It’s Just a Job By Chloe Riggs

Cars laid in heaping piles, their passengers smooshed from the contact. The crash instantly formed an explosion. Orange flames rose from the heat as they fed on the limited oxygen. In return, the fire produced a cloud of smoke and spread through the atmosphere. It created an ashy view of the city as it fogged the windows of buildings. 

Buildings that contained numerous people; a few releasing their last breath as others died from the poison that ran through their veins. Most believed they would live, they believed in conquering the sickness they were diagnosed with. Tragically, they were wrong. No form of a cure could have prevented this type of destruction. They didn’t understand how the faceless villain worked. 

She gripped most of her victims with a brutal touch. For others, she simply tapped their shoulder and watched her poison take effect. She took pleasure in the pain she inflicted throughout the body of living things. Watching the leaves disintegrate, like paper thrown into the blaze of fire, was one of her favorites. To her, it felt like crushing a bottle in her hand, empowering. Another was sneaking up on her targets. She would reach her arms around and press a thin cord to their throats, applying just enough pressure to cut off their air supply. 

What she truly loved, though, was to spread through the body of her prey, making them more and more sick as each day passed. She loved to spread her venom through their veins. The best part was when she could use them to bring more down. 

Her greatest achievement was her most recent victory, the one that created all of this destruction. Her smoky form had slowly invaded her final city. It crept past the gates pushing everyone to the center as if walls were caving in. No one could have prepared for this unexpected visit. They didn’t know the rest of the world was under her spell. They thought the weather was to blame for the loss of power. In a way, it was.  

She blew gusts of winds to push the cables down and closed this city off from the rest of the world. She wanted this to be her last place to conquer. Her first assignment was in this place, and now it will be last. 

People dropped to the ground like flies, as her poisonous aroma filled the city. Animals, whether stray or pets, barked, meowed, cawed, screamed, and spat at her presence. While they were the only ones who could have seen her, they weren’t the only ones who sensed her existence. Fear ran through everything that ushered a breath, as she made even something as thoughtless as a flower, cower away. 

This led to people questioning their previous decisions. Believing they sinned and this was their punishment. It caused them to admit what they did, yelling into the abyss, and apologizing for their treacherous mistake. Even if their only regret was as simple as stealing a coworkers lunch from the fridge or telling a lie about how good someone looked. It amazed her how easy someone can break under pressure. She loved hearing the crack in someone’s voice when they were fearful. Especially when they shouted out lies to her. Her favorite admission was when someone tried to convince her the ‘friend’ they met last night was a ‘mistake’. She enjoyed how naive people were as they expected to go through life with a million second chances at their fingertips.

She made cars swerve to escape her, but it only resulted in a collision, producing bloody limbs. She caused people to run rapidly, trying their best to escape death, even if it resulted in the loss of others. She watched the laziest people, run as fast as they could, but too slow to pass the little kids in front of them. She laughed at the image, feeling as though they deserved the torturous punishment. 

Some took this moment to be courageous as they carried children, women, and their ‘most important’ valuables with them. They ran as fast as their feet could carry them as thoughts of what would happen if they stopped, clouded their brains. They didn’t understand what was happening or why they had to suffer. They all hoped it was just a bad dream, the one that wakes you up in the middle of the night as sweat ran down your skin and tears stained your puffy cheeks. You would think that nothing could be worse than that, but you were wrong, just like they were. 

They believed their hero would save them. They believed he would jump out of the shadows at the last minute, something he had a habit of doing. The seconds ticked by, no hero to be seen. One by one, everyone lost feeling in their body as they whispered their last words. When one person was left, she placed her finger under their chin, forcing them to look up. That was when he decided to show up. 

His loud voice echoed through her ears as he took the place of the only human left. He spoke with a dry mouth, asking “Why now? Why make your presence known today?” to the villain who held a loose grip on him. 

She merely laughed, noticing the fear laced in his voice. Even life itself was scared of her, and that was enough to drive her towards her final move. She thrust a hand into his chest and squeezed his beating heart, crushing the vital organ. She watched the life drain out of this body, as it tried to find another form, something to clean this mess, but it couldn’t. Even the roots of the trees were broken in half. She watched as life vanished from the Earth. It was because of her that he no longer existed. She was the reason her job was fulfilled, leaving nothing left, because she was the one they used to call death.

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