Part 1

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Want to know what the worst part about dying is? It's when you're not allowed to just die.

I don't know what death is supposed to be like for most people, because I'm not most people.

Do they feel its icy hands creeping up on them? Are they frozen with anticipation of their pending doom? Is there any recognition of the darkness standing over their shoulder waiting to consume them?

Or does everything just suddenly go to black?

Does it hurt for them? Or does their body convince itself that there is no pain and only a blissful release from the suffering drudgery of this world?

All I know is that, for me, death has been absolute torture since the day I died.

I guess I deserved it though. See, I wasn't exactly the nicest person in life, and I'll admit to that much. It wasn't as though I was some model of virtue. I'd lost any sense of decency in regard to my life early on, leaving parts of myself here and there and everywhere — never to be reclaimed.

If you looked at the list of what traits people usually considered admirable? On any given day, I ran as far and as fast from those things as I could. But I did it to survive.

Kindness? I had none. Mercy was for the weak.

Charity? I was greedy, always seeking the next job and the coin it would put in my pockets.

Chastity? Oh, how I indulged in all things bad for me.

I could go on. But I'd bore you. Not to mention myself.

To be brutally honest? I'd have killed my own mother if the price was right. And if I even knew who she was or where to find her.

Hell, who am I kidding? I would have done it for free. Just because she abandoned me and left me on the streets before I could even form my first words. And that tragic backstory ultimately led me to this fate, including the day in and day out torture of my current undying existence.

But to blame her? I guess that would require me to place fault for what I have done somewhere other than where it really belongs. Which is to say, as bluntly as possible, it belongs with me. She might not have been the best mother, or even a mother at all, but I still made my own decisions.

Yeah, you get all philosophical when you are faced with a virtual eternity on your hands.

I know I don't really have that long. But it sure seems that way. And it's given me a lot of time to reflect on all my bad life choices. Unfortunately, I can't change the past.

The dagger in my hand, the one that had taken so many lives? It didn't even look like the same blade I'd used to earn a living. Not anymore. A remnant of its former glory, pieces of the steel, like a metaphor for my life, had shattered off and were missing. Well, not really missing, I suppose. I knew where each one was, for each was nestled inside a victim chosen for it.

Jagged fractures up and down the steel were an easy reminder of the fragments that remained. I spent so many hours counting them over and over, wondering which would be the next to vanish.

Twenty-seven shards down. Twenty-three more to go. And then I can lift this curse. Then I can die.

The mere thought of it all always causes me to laugh.

Why you ask? It's ironic, that's why.

I killed for a living. Now? After all the horrible things I've done? I have to kill to die.

And all because of that one damn job.

And all because of that one damn job

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