The sidewalk glowed in the rain, reflecting the light back from the buildings above it. Streetlights were dim, in a more run down part of the city, and the air smelt of ash and stale urine. I could feel my feet slowly crunching against the concrete beneath me, hear the sighs as people exhaled, no longer needing to keep their chest puffed up as they passed a stranger on the street. I had been walking since the sun started setting, wound up. Been having a hard time lately, and I needed to go out again. “It'll only be one more time” I promise myself, knowing that it'd be broken in a couple of weeks anyway.
The air started to become more still, the city slowing its pulse as it fell into a slumber. The sun had long since fell away, and now the lights above me were clicking off one by one. The rain was still falling, each drop falling with a soft pat on my shoulder, like the world was urging me on. As I took a deep breath in, I caught the scent. Drifting towards me from behind, a deep and heavy cologne, followed with slow steps that clacked onto the sidewalk.
I slowed down, moving off to the side and allowing him to pass me. He didn't just walk, but sauntered past. His hair was short, brown, and stuck purposefully into place. The earbuds in his ears shouted his music, and his bag bounced off his back with each step. The hoodie he was wearing was carefully chosen, accentuating his back and arms, hugging tightly to expose the definition. I only briefly glimpsed his face, but it was a confident and cocky smirk. Perfect for me in every way.
The music he was blasting helped cover my footsteps perfectly, as I ran up behind him. We were closing in on an alley way, and as we reached the edge I grabbed the handle on his backpack. He skidded in place, and I swung him into a trashbin. He crashed against it, and yelled at me, swearing. One of his earbuds had fallen out, the music even louder, but all it did was show how silent it was when he saw my knife. The second he saw my knife, he knew who I was, and what was coming.
I swung down with my fist, keeping the blade away from him but driving my knuckles into his jaw. He collapsed against the dumpster again, his head making an audible crack. Even with the tiny bit of light that managed to shine into the alley, I could see the blood on his forehead. A smile was erupting across my face as I bought up my fist again, breaking into a grin as I swung down, and a bellyful of laughter as I hit him again. His head bounced off of the trashbin again, making another hollow thud.
His eyes rolled towards me as he started to recover, and I could hear him trying to manage a “Why?” I crouched down on my knees, and put my hand up against his throat. I squeezed, feeling his Adams apple bob nervously up and down, the pulse racing in his neck, and the strain of the tendons from fear. I looked him dead in the eye and whispered “Because it's fun” with a smile.
I thrust forward, driving my knife up between his ribs. I could feel the knife scraping as it connected with bone, and feel his bucking as he tried to get away from me, but I wouldn't take the knife out. I kept squeezing his throat and twisting the blade, hearing him yelp and screech in pain like a wounded animal. I looked down and saw the blood on my hands, the blood covering the knife, and took it out. Then put it back in, again and again and again. I could feel the life slowly leave him, his neck becoming less tense as I kept stabbing. I was mesmerized by the liquid pouring out of him, the sanguine wine that flowed onto the black asphalt below. The scream was still stuck on his face, but it was no longer full of fear. It was empty, like the rest of him.
I stayed for too long, crouching there with my throat wrapped around his neck. I kept squeezing, although I'm not sure why. But I stood up, putting the knife in my jacket pocket. I zipped them up, flipped it inside out, and started to walk down the far end of the alley, coming out on another deserted street. I kept walking home, kept walking until the sun rose, and could still feel him in my hand. The last act of his life, the defiance, still squirming against my palm.
The high lasted for a long time, a few days, before it started to come down again. I was at work and walking home when I felt a longing again. So I kept walking instead, walking back to the ash and urine scented slums, back to the dark alleys and glistening sidewalks, and back to what made my nights exciting again. I followed up with another promise to myself, one I knew I'd break again. Somethings we just can't stay away from.
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.
“It is hard to make friends around here. It is just the sort of place this is. People are rather open to strangers, but not to one another. No matter what the relationship that people have during the day, when the night comes the doors close tight and the shades are drawn. Outsiders are welcome, but our neighbors are not to be trusted. It can be lonely, so shortly after coming here I got a dog to keep me company.
His name is Ureal. When it comes to dogs, I prefer the larger breeds. Even a kind dog is enough to drive most people away if it is large enough. a place like this, such a thing is valuable. So when I went to make my choice, I picked Saint Bernard from a nearby pound. I do not know why he had such a strange name, but what interested me immediately was his age. He was three years old.
I know that older dogs aren't adopted as much. People want puppies, something they will grow up with. But I don't care about stuff like that. He was very friendly, and came up to me right away. He obviously had some training, but that was about all the good that could be said about the previous owner. He was missing patches of fur and seemed to have a slight limp. However, the thing that stood out most was his eye; he only had one.
I was told he had been abused, that his previous owner had been crazy. I didn't need to hear much to know what happened. I had already made up my mind. Within a couple of minutes I had filled out the paperwork, and within a week he had become part of my flat.
Months passed, and I became used to coming home to him. When night closed in, him and I would sit down on the couch while I would work on my writing. It was nice having him around, when the nights became quiet. The only thing peculiar about him, besides the missing eye, was the way he sometimes would just stare off into space, for sometimes upwards of a half an hour.