There was a version of “Liu Junjie” that walked into his parents’ home that night and never came out.
Strange, how the first example he had ever followed was from the people that had ruined his life. And how in that way, he had made murder a habit somehow.
The new "him" had tried to live on like after that, so viciously cleaved from his own body. He washed his own back and tended to his own wounds and tried to pretend like everything was alright. But of course it wasn’t. He was just an umbrella bound to break, a roof bound to cave in. Every step forward rendered the previous step weak and feeble. He was stuck in two locations, the hell of the past and the constant breaking of the present.
He decided, that there was no way that he could live with this collection of pathetic yesterdays. In his dreams, he saw himself as he was when he was still desperately fragile, pressing his palms into his ears and succumbing to the prickling phosphenes as the doctors bandaged his back again. He couldn’t look into their eyes. He couldn’t look at his own eyes. That night, he could no longer bear it, and he killed it with his own hands, that puny flower. And then, he finally felt relief.
So from then on, every night, he would take the sword upon that illusion and sever it just the same. Another memory limp in his hands, another “Liu Junjie” blown away by the wind. It was just easier to live this way.
After all, wasn’t all of life spent on making things easier for oneself?
He remained nameless every night, as he stood over the cadaver of the person he was yesterday. He closed his eyes and imagined the loss of control, how the chest would start rising and falling before the breath was ready to be taken. It would flood out of the body like a waterfall, coat the bottom of his shoes and sink into the bandaged silk. It would suspend itself above his head and rain down clearly, odorlessly. And he would feel no dirtiness from the crime, only the feeling of purification that he had managed to cling onto for so long.
This process was mental but far from hypothetical. For his small, pathetic existence, this was the one constant. Forget the shames of yesterday. Focus on the triumphs of today. Wasn’t that what that man had told him once? Was it even him? Why couldn’t he remember anymore, the sound of that voice or the density of the other’s flesh when pressed upon gently... The soft curl of lip that he was convinced was revealed only to him or the pretty scintillation that person had produced when he was utterly immersed in his art, no, not in his sword’s silver but in his solemn yet focused gleam of his eye. Why did he want to forget that? Why did he want to discard the part of himself that held such a sweet reassurance? Why did he—
He thrusted the sword inside of the body’s heart, twisting until it went limp. His breathing was shallow yet agonizing. The corpse had its mouth open wide, as if to ask another terrible question.
No... Those times could never be returned to. He had thrown it all away. Not that either... It wasn’t him that threw away everything, it was him that was thrown away. By expectation or rule or whatever it was. Back then, he had treated himself like a delicate floret and had been treated that way by others accordingly. He had no faith in himself to endure, so he had been loved and spoiled and whittled into a dull knife without edge, content to stay weak and coddled forever. And even to the people he mourned every day afterwards, he was only a copper coin wedged between the stones on the ground. Worth only a candy piece at the cheapest stall.
And the blood, oozing down the staircase and through the crack in the door... It was all simply a consequence.
But, he blamed that person. He could understand him at moments of clarity, but here, sobbing over a body that used to belong to a version of him that was happier, he felt nothing but hate and loathing and utter despair at what he had left him as.