256 Words

Without an Enemy Left in the World

M. Stanley Bubien

"You've wronged me!" I called to the last of my enemies.

No answer.

He was a smart one, but slow---too slow. That was his only failing, one I meant to capitalize upon.

"You've wronged me, and I've come for you!" I repeated, the echoes fading away into the empty city.

"And you've wronged me too!" my enemy's voice said from behind.

In a single motion, I spun, saw his weapon trained upon my chest, and fired. He crumpled at my feet without a twitch of the finger.

Slowly---like my last enemy's only failing---realization came as I stood over him staring.

I had won.

How long had it been? It felt like years. How many had I killed? It felt like cities-full. I shook my head. That didn't matter. Not any more. Only one thing mattered now.

I had won.

Every enemy---every person who had ever done me wrong---all of them lay dead---if not at my feet, then somewhere, somewhere in defeat. Finally justice was mine.

"I've won!" I cried.

"...won ...won ...won," my voice echoed back from the otherwise silent city.

"Victory!" I screamed, and again echoes were the solitary response.

A gust of wind pushed decaying papers against my legs, barren dust around my shoes. This breeze, cold and dry, it was the only thing left to hear my cry.

All dead. Every single one of them. But that didn't matter. Not any more. Only one thing mattered now.

I stood victorious without an enemy left in the world.

Copyright ©1997 M. Stanley Bubien. All Rights Reserved.

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February, 1997
Issue #10

256 Words