There are times when I simply can't help myself...
When there is an insatiable lust for the rush involved. When the thrill of the act itself is so overpowering that I feel as though I won't ever be able to escape it. Times like now.
I can feel my sense of self control circling the drain again...like the fading glow of a dimly lit star, being pulled into the limitless void of a black hole...never to be seen again.
It's a thirst for blood. To feel the warmth of it as it washes over you. To taste it on my tongue. Bitter. Tangy. But more than that, it's the sight of seeing someone's life spilling out at my feet that truly excites me this way.
My blade sinks deep. Soooo very deep. The human body is so fragile. I love the feeling of piercing the flesh. The stabbing. The ripping. Something about it gives me such an orgasmic release when the victim has been properly chosen.
I can't tell you where I went wrong. I can't even speculate on what turns an average man into the vile and disgusting monstrosity that I have become. But I'm here. I exist. Behind every lonely corner. Within every dark alley...
...I am that shadowed figure in the mist. I am that devil, manifested in flesh. I am the reason that the most gruesome of urban legends are spread from generation to generation with the chill of unbiased truth. And while there may still be some sense of humanity left deep within me...I can't stop killing. I won't.
I'm only human after all.
The year is 1976, and the Spring weather is being celebrated by those who had been cursing the blizzard that repeatedly blanketed the city streets in knee deep snow over the past few months. I like the weather when it's in transition. The air is damp. Thick. I can feel its heated texture with every breath. I can feel the moisture on the surface of my skin. It can be exhilarating. It's a time when people begin to let their guard down. Their bodies...their emotions...they begin to morph into something more appropriate for the new season. It's an ancient animal instinct. One that tells us when to migrate, when to mate, when to gather, when to hibernate...in the deepest, darkest, primal, parts of our existence...that evolutionary programming still controls us on some subliminal level. Most people hardly ever pay attention to it. But I do. I know it's there. I can sense it. I'm a predator...
...These are the signals that tell me when to hunt.
The girl's name was Ginger. I had been watching her for over three weeks now. She works the night shift at a local diner on the outskirts of the downtown area, and has a ten minute walk to get to her bus stop before heading the rest of the way home on foot. I had been closely studying her routine...as I have done many times before with the others. I watched her come, I watched her go, I learned her patterns.
The obsession can take me over so quickly sometimes. I took Polaroid pictures of Ginger through the diner window. Watching her bring food and clear tables. Something about her caused my breathing to become short and desperate. The thrill was like nothing that I have felt before.
Her hair was blond. So blond. When sweeping against the smoothness of her pale white skin...it was like DaVinci painting a blank canvas with splashes of gold. Such a pretty pretty girl. Such an untouched piece of fine art. I felt as though I had to add my personal touch to this exquisite masterpiece. I had to become a part of her perfection. It was my duty to preserve this beauty as it was. Right here...right now...before it becomes tainted by the horrors of this world.
Stay beautiful, my angel. She must remain beautiful...
Normally, I would study my victims for a week or two longer. But I was already beginning to wrestle with the shame of what I had planned to do to her. I wanted to complete the act before it was too late. Serial murder...it's a lot like composing music, or writing stanzas of fine poetic verse. Meant to be done with respect, and with passion...but in the moment, while your muse was strong. The beauty of its creation is everlasting in your mind. But you MUST complete your work once your vision has been realized. It is not to be left to linger on beyond the peak of your muse's interest. I had to finish it. She excited me. Ohhhhh...she excited me soooo very much. I could hardly contain myself. I have to do it. I have to do it soon. The killer within simply won't leave me alone.
I waited, impatiently, that night for her shift to end. Always at 1 AM. And yet she never left a table behind. A quality that I respected. I think it was her sweet nature and good heart that made my temperature rise more than anything else. She deserves to be among other angels. And it is my job to send her there. I became erect with giddy anticipation...but I had to have patience.
It's almost time. Stay calm. Cherish these moments. The stillness before the storm. They are almost as intense as the final act itself.
I turned the knob on my radio dial. WGFD was currently playing ′Why Can't We Be Friends?′ By War. I decided to light up a cigarette while I waited, tapping the steering wheel in the meanwhile.
So beautiful. I can hardly remember blinking as I watched her. The music, creating a soundtrack for her every graceful movement.
I felt myself rocking back and forth impatiently. It was 1:03 AM now. I wanted her to leave. She needed to leave the building. This feeling was too unbearable for me.
I opened the glove compartment of my car, and retrieved the six inch collapsible blade that I kept within. I stared at it, the glimmer of the blade shining into my eyes. A black and white ski mask laying over my left thigh.
The mask was important. Not just for safety's sake...but to take my own identity out of the equation. To think clearly. This wasn't about me. This was about her. This was about preserving her purity. I could be anybody. Everybody. And nobody at all. That part of the act was essential to me. It gave the murderous act a certain meaning.
Her skin was so fair. So soft. I fell in love with the very vision of her. It was like I could smell her through my Cadillac window. Ohhh...dear, sweet, God. To be able to viciously carve my turbulent emotions into her flesh would be such an honor for me. One that is sure to bring me to the very edge of sexual release. I can't wait any longer. Please hurry, Ginger. Our fate awaits us. And soon, both you and I will become immortal in the eyes of our shocked spectators. Did you know that, Ginger? Immortality is waiting for you. And it all begins with a single cut...adding a remarkable splash of crimson to that beautiful, untouched, golden palette.
It was then that I heard a firm knock at my passenger door window. It startled me at first, as I hadn't seen anyone approach the car. Not even in the rearview mirror.
When I turned to see who was bothering me, I saw a boy, about 17 years old from the looks of him...with long brown hair hanging down to his shoulders, a slim build, and a slightly cocksure, David Cassidy-like, grin on his face. With just the hint of a dark peach fuzz mustache on his upper lip. He was dressed all in black. Black button down, wide collared, shirt. Snug black corduroy pants. And a small black-banded wristwatch. I glared at him angrily for a moment, but his smile didn't dim at all. Not one bit.
When I didn't give him the appropriate response, he made a motion for me to grab the handle and roll the window down for him to speak.
Annoyed over having been pulled away from my 'Ginger watching', I leaned over and rolled down the window far enough for him to tell me what was on his brain. But instead of just talking, he quickly reached his hand inside the car and pulled up the lock on the passenger side door.
I was taken aback by the brazen nature of the boy's approach, and felt a surge of fury run through me as he opened the car door and rudely plopped down in the seat next to me without permission. Not only did he sit down, but he grabbed the clutch on the side of the seat to lean back slightly with a bratty grin plastered on his smug face.
"Excuse me..." I sneered. "Do I know you?"
"No. Not at all, man." The boy said. "But I know you." He extended his hand to me. "The name's Victor. So very happy to meet the likes of you, brother. I can tell you that for sure."
"Who the hell are you? What the fuck are you doing in my car?" I said.
"We'll get to that in a moment, Jack. For right now, I thought it only polite for us to get better acquainted. Personal, you know?"
"How...how do you know my name?" The boy just smiled a me with a slightly raised eyebrow, but he didn't answer. There was a moment when I thought that I might have been caught. That perhaps my reign over the many female victims that I had caught in my deadly web had come to a swift and sudden end. "Are you a cop?"
He laughed. "Do I look like a scumbag pig to you, man?" He looked at the diner ahead of us, and grinned as he saw Ginger counting up her tips for the night, almost ready to leave. "She's a real fox, isn't she? You've got taste, man. I'll give you that."
"I don't know what you're talking about..."
"Save it. You know what you're doing here, and I know what you're doing here. So let's not ruin the vibe with you trying to insult my intelligence. Alright?" He said. I think I was so outdone and overwhelmed by this young man that I didn't quite know what to do or how to react. I was struck speechless. But he winked at me and said, "Hey look, man...you're out here doing your 'thing', and I dig that about you, man. That's real cool. I'm not here to bust your head or blow your high. I'm your friend, man. I'm actually here to keep you going strong. We might even find ourselves a way to mutually benefit from coming to a bit of an arrangement with all this, you and me. What do you say? You think you can rap with me for a few minutes?"
Looking over at him with narrowed eyes...I began to wonder if he would be my first. A male victim...cut to the bone. Not to preserve his beauty, as I saw nothing beautiful about him. He was proud. Shameless and smug about it. His devilish smirk ignited a murderous fire within me. I would take great pleasure in slicing deep into the soft youthful skin on his face and chest, dumping his lifeless body in some dark alley like the human waste that he was. It was people like him that ruin the purity of the angels that I was desperately trying to protect.
My hand twitches.
It tightly grips the handle of the blade beside me, and I fight the urge to be so utterly reckless.
No. Not here. My car would become a crime scene. His blood would splash all over the windows, the seat...it would soak into the floor mats. No...now is not the time to be impulsive, Jack. Not now. The time must be right.
"You are one shady character, aren't you, man? The things you come up with..." He grinned. He looked into my eyes, and I got the feeling that he could see exactly what I saw in my mind's eye. And he enjoyed it. "You've got a gift in you, man. Good ol' Charlie Manson's got nothing on ya." Then he said, "Listen, let me break it down for you, brother. You've been up to some very naughty things in the past two years. I've seen it. You've got some serious shit floating around in that noggin of yours. Shit that, I'm sure, you don't want your local law enforcement officials getting access to. So how about we work out a deal? You and me?"
"I′ve got no idea what you′re talking about." I told him.
"Oh really?" Victor said, and he reached into my lap to grab my ski mask before I could keep it from him. "A black and white ski mask? In Spring, man? Even in the Windy City, it's a little warm for this shit, don't you think?" I snatched it back from him, but his smile only widened in response. "I KNOW what you did, Jack. I know what kinda groovy thrill you got from cutting up all those young girls in your leisure time. And I know where their bodies are hidden. Trust me on this. I know it all."
"You've been spying on me?" I asked through gritted teeth, almost at the breaking point.
"Details, details, my man. I could go to the cops right now if I wanted to. They could be knocking on your door in an hour. Maybe less. You'll get life in prison, and that's if you're lucky and have a damn good lawyer. Death penalty...if you're not so lucky. Won't matter much though. The other inmates don't take too kindly to guys with your kind of pedigree. When they find out what you did to those girls...they're gonna put one hell of a hurtin' on you, man. I don't think you want that."
I was quiet for a moment. Could he be bluffing? I didn't know. But I wasn't sure whether or not I could take that chance either. "I don't exactly see how I could do anything to help you." I told him.
"Ahhh, now we're talking straight, man. Dig it!" Victor turned in his seat more to face me. "You see, I have this...I guess you could call it an affliction. It keeps me on a pretty regular schedule, but...much like you, man, a guy's be careful about getting shackled by the pigs around town. Can′t get caught with my hand in the cookie jar, right? Now you? You seem to have a good thing going here. You 'think' before you act, man. You're patient. You're clean. You don't get rattled too easy. You slaughter your victims, but you make sure the evidence is all taken care of afterward. No mess, no investigation...you got a system, man. I′m down with that whole idea. If I was gonna find myself a partner, I don't think I could do much better."
"A partner? You can't be serious..."
"Serious as a heart attack, Jack. You've got a mission. I've got a mission. Neither one of us wants a one way trip to the clink. It's that simple. Lay it on me, man, what do you say?"
"I say, get out of my car." I turned away from him to look back out of the front window, tossing my ski mask into the backseat.
"Wow...that's heavy, man. Real unfriendly. Ok..." He said. "The old construction site on 65th and Pulaski? You got rid of two of the bodies over there, right? That was smart, assuming that the workers would simply lay the concrete right over the foundation and nobody would ever know. And you'd be right...IF, in fact, nobody knew about it. But I do." My heart skipped a beat, and my blood began to boil. "Or what about the girl that you buried under the new children's park on West Fullerton? A children's park, man? That's some sick shit, man. It's convenient, you being in construction and all. After a few anonymous tips get phoned in, how long do you think it will be before the police put your profession and the location of the bodies together. You really shouldn't put your name on projects involving your little 'hobby' here..."
"Enough!" I said, glaring into his smiling face. I don't know how the hell he knew these things, but as soon as I find out, he's history. I took a moment to process my thoughts, and I asked, "Since you know so much about my 'work'...who's to say that I won't just drive you around the corner and kill you myself?"
"Hehehe, that might prove to be a little more difficult than you'd think it would be, Jack..." And, as if something had jumped straight out of a child's nightmare, I saw Victor's eyes light up like orbs of brimstone. His grin displaying a pair of fangs with pointed ends. I instantly jumped in my seat, the horror of it pressing my back against the driver side window. "Mellow out, man. If I wanted you six feet under you'd already be on the business end of the Devil's pitchfork, man. Relax. I told you, I want us to be friends. I know your secret...and now you know mine."
"What the hell are you???" I gasped.
"Hey, man! I said relax." Victor turned up the music on the radio, and said, "I need blood, Jack. Lots of it. And I don't have the skills or the resources needed to keep that kind of thing quiet. Not like you do. So I'm making you an offer here. Once a month, I'll come see you. You pick up your pretty little angels, you do what you do best, and you let me dine on the scraps. Dead is dead, am I right? You let me feed, and I allow you to keep your freedom. We both get what we want. No further worries. No further complications."
"So...you're blackmailing me. Is that it?"
"I'd like to think of it as...setting up a symbiotic relationship within an urban environment."
"How poetic." I grunted. I saw Ginger leaving the diner, and considered my options. Of which there were very few. "How do I know that you'll keep your mouth shut?"
"Hey, man...I need you like you need me. I've got no reason to rain on your parade. If anything, I'm a FAN."
"Who ever said anything about me needing you?"
Victor looked out the front windshield at Ginger as she began her walk to the bus stop. "Tonight's not the night. You should wait on her, Jack."
"You don't know what you're talking about."
"I know you're anxious. And tonight ain't your night, man. She traded shifts with another waitress for tomorrow morning. She's doing a turnaround shift." He said.
"She's going to go home, shower, get a few hours of sleep, and she's due back here at 9 AM. They'll be expecting her to show up." Victor looked back at me, his eyes still faintly glowing in the dark. "If you do it tonight, they're going to know that something is wrong by the time 10 AM comes around. Can you do what you need to do, get your jollies, and clean up the mess, by 10 AM, Jack? Doesn't leave you with much of a chance to have a whole lot of 'fun', now does it?" Watching Ginger disappear into the darkness as she slipped out of my grip for one more night, I couldn't help but to feel my heart break. But on the chance that this creature was on the level, I chose to let her go. CHOSE... "You see, man? I'm helping you out already. So what's up? Do we have a deal or what?"
Making my final decision, I reached my hand in his direction. "Victor, was it?"
He grinned with satisfaction. "My man." We shook on it, but this situation was only temporary. It would only last until I found a way to erase this son of a bitch from my life completely. And I planned to start thinking about how to accomplish that the second he stepped his foot outside of this car. "I'll come get you tomorrow night, and we'll get down to business. Oh, and don't try to hide from me, Jack. I'll find you. I'll always find you. So don't chump out on me, chief. Ok?" He said. "We've got some wicked times ahead of us, man. Let's enjoy them. You be the lion, I'll be the jackal. And together...we can do the dirty deeds that need to be done. You dig?"
I agreed. I made a deal with the devil that night. But so did he. Whether he knows it or not.
I'm not a murderer. I'm an artist. And I don't share.
He may think that he has me over a barrel, but as I looked at the blade in my hand, and put it back in the glove compartment, I felt an angry itch within me that I had never felt before. I don't know who or what this 'Victor' is...but one thing is for certain...
...At some point, very soon, our little arrangement is going to reach a boiling point. And there will be a very quick and savage satisfaction given to his thirst for blood...or for mine...
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