New York City, the Present
FEYDOR SURVEYED his work. The body was positioned in situ, exactly as it had fallen. He pressed the button for the sixth floor, and the aging elevator jolted, then climbed slowly upwards, passing four floors before coming to a stop. Holding the door open with one hand, he reached back with the other to push the button for the second floor and then stepped out. He checked his shoes for blood before climbing the wide stairs leading to the roof. Behind him he could hear the cables creak, as the elevator descended with its unholy burden. Outside the air smelled of smog mixed with rain. He leaned back on the heavy metal door that had swung shut behind him. Taking his first deep breath since his work began, he peeled off the rubber gloves, freeing his hands to unbutton the blood-spattered shirt and exchange it for the one he’d brought from home. Then, fearful that some insomniac might spot his profile against the skyline, he ran in a low crouch towards the edge of the roof.
At last his design was in motion and it was a thing of beauty, not at all like what they had done. He had been merciful and quick. He was far above their level. There was no getting around the fact that he’d sacrificed a life, but he had chosen carefully, not at random like Raskolnikov or out of sadism like Stalin. Some might even say the victim had chosen him.
He found the ladder and climbed over the parapet wall, stepping as lightly and silently as he could on the metal rungs as he descended backwards, his heart rate increasing as he passed each window overlooking the fire escape, his eyes averted from any light shining within.
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