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I always say sorry before I kill them

I always say sorry before I kill them
Petra Rihan

I always say sorry before I kill them. I always say sorry to them before I pick them up into my arms and carry them over the crashing waves of the dark night.
People fear me.
Some want me.
I know what it is like to truly be alone. I am ageless. I have been here from the beginning of time. I have been here since the world blossomed from a mere seed. I have watched as years tick by, as the sun rises and falls, as sunsets melt into the ground, as moonlight runs through the sky like veins.
I have seen all the fires, I know all the secrets.
I always say sorry to them before I kill them, even if I know what they’ve done. I know their secrets. I know their worries. I know every little thing about them. What they regret.
What they don’t regret.
What they think about themselves.
I kill them and then I take them, whatever is beyond the dark night, the crashing waves. I don’t know what is beyond. That is not for me to know. My only job is to kill.
I’ve seen blood splattered against train tracks.
I’ve seen bodies floating idly in the sea, small, insignificant, once a life, now I have seen the machines.
The ones I like to take the most are the ones who lay in their bed at home, surrounded by family, no clock ticking down the time until their body goes limp and their soul enters my arms.
I have seen your secrets.
I know you.
I will, one day, kill you too, and I will take you.
I am the one you fear. I am the one watching. I am the ticking time, the stopwatch, the clock on the wall.
I am the monster under your bed.
I am the shadow that follows.
I am your worst nightmare.
I am the thing that will wrap my bony fingers around your neck, and take you.
I am a riddle.
I am a secret.
I am a whisper.
I am cold. I am tired. I never sleep. I do not breathe. One day you will lie limp in my arms, and you too, will be cold. You will have run out of time. You will have regrets. You will have secrets you have never told anyone. You will realise that your life was a speck of dust, you will realise all your anxiety and sorrows were never once important. You were one in a hundred. One in a thousand. One a million, billion, trillion, and you were unimportant.
You may weep. You may scream.
I am the dark night without a light to help you see.
I am sorry.
I am always sorry.
I’ve taken children. Mothers. Fathers.
I’ve held them in my arms, and sung to babies to help them sleep.
I take them across the sea.
To whatever is beyond.
I am death.