“Confidence is like a dragon where, for every head cut off, two more heads grow back.”
― Criss Jami , Venus in Arms
Shadows cross as the lights blink behind the figure, feet pounding against the tarmac. Long chestnut hair flowing and stubby legs pumping it’s unmistakingly female, throwing glances behind her shoulder as she turns towards the looming building ahead. Hands fly against wood, pounding not unlike her heart. Screams of help and fear are squashed as she turns and races off again, head flung back as echoless screams break the silence.
Suddenly the world is silent again, soft murmurs of traffic and animals all to be heard in the stark of a Paradise City night. The hunter laughs, a cruel and disjointed sound that crawls down your spine like fingers on blackboards. His latest work, the next Mona Lisa. She’s a star and he would stop at nothing to make sure she lives up to her full potential.
Fight or Flight had always been a dizzying concept to him - Were humans always wired to do one of two things? Were humans so predictable, so untrustworthy, so unable to logically choose to preserve their lives they had to be wired in their DNA to either flee or attack a threat? Alas his prey had chosen to flee. The wrong choice in this situation. She was fleeing straight into his clutches, into his killing floor.
And he never relented on his prey.
Contrary to popular belief, the human body isn’t as much of a dead weight as first thought. While your blood is running, heart pumping the body is full with light and minute movements. These movements are as simple as muscle twitches and spasms to the skin rubbing against bone and flesh. Many believe that dead bodies sink - it's quite the opposite. These movements, along with the fluids thrumming through the body cause living, moving, breathing bodies to sink and the opposite to happen to the dead (Until the fluids leak in, water and grit bogging up the discarded skeleton).
This was a problem for body dumps as while a living body sunk into the sapphire waves you could easily do a ‘burial at sea’ - but keeping the body hidden was much, much more difficult, something along the lines of ‘Understanding Bioshock Timelines’.
Dimly aware of the metal supports spanning the abyss above him he stalked his prey for miles until her inferior lungs collapsed in exhaustion. A striking blow to her head (Blunt Force Trauma to the Temporal Lobe, a part of him murmurs. Extensive damage to her hearing.) and she falls, barely a gasp escaping her. Another blow to the frontal lobe (Steel particles lodged in the frontal lobe, primary function: Emotions and personality) and the damage is too intense. She would die in due time, and his knife settles above her heart. He should put her out of her misery now (But he didn’t have that privilege. So neither shall she)
The human body while dead is very light, all muscles and limbs relaxing becoming ‘dead weight’ - No more thrashing petite body in his arms, just a sunken 22 year old sack of flesh. It’s all too easy to tie the wet strips of cloth around the steel, all too easy to wrap it around disjointed wrists. A grin creeps onto his face before he can catch himself - A smile like that could be used to identify him behind the cotton hood he had donned for this occasion. Stepping back he has to appreciate his work (A Masterpiece, Obsidian, Scarlet and silk combined - But it’s missing the final, crucial touch.)
With a steel plated paintbrush he traces the final detail in his work - The symbol of his enemy. She is but a puppet whose strings have been tangled, string of life dangling uselessly from her soul. Her master gone, the shell left as a message for all who followed - Dare to defy the puppetmaster and the puppet shall fall, as without directions they are useless, damaged and broken.
Confidence is like a dragon they say - An uncontrollable beast whose heads grow back. But satisfaction, satisfaction is the jewels in the dragonslayer's sword - satisfaction is what comes after confidence. Where confidence shrivels and dies satisfaction will last, and when it too falls to the darkness you will always know it how it too shall be revived. Curiosity killed the cat - but satisfaction bought it back.
As the sweet tang of copper filled his mouth he let himself for a second mourn the girl in front of him, the girl who in the world where men and women were armed with blades and shields had armed herself with a labcoat and testtube, mind grasping onto concepts that were just waiting to be discovered. She was one of the few who strived for something beyond their reach and grasped it, but alas knowledge couldn't save her. It was a curse in her final moments, knowing exactly what he was doing.
His first blow, forcing her to run for miles had exhausted her and got her heart pumping, blood racing through her body, forcing any cuts to bleed many times more than they would usually. His second blow to her temporal lobe defended her, and his third to her frontal lobe finally knocked her out. If she had awoken she might have noticed the differences, her emotions and personality damaged along with her nerves and skull. Carving her chest was just his final play, finally letting her body rest but also as a reminder to those who come after her, not even a coat or blade could stop him. He was unstoppable, a force of nature, a story and myth that people would tell for years to come.
He was an artist but his canvas was flesh and his paint blood. He was a storyteller who spoke with not words but corpses. He was a mortal how dared to walk the path of a god.
He was a man on a mission and nothing could stop him until it had concluded.
Now it was time for him to get to his day job - enough time to clean up before returning to this very moment.
It was a father and child duo who found her. Too young, too naive, too curious the child hadn’t booked it as soon as she saw the crimson trail (Arrows to his masterpiece) - she followed it to its source like a fish to the spring at the top of a stream. Scarred for life, the girl finally used her brain and called for her father, the duo raising the alarm about the girl (Puppet) strung up on the burnt amber supports of Paradise Keys Bridge in broad daylight. The cops were called to the scene, red and blue flooding the usually forbidden territory of the Rivals, biting at the chops to get their hands on this killer, murderer, artist.
A shadow watched the first responders, sickly black eyes blinking against the glare as lights blink behind him. He shouldn’t be here, god he knew it but the hunter was cocky, oh so cocky and confident. There was no way they would ever identify him.