It’s late, and dark. There are hardly any people around, but still Zehnder walked around like he normally does. Esther is following him, joyful that she can finally be with him. Zehnder walked silently, and when he passes by anyone he only turns his head slightly to look at them; they never notice. He seemed to be looking for a worthy candidate.
After walking around for about an hour and a half, Zehnder finally sees someone that he feels like killing. The person seems to be young, maybe still or just out of college. They were walking a large dog, a German Shepard.
Zehnder muttered under his breath “What the hell kind of idiot walks a dog at this hour?” He began to walk across the street; they were still a little ways away from the dog walker. Esther began to follow him, but he turned around “No; you wait here.” Esther stopped obediently and waited.
Zehnder reached the other side of the street and began to approach the man with the dog. The man didn’t notice him, but the dog did. As Zehnder got closer the dog began to whimper and wine. It strained against its collar, trying to get the man to go forward faster.
“Max? What’s wrong boy?” The man asked the dog. Max whimpered and pulled against the leash, then he took the rope of the leash in his mouth and began to pull it more.
“Calm down buddy!” The man said, trying to reassure the startled dog. Max yanked the leash, and the man let go of it. Max lingered for a moment, but as Zehnder got closer he whimpered. Then, not being able to wait for his owner any longer, Max took off, tail between his legs.
“Max! Come back here! Stay!” The man began to run after his dog. Then Esther was surprised at what she saw next; Zehnder seemed to have disappeared. He had walked into the shadows and seemed to have simply melted into them, leaving only a black cloud of smoke.
Then, as the man was running after the fleeing dog, the black cloud of smoke seemed to seep out of the shadows a little ways in front of him. Zehnder appeared in that cloud of smoke and stood there. The dog ran towards him, and ran into the smoke. The dog grew confused and worried, and then he looked up at Zehnder and whimpered. Zehnder looked back down at the dog and growled quietly. The dog whimpered and then ran for his life, back towards his owner. He passed by the confused man.
“Max!? Where are you going?” The man tried to stop and turn; but it was too late, he was already close. Zehnder appeared out of the shadows and grabbed him by the shoulder, breaking it. Screaming, the man begged to be put down, so Zehnder did. He threw him down in the middle of the road and then stomped on his neck. If the body were to have been seen like that, one might say that it looked like it had been run over like a common stray.
Zehnder walked back to the sidewalk and resumed his normal course. Esther walked quickly to catch up.
“How did you do that?” She asked curiously.
“Huh?” Zehnder replied without looking at her, only keeping his normal stance.
“You just kind of teleported, that was awesome!”
“Just a little thing I can do in the shadows.” Zehnder chuckled in amusement. They continued walking in silence.
A high pitched shriek rang through the dark streets from afar.
Esther giggled, “Sounds like they found your work.”
Another scream was heard, this time with audible words, “Oh my god what happened!? Is he hurt!? Is he alright!?”
This caused Zehnder to laugh. “No lady, of course he’s alright. Just help him up and get him a bandaid for his shoulder. Never mind his crushed neck, send him home and he’ll be fine.” He joked sarcastically.
Esther laughed along with Zehnder. If a stranger would have seen them, they wouldn’t have believed that the two of them had just witnessed a gruesome murder.
After a little while longer of walking, Zehnder stopped near the park.
“Probably about time you should go back home.”
“Huh? Why?” Esther replied.
“You need to sleep don’t you?”
“Well, I thought I’d stay with you.” Esther looked up at him.
“No, you go back to your home.”
“I was hoping I could-”
“No.” Zehnder growled. “I let you follow me around; don’t push your luck.”
Esther sighed, disappointed. “Fine.” She turned and started walking away. “Bye then.”
Zehnder didn’t respond, but entered into the park and started down that dirt path to the woods.
On her way back home, Esther saw that dog again, Max. He was walking normally now, although still whimpering. His leash was dragging along beside him. Esther whistled, and the dog lifted his head curiously. He saw her and walked towards her. She reached down to pet him, but when he sniffed her hand he whimpered. He must have smelled Zehnder.
The dog turned and quickly trotted away, the tags on his collar creating a soft jingling as he went. Esther hoped that he would be alright, and continued onward to her house.
Esther reached the area where Zehnder had killed that man. Police cars and an ambulance surrounded the area, as did several civilians who looked like they had just woken up.
Esther remembered what Zehnder had said, ‘No lady, of course he’s alright. Just help him up and get him a bandaid for his shoulder. Never mind his crushed neck, send him home and he’ll be fine.’ She tried to stop from laughing, but couldn’t help giggling. Someone gave her an odd look, as if she was crazy; so Esther quickly walked away, still giggling.
* * *
The first half of the next day seemed to go by slowly. Esther woke up after getting not enough sleep. She went to work, and that seemed to go by in slow motion as well. It was a little odd, she was used to Ron being at the bar; pestering her about dinner and trying to find a way for them to go hang out or something. She kind of missed it, but not too much. Esther was happy with the choice she had made to go with Zehnder. If she had to go back to that night, she would have made the same decision.
The work finally passed, and Esther walked outside quickly; eager to walk with Zehnder again. She looked around for him, secretly hoping that he would have been waiting for her. He, like he had said in the alley, was not waiting for her.
Zehnder was, however, not too far off. She saw him walking along, his back to her. Esther walked up to him quickly, happy to see him.
“Zehndy!” She refrained from giving him a hug; remembering how he had said that he hates hugs.
“Don’t call me that.” Zehnder walked as normal; nothing new. Esther followed, looking around like a child in a large store.
“So, you got anyone in mind on who you’re gonna kill?” Esther asked.
“Nope; no one today.”
“You can’t just go killing a bunch of people every day. People will leave faster and then I’d have no one to kill.”
“Then what’re we gonna do?”
“Just walk and observe; I know a lot about people around here. It’s quite interesting. I sneak around a lot so I know many secrets.”
“Really? Like what?”
“You’ll see.” They continued walking for a bit. Then Zehnder motioned towards a bar that was across the street. Esther looked over at it. A man exited, highly intoxicated, and stumbled over to his car.
“That cuckolded bastard over there goes to that bar every night and wallows in self-pity. Funny thing is he used to be a happy sober man. But ever since he found out that the bitch he married was fucking a coworker of his, he just stays at that bar every night. Sometimes I contemplate killing him and putting him out of his misery, but that would be too nice of me.”
“I think he’s going to kill himself; either by suicide or by driving that car like that.” Esther commented, after seeing the man start the car. The man started it and drove, looking like he would crash any second.
“Surprisingly; I’ve never seen him crash.” They watched the drunken man swerve away, and then continued on.
“What else is there?” Esther asked, curious.
“Well,” Zehnder looked around, and then pointed to one of the buildings. “There’s a woman who lives in that building there. Her lover was killed by yours truly. She thought it was a guy who always hit on her, so she shot him in the face.” Zehnder uttered a short laugh. “How about you?”
“Have you seen any weird drama around here?”
“Well, no. I spent most of my life in an orphanage. My father was killed by a man that you killed, and I can’t remember how my mother died.”
Zehnder was silent. They walked along quietly.
“Oh, there’s an interesting one up here,” Zehnder pointed towards another building and began telling the story of another unfortunate soul.
Throughout the night they talked about different people and a few times about themselves. In the end, Esther returned back to her home and Zehnder to his own.
* * *
For the next few days it was similar to those days. Esther woke up and went to work. After work she would go find Zehnder who was always nearby. They would talk, or if it was a killing night, only whisper. Even though Zehnder had said that this doesn’t make them friends; they were friends, even if he denies it.
This day, it was the same thing. Esther woke up and went to work; but after work was a little different. When Esther left work to go find him, she didn’t find him walking off in the distance. He was standing across the street, lighting a cigarette.
Esther walked over to him, a smile on her face.
“Zehndy! You waited for me?”
“I told you not to call me that.” Zehnder put the cigarette in his mouth and put the lighter back in his pocket. “I wasn’t waiting for you; I just stopped to get out a cigarette. Now let’s go.” Zehnder turned and began walking.
Esther giggled and followed him. He denied it, but she knew it was true; he had waited for her.