The darkness enveloped me like a shroud as I slipped into the alley, under the current of mainstream society, into the place where people refused to look. It is here that the unspeakable happens, where ‘they’ suffer horribly at the hands of others.
A little girl was raped on her way home from a friends house not too long ago. An old man was shot in the head while walking his dog, his wallet and money still in his possession when the police found him. A woman was beaten to death by three teenagers when she asked them to turn their music down at two-thirty in the morning.

But that is what happens to ‘them’, or at least that’s what most people think. They distance themselves from the horrors that occur every day because it’s not someone they know… it happened to the mysterious ‘them’.

Well, apparently I’m one of ‘them’, or my wife was. Her body was found, raped, sodomized, her throat slashed nearly to the point of severing her head. The police never found the man who did it, and they never will, unless they can analyze the digestive waste of several hundred pigs from an outlying farm. And oh, yeah, he was still alive while the pigs were eating him. I don’t know how long that lasted, and I don’t care. I saw it in his eyes at the very least for several minutes, and that was enough for me. Or so I thought.
Everything I had is gone. I sold my entire life and walked away from whatever I couldn’t sell. Nobody knows my name down here, and that’s fine, too. What they know is who, and what I am, and they fear me. As they should.

There are powers that exist in the world, an energy that we all pass through like the air we breathe. In my darkest hour I found the path to manipulating that energy. Some might call this magic, or force of will. Whatever, I don’t care. What matters to me is my ability to do what I do, to be what I have become.

I move through the currents of darkness that flow through the city, passing through the lightless alleys, around buildings and dumpsters, nearly vaporous, darkness within darkness. When I pass by groups of gangbangers city on a porch I can feel the fear that flashes through each of them, taste the chill they feel at my presence.

A woman is walking towards the subway. The energy around her buzzes with the adrenaline pounding through her veins. She knows that less that one hundred feet behind her two men are pursuing her. Will they rape her? Beat her? Take her money and kill her? I can almost see the images flashing through her mind, though I don’t need to. I’ve seen them enough to know they are there.
The heat from my hand has warmed the blade’s hilt comfortably. No light glistens or gleams from its blackened edge.
The men advance on the woman as she crosses an intersection. The subway is only two more blocks, she thinks she can make it, but they have moved closer than she realized. She starts to run, but only gets three steps before the first of the two men grabs her and throws her into a side alley.

Perfect.

They start talking to the woman, but I couldn’t care less what they are saying. One of them looks up as the darkness deepens at the back of the alley. He starts to say something but I flash by him like a shadow. The cut in his neck was so fine he didn’t even realize it was there until his voice failed him. That’s when the blood started.

The woman starts to scream, but the remaining mugger’s hand covers her mouth. I wrap her in bands of power, willing her to sleep. She doesn’t need to see this.

The mugger pulls a gun from his pocket, but that doesn’t concern me either. I flash by again, and the gun and three of his fingers fall to the ground in the alley. Another pass and his life is over.

The darkness around me envelops the two men. I lift them to the side wall of the alley, weaving the bands of energy through the brickwork and around their wrists, pulling their hands inside of the stone. Let the police sort that out.

It’s a vicious circle. The two men are now ‘them’ to most of the world, the ones the terrible things happen to. Each person must live
with the consequences of their own actions. So, yes, they are ‘them’ now, too. But the woman won’t be.
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Vigilante
by D. Heikes
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