“You are not following my directives.”
I’m so sorry, but…
“You were to eliminate the darkness that spreads across the firmament like last month’s cooking grease.”
“Its evil still seeps into the minds and souls of our endangered youth.”
“Yes. Now…are you beginning to see? To understand?”
I must see. Understand.
“You must act.”
I must act.
“Let me put it plainly and simply.”
Plainly and simply.
“You must find Simon Pierce and kill him.”
Find Simon Pierce. Kill him.
“You may think there is another way. There is no other way.”
No other way.
“Simon Pierce must die.”
Simon Pierce must die.
“You must kill him.”
I must kill him.
“And then I will save you and the rest of the world.”
I’m going to be saved. We’re all going to be saved.
Jax almost fell from his swivel chair. The message was clear. There was no alternative. Simon Pierce had to die and Jax was the one who had to kill him. Sweat leaked out of his body, dampening his shirt and pants, moistening his hair, blurring his vision. He had to kill Pierce to stop the flow of his poison. Children’s lives were at stake. The fate of humankind was at stake. How could there be a perfect world with a scourge like Pierce infesting it?
But Jax wasn’t a killer. He was a carrier of the word, a disseminator of the information required to bring about a world effort to follow Ratlas into a bright future. He didn’t even know where to look for Pierce. He’d read about the efforts to locate Pierce. Nobody could find him. He was hidden behind layer upon layer of security, cloaked thoroughly behind doorways, gateways, labyrinths and tunnels of encryption. How was someone like Jax going to find him? It would take an almost godly intelligence to break through all that security.
An almost godly intelligence.
He swung his chair around and his fingers flew to the keyboard. Ratlas would know where to find Pierce. Ratlas knew everything, including everyone’s location. Ratlas was the digital soul of all cyberdom and a he would lead Jax to Pierce. He keyed in: coordinates of simon pierce evil writer help me ratlas. He clicked Enter and waited.
Until a strange thing happened. A password screen appeared.
Why is my password screen showing. I didn’t sign out.
He stared at the screen for a few moments before his hands seemed to move by themselves to the keyboard and he typed in a password. He couldn’t see what it was but it didn’t seem to be his.
What is this? What am I doing?
He clicked the enter button and his eyes bulged as he looked at a home page he’d never seen before. His jaw literally dropped, just like in the movies.
He was in Simon Pierce’s computer.
Still in a state of near shock he went from folder to folder, program to program until he found the information he needed, Simon Pierce’s address.
He stared at the screen for several minutes reading the results over and over again.
This can’t be true. This has to be wrong.
He read the address again: 94 Joslin Street.
94 Joslin Street. We live in the same building.
He swiveled around and stared at the walls and ceiling and the floor.
He could be right under me. Right now.
He looked at the ceiling.
Or on top of me. No, this the top floor. Or…maybe he lives in the attic. Yes! Exactly where a perverse creature such as Simon Pierce would live. In the attic!
He signed out and turned off his computer. He stood up and walked to the center of the room, neck bent upwards, staring intently at the ceiling. “So…” he whispered, “…Simon Pierce …you’ve been up there all this time, writing your venomous garbage, defiling everything good in the world, inciting children to do unthinkable things. Right over my head. All this time. And now I know where you are. Ratlas has led me to you. When all else has failed, Ratlas has succeeded. Now, all I have to do is kill you.”
Kill you. I have to kill you.
The thought made his skin tingle, but…
How am I going to kill you?
He looked around the room. He’d never owned a weapon of any sort. He’d never hunted, never been interested in target shooting and always felt safe enough that he didn’t need a gun. No cyanide. He never dreamed that he would have to kill someone. No swords or cross bows. He went to the kitchen and immediately looked at the drawer where he kept the cutlery. He walked over and opened it. He never cooked anything complicated so he didn’t need elaborate cutlery. No carving knives or meat cleavers. Just ordinary knives, with serrated tips. He picked one up and ran his thumb across the serration. It wasn’t all that sharp and the tip was rounded and blunt. It occurred to him that he would have to stab hard. And then it occurred to him that he was thinking about how he was going to kill someone.
I’m going to kill a man.
He ran his fingers over the knife, touching it lightly, exploratory, as though it were some strange mystical object that he’d never seen before. This object that he’d used so many hundreds of times to carve food into bite-size chunks was suddenly a weapon.
I’m going to kill a man.
“I’m going to kill a man.”
He heard the words coming out of his mouth, but it seemed like someone else talking, someone he didn’t know. A stranger. He tried to visualize himself standing over a terrified Simon Pierce, driving the dull serrated kitchen knife into his chest over and over. Killing the evil. Killing the poison. Doing exactly what Ratlas ordered him to do.
To save us all. We’re all going to be saved.
He visualized the blood pouring from Pierce’s chest, pooling on the floor as the light in his wicked eyes flickered out and his body convulsed and shook into death. Jax ran to the washroom and vomited.
Outside the two big living room windows, darkness had replaced light. Jax stared at the words Simon Pierce had left in the message section of The Word In Its Forms and Meanings. The taunting. “Going to put the plastic in the ocean…”
He calls me a loser, this killer of souls.
As he read, he rubbed the edge of his thumb against the dull edge of the kitchen knife.
He dares to defile its blog, its word. In all its forms and meanings. He scoffs at everything that’s good and sacred. Sacred as life itself.
Tears glistened on his cheeks, lips and chin. He knew now that he had no choice: It was up to him to end this tyranny of hatred. Simon Pierce had to be put down and Jax was the only one who could do it, the only one who had found him. Ratlas had given him the location that no one else could find. Such was the power of Ratlas and such was the fate of Simon Pierce.
It was dark. It was time.
Kitchen knife in hand, Jax leaned out his door and looked left and then right before stepping cautiously into the hall. Streetlight from the stained glass window spread arcs of colored light over the floor and walls. A red exit sign spread an eerie light around the fire escape door. To the right, he saw a door leading into another tenant’s flat. To the left, the hall stretched past the fire door and two more flats. Quietly, he closed the door behind him and walked slowly to the right, past the fire door, past the two tenants’ doors and straight to end of the hall. He looked up. There it was: a trap door in the ceiling, the entrance to the attic. He could barely make out the latch to pull the door down. It was about four feet over him.
He jumped and reached as high as he could, and fell over a foot short. He tried twice more with no luck.
The stool. Get the stool.
He hurried to his flat and came back with a stool which he place below the trap door. He climbed up slowly but almost toppled. He steadied himself at the top of the stool and looked around to see if anyone was watching. He waited a few minutes for his breathing to normalize and reached up to grab the latch.
What are you doing?
Standing on top of the stool with one hand gripping the latch and the other gripping the kitchen knife, a thought came into his head.
He’s going to put plastic in the ocean. In the ocean. He kills children. He kills souls. Ratlas wants him dead. I am the carrier of its word. I am the hand of Ratlas. The bearer of its message. We’re all going to be saved. Pierce must die.
He turned the latch and pulled. The trap door fell hard on his head and sent him tumbling off the stool and sprawling onto the floor. The door banged onto the floor, shaking the walls around it.
Jax wasn’t sure how long he lay on the floor, drifting in and out of consciousness. He felt the top of his head. It was moist with blood and it hurt like hell. He pushed himself up on one elbow and looked around. None of the other tenants were in the hall. He wondered how they could not have heard the trap door bang. He could still hear it ringing in his own ears. He pushed himself to his feet and steadied himself. He saw the kitchen knife on the floor by his feet and quickly snatched it up.
So much for the element of surprise.
He looked up at the blackness beyond the ceiling and wondered how Pierce could not have heard the bang.
Did I let him escape? Is he still up there?
He stepped over to the stairs leading into the attic and climbed slowly, one hand steadying himself on the stairs, the other gripping the kitchen knife and pointing it toward the darkness. He stopped just before his head reached the opening. He took a deep breath and thrust his head into the darkness. Light from air vents illuminated the attic just enough for Jax to see that it was a large barren space, not even old furniture or boxes or any of the things you would expect to find in an attic. And definitely no Simon Pierce.
Back in his flat, he cleaned up the cut on his head and bandaged it. Some careful manipulations with a mirror showed that the cut wasn’t bad but he was going to have one hell of a bump and it hurt like hell.
So, he has to be in one of the other flats. Which one? Maybe I can flush him out.
He went to his laptop. He had a few minutes for a quick post at The Word In Its Forms and Meanings before it was time.
THE TIME OF THE EVIL UPON THE FIRMAMENT DRAWS TO A CLOSE. THE SOUL KILLER IN THE GUISE OF A MAN CALLED SIMON PIERCE WILL SOON BE NO MORE. THE TAPS OF HIS SLUDGE WILL SOON BE TURNED OFF. SIMON PIERCE, IT COMES FOR YOU IN ALL ITS FORMS AND MEANINGS. IT COMES FOR YOU ON JOSLIN STREET.
AND FOR THOSE WILL USING PLASTIC, STOP IT!!!
Let’s see how brazen you are now, Simon Pierce. I’m coming for you.