River Fisher

What have I done? The velvet curtain of anger has fallen and within this glint of the early morning, this cold mixture of not yet spring and no longer winter, I became aware of my shaking hands as well as my actions. Lighting my last cigarette was what gave it away. Not only the flame was shaking, I was trembling. Fully justified knowing, realizing what I have done.

Reflections of tail lights and my lighter seemed to turn the water and my cold wet hands a vibrant red. Water became blood and cold became warm when I began to remind myself of the last moments behind the velvet curtain. Maybe my hand were still and truly stained? I still have problems being certain, shaking off the past hour as a bad dream. I shivered and walked down the broad stone steps leading to the river. I remember thinking, when I first got here, “too shallow, but it will have to do” I remember, as if everything happened behind a curtain, or to someone else. While I was washing away blood from my hands with the cold water of the river.

For the last few hours until a few minutes ago all of this was engulfed in a darkness that could hide sin. But now red seemed to be the only color remaining nothing else had this brightness and vividness. Everything else was bleak, cold, distant; just black and white. My crime was hidden deep within the night. At least that was what I was telling myself to calm my nerves, no one has seen me but her.

Yet there was this unshakable and nagging feeling. I felt observed; someone or something was watching me. Nervously I turned my head but the only thing I could see was a heron on the last stone step waiting for his first catch of the day. In my tired mind he seemed to be looking distasteful, knowing and judging. He was already here when it happened, he might as well be the only witness to my action. Still shaking I start to laugh, maybe one of relief maybe one of despair, maybe one of the madness that has taken over.

Then I froze, my heart stopped, I realized that the city was awaking around me, the first joggers where walking the road behind me and the traffic on the bridge, spanning the river, had steadily increased its stream of cars passing over it. I should not remain here, the thought crossed my mind several times while I stood silently vigil for my first and last victim. Nothing would give me away. I am nothing but a man smoking early in the morning. How observant are people anyways? And even if someone noticed and remembered me, a man smoking was not such an unusual sight.

My thoughts were more akin to talking to myself, crisp and clear as if I have articulated them. In this state I mumbled “I just hope the weights will hold for a while” when I flicked my cigarette in to the water. It seemed the heron was looking disapprovingly at me again, surely this was only my paranoid imagination. Although is it paranoia if you are right to fear? After what I did I should not worry about a bit of littering and this judgmental bird can count himself lucky that I am not twisting his neck as well. The anger that has engulfed me, the red over my eyes creeps back.

If someone did see me dump the body; I would know about it by now! I realized that I should get away, that I should move from this place, that every minute I remain here it will become more obvious that I am responsible for the murder of this young, unnamed girl. I do not know what it was, why I did what I did. I do not know exactly how it happened. It was dusk yesterday when the curtain fell, alone in a city I detest on a way not traveled before. It only lifted with the break of dawn. The first thing I truly remember is carrying her in to the middle of the river laying three large stones one for her legs, chest and shoulders. I turned her face down because even through moving water and utter darkness her eyes were following me, stripping my reason and quenching my anger.

After that I was only able to shiver and climb out of the river without knowing, what has happened and why? I finally was able to turn my back on the river and her. Walked up the broad steps, walked against the stream, up the stairs and over the bridge. The cities life and vibrant activity seems to make fun of me. The only thought I was capable to articulate: “Maybe my hands where still red?” Walking over the bridge, other colors did not return for me, feelings did not return, the night I lost control and gave over to anger I gave in to darkness and now it festers and is determined to stay. I stopped dead in my tracks in the middle of the bridge. Because the sun rose in a blood red color. I realized that this would my punishment: to see this and only this color and the guilt associated with it for the rest of my life. Red.

The decision to join my victim was an easy one, I knew where she lied, I knew I would die, the water was not deep and the bridge high enough. A railing is easy to climb, once the decision has been made. A step over a ledge is easily made once despair and madness has taken hold. The night came back and in the darkness of my death I revealed the sin that would have been hidden were it not for the color red and the heron, I call to mind my last second. Thank you river fisher for being my conscious.

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