A War in the Void

Updated: Dec 28, 2021

I heard the metallic finger tips of Edward Faust scrape against my robotic forearms. I heard the labored, coughing exhales of his throat collapsing between my hands. I heard the clang, clang, clang of his heavy boots kicking my metal plated stomach. Slowly all this noise dissipated and I was left holding the corpse of a rapist, of a warlord, of a murder, in my grasp.

His hands went limp and slumped to the chrome flooring of his high rise office overlooking my city, the one he had spent his life ravaging. Wide, furious eyes stared at me, even now. His final moments were visions of Vincent Parker—a ghost, a dissident, a murderer—returning for revenge.

But I was no such thing. Murderers kill men. That is not what I do. I kill monsters. The thing of flesh I now dragged to the towering glass window overlooking New America was not man, but beast—feral and dangerous.

I lifted Faust’s body, ready to throw it through the glass to splatter on the concrete two hundred floors below, but at this moment I too am haunted by Vincent Parker—the husband, the father, the soldier—staring angrily at me.

He doesn’t speak, but his eyes say it all. Are you proud of yourself? A slave to hatred and rage? What would Vohn say? Or little Era? If you walked into your home looking like this, would they embrace you? Would they smother your scruffy face in kisses and smiles? Or would they, like all the rest, scream in horror at the monster masquerading as the man they knew?

I close my eyes to break from his gaze. I open them and stare back. He is gone, and instead, a swirling black silhouette covering my reflection. That is who I am. Chaos. Multiple pasts that don’t align. Honorable convictions steeped with hypocrisy. A raging void. I am growing tired of seeing this too, because it is what I see, what I am. It is the truth.

With all my strength, I reel back and rocket Edward Faust, dead and limp, through the glass. The clear shards explode through the frame and fall like an otherworldly rain. Again I see bits of myself in each piece, and, for the first time, I feel sick. So many ways I am seen. All somewhat true, but not the whole picture. Blue and red lights dance below. Screams reach all the way up to where I stand. I have to leave before the authorities storm the stairs, but I am tired. It is exhausting being a good man convinced everything he does is evil.

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