Death never comes the way you imagine. Jin knew this.
Actors in the City portrayed it with dramatic words, tatooed across a poignant scene, to make theatre, with grief, and valor, and honor, and dignity, all gasping and last-breathy, with tears and screams of heartache or cries for revenge.
Here in the slopping wasteland, it just happens.
Beside metal bones of some past structure, Jin prodded the limp form. A gash across the back of its head told all, yet she reached out with her hand to be sure. Cooling skin held no life. Figures.
She'd crouched by a rusty pile of ancient vehicles, watching two ragged figures tussle with it. One raised a pipe, swung, and it fell. No cry. No villains. No heroes. Life, then death in a second. She shrugged. The pair pillaged the ragpile, moved away. Jin waited. Patience before the approach.
City dwellers knew nothing of this reality. If they did, their rituals would ease the burden, wash their eyes of such spectacle, beget the hopefulness they craved. And they'd return to the lusty demon pill parties, blinded to all but the next pleasure. You could change that, you know. Return, and teach them the way of futile death, plunge daggers into hearts, twist necks, until fear of a fedora'd assassin plunges the City into silence. You feel the grit beneath the oil coat and think a blood bath would be nice right now.
You hear the laughter begin. A hoarse croaking chortle, and look around. It echoes among the junk piles, down the red-mudded canyons, and back. Is it death? Has death come with its bones and its scythe and a hollow voice? You walk, splattering mud, banging through trash heaps with the pipe, a bloody scepter. And the laughter follows, and follows, on and on, until you realize it is not death. It does not mock you.
It is you.
For this week's @tvansantana writing challenge.