Knox at the Door

by Joshua Davidson

The many possible forms of his death that had come to my mind had never been like one such as this. To you, I may sound mad. I say nay to you sir. I am not mad; I am merely a misfortuned man of vanity, cast as a slave to do the bidding of his own hatred. A mention of personal pain, poked at one to derive a response, seems negligible; but at the length that I have dealt with this madness, I can bear it no more.

My once jovial complexion had been robbed by a sly companion. Knox was my childhood friend and minion. We proceeded through grammar school as a sinister pair of troublemakers. But as life began to gain importance to me, it heightened its sense of being a game to him. He hardly realizes that my smiles now are of thoughts of his woeful demise.

My limited experience in medicine has given me enough knowledge of medicinal remedies to help me carry out my bidding. The party went on as planned and the bride and groom entered the Great Hall with an unprecedented happiness. The bride glanced up the staircase at me. A slight shudder ran down my spine.

"My kind sir! Thank you ever so dearly for opening your home to my family and friends for this blessed occasion. It is a wonderful manor you have."

"Why thank you ma'am," I replied painfully. "My ancestors appreciate your kind words; but it is not the splendor of the manor that makes it great. It is the ever present feeling of delight and joy. Congratulations again on your marriage."

These statements were far from the truth. Since my sweet love Clarice left me for that sly brute Knox, the house of my fathers has been in an order of disrepair. I rarely take notice of its boresome beauty and care not to tend to it. Now to see them enjoying their wedding in my very home is quite painful, but for a purpose.

"Ah my old friend, Knox," said I, approaching the beaming groom, "what a glorious occasion to bring us together again."

"Yes," he replied, "Glorious indeed."

"What say you to a walk about the balcony?" I implored.

"Only if my bride will allow!" he said joyfully, taking his new bride in his arms and giving a quite public kiss. They separated smiling and my clenched fists began to regain their original shape.

"I take that as a yes."

We made our way out to the balcony overlooking the whole of the land. It was a rather cool night for June, with not a cloud in the sky. Grabbing two glasses from the butler, we sat upon the chairs in the center of the balcony.

"How goes the single life?" he sneered. He knew full well of the pain he had caused me by stealing my love, and this was the one question that had been eating away at my being for months. It instantly ignited a fire in my eyes that would have been clear to anyone but him. His ignorance to the matter was one of a humorous effect.

"It goes on, as you have known at one time in your past," I said gritting my teeth. This was the night. It had to be done. Now, now, now, now, NOW! He needed to go. In the days of our youth, we often adventured, and seeing as life has just been a game to him, I knew his answer even before I asked the question.

"Do you remember the time that we found the secret passage that led to underneath the friary?" I asked.

"But of course! Who could forget that?" he said. "The dark passage led to the open room with the ancient swords and armor. It was magnificent."

"In my daily stroll last week, I stumbled upon a very similar door and passageway," I said cleverly. "I have not yet ventured down it. It came upon me to ask if you'd be interested in seeing what lies beyond the darkness?" He looked at me with near disbelief, as I knew he would.

"Why yes!" he exclaimed. "Lets go immediately!"

"What about the party?" I said with a false worry. "Your party?"

"Ah forget that for now! Discovery, William!" he said. "Adventure!" I gave a slight smirk as I saw that my sinister plot was working as it should.

"Very well."

Before we went on our stroll, I grabbed two more glasses from the butler nearest to us. As I had previously told him, he gave me two glasses of the red wine; one was marked with a slight blemish on the bottom, and the other was mine. I gave him his glass and held onto my own. The liquid in the glass with the blemish was slightly clearer than the liquid in my own.

We made our way around to the back of the manor. I pointed him to a torch for light, which he took along with him. We located a small niche in the wall. As I ran my hand over it, the gap began to widen. It slowly stopped moving on its own so we grabbed the sides of the gap and began to pry it open ourselves. He greedily finished his drink, smashing the glass on the ground, and proceeded into the dark passageway. The torch provided an adequate light. The passage was barely a body's width wide, so naturally he led the way with the torch, allowing me to prepare my plan unbeknownst to him.

As we made our way further into the passage, he occasionally began to stumble. I couldn't help a satisfied smirk from appearing on my face. His swaying became worse as we neared the room. We entered a wide room with crude swords and elaborate shields on the wall. There was no light in the room, save the torch that he held.

"Wow, this is marvelous!" he exclaimed.

Knox apparently believed everything I said about my having a room of this magnitude. One thing that, remarkably, he didn't notice was the table in the center of the room, a grotesque looking table with wooden planks for legs and an old oak door as the tabletop. In his temporarily oblivious state, he took no care to worry about anything. His stumbling became even more accentuated as the remedy that had been slipped cautiously into his drink began to take effect. In combination with the alcohol, he was becoming quite childish again.

"Let me play with this!" he said wildly, taking down a sword from the wall. He began to swing it around clumsily. What a sight of pity.

As his swinging neared the table, I quickly and precisely landed him a blow to the stomach with my fist. He dropped the torch and fell back onto the table quite shocked. I immediately began to bind his hands and feet to the four corners of the heavy wooden door. In his confusion, he launched the sword across the room; his only hope of prolonging his life had now been lost.

"What's going on Will?" he asked. He hadn't called me that in nearly thirty years.

"In all honesty Knox," I said calmly, "You're finally receiving the revenge that I've wanted you to have for almost ten years now."

A look of absolute horror came over his face. He began kicking and screaming madly, thrashing about on the table. I sat and watched his fury go on for a few minutes. He slowly began to settle down, knowing that no one would hear him. His struggling was reduced down to a slow, rhythmic knocking of his knuckles on the oak door. The sound would have sent chills down the spine of a wolf.

I slowly walked over to the helpless groom. I am not mad. I began to rummage through the small bag in my hands. His glances of fear were ones of ultimate satisfaction to me.

"Are you going to kill me?" Knox asked fearfully.

"Yes," I replied menacingly. "Yes I am."

I pulled a needle out of my bag. Inside was the same liquid that was slipped into Knox's drink, only in a more concentrated form.

"Do you know what this is?" I asked. "This is a form of a sleep remedy. This will dull your senses and ultimately put you in a state of deep sleep; or at least it should."

The fear in his eyes told the whole story of how he felt. I slowly placed the needle to his forehead. Blood was coursing through his veins, making it quite easy to locate one. I slowly inserted the needle into his vain and injected the liquid.

"What I have just done," I said, "is that I have just injected you with a substance called epidurial anesthesia, a muscle relaxant. I have only given you enough that this will slowly render your body immobile, but you will not fall asleep. You will not be able to talk, move, or scream, and you will feel everything that happens to you."

I could already see that this had begun to take effect. As he tried to talk, his words came out in a low-toned mumble.

"That's it," I said. "Just relax."

As his mumbling stopped, I went over to the wall and chose a small, rusty dagger from the collection. I walked back to the table and stood over him. His helpless body lay vulnerable before me. I slowly placed the dagger to his chest. I could see his eyes moving rapidly inside of his head. I slowly began to carve a "W" into his chest. I continued on with the rest of the letters of my name. I made sure to make them precise and visible. After completing my name, there was a shrill satisfaction that went through me. The deed was nearly done. I wanted to finish it for good.

The blade met the side of his neck and rested there.

"I would ask you for some last words," I said, "but alas, you are unable to voice your thoughts. I can only hope they are thoughts of horror."

I slowly began to slice at his skin, millimeter by millimeter. His skin began to separate on his neck. Before long, a bead of blood trickled down his neck and landed on the door. With a final jab, I lodged the dagger in his flesh. I knew my work had been completed as his eyes began to develop a thin film over them.

"How goes the single life?" I asked him grimly. There was no response.

I carefully gathered and discarded my instruments. Without taking a backwards glance, I picked the torch up off the floor and walked down the length of the passageway, out onto the lawn. I closed up the niche in the wall. Placing a small statue of Cupid in front of the niche, I made my way around to the front of the manor and back to the joyous celebration.

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