Aldon Shumley’s Subway Ride


Aldon Shumley had already killed three people today. He didn’t want to have to kill any more, no matter what the screaming spirit on his shoulder demanded. Blood dripped slowly from his limp hand, which swayed with the motion of the subway car. He barely noticed. He focused on the elderly couple cowering ten feet away from him, hoping the seat between them and him would render them invisible.

It didn’t. Nothing could hide the demons from him. Every night he prayed for respite, prayed that he’d wake up with normal sight and without the familiar that urged him to cleanse the world — but he always saw and his vision required action. Decisive action. Bloody, holy action.

Aldon sighed and drew the long knife from his belt. He said a prayer that caused the shoulder spirit to titter and send a warm thrill of acceptance down his spine. The knife felt similarly warm in his hand and he was sure it would glow cold white if the sun shining into the almost empty subway car weren’t so bright. The voice shouted its demand and he obeyed, with the efficiency of a hunter.

Or a butcher.

The elderly couple wailed in a wicked language Aldon did not care to know. The subway car rang with their cries for only a minute. Then only the clack of wheels. Their blood, thick and red, mixed with his.

Aldon swayed with the car, waiting for the next stop. The voice in his head exulted.

Today’s story is the literary version of a Rubin’s Vase. You may see Aldon as a John Constantine type character or as someone far, far worse. It’s possible you may see both, alternating back and forth through the short paragraphs. I don’t ruin things by telling you which one I see.

Play along with the prompt here!

(Photo Credit: pixel2013 on Pixabay)