The Tramp — Part One
Dystopian Short Story
From his high vantage point he had a terrific view of the poor sap below him. The Kid sat in a tiny room made of concrete — the ceiling had fallen in on the corner so the Tramp could see him clearly without being seen himself. It looked extremely decayed; vines growing around the outside. He looked filthy and depressed as he laid in the corner of rubble that he must have called home. It didn’t look like he had a lot of supplies at all — only a small sack placed beside his feet; it didn’t look like it bulged out at all.
The Kid is just begging for it, huh. I mean, what is his plan? He’s got to know those wights are going to be on him any moment now. But I guess if he’s still alive after all this time, he has to have some sort of plan…
The young man got up and the Tramp could see the difficulty that it caused him. He placed his hand against the ruined wall behind him and placed the other on his left leg. The Kid limped across his tiny room and toward the doorway.
(em>What’s this then, boy? Suffer a wee bit cut on your leg, huh? Well, that’s too bad…
The Tramp was the exact opposite of the Kid — well-supplied and uninjured, he was faring pretty well, all things considered. A small but steady stream of liquid flew from the doorway.
You’re relieving yourself right outside of your door? Wow, Kid, you must be truly desperate and afraid if you’re too scared to just take a handful of steps outside. How are you still alive?
The Tramp was a man of the world. As his name suggested, he never stayed in one place for very long — except, unlike the central character of Chaplin’s career, he wasn’t searching for a job; he was trying to incite as much violence as he possibly could. On the day that the world went to Hell, the Tramp never had been happier than at the moment the alarms began to sing their song of chaos. He was standing at a bus stop in the middle of the city, in a neighborhood of blight. But why did he care? These were his people, the filthy and the discarded. The Tramp didn’t care about any of them, but they worked as a protective shield to protect him from unwanted attention.
The alarm rang above them from an unknown source and everyone immediately scattered like rats trying to get to safety as quickly as possible. Nobody was going to stop and notice him as he withdrew the long knives from the corner pockets where he had secretly stashed them. They were beautiful objects given to him by a strange man in a dark alley who lived in the cesspool where he grew up. That idiot would be forever known as the first man the Tramp would kill. It was a messy ordeal. He was inexperienced back then and the man suffered much more than those he claimed today — unless the Tramp wished it differently.
He ran like a child would, as if pretending to be an airplane. He slashed at as many people as he could get his hands on. He mainly aimed at people’s Achilles tendons. The people he affected dropped to the floor screaming, many of them were quashed by the oncoming masses and their screams were lost to the boots that crushed the life from them. The Tramp didn’t fear death like all those surrounding him but he sure didn’t drive toward it sooner than necessary. He understood that death came for everyone, and everyone he slaughtered was just suffering the inevitable. The Tramp killed all different types of people; he wasn’t one to discriminate — he killed the rich, the poor, the black, the white, the deserving and the innocent. The only morals that he kept himself to were that he refused to kill people until a certain age. The Tramp figured that everyone should be able to experience the glory of life before he stole it from them.
When he was younger and still unwise, he had, in fact, once sneaked into a hospital and visited the maternity ward. He stood in the middle of an entire room of infants, a dying nurse clutching her neck on the floor. The Tramp choose one at random and stood over the baby. It had giant brown eyes and tan skin. Its head was a mess of hair covering more than the top of his head by leading down toward his eyes and mixing with his eyebrows.
No one is going to miss this baby. Methinks I might actually be doing this poor child’s parents a favor by sparing themselves the embarrassment of having such a hideous abomination of a creature.
Yet, there was something that held the Tramp back as he began to thrust his blade into the baby’s abdomen. It just seemed so final. The baby had his entire life in front of him. He had so much to learn and so many different things to experience — he had never even probably seen his mother’s face. It was at that moment the Tramp came up with his number — 18. It was the perfect number. He figured at that point in a person’s life, they were considered an adult in many countries, they would have their chance to do all they could in their lifetime, and the Tramp wouldn’t feel bad about taking it away.
He withdrew both of his knives and hid them back into their assigned pockets. Walking across the room, he marched over to where the nurse wept to herself, knowing full well that she was fatally wounded. The tramp had to lean down and position himself so his knives wouldn’t prod himself and, with little effort, pushed the woman away from the spot on which she had chosen to bleed out and uncovered the clipboard underneath her. He grabbed the rectangular object and briskly walked over to where the child rested. A little mark still resided on his chest where the Tramp’s blade had pushed against his chubby skin.
Your name’s Trent Coy, huh, my boy? Well, Trent, one day when you’re old enough and not expecting, I’m going to be there. All your problems are going to be gone, Trent, I can promise you that.
next: The Tramp – Part Two
more by FRANCISCO LEYVA
photograph by Ben Dumond