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The Dark Man By Shane McKenzie

He stalked the street, a wide-brimmed hat resting on his head. A cool breeze made the back of his trench coat dance in the wind. His collar stood straight up, hiding his face in darkness. He wanted to blend in with the shadows, to be unseen.

Businesses closed up for the night all around him. Sliding metal doors slammed shut, locks secured. A petite Korean woman gave him a dirty look as he passed. He could feel her gaze penetrating his back as he walked away.

Did she sense something?

Without a glance back, he hurried along the street. He did not yet know his destination, but he knew it would come to him. It always did.

The knife strapped to his ankle begged for freedom. He yearned to use it again. That great rush was like a drug.

He needed it.

He couldn't plunge his knife into just anyone; it had to be right. He had a purpose, a reason to hunt. When the time was right, he would know.

As he turned the corner, a large bulk of a man knocked the breath out of him. It was like running into a brick wall, the strong smell of liquor suddenly surrounding him.

"Hey, watch it, b-buddy," the man mumbled. Anger was plastered on his face.

The man in the trench coat tried to walk around him, but a large hand grabbed his shoulder.

"Aint you gonna say sorry?"

Again, he held in his anger as he brushed off the hand and continued on his way. A shove from behind sent him stumbling face first into the ground. His face skidded off the pavement as the large man hovered above him.

"I d-don't take shit from nobody! Now get up and apolo-apologize for bumping me, or it's gonna get ugly."

He stood up, brushed off his coat, and turned to face the behemoth.

"Come on, pussy, say something."

As much as he wanted to splash this man's life on the pavement, he knew he couldn't. This drunken giant was not the one.

"Here comes the thunder!"

The drunk stepped forward and swung.

The dark man ducked under the blow, unsheathed his knife, and thrust it upward. It pierced the hard, tattooed flesh of his assailant's arm, holding it firm in front of the dark man's face.

"Oh, Jesus! You motherfucker!"

The large man buckled to his knees and stared up at his mangled arm. Blood ran down and dripped from his elbow.

The dark man held him there for a moment, enjoying the pain in the man's eyes. Blood bubbled from the wound, staining the steel of the blade. He pulled the knife out, splashing blood on the ground between them.

The wounded man curled into a ball on the pavement, whimpering and holding his bloody forearm. He looked up at the dark man and cowered like a frightened child.

The dark man bent down, keeping his eyes on the fallen man, and put the knife in its holster. He heard the sound of running footsteps as he turned and continued on his way.

The confrontation was exhilarating, but he still felt the need within him.

He felt a tingle in his stomach.

He was close now. Voices echoed from the alleyway to his right, and he made a quick turn in that direction. His hands grew damp as he neared his purpose. His heart thumped against his ribs as his excitement grew.

"Hey, sugar, you sho do look lonely," said a tall woman to his left. Her pink leather outfit clung to her body. She blew him a kiss.

Was this the one?

His senses told him no, and he ignored her as he continued down the path.

More women offered their company as he strolled by, flashing their sagging bodies at him. A skinny man wearing nothing but underwear mumbled something incoherent, and walked away.

His patience began to wear thin. The last time he got too anxious, he let it weaken his judgment. He killed someone that didn't need killing, and it haunted him ever since. It was just a kid after all. An innocent kid who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. She didn't deserve it, and he would have to live with that.

"Whatever you need, I got it right here, man," came a hoarse voice from just beside him.

A thin man covered in dirt and grime waved him over with shaking hands. His bloodshot eyes barely hung open.

The dark man's stomach gurgled and his skin felt electric.

This was the one.

Holding his breath, he stepped into the shadows with the stranger.

"What you need, man?" the stranger asked, nervously looking all around them.

"You know what I need."

"I got that rock if that's what you're talkin bout," he said, turning his back on the dark man. "Let me show you."

The dealer turned around and reached into a plastic bag. The dark man pulled out his knife and held it to his side.

The dealer turned and held a switchblade to the man's stomach.

"Give me everything you got, or I'll fucking stick you like a pig."

"That's exactly what I need."

"What the fuck?" the man said, his hands shaking. "I'll kill you right now, I swear to God."


The dealer stepped forward, pushing the blade just hard enough to break through the fabric of the dark man's coat. It bit into his skin. Blood dribbled down his stomach.


"Give me what you got, motherfucker."

"I said deeper!" He stepped forward and felt the blade slide into his flesh.

"Holy shit, you're fuckin crazy, man!" He dropped his knife and backed away.

As the switchblade clattered to the pavement, the dark man swung his arm toward the dealer. The steel of his blade dimpled the skin under the man's chin.

"You are the scum of the Earth."

"Please man, I'm just desperate," the man pleaded. "I'm sorry."

"Not nearly sorry enough."

He pushed the knife deep into the man's soft flesh, piercing his tongue and sticking to the roof of his mouth. The dealer gurgled and spat blood, spraying the dark man's face. His body went limp after an exhale of breath, and the knife ripped free. The body crumpled to the ground.

The dark man felt the evil escaping his victim, felt the lives he had taken, the blood he had spilt. One less demon in the world.

He peeled the coat from his body and used it to cover the bloody heap lying on the pavement. Nobody in the alleyway seemed to notice the struggle. He wiped his hands and face with the cloth of the coat, secured his knife under his pant leg, and walked away. Whistling as he went, he strolled to the sidewalk on the other side.

A swell of satisfaction almost overpowered him as he marched on. A large grin spread across his face. A woman walked by and returned his smile.

"Well hello, Father. What are you doing out so late?" she asked, balancing the groceries in her arms. "Oh my goodness, what happened to your stomach?"

"Oh, just my clumsiness," he said, "nothing to worry your head about."

"Even so, it looks pretty bad," she said. "You might wanna get that checked out."

"You're right, and I promise I will."

"Well, I have to get going, but I'll see you Sunday, right?"

"Of course my dear, of course."