Friday, November 27, 2009

The Executionists

There was once a detective, who did his job only too well. He was drafted into a bizarre case of murder, a seemingly herculean task that none had been able to resolve, and in each case of homicide, the perpetrator left no clues at all.
The detective barely had time to understand the smallest vestiges of such a case. Which murderer, be he psychopath or desperate, would think of injecting each victim with a dose of poison, instead of simply hacking them up? It would have been cheaper. In the end the detective concluded that in each case the poison had been different. So the press lapped it up, and from the bar phrase, "what's your poison?" rose the Poisoner. A legacy to challenge Jack the ripper. Except that he left nothing behind.

Four months later, the detective was still working on the same case. The last one he investigated had been three months ago, and since then not a single one had occured. It was as though he had disappeared from the face of the earth.
Just then, a massive bomb fell from the sky, launched from an unseen aircraft. Inside it was the same poison, if the detective could have realized it- that had killed the last victim. The bomb blew up with a small bang, in the busiest and most congested section of the city. The damage was done. Within an hour, everyone within two miles of the target had died, with a poison that not only swept through the air, but also polluted the water, ruined food. Non-toxic, and undetectable by conventional means, it was several hours before the authorities realized what they were dealing with.
Terrorists, assassins, mercenaries, soldiers, everyone was contacted both above the ground and under it. Nothing. It was as though the bomb had dropped from heaven, a symbol of God's final gesture to his children. In three days, seven cities across the globe boasted the same status- bombs falling to explode and gases dissipating into the atmosphere. The world population decreased by a billion with the new consensus.
The world forgot all wars. All arguments. All misunderstandings. And came together. A smaller population, but a smaller world.

Far away, aboard the unseen aircraft, a man smiled as he watched the news. They would rest now, their work complete. Every time humanity needed culling, they would do it.
Without mercy and with extreme prejudice.
They were, after all, the Executionists.

Rorschach in real life

'The world is bad.' I ignored him, but he came after me, swinging precariously in my direction. Overhead, lightning cut the sky into half, and thunder shook my eardrums for a moment.

'You know how it began?' He asked, gesturing toward the sign he held in his other hand, which proclaimed, "The end is nigh".

I nodded, adjusting my trenchcoat. 'A comedian died in New York,' I said tonelessly. The man's dead eyes suddenly seemed focused, piercing, everything they weren't just a second ago, and the lightning lit up his short frame. My breath tightened in my chest, and all the fear and confusion vanished in that single second that he reached for me and with strength disproportional to his frame.

'Who killed Edward Blake?' he asked in an utterly dead voice.

'You... you're Rorschach..' I stammered.

'Who killed Edward Blake?' With a sudden stroke, his knee buried deep into my chest, and his sudden swipe to my throat cut off any noise.

The pain was enough that I woke up out of the nightmare.

Read too much Watchmen, you begin to see Rorschach in real life.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Wanderer

C'est fin.
The man listened to the howls of the wolves in the dark desert wind. Each step took him closer to hearth and home, but each step was pained, was staggering, was failing.
Yet he persevered. Yet he plodded on, stopping for a brief drink to replinish his failing youth.
And as he walked, he saw, in the winds that swirled around him, insubstantial as smoke, yet as clear as day, his past self, walking.... a toddler, crawling, a puzzled look on its angelic face.... a young man, walking with the arrogance of youth. And he saw the future... an old, wrinkled, bent figure, plodding on with the aid of his withering cane.
The winds swirled, changing every second, and the man shut his eyes to them, looking out only on the road ahead.
And far away, beyond even eagle's sight, stood a tall, lean, dark-cloaked figure holding a long scythe, waiting, patient as the grave, unmoving as the stars, omnipresent as the desert wind.

"The baby, moving at a toddler's pace.
The youth, striding with arrogant grace.
The man, his walk punctuated with worry.
And the oldest, to his feet neither shackle nor hurry."

The Surgeon

The Surgeon stood ready with his scalpel. It wasn't often that his intellect, formidable as it was, found a suitable challenge. And this, he mused dryly, was not the sort of challenge he was looking for. Removing a three-inch shard of metal that hadn't even punctured the skin, was not to his liking. Not when he had stored nearly a gigabyte of medical data for an evening of quiet research.
But a job was a job.
Why? Because some old geezer had decided to formulate the ethics by which all future doctors would have to operate.
To Beelzebub with the Hippocratic Oath.
He stabbed down, into the patient's skin, once, twice, thrice..... A peaceful death, under anaesthetic. How.... pathetic. Two cuts, that severed the aorta and the pulmonary vein. All there were on the skin were small cuts, almost too small to be seen.  Except they bled, profusely.
Perhaps less than a minute before the patient died of internal bleeding. These cuts would not allow too much blood to flow out as they did in.
Beside him, the nurse's eyes widened. She may have been numbed to blood and guts, but not to open murder. Shock. 'What you need, Nurse, is a good kick-start.' He picked up the defibrillator, at its maximum voltage, and applied it to her temples. It did its work only too well. That left his apprentice. The scalpel flew through the air and lodged itself in the boy's skull. His eyes rolled up in his head.
The Surgeon looked upwards, to heaven, challenge on that blood-spattered face.
"I am Ozymandias, king of kings.
Look on, ye mighty, and despair!"
The Surgeon took his bow, and, like the assassins of mediaeval times, unsheathed his stilleto, and plunged it deep.

Ozzy Roy shook himself out of his reverie. Too morbid. He picked up the broom and began his lonely ascent from the bowels of the morgue. Pleasant dreams, he mused. The dead were chatty at this time of night, he felt, shutting the door.
The dead, in voices a thousand and none, spoke: "abe chup kar, chutiye!"