s face. There was a crack as it fractured his nose. The man could barely get out a scream because he was so busy choking on his own blood. Jason enjoyed the sound, but soon that man wouldn’t be screaming. Blood sprayed from his mouth as he continued his attempts to breathe. To live. To survive. Jason laughed coldly. There would be none of that.
Again and again he whacked the man with his wrench. Even when he stopped screaming. Even when he stopped breathing. It wasn’t enough. He knew it wasn’t enough. He felt hot tingles all over as each swing of his arm further destroyed what was left of the man’s head. It wouldn’t be over till the stone floor had an ichorous pool of blood and brains.
When Jason felt satisfied that his job was complete he straightened and dropped the wrench. He wasn’t bothered by the cold wind that blew into the abandoned warehouse he was in. He had just killed someone. And it felt good.
He walked out into the night air, feeling high from his kill. The metallic scent of blood met his nose, and it made him even more aware of the way it coated his arms, and his face, and his neck. He could feel its warmth slowly running down him. The blood of another human being.
Jason walked back home with hardly a care in the world. He even found himself singing, and when he wasn’t singing he could hear agonized screams in the distance. Everyone was having fun that night it seemed. They were all killing, as they were meant to.
There were no lights on in the houses he passed, and the road was empty. Light was provided by the full moon that shone over the town. He glanced at a large house as he passed by it. Probably a family lived there. It would be so easy to just go in there and kill all of them, but he didn’t feel the need to kill yet. He still felt the power of his last one.
Jason turned a corner, and then he stopped. There was a man standing in the middle of the road, blood dripping from the kitchen knife he held in his right hand. His eyes were wild, and crazed just as his own surely were. Blood didn’t seem to cover him as much as it did Jason, but he still froze. Yet, Jason had confidence that he could take on this man. He was scrawny. It was no wonder he had a knife. He probably couldn’t protect himself without it.
The man cried out and started running towards Jason. Jason moved aside at the last second, sending the man hurtling past him. While he regained his balance, Jason grabbed his wrist, twisting and squeezing as hard as he could. There was a loud snap, and the man cried out as the knife dropped from his hand. In a flash, Jason picked it up from the pavement, and with hardly a thought he slashed the man’s throat. Blood sprayed onto his hand and the pavement, and the man was making gurgling noises as he fell to his knees. A few seconds later, his body dropped to the pavement. Jason looked down at him, his head tilted. If only that kill had been more fun. Oh well, it was self defense. There hadn’t been any time to make it exciting.
He made it home without any further incidents. He’d prefer to stay out and kill just as others were doing, but he had promised himself that he wouldn’t. The last time he’d done that he’d gone on a frenzy. He hadn’t even been able to stop killing when the sun rose. The punishment for that had been severe. Jason had been forced to drink some horrible burning concoction that froze up his body and allowed him to be beaten for hours on end. The only reason he’d survived was because the chief of police had ordered that no one purposefully deal him life-threatening blows. The chief of police only granted him mercy that time because it was his first infraction. The broken ribs and fingers that he’d gotten from that day had only been warnings.
Jason quietly made his way up the wooden front steps of his porch. He then grabbed his keys from their spot under a panel of wood. He hadn’t wanted to take them with him - the little clinking sounds they made would have given him away to anyone else who might be out there - so that’s where he’d kept them hidden. He unlocked the door, and went in quickly. After relocking it, he tossed the keys down onto the small wooden table in the kitchen, and then made his way down the hall and into the bathroom.
There was one window in the bathroom, but he turned on the light anyway. He wasn’t afraid. He could kill anyone who came after him. He always did.
Jason was pleased with the sight that met him in the mirror. His blond hair was stained red, and his pale skin was red from how much blood was on him. The white t-shirt he’d purposefully worn was decorated with blood as well. The sight was so beautiful, but he knew he had to wash up.
The water in the porcelain sink ran crimson as Jason washed his hands. It almost made him sad seeing so much of that beautiful color go down the drain. He would be clean. Free of the murder he’d committed.
Everyone would appear clean the next day. Innocent. Nothing but angels. At night everyone was encouraged to kill, and sometimes even children joined in on it. It was something everyone did. It was what kept the monsters inside all of them at bay when the sun was out. At night they were allowed to indulge on any human instinct. Slowly, killing had made its way into being the one that pulled at everyone more than the others.
The tug was maddening, but Jason was glad he got to sate the urge every night. By night’s end the tug was quite loose seeing as he no longer travelled away from what held the rope. Straying during the day made it worse. Much worse. One night he assumed that he would eventually end up going until he’d reached whatever held the rope. He felt a thrill from imagining what that could possibly make him. He wasn’t sure, but he wouldn’t mind succumbing to it rather than pretending to be pristine, and innocent. And he knew that everyone struggled just as he did. They all wanted to become more than human. They all wanted to become something magnificent, and cruel.
But the one in charge; the supposedly brilliant emperor stopped that from happening. Jason hated him. He wanted to kill him in a fanciful way. Possibly rip out his eyes and shove them down his throat, or cut out his intestines and strangle him with them. That would never happen, though. Ever. The government controlled everyone specifically for the purpose of keeping them within the strange parameters of what a human was supposed to be. Anyone who strayed from those parameters was never heard from again. So no one did. They knew the rules and they obeyed.
People knew they were supposed to be in their houses at dawn. That was the time government workers cleaned up all evidence of death; the dead bodies, the blood, the weapons, the signs of a struggle. And when someone stepped outside their house during the day they were supposed to look as if they hadn’t done a thing. Jason knew there were a few pathetic people out there who really hadn’t done anything. It turned his stomach thinking about it. Each night he tried to find one of those people. He just wanted to snap their necks. Hear them scream. Watch them bleed. See their abhorrent eyes, not heavied by the burden of murder, turn glassy as their last breath left them. Their very existence angered him, and he felt as if it was his job to do something about it.
When Jason finished the task of cleaning the blood from his hands, face, and neck, he lifted up his head and looked at himself in the shiny surface of the mirror. Clean. He was too clean. There wasn’t a single drop of blood on his skin. Not even his eyes betrayed his true nature. The wildness had left them, and now calm pools of blue stared back at him. It all tore at him frustratingly. The silence. The angelic paleness of his skin and blond hair. It all made him sick. The face looking back at him didn’t seem to be his own. He didn’t remember a time when he had been as innocent as the face in the mirror would suggest. He didn’t miss that version of himself - if it had existed - and he didn’t want that version of himself to exist.
Finally able to draw his attention away from the despicably innocent and naïve person in the mirror, Jason went to turn the light off, but before he could it felt like the ground had given way beneath him. His vision had gone black. And then white. And then black again. He felt like he was falling, and the air was sucked out all around him, making it so he couldn’t even scream. What was happening to him?
After what seemed like minutes of falling into nothingness, he landed with a thud, but onto what exactly? Jason blinked open his eyes. The first thing he noticed was that he was lying on the navy blue rug he kept on his bathroom floor. Beyond that was white tile, and then the cream-colored wall. He lifted up his head, twisting to see the rest of the room. He didn’t understand. He was still in his bathroom. But if that was true, then what had happened to him? Had he fainted?
Jason looked down at the jeans and t-shirt he was wearing and he noticed that they were clean. It didn’t look like any blood had ever touched them. Not even dirt. Confused, he stood up and went to the window. The sun was just beginning to creep over the horizon, but the two bodies he’d left in his backyard were already gone. How had the workers gotten to them so quickly? He didn’t even see any red-stained grass.
Jason waited around in his house, not feeling ready to confront what might have happened. His stomach growled with hunger, but he was too anxious to actually do anything about it. Each sound he heard made him jump. The start of a car, the slam of a gate, people conversing, the ringing of the telephone in his kitchen.
He went over to the counter where the phone was in its cradle. It rang again, and he glanced at the caller ID. He knew the number, but he wasn’t sure he wanted to pick it up. The phone stopped its ringing after two more rings, and then all was silent for at least half a minute. As Jason had expected the phone started ringing again. This time he answered.
“Jason, what are you doing? You’re supposed to be here,” his boss, Nick, told him. He didn’t sound too angry, so Jason figured that work at the office wasn’t busy as of yet. “Jason? You there?”
“Oh sorry. Yeah, I’m here,” Jason answered in a weak voice. He really did not feel good, and everything just seemed… off.
“You sound kind of sick. Is something wrong?”
“No, I’m-” Jason started to reply, but then he trailed off. He should take a sick day. For some reason the thought of going to work, and interacting with other people just made him nauseous, and his palms started to sweat. “Actually, yeah, I’m not feeling too great. I’m taking a sick day.”
“Alright. I’ll report it. Feel better.”
With that his boss hung up. After putting the phone back there was eerie silence. Terrible silence. Jason’s head was starting to throb and for some reason the light just made it worse, and looking at how clean everything was. How untouched by death.
He climbed upstairs, and then went down the hall to his room to take a nap.
When Jason woke up it felt as if he’d been sleeping for ages. His room was dark, and the sun had gone down. It was night, yet he didn’t get the thrill that he usually did when it was nighttime. He just wanted to stay in bed, and remain undisturbed.
He closed his eyes again, feeling as if he was about to drift off, but then they shot open. Something was wrong.
In an instant Jason was at his window, looking out down the street. Lights were on in almost all the houses. It didn’t make sense. Why would they turn their lights on? He could even see people outside on their front porches drinking hot beverages from mugs as they talked with each other. What were they doing talking? Why weren’t they killing? Why wasn’t anyone killing? He didn’t see the occasional person running across the street, or a flash of someone in between the houses, or in the bushes. There wasn’t any screaming. Everything seemed… peaceful.
The murders that happened at night were dangerous to talk about during the day. It wasn’t day, but everyone was acting as if it was. They weren’t scared, or ready to kill. They were just continuing on as if the sun had not set. Jason got the strangest feeling that he couldn’t ask anyone what was wrong. Would these people even know anything was wrong? Was anything wrong to them? They were acting in a way that they were clearly comfortable with. It was normal to them.
The woman who lived across the street from him was laughing, and then she hugged her girlfriend. He knew that those two usually liked going after children at night. But now, they were acting like killing wasn’t a part of their lives. Like they’d never even thought about committing such a beautiful atrocity. Seeing that made Jason’s head hurt.
All of this made Jason’s head hurt. Everyone was acting so strange. The night seemed completely foreign to him, and he knew that he could never mention it to anyone. So he didn’t.
Night turned to day, and still nothing happened. Day after day passed normally, and each night was still as strange as that first one. Jason lived out his life day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. He became used to the peace that abounded during the night. He went to parties with friends, concerts, movies. It seemed as if they could do anything at night, except killing. In the newspaper there were stories of people being murdered in the middle of the night and the police were looking for suspects. And when suspects were found they were put on trial. To these people, murdering at night was a crime. Murder in general was a crime. One of the highest. But they were the same people that Jason had known before. Yet, they weren’t.
Each day his old life slipped from his mind more and more until he never even thought about killing. He wouldn’t ever kill anyone. It was wrong. So very wrong. How could anyone take someone else’s life? What sort of monster would do that?
One night, Jason was brushing his teeth, just as he did every night before bed. He rinsed out his mouth, spit into the sink, and then looked at himself in the mirror. He was confused by the face that looked back at him. It wasn’t his own. It was cruel, and the eyes glimmered with a cold light. He knew the face in the mirror definitely wasn’t his own when it smiled at him. A terrifying smile that made his blood run cold. And then, it raised a knife. The thing, that monster that had been inside of him, appeared before him. Then, Jason remembered. The metallic scent of blood. The piercing sound of terror-filled screams. The rush of power. Mangled corpses. Looking down upon people as he took their life from them. Watching their tears and blood run. The memories flashed through Jason’s head at a maddening pace. Oh, the way it hurt!
The monster that had lived inside of Jason for so long gently grabbed hold of his shoulder as if to tell him that everything would be alright. It raised the knife, and he managed a weak smile to thank it for the merciful deed it was about to do. The last thing Jason saw was a mirror devoid of his and the monster’s reflections as his throat was slashed.