Like you change your dress for a fresh one, a soul, when done, selects another body.
The running man’s leg caught on something and he fell head-first on to a heap of dry leaves and twigs. He tried to get up but there something was digging sharply into his legs. The faint moonlight let him see what caught him. It was a bear trap. Funny – why they would have bear traps in a cemetery. Was it laid by the ones hunting him now? Funny – how things have changed. He used to be the hunter, now he was being hunted. The pain radiating upwards from his calf was not letting complete that thought. Broken bones?
The footsteps grew closer. He tried to claw away. The trap was strong. He tried to bend over and work on the trap. The footsteps slowed down and came to a stop. Then THUD!!
Another jolt of pain hit him. This time it was in his jaws. He tasted his warm blood and something else. His teeth. Couple of them. When his vision returned, he saw the hunting party. Three of them – one held the baton which presumably hit him on the face.
He let the baton fall and lit a cigarette. A crude emotionless face became visible under that flame.
“What now, sir?”,asked one of them. It was directed at the leader of the pack – the one with the cigarette.
“Now what? Kill him off. For my sister. For all the sisters killed off by this f****. For people to walk without fear in the nights.”
“What about the police, sir?”
“What police? They will take him in, fatten him and maybe sometime in future pardon him. Those suckers. I don’t want this scum to be let scot free after all the things that he’s done. I want to make him feel what my sister felt when he was ripping through her flesh. ”
Sometime during all these dialogues, the man caught in bear trap had stopped screaming and started cackling like a lunatic.
“Huh, sir? I don’t think anything is going through him”, said one of the hunters to their leader.
The lunatic was still cackling. He wasn’t listening to a thing said or pretending he wasn’t.
“I know something that will go through him”, said the hunter as he picked up something which was dropped by his prey earlier – a raggedy old tool bag. ‘The Ripper’s tools’ thought the hunter. In it were the tools – everything you need to cut and stab and pull at human flesh, with blood still dried up in each one of them. Like the equipment of some deranged surgeon. ‘He brought his own instruments for his torture’, thought the hunter.
The next few minutes the hunting party spent driving metal through the Ripper’s body, one by one. Every time it was done, the Ripper would scream and then slowly that agonising scream would turn into that old maniacal laughter. And every time the hunting party, would wait for the pain to subside, then would induce fresh pain. Eventually they got bored and decided to end him once and for all. They fashioned a gallow from the only tree that stood there, slipped a knot around the Ripper’s neck and hung him to die.
The building like any other buildings in that compound had a lot of offices. It had begun raining. Almost all offices had stopped their business at that hour, but one. Only one window had light if you looked from outside. It was that comics office, the one rumoured to close down soon. They are doing bad business these days.
Seems like a deadline to meet, otherwise why would you see that spectacled guy, their Creative Director working at this hour? The rain was picking up its pace outside.
The man stared at his table. He had completed the wireframes for the next week’s cartoon, with sketches for a new villain like his boss had ordered. Now he could go home. All he had to do was call his boss.
The man picked up the polished stone which he was using as a paperweight and placed it on top of drawings. Then he started dialling his boss.
The hunting party had left. The Ripper hung from that improvised gallow. His struggle ended as his right index finger twitched to a halt. And till that last breath in that body, he had never felt any remorse for all the bad he had done till then.
The Creative Director was too busy talking to his boss that he did not notice the strangest of all things happening. The shaded figure in one of his drawings slowly materialising behind him. And when it had formed completely and stepped out into that room, it picked up the stone paperweight.