The Tears Of Salmoneus

When I woke, it was clear I had transcended. I could hear the smallest flies buzz and the deepest earthworms writhe. I could hear some souls cry in pain, and others lash out with anger. Though my outward appearance remained in its primitive form, my mind had joined those of the gods. The first order of business was discerning how I had moved among the divine. Then, from a realm most of my species was not acquainted with, came a voice. “You were given these gifts to carry out a mission,” it said. “You must harvest the lesser of your species.”
This was a revelation. I had always felt hatred towards my “fellow” humans. We – or they – exist to destroy and hurt. That is why they must be extinguished. I was the perfect vessel for this duty, as I felt no remorse for them. That is why I was chosen. Yesterday, I was simply an adolescent male without parents or guardians. Perhaps the car crash was when I was given these abilities. The gods tend to play with mortals like that.
Suddenly, I was filled with anger. I thought of myself as mortal. I must purge all thoughts that belied my divine status, along with all other humans. Another thought like that, and the higher divine could strip me of my powers. Before delaying any longer, I made myself blend in with the rest of the homo-sapiens. A black shirt and cargo pants should suffice. I brushed my long black hair to match the more recent photos I had been in. Perhaps my appearance staying inferior was actually a gift. No one would realize my transformation.
I closed my eyes, perfecting my synchronization with the higher divine. From the same realm as the voice came an image. My first target was clear: Mr. Stevens, from the doctor’s office. An easy target; weak physically, and placed near plenty of syringes and scalpels. First, I would walk in, asking to talk to him. After I had exited the hospital, he had told me to keep him updated about my condition. To his inferior mind, I would be doing just that. Then I would cover his sound producing appendages and slowly slide the sharpest utensil into a vital spot. No one would notice. No one, except for the higher gods.
I exited my house. “Your target was approximately one block down and two to the right from my current position,” the voice commanded. “Go now.” I did as mandated. A dreary New York Monday was the perfect chance to strike; many citizens were working in buildings, not populating the doctor’s office. It would be noisy, because of the traffic and most of the attendees would be small, crying children. The gods may or may not have planned this; I was not of a status that could fathom that. But this scenario couldn’t be more in my favor.
I arrived at the scene of my first kill. It was a beige and white building. Written in bold letters on the front was “LIBERTY DOCTOR’S OFFICE.” Fitting, considering the head doctor there would soon be liberated from this plane. I opened the large wooden doors. Inside was a middle aged mother, and presumably two of her children, each of the opposite sex. I asked the female at the desk the directions to Dr. Stevens’ room. Of course, the voices had told me this; I merely wished to blend in further. As I snuck through the gray corridors, I arrived at the door. I placed my hand on the knob and turned it slightly. Were I stealthy enough, I wouldn’t have to use the full extent of my powers. I could hear him humming to himself. Excellent, he was distracted. I very quietly opened the door. He didn’t move. I took a step. Unfortunately, my sneakers squeaked on the newly cleaned floors. He spun around, surprised.
“Ah! Lucius! I didn’t see you there…,” he laughed nervously. “Is there a problem?”? “Well, about that…” I began. He was calmed by then, awaiting the end to my sentence. The voices whispered something to me. “I’ve been having nightmares,” I said at last. It was the idea of the higher divine to tell him that.? “Oh, Lucius, I’m sorry. You do seem different than the last time we met. What do the nightmares entail?”? “They’re mostly about my parents. I can’t stop reliving that accident.” I laughed inside. Only the most pitiful of humans would be centered on the death of their guardians.? “You may be having Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. It doesn’t seem too prominent in you, but many people your age have it when something like that happens. Have you talked to anyone other than me about it?” Then, I did something risky, but well worth the risk. The higher divine would certainly appreciate the gesture.
“I don’t have anyone else to talk to,” I said with fake sadness. I couldn’t be more wrong. I had entered the realm of the higher voices! I could talk with the universe! I turned around as I did this, as if to hide tears, and inspected the doctor’s scalpels. ? “Lucius…” he began. I picked up the scalpel. All was going according to plan. He put his hand on my shoulder. Then, I was filled with godly rage. How dare he, an inferior, lay his cold, primitive hand on me! I got a taste of divine speed as I spun to face him. In an instant, his mouth was covered. Then I thrust the scalpel towards his forehead. It was a clean cut, like a carving knife through a stick of butter. My hands bathed in his brain matter as he fell to the floor. Suppressing a triumphant laugh, I covered the wound with cloth so his fluids would not leak into the hall. The voices congratulated me. I’d won.
I went to the medical sink and washed my hands. Then, I opened the bottom of the sink and gently lay the body inside. I cleaned up the remaining blood and brains and stuck it into the bottom of the trashcan. There was absolutely no sign of the “crime”. I opened the door, walked down the corridor, and strolled into the lobby.
“Would you like to schedule another appointment?” the woman said.
“No,” I said. “I won’t be seeing Dr. Stevens for a long time.” Just then, roaring pain burst into my head. I quickly exited the office and stumbled onto the street, holding my forehead. “Why are you…” I began under my breath, interrupted by a pain-induced cough. “Why are you doing this to me?” The voices boomed.
“That is the third time you have disobeyed us! You were to be as stealthy as possible!”
“But,” I wheezed. “I hid the body and everything…there was no evidence!” Luckily no one was around to see this.
“SILENCE! A foolish mortal such as yourself should not argue with us!”? “What? I – I’m not a mortal – please don’t call me a mortal!”? “First, you joked about not having anyone to talk to! What if he corrected you and raised suspicion? What then? Second! You strolled down the corridor where people could see you exit! That’s all it takes to be a suspect! And third! You blatantly gave away that you knew the target was eliminated! For that, you have been degraded.”? “But-” I sputtered. “Please! I’ll do anything to join you again! Anything!” The voices began to chuckle. More quietly, they told me my next target.
“Ah…” I said. “Easy…” I limped back to my former house, the pain easing. I planned how the victim would be assassinated. First, I would pin them inside their closet. Then, I would take a knife from the kitchen. Simple for someone of my capabilities. A large group of juveniles were walking up the street, led by adults with matching clothes. I was glad I had resolved that episode as quick as I did. Finally, I arrived at my house. Now, I would begin to set my plan into action.
First, as planned, I took a knife out of the kitchen. It was sharpened to absolute perfection. I could see my reflection in the blade. Soon, I could see my once again godly self. I then walked up the wooden stairs. They creaked suddenly. I stopped, to make sure my target didn’t hear them. After a few seconds, I slowly treaded on the sides of the planks to reduce the noise. Once four or so minutes had passed, I had ascended to the top flight. Ah, the scene of my realization. I will always have fond memories of this place. But there was no time for that. I went on with the deed.
I looked all around the room. There were posters of popular musical groups on the walls, as well as a wooden picture frame on a desk. As expected, the target was completely oblivious to their imminent fate. I opened the closet. There was a red plain jacket and a black one with a skull on the back. I stepped inside and closed the door. Now I would wait until my target came inside. I held my breath. I raised the knife to my face again. Then, I saw my target.
I screamed with rage and thrust the knife into its knee. Blood spurt out like a fountain of demonic bliss. The victims’ hand grabbed mine, but I broke free of its grasp quickly. Then, I thrust the knife again; this time into the heart. I began to laugh. The pain was so grand it transformed into ecstasy. My laugh filled the house and echoed.
“You see?” I cried out. “I killed my target! I killed Lucius Jackson!”

Rhys Frampton, Age 13, Grade 8, Mark Twain I.S. 239 for the Gifted and Talented, Silver Key

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