he ecstatic giggles of the children echoed around me as I paced through the cobble-lined streets. Every time I passed one, I was filled with a joy unlike any other. Maybe that was the reason I kept coming back here.
These people were kind, they had welcomed me with open arms when I was nothing more than a lonely beggar struggling to get over his alcoholism. When I had showed them what I could do, thus began their generosity and thankfulness, as well as a few gifts to get some of the families on my good side. I didn't mind. I vowed to help them for as long as they'd have me.
I lept out of the way of a young boy chasing after his friend, screaming and laughing that he would catch him. Somewhere above me, the clock tower chimed nine times, and I pulled a small journal from my backpack.
I grinned. Friday already? Time flies when you're helping the less fortunate, I suppose. I never told these people where I disappeared to for hours on end every first Friday of the month. It was... better that they didn't know.
I crept around the side of the local bar, knowing that the drunks in the back wouldn't be able to recognize me, and I took my routine path down the trail in the woods. The scenery was beautiful, trees waving as I walked by, animals running along with me, and the wind greeting me in any way it could. But my excitement only increased as the loving trees gave way to dead skeletons, the animals stopped off at an invisible border, and the wind ceased its journey to find me. Even the air was different, heavier.
Here I was no hero. I was the bringer of death. Honestly, the ignorance of the town was quite intriguing. They should know that a power like mine doesn't come free, that someone has to reap the consequences. No hero was a pure hero, because all their follower's saw was the good deeds they committed, not what went on behind the curtains.
I strolled into the deadly silent town, flexing my fingers as a sort of message to any onlookers.
"You know the drill," I shouted into the fearful air, "don't make me wait on you."
Slowly but surely, people began to emerge from their hiding places, coming to stand in front of me in a trance. The little pigs were so cute, too scared to even shake. But I could feel their fear, and that was all I needed.
"I'm feeling generous today," I said, and visibly I saw several people's shoulders relax, prompting a viscious smile to curl my lips, "so I am going to let you choose: five adults, or one child."
Sharp inhales, a few whimpers, and several hushed whispers followed my words. Without wasting any time, the adults huddled up in small circles, discussing who they could vote on to get rid of. I knew they were going to choose the five adults, it was plainly obvious in their tones, but they didn't know I knew.
It was never a choice, they just liked to believe that they had one. I already knew what I was going to do, but seeing their tensed shoulders and sweat-ridden foreheads was a sight I would not soon forget. I could almost taste the horror that would ensue once I told them the real decision, the excitement that would fuel my desire to help the other town.
After all, my gifts were never meant to be given away for free.