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“I never should have trusted you.”
The man could not tell where he was, or who he was, really. Disoriented and single-minded, the only thing he knew was that he felt complete and utter betrayal burning inside of him, and it was all directed at the hooded villain across from him. In chains, feet bare, and behind bars.
“Here is where you belong, struggling to remain sane. With people spitting on you from all sides and mocking your poverty. Look at the way you kneel there, undignified. You disgust me. You deserve it, you know. You were born into this society and now you will die here.” The man stretched his arms out and gestured from behind him. “Hear that? That is the sound of footsteps, hundreds of them coming closer. The hundreds of people you have wronged.” He turned back towards the villain, crouching down to face him “Except you have not declared yourself. Then you would truly feel the wrath you deserve.”
The villain pushed closer, and a sort of hissing sound came from his bared teeth, and he tried to spit at the man between the bars. It reminded the man of a certain deceased uncle, a gambler, that used to sit the man and his brother on his lap, and tell them dark stories that gave the boys nightmares for weeks. He did it all while chewing tobacco, and occasionally spitting into a wooden pail. All with that same hiss, and angry dark expression in his eyes. Maybe he was angry at a specific person, maybe at the world. Perhaps it was even himself. The man didn’t know.
“The people of these cities do not know what I have done for them,” the villain said. “They are greedy and self-serving, and don’t know a good thing when it’s brought to them on a silver platter. They only look out for themselves. Constantly seeking gratification and accomplishment without thinking of the good brought to mankind by the people they step on on the way.”
The man recoiled, and felt his face turning red with anger. His eyebrows knotted and he was sure the villain could see his rage even in the faint prison light. “You mean like you?” The man cried. “You have tortured many an innocent person, crushed anybody that tried to prevent you. Did you stop to think about how taking out those honest people would affect them? No! Of course not! You deserve to be slaughtered in the worst way imaginable. The world would do better without you, but they would never forget you. And what you have done!
“What you have done! Where do I begin? How many people do you think you have killed sir? For what? Piles of dirty green paper and bloodstained coins. Some pretty stones that lives have been laid down for. You hear that? That is their families screaming at you, all of them despise you, and yet they do not even know your name! You may have begun like them, perhaps with a refrigerator and plumbing, but what else? You might believe you are God, but you are human. Human! Less than human. Yet you have determined when good people die and live.
“But could anything be worse than the wounds you have inflicted on me? You have crushed my insides like an empty can of beer.” The villain’s breath smelled of it, too. The vintage kind that the man was used to. Ironic, since the villain was dressed in rags. “You stuffed your deeds down my throat and force fed me your lies.”
The man was breathing hard now, his voice hoarse and glaring furiously at the villain. There were a few moments of silence before the villain spoke. His voice was steady and relaxed, despite the ranting of its adversary. This surprised the man, who expected him to be of the same temperament of his uncle, who would have lashed out at such a comment. “Is that guilt I hear, and see in your eyes? Do you doubt your words? Yes, I can hear you blame yourself, even if what you say is opposite. I can hear the insincerity. It’s radiating from you like light does from the sun, like heat radiated from that little electric heater you had when you were a boy. Do you remember that? I remember that heater.You were a just a child, and it was all you had to protect you from the winter chill. Do you want to go back to that?”
“Stop!” The man screamed. “Stop it! I will not have you deceiving me anymore.”
A grin creeped onto the villain’s face. “Oh, but I could never deceive you. That would be impossible. Have a look for yourself.” And with that, the villain, pulled down its hood, and the man took a sharp intake of breath as he found himself looking at a face he recognized.
The officer did not at first recognize the man lying on cold sidewalk of the Bronx, a bullet through his skull, a cut up his arm, and blood pooling around him. Then again, it was early, and again, it was the Bronx. His partner was the first to notice.
Edward Whitefield. He was the richest man in New York, and probably the entire eastern seaboard. The officer was a smart fellow and figured that there was many a person that wanted to kill such a man. Sighing, he wrote down the particulars. A long report was sure to follow.
“What the hell...” His partner was facing the opposite wall. There, written in blood, like some deranged tribal ritual, were words.
THE VILLAIN IS ME.