As the moon rose into the sky that night, as it finally pulled itself up to the highest part of the sky, all of the town was silent. All of the town was sleeping. In each house, the windows were dark, save the occasional flickering candlelight to a comfort a child who was afraid of the things that lurk the dark. The roads were still and empty, with not even the wind gracing the dead leaves with her presence. The only guests of the small paved roads and alleys was the moon’s bluish light and the shadows of the buildings being cast down onto the ground and up the walls. The singing, laughing and chattering that normally brushed the outer walls of the houses and hung in the air was not there. There were no children running along the streets laughing and occasionally chanting a nursery rhyme. No, they had all been sent to bed hours ago by tired mothers and fathers. The conversation wasn’t there, the adults, the parents of the children, had all gone to bed. They were all asleep, letting the problems of the day melt out of their minds.
All of the town was sleeping, and he knew it. He got up out of his bed, his bare feet close to silent on the polished wood floor. He walked quietly over to the open window and looked out at the streets. The alleys were filled with shadow, the streets were still dark despite the moonlight streaming onto it’s paved surface. He closed his window, causing a gust of hot summer night air to blow into his face. He stood, frozen, silhouetted by the light from the window, for a moment. He looked up at the moon, which was high in the sky and about to begin it’s descent down from it’s hook in the blue night sky, and turned. He didn’t have forever. Ever step, every time his bare feet made contact with the floor, took an eternity. Seven of those eternities took him to his bedside table. It took another eternity to reach down to the drawer and slide it open as quietly as he could, each creak or groan of the table was as loud as thunder.
It took one more eternity, the longest one, to find the leather handle of the knife in the darkness of the drawer, and then silently remove the weapon from it’s cave. He looked at it, the shining silver metal of the blade gleaming in the moonlight. He slid the drawer closed and left his room, the only sound was his breathing, his calm metronome of a heartbeat, and his bare feet quietly slapping the floor. The hallway was dark as he fumbled for the doorknob of his brother’s room.
His younger brother by six years was sound asleep, his hair a mess, mouth opened slightly. His face was calm, half lit by the moonlight. The older brother held the knife loosely in his left hand and carefully, slowly lifted it to his brother’s collarbone. The soft skin split gently as it met the knife, blood starting to paint it’s way down his chest and neck. The sleeping boy didn’t stir as he drew it along the child’s neck. From the end of one collarbone to the bottom, letting the knife pause on his jugular notch and plunge into the boy’s windpipe. He drew the knife upward to his Adam’s apple, and then pulled the knife from the boy’s neck.
The child’s eyes opened. Bright white orbs that rolled back into his head as he let out a choking, wet gurgle from his throat, where blood was flooding into his windpipe. He choked out something that sounded like his killer’s name, trying to breathe, his breaths jagged and difficult. His older brother stood above him, watching the boy try to cry out to him as blood dripped off the knife and onto the floor. He stood over his dying brother, watching him try to bring air into his lungs, watching the dark liquid of blood soak his hair and shirt, his bed and sheets, the substance appearing black in the bright blue light of the moon that was whispering through the window. When the boy choked his last breath, when his head turned sideways, blood trickling out of the corner of his mouth, the older boy left the room and closed the door.
He padded down the short, narrow corridor, to the opposite side of the hall. He quietly turned the doorknob and stepped inside. His sister was asleep, lying on her back, looking like an angel in the light of the moon. Her hair, almost white in the pale night, was lying in waves across her pillow. There was a candle on her side table that had been burned down to the wick. A rosary fell down his sister’s chest, resting on the white fabric of her nightgown just below her breasts.
He carefully lifted the knife, placing the tip immediately below his older sister’s chin. Her pale white skin, that was as soft and as smooth as a rose’s petal, split smoothly under the force of the silver knife. Blood appeared in drops on her skin as he carefully brought the knife down to the top of her ribcage. She didn’t wake, though her hand moved up to the cross on her chest, where it stayed. He pulled the end of the knife from her neck, taking it to her collarbone and slitting the skin in the same fashion as he did with his brother. Through the entire event, his sister did not wake up. He stood stone faced as she choked on her own blood in her sleep, and then stopped breathing entirely. Her white-blond hair was soaked with dark blood, as was her nightgown and pillow. Her hand relaxed around the rosary on her chest, and he turned, closing the door.
He paused at the end of the hallway, his hand on the doorknob of his parents’ room. He slowly opened the door, trying to muffle the squeaking of the hinges. The room was dark, the curtains were drawn. There was just enough light coming through the gauzy fabric over the windows for him to make out his parents’ sleeping forms. He stood over his sleeping father, and lifted the knife, bringing it straight down into his father’s jugular notch and twisting the blade inside the man’s throat. He tried to choke out a word, his eyes wide, staring at the son that he raised. He struggled, for air, for his life, and then as his son took the knife from his throat, he tried again to say his son’s name.
He stared at his father with hatred burning in his eyes and plunged the knife hard into his father’s stomach, listening to the guttural cry escape from his bloody lips. His mother sat up in bed and let out a horrified whimper as her son pulled a knife from her husband’s stomach, watching blood cover his pillowcase and sheets. She tried to get up, seeing the look on her son’s face. She tried to say something, but she couldn’t. As her husband’s head fell sideways, his eyes wide open, rolled back in his head, blood trickling out of his mouth like rain from a gutter, she started to cry.
He stepped over to his mother, stepping in front of her, the knife in his hand, dripping the blood of a family onto the floor. She was frozen, her eyes as wide as a doe’s, as her son leaned toward her. He got close enough that she could feel the hate that his body emanated, and he could feel her hair brush his cheek and he whispered an apology into her ear. Neither of them moved until he drove the knife into his own mother’s stomach. She cried out as he pulled the knife from her body, only to sink it between her ribs and into her lung. He stood there, calmly watching his mother die as her lungs flooded with blood, until she took one last breath, letting three words escape her lips in the last sigh to leave her body.
He stood there, over his parents’ dead bodies. His father, who raised him and made him a man. His mother, who brought him up and taught him was he needed to know. He turned on his heel, leaving the room. He closed the bedroom door, then quietly made his way down the stairs. He picked up his leather bag, enough food to last him until the next town. He put his boots on, along with his coat and hat. He stepped outside into the hot summer night, the moon halfway back to it’s home for the day. He crept across the yard to the small stable. He started toward his horse, who opened her big brown eyes upon his approach. He patted her neck and saddled her calmly, talking to her about how the hay smelled different on hot nights, how the night was so silent. He pulled himself into the saddle, taking the reins and clicking his tongue for his horse to start walking.
As they got onto the street, his horse’s hooves clopping slowly and quietly, rhythmically on the paved brick street. The steady movement of the animal brought him to a hypnotic state as they passed through the town, dark window after dark window. He whispered quietly to the horse, about how beautiful his actions were in the hour before. As he finally made it across the bridge to the outside of town, letting his horse drink shortly from the cool, rippling black water of the river before they went on, he sighed and closed his eyes. He tipped his head up to the night sky and let the first breeze of the night gently play across his face.