Tuesday, January 13, 2015

THE RED VEIL

They were murderers, sure. So I guess I could have lorded that over them and felt superior, but I never did. And not because I thought they'd kill me if I did. They were better than that.

All told there were about 40 of them, and they had managed to wipe about twice as many people off the face of the earth. They used guns and knives, poison and rope. Lift cords cut from venetian blinds. I've known a few people who went with the lift cord. It's hard to look at one and not think of murder.

A few of them had gone 'round the bend during their killings; the act had broken them and the system swept up the shards so no one else would get hurt. But that was really rare.

Almost all of them were normal. Probably more normal than you, no offense. They didn't have fangs (though one dude did have hair on the backs of his fingers near his nails). They didn't fix me with the evil eye or try to stare me down. If I had met them in ordinary circumstances — outside a courtroom or jail — we probably would have been able to hang. They were cool like that.

But you know that edge, the border between Here and the No-Go Zone? We know to stay away from that line. They stormed the border and commenced to romping. They just couldn't stop themselves from killing.

It's where many of them saw the same thing — the Red Veil. As they recounted what they did — as they got closer and closer to the deed — they remembered how the air turned hazy and red, the final moments getting more heated, voices and hands raised in anger, in rage, the color deepening, the veil descending, and then ... nothing.

A few seconds, a few minutes, a few hours later they would emerge from behind the veil and find someone dead. They knew what they had done. They just didn't have a vivid memory of doing it.

None of them made that excuse in court — the ones who saw the veil accepted their guilt and went off to prison to die, either by the needle or old age. They were lucky for the mist. It probably kept them from going insane.

The ones who snapped, they never got the curtain. They saw everything and felt in burn all the way into their centers and they became haunted.

Only a select few of my friends were neither haunted nor protected. Their eyes were calm. Sometimes at night they visit my dreams, and they do not blink.

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