Life Undone – Very Short Story

It was oddly calming, being confined in this room, with nowhere to go and nothing to see; nothing to do but wait and to contemplate.

The knife pierced through his flesh, burrowing deeper and deeper until only the handle stuck out of his chest. The victim gurgled as his lungs filled with blood and with one last act of desperation, he grabbed the handle and tried to pull it out. But all his strength soon seethed out of him and his hands fell to the side.

Standing above the victim, a man watched the fruitless struggle with fascination as the light vanished from the victim’s eyes. His whole body trembled with both excitement and fear. His eyes unblinking – like the victims.

As the realisation of his actions slowly sunk in, he staggered against a table and gasped rapidly, realising that he had held his breath all this time.

The room was sparsely lit, with only the faint light from a few candles scattered around a small table next to the TV. On the table, two glasses of wine and a bowl of mixed nuts stood full and unconsumed. The man looked greedily at the wine and drank them both in one swell swoop. The win went down bitterly and he pressed his lips together in disgust.

He always did have a bad sense of taste in wine, he thought, looking at the lifeless body next to him.

With the urge to get the taste of wine from his mouth, he headed towards the kitchen. But with uneasy steps, he wobbled from side to side until his shoulder crashed into the door frame of the kitchen.

“Son of a—!” He silenced himself and growled before hissing his curses, now much quieter.

Surprised by his unsteady legs, he hesitated by the door frame. Either there was something other than wine in the glasses or he had become light headed from the murder… He didn’t like either possibility.

Not risking to fall unconscious on the crime scene, he poured a glass of water to himself by the kitchen sink. The water was cool and refreshing, without the hint of limestone that he was so used to in his hometown. This was a small town, after all, no need to pour chemicals to keep the tap water fresh…

He grunted thankfully as he had his fill and hunched exhausted over the sink.

The chrome sink cast his reflection as he stared at it and he found blood dripping from his nose. He hissed in pain as he pressed his fingers against the nasal bone. It was broken.

He quirked his mouth in both amusement and anger, admitting that the victim had put up a good fight.

With a snort he spat some of the blood into the sink, splashing its red goo over the sterile surface. He narrowed his eyes and cleaned it soon after, using paper rather water to not risk waking up the neighbours. As he cleaned the blood, he let out a loud sigh. The thrill was gone, instead, he felt bored… lonely even.

In frustration, he grit his teeth and went to his mind’s eye, remembering the look in the victim’s eyes before his death. He shivered in excitement and as he did – he wanted to see it again!

Lurching through the living room he found blood already streaming across the floor, creating a pool by the corner. He walked carefully over the blood and looked at the victim’s eyes as he stood above him.

A frown formed on his face as the excitement didn’t return to him. The victim had the same terror in his eyes but there was no life left in them, taking away the best part of a dying man’s expression.

He clenched his fist until his knuckles whitened and he considered stabbing the body again, but decided not to.

Suddenly, he heard a thump on the floor above. He jerked his head up and narrowed his eyes. Perhaps one more kill before I—

No, it was too impulsive, he decided. There was no way of knowing how many people lived next door. Killing one man silently is one thing, but two? No, he had to wait another day.

The wind roared outside and he glanced at the street light that illuminated part of a tree and its branches nearby. Watching the branches move in the wind, he hesitated on what to do next. He did not want to leave his work of art, after all, and he kept staring outside.

In his revery, his attention was caught at the periphery of his eyes. Turning his head, he found two large eyes glowing in the dark, staring in another direction. Curious, he went closer to the window and squinted his eyes.

What the hell is that?

The eyes suddenly turned towards him, moving almost from a 250-degree angle. He winced as the eyes landed on him. Two expressionless eyes. Taken aback, he suddenly began to sweat, with an urge to run away. But as a car passed by, and the headlights whisked by the tree, it revealed an owl sitting on one of the branches.

Feeling foolish, he growled at himself for being so easily startled. Yet, there was something in those eyes that made him uneasy, making him unable to look away.

Now backing away from the window, with his eyes fixed on the owl’s, his feet suddenly gave away and he crashed onto the floor. Blood splashed all over the furniture and covered his clothes.

Tumbling on the floor, he could hear the muffled voices of the people living downstairs and his heart began to race. He bolted out the apartment, only taking his coat to cover the blood on his sweater.

Now outside, and far away, he calmed; blending into the darkness and the rain drumming against his bald head.

The victim’s blood trickled down his wet clothes, flowing into the drainage and mixing into the rainwater on the street. 

© Christopher Stamfors

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