The Nightingale

January 16, 2013
The wind's icy tendrils bit furiously at the nape of my neck. It was the middle of fall and we were already reaching the record low temperature in Nautilus. As the moonlight shone, shadows of the bare, swaying branches of trees scratched the sidewalk. It was the perfect time to stalk the innocent citizens who wandered aimlessly in the night. After years of living on the grounds of Nautilus Park, hiding in shrouds of darkness, you become observant, possibly even insane. So, why not embrace it? At my point of insanity, I became The Nightingale.

The latest buzz in Nautilus was all about me. Just over a year ago, my parents had been killed in a car accident, leaving me on my own and homeless at the age of nine. Even worse, my younger brother was slaughtered only a few days after. Blinded by rage, I set out to make others miserable by murdering their families. This led to a series of events that gave me my nickname, The Nightingale. Nightingales are known for the fact that they sing so beautifully during the night, and this is what I do as my signature phrase. It is like a way to say, "Never forget The Nightingale." So far, no one has. They all cringe at the very mentioning of my name.

Tonight I was readying for my next kill. I could hear the footsteps of a young child, lost and helpless. His heartbeat quickened with each step, and with each sound. I listened closely, only hearing the sound of his footsteps and the wind echoing through my ears. As soon as I heard him take a break to sit, I knew this had become my moment. Nothing could stop the adrenaline that was pumping through my veins. I leaped forward and...

I stopped. I lost all of my breath and stared at the kid in front of me. I was still safely tucked into the shadows, knife at ready, but I could not move. The adrenaline I once had was gone, and panic stirred within me. He looked so similar to my brother, but it could not be, my brother was dead.

"Hello Nightingale," the kid spoke. I was stunned, how could he see me?

"You don't know that," I snapped.

"That you're The Nightingale? Everyone knows," he said simply. Was he accusing me of the murders? Even though it was true, it hurt coming from him. I have never met this child in my life and his words were like arrows through my heart. Who was he? "So do it," he abruptly said.

"What?" I asked. He caught me off guard when no one else could... just like my brother.

"Kill me," he replied slowly, as if I were the crazy one here. I looked at him incredulously. Why would I do that? I opened my mouth to reply when I saw a distorted figure behind him. It took only seconds before I realized that figure was the one who had brutally murdered my brother, and he had a gun. The man was about to kill this boy too.

All along I had been the Nightingale so that I could hide from the horrors of my past. This was my battle now and I was conflicted. What could I do? I drew out my knife at the same second the stranger lifted his gun. I jumped in front of the boy and pushed him away, stabbing the man in the process, as well as being shot. I could hear the faint voice of the boy weeping, saying he was my brother. It all became clear at that moment. The night he had ‘died’ they never found a body, we all assumed he was dead. He must’ve run away, the poor boy. I hoped he would make better decisions than I had in the future. I heard people arriving on the scene and knew my brother was safe, and that's all that mattered. I was no longer The Nightingale, I was Sammi, just as I was years ago. I didn’t want people to remember me as the horrid Nightingale, but what’s done is done.

The past is the past, there's no changing it, it just is.

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