It was already midnight as the light of the day had ebbed and diminished to nothing. The darkness was almost absolute; only a smattering of luminous stars scattered the sky. Within this darkness, a man dressed all in black walked alone down the poorly lit street. The dim street light cast a shadow when it hit the wide brim on of his worn, crooked hat, concealing his face. His footsteps echoed sharply through the street, sounding so loud in this absolute blackness and silent night, with the whisper of the wind and a quiet dripping sound that followed.
It wasn’t raining, but where did that drip come from?
The right hand of the man was clutched tightly around a knife. Though rust had spread on the hardwood handle and blade, it was dangerous and jagged. More than enough. The reddish-brown blood dripped in thick droplets on the ground from the tip of the knife, leaving a sinuous and indistinct trail.
Meanwhile, two blocks away, a woman was leaned against the wall like a tattered doll in a pool of darkening blood. Her head had drooped forward and over her chest a stain of blood had spread. Right beside her was a middle-aged man whose throat had been cut. The two of them lay like butchered animals on the street.
Then, the figure of that dead man faded. Far back memories flooded back like water rushing into a sinking ship. He recalled those nights when he laid in bed listening to the sound of shouting and fighting between his parents. His mother cried, his father flared up, and he pushed his face into the heavy linen quilt. He remembered how his father, a drunkard, tightened his hand around his throat and how his mother cried out for him to stop. And lastly, everything freeze-framed on how his father collapsed after a mighty bang, and his hand trembled with an iron ax dripping darkening blood.
Thinking about that, the man grinned.
He looked up. The sun was below the horizon and the road still had the black look of night, but the sky was already more bluish than charcoal. He threw the knife to the rubbish dump at the end of the street after removing his fingerprints.
“The game continues,” he whispered and then sped up the pace until the hem of his overcoat disappeared around the street corner.