The way she lets her hair flow in the wind keeps me breathless. She twists and turns as the leaves blow past; an endless dance to an endless life. They say it’s the season for wisdom, heralding a season of death to come. That season has long since past and I’m watching her dance in her tattered dress in the middle of a vacant park. Still, I find myself hesitating at my duty.

Some might say what I do is heartless, but they don’t get to appreciate beauty like I do. They don’t understand what life is until they kill something that shouldn’t be living. They might call up more laws to stop me from doing what I’m doing, but in the end they know a higher power agrees with me. It just reminds me of how they are all just little insects that will never leave their moral homes. I’m the hunter, and I am the artist. Right now, she’s become my muse and my prey. I am beside myself.

Yet, I’m still watching her. I could sit here all day upwind from her and watch her live out what’s left inside of her. Some scientists call it mental twitches, but I know it’s deeper than that. My eyes can’t blink because I’m afraid she might see me and the dance will be over. I’m afraid because I want that beauty in her to last forever even though a part of me knows it won’t. It never does.

Everything is a mix of brown, red and yellow. It’s a miasma of a bitter rainbow but it makes her stand out amongst the color of flames. She might have burned with the rest, but I’m just too happy to be spying on her this moment. Most of them would have stopped by now, smelled the air and realized they weren’t alone. It’s tough to say what they smell like, but I know from experience that it’s not a good scent.

The wind picks up, and now I can see her face. It’s still pretty, still untainted by her affliction and for a moment I am doubtful of my duty. For a second I can loosen my grip on the deadly tool in my grasp. It is only that brief passing of time that I allow myself a semblance of peace, and maybe I’ll pray someday that they all make it back and that this will all be a bad dream. Someday just isn’t today.

She’s wavering now, something I tend to get nervous over. This one is so pretty, so very gorgeous and I wonder if maybe I would have liked her, if maybe before things went sour if I’d had the chance to take her out for coffee and made love to her in a satin-sheeted bed. Her faltering ruins that. It’s the way her step hesitates, the look of that particularly rigid kind of stance that they make just before they go vile. Yes, I can feel the sting of salty tears because I know if this were any other place, any other time; I’d go to hell for doing such a thing.

I have to keep one thought in mind as I tug back the mechanism to load the Remington. This is hell. This is the reckoning. They aren’t alive, and I can’t go back. No, I can’t make her dance again like she did before. The only thing I can do… is put her down and all the others just like her.