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The Killing Machine: (A Short Story)

Updated on December 13, 2016
wingedcentaur profile image

The first step is to know what you do not know. The second step is to ask the right questions. I reserve the right to lean on my ignorance.


When he could ease himself in sleepful contemplation.... When he could at least grasp at a stillness of his inner being.... When he could block out other distractions... he could almost... almost remember his name... his real name... his name beyond and prior to the dozens of aliases he used... one close to the name he had been born with... He worked his mouth to ry to remember what it felt like to speak it... He strained his ears... trying to remember what it felt like to hear it spoken to him...It almost came back....

When he slept he tried to remember... The earliest memory he had... of... of he being himself was... well... it seemed that he was with or associated with some people... some people who resided at some kind of... compound... 'compound' was the word he kept coming back to... People with letters on jackets stormed the place... FBI or was it ATF? DEA? No, all three: FBI, ATF, and DEA.

As the dreamer regurgitated this, his first memory of he being himself... He saw himself with a little girl in his arms... running... One of the people with letters on their jacket shot him in the head... Well, not in the head exactly... The bullet had grazed his skull... But... had he been shooting to kill him?.... And since they were law enforcement, did that mean the cop who'd shot him had been protecting the little girl from... from... him?

He could not... would not... He refused to believe that implication... He had never had any urge to hurt children... He remembered falling after he'd been shot... and the little girl levitating up and away from him... It was symbolic... She going to Heaven and he descending to Hell...

Next thing he remembered was driving... on a highway... dark and stormy night... drinking Johnny Walker Black Label... There was a terrible accident.... big smash up... twisted steel, rubber, and flesh everywhere... He woke up in a county hospital not remembering who he was/is...

Next, he remembered being a homeless youth, perhaps in his twenties... knocking about with a few, fellow, urban wanderers like himself... fashioning makeshift weapons... killing stray dogs for their flesh... He used to get these frightful headaches, migraine headaches...

He remembered squirming under the force of one, one day... No, one evening... He was in a public park... separated, for the time being, from his pack of fellow urban wanderers... He had been on the ground, squirming, groaning, suffering...

Then two men came, appeared... He had wanted to believe that they had come offering aid... though he knew of nothing they could have done... But he needn't have feared... They had not come offering help but its exact opposite... They taunted him, made fun of his pain and his obvious homelessness... They... they.. they had... literally kicked him when he was down on the ground...

Those sons of bitches had tried to set him on fire... This had made him snap... He fought them... The three of them had struggled... The trial had gone on for a long time... but damned if he didn't kill both of them with his bare hands! Ha! See you both in Hell!

Then he remembered a light in his face.... He was tense, ready carry on the war... But a voice was saying ('Its Okay, come along with me.')... He was wary... Was this some kind of trick?... ('Its alright, I'm here to help. Those assholes probably got what they deserved.') Yes, they had been assholes...

He showered... somewhere... and got into somebody's clean clothes... He was eating soup and the voice, he thought it had been the same one... was saying ('How'd you learn to fight like that? I never saw anything like it.').... He didn't know what the voice was talking about....

He remembered replying to the voice's question: 'They meant to kill me. That was clear. I just made up my mind to kill them.' The voice said ('Do you know how to use a gun, knife, and rope?')... He was about to answer, 'No, of course not,' but, no, now that he thought about it, he found that someone had taught him the gun, knife, and rope... He did indeed know how to use these implements....

He answered: 'Yes, and explosives.' Yes, he also knew to use explosives... How had he come by such knowledge?... Did he learn these things at the place, at the 'compound' that the alphabet law enforcement agencies had attacked?... He must have been a professional criminal...

He thought about what he might be good for in this world... Computers? No, no feeling of aptitude or interest... Music?... No, he liked music as much as anyone but he had no aptitude... He was certain that he could not play an instrument or anything like that...History? Anthropology? Archeology? Sociology? No, he was no scholar... He had basic literacy and numeracy, of course, but no interest beyond that...Auto mechanics? No... Medicine? No... Any of the sciences? A great, big, fat No...Gardening? no Cooking? No...

As he thought about, in the kitchen, working on some leftover barbeque chicken, he thought that he had been made for killing and perhaps nothing else... Which was just a little sad...

He wiped the barbeque sauce from his mouth and washed down the meal with vanilla ice cream, glugging down root beer as well...

From then on he worked for the voice... or, for whomever the voice worked for...

He was easy in his new life. He did not struggle at all. He had perfect control. He handled all of his assignments diligently, expertly, and without guilt. He only struggled when he slept, asking himself if there wasn't something more... out there. So, sleeping was like living and living, for him, was like dreaming.

One day, quite by accident, he came by the solution. He finally understood why he was so confused! He had read a book about the philosophies and religions of India. He had been struck by one particular myth. There had been three gods who resided in Heaven. One day, one of the gods became curious about the nature of life on Earth.

Well, this god descended to the Earth, taking the form of a pig. Yes, a pig! His two companions watched this in amusement at first. But the god seemed to revel in his pig body, rolling around in the mud. Then the god-pig, sort of, took a mate, a pig woman, and had pig children.

The other two gods began to fear that their friend really did think he was a pig. They began to fear that he had forgotten his true divine status. The two gods killed the piglets and the pig woman, hoping that would snap their friend out of it. This did not do the trick. Seeing his "family" ripped away from him had done nothing, apparently, to stimulate his memory.

Finally, the two gods killed the shell of the god-pig, so that he could realize his true form once again. Then the third god gratefully rejoined his celestial friends.

That was it, our friend thought. The reason he was so confused must be due to the fact that he was, in fact, a higher being stuck in an inferior shell. Destroy that shell and his true self would be revealed and all questions would be answered, to the extent that they were even relevant.

He should do it now, right now, he thought! But no, not right now. He had one more job to do. And he had to admit, he really did like rolling around in the mud.

He just had to go off some rich jerk-off who refused to honor his Vegas gambling debts. The dumb ass really did think that 'What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.' He found him in his Stamford, Connecticut home one morning. Type A personality, go-getting multitasker. He was running on his treadmill, watching Bloomberg News on television, reading the Wall Street Jounal, and he had earphones plugged in.

Pop! Right in the forehead. The man's wife and children were vacationing in Disney World. What a mess they would come home to. Oh well, he thought, retrieving his spent shell casing and unscrewing his silencer, his fee only included removal not disposal, as he had been wont to say.

He donated his hefty fee from this job, and most of the rest of his money, to a foundation for the treatment of people who suffered from head trauma. He was sitting in his dining room. The day was chilly, slightly overcast. His favorite music was playing: A Stravinsky piano concerto. The Johnny Walker Black Label tasted like Ambrosia.

He told himself that this was not 'good bye,' but 'Hello.' He would be reunited with the gods. He put the gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger.

The End.


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    • wingedcentaur profile imageAUTHOR

      William Thomas 

      6 years ago from That Great Primordial Smash UP of This and That Which Gave Rise To All Beings and All Things!

      Thanks, Frank! Appreciate it!

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      6 years ago from Shelton

      damn so much energy in this short piece.. but I find it highly satisfying .. gritty Taut.. and to put a gun in ones mouth just stains the mind.. great job Winged....


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