The meticulously crafted columns reached all the way to the firmament of the cathedral. As they reached the ceiling, they split into small branch-like formations. The overall impression was similar to that of sitting in a quiet forest, surrounded by these monumental beings much older and more dignified than anything we humans could ever hope to achieve. They were so tall that simply cocking my head to look at them was painful. The stained glass covered all the windows, bathing the gargantuan hall in splashes of multicolored light. This temple, with all the care and attention paid to little details, and the near century that was put into building it, not to mention all the money that went to it – all this was done to praise God in his everlasting love. How ironic then, that the Sagrada Familia cathedral had, contrary to its designer’s wishes, become nothing short of a tourist trap, and it had been that even before it had been finished.
I could feel a broad smile suddenly appear on my face as I sat on the bench, the people river flowing in a lazy current all around me. Which was more ironic – the fate of the cathedral, or the fact that I was praying in it? What does a heathen seek at a temple? Absolution for his sins? A short laugh came out of me, turning a couple of heads around, but those quickly forgot about that and returned to their businesses. Oh, the sins I had committed were plenty and they were despicable, but I never wished for any absolution. My sins were my own. They were my life and reason to be, and there was no God that could ever take that away from me.
Barcelona had been to my liking so far. I bade goodbye to Paris as if it were a former lover. I knew that in her heart of hearts she felt that I had overstayed my welcome, but could not bring herself to throw me out. So I threw myself out, to save us both further pain. Though I missed my city, this separation felt strangely… liberating. Barcelona was fresh and new, with surprises around every corner, each more beautiful than the last. She was like an adventurous, exciting paramour, and I got to savor every inch of her body inch by inch. Her streets were like the silky velvet of her thighs, with the striking buildings by Gaudi being new tattoos and birthmarks that she presented to me so eagerly.
There were streets that revealed much more than Gaudi’s architectonic endeavors. As a lady guards her most private areas to tease and entice the voyeur, the city will obscure its most treasured secrets with a veil of darkness. It was in a dark, dank corner that I have ripped a captivating from the ground. After a particularly daunting orchestra rehearsal I found myself… thirsting. For many things. A fellow flute-player recommended a certain place where he said I was sure to find something that would satiate me. And so I did. In a dark corner of a narrow street, I found a café of sorts. The heady perfume obscured what was most likely the stench of vomit, semen and other basic human excrements. Calling it a café was perhaps a wrong choice on my part, but I daren’t call it a whorehouse. I always treat my prey with the utmost respect. My flowers, my angels, my Dulcinea, is how I would call them, for no matter how frightening their faces may have been, they knew very well how to use their charms.
But Dolors was different. I knew she wouldn’t escape me as soon as I laid my eyes on those legs long and slender as the columns in the Sagrada Familia, those large, innocent doe eyes hiding her much less innocent nature, her curvaceous frame further emphasized by the dress that embraced her robust hips and bust so tightly. She followed me to the apartment I was renting so eagerly. Who could blame her? I had enough money to afford her, and I knew I had my share of charms as well. I had always been told that I am devilishly handsome, and they say the middle age is the most flattering age for a man, so I have always attracted looks, even despite my missing eye. Not that anyone noticed it. I had my ways to hide it. Yes, I could tell she would gladly pay for what she thought she was about to receive herself. Oh, how wrong she was.
“Undress me,” she commanded me in Catalan. My smile broadened as I unlaced her dress and laid her secrets bare before me layer by layer, her body quaking with anticipation with my every touch, her skin burning up, as if nudging me ever so impatiently: hurry up. She couldn’t wait. She began undressing me while her dress was only halfway down. She then kissed me, bit me, and threw me to the bed. Saying I took her would be a bit inaccurate. She incited the passion, but the initiative would soon be mine. You could say we took each other in turn. Her incessant thrusts, my fierce pulls, our synchronized breaths – it was hard to believe she was a prostitute and that I had only hired her. Her passion was so authentic. So real, so pure, so… primal. She was on top of me as my excitement started reaching its peak, and I could see she could hardly handle her own pleasure. Now, do it, I said to myself. My hand reached below the pillow, my fingers slid down the sharp, smooth metal surface of the object. With one swift swing, I plunged the knife into my Dulcinea’s breast. She gasped, the blissful smile fading from her face, shifting into an expression of terror in its purest, most beautiful form. I struck her again, and again, the crimson river streaming down her firm breasts, splitting at their base, only for the two streams to come back together at her navel. At that moment, I had reached my peak. I sat up and kissed her in her trembling lips.
“Shh, my darling,” I whispered into her ear in that beautiful, beautiful language of Catalonia. “It will all be over soon. I’m glad I could pleasure you in your final moments.” With one last tiny gasp, her body fell limp, its entire weight shifted to me, staining my body with the thick blood.
It was for this reason that Paris had enough of me. A little longer, and my little habit would have dug me an early grave. Even though my dear friend had prepared for me a specialized nanobot colony, built specifically in order to leave no trace after such acts, I could not feel completely safe. Who knew how long I could stay in Barcelona like this.
But no, that was not the reason I had come to the cathedral. I lived for my art. I gave those poor little souls a magnificent sendoff. For those who must die, will die, those who must live, will live, and those who kill, will kill. That has always been the order of things. Sooner or later, the prostitutes would be killed. I was a strong man, but not uncaring. I gave them the greatest pleasure before properly disposing of them. Some would call me a sinner, a criminal, a psychopath, a monster even. I call myself a human. For what is a monster but a human who’s cast off the shackles of society and rules brought on by a false God? If following the very call nature has given me is a blasphemy against that God, if it makes me a monster, so be it – I can be a monster, and I will regret none of it.
No. I had not come to the cathedral to be absolved of my sin. I had simply found myself lost. I daren’t say afraid, but it may be quite an apt statement, actually. Today, I saw a vision. I received a call from a higher power, one that I never imagined could exist. They had called me, I could still feel their pull in the cathedral. And yet, despite this overwhelmingly strong pull they had ingrained in me to find this Contact and do God-knows-what in the name of these eye-beings, my instinct to defy that pull was even stronger. So strong, that it made me brave the streets of Barcelona, crowded with people staring at the lights in the sky, to get to Sagrada Familia. To pray. And here I sit, in a church built to praise God and yet none would hail him here, an atheist begging for forgiveness, even though he does not regret his sin. How pitiful.
Having grown sick of my pathetic actions, I got up and rushed out of the church. I could not just sit there and wait for… What was I even waiting for? I knew I needed to find this Contact, so I did as my body told me. I let go, trying to embrace this new fate that I had been bestowed with. No sooner had I left the cathedral as two tall men in suits approached me.
“Mr. Desrosiers?” the taller one asked in a silky baritone. He was clearly an American, judging by how he’d butchered my name.
“Oh, so you have found me,” I grinned at them. They exchanged gazes and pulled out federal badges.
“On behalf of President Nguyen, we have come to escort you to your plane. You will fly to Washington to meet with the Contact.”
“Ah, finally,” I pretended to give out a sigh of relief. “The wait has been unbearable so far.”
They took me in to a very fancy, black, self-driving car. I tried to engage in small-talk with the two gentlemen, but they were not of the talkative sort. Thus the drive seemed very long and, dare I say, boring. The moment we reached a small, unmarked airport was one I welcomed with open arms. I got out of the car and lit a cigarette. I could see a single black speck fly across the sky that looked so unfamiliar to me because of all the lights. I could hardly comprehend how it was possible that all this was really happening, and yet I found that I was completely calm.
The plane finally arrived. The interior was simply exquisite with all its expensive furniture and well-placed lights. Two people were sitting at a table playing cards. One was a rather unattractive man about my age. His big blue eyes made his fat face look like that of a baby, especially coupled with that thin blond hair. But across of him sat a real gem, though a diamond still in the rough. A slender Asian beauty with silky black hair tied in a loose sideways ponytail. A woman in her thirties, her skin was fair and very smooth, from the looks of it. Her lips were full and inviting. Her breasts may have been small, but that didn’t make them any less firm and sensual. At least, that’s how they worked in my imagination. The sweater she was wearing was quite loose, though I often found that those who would choose to hide behind loose clothes turned out to be the wildest ones in bed.
The fat man got up and extended a stubby hand towards me. “Hi, I’m James. It’s nice to meet you.” His was from somewhere around London, from the sounds of it. I smiled. Of course he’s a Brit. You can tell from a distance.
“Michel,” I said as I returned the handshake. “Michel Desrosiers. It’s nice to meet you too. And you as well, Ms.” I turned to the Asian woman, extending my hand as if to hold her hand up to my lips and kiss it. She measured me with a mistrustful look and refrained from giving me her hand. She saw right through me.
“I’m Atsuko,” she said in a voice cold as ice.
I sat on the couch next to Atsuko and kept smiling as I watched them play war. I later joined them. Though James seemed like a dumb oaf who wouldn’t shut up, I would be lying if I said his conversations weren’t entertaining to me. Well, I thought, looks like this adventure may not be such a bad idea after all.