Chapter Five: IMMERSE MYSELF IN SICK REFLECTION
From ‘Hymn for the Shameless’
I’m not entirely sure who I saw on the balcony. In fact, I have not even the slightest clue, nor do I care. As I slam my glass down, my curiosity turns to the woman I see in the reflection of the mirror hanging lazily behind the bar. I jumped to my feet and search the room but she is nowhere to be found. I return to my seat but see only my own reflection in the mirror. I tell myself it was my imagination, but I know what I saw. I wouldn’t even think twice of the vision if not for the stunning resemblance to my Annabel. But that’s crazy, that’s crazy, that’s impossible. Annabel is dead. Enjoy the moment. Oh, the visions inside my head. Oh, what little regret I have.
One thing I am more than certain of is that I have never felt so alive. Killing Annabel, and the seven pathetic souls here tonight, just may be the best decisions I have ever made in my life. I feel eerily calm and full of elated energy all at once. I do fear I may be losing my grip on reality, but is that entirely bad? I obviously was not happy before any of this. Why else would I have done any of this? Which reminds me, I have not even had the urge to pick up my sketch book, not once since any of this began began. As I recall, Annabel always said that sketch book would be the end of me so I guess its a good thing that I left it behind. Yes, its all starting to make sense. I see more clearly now. This experience has taught me that I do not need to rely on my art to define who I am, my purpose in life: And let’s be honest, this is way more fun.
I step outside of the bar and into the morning sunlight. I must have been inside longer than I realize because as I recall it was completely dark outside when I bolted the door shut several hours earlier. The air is much cooler now than I remember it being upon my arrival, but then again I had been running for miles. A local merchant across the way offers me a smile and a polite greeting which I return without even a slight hesitation. Funny, I wonder if he realizes that he just smiled at a cold-blooded killer? I descend the stairs and bump into a young man who is toting a little girl, her daughter I imagine. The woman greets me but the child keeps her distance, hiding behind her mother’s leg. Kids are a lot smarter than people realize. Even here in the broad daylight I am tempted to once again draw my blade and wreak havoc on the town.
The only thing that stops me is the stunning revelation that absolutely nobody near or around me has any clue what happened inside the tavern last night. To them I am just some guy perusing the town, maybe looking for some breakfast, or perhaps a tailor to hem my suit, or a blacksmith to help with my horses ailing feet. Whatever the reason for their ignorance, the deception grips my psyche stronger than my urge to kill again.
In the reflection on the window in front of Mitchell’s Diner I once again see the woman from the mirror. By God, she looks like Annabel. Could it be? Is she alive? Is this a dream after all? Will I wake soon and find myself lying by her side? Hah I really have lost my mind. I shut my eyes and once again the pleasure strangles me. Good morning, town. Behold, for I am the will of the reaper and I am standing closer to the edge than I should be allowed.
The uncontrollable urge to leave comes suddenly as I clutch myself in bed at the Inn where I had decided to spend the evening. I need to run far away from here. In the eyes of the town, I’m just a local passerby I need of a day away from here. I will not be missed, I will not be remembered. But what about the mother and her daughter who had seen me leave the bar? The gentleman who had smiled and waved will likely remember my face. Tormented by these thoughts, and plagued by a soft singing on the wind that sounds all too much akin to the rich voice of my departed love, I decided I’ve had enough, spring up, and surge out into the night racing through the streets and eventually out into the countryside.
Without a clue as to my destination, I feel as if I am being pulled along on a string by some unseen force in the night air, and all at once the rain begins to wreck down upon me. A bolt of lightning illuminates the night sky revealing the hills ahead of me, upon which sits the house where Annabel died. Crippled by the overwhelming rush rush of guilt flooding through me, I fall to my knees and weep. What have I done? I cry out to the heavens and beseech for forgiveness, direction. My prayers are immediately greeted by the laughter of a shadowy figure looming before me. As if daydreaming indolently on a summer day, the stranger leans against the door to my home seemingly without a care in the world. I watch the man who mocked my cries stand perfectly still, not moving an inch. Although I had only caught a glimpse of him last night in the tavern, I had no doubt as to the identity of the phantom standing on my front porch. The only question remaining was what had brought the man from the tavern balcony to my remote house in the woods?