He killed Edwards again this morning.
It wasn’t fancy, this time. He just put the gun up against the back of the man’s head and pulled the trigger. He’d gotten a little bored, again, with coming up with ever more elaborate deaths for Edwards, so he was spending some time back with the basics.
He watched the reactions of the people on the street, interested. The man who had the bullet that passed through Edwards’s head lodged in his neck. The woman walking by who was splattered with Edwards last thoughts. He wondered what their lives would be like, after. Seeing that.
He wondered, briefly, if this Edwards had killed Rebecca. They didn’t always. He’d been at this a long time, if time were the right word, and he moved to branches where sometimes it wasn’t Edwards. She was still dead, though. She was still always dead.
He heard a siren and he put the gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger.
He woke up in his bed. More or less. Depending on how you defined him. It was morning and the sun was shining and the sky was clear and blue. It always was. He wondered how many times he would have to do this before that changed. Maybe it never would.
He turned on the television, which was the same, and watched the news, which was also the same. If he killed Edwards a thousand more times, the news might be different. It might not be.
The gun was on the nightstand. He’d planned on using it on himself, last night. Not last night, not really, but because today was always today he still thought of it as last night, even if last night was a very, very long time ago. Just as today was always six days after the funeral.
It took him a long time to realize that every day was not the same. Not exactly. Things changed, every time. So small you couldn’t see them, but the added up. His theory now was that he was moving through these days, all the ways this day could have been, not just repeating it.
That was the theory, anyway. In practice, it didn’t matter. Just like it didn’t matter who or what had done this to him. He thought this was supposed to be a punishment. He imagined this was the rock he was pushing up the hill, ever and always, for ever.
He imagined this was meant to be Hell.
Maybe it should have been. Maybe he should learn. Maybe he should suffer. But he thought of Rebecca and he thought about Edwards. And knew this wasn’t hell. Maybe it wasn’t meant to be. He still felt, for a split second, when Edwards died, an endless and infinite joy. He put the gun in his pocket and smiled. It didn’t feel like a gun day, today.
He thought today it would be fire.