This whole city, this whole planet was disgusting. The entire thing was just a gigantic graveyard, the buildings great, towering gravestones, a gloomy reminder that we lived and died here, in this cesspool. They were rotting, withering away, being strangled by powerlines like creeper vines as they leeched the life out of apartment complexes and studios. The streets were like the winding roads of ancient catacombs, a maze of intersections and roundabouts, the people scuttling about like bacteria, or cockroaches. Glass sliding doors were like the pried-open entrances to tombs.
People of all shapes and sizes were crowded into apartments, families, extended-families and their extended-families squeezed into the tiniest of bedsits. Walls bowed under the sheer weight of the population. They fed themselves with what little they had, cooked in pots and pans sticky with congealed oil. That congealed oil would be tomorrow night’s dinner. Everything smelt of the thick, burning slime.
From above, you could see all the little people scurry around with no real purpose. They just scurried for the sake of scurrying, most of them. The streets were barely wide enough to drive a car down. The rich, the average, the homeless, they were all pushed together into the cacophonous river that ran tight below. On the rooftops like this, the whole city looked like one giant Rubik’s cube, each high-rise and apartment block a singular square in the dirty, moldy grey cube.
Atop one of the many buildings, was a man. A man clad in all black. A black jacket, black trousers with faint grey plaid on them, black pointed, leather shoes and a black baseball cap that wouldn’t allow his hair to peek out from the underneath of. He knelt, holding a shiny, black mass between his hands (quite a noticeable black, shiny mass had anyone seen him, actually). Despite the clouds of smog and exhaust, it was quite cold, and the man shivered as the wind ran up his spine, burnt at his skin, and stung at his cheeks like tiny unswattable mosquitos. The gun felt like ice underneath his gloves.
He glanced down, through the scope, the world becoming a whirring kaleidoscope of reds and pinks and carmines and maybe the occasional vermillion as his eyes darted around, searching for something. That something was, unfortunately, a someone. A man with a gun on a rooftop would never be looking for an object. An important someone, too, but this man didn’t recognize him, partly due to this man not being very in-touch with politics these days and the other part due to him being a very normal looking old man. The kind of old man you imagine when you imagine an old man. You know the one.
To the man in black on the roof, everyone looked the same. They were red blurs at the moment, perhaps crimson smears on the pavement the next. Like ants, and he was some infernal boot that didn’t really want to do the squishing but trod down upon them anyway, not being able to tell the difference between man, woman, elderly, child.
He found him. The old man, that pale, sweating, slightly-balding but still very average old man. He sat in a car with tinted windows, the air-conditioner venting at such a rate that the halo-like puff of hair on his head threatened to blow away. The man liked to imagine that he was a disgusting kind of man, the kind whose forehead sops with sweat, his skin a faucet that lets drip filthy, dirty, human-water. Probably covered in that same, everyday, indistinguishable dirt. The reality was, he was probably a nice man. Probably had a wife and kids, maybe a husband and kids even, waiting for him to eagerly get out of traffic and return to them. But it’s easier to ignore that, like a lot of things.
Cold air rushed into the black-clad man’s lungs, and it was like the world had stopped to take a breather with him. Every single thing, living or otherwise, paused as his finger tightened around that trigger. Children stopped nagging their parents and crying pointlessly, dogs or dog-shaped-animals stopped in their pursuit of chew toys, and every person in sight ceased movement for what felt like quite a while. He imagined the other unfortunate old man’s head a sweaty, shiny beacon. He lurched forward a little, probably to say something to his driver, but whatever it was, he never got to say it, and the driver certainly never got to answer. The top of the man’s head was blown to little fleshy bits before the bottom half could squeeze out anything even vaguely resembling speech.
Everything came back into motion, like someone had pressed the ‘play’ button. The black-clad man packed up his gun, hid it away in a guitar case, rode the subway home, and promptly passed out.
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