Man at night

This is the prompt for The Antonym December Flash Fiction Contest,PC – Aritra Sanyal

The monk walked down the dark, deserted lane, after saying the last prayers for a departed soul. The old man’s wrinkled fingers had been like claws, holding on to the monk’s hands.
When he was very young, the sight of those taking their last breath would fill him with sorrow, and on his return to the monastery, he would sob quietly. His body would bend forward with grief as he suffered with those who lay dying. He noticed how they wanted to cling to life even as they gasped for breath.
As he walked, contemplating life and death, someone had sprung up from behind and held a knife at his throat. He had been startled. The question rose in his mind, what would anyone find on a monk? All he carried with him were his skills, his knowledge, and his wisdom.
The monk’s mastery of martial arts had never left him. He used this instinctively to make the attacker fall backwards. The monk turned around to look as a loud shriek rent the air. His attacker lay dying, having fallen on his own knife.
The attacker lay face up, with his eyes open to the night sky, bleeding from where the knife had entered his chest. The monk bent forward to close the man’s eyes. He sat down, next to the body of the man who had just attacked him and said a prayer. This was his second prayer for the night.
The monk picked up the dead body and walked backwards to the manhole. He lifted the cover, pushed the dead man’s body in, and put the lid back in place. There was nothing in the surroundings to show a man had died there. The blood on the road could be attributed to anything.
The monk had done what he needed to do. His mind was calm. His walk was upright. The white incandescent light that lit the street ahead revealed no mark on his body, no sorrow on his face.
But he was saying his third prayer of the night.