One Picture, One Story
Mike woke up a couple of hours later feeling energized. He opened the curtain to allow the late afternoon sun to pour in. He squinted until his eyes adjusted to the change in lighting. He picked a bit of sleep from his eyes and walked to the kitchen and prepared dinner. He was a strict vegetarian because of the traumatic experience when working in the slaughterhouse. He didn’t see his “work” as breaking his vegetarianism, he saw it as justice, as a greater good; he saw it as Godly work. After preparing his chick-pea and black bean chili, he sat out on his deck and slowly ate the dish. He savoured every spoonful before allowing it to slide down to his stomach. He prided himself on his cooking abilities, but was a little too bashful to share it with anyone else. When at home he kept to himself, mostly working in his garden or cooking some amazing dish that only he would taste. After his meal he took a walk to the river that flowed near-by. He brought his camera as usually to take pictures of the reflections on the water and any other picturesque type scenarios that may arise. As he walked along the banks, slipping once or twice, he thought of the man from the other night. Why was there no news stories? What is happening? He was getting frustrated with it and he was feeling out of control as he stopped at his favorite spot along the river and took out his camera. He took a few pictures of the sun falling in the distance and turned to leave. That’s when he heard it. The voice that always told him what to do next. It told him to report the man missing; told him to use a payphone somewhere near the cottage. It told him God commanded him to do so.
Mike nodded his head in agreement and began the short walk back to his house. He didn’t notice the birds chirping; he didn’t notice the wild flowers blooming; he just walked. He had a job to do and nothing was going to distract him. Upon his arrival at his house, Mike got out one of his paper suits and placed it gently in the plastic file. He knew he hadn’t been commanded to do anything that would require it, but brought it just in case plans changed. He quickly checked his map and drove off to get someone to notice that his last victim was dead.
The sun had set when he arrived at his destination. This time he had driven approximately 2km past the house and began the long walk back. He felt the urge to visit the scene first, just to make sure he was still there. It was a clear night, but the temperature had not fallen much from the 30C degrees it had reached that afternoon. He was sweating quite a bit even with his slow walking speed and summer attire. When he reached the house he put on some gloves and plastic covers on his shoes and tried the door. It opened, letting the foul smell of death left in the heat for a day pour out. He stumbled slightly as he tried to keep from vomiting. He never came back to his kills. He gathered himself and slowly moved in to the home, checking each corner before moving further. There he was, dead as he had left him. Remembering his thoughts of earlier he quickly moved in the shut his eye lids, noticing too late that something had already come and taken his eyes out of their sockets. “Hmmm,” Mike whispered. He was satisfied that the scene had not yet been seen by anyone so he turned around and started his journey to find a phone. He made a note of the lot and bay number as he walked back to the highway. He remembered passing a small general store on the way in and walked in the direction he remembered it being. As he rounded the bend on the highway he saw the street light illuminating the store. It looked closed, but that was of no consequence to Mike as he sighted the payphone on the exterior wall. He tried desperately to stop from running as to minimize any chance of being seen. Every step was excruciatingly slow as he tried to appear calm and controlled. Suddenly a car rounded the bend, barely missing him as it raced past. Mike jumped out-of-the-way, twisting his ankle as he landed. Shaken he tested out his ankle by placing weight on it. The pain was sharp and caused him to sweat further. He shrugged and continued walking, now with a limp, towards the phone. He, in fact, had a job that needed doing and a God that would punish him severely if he didn’t succeed. He always felt that the only way he would ever be caught would be if he disobeyed his “God”.