My day is busy. Not your average “Oh, I've got so much to do before I can sit down and have a glass of wine at 8PM” busy. No no. Mine is more “Oh, I've got so much to do with the countries deficit before I can sit down for a meeting with the Ukrainian ambassador after I get my vice president to bitch slap the Senate around.” In being so busy, I don't really have a lot of time to personally relax. Sure, I could take a bunch of vacation days and retreat to Camp David but I doubt that's going to look good in the public eye. If I take one now, I might as well spend the rest of my presidency there because I won't be getting elected again.
But the one thing I've taken some solace in, is in talking to my personal Secret Service agent. He happens to be a friend of mine, from another life, and he's helped me do something that I hope all the other Presidents are able to enjoy. He's afforded me the luxury of freedom, despite being the leader of the most Free country on the planet. He's shown me a route, that can bypass all cameras and patrols, that will get me out of the White House without being detected. So, naturally, I might as well go to the one place that I feel most comfortable.
I've visited all of the homeless shelters in Washington, at least once. Some of them more than others, and they feel comfortable to me. No one really asks questions, no one talks unless it's mutually agreed. There's a quiet sense of anonymity, if you can get past the drunken ones who can't control themselves. Most of the times when I visit it's under the guise of some charity or donation, but I've been going a lot at night. Most are asleep then, with a few wandering the streets who were denied admission. They usually crash nearby, stuck in the cold and rain.
And I can see one now. Even from across the street, I can hear him grumbling. The wind ripping past me didn't drown out his sorrows at all. Maybe he needs someone to talk to, I've always had a good ear for peoples woes. Crossing the street isn't exactly difficult now, with few cars roaming the pavement. I closed the gap as quickly as possible, trying to limit the amount of time my face could be visible. A president wandering the streets at night doesn't need any extra attention.
The first thing that caught his eye was my shoes. I've always considered them an indicator of someone status, and I guess he did too. That or my shoes reflecting the streetlights managed to blind him. “How are you doing?” I said, pulling my coat up around my neck. “They wouldn't fuckin let me in.” He grumbled back, looking up at the window. He picked up a rock and threw it, missing by some considerable margin. He went back to staring at the ground.
“What do you want?” He mumbled, fixated on his feet. “I just wanted to see how you were doing. I could hear you from across the street.” He snapped up, staring at me and yelled “DO YOU EXPECT ME TO APOLOGIZE?” I raised up my hands in defense, my gloves getting caught on the fabric of my coat. “I don't want an apology, I wanted to see if I could help. I've got somewhere you can stay the night, and some food. If you would like that.” He was still staring at me, but his look changed from fury to confusion. “Why?” His voice sounded quizzical. “I like to help my fellow Americans.” I smiled at myself, laughing internally at my little joke.
He stood up and nodded. “I'd like that.” I smiled and shook his hand. A brief flicker of emotion crossed his face, and as we started to head across the street he said “You look familiar.” I kept smiling, waiting until we were in the next alley to respond. “Imagine me standing in front of the flag, with Star-Spangled Banner playing.” His eyes widened and he stopped a moment. “Holy shit.” He muttered under his breath. I nodded and chuckled, and we kept walking. He seemed to be still processing the information, or otherwise he would have known we were walking to a dead end.
“Why the hell are you out here?” He asked. I turned to him and casually said “For this.” My hand thrust forward, the knife burrowing through his jacket and into his torso. My other hand grabbing his throat, pushing him up against the wall as I took the knife out and stabbed him again, and again, and again. His body bucked against me, but he was in a bad position to struggle. That and the blood loss was affecting him. I could feel him going limp in my hands. It wasn't much longer before the light flickered out of his eyes. I let go of his neck, his body slumping into the puddle of blood on the ground. The red streak was melting all of the snow around it, dissolving the last footprints he made, with fresh falling snow covering the rest.
I bent down, wiping the blade off on his coat and started to walk back to the secret route. My bodyguard, Henry, was waiting with a smirk on his face. “I can see you blew your load.” He laughed. He always made fun of me for wanting to kill first, when he liked to drag it out with torture. “Hey, don't knock it until you've tried it.” Our laughs echoed in the night, as I changed out of the bloodied clothing and into new ones at our safehouse. As we entered the White House again, finally out of the cold, we continued on to the Oval Office. I sat in the chair, Henry standing in front of me. “Same time next week?” He asked, knowing the reply. “As long as I'm not in Russia.” He laughed, nodded, and went to his own room, as I finished up paperwork. It was hard to focus with the view behind me. A street that had been plagued by murder in the past couple of years, since I was inaugurated. No one really made the connection, and those who did were immediately written off as conspiracy nuts. I mean, who's going to suspect the President of being a serial killer?
You could hear the faint sound of each drop of blood landing in the puddle below it, falling off the tips of his fingers. Granted, you could only hear it when he stopped screaming but if you got past the sobbing, there it was. That's what I listened for. The every steady drop, splashing down in time with a metronome. It kept my head on straight whenever I started to get worked up, kept me going whenever I got bored.
There was a lone light bulb hanging over our heads, swinging in sync with the drip. The legs of the chairs cast tiny shadows, little lines continuously dancing around on the cracked concrete floor. I watched them twirl for a few seconds, before looking back at the man in the chair. His flesh was torn, wounds gaping and half closed. Clotted blood was smeared all over him, for every time the blood flow slowed, I wrenched the wound open again. I gave a little smile and reached for the alligator clips. His head started to buck back preemptively, weary of the constant torture he's been exposed to.
You always knew when you were electrocuting them right because there was an instant feedback to show you. Whenever a current was established, that lone light flickered. Whenever it did you could see almost see a faint glow from the eyes of whatever poor bastard was in the chair. This time was no exception. I let it go for a few seconds before pulling back, placing the clips back on the table.
“Again. What was her name?” No response. I had been asking this question for hours, but he had been surprisingly resilient. Much more so than I had expected from someone like him. He was protecting a villain, or so I was told. I didn't care for the reasons. They were usually just political wording so someone could justify to themselves what they were doing. I didn't need a justification.
I picked up the clips again, and his moaning intensified. It was clear he was afraid of the pain, but it wasn't enough. “You shouldn't protect her. She is causing you this grief, and it will keep happening until you give me the answer I'm looking for. No one needs to know it was you, no one needs to find out that you told me, but you cannot keep this up. There isn't much left of you, and if you keep holding back then your heart is going to blow. There are only 3 things in this room, sir. Your life, that light, and the lie. One of those is going to give out before today is over, and I replaced that light bulb yesterday.”
He is clothed plainly in a olive green suit, with a alabaster colored tie and shirt. His skin is a sickly pale, with deeply colored age spots dotting his sparsely haired scalp. His eyes are a very light pink color, and deep wrinkles run all across his skin. It is hard to not notice his lips. They are black, as are his gums that hold his deeply stained teeth.
It starts as a simple conversation. He refers to you by name, and asks you how you have been. Always be honest with him, and never try to hide the truth. He loves to dissect people, to work his way under their skin and find out what truly causes them pain. If you lie to him, and if you try to deny the pain you are experiencing, then there is no hope for you. Because he will find it out, and he is wrathful for those who make it difficult.
This is a reported encounter with the specter known as The Old Man.
I was waiting around my home, looking forward to a night out with my friends from work. I looked around, trying to decide what I was going to wear. I finally found something tasteful, and made my way to the kitchen. And it was at that moment that I screamed.
He was sitting there, in the dining room, a deep frown on his face. The room itself is covered by dark brown woods, causing the overhead light to make his skin seem to glow. He turned and looked at me, and with a gentle motion he offered the chair adjacent to him. I didn't know what to do. I had heard stories of him since I was little. So I did the only thing I could think of, and took the offered seat, my hands shifting nervously in my lap.