The cold air moves over me like the dying breath of some winter god. My body shakes on cue, causing the rifle in my hands to clack, clack, clack against the buttons of my jacket.
I breathe deep and imagine myself as cold and unmoving as the rooftop I'm kneeling on, or the concrete wall I'm leaning against. I close my eyes to better realize my thoughts and re-open them. Looking through the scope I see double doors in crosshairs constantly interrupted by the wrong people. By innocent people. By people who should have no problem living through the day, sleeping through the night, and reading about me in the paper tomorrow morning.
God, my stomach hurts.
It's funny how even if you spend years preparing yourself for something you have second thoughts when it comes down to it. Probably more so when it's murder.
But if your reasons are just, then what's the problem?
I'm here, on this desolate rooftop, on this day of dead grey skies, to save the world. To stop the madness.
And I'll be damned if I'm going to let mortality stop me.
And you're probably wondering why I'm telling you this.
And you need to know that if I don't tell you this, it's all for nothing. If they write this piece of history, I am doomed to the halls of villains and madmen. Destined for an irreconcilable misunderstanding.
So validate me. Validate my existence and let me not die a faceless mistake in a paper sea of similarity. Let me tell you about this world the only way I can. The only way it makes any sense. Let me begin with the dream.
* * *
I was in a desert called soul, standing bound in chains, watching the sky burn. I wasn’t concerned with the fact that my body was being pulled to the dry earth by the heavy, innumerable shackles that I was drowning in. I wasn’t bothered by the fiery heavens that spanned the horizons. In fact, I thought they were pretty.
Instead I was wondering what I was going to eat for dinner.
I stood staring thoughtlessly, when something caught my eye.
There was a beautiful female goddess wrapped in white silk. I don’t know how I knew it, but I knew her name was Sophia.
She said, “Look at what you have become,” then turned into a mass of white butterflies that flew off, weightless.
I snapped awake and cried the rest of the night away one heaving, sobbing minute at a time. I hadn’t cried since I was six years old.
* * *
There's more to this story but right now a man named Joseph Mills is walking through a revolving door at the bottom of the building he works in, the sixty story glass tierless ziggurat that houses his tyrannic throne. He's breathing in his last good lungful of fresh air while I'm breathing out to steady my pulse and telling myself not to pull, but to squeeze.
And now I'm running down a stairwell, shaking and tripping over my feet.
And I can barely hear the screaming outside.
And the world will never be the same.