I so hate this.
It is a moment such as this when I feel it - I feel I could simply announce it, Enough! No more! I choose to do this thing never again!
A heaviness permeates my chest, constricting, almost choking me. Then the moment passes.
You see, I have grown tired of this so-called duty. And who was the damned genius that coined it that: a duty?
Such a crock of ****. Ha! At one time, I actually thought it an amusing side trait of such actions. Back then I was still able to derive some self-induced illusion that there was redemption in all those things I did.
But then again, that is a human trait, isn’t it.
No, such things are no longer in my thoughts. Good riddance, I say.
I wish this old bitch would just go to sleep already. Standing here on the corner outside her house in the pouring drizzle on a November night is not my idea of a good time.
The sooner she goes to sleep, the sooner she and I can get on with life. Well, at least one of us will. The other one will be stuck with the bill.
No. Before you start passing judgment thinking I’m some two-bit burglar let me set you straight from the get-go.
I’m not here to rob this old woman. Hell, I’m here to unmake a serious wrong committed, oh, about eighty-two years ago.
Yes, you have the right of it: her birth.
I can almost hear the rusty gears in your mind, trying to attach some pitiful reason for what I am about to do.
Again I tell you, I am not here to kill the old woman.
I am here to unmake her.
I don’t really care to justify my actions. And I certainly don’t really feel inclined to spending what free time I do have trying to make you understand, to comprehend, who I am and why am doing these things.
Be satisfied that you are there, seated, relaxing in your favorite chair, reading these words. And take them as a warning of sorts. You see, that old woman up there with her nightlight on is reading this, too.
She thinks this is some clever fiction. It is some well-crafted bit of literature that happens to coincide with her and her little life, on this very night, while she lies in her bed beneath the covers.
She feels a tinge of admiration for the nameless author of the book in her hands, as he deftly describes what she is doing, as she reads on, no less, and in real time!
Now her almost-smile is fading as she reads about her aching legs, and the way the words describe the growing lesions on her calf muscles from the poor blood circulation afflicting them. It is a bit too coincidental for her taste.
Was that a sound she heard? No. Surely it was just her imagination suddenly playing a mischievous trick with her hearing. What with the recent rains it must surely just be the old house settling in after the evening’s drizzle.
Yes, finally. She is setting the silly book down – such a whimsical and silly author, yes?
She manages to slide further beneath the covers to avoid the night’s chill.
Her night light is extinguished. I can sense her thoughts even all the way out here: she occupies her mind with inane things.
Do the laundry, yes. Oh, and let’s not forget to buy more cat food for that cat, whatever its name is.
After a few minutes her thoughts are turning blurry, losing focus.
Cue me into the picture.
It is now that I must perform for the audience: You.
I cross the empty street and make my way to her house. It stands dark and quiet in the night’s wetness. It seems resigned to accept the events now unfolding.
I walk right up the three steps to the front door. My touch on the door knob causes its mechanism within to fall apart.
I push on the door and it resists me. The house is making one last feeble attempt to keep me out.
I run my hand along the door’s surface above the door knob.
I can feel the heavier presence of metal on the other side of the door’s heavy wood: a dead bolt.
After a moment’s focus, I hear the soft thud of the dead bolt hitting the welcome mat placed just inside the entrance.
A gentle push and the door swings in on its worn hinges. A light rush of warm air greets me. Perhaps it was the house sighing in defeat.
It takes me a moment to orient myself in the darkened interior of the house. I make out the stairs the lead up to the second floor and I start walking toward them.
I suppose you are still waiting for me to enlighten you, to fulfill your curiosity as to why I am doing this.
You see, this woman who now lies in her bed asleep a few feet above me was never meant to exist.
It is my duty to, well, correct that.
There is that damned word again: duty.
When I am finished with her it will cease to be an issue. She will cease to be an issue.
She can’t be an issue if she never existed, right?
All her actions, all of the events influenced by her throughout her existence will be as if she never was.
I’ll give you a moment to let that sink in.
Still with me, I see. Good. Hang around and you might grow on me enough that I will regale you with a little more insight as to not only who I am..But what I am.
Hm. I hear her mumbling something in her sleep.
No, it is alright. They always mumble when I approach.
I suppose it is their long-buried sense to their impending cessation from al existence that is trying to warn them.
That warning never succeeds.
They never wake when I approach - only the mumbling.
Then, the undoing.
It is rather painless. I try to make it so, for their sake. Call it a small humane act of kindness in their last moment of existence.
I open the bedroom door and step inside. Her bed sits by the opposite wall in a corner of the room.
The house tries to send a last warning to its owner; the floor creaks under the weight of my steps.
I stand next to the bed looking down at the closed sleeping face of this old woman.
Her upper lip trembles as her mumbling continues.
I raise my left hand to her and place it upon her forehead. Her skin feels paper thin and cool.
Such a frail thing. To see her lying here makes you wonder what such a person could have done to merit such an ending, such a fate.
If you only knew the depth of depravity that she reveled in, you would not be thinking such thoughts.
Enough: I am wasting time here.
For a brief moment her mumbling becomes louder, almost understandable. She speaks a single name.
But my hearing of that name was too late. Once begun, the undoing continues of its own volition. There is no stopping it.
The mumbling continues for a few moments as her flesh begins to wilt under my touch.
Her left cheek begins to flatten, cave in on itself, the rest of her follows suit.
Her body started liquefying slowly at first. Then, within seconds the process gained speed. Her features began to lose their structure. She appears to be made of wax and melting from the inside.
What was once the old woman is now just bits organic matter breaking down into simpler things. And in a minute or two she would cease to be even that.
As her existence becomes unmade so does her body becomes nothing.
I make it a point to remain until it is done. After all, I am the only witness to the fact that they ever did exist. No one will miss them; they will not be sought or thought of. Their actions are undone. The people they met and the things they touched – all of it is as if it never was. This very house she lived in will be occupied by another.
The sphere of influence she left behind is gone, the void created soon dissipates and History re-writes itself around the undoing.
The Bed she laid in is changing already, adjusting to the influence of another body. The nightstand grows blurry, and then disappears altogether, taking with it some old photos and her false teeth that sat in a half-filled glass.
I quickly make my way out of the house. It would not be an easy thing to explain my presence to the new – or shall I say, the corrected owners of the house if they see me here.
I cross the street and head back the way I came. Back to my own abode.
Look back, you say? What reason would I have to look back? She is no more; she now never was.
I will admit to you one small detail: that name she uttered. I have not heard that name spoken aloud in ages.
She uttered my name.