At A Glance

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It was too late now.


As the two men faced off, they could each smell death upon the other. All the technology and sophistication in the world and this is what it came down to.


A simple shoot-out.


Two triggers, two bullets; so mediaeval in its simplicity. One pure moment and the world would be clean. To the winner the spoils, to the defeated nothing but dust.


Industrial warriors, clutching their man-made weapons in hands of clay, they waited. For this was where the battle was won, behind the eyes, between worlds. The inner conflict between the super-intelligence and the primal scream; yet there is only ever one victor. For as the cacophony wails and the red mist rises, the teeth of the inner monster are felt. Cold reason cannot survive the onslaught as its belly is torn open and its entrails strewn across the darkness. The broken mind is blood-red; savage in its intensity, maddening in its beauty. The beast howls, and the battle is won.


The pupils dilate, the eyelids flicker, and the shoulder drops.


The move is made.


A simultaneous roar blackens the sky, as both guns are let off at the same moment.


Such a moment.


The black is stained with red.


The victor picks himself up and brushes the filth off his coat, glancing only briefly at the corpse of the other. The gun is brought up and the steel-blue eyes flicker across the barrel, noting the damage from the fall. A click of annoyance is spat out, falling flat upon the metal and brick walls of the alley. The safety of the gun is checked, and the weapon finally hidden among the gathers of the shroud.


He approaches and crouches over the fallen body as it lies, half-twisted, facing the ground. The exit wound of the bullet could clearly be seen halfway up the skull; a 2 ½ inch hole punched unceremoniously through the brain. Looking up, the man’s lips flash in a lizard grin as he takes in the mess created on the wall in front of him. Lumps of charred hair and skin and brain, splattered across the brickwork like a Jackson Pollock painting; the whole thing drenched in a lamina of deep, congealing blood.


Perfectly horrific.


Looking down, the smile turns to a scowl as he sees the blood rapidly pooling on the tarmac beneath the body. His head shakes, too messy. With a grunt the man pulls the body to lie fully on its back. He sees where the bullet entered through the left cheek, leaving nothing but a gaping, bloody hole.


No teeth. Like a baby.


The smile returns.


Pulling a small case from the recesses of his coat he turns his attention to the matter in hand. The top is removed to reveal a thin, sharp blade, as wide as the thickness of two fingers and dished slightly, like a plastic ice cream spoon. The scalpel edge makes quick work of the eyelids and rotator muscles, leaving the two white orbs glinting in the evening gloom. Practiced fingers quickly slide the instrument between eyeball and bone, before lunging inwards and twisting to sever the optic nerve. A change of hands and the operation is repeated.


Returning the blade to his coat, he tilts the ruined skull to the side until he hears the two spheres slip from their cavities.


Scooping them up, the man straightens to stand over the mutilated corpse, captivated by the beauty of the two eyes, irises glittering like sapphires in his palm.


But the moment is broken by the amber sounds of approaching sirens. He secretes his spoil at his belt in an airtight container that would keep them fresh, for the time being at least.


The setting sun has turned the sky a fiery pink and yellow as it dips below the horizon, burning with the weight of the pollution in the air.


The man closes his eyes and inhales deeply, trying to capture this moment.


Perfect.


The air fills with electric screams.


Just perfect.

Created: Jul 01, 2012

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