“I know you…” I realise slowly. Throughout this whole scenario, something has been bothering me about this man. Now I can finally put my finger on it. “Tell me; why is your face familiar?”
His face is painted with the stupefied relief of someone who has is saved when they thought they were dead. I’m in no mood for his worship – I would rather see him cringe. Seizing a fistful of his greasy hair, I yank his head back and the pale yellow light falls on his face. He whimpers and I repeat the question.
“Where have I seen your face before, old man?” His eyes brim with tears, and I am disgusted. How could anyone this weak survived so long? Shaking him, I angrily demand, “Answer my question!”
“I used to – to be on the TV – a lot. I worked in – the govern – government.” Even thought his stuttering speech, I can hear the pride. The self-bloated, gloating satisfaction of being high up the food chain.
My anger takes even me by surprise, flushing through my body like a wave of pure hear. I pull back his hair till he screams and press my blade into his throat. “The government,” I hiss, mocking and cruel. “What a worthless life. How useful was it, eh? Your knowledge of politics. Tell me, how did it help you fight off the plague? How did it help you organise your relief strategies? How did it help you SAVE THE REST OF US?”
I’m screaming now, spittle flying from my lips in a rage I can’t control. He’s lost the look of someone saved. The emotion in his eyes is exactly what I want to see, the drug to my addict’s heart. “It didn’t. Because when as the world went to shit, you and the rest of your hoity-toity rich and famous ran for fucking cover while the rest of us scum died like rats.”
I laugh, gesturing at the ruins surrounding us. My voice sounds so distorted in the echoes, so… inhuman. “Was this part of your grand plan? Did you mean for all of this to happen, for millions to die? And what about us, the survivors? Tell me, old man, was I part of your plan?” I crouch down, the tip of my blade pressed into the heartbeat throbbing in his neck.
“No… no… no…!” He whispers, although I can’t tell if he’s begging for his rat-shit life or answering my question. My anger is cooling down, turning hard and sharp. I grip the knife handle tightly, the blade gleaming so beautifully.
“You ran for shelter and left us to die. This is everything you deserve.” With one fierce stroke I slit his neck from ear to ear, a bloody gaping grin, and I walk away.
The body sits upright, his eyes open and fixed in fear. The dim yellow light throws darkness across his skin and the blood gushing from his ripped smile is black: as black as the night, as black as his eyes, as black as my heart.