chapter xxxviiMature

Every floor he went up he found more than on the level before.  It was easier than he’d expected, creeping up on the parasites.  They were as distractable as humans, and equally engrossed in inner-circle gossip and their touch screen smart phones, too.  Most of them didn’t even hear him coming.  Part of him questioned that – he’d never been particularly gifted in the art of silence, but it seemed to come naturally to him – though he didn’t get far down the tracks of that train of thought.  Energy pumped through him, fiery and impatient, and  his thoughts blurred together as he punched and kicked and sliced his way through each floor.

It was so easy, in fact, that he hadn’t even used his firearm; every kill thusfar through the building – and he was just then reaching the top of the staircase to the tenth floor, out of twelve – had been done with the same knife.  He’d made one mistake in the beginning by stabbing one directly in the heart.  It had been a complete waste of a heart, and from what he’d been reading, hearts were incredibly powerful ingredients called for in the more powerful black magic encantations.  Graeme learned quickly, though, and was generously more cautious with his subsequent murders.  He wondered if killing a demon qualified as murder, but couldn’t dismiss the notion.  Vessels were involved; the demon wasn’t the only one that died when he killed them.

Where was his guilt?

He guessed it was probably somewhere on the first floor.  Maybe it was in the bathtub where he’d stabbed himself in the stomach to rid himself of a demon, where this had all really begun.  It wasn’t unfathomable that he could justify his killings by arguing that he not only knew what it was like to be possessed, but also what it was like to be willing to die to free himself.  To take the risk.  While he couldn’t fault anyone for not being as strong as he was, he realized he could fault himself for knowing how to save them and doing nothing to do so.

Already covered in demonic blood, he knew he’d gone too far by then to turn back or change tactics, but he resolved himself to memorizing the chant that could expel demons and making a point to carry holy water with him to soak his knives.

Maybe he didn’t need to kill them all.  Maybe he could save a few.  After all, he’d saved himself.

The End

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