A thunder-like sound bellows to my bed, into my dreams as the door shakes from the punishment. Barely dressed or awake I shake the empty pack next to the rattling door. Frustrated I pull the door open fast. A neatly tailored brown suit, matching fedora grasped tightly around his hairy fingers. He smiles a sweet smile, the kind where my worries for maybe one or two seconds disappear. “Yes?” I call out from my haze. In a movement like water he reaches his hand out in front of him, beside myself I take it. He speaks as his grasp tightens around my hand. “You’re Karl aren’t you, the time traveler?” He finishes but doesn’t let go of my hand, I want to pull away but don’t. “How in the hel…” He quickly cuts me off, “How the hell did I know, easy really, I mean you don’t keep it a very good secret now do you?” His hand slips away from mine. “Can I come in?” he asks as he steps past me into the house. “Sure.” I say in an awestruck tone. He removes his coat and sets it on his lap as he makes himself comfortable on the couch. I close the door and walk to the kitchen. “One sugar, and a dash of cream.” He says as my hand hovers over the coffee.
“Smoke?” he asks while holding out a tightly rolled cigarette in front of me. In another fluid motion, he brings the coffee to his lips then returns it to the table in front of him. Using the lighter on the coffee table I light the cigarette, the smooth smoke fills my lungs giving a good kind of calm, a wholesome calm. “Well if you’re not going to ask it, my name is Steve, not really but you can call me that. No, I shouldn’t start off with a lie, my name is Eugene.” The truth made him invert a little. “So Eugene, what do I owe the pleasure of this morning visit?” I ask. “Morning, it’s about 1 o’clock in the afternoon.” I steal a look at the clock above his head. “I guess the reason I am here is to tell you about me, some people think it’s good to talk about your feelings.” He sits up straight again, picking up his coat then placing it back down on his lap. “Why did you come here then, why not, I don’t know, anywhere else?” I ask in a semi-aggressive tone. “You seem a lot less rude in your stories than in real life.” He again picks up his coat and places it back down on his lap. “I’m sorry, I had a long night.” I say as I shift my eyes to the four empty bottles of wine. “I see. I thought of all the people in this world, you would be the one I could talk to about this.” He places his hand on his coat but stops and moves it to his pocket, fishing for something deep inside. “What if I told you I travel through time and I kill people?” Something silver moves from his pocket then under his coat. I put my cigarette out in the ashtray “Well if this is true, maybe you should turn yourself in, cause what you’re doing is wrong.” My feet shift to run, to get to the pistol under my pillow. He looks at the change of my stance and smiles.”I wouldn’t try anything, I would hate to do it, but I could stab so many holes in you that they wouldn’t be able to sell this house after you’re dead, nope, there will be such a mess that they’ll just have to burn this whole thing down. So relax while I tell you my story.” The silver knife, almost like a deadly letter-opener reveals itself from under his coat. I slowly let my back return to the chair. He opens a small case filled with more tightly rolled cigarettes, extending his arm to me, case in hand, he asks “Smoke?”
I watch him as he smokes away his cigarette, rocking his head back and forth as if going through everything he’s about to say in his head. I check the clock again, 10 minutes had passed since the last time he spoke. About to say something just to break the silence when he starts. “You know what it is like to end someone, I know you do, do you feel awful too, do you feel thankful that at least it’s over, how do you feel about it?” His gray eyes turn to pins as they pierce me for an answer. “I had to, I didn’t seek out to destroy this person, to end them. I see it as if I didn’t end them they would have probably killed me.” I try hard to pick the right words. “Did you enjoy it?” He has almost a glee to his voice. “Enjoy? I have nightmares about it, how his body twisted and turned how it fell to the ground, how bright everything was. Enjoy, no, no, I am haunted by it.” My hands shake, I grasp my knees to stop it. “I thought you were going to do the talking?” My voice shakes as well. “I’m getting to that, it gets easier you know, at first, it’s hard, it haunts you, that’s the hard part I am sure, but once you notice that we’re just simple machines, it becomes easier to turn it off.” His tone is calm and collected. “So that’s what you do, you simply switch off your empathy and kill people. Is it for fun, is it?” I try to tighten my throat, to end the shake in my voice. “Not at first, you know what they say ‘find joy in your work’ or something like that. That’s what you have to do when you take a life away it’s not easy, or it wasn’t. Do you know how fast a heart beats when someone knows they’re about to die? I tried to count it once, but I have this problem with numbers, tried to count in tens or something like that. Ah crap, I am getting ahead of myself aren’t you, I, I is what I mean, probably want to know about how I got started don’t you?” His voice begins to shake but almost as if to mimic me. “I was a child once, but everyone was a child once. I had a great family life, my dad was a leader, do you know what it’s like to be in the shadow of something powerful, something bigger than you? Of course, you don’t you’re a fuck’en orphan. I’m an orphan too, they died when I was 13, it was a whirlwind when I found out I was the one that killed them. I tried to chase the ghost of the killer of my parents, to get some sort of revenge but then, in the end, it’s me who I’ve been chasing this entire time. You’re not the only one to skip, hop, and jump through time, though I can say you’re far more reckless than anyone I have ever met. There’s this group, or, well an order, I don’t really understand it that well, it’s been going on forever. But what we do is find and kill bad people, the troubling part is there’s always and forever going to be bad people, people that need to die. I kill one, oh what is he in this timeline, oh yes, I kill one Hitler, and poof there’s some other one that just pops up again. Like the world needs a natural evil just to exist or something. I’m not a bad person, or I try not to be. I guess that’s the confusing part for me, I don’t want to be the evil, but all I do is chase evil. I try to stop it. Can I have a drink, I won’t cut you I promise…” He places the knife on the empty seat next to him, within grasp but not in his hand. I get up and pour two glasses of scotch and then take the bottle and drinks back to where we were seated.
He slams down the first glass and pours himself another without exhaling and drinks that as well. “Thanks, I needed that. I’m not very good at talking and I am sorry. I get excited sometimes, like my insides are explosive and it’s hard to get everything straight. So I killed my parents, that wasn’t easy, but when I was shown what they could have done, how they killed babies, I mean, babies. I spent my life with a black and white moral understanding of things. There was good and bad, there weren’t some bad’s that were good and good’s that were bad. I’m losing you again. Well, I didn’t want to kill them, to put me or younger me through everything I went through. But when you’re confronted with an obvious evil, regardless of who it has in its possession. Something so blatant, how can you not do something? I struggled with myself for a year or something, one moment I tied a rope around a ceiling fan and my neck, I kicked the chair from my feet and just fell onto the ground, there standing above me was a ghost, or me, I’m not really sure, he said something about not being able to tie knots very well and placed the silver dagger on my chest. I pulled something in my neck, they said I could have been paralyzed. When I think about somewhere, like a place or time the dagger takes me there. I was lying in bed, spinning the dagger about trying to figure out why, like how or something. Then I guess I thought about the night my parents were killed and within a nothing, I was in my childhood bedroom, centimeters away from the 13-year-old self.” He stops and pours himself another drink, I extend my own glass and he pours me one as well.
To be continued…