Before him laid a stranger. Corinth almost screamed with rage but caught himself, and managed to suppress his anger . He couldn’t risk waking neighbors or drawing attention. He quickly grabbed the dead mans feet and dragged him into the house. He closed the door, then sat in the chair he had waited in for the last hours and thought about what had happened.
He had just killed a complete stranger. He remembers staring at the mans body for a long time, thinking “what now?”over and over. Finally, he got up and decided to search the man and try to find out why he had come to this place. In his inner shirt pocket, he found a note. In dark red letters, a single word graced its cover:Corinth.
He opened it and found out he had been deceived. He remembers the letters content well. It was written in the same crimson hue as the cover, bold and mocking:
Corinth, if you are reading this, I mourn for you. I mourn for you now must know what it is like to take a life. I can not imagine how difficult that must be, how it could feel. Maybe you will rest easier knowing he is no Saint. He was an acquaintance made during my stay in prison, convicted for a wicked fondness aimed at those much younger than he. But I doubt you care who he is, and wish to know why he lays dead before you and not I.
I have sent him to my home for two reasons. He was in need of a temporary shelter once he was released, which happened to be the same day as I, but also because I needed a way to distract you, keep you tied up while I escaped. You were never one to give up easily my old friend, and this will be no exception. That much I am sure of. I have no doubt you hid within my home, lying in wait like the predator you have become. Had no one come to my door, you would leave and search for me, a hound in pursuit of a wounded bird. So I had to find a way to keep you busy. With a body on your hands, you will need to dispose of it, and may even be caught and sent into the same Hell you put me in. That would be fitting, but let us hope you never experience that special breed of horror. Only time will tell.
Good luck my friend. I may hate you, but I understand why you have become what you have. I can only imagine the pain you have endured, and am sorry our happiness was the cause. If only you could look back and smile at the time you had with her, as I have, instead of wishing for what never was. Goodbye Corinth. I hope to never see you again.
Corinth had thought he knew rage. In that moment, he realized he did not. All feeling left him; he saw red for a moment, then darkness fell over his eyes. His senses went numb, and he felt only one thing: a fire deep in his chest. That was the only adequate way to describe how he felt, like his body burned from the inside, a blaze worse than any hellfire.
He doesn’t know how long he stayed in this state, but when he finally could see again, he found himself in the rubble of what was once Herrick’s home. He looked at his hands and saw they were bloodied and swollen. He had torn them in every way imaginable, apparently while he destroyed the interior of the home, bit by bit. Nothing but the walls remained intact, and even those held war wounds of their own from his wrath
He sat for a while, and remembers laughing at how much sitting and thinking this day had brought with it. He thought it strange how he always managed to find comical things in the most dire of times. After a while, he went and found a match and an oil-burning lamp, which he used to light the house aflame.
He watched from across the street as it burned, hidden in the shadows, smiling as the flames engulfed the wretched place, reducing it to soot and ash. Once rescuers arrived, he joined them as any concerned citizen should, and helped them battle the flames. Once the fire was put out, the guards found the body, charred and almost unrecognizable. Oh how lucky they thought it when an old friend of Herrick’s was there, happy to identify him. He relished every minute, savored every second as the pieces fell into place. As far as the world was concerned, Herrick had passed in a terrible fire, and as for the mystery prisoner, he would not be the first man to go missing. The empire was a dangerous place after all, lots of people come to untimely ends and are not seen again. He doubts he will be missed.
He left town soon after, following a tip from a talkative bar wench who saw a man fresh from the stockades headed West. The hunt was on. Corinth would attempt to kill Herrick numerous times after on this journey that had brought him to the farthest reaches of mans empires. Each time he would fail to deliver the killing blow, or be tricked as he had before. Herrick was always a cunning man, and proved to be a formidable opponent. But the fox never eludes the hound for long. Unfortunately, many suffered on behalf of Corinth’s prey.
Many had died at Corinth‘s hands, few willingly and fewer as Herrick’s plans intended. He wonders if Herrick knows how many people had died merely for associating with him in the most common of ways, such as serving him a drink, or giving him directions. He would make sure to tell him before he kills him.
His long journey eventually brought him here, to Algidia, the southernmost country of the Empire, a desolate and wintry country where few called home. He learned Herrick had taken to living alone in a cabin, making a living as a trapper. He trekked into the forest the morning he arrived, wasting no time to bring this last hunt to a conclusion 6 years in the making. Only hours old, the memory of his confrontation with Herrick plays vividly in his mind as he follows the dying mans trail.