Friday, November 22, 2013

Angel of Death 1.02 All He Could Do Was Cry for Them

            Around 5:00 A.M. Sr. Detective Leon Williams and his partner, Donna Hendrix, walked into the Coroner’s office.  A medical examiner and a police officer were waiting for them when they arrived.  Williams looked upon the victim of the strangest death he’d ever been tasked to look into. 

“The man has no less than ten tumors,” the medical examiner said, “two in the brain, one in each lung, one in the stomach, one in the skin, one in the kidney, and one in the liver.  They all appeared malignant.  He also had two different types of blood cancer.” 

            “So he died of cancer then?”

            “As best we can guess,” the medical examiner said.

            “So… what do you think caused this, and why did you bring me here?”

            “Frankly, I’m not sure what caused it.  My best guess is some sort of carcinogen, but I don’t know of any around here that could cause this many tumors in this many different places of this many different types.”

            “I see.  So do you think this is something drug related?  Is that why you had me come here; to figure out what on the streets could have caused this?”

            “No,” the officer said.  “Come with me.”  Williams followed him next door to the station, into a room with a television.  The officer turned it on and played security footage from a hospital.  A few seconds into the segment Williams was shown, a dark spot appeared.  It seemed to emerge from one of the rooms and went into another.  “The window to the room it just came out of was shattered,” the officer said.  From there, the cloud of darkness toured multiple rooms.  The movement was quick and the cloud seemed to enter, linger for about ten seconds, and then leave quickly.

            The next one though, was different.  The cloud entered the room as usual, but seemed to stay for 
quite a bit longer.

            “Who was in that room?”  The detective asked.

            “Only one patient, Cherie Lambert,” the officer said.

            “I see.  Do you have any idea why it might have lingered in her room longer?”

            “No,” the officer said.

            Detective Williams kept watching the tape.  The cloud left that room, going out to the hallway.  It paused in the hallway.  As it was leaving, two security guards came into view.  They began holding their noses as though there was in intolerable smell in the hall.  The cloud then went into one final room.  It didn’t emerge.

            “The window in that room was also shattered,” the officer said.

            “That was… strange,” the detective said, “If I may ask, why are you showing this to me?  What does this have to do with the corpse?”

            “The patients in all of the rooms the dark cloud entered had previously been suffering from late stage cancer.  They all appear to have gone into total remission.  There seems to be no trace of cancer in any of them.”

            “I beg your pardon?” Williams said.

            “They’re running a battery of tests to be sure, but there seems to be no hint of cancer in any of them.”

            “I see… regardless, what does this have to do wi… wait, you’re not suggesting that--”

            “We’re not suggesting anything,” the officer said, “but the cancers in the man you saw in the Coroner’s office are identical to the ones which used to be in those patients.”

            “I see...  Tell me, is there any information you have from anyone in that hospital?  The guards, the patients, anyone?”

            “The guards and the patients from the first and last rooms, who were awakened, by the shattering of her window, all report smelling a horrible smell, like that of a dead body,” the officer said, “and the patient from the first room reported feeling a hand on her stomach before falling unconscious.”

            “I see,” Williams said, “Is that all you wanted to show me?”

            “Yes,” the man from the station said.

            “So this cloud goes into the rooms of cancer patients, and then later, all of their cancers appear in this guy?” Williams asked.

            “As it would seem,” the officer said.  “Would you like to talk to the patients?”

            “Yes, and particularly to this Cherie Lambert.  The cloud stays in her room longer.  I’d like to know why.”  Williams paused for a moment.  “I’d also like to know if anyone else may have seen this black cloud, especially near our victim here.”

            “Alright,” the officer said.

            “Is there anything more to show me?” Williams asked.

            “No,” the officer said.

            With that, Detective Williams and Donna Hendrix left the room.

            “So, do you have any idea what might be going on?” Donna asked.

            “Yes,” Williams said, “I think I do.”  The detective grinned, “And I think the way it lingered in the one girl’s room is the key.  Ask yourself, why might it linger in there longer?”

            “I’m not sure,” Donna said.

            “Neither was I, but then I realized something.  What makes this so difficult is that the thing we’re looking at here seems to be operating against the very laws of nature.  It could be an angel, a ghost, a space alien or an ethereal spirit.  There were various clues about its nature, the smell, the need to break windows, and the hand one of the patients felt, but none of them are helpful when one doesn’t know where to begin.  There is, though, one thing the spirit did which made a definitive statement about its nature.  Some ethereal, supernatural force, or a spirit alien to this plane, wouldn’t linger in one room longer than the others, but perhaps, if a human is causing this, they would.”

            “Why?” Donna asked.

            “Well, the only reasonable possibility I’ve thought of so far is that whoever this is has some special connection with this ‘Cherie Lambert.’  If this is the case, it is possible that he’d take some special satisfaction in healing her.  From there it’s just a matter of figuring out whom of those connected with her might do this.”  Williams paused for a moment.  “Of course, I could be entirely wrong.  There are reasons I can think of why a spirit might have attachments to a specific human, and why they’d heal ten people, more than just Ms. Lambert, but far less than the number of patients there, but between the entity’s need to break windows, the hand, the fact that it retreated from the security guards despite seeming to want to heal a great number of people, and the lingering in Ms. Lambert’s room, the human explanation seems by far the most elegant.”

*****

            Meanwhile, Cody read through his tome.  He had nothing else to do as he stayed up all night.  He had just turned to the descriptions of some of the liches which the book identified as being in Cody’s area.

“Kaburlduth
A Lich of Hatred.  A bigoted lich.  He seeks to complete the work of his fallen leader and bring destruction to those mortals he thinks inferior.  He is known to try to spread his prejudices.

Ntullnarlth
A Lich of Reconstruction.  A deluded lich.  He seeks to restore his fallen empire to the glory it once knew.  He hates all of the respects in which his world has left his empire’s ways behind.

Valthakar
A Lich of Abandoned Dreams.  A cynical lich.  He once fought to preserve life, but has fallen into despair.  He now merely wanders about, making his way, not caring much for the struggles of others.”

Suddenly, his alarm clock went off.  Back when he slept, that machine had been responsible for waking him up.  Now it merely served the purpose of telling him when he was expected to be awake.  He left his room and headed towards the bathroom.  He bathed, brushed his teeth, and dressed for the day.

            It was Sunday, and he had to go to Mass.  The previous day’s events, particularly the part where he ripped a man’s soul out of his body and ate it, had had a significant effect on his religious convictions.  On the other hand, there was no way he was telling his mother, and if he did, that wouldn’t change her mind about making him go.

After spending some time waiting for the rest of his family, Cody left with them and got into the bus to the nearest church.  While he was on the bus, a fear came over him that Christian iconography and sacramental objects might end up having negative effects on him as they did on many monsters of fiction.  If that was the case, he might freak out and reflexively spit out communion wine, or be reduced to screams at the sight of a cross, and this would happen in front of everyone.  As he thought about it further, he wished he hadn’t left his book at home.  Then again, it wouldn’t exactly be inconspicuous on this bus.

            Once they got off the bus they entered the Church.  They were dressed in their finest clothes.  Cody experienced no ill effects from the holy water when he touched it as he entered.  Some of the art made him want to look away, but that was only because it was beautiful, not because it was religious.  Confession was difficult.  The priest could sense that something was wrong, but didn’t realize Cody was omitting some of his sins.

            As he left the confessional to go to his seat, his mother entered.  A few minutes later, the mass started.  The opening hymn was a little awkward, given that he now knew the words to be false.  In addition, beautiful music seemed to have the same effect on him as beautiful images.  What he once found pleasing, he now found revolting.  The readings went fine.  Biblical texts also had no negative effects on him.  The homily was nothing special.  After giving the money he had brought, he waited for communion.  The time to take it eventually came, and he did, to no ill effect.  After the closing hymn, he and his family left to the parking lot.  They headed down to the bus stop.

            After arriving home, Cody sat down with his family to watch the morning news.  He waited a few stories in to see the coverage of his actions at the hospital.

            “In other news,” the newscast began playing the footage from the hospital security camera as the anchor spoke, “a strange event occurred last night when what witnesses are describing as a ‘shadowy blob’ was seen, both by security cameras and witnesses, wandering around a Goldfalls hospital.  The blob can be seen in this footage, navigating the hallway and entering and exiting patient’s rooms.  Stranger still, the patients occupying them seem to have experienced sudden remission of symptoms.  Medical experts refuse to comment.  The Goldfalls police department has issued a request for tips from any person who has seen this blob.”

            “So it’s not just on the camera?” the co-anchor said.

            “No, apparently guards at the hospital saw it,” the anchor who had given the report replied.

            “Spooky.”

            “Yeah, I know, right.  Anyways, coming up after the break--”

            Cody’s mother muted for the commercials.

            “What do you think that is?” asked Cody’s father.

            Cody said nothing as they conversed.  That the news report hadn’t mentioned Cody’s victim was a relief.  This might mean that they hadn’t found the body.  Cody knew it had been a mistake to just leave it there where it would be found eventually.  He should have used his power to induce decay to make the corpse rot away so it couldn’t be discovered.  Cody decided to make a point to check for it that night, and if it was still there, get rid of it.  If not, he knew it wouldn’t be hard for the police to realize that the body and the event at the hospital were connected, and Cody would need to be on his guard.

*****

            Detective Williams and Donna Hendrix had just been contacted about a witness who had come forward, claiming to have seen the cloud.  She had asked to be anonymous, but was nonetheless willing to provide testimony.  The two were escorted to the room where the witness was waiting.  Williams had asked to perform the interview himself.

            “Hello there,” Williams said.

            “Hello,” the witness said.  “I’m here about the black cloud.”

            “You saw it?” Williams asked.

            “Yes, in an alley,” she said, “last night as I was walking home from my job as a waitress.”

            “Can you tell me the story?”

            “Yes.  I was walking in an alley, on the way home, when a man approached me.  He pointed a gun at me and demanded the contents of my wallet.”

            Williams noticed a change in her mannerisms right as she mentioned the mugging.  Was she lying to him?  He suspected so, but couldn’t quite tell.

            “Just before he was able to shoot me, I saw the cloud, and then was enveloped in it.  I heard him being tackled away from me.”

            “Tackled away from you?”

            “Yes, I think that’s what it was.”

            “And then what?”

            “I ran away.  I didn’t see what happened to the man.”

            “Is there anything else you can tell me?”

            “Yes,” the woman said, “there was a horrible smell.  It smelled like a rotting body.  It seemed like it was coming from within the cloud.”

            “I see.”  The detective pulled a picture of the victim from earlier out of his pocket.  “Tell me, is this the man who tried to mug you?”

            The woman looked at the picture for a moment.  She seemed to be studying it carefully.  If she had been giving a false tip, as people sometimes did, she’d have said yes instantly.  “Yes.  That’s him,” she eventually said.

            “I see.”  Detective Williams wasn’t sure what to make of this.  According to this woman, the cloud had thwarted an attempt to mug her.  If this was true, it had very interesting implications.  Still, Williams had sensed dishonesty in some of her words.  He tried to think of what might have happened with her and the black cloud.  Had she been raped?  No, she didn’t seem to have suffered the correct amount of psychological damage from the incident to qualify as a probable rape victim.  Why else wouldn’t she want to tell him about a crime?

            Perhaps the criminal had been a member of a street gang, and she feared retribution for confessing the true nature of his crime?  There was a way to test that.

            “If I may ask, do you believe the man had any connection to organized crime?”

            The resulting facial expression was more than enough to confirm this idea.

            “No…” she said, “not at all.”  She was lying, it was clear.  That fact gave Williams all of the information he needed, so he didn’t press the issue.

            So the perpetrator had targeted a criminal; one perpetrating a crime in progress, no less.  This was quite interesting indeed.  If this targeting was deliberate, it had some very interesting implications.  It painted this killer as a vigilante.

            As he thought, a narrative formed in his mind.  What if, somehow, someone close to Cherie Lambert had found a way to cast this black cloud, and move illnesses from one person to another?  What might an average person do with such a power?  Perhaps they might heal a loved one and move their illness to a criminal?  If this was true, it was probable that the healing of the others was just a decoy, meant to prevent the significance of Cherie Lambert from being recognized.  Then again, their targeting a criminal, and being patient enough to actually wait for a crime in progress, showed that this person had at least some sort of moral foundation.  Perhaps they healed so many because they did not want to waste an opportunity to save more people?

            “About when did this happen?” the detective asked, “I know you said last night, but what time?”

            “Around 12:30 I think,” the woman said, “I’m not entirely sure.  It was about twelve-forty when I 
got home.”

            That’s not what Williams had expected.  If that time was accurate, that did not give the culprit very long to search for a crime in progress.  Did this mean that the person had the power to sense crime?  No, it was more likely that they were stalking the streets for a victim, happened to come across a criminal, and choose them.  There was a large difference between patiently waiting for a criminal to transmit your loved ones’ cancer to, and merely targeting one because you happened to run across a crime in progress.

            Either way though, there was something else strange about this.  Why was the perpetrator confident that they would not face harm in the process of tackling a criminal?  Either Williams was wrong and this wasn’t a person, or their powers must extend beyond the ability to move diseases around and cast a shadow.  That or they had poor judgment.

            “Thank you mam,” Williams said, “That’s all I needed to hear.”  The detective excused her before 
getting up to leave the room.

*****

            Later that day, Cody walked to the hospital where Cherie had been receiving her treatment.  His grounding did not prohibit him from seeing Cherie, because his mother’s religion reckoned his visits among the “corporeal works of mercy” which she did not want to forbid him from.  Cody’s mother didn’t know that Cherie had been among the ones healed.

            As Cody entered the hospital and approached Cherie’s room, he felt a mix of delight and shame.  Delight, because he would get to see Cherie well for the first time, and shame, for what he had done to bring it about.

            Cody arrived at her room.  He set his bag down.  He thought of fiddling his cube, but decided against it.  Now that it housed his soul it was probably best not to use it, as such use would risk damage to it.

            “Hello Cherry,” Cody said.

            “Have you heard?” she asked, smiling.

            If he was right about what she was talking about, he didn’t need to hear.  He didn’t need to hear because he himself had ripped a man’s soul out and— Cody made himself focus.  This is about the happy parts of what he’d done, not the unpleasant ones.  Now, if he had not been responsible, he wouldn’t have known, so he did his best to lie.  “Heard about what?”

            “I can see through you,” Cherie said, “who told you?”

            Darn it!  Cody was a terrible liar.  “Told me what?” he asked, trying his best not to have his lie detected.

            “What’s with you?” Cherie sighed, “Well, did you see the news report of the thing that broke into this hospital?”

            “Yes.”

            “Well, I was one of the people it cured.”

            Cody put on his best surprised face.  “That’s amazing!  So there’s no sign of cancer?”

            Cherie sighed, unconvinced by Cody’s poor attempts at acting, but not bothered very much by it.  Perhaps she thought he wanted to give her the pleasure of revealing it herself.  “Yes.  The doctors are running some tests, but they say that they can’t even tell that I ever had cancer in the first place.”

            “Cherry that’s wonderful!”  Cody did alright with that one, because he wasn’t lying.

            “Isn’t it?” Cherie said, “The doctors are double checking the test results now, and they even say I’ll get to go to school if all of the tests come back negative again.”

            This was wonderful!  Cherie was happy, truly happy, for the first time in months.  As he looked at her face, Cody was the happiest he’d been in months too.  Cherie had been given a chance to live the life she deserved.  Cody had taken on a huge burden to give her that, but at least that one good thing had come out of all of this.

                                                                       *****

            That night, it was time for Cody to go hunting again.  “Hunting,” he thought, “hunting for a human soul to dev-- FOCUS!”  Cody knew he needed to keep his mind on the task at hand.  He had read about most of the spells common to all liches in the book, though he had not had the opportunity to test most of them.

            Tonight, he had to be smart.  He didn’t want to waste an opportunity to heal another ten or so people of terminal illness, so he would definitely hit a hospital, but he needed to be smarter about it so he could avoid ending up on the news again.  For one thing, he had already waited until later at night.  It was about 2:00 A.M.  For another, he planned to hit a different hospital; and not the cancer wing this time.  He also planned to check the alley he had been in last night to see if the body he had left was still there.

He snuck out of his window.  He walked across his roof, which was flat, and climbed off of it.  It was lucky for him that the dumpster was just the right size and height for him to easily jump down onto it, and then from it to the ground.  From there, he walked a distance away from his house before transforming.  He snuck carefully into his target hospital, and, as he had last time, went into and out of several rooms, tagging all of the illnesses he found along the way.  Whenever he put his hand on any of them, a list of their ailments, somewhat like a drop-down menu, appeared in his mind.  Most of the patients here seemed to have ALS.  He was able to tag the degeneration that had already happened to the patients along with the underlying disease.

He ran off and, after a few false leads, was able to find a fear trail which was the result of an actual crime.  This time it was a mugging.  The two parties reacted as he, shrouded in his veil, approached.  Both the victim and the mugger were paralyzed with fear.  Cody quickly grabbed the mugger.  The mugger screamed.  Cody passed on the various instances of the disease to him in order of severity.  The degeneration he had passed on caused the victim to fall to the ground.  Cody scythed the man’s soul out, and ate it.  He then placed his hand on the body and made it rapidly decompose.

Cody next went to the alley.  He knew his way around the area well enough to find the alley again.  He looked, and the body was gone.  This probably meant the police had found it.  So Cody’s actions were already being investigated for the murders that they were.  Cody thought of turning himself in, but that wouldn’t work out well.  Any attempt to jail him would lead to him becoming hungrier and hungrier until he couldn’t stop himself from going on a rampage through the prison, devouring the souls of prisoners and guards alike.  Any attempt to execute him would be futile unless he turned in the cube.  As that possibility occurred to him, Cody searched his mind for some reason it too was unacceptable.  Well, the whole execution would need to be carried out in secret.  Cody’s very existence had disastrous implications, and it would be a bad idea to reveal it to the public.  Still, such a secret execution would be possible.

Cody tried hard to think of a reason he couldn’t kill himself, or an alternative to doing so.  He didn’t want to die, especially not if an alternative existed.  He thought as he walked away, carrying his veil with him.  A few alleys down, he lowered it, took his normal form, crept back to his house, and snuck back into his room.  He lied on his bed and thought.  There were no excuses to be had for what he had done.  He was responsible for his condition.  If he couldn’t find a reason to go on, he needed to make plans to do what he had to.  He got his book out, and turned to the Q&A section.

“Can you think of any reason why I can’t or shouldn’t turn my cube in to the police and have them smash it?”

“You can’t.  Even if you could, are you not doing more good than harm?  So far as a lich, you’ve saved far more people than you’ve killed.”

What?

“Wait, I can’t?”

“Liches were originally designed to serve the underworld much more directly than they do today.  Hence, they, including you, are programmed not to be able to destroy themselves.  You can risk your life, or even commit an act knowing your destruction will result, but you cannot take any action with your own death being your intention.  This would include any attempt to induce another to kill you.”

Well that was it then.  He couldn’t even kill himself.  Cody closed his eyes and cried for the souls he would be devouring for the rest of his life.  Criminals or not, he had no right to inflict that fate on them.  Their misery would last for epochs, and it would be entirely his fault.  All he could do was cry for them, and curse the monster he had become.

*****

            The next morning, detective Williams arrived at the station.  He was approached by a police officer.

            “Good morning,” the officer said.

            “To you too,” Williams said.  “Has there been another murder?”

            “Another hospital was hit,” the officer said, “but we haven’t found another body.”

            “And the patients inside are cured as before?” Williams asked.

            “Totally.”

            So the killer had struck again.  It was possible that he’d found a way around his need to move diseases between patients.  It was more likely that it had simply occurred to him to dispose of the victim’s body.

            “I see,” Williams said.

The officer was suddenly called away.  He turned to see another officer gesturing to him to approach.  “Hold on, I gotta go.”

“Alright,” Williams said.  The officer ran to the other one.

            Donna turned to Williams.

            “So what do you make of it?”

            Williams thought for a moment before speaking.  “That he has struck again is of great interest,” he said. “If he merely desired to heal Cherie Lambert, he would have done it once and stopped there, but he did not.  I think he knew Cherie, and I think that his first thought upon knowing he had this ability was to heal her, but I also think that this person is generally willing to kill some people for the sake of more.”  Williams paused for a moment.  “If the victim here does turn to have been a criminal though, that casts this person as some sort of vigilante, wishing to move illnesses from those he thinks deserving of life to those he does not.”  Williams yawned.  He hadn’t had enough coffee that morning.  “By the way, if you don’t mind, please assemble a list of persons close to Cherie Lambert.  Don’t rule anyone out based on their age or level of physical fitness.  We have no idea how this… whatever it is, works, and it’s possible that the figure moving around is an avatar being controlled from a distance.”

            “Alright.”

*****

            Cody sat in his room reading from his book.  He knew it would be lunch time soon.  It was starting late today, because his mother was behind on cleaning, and was taking some extra time to get caught up.  As he sat, he suddenly saw something appear in front of him.  He flinched and backed away in surprise, dropping the book.

            “What’s… going on here…?” he heard.  He had a feeling that the words were coming from the thing in front of him.

            “Uh… Hold on.  Let me ask,” Cody said in reply.

            “What do you mean ask?  Where am I?  Why am I here?  Who are you?  What was that… thing I 
just went through?”

            “Hold on,” Cody said.

            Cody picked up the book and opened it to the Q&A section.

            “Who or what is that?”

            “That is the first soul you ate.  The process of its digestion is complete, and that is what is left.  He can communicate with you telepathically.  Only a creature of the underworld can see him.”

            Right, that.  Cody put his head down and took a few deep breaths.  His head still down, he wrote another question in the book.

“I thought that I had no powers in human form.”

“You cannot cast spells.  A few of your passive abilities, mainly your ability to see and hear things normally hidden from humans, persist.”

“Will you please tell me what’s going on?  I’m kinda freaking out here.”

Cody forced himself to forget his shame and looked up.  “I’m not sure how to put this,” Cody said.

“Could you please just give it a try?  I’m kinda freaking out about all of this.”

“Well… What’s the last thing you remember that you consider ‘normal?’”

“Well I was in a conversation with a woman who… owed me some money, when suddenly a cloud enveloped us and--”

“That was me.  I saw that you were about to shoot her, so I tackled you away.”

“So how did I end up… wherever I did, and why am I here now?”

Cody’s hands clenched into fists, his face still turned down in shame.  He took a deep breath.  Without looking up at his victim, he said the words.  “I ate your soul.”

“You did what?”

“I swallowed your soul.  I have to in order to stay alive.”  He spoke that last sentence more to console himself than to console the spirit he had consumed.

“You… I… wait… would that make that thing I just went through… what the hell man?  Where do you get off eating people’s souls?”

“I have to,” Cody said, still not looking up.  “Sending myself into a frenzy by starving--”

“You’d go into a frenzy if you couldn’t devour enough souls?  Wow, I may have done some unpleasant things, but you… you’re a real effing monster.”

Cody sat there for a second.  “I know,” he finally said.

Suddenly, his mother called him downstairs for lunch.  “I’m coming,” Cody said.  Cody knew that the soul would not be able to refuse an order from its lich.  He didn’t want to issue one though.  Up until now, he’d nearly managed to pretend that it wasn’t slavery if he didn’t make them do anything.  Now though, he really, really wanted to make the man go away.  He struggled with himself until he couldn’t take it anymore.  “Now, please go wandering around wherever you please, just don’t return here until I’m done eating, okay?”

“Okay,” the soul said, unable to resist his master’s voice.  Cody put his head back down and shed a tear.  Eventually, he was able to regain his composure and go downstairs.

*****
            
            That night, Kenneth Kurt Rogers sat in a lawn chair outside by his pool, reading by the light of an ornate lamp.  He lived in the wealthiest suburb of Goldfalls, California.  It was nighttime.  He read by the light of a large lamp outside.  As he read, he thought he saw something out of the corner of his eye.  He dismissed the sensation and continued reading.  Suddenly, he smelled a horrible smell, like a rotten corpse.  He put his book down and looked around for the cause.  He couldn’t see anything.  He tried to continue reading.  The smell only grew more intense, until finally he couldn’t bare it, and tried to get up.

            When he turned towards the door into his house he saw the source of the smell.  It was a horrifying being of remarkable stature.  It looked to be about eight feet tall.  It seemed to wear extravagant robes, like those of a king, but they were dirty and tattered.  Underneath them was what looked like a walking corpse.  It had ill-kept claws for nails and was a deathly shade of brown.  The creature smiled, showing disgusting yellow teeth.  Kenneth was sure that that smile was directed at him.

            Kenneth dashed away in horror.  He moved rather quickly for a man of his weight, but in his hysteria, he forgot that the path directly away from his door led to his swimming pool.  He tripped at the edge of the pool, and fell into the deep end.  He tried to swim to the ladder on the other side.  Suddenly, he felt cold, and couldn’t move his hand.  He looked down at it, and saw that the entirety of the pool’s water had frozen into ice.

            He turned around.  He saw the entity walking toward him.  He struggled to escape the ice, screaming as he did, but the effort was futile.  Soon the entity had raised his scythe.  The instrument swept down, and passed through Kenneth’s body, removing his soul.  The entity grinned from ear to ear as he swallowed it.

*****

            A few days later, Detective Williams held a press conference.  By this point, the perpetrator had cured forty-seven people, and presumably killed five.  Two more truthful witnesses had come forward, claiming to have been saved from violence by the killer.  The existence of the first victim, and probable existence of the others, though initially kept secret, had been released to the public.

            “Detective Williams,” one of the reporters said, “Is it true that all of the victims thus far have been confirmed to be the perpetrators of crimes in progress at the time of their killing?”

            “That the perpetrator intervened in their committing a violent crime has only been confirmed for three of the five victims,” Williams said, “but it’s enough that we can assume, unless evidence to the contrary is provided, that this is true of all of them.”

            “Sir,” another reporter said, “it’s been said that the perpetrator is able to find crimes in progress consistently within an hour of his hitting a hospital.  Is this true, and if so, how is he doing so?”

            “As far as we can tell, it is true.  We don’t know how he is doing this.  It is possible that this person merely has a significant knowledge of the nature of crime in the inner city.  It is also possible, given that he can cast a cloud of blackness and move diseases between people, that he can sense crime somehow as well.”

            “What comment do you have on the religious and philosophical implications of someone having these abilities?”

            “None.”

            “What course of action do you recommend should one encounter this perpetrator?”

            “Do not try to interfere with his activities.  He is extremely dangerous, and the limits and nature of his power are unknown.  If you are in a hospital bed, simply let him heal you.  If you are saved from a criminal by him, run away while he does his work.  If you are in his line of fire, then try your best to get to a public place.  There has been a case where someone was able to escape him by fleeing into a crowded house.  Make your move to flee as soon as possible, so that you can be sure you escape before he can move the diseases to you.”

            “Detective, what do you think of the name ‘Angel of Death’ being given by the press to the perpetrator?”

            “I dislike it.  We must not romanticize or glorify this murderer by calling him an ‘angel.’  He is a serial killer, and that is all that he is or ever will be.  He has found a way to move illness between people, and has decided that he has the right to judge who is and is not worthy of life.”

            “But sir, if this person is stopping crimes, healing people of illness, and taking criminals off the street, is he not a hero?”


            “Most certainly not.  He is no more a hero than a man who kills abortionists because he thinks them immoral.  He is not a government official.  He has not been appointed by any official process.  He is just a random person on the street who has decided he knows better than the justice system which has served this city for over a century.  His abilities do not grant him immunity from the law, and she shall make no exception for him.”


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2 comments:

Isaac Klein said...

i don't get it, does the government now of supernatural things because it feels like they are paranormal investigators.

ThePuppyTurtle said...

I know Isaac has posted comments on entries late enough for him to know this, but for the benefit of anyone else seeing this comment, Williams does not have any previous knowledge of the supernatural. He is just a police detective, albiet a very, very good one capable of deducing seemingly elusive details about cases in a manner just shy of Sherlok or L.