A reiteration of A Tell-Tale Heart.
Oh God, how I wanted to kill him. Just to hear it stop.
His organic cogs constantly working away, keeping me up all night.
Tick tick tick, pump pump pump.
Mr. Carruthers’ internal timepiece was the bane of my very existence, and I had to stop it, or I feared I would die.
Every night I would creep into his room, mastering silence with fluent grace. It was beautiful. Oh, how I wish I could have videotaped myself. Creeping in perfectly without a single noise. Breathing in slowly, breathing out slower. My heart was beating and my blood was flowing, but no one could have known. I traced my footsteps to the other sounds, dancing with the tick tock of his watch and breathing with his heartbeats.
What a sick looking man. His eye fat and bulging through his closed lid like a plastic bag full of liquid being squeezed and expressed to it’s limits. His smile was one of pure sick filth and his sleeping face was no greater, with his mouth hanging open like a dog begging for a treat. Everything about him disgusted me.
Tonight was different. Tonight was the third last night before Mr. Carruthers would die at my hand.
I leveled my head with his chest, crouching by the bed ever so slowly so as not to let a gentle breeze following quick motion destroy my mask of invisibility. I watched as the light fabric of his shirt bobbed over his chest with subtlety as his heart pumped loudly in his sleep. Was he having a nightmare? No, he couldn’t be. He was perfectly still, aside from the rhythmic thumping.
I couldn’t even hear him breath, as if his heart was enough.
I left the room, trembling from pure hate.
The second last night. Again I crouch beside him. This time I want to test if he’ll wake up.
Slowly and painfully I retract my invisible mask. I stand as a normal person would. I let go of my careful breathing and go back to regular inhaling and exhaling. I hesitate so much. Perfecting my craft only to shirk it now. I stand there and breathe. He doesn’t move. A deep sleeper.
Tonight’s the night. It’s time to kill Mr. Carruthers, finally. I have the perfect blade for this. A huge 11-inch knife, thick and shiny. It is the perfect weapon against him. Long enough to pierce the heart and keep going a bit.
I creep into the room again. Breathing like the near non-existent flaps of a butterfly’s wings. Footsteps imprinted with malice but leaving no trace in the air. Christ, it’s all working so well.
The blade is in my teeth so as not to limit my hands and to eliminate the sound of removing it from a sheath. My jaws are clenched around it with admirable grip. It is my partner and it will soon be the instrument to stop the heart.
As I reach the end of his bed I ready myself. I jump, swinging my left leg over his body and to the other side of it. In midair I remove the blade from my mouth and grasp it with white knuckles. I land toes first on the mattress, catching the rest of my weight before I can make more than a gentle swoop, the kind that would be left behind by a blowing piece of paper. But the bed does not share my keen attention to silence, and the springs buckle under the added 170 pounds. Mr. Carruthers opens his eye, his sick bulging eye, and slowly recognizes the circumstances of my being here. He begins to open his mouth to release a shriek of terror, but before the shrill cry can leave his throat I place my left hand firmly over his mouth, stopping the sound in it’s tracks. Oh how I wish I hadn’t done that. The noise of the scream would have drowned out the sound of Carruthers’ quickening heartbeat, but instead I stopped it, and the sound of his heart was amplified twentyfold. I screamed with agony. I couldn’t bear another beat. I stabbed the knife into his chest. Quickly in, and quickly out. After three jabs the knife found itself twirling into the air behind me. It had shattered Carruthers’ breastbone and beneath the shards and splinters lay his heart, blood pouring from it like water from a freshly tapped spring. It was over.
But no, it wasn’t. Tick tick tick, pump pump pump. It kept going.
Feeling the embrace of madness, I punched and ripped my way through the surrounding flesh and bone. I took the heart and pulled it, releasing it from his chest. It quivered as it’s connections broke and it stopped in my hands, a dead lump of flesh.
And yet, I heard it still. Tick. Pump. Tick. Pump! What was happening? I stared at the red mass in my hands, completely still in it’s damaged form. Then the realization hit me and the feeling enveloped me with a terrible crushing feeling. It was my own damn ticker, it’s rhythm mocking me with sick malice.
I plunged the knife into my own chest immediately. Then again. Then a third time. The ticking and pumping ceased at last. For a single second before death swallowed me in his cloak, I felt peace. My world was quiet and without torment. And then I sunk backward, feeling my soul drop into hell like a single dew droplet falling into a barrel of sick dark water.
No noise. Sweet, sweet silence.