I’m hesitant to write this next part, because while it has been a big part of my life – and I can’t stress enough, begrudgingly so – I do feel I need to explore it so it is not my legacy. I need to own it so it doesn’t own me.
The package would arrive. It was in a large manila envelope and would be accompanied by a blank text message to my phone from a blocked number. If I wasn’t home I would full-stop whatever I was doing and rush back to my current apartment. It was like a jolt to my nervous system. Would I retrieve it on time? What if someone took it from my mailbox? How would I explain its contents?
With each package the same jitters hit. With time they became less pronounced, but even with yesterday’s job, my hands still had a thin sheen of sweat and a minute tremor. I would dump the contents on the bed and immediately go for the picture. “Who?” and “why?” were always the first questions. I would sit and examine the photo and look for anything familiar. Who and Why turned into “how?” and “when?” The latter I knew was the inevitable, but the former was what would always give me the most amount of anxiety. How was I to carry out this latest atrocity? With every job the how was different. I can’t tell you why because I don’t know. The only reason I can think is that the method was tied to the specific way this person wronged Terrance. Some were shock inducing and some were far too close for comfort for my liking. Not that I enjoyed any of them of course, but placing poison or pricking someone with a needle shone a blazing spotlight on just how crude and cruel this way of life could be. Pulling a trigger from a perch hundreds of feet away allowed for a disconnect and focus to be placed on the post-job disposal of the evidence.
The days leading up to the deadline were not the greatest. The time frame was two weeks, with the one exception being the job that was contracted for “your” day. That was a “by midnight” rush job and, as I said, grinded every emotion into a burgeoning nova because I didn’t have time to travel the sinusoidal path of emotion that the normal two week frame allowed. And those two weeks were akin to some mixed and muddled form of Kübler-Ross’ five steps. At first, I would find every excuse not to go through with it. Maybe they won’t notice? Maybe they made a mistake? What if I just went to the fucking cops? Next I would again question, “who” and “why” and worry that one day I would recognize someone from one of those pictures. Then the “how” portion became reality. How would I do it in the method I was instructed? The week leading up to the deadline I would follow my job and try to figure the best way to complete it without harm to others. Just writing and then reading that looks and sounds absolutely ridiculous, but yes, regardless of the method chosen I wanted as few witnesses as possible so as to reduce the ripple effect of horror and post-trauma.
A few times, this process lasted only a few days and not the entire two weeks. The “fuck it” ethos took over and it was simply looking inside myself, shutting down every part of my psyche associated with empathy and remorse and getting the damned job done. Those times had the longest recovery period because shutting things down is not a real thing. Pushing them down is the better description. Pushing leads to eruption and emotional eruption is what would occur. I learned from this and eventually committed to the two week plan.
Deadline day was like Robocop. I was part machine, fixed on the execution of the plan I had laid out and part emotional wreck trying my damnedest to push away any emotion trying to pull me away from the task. Machine would rule until the job was done and the means and clothing disposed of most often by incineration. During the rushed process of changing into my regular attire and heading to my new apartment was when the reality of the task would begin to hit and I was able to stave off a complete meltdown until I reached the innards of my new prison and let everything go.
The jobs, the “contract”, the kills. I did them. I never knew why specifically each person was the target, but in knowing the little I do about Terrance and his business I can only assume, these people owed something. I’m torn about the extent of my knowledge. Like I said, I would attend the funerals as much as I could. I would try to get any tidbit of information. Once, early on, I tried to research a job but found my tail and abandoned the venture for fear that it was against the unwritten (but still very clear) rules. The one thing I did do was take a token from each. Sometimes, if I was in close proximity to the job, it would be a personal item, and sometimes it was just a handful of dirt from where I stood upon completing the task. I did this because, for me, in a really odd and eerie way it humanized them. I know each had a life and that fact almost killed me with guilt early on, and so taking these tokens allowed me to remember each one in a way that I would and could never forget the lives I had taken for the sake of survival. I wish I could explain it better than that. Being forced to kill, or forced into any situation, I think human beings will always try to find an equilibrium, be it physical, moral, or otherwise and my attempt was taking something as a reminder of the horror caused by my hands.
As for legacy, I feel it is already cemented in your eyes in one way or another. “Abandoner”, “kidnap victim”, “selfish absconder”, “loser”, are all ways I have pictured you describing me to family and friends if you have bothered to describe me at all. As stated, I’m writing to set the record as straight as it can be. “Killer”, “murderer”, “hitman” are ways you might relate my life to those same people after this comes to an end and I can’t argue. My legacy, as with everyone’s, lies in the hands, hearts, and minds of those we have impacted in our lives. I trust your judgement of me and though I am in no place to make requests, I do have one. If or when you speak of me, be honest. Honesty and truth, like love, do not necessitate apology in any form.