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Always Guilty

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Sarah cursed herself for not bringing an umbrella to work as she ran toward the dilapidated bus shelter at the end of the block. After a long day of work filing papers for corporate bigwigs who made more money in a day than she’d make in her lifetime, the last thing this office assistant needed was her work clothes getting drenched by a torrential downpour.

The young assistant yelped in shock as she tripped over a crack in the pavement and landed in the middle of an inch deep puddle of water. “Owww…” She grumbled and winced as she slowly stood up, the front of her expensive pencil skirt and blouse thoroughly soaked. ‘So much for staying dry’, she thought and quickly made her way toward the bus shelter, clutching her purse to her chest in order to preserve a little modesty.

To say that this bus shelter had seen better days was an understatement. The structure was covered from top to bottom with graffiti in every color imaginable. Several windowpanes were missing and the remaining windows were badly cracked, as if someone had brought a bat and started smashing windows at random. Given this crime-infested town, such vandalism wouldn’t be all that surprising. Broken beer bottles and used needles were scattered underneath the only wooden bench in the small enclosure, adding to its depressing atmosphere. However, Sarah didn’t care what the place looked like. As long as the roof wasn’t leaking, she didn’t care what the place looked like.

Several people were already seated on the shelter’s lone bench when Sarah got inside: a couple of gangbangers, an old woman with a large umbrella in her lap, a scantily dressed girl, and a tall stoner. None of whom even looked toward the drenched woman as she entered the bus shelter. ‘Whatever happened to helping your fellow man?’ She thought as she sat down next to the stoner at the end of the bench to wait for the bus to arrive.

About an hour passed when Sarah started to realize something was off. Even though the town was riddled with every crime imaginable, if there was one thing that the city did well, it was keep the transit on time. The city transit system was designed so that any bus stop in town would be visited by a bus once every fifteen minutes. But nothing had shown up in the past hour. Now that the drenched secretary thought about it, she hadn’t seen any cars pass by either.

‘Did I miss a traffic warning after leaving the boss’s office?’

However, what bothered her most was the quiet. Sarah would have expected some catcalls from the gangbangers toward the slut seated on the other side of the stoner, or a few perverted remarks in her direction, especially given the fact that the front of her blouse was almost transparent and she had worn a particularly provocative bra today. At the very least, there should have been the sound of the girl talking on her phone. But aside from the sound of the pounding rain outside, the bus shelter was dead silent.

‘Are they even alive?’ Sarah thought as she glanced at the rest of the shelter’s occupants. The people sat there like human statues, practically lifeless. The secretary couldn’t even tell if they were breathing or not.

It was official. This bus shelter was too creepy for her to stay in any longer.

“Are you alright?”

Sarah nearly jumped out of her skin at the sudden question, and looked toward the stoner. The first thing that popped into her mind was how much she had to tilt her head back just to get a look at the man’s face. The man was gigantic! Then as her eyes met the stoner’s black teashade-concealed gaze, a shiver down ran her spine. Not from the cold, but from the way he observed her with an almost indifferent expression. It was as if he was staring through her, viewing the secretary like an alien creature for study. Her assumption that he was a stoner was wrong as well, Sarah couldn’t smell any traces of marijuana in the bus shelter, let alone from the giant of a man seated next to her.

After a moment of shock, the young assistant regained her composure.

“I’m sorry, what did you say?” She asked, instinctively pulling her purse closer to her chest in case the man sitting next to her was trying to see through her blouse.

“I asked if you were alright,” The man said with a gentle tone, a soft, friendly smile on his lips. “Your clothes are soaking wet, so I was a little worried that you might be getting cold.”

‘Now someone notices,’ Sarah thought in annoyance, even as she gave the man a polite smile. “I’m fine, but thank you for asking.” She replied, a little unnerved by how cordial he was. Hadn’t the man noticed the lack of buses for the past hour, or the fact that this conversation was the first sounds to come out of the bus shelter, aside from the drumbeat of the rain?

The smile quickly faded from the man’s face at Sarah’s response.

“If you say so,” He said with a shrug and looked away as he let out a sigh, his mop of midnight-black hair casting his pale skin into shadow as he whispered, “You won’t be for long…”

“Excuse me?” Sarah blinked and started to scoot away from the man as the uneasiness came rushing back. “What did you just say?”

“Does it really matter?” A new, ominous voice hissed in the assistant’s ear, causing Sarah to jump off the bench and whirl around to face the owner of the voice.

Her eyes widened in horror as a massive shadow-like figure detached itself from the back of the bus shelter and started to move toward her. It was at least eight feet tall, with a pair of glowing circles and an inhumanly large grin for a face. Six shadowy tendrils rose from its otherwise formless torso and began to move toward the terrified secretary.

“What the hell are you?!” Sarah shouted, quickly backing up until she had her back dressed against the opposite wall, trembling from head to toe in sheer terror.

What am I?” The creature repeated with a dark chuckle. “Why I’m your judge, your jury,” a black blade identical to the medieval-style executioner’s axe grew out of the side of one of the tentacles as it leaned forward, its grin suddenly twenty times more menacing, “and executioner.”

Sarah had enough. Without even thinking, the female assistant bolted for the exit, desperate to get away. Fuck the rain, fuck the other people inside, fuck that… thing, she was not going to let some psychotic monster kill her!

She made it three steps out of the bus shelter before a black tentacle wrapped itself around her ankles and dragged her back inside. “Now now, we can’t have that.” The creature said with sadistic glee as a white gloved hand rose from the shadows of its body and tauntingly wagged its finger at Sarah as it loomed over her. “You just make yourself look more guilty than you already are.” It watched the secretary squirm about and then start begging desperately for help from the other people in the bus shelter. “Don’t bother Miss Sarah, I judged them hours ago.” One of the tendrils stretched out and struck the other four bodies on the bench and knocked their lifeless corpses to the ground.

The young secretary lost it when she saw the people she’d been sharing the bus shelter with had been nothing more than cadavers the entire time. Sarah started screaming and flailing for dear life, struggling with all her might as the creature’s tendrils wrapped around her limbs and pinned her to the ground. “Oh god, please don’t!” She cried out, having seen enough anime as a teen to guess where this was going.

Then she realized something. The man that had been seated next to her hadn’t moved at all! In fact, he was still staring off into space, as if oblivious to the whole scene in front of him. “Please…” Sarah begged as tears of desperation began to fill her eyes, “Help me!”

The shadowy creature stopped what it was doing as Sarah started begging for the man’s help. Suddenly it burst out laughing, leering over the trapped assistant with cruel amusement. “You’re asking Nazar for help? Wow Miss Sarah Gilda, for a secretary, you aren’t all that bright are you?” the creature sneered. “It’s because of Nazar that I’m here! It’s because of him that I know you’re cheating on your boyfriend with your boss. That you cheated on tests in middle school. I even know you regularly disobeyed your parents as a child. Oh yes, you’ve been a very naughty girl indeed Miss Sarah!”

Sarah’s eyes widened in shock at the monster’s statements. Everything the monster said was true, but how could this Nazar person know all about her even if she’d just met him? “How…?” She asked in disbelief, “How can he know…?”

“No one can hide their bad deeds from Nazar’s gaze,” the monster replied with an even more fiendish grin, “And as the Judge, it’s my duty to sentence the convicted.” The Judge explained in a nonchalant fashion as the axe tendril rose high above Sarah, scraping the shelter’s ceiling as they did so. “Sarah Gilda, I find you…GUILTY!” The malicious grin on the Judge’s face grew even wider as he pulled his head back and announced with triumph as the executioner’s axe swung toward the assistant’s unprotected neck.


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