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Notre-Dame de Reims (Our Lady of Rheims) cannot be dismissed as a Roman Catholic cathedral located in Reims, it cannot be dismissed a pile of stones, it cannot be dismissed as a pile of superstitious nonsense. For where the kings of France were once crowned electrifying spirit still haunts the halls, the shiver up the spine as one walks into the heart of Europe's Divine Mandate is not from the chill air. The dark air does waft down, across the streets with the tenacity of the Headless Horseman, and with he piercing power of a depleted uranium round. Through coats it cuts, around doors it flanks and hats, scarves, mittens- right out. There is little hiding from this Beast, from its decentralized, casually cruel mentality that ravages the happiness of most, inconveniences the rest.

Yet it does not blow into Notre-Dame de Reims for in spite of all its chill energy, its selfless appetite for heat, the dark wind hardly reaches the first steps before imploding upon itself, dying in an attempt to evade the virtuous, vivacious energy of the church. Like a fireplace, a great exporter of heat Our Lady of Rheims uses instead of wood or material burning, the the heat of life, of history, of the souls it houses within its ancient confines.

Especially today, most especially today. For today is All Saints' Day, Hallowmas, and people are streaming in. Tall people, short people, fat people, skinny people. Red, yellow, white and black; courageous, cowardly. Intelligent and quick as lighting, possessing the mental capable of a doorknob. There sit funny looking people and there sit aesthetic angels, a few have deformities and a few contain the beauty of death. More contain the healthy vitality of life, many in the deepest throes of love, passion while a few sit silent in their sorrows, feeling the spasms of life’s inherent dread slowly pluck the last remaining hope from their system. For love is so fleeting and precious, like a flower plucked from its stem. Vibrant and strong, yet even the most simplest of children can understand that it will not last, nothing ever lasts and beauty, life and love more so then anything.

Among this crowd, sits a fellow more depressed then most and less hopeful then all. He’s crouched within himself, a slumped over and huddled body indicating to all that he is suffering internal battles to rival the best of Napoleon, the best of Wellington. For he knows that who sits across from him is none other than the devil incarnate, Olivier Besancenot. Internationalist, socialist, French and a stain upon the Glorious France’s flag, a stain that could only be purged by judicial application of French blood. More specifically, by the Bulgarian made Arcus 98DA.

The weapon is a full-size, short-recoil, locked-breech pistol with the added benefit of being cheap, reliable and fairly accessible within French Ghettos while both modern, unused, untraceable. Chambered in a 9x19 Parabellum with a frame, slide and barrel CNC machined from steel forgings the gun fits easily within his right coat pocket. The gun features stippled rubber grips that provide a very slip-resistant surface that will help prevent it from squirming out of his stressed, weeping, hand. The matte blue finish, while not fine, is evenly applied, and there were no sharp edges to give it completely away as a weapon.

In his mind the whole act was already accomplished, in his mind he calmly takes out his gun, shoots Besancenot in the back of the head, in front of the nation in front of his family in front of God before slowly turning the trigger to his own temple while he utters a final prayer before pulling the trigger once more. Effectively turning himself into a martyr, a True Believer and an assured spot in God’s Holy Kingdom, if not that then at the very least the history books which was – he admitted to himself – just as good. Yet he can’t, he just can’t. He thought he was ready, he knew he was ready, it was all coming according to the master plan; he paid off a guard to skip the search of his baggy pockets, implying to honorable worker that he planned to do no worse then pull out some silly string in some sort of militant atheistic defiance. He had left a stash of goodbye cards, shoutouts, to everyone in his life at his apartment. He had taken a sampling of the finest food, the best cars, the greatest wines and yet – here he sat, not petrified but merely unable. He saw no comfort in suicide, he saw no happiness in his actions nor greatness because he felt nothing. He had turned off his emotion perceptions because, frankly, those perceptions were repeatedly overwhelmed by the mass expulsion of pure humanity every time he considered ending a life, before ending his own.

The problem was, and he was startled to realize this, was that he couldn’t stop thinking of his girl, that wonder. He never thought of himself as the sentimental type, instead he had always had both eyes on the future, on fame, fortune and the rest. Yet here he was, about to enter the history books, about to fulfill one of the last obstacles to France’s inevitable triumph back to the universe’s cherished denizens. Yet he was completely unable to move. “Ah, well, that’s life.” He mumbled to himself as he steeled himself once more to take the plunge into the abyss, regardless of life; everything. With one last glance at his watch he realized that he was dramatically late and was about to have his decision yanked from his sweaty palms by Time, the cruelest mistress. Any second now, something would change and this chance would be lost forever.

With a creeping sensation that there existed beyond him a world not entirely his own, that beyond The Man With the Gun's struggled breathing. There was another noise, just noticed. The intake, the gasping intake, of the man across the aisle. A disheveled individual who was even now crying in great heaping, choking, sobs as he pulled out the largest knife in the world. Well, obviously not the biggest, likely not even ranked but to the round, innocent eyes of The Man With the Gun, it was massive. More interesting still, this new threat was merely a few steps from the bowed visage of his truly, Besancenot. Who was either fast asleep, always a probability, or so deeply enthralled with God that he did not yet realize the threat to his personage; of course he could be pretending which would be much worse. Attempting to not hear, see or feel the world around one’s self was much worse than not having the temporary ability through a religious epiphany of the highest order.

With no little satisfaction, the silently weeping man snakes down the few feet to the French “anti-capitalist,” the French “anti-imperialist,” the French “stain.” He can see the situation so crystal clear, so devilishly insightful for he has thought through all the angles, he sees through all the forgery and deception. This man is here to make sure the job gets done, the people who see him believe he is merely overcome by religious feelings – embarrassing, surely, but that merely aggravates the ease in which he slips by. Embarrassing people are so easily dismissed, it takes true will to stare at someone so unabashedly out of his mind. The killer stopped and put a hand to his forehead where he leaned a aisle away from Besancenot, seemingly deep in an complete mental breakdown. “Tu me casses les coquilles,” The Man with the Gun whispered ever so slightly, indecipherably silent, across the way.

Sighing, he stood up. Discreetly, he found no need to bring attention to himself as surely as he found no need to want to watch this façade anymore. God's Will would be done, with or without him, so as he walked slowly out of the chapel hearing the first screams – two gunshots – his heart touched the sterile edges of the calm certainty that he did right. He wouldn’t kill to kill, wouldn’t kill to fulfill some demented madman’s aspirations, he just wanted to go home to his girl; sit down in front of a movie for two and half glorious hours, then fuck her brains out. Not a lot to ask, all things considered.

((Thoughts, comments? Not explicitly Objectivist, just a random play by my Muse onto the keyboard.))

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