The Game

There’s nothing that gives me more pleasure than slicing a thin knife into a thick, juicy steak. Letting the seasoned aroma waft toward you as you place the meat on your tongue. My diet is far from my vegetarian mothers. To her, I am a sick, carnivore.

I wipe the corners of my mouth with the already dirtied and crumpled napkin. It’s Tuesday. That means dinner at the Freedman’s. My girlfriend and I sit patiently at the table, eating our dinner while Mr. Freedman reads the newspaper, and Mrs. Freedman washes dishes, while at the same time tending her newborn son.

Our Tuesday dinners have become less and less conversation based after Mark and Laura’s marriage, and now kid. I sometimes wonder why we still do it. I suppose it’s just habitual. My partner tries to stir it up a bit.

“So, Laura,” she shouts into the other room. “Did you catch the Breaking Bad finale?”

It’s a couple of moments until she steps out from her motherly duties, rubbing her temples with her left hand.

“Hum?” she grunts.

“I asked if you saw the new Breaking Bad. The series end.”

“No.” Laura shakes her head. “After Jules popped out, I haven’t had much time to myself. But don’t spoil anything! I’ll get around to it, even if it takes me until the little bugger moves out.”

The baby starts to cry. She leaves us again. My turn.

“Anything interesting in the paper today, Mark?”

Mark shakes his head. There’s been an awful lot of that today. “Interesting? Not so much as interesting as fucking aggravating.”

“Mark! Mouth! Baby!” Laura shouts over the noise of the garbage disposal.

“Sorry!” I can taste the sarcasm off his tongue.

There’s a pause in the conversation, and Mark begins his daily rant. “Listen to this! Two kids are missing, just disappear, detectives are doing jack shit about it. They say that there’s just not enough evidence to go off of. This is a quote! Listen! ‘We’re sorry for the loss of the Martin’s two daughters, but until further evidence shows, we’ll just have to wait and see.’ Oh, hope they turn up! You know, we better have a better squad on force when our kid is in school. Wouldn’t want him to go missing to have the god damn police not give a shit!”

“Mark!” Laura shouts again.

Mark breathes, letting out another waft of sarcastic steam. I turn to my girlfriend, who is scooting peas around on the plate with her pinkie finger. “Well, Steph, I say it’s probably time to head home.”

“Yep.” She gets up, and begins to grab her things.

“Thanks for the steak, Laura!”

We leave without a word of acknowledgement.

Mark always goes on rants like this. Has since I’d met him. Though, they have become increasingly louder since he began his role as a father. I think the stress of parenthood is too much for him. He’s pessimistic. He needs to learn to lighten up a bit, otherwise we’ll be seeing beloved Mark on the ground, clutching his heart in the palm of his hand.

I wanted to ease his mind a bit. Tell him that the Martin’s daughters were probably just fine.

“They most likely just… ran away for a day or something. Happens often enough.”

I wanted to say that. But I couldn’t. The rant will probably continue until the police finally give up on the investigation. They won’t find anything. I made sure of that.

***

It’s not just steak that earns my pleasure. Really it’s just the slice of the knife that arouses me. I’ve always been fascinated with blades. The smooth, slick motion that leaves a nice clean cut. I’ve never really been much of a stabber. I like to take things slow, savor every moment with it in my hand. I switched things up a bit last night.

While my usual plan of action would be to just come up from behind and let the blade do its dance, I took things into my own hands for last night’s outing.

The kids were asleep upstairs when I arrived at the Martin’s. Theirs was the middle window of the second floor. I waited for Mr. Martin to come outside, as he does every night, unbeknownst to his loyal wife. He walks down a block for his nightly rendezvous with his other woman. I should add him to my list, but after tonight it may rouse suspicion.

Moving quickly, I check to be sure he left the front unlocked. He did.

If his dear wife awakes now, to see her husband gone, she’ll probably just assume he went for a midnight snack.

Still, I try to stay quiet, creeping with expert footwork up the stairs. I can already see the bluish green light of little Mary and Bella’s turtle night light seeping out of the crack in their door.

There’s a stirring of sheets somewhere in the house. I freeze. It stays silent, and I begin to move.

Inside, the girls are sound asleep, the turtle rotating on its pedestal atop the dresser.

The girls are twins, both with dark brown hair and sharp green eyes. They’d be pretty when they were older.

Mary lays in the bed closest the door, snuggled up in the sheets. Bella lays on top of the blankets on the other bed, completely void of clothes. For her age, she is quite matured. Her breasts are just beginning to show themselves to the world, and her legs, which are spread out on the bed, showing a little more than expected to the uninvited guest, are long, providing most of her height.

Twelve year old me would’ve been all over these girls. Twenty-four year old me tries to divert his eyes from the unripe sweet.

I shut the door silently behind me, to give myself as much privacy for the deed as possible. This shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes, and I’ll be back on the road, with a few extra friends.

I unzip my bag and pull out a clean washcloth and a bottle of chloroform. The easiest way to begin. Opening the bottle, I press the cloth tightly against the top and tip it upside down in one quick motion. A little goes a long way.

I hit Bella first, pressing it up against her mouth, letting her breathe it in. After 5 seconds, I’m confident she’s out. Mary gave me a brief panic attack, for when the cloth met her face, her eyes opened. She jerked in the sheets, but her eyes quickly rolled back.

The hard part is always carrying the bodies out of the destination and to the transportation. Since they’re small though, it shouldn’t be any harder than one adult. It takes me maybe a minute to carry them down the stairs and load them into the backseat of my car. I hit the gym every day for a reason. It’s a good thing Stephany never asks what that reason is.

***

If I ever do get caught, the inevitable question I’d be hounded with is: Why? What’s my motive? Who do you select? Why do you select them?

Let me ease your aching thoughts a bit. I don’t have a so-called “code”, per say. My selections are completely based on my mood for the time being. It’s like ordering at a fast food restaurant. You’re not always hungry for the same thing, but you’re hungry nonetheless.

Sometimes, if someone is really pissing me off, I can add them to my mental to-do list. For example, one particular old woman at the local Jamba Juice was just being an all-around bitch to the kind people working there. That same old lady, Gertrude I think her name was, was playing my game the next day.

No. I don’t select anyone based on color, or size, or age. None of that. It makes it a little more difficult for my antiheroes to connect the dots. And before you start to hound me with the questions of motive, let me answer it.

I didn’t have a rough childhood. I never had a tragic event save for the loss of my uncle, though that was much less murder than it was bad choices. No. I do what I do for one reason only. It’s fun.

I’ve always enjoyed games. When I was just a boy, my family and I lived near a large wooded area. It was easy to get somewhere where no one would find you. There was one clearing in particular that I always fled to when I was in need of some entertainment.

My pastime of choice involved a jar, and a pair of wanting eyes. It wasn’t difficult finding some bugs lying around in the dirt. From there, it was a matter of loading them into the jar, and shaking it vigorously.

Insects are brutal. Once I loaded a spider and a centipede into my contained battlefield. Though I thought the spider would take pleasure in juicing the centipede, my hundred-legged friend made an unexpected turn, coiling itself around the arachnid until at least 3 of its legs were detached from its body.

It wasn’t until I was maybe 19 that I began to long for a bigger show. Spiders and flies were fine for a child, but TV shows of war and brutal violence change ones needs.

My first victim was a boy that went to the local high school. I wasn’t starting college until the fall, so I had a whole summer to plan my moves.

The kid, who went by the name of Z, was the neighborhood douchebag from my understanding. He was a couple years younger than I, but probably had the same strength.

In the second week of August, I nabbed him coming out of his girlfriend’s house. The noise of their parent-free weekend fun was agonizing for my ears. It hardly sounded consensual.

By this time, I had already found a place for my operations. There was an old abandoned mill on the other side of town. The city had been planning to sell it for years, but no luck has come. Even now, it remains standing. Untouched, except by me.

The mill was loaded with rooms and tunnels. Through exploration, I found a large storage room underneath the main floor. The room was lit dimly, but big enough to fill my needs.

Z went down with a pistol to his head, implicated by his own right hand. The look on his face when I told him his Mom was dead already was simply priceless. My game was brutal, but he didn’t put up as much of a fight as I had hoped.

I spent the next few hours of the night cleaning up my mess. A man found him elsewhere in town, the pistol still in his hand, dead in an alleyway. The police ruled it as suicide.

My games differ, my disposal methods do as well. This is why nobody’s made the connection. A husband is caught in the middle of a gang war. A little boy falls out an apartment window. Nobody ever assumed foul play. Nobody ever will.

Not even after the little Martin girls have finished their round.

***

Though more often than not I place my used toys in other places where a deadly event may play out, I decided to differ my game this time around.

There has been a local villain strolling the streets of my hometown. One that kidnapped a girl a little younger than the twins a couple months ago. If I play my cards right, I can rid myself of the bodies and pin it on my helpful friend. This allows me full freedom for the kill. No trace, no questions.

Mary and Bella are still asleep, now lying on the floor of my playground. It is only a second before Bella wakes up, dizzy and confused.

Her scream is deafening, but I’m not worried anyone will hear. Mary wakes up too. She instead begins to cry.

“Shush…” I soothe the young flesh.

“Who’s there?” one of them asks.

“No one to be concerned about.” I hide in my usual place in the shadows, leaning back in my chair. “Do you remember how you got here?”

“Mom?” Mary asks.

“Mommy’s not here anymore,” I say. “Just me, and you.”

“Why are we here? Who did this?” Bella asks. I can tell Bella is the leader of the pack. I’ll keep this in mind.

“You’re here because I want you to be here. And if you want out, you’ll have to listen to what I say.”

They are silent.

“Next to you is what Daddy would call a dangerous power tool. I call it a toy of every child’s dreams. It’s a drill.”

Bella takes the initiative to make her way to it, and take it in her hands confidently.

“It appears as if you’ve volunteered. Let me mention one things before we begin. Only one of you gets out.”

They look at each other with painful eyes. I feed off the pain.

“Now, here’s what I want you to do. Turn on the drill, and think of all the bad things your sister has done.”

Bella’s anger shows itself, but not toward Mary. She shouts in the direction of my voice.

“How about I fucking use it on you?!”

“Oh, we’ve got a mouth on this one. Why don’t you try? We’ll see how it goes.” I love playing the role of the centipede.

“Maybe I will!” She begins her stroll toward the darkness where I lurk. The drill is now on. I’m amused.

“Don’t! Bell! No!” Mary pleads between sobs.

Bella is almost at me, but I’m prepared for whatever tactic she has in mind. The large knife in my hand readies itself. Bella launches the drill toward my face, but I’ve had enough experience to know my timing. I smack the drill out of her grasp, and pull her arm down. In one quick motion, she is pinned down on the chair, my legs wrapped around her in a tight lock.

“Get off me! Get off!” she struggles. “What are you going to do? Rape me?”

I laugh at her guesses. “Please, I’m not that sick.” I get up close to her ear. “I could though, but I won’t.”

I twist her arm back a little bit more and tighten my lock.

“What are you going to do then?”

“Well, I’ve planned things quite nicely in my favor. I have full freedom now. So, I think I may try something I don’t usually do.”

I don’t let her have another word of sass, and plunge the blade into her lower back. She gives one last gurgled scream, and grows limp under my body.

Getting up, I stroll delighted toward girl number two. She cries softly now. The shock has had its effect.

I crouch down low, and let her see my face. My wide grin is still showing.

“Remember when I said one gets out?”

She nods.

I whisper. “I lied.” I whip her around with my blade-free arm so her neck is away from me. This is always my favorite part.

I cut off her cries of no with a nice slow slice into her throat. The blade never stops, gliding across the skin with ease. The blood drips slowly onto my fingers, giving me a shudder of pleasure.

Much better than steak.

***

Within an hour and a half, the scene was clean, and the girls were bagged and in the trunk of my car. I took them down to a place where the mill meets the river, and tossed the bags into the water, accompanied by rope and a load of bricks.

No trace, no questions.

That was last night, and now I lie with my girlfriend in bed, reflecting on my secret fun.

Bella put up a good fight, and her confidence gave me the giggles. Though, I had hoped they would have been more of the rule obeying children. I could’ve made the game even more brutal than it already was. The stab though was a good release. I’m hardly ever able to do it that way, for the police would begin to wonder if it really was just an accident waiting to happen.

Tonight was my break. Tuesday dinner with the Freedman’s. I have pondered for quite some time possibly adding one of them to my list, but I’m not the kind to hold such a strong grudge against one I’ve known for as long as them.

Tomorrow. Wednesday. I quickly decide to extend my vacation and take another day off. Another day to plan something extravagant for another night. Maybe Friday.

Stephany snuggles closer to me. I look at the clock. It’s half past three. When it comes to sleep, I have peculiar habits. I never do. I honestly can’t recall the last time I really slept. The occasional ten minute power nap has given me enough energy to survive. That and my caffeine addiction. But, to me, sleeping for hours on end just seems like a waste of valuable time. In the amount of time it takes the average human to get a “full nights rest”, I could have spent those 9 hours doing something productive.

I do this every night. While Steph lies asleep in my arms, I stare at the ceiling, and have my only me time of the day.

In a few hours, Steph will be awake, and I’ll have to go back to my regular daytime face. Maybe I’ll try this whole sleeping thing once, just to see how it feels.

***

I slept for maybe 20 minutes, and woke up again to just think some more. Thinking is my other pastime of choice. I do a lot of it.

The eggs sizzle on the frying pan in the kitchen as Steph moves back and forth between freezer and stove, fixing a breakfast for two. I skim the paper for any new headlines.

‘Missing girls still not found.’ What I was looking for.

“The two Martin girls,” the front page says, “are still missing, and police are quickly assuming they may be the newest victims of a serial kidnapper. In late October, 10-year-old Ella Erring went missing from her home. Police still have no clues involving a suspect, but say that the circumstances between Erring’s and the Martin’s disappearances are ‘too heavy to ignore’.” Just what I had hoped. Thank you, kind friend.

“Drink?” Steph asks.

“Just milk,” I say.

I flip the page of the paper, and am bombarded with advertisements and unrelated headlines. I set the news aside.

Breakfast is in front of me now. My favorite meal of the day. On my plate rest an egg, over easy, with a hint of paprika about it. Alongside it is some buttered toast, and sizzling bacon. I eat the bacon first.

“How’d you sleep?” Stephany asks.

“Just fine,” I lie. If I tell her how I never sleep, she may become suspicious and try to take me in to check out my brain patterns. With my line of work, my brain patterns should be the last thing to be put up on a screen.

“So, I was thinking being I have the week off, we could maybe do something together today. I feel like we never go on enough dates nowadays.”

I nod and chew, then finish swallowing. “That sounds great! What’d you have in mind?”

“I don’t know. Maybe just lunch out, and a walk around town.”

A walk around town usually means me standing outside little shops, waiting for her to make up her mind about something she really doesn’t need. I’m a little less excited.

“Lunch sounds good,” I agree, leaving out the shopping spree. “Dario’s?”

Dario’s is our favorite pizza parlor. The slices of pie offered there are usually enough to fill an elephant. It’s also where we had our first date.

Stephany gives me her cute little pursed smile, and a nod of love in my direction.

We’ve been dating for a little over a year now, and she just recently moved in with me. Our chemistry has been spot on since day one. I was best friends with Mark back in high school, and when I got back from college, we began to rekindle our brotherly bond. Laura came into the picture while I was away, and Mark always told me of Stephany, Laura’s hot friend to die for.

I had to take the bait. I’m glad I did.

Stephany was short, maybe 5’3”. She had curves, which I like in a woman. I prefer a little bit of meat on the bone. Her eyes were a piercing grayish blue, and her hair fell down in curls over her busty chest.

Running my fingers through her hair is another hobby I quite enjoy.

I’m not sure exactly why she took such a liking to me. It couldn’t be my rugged good looks, as those are nonexistent. I, myself, am on the thinner side of the scale. I’m tall, and lean. A little awkwardly proportioned in my view. Though my arms may appear to be spaghetti, they can hold some weight. The punching bag at the gym has helped me with that.

No, it couldn’t have been my looks that caught the fish. I guess it would have had to be my personality. The undamaged, perfectly sane, nice guy.

It’s a shame she fell in love with nothing more than a mask.

***

Lunch out was a ball, and the midafternoon fun on our arrival home topped it all. There’s one thing that sealed the deal for me with Steph. Her passion in the bedroom.

This is nothing to concern yourself with though. I’m sure you wouldn’t want the details.

It is now Thursday, and I have decided on my next victim. One Arthur Ruble. Ruble has graced my list a few times in the past. My first encounter with him was far from pleasant, as he was quite an asshole about giving me a bent fender on the road last spring.

I kept him in mind after that incident, but I never really had time to go for it. I had other plans to play out.

But now, I’m ready to take him on. And I have the perfect game plan too.

Yesterday, when I was out at lunch with Stephany, I saw a familiar face screaming on the phone. Mr. Ruble looked quite angry with the other line, and our eye contact in the middle of his string of curses didn’t help the situation.

Let me be clear on something here. I hate people. My personality type is extremely introverted. Just hearing people talking, chewing, laughing, screaming in large quantities is enough to make me want to pull out my bag of tricks.

What really grinds my gears is other people’s anger. When someone is punishing somebody else, when they curse up a storm at another human being just for a mistake or two. It’s a one way ticket to my battlefield. Mr. Ruble has earned just that.

On our arrival home, and after the post-sex shower, I took it upon myself to do a little research on our dear friend Arthur. What turned up didn’t surprise me much.

He was a lawyer, fairly successful, and a single, multiple times divorced man. He was in his mid-fifties, and only had one instance of speeding on his slate. I’m sure there were more, but he probably weaseled his way out of them, just like he weaseled me into paying for his damage to my car. No wonder he’s a lawyer.

My plan for him is simple, yet elegant. And I just hope that he will have a little more showmanship than little Mary and Bella.

To spend the day today, I’ve treated Stephany to a girl’s day out with a few of her closest girlfriends, set up by yours truly. A day at the spa for the ladies, and for me, a trip to the hardware store. On my list today: plastic bags, barbed wire, rope, and a circular saw.

***

The lady at the counter asked what I was up to with my purchase, a regular question I am asked at checkout. My reply is always the same. “Just a little project.”

I’ve set up an image for myself to strangers who become a little too suspicious for my comfort that has seemed to work well. To them, I am an artist. In my garage lies sculptures made up of all the wire, rope, steel pipes, and four by fours I’ve bought from their chain.

“Well, I’d love to see them someday!” the clerks will say.

“Someday,” I reply. “But not today.”

Today is set up and planning time. My playground is empty, wiped clean from the other night.

I have my supplies, so it’s time to set up something good.

I decided last minute to add a hundred pound weight to my list. I’ll explain later.

My first step is to set up the trap. I have some long metal poles lying in the corner of the room from my date with some homeless man I saw stumble out of a bar. It was an easy pick, but a damn good show that followed.

I build the frame with the metal poles, then proceed to lace the barbed wire around it for my ‘nest’. I’ll probably have to increase my dosage of chloroform for Mr. Ruble. It’ll take a little longer to get him in position.

Next I create a pulley system with the rope and the circular saw, aided by a metal track that’s already in place on the ceiling from when the mill was in operation. I string the other end over by my chair, to be controlled by me when the time comes.

With the circular saw suspended perfectly in front of the nest, I add one last thing to my already devious operation. Attached to a separate rope is the weight, which is held in place onto the ceiling. Another rope comes down to my hideout, pulled tight to keep everything locked in its place.

During the performance, I will cut rope number two, which will release the weight and send it swinging toward Arthur, who will be tightly bound in the nest with the barbed wire.

His challenge: escape from the nest before the circular saw makes its way to his body, slicing him into two clean pieces. It’s classic man versus time and machine.

What he doesn’t know is that the saw will never really make its way to his body. Instead, his cause of death with be blunt force to the chest implicated by my deadly pendulum. The reason for this switch?

With his body, I will throw it off a nearby cliff and into a busy road. As far as the police are concerned, poor Arthur just couldn’t handle the stress of work, and decided there was nothing left to do but jump. Blunt force to the chest? I say the car did it.

Now for the pickup plan. According to my snooping, Mr. Ruble will be leaving a court session tomorrow night at 8. And according to my stereotype of lawyers everywhere, will make his way to the bar across the street. Once this stressed out bachelor is hammered enough, I can easily lure him out of the bar and into somewhere a little more secluded. With the alcohol already having its effect, the same dosage of chloroform should do just fine.

Once I have him in my car, it’s just a drive down to the mill and the fun begins.

Let’s just hope dear Arthur doesn’t have other plans for the night.

***

My stereotype was correct, so my plan played out just as I had hoped. He did try to swing one punch as me, but I dodged it without a problem and took him down quickly. Nobody saw.

Getting him into the nest was a little bit of a pain, and clumsy old me managed to nick my wrist on the wire while I was setting him up. Oh well.

Arthur’s in place now, and it’s stage light, show opening in three, two…

He awakes to the shot of my gun. I fire it in his direction, missing purposefully.

I always keep my revolver handy. It works great as a wakeup call for those who have had a little too much to breathe, plus it’s a great backup if anything were to go awry.

“What the fuck!?” Arthur yells. He flops in the wire like a fish. I’d be lucky if he didn’t die from blood loss before I begin the main event. I’ll have to start quickly.

“Hello, Arthur Ruble.” I deliver my line dramatically.

“Who the fuck are you? Show you’re goddamn face you prick!”

“I can’t do that quite yet. Please wait.”

I stay silent to await his next reaction. He obeys me instead.

“How much do you remember, Arthur?”

He sighs deeply, and never drops his head. His eyes are full of flame. “I was in court. Against that nigger, George Terrie.”

I hate that word. I want to cut the rope now, but I have to wait too.

“You’re one of Georgie’s mutts, aren’t ya? Angry that I gave your boss the time he deserves, huh? Well, you’ll get more than he did. You’ll be lucky to come out of this alive, you little shit!” He spits in my direction. Now he’s really pissing me off.

“I’m very close to snapping now!” I warn. “But I’m going to give you a chance.”

I breathe in to calm my nerves.

“Look in front of you. In a little less than a minute, that saw will be on and moving toward you. You’ll have approximately 45 seconds to escape from your bonds before it’s sent into your body, slicing your head in half like butter.”

He starts to struggle now. He’s doing well so far.

“If you get out before the saw finishes its journey, you’re free to go. And to me, you can take whatever action you like. I have a gun, a machete. I’ll be yours.”

“I’d rather see you in court!”

“Well, you’ll have it your way. If you win my game.”

I expect an “I will”, but it appears he’s too invested in the show. I like that. So, it begins.

“Your time starts now.”

I flip the switch, the saw roars to life. I slowly release the rope, letting the blade glide down the track. Arthur struggles, the pain of the wire on his wrists showing through his agonizing screams. This is why I do what I do.

My pleasure increases as the clock ticks on poor old Arthur. I can smell the blood dripping from his arms and legs. I keep the release of the rope steady to give him the 45 seconds I promised him.

“You have 15 seconds! Keep going! You can do it!” He starts to cry. There’s nothing that gives me more pleasure than a grown man’s tears. “Five, four, three, two…”

My phone rings. Shit. The one time I forgot to turn it off. I turn off the saw. I could still carry out my plan. I check the caller ID just to be sure. It’s Steph. She never calls me unless it’s urgent. If I don’t answer, she’ll become suspicious. I panic.

The gun is there for a reason. I pull the trigger on Mr. Ruble, who is laughing at me now. Mission aborted. I answer the call. This better be good.

“Hello?” I say.

I can hear Steph’s tears through the receiver before she begins to speak.

“Where are you?”

Think. “I just remembered we were out of bread. I thought I’d run to the store. Did you just get home? What’s wrong?”

She sobs some more, and then the words come out.

“The Freedman’s are dead.”

***

I felt horrible for leaving poor Arthur hanging, and having to stop the game so suddenly when he was doing so well, but priority was apparent in this turn of events. Plus, I picked a secluded location for a good reason. I was confident no one would stumble upon something they shouldn’t.

I arrived home quickly, breadless, to see the hoard of police cars, fire trucks, and ambulances surrounding our block. I felt uncomfortable having my enemies so close, but I had to respect them.

I parked a few houses down, for the police tape prohibited me from parking in my own driveway. I was stopped by a burley officer on my way to the scene.

“Sir, I’m going to have to ask you to step back.”

“I’m a resident. My girlfriend is in there.”

“Sir,” he says, pushing me back violently. You’re gonna make my list, bud.

I hear Stephany yell out my name. She’s standing in the front yard, her hand to her face. A man of higher power motions me to come in. The officer pays his apologies. Nice try, asshole.

“Stephany! What happened? Are you okay?” We embrace halfway on my journey. I give her time to process before she relays to me the events.

“Somebody broke in. I heard screaming. Noises inside. I was so scared!” She buries her head in my shoulder, then continues. “There was a gunshot, crying. I didn’t see anything, but I heard it all. I called the police.”

Though I should be grieving over the loss of my best friend, I have a growing desire to see the bodies. I comfort my girlfriend and make my way toward the scene of the crime. The chief is in a heavy conversation with one of his detectives. I wait my turn, and kiss Stephany’s head.

“Are you the resident of 1225?” the chief asks.

“Yes. What happened? I just arrived.”

“Come see for yourself.” He walks toward the Freedman’s home. Steph pulls me back. I lift up her chin and look into her eyes.

“I’m gonna go have look. You stay here. I don’t want you get more hurt than you already are.”

A paramedic catches my drift from a few feet back, and takes Steph off my arm.

“Come on. Let’s get you checked out, ma’am.”

With Stephany away, I follow the chief into the house, where I sat eating dinner on Tuesday.

Mr. Freedman was in the middle of the living room, sitting up in the lotus position. His head hung down, showing a nice round hole in the top of his head. I pretend to gag. Looking past the busyness of the CSI, I spot Laura sprawled out on the kitchen floor. Blood and brain matter splattered itself on the cabinets. A hold blew through the left side of her head.

The scene was beautiful. Messier than I would’ve made it, as it makes murder apparent in the case. But the lotus position, the blood. It was art, but not mine.

“Yup,” the chief interrupts my admiration. “Your girl out there made the first call. We arrived fast, but not fast enough to see anyone leave the scene. They were like this when we arrived. Very peculiar. Haven’t seen anything like it. Our best guess so far is that whoever did this killed them first, then began to set them up this way. Probably heard the sirens coming and didn’t have time to get to the girl. I don’t want to know what sick things he would’ve done with her.”

“You think it’s a male?”

“Most likely,” he says. “I’ve seen few women who would have the mind to do something like this, but…” He pauses. “You never know. Were you close?”

“Yeah,” I say, faking the emotional trauma. “I had dinner with them on Tuesday. Do you think this was random?”

“It doesn’t seem so. The positioning of the bodies doesn’t seem like something an armed robber would do. I think this is planned, but it’s up to my detectives to figure out all the details. Do you know of anyone who might have had the motive to do such a thing?”

“No, not off the top of my head.” I wipe away an invisible tear, and try to avert my eyes.

The chief turns toward me and puts a hand on my shoulder. “I’m very sorry about this.” He hands me a card. “If you think of anything, give me a call. We could use your help in catching the bastard who did this.”

I take it from him, nod politely, and make my way out of the kill room. I think of one question.

“The kid?” I ask, turning back toward him.

The chief gives me an honest eye. “Gone.”

***

It’s Saturday. Steph is asleep on the sofa, a box of tissues on the table next to her. I pondered heading back to the mill to clean up the probably now decaying lawyer, but I couldn’t leave her. Not like this.

Instead, I tune myself to the sound of the voices outside, still investigating the sudden death, and think.

Who? Why? How? These are the questions that grace my mind. I know there are some sick fucks out there, me included, but I never knew someone like this would come so close. They must be new here. Either that, or they’ve managed to stay hidden. Until now.

As far as I know, Laura and Mark never had any dangerous enemies. I know Mark liked to gamble, but that was back in high school. As far as I know, after Laura, he quit those schemes. I could be wrong though. You never know what secrets people may be hiding.

Say it was an unpaid debt from the poker table. Why the effort? The scene looked so well positioned. A hit man wouldn’t take the time. And what about Jules? Why take the baby? Whoever it was must have known them. Who?

And how? How did it all play out on the table? Judging by the scene, I’d say it wasn’t forced entry. The pieces just wouldn’t fit. No, they let this person in. Another sign that this was no stranger.

From the little I saw, cross referencing the details with my own mental mind, my best guess would be that the chief was right. Killed first, positioned later, but then forced to move off the stage too soon. Sounds familiar. Even with this, I couldn’t begin to point fingers.

Stephany wakes up. I’ll have to continue my crime solving at a later time.

“Hey,” I say.

“Hi,” I can still see the mental damage. “Any updates?”

“No,” I tell her. “I haven’t heard anything anyways. How are you doing?”

She stays quiet, then replies. “Still in shock. I just can’t believe this is real.”

“Me neither. They’ll catch whoever did this.”

“I sure hope so.”

She sits up, and swallows, breathing through her nose and letting her eyelids rest.

“You hungry?” I ask.

She nods silently. I get up to fix something to eat.

I’m worried about her. There’s no lying here. She’s not going to get over this easily, and that’s not such a good thing for me either. With her in such pain, I have to play the role of comforting boyfriend. Not only that, but I have to grieve as well. Something I’m not so good at doing.

The only things I can do now is make some soup, and hope. I look back at my girlfriend. She holds her pillow close.

A lotus flower sits in a vase beside her. What a sick coincidence.

***

My lawyer is still at the mill, and I stay home playing grieving lover with Steph.

I haven’t had much more time to think about the circumstances of the murder, but I don’t see any reason to anyways. I’ll leave the heavy thinking to those who get paid for it.

Having all the cops around has been giving me a little bit of anxiety, and the image of the bodies engraved in my mind has been whetting my thirst for blood. If this doesn’t end soon, I may go crazy. I need to kill.

Steph is in the bathroom. I sit on the sofa awaiting her return. The last light of a police car makes its way past the window, as the team decides to call it a day at about 9:30 at night.

The quiet outside is a welcome change. Today has been a day chalk full of people noises and chaos down the block, something that doesn’t sit too well with my ears. I take in the noiselessness.

My calm is interrupted by a phone call. Memories of last night hit me hard like a soldier hearing a gunshot after war. I answer it without hesitation.

“Hello,” says the other line. “This is Chief Dan Banks calling to inform you of new information in the Freedman case.”

“Hello, sir,” I politely reply. “What’s the news?”

“Well, we’ve found some finger prints on scene, so we should have a positive ID by tomorrow afternoon. We’ll just need to send it to the lab.”

“That’s great!” I say. I’m looking forward to meeting them. Maybe I can have a chat with the artist. Discuss technique.

“Yes, I’ll keep you updated.” He pauses. “So, you really have no clue of anyone who may have had the… ability, motive to do this?”

Besides me? “No.”

“Okay. Well, thanks for your cooperation anyways. We’ll let you know if and when we get anything back from the lab.”

“Thank you, sir.” I stay polite. He hangs up.

A fingerprint. This person was messy. But if positive ID means catching the bastard, I’m happy. Besides, I’d love to see what vessel this sick mind has been assigned.

“Hey, Steph!” I call. “Good news from the police station!”

I hear the faucet in the bathroom turn on. “What is it?” she asks.

“Fingerprints! It’s looking like they’ll catch this guy!”

The bathroom door opens, and her steps come up behind me.

“That’s great,” she says. Her hand goes to my waist from behind me, and there’s a prick in my neck.

***

I’m the spider. My limbs are bound with canvas to a chair, and wherever I am, it is dark. I try to wriggle free of the bonds, but nothing will budge. My captor has the chair bolted to ground.

I try to remember. Where was I? Who was I with? The drugs have things blurred. I work to straighten them out. A phone call. The chief. I was in my own home. With? Could it be true?

My suspicions are confirmed when the lights come on. In a twisted turn, I am a victim of my own trap. Mr. Ruble hangs in his nest before me, his body just beginning to give off the odor of rotting flesh. Joined with him in my own creation is little Jules. Behind me, my revolver clicks.

“Stephany,” I try to say, but my mouth is taped shut. My wonderful girlfriend steps out from behind me.

“Hello, my love,” she replies, giving me her cute little pursed smile. It looks evil in this setting.

It becomes clear. Our chemistry. We are one in the same. Two psychopaths, living secretly under one roof. I can’t help but smile at her now. Despite the fact that my death is now inevitable, seeing her in this light, two bodies as a backdrop, turns me on in a demented way.

“I love your place,” she tells me. I’m flattered. “To tell you the truth, I knew about it for a while now. But I just recently came in.” She turns around to face my contraption. Her pants are stained with blood. “Wow, what a piece of art.”

She understands me. She’s more perfect than I ever could have imagined.

She turns back. “I hope you don’t mind I used it. I had to get rid of that kid.” She walks toward me, and puts her soft hand on my face. “Are you surprised? I hope you don’t take all this the wrong way. Given your experience though, I assume you understand.”

I do. Now marry me.

“I suppose I should explain to you what happened. The truth this time.” She pauses. I can’t wait. “I’ve been doing this for probably as long as you. I knew we were the same when we met. There was something dark in your eyes. I liked it.” She switched the revolver to her other hand. “First, let me confess to something else. The Erring girl. That was me.”

My dear friend. Unknowingly, we teamed up to become one evil. She leans in close to me.

“I took her from the playground when her Mommy wasn’t looking. We played games, I gave her a dolly, and then I dismembered her slowly, before I slit her throat.”

This is hot. She pulls back to tease me, then turns back toward the nest.

“But that’s not what’s important. The Freedman’s,” she continues. “That was me. I only meant for Mark, and I wanted to make it good. The lotus position. I’m proud of that.” She turns back. She’s smiling. So am I. “But it got messy. Laura came home early. She saw me at my darkest. I was so scared. I pulled the trigger on her. There was so much noise. Someone was going to hear. I called the police on my cell, told them I heard someone breaking in. I killed the kid too. He was in my car all this time, but I couldn’t risk leaving him in there. Someone would’ve found.”

I feel sympathy for her. Anyone in such a situation would feel the same. Trapped, nowhere to hide.

“Then the fingerprints. I knew they would find them too. And it’s only a matter of time before the ID gets put on me.” She comes in close, pleading with her eyes. I just want to hold her, but the bonds won’t let me. “I fucked up. And I had to follow my plan for when this happened.”

All killers have a plan for this moment. Mine was simple. Everywhere I go, I carry a pill in my wallet. One will kill me. It’s an easy way out. Better than jail time. I was beginning to see hers now.

“When I met you, I didn’t want to leave. I couldn’t leave you, so I made up a plan. If I get caught, we go down together.”

I almost cry. This is the sweetest thing she’s ever done.

“I can’t leave you behind, and I hope you know this is for the best.” The gun is already in its position. She removes the tape from my mouth. I say my final words.

“Stephany, I love you so much.” She smiles, and presses her lips to mine. Closing my eyes in the kiss, I see the barrel of the gun press against the back of her head.

Bang.

 

It’s been four months since my last post, and at last I have a finished story worth sharing. This is quite possibly my most, er, mature story written. I mean, no explicit details, but maybe a little more grimy and realistic than most things I’ve written in the past. My main inspiration for this piece was the TV show Dexter, which I am now powering my way through on Netflix. I love his narration, and I wanted to highlight that in my story. To do this, I simply wrote as myself. I like how it turned out. Give me your comments below and let me know what you think! Please, though, I’ve had too many people comment with things such as, “This is sick. You should be ashamed!” Dude, this is a horror site. It’s gonna be fucked up. Also, if you have an idea for a story you want to see twisted in ways you can’t imagine, click on Reader’s Requests up top and send me a quick prompt. Happy Reading, and Merry Christmas! 😉

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