Sep. 14, 2017
Joe left the woman where she laid and her whimpers slowly quieted and she faded away in the back of his mind. The sirens got louder and louder, the faint flicker of lights could now be seen in the distance as they raced to the station. He pulled out his flask and finished it, tucking the empty canister back into his breast pocket. He glanced around at the carnage and mayhem, blood oozed from various bodies that were strewn across the platform. A few of them still twitched here and there, a few’s chests rose and fell with heavy breathing, most lay still.
“This is how the world ends,” he muttered to himself, a wry smiling crawling across his face as he pondered the crazy journey he had set out on without any forethought or planning. “This is how the world ends.” He said it louder, laughing a little to himself as he did. In his mind he could hear Justin Timberlake saying it as he envisioned the opening scene of one of his favorite movies, Southland Tales. Heavy footsteps thudded around the corner as the first team of cops was arriving on the scene. “This is how the world ends!” Joe yelled as the cops neared his location.
“Freeze! Hands up!” They hollered at him, peering around the corner, pointing their weapons in his direction. He was standing in the middle of the platform now, surrounded by bodies, a pool of deep-red blood forming around his feet.
“Not with a whimper,” Joe yelled back, changing the quote to something that seemed more fitting for his situation.
“Hands up or we’ll shoot!”
“…But with a bang!” Joe reached behind him and pulled his pistol out of his belt. As he swung his arm around to his front he took one last look at the bodies laying around him and allowed the magnitude of what he had done sink in. The cop peering around the corner fired his gun. Joe’s mind was racing, his heartbeat slowed and the world seemed to descend into a sudden state of clarity. His eyes focused in on each of the victims laying around him, he saw their faces as clear as day in his mind’s eye. Twisted in horror and pain, confused at what had happened, their faces were committed to his memory as he moved through each one like a slideshow.
His mind began to drift as he thought back through his previous kills. The blood spraying the walls or the cement as he moved through time back to that very first night. That very first night where he had found the first small bit of relief in an otherwise miserable existence. As a wave of satisfaction washed over him the memories faded Joe felt the hard punch in his chest as the bullet struck him. It was as if someone had suddenly kicked him, then lit the wound on fire. He felt his body suddenly push backwards with the weight of the blow and the fire intensified, threatening to pull him out of his final moments of bliss. As he felt his back, shoulders, then head strike the platform Joe held on to his feeling of satisfaction with everything he had left in him.
As the life quickly drained from his body and a warm pool of blood formed around him Joe smiled with the sheer bliss of a man who held no regrets, and he closed his eyes and allowed himself to die.
Sep. 14, 2017
Joe wandered down the street for a few blocks, clutching the small stack of bibles and pamphlets to his chest. “I shouldn’t take my own car,” he kept telling himself as he walked further and further from his apartment. “Be smart about this, you already fucked up, we can save this.” He stopped in his tracks for a second. “We? Who is we?” He shook his head and walked to the bus stop ahead. He was about five blocks from his apartment at this time and had passed two other stops, he hoped that would be enough that anyone checking security cameras wouldn’t be paying as close attention as in front of his building. He dug some coins out of the bible thumper’s pocket and paid his far, choosing a seat near the midsection of the bus, trying to seem as normal as possible. He hoped the dirty looks he received were due to his disguise, not his face that was plastered all over the news.
He rode the bus to the second-to-last stop then departed, well outside of town. As he hailed a cab he checked his pockets to make sure he hadn’t absent-mindedly grabbed his cell phone, he wasn’t leaving anything else to chance.
“Where to, kid?” The cabbie was a large man with a graying beard who spoke with a slight Boston accent out of the corner of his lip as he chewed on something. Joe hadn’t thought of where to go just yet, but he didn’t want to seem suspicious so he tried to use his ignorance to his advantage.
“I have to grab the address, just keep heading this direction for now, I’ll find it.” He fumbled in his pockets while his mind raced, counting the money he had stolen from the poor kid who had come to his door, mixing it with his own. He had enough cash to get him well-away from town but without visiting an ATM he wasn’t going to do much else. If he had learned anything from the TV shows his parents used to watch it was that the cops always track your ATM charges, so all this running would be pointless if he used an ATM at the end of the line.
“Ah, it’s on this road, about 10 minutes further or so. I can stop you when you get there, I don’t have the address I guess.” The cabby nodded at him and spit brown liquid into a plastic cup he kept in his center console. Joe watched as the scenery became less and less houses and more and more trees and dirt roads. Finally, a couple miles after they passed a branch of his bank he asked the cabbie to stop. He paid his fair and left a generous tip, hoping that if the man liked him he’d remember him less, then he was off to walk back towards the bank and hopefully hail another cab, or find a bus or train station nearby.
His heart started to race and he could feel his blood pumping through his ears as he took out the maximum amount the ATM would allow. He’d have to make a few more stops before he had it all, but best not to do it all here and raise some sort of red flag in the system. Joe stuffed half of the money into his wallet, the other half into his socks then headed back up the street where he came from. It was just after noon, he had plenty of time to find another form of transport to keep on heading away from town. Currently he had been heading west but he thought he might change it up and head north, try to confuse anyone who might eventually track his movements. Everyone always looked for patterns in the TV shows, maybe if he was erratic he’d actually get away with it. Joe pulled his flask from the breast pocket of the jacket and took a sip, trying to slow his panicking heart. The warm liquid rolled down his throat and the world slowed down slightly, allowing him to focus a little better. “Alright, there’s a train station around here, I remember hearing about it, I should head South, not North, away from any of my crime scenes.” He glanced around to make sure no one could see him talking to himself, then tucked the flask away and started walking again.
By a wild stroke of luck he found himself in front of the train station within the hour and bought a ticket to Miami, Florida. He didn’t plan to ride all the way there but at least he was headed south. While he waited for the train to arrive the other passengers stared at him and whispered amongst themselves, the TV in the station was silently detailing a terrorist cell’s recent activities in the middle east. His paranoia was starting to rise again, but it was absurd. “They’re not talking about you,” he told himself, pretending to read one of the bible’s he was holding in his sweaty hands.
“I’m telling you, it’s him. Look!” His fear getting the best of him, Joe looked up at the TV to once again see his face plastered on the screen. “It’s him! Get your phone!” He turned and looked at them just in time to see them snap a picture with a smartphone. Joe was shell-shocked. His mind raced, the noises around him deadened into a dull murmur while every stared, pulling out their phones. There was no time, he had to react. His mind raced as he tried to think of his options, but nothing came to mind. He barely registered the thought as his right hand pulled the pistol out from it’s hiding spot in his belt and fired a round directly into the woman’s head who had taken his picture.
Her head jerked back as a small red hole formed and a warm spray covered the two men standing behind her. The room was suddenly alive, and Joe with it. He circled, firing shots wildly into the crowd as they all fled from the platform. A woman here, a man there, his bullets punctured their skin sending red droplets to the ground. Some of the fell silently, most of the fell screaming, clutching some hole in their body as blood spurted out. When the platform was clear Joe quietly tucked the gun back into his belt and sighed. The area was silent except for the pathetic whimpering of a few wounded men and women. Joe took a long haul off of his flask before tucking it into his breast pocket where it had come from. His shoes landed with heavy thuds as he approached a woman crying on the ground. Kneeling down, he stared into her face, looking deep into her eyes as she started to hyperventilate, clutching her arm and moaning with pain.
“I…” Joe opened his mouth to speak but was interrupted by the sound of sirens in the distance.
Sep. 14, 2017
Joe wiped the sweat from his brow and crossed the room as the loud knocking on the door continued. He took one final deep breath before pulling the door open.
“Hello! Can you spare five minutes to talk about our Lord and Sav…” Joe slammed the door in their faces.
“Fucking idiots!” It was just two men in their early twenties in pressed suits trying to promote their lies so they could feel accomplished. He loathed them, was disgusted by them, but could they be his ticket out? His heart raced as he pulled the door open again.
“Hey! I have five minutes, c’mon!” He called down the hall just before they could knock on the next door. The two men returned with huge smiles on their face.
“Come on in!” Joe smiled at them as best he could, given the situation. “Have a seat,” Joe said as he motioned towards the couch that doubled as his bed, “I just have to grab something.” He bolted to his desk and started moving papers around, looking for the hammer he had used a couple weeks back for his first kill. It only seemed fitting. The next few moments were all a blur as his panic finally took over. His fingers wrapped around the hammer, he took mental stock of the men’s placement on his couch, then he turned and with the first swing of his body slammed the hammer into the temple of the closest man, killing him instantly. Blood spurted out of his temple and hit his friend, who pulled back in fear but barely had time to utter a sound before the hammer collapsed his skull from above, and his body crumpled to the floor. Joe quickly grabbed a blanket from the couch and mopped up the blood on the first victim before it could reach his suit, wrapping the mans head in it to slow the spread for now. As he quickly undressed the man his heart began to finally slow and his vision became clear again. It wasn’t until he had the man’s entire suit and pants in his hands before he stepped back to admire his handy work. He smiled to himself, delighted with his idea and quickly dressed in the man’s clothes. As he pulled on the shiny black shoes the man had been wearing he scanned the room for the man’s bible, as well as the stack of pamphlets he was to hand out. He found them both sitting on the couch next to where the man had sat before he was bludgeoned to the floor.
The door clicked behind him and Joe ruffled his hair, trying to pull his bangs over his face, though they barely reached his eyebrows. He hadn’t shaved in several days, and with his hair different from the news he hoped that he would be difficult enough to recognize for a little while. With as much confidence as he could muster he strolled to the elevator, softly patting his breast pocket where his newly filled flask rested. He had a pocket knife stored safely in his pocket, his hammer, recently bleached, at the bottom of the sack of pamphlets, and his gun tucked neatly into the back of his pants.
A smile crept across Joe’s face as the elevator doors shut and he punched the button for the lobby. “Here we go…”
Sep. 14, 2017
The next few weeks were a blur as the news rambled on about the the horrendous killing in Vermont. Police canvassed the area the following morning, talking to neighbors, interrogating suspects that lived nearby. Joe watched it all live from the comfort of his desk chair, chuckling as they fumbled around, completely clueless. The best part was that no connection had been made to his local killings, so there was no search for a serial killer, just a random drunken bimbo stabbed to death in her apartment. For days Joe lived the charmed life of the blissfully happy. He went to work, he smiled at strangers, and he laughed as he sat in front of his computer each night, watching the cops talk about “clues” they had found that Joe knew had absolutely nothing to do with the case. They were drowning in failure and had no idea that he was a thousand miles away, safe at home, sipping the woman’s blood in his pajamas.
As the case wore on it started to become dull. Other people died, horrible things happened around the world and the mysterious gruesome murder was no longer the forefront on everyone’s minds. It had been chalked up to just another unsolved case and everyone moved on. Joe began to become quite anxious. He sat in his chair, bouncing his knee up and down under the desk and sipping the blood from the flask, letting the iron taste take him back to that night for a few moments of satisfaction.
A week to the day after the murder had taken place Joe was sitting in his chair late at night, fighting sleep and listening to the reporter drag on about how there were no new developments. His flask sat in front of him, a fain streak of red running down the front of it.
“This just in,” she said, bringing her right hand up to her ear to shield the noise as she listened to an important message. “Security footage has been found from outside a local pub that shows the victim leaving with an unknown man.” Joe’s blood was suddenly ice cold and his heart stopped for a second as the clip began to play. There he was, all over the news for all to see, clear as day. They zoomed in on his face then cropped the photo, zooming out with the photo and placing an 800 number next to it. “If you know this man or have seen him lately, please call the number on your screen.” Joe looked out the window to his right and saw someone walking by on the sidewalk, they glanced up so he darted away from the window, falling out of his chair and slamming into the floor hard.
He grabbed his chest as he laid there on the floor, his heart had resumed beating but so fiercely he was worried he would have a heart attack right there on the floor, at least the cops would never catch him. Joe scrambled to his feet and grabbed the flask off his desk, unscrewing the lid and tipping it back, nothing came out. His mind was racing, his anxiety hitting an all-time high.
“I have to go…I have to get out of here.” Joe started pacing the apartment with the empty flask in his right hand, muttering to himself. His anxiety turned to frustrating and he flung the flask across the room, “Shit! How could I have been so stupid? Four kills…four! Lamest serial killer ever!” Joe suddenly froze, aware that he was talking out loud, hopefully not too loud but he was never quite sure how much the neighbors could hear. “Ok, I have to go,” he whispered to himself, rushing across the room to collect his flask. He headed to the kitchen and pulled out a bottle of bleach from under the sink, dousing the flask until the blood was completely washed off and he was sure the inside was cleansed. He then rinsed it repeatedly until he was sure it was safe to drink from again. Throwing it in the drying rack next to the sink, he darted back towards his desk, he kept his clothes in a small dresser next to it. Clothes started flying everywhere as he tore through them, trying to make the ones he wanted land in the suitcase that was still open from his last trip. He grabbed the gun that still sat on his coffee table, checked the safety, then popped it into his pants pocket. As he zipped up the suitcase another panic attack began to set in.
“I can’t just walk into an airport with a gun and my face all over the news…I can’t drive anywhere, they’ll eventually have my license plates…it’s only a matter of time.” Joe began to pace again, taking a momentary break to drag his suitcase over to the door and slip his flask into the front pocket. Maybe I’ll just find a motel in the country, somewhere outside of town for a while. Then I can plan a way to ditch the car and keep moving…” Joe barely had time to finish his thought before a loud knock sounded on his door. He froze in his spot, awkwardly poised in mid pace, his heart beating so loud he was afraid whoever was in the hall would hear it. A few moments of silence and then the knock sounded again, louder this time. BAM BAM BAM, three quick slams on the door, but no voice. On TV the police always yell something, right? Something like ‘Police! Open up!’ So maybe it was fine, just an angry neighbor or someone selling something. His mind played through a million difference scenarios, none of them positive.
BAM BAM BAM! Joe pulled his gun out of his waistband and started to walk towards the door.
Sep. 14, 2017
The stars twinkled in the black sky like a thousand brilliant explosions going off all at once, since that’s exactly what they were. Joe marveled at the thought of it as his breath steamed passed his eyes, obscuring the view slightly. Millions, perhaps billions of contained explosions rocketing through open space at incredible speeds, destined to, one day, either collide with another massive explosion or to succumb to it’s own powers and cave in on itself. He allowed himself to close his eyes briefly and surrender his soul to the great unknown, slowly feeling weightless in the frigid air.
“Bill, c’mon!” Daisy called from up ahead on the sidewalk, “what are you doing?” She giggled a little as he looked down at her, snapping back to reality. She was drunkenly skipping down the icy sidewalk towards the bar that she loved and just had to take him to. As she giggled her feet slipped out from under her. Her knees locked and her legs shot straight out, sending her down onto the hard path with a loud smack. Joe rushed to her side and helped her up, laughing as she broke out into a loud drunken song. “I fell! I fell on the ice and I didn’t feel it!” She sang at the top of her lungs, laughing between every few words. By the time Joe had her standing again he was failing to see the humor in it anymore. “Maybe I shouldn’t drink more,” she said followed by a large gulp that he could only imagine was her swallowing a burp. “Let’s just…let’s just go to my place, I’ll take you to the best bar in town tomorrow night.”
“Ok, we should probably get you some water and aspirin.”
“Oh, I’m fine. Didn’t feel a thing.” She laughed again, hanging onto his right arm heavily enough to almost pull him down onto the sidewalk. He pulled his left hand in and grabbed her arm, then swung his hand around her waist and helped her balance as she gave him directions back to her place.
“There’s beer in the fridge,” she muttered as she walked into her apartment and headed straight for the couch, “grab me one, too.” Joe watched as she threw herself down on the couch and stretched out for a minute, staring at her ceiling. He took out his empty flask and funnel that he kept safely in his jacket pocket and set it down on her counter. Daisy glanced at it as he did so and looked back at the ceiling. “You’re going to kill me now, right?” Joe was taken aback by what he had just heard. The room began to spin slightly as Daisy sat up on the couch, holding her head which had started to ache a little. How could she know? Had he given her some hint? A sign? Had he drunkenly outed himself for who he was?
“What?” he questioned, holding onto the counter to try to stop the room from spinning so violently.
“You’re going to fuck me now, right?” Daisy looked at him with a mischievous look in her eye, he was still stunned by his mistake.
“Oh, I thought you said…”
“No you didn’t. Grab me a beer and come here.” She watched him as he grabbed two beers out of the fridge and set them on the counter delicately.
“Want to see a trick?”
“Always!” Daisy hopped up off the couch enthusiastically and headed to the kitchen as he pulled a large knife out of a drawer. She sidled up next to him and slid her hand around his waist as he inspected the blade. ‘I am a stranger in her apartment,’ he thought to himself, ‘with a large knife. How is it that she is so trusting?’ He continued to pretend to examine the blade as his mind raced. Was it right to do this to someone he trusted him so much? Did she really deserve it? His mind drifted back to the airport, as he was forced to listen to her incessant dribble that she called conversation. The flight where she talked nonstop about absolutely nothing, she had asked someone to switch seats with him so that she could sit next to him, it was horrible. Then the entire evening as she drank glass after glass, getting completely hammered with a complete stranger, and talking about work and family and all of the things that he couldn’t have cared less about. Her eyes pierced into his as he twisted the knife, her reflection caught in a loving gaze as she watched him examine the blade, waiting for a trick that she was sure would blow her mind.
“Alright, stand back.” He said and Daisy backed off a few feet. He grabbed his flask and examined it, moving it to the edge of the counter in direct reach then picking up one of the bottles and pretending to inspect the cap. Miller Lite, figures. All remorse gone, the intensity of the night washed over him as he embraced the true reason he had flown to Vermont. He set the bottle down on the counter just as gingerly as before and opened his eyes. He smiled at her and she smiled back, eyes wide with anticipation. Anticipation quickly turned to horror as the knife slid into her belly and his hand flew up to cover her mouth. Daisy shrank away from him but he pressed into her as their two bodies slammed into the wall. A photo sprang loose from it’s nail and glass shattered onto the tile floor of the kitchen. Daisy clawed at him and tried to scream but she was weak from the alcohol and weaker from the blood loss. He held her in his arms, almost lovingly, as she slumped down to the floor, head drooping and eyes closing sleepily.
When she lay still Joe stood, grabbed his flask, and began the process of filling it. Once it was full he secured the top, rinsed the flask and funnel, then slid it into his jacket pocket. Without a word he stared at Daisy one last time, she really was pretty. With a slight smirk on his face he zipped up his jacket and left the apartment, locking the door behind him on the way out. Daisy lived in a busy neighborhood and it was easy to find a cab. Joe was back at the airport within the hour talking to the ticketing agent about a flight home. The warmth emanating through his jacket pocket onto his chest made him smile as he boarded the plane and looked out the window at the snowy Vermont runway. As the plane’s wheels left the pavement he closed his eyes and Joe fell into a deep slumber full of the wonderful dreams that came with a truly happy soul.
Sep. 14, 2017
Later that evening Joe was delighted by the sounds of sirens and the sight of police cars flying past his building towards the second murder. ‘The next one needs to be further away,’ he told himself before even realizing that he was planning a third engagement. He giggled at the though as he could feel his blood pulse through his veins. His flask sat on the counter next to a bottle of scotch, still containing his collection from the night before. He smiled at the though of opening the flask and drinking his contents but he resisted. He knew the feelings would fade and he wanted to save it so that he could savor this bliss as long as he could. With the cops running around the area he would need to start spacing out his play time a little more, and perhaps plan it a little better in the future. The time and stress that it would require would definitely cause him to need a little relief and so he saved it and poured a glass of scotch instead.
“Ah,” he sighed obnoxiously after a deep drink, silently hating himself for doing the blissful things he had seen others do in public, but at least he was in the privacy of his own home. After both excursions he had woken up feeling like a new person. It was as if a dark, heavy veil had been lifted from his life. The sun shone brighter, the birds sang clearer, and the air was crisper. Everything about the day screamed that he should be happy to be alive, and for the first time in his life he was. Joe sipped his scotch and danced about the apartment, cleaning up the random debris that had collected through years of neglect. By the time the sun was setting on this beautiful Sunday afternoon the apartment was spotless and new. He stood in the corner and marveled at the beauty of it all and started to picture placement for various pieces of furniture that he had never possessed the desire to own. A television, or a real couch perhaps on that wall over by the window, and a dining table next to this counter top here. He laughed at the thought but quickly reminded himself that the source of his happiness would likely cause him to need to leave suddenly and this wanton waste of money would be fruitless and silly, but still he loved the thought of it.
The week dredged on and the news waned about the mysterious killings in his neighborhood and Joe began to bore of his life once again. He woke up, drank coffee, went to work, came home, watched the street, drank, and went to bed. Each day less exciting than the last, but at least the hype of a possible serial killer on the local news sites kept him entertained slightly. Since both sets of bodies were found on steps a few blocks away from each other many people had tied them together, and Joe loved them for that. However, the mass public saw this as a pathetic attempt to create a connection that wasn’t there and dismissed them as typical city violence. As the story passed away slowly Joe began to itch to go out on the town again. When friday rolled around he broke down and pulled out his flask. He had moved it to the fridge Sunday evening so that it stayed fresh and he drank deeply as his hands shook with frustration. The irony bouquet pleasured his nostrils as his gulped down the thick liquid, letting the memories of that evening wash over him as if a flood had just broken through a dam. Joe woke up on Saturday like a new man. The sun was brighter again, the birds sang clearer again, and the air was crisper again. And so Joe was able to push his happiness for another week before another Friday hit and he slumped down onto his futon filled with rage.
“Keep up the great work!” His boss had told I’m that day, as if he hadn’t been doing great work before he started killing people. He resented the fact that his work potential had changed at all based on his mood and his previous feeling of hatred for that incompetent buffoon overtook him. He sat there, on his futon in the dark, stewing over the week. All of the extra work he had done, all of the extra hours he had put in while he whistled through the day and then receiving a bland, useless compliment at the end of the week as a measure of fake appreciation, it was all so humdrum and pointless. He loathed the idea of accepting this horrible satire that was his life and so he plotted. A third murder close to his home would launch an investigation, right? That’s what all the shows said, patterns always came in threes. Yes, he needed to leave if he was going to do this, commit his act somewhere far away so that it could not be tied back to him. He checked his watch, it was still early in the evening, this could be done quickly.
“OK, lets do it,” he told himself as he grabbed his flask from the drying rack next to the sink and filled it with scotch. Joe quickly changed into some fresh clothes, stuffed the flask into his jacket pocket, and locked up the apartment. He hailed a taxi downstairs and demanded to be brought to the airport. When he arrived he threw the cash at the driver, barely counting out a tip and dashed out of the car for the ticket counters. The lady at Delta was friendly enough, she smiled and acted as if she was in love with selling people tickets to better places. She needed to be destroyed, but this was not the place for that. He told himself over and over as he gritted his teeth through the conversation that she wasn’t the one, she was not the one to fix him.
“Where to?” she finally asked, satisfied with whatever ridiculous smalltalk she had attempted previously.
“Vermont.” Joe demanded, not sure exactly where yet but just needing to be somewhere away.
“OK,” she hit a few keys on her keyboard and squinted at the screen. The attendant rubbed her chin a little and cocked her head as she scrolled through the page. Her mouse made an irritating clicking sound as she scanned through the results. “I can get you to Burlington by the morning, the flight leaves in an hour and a half. What great timing!”
“Sure,” Joe said, losing interest in the lady as he watched various passengers drift around the airport consumed by their cell phones. The lady collected his ID and credit card and printed him a ticket. When she asked if he’d be checking any backs he claimed he was on a business trip and would be back in the morning, she upgraded him to a round trip for the following day and he was off. As he walked towards security he fumbled around in his pockets for his headphones, hoping to drown out the idiocy of the people around him arguing about where their gates were and whether or not they would miss their flight. Pointless, every bit of it, and more pointless with every passing second. By the time he reached his gate he was panting heavily and he snuck a quick drink out of his flask. He was surprised they had let him through security with it but things had become more lax since the 9-11 hype had worn off, just like his news articles.
Sip after sip Joe drank as he sat at his gate, watching the passengers move to and fro when he caught a glimpse of a woman at the help counter near the gate arguing with the attendants there.
“Listen, I don’t care what my ticket says, I know I picked a window seat online, I know I did!” she scolded them, assuring them that whatever issue she had concocted with her incompetence on a simple website was their fault. “I don’t care what you need to do, but this needs to be fixed.” She slammed her phone down on the counter causing a few of the passengers waiting in the terminal to turn to look at her momentarily then go back to their pathetic texts. Joe narrowed his eyes and watched as she switched her balance from foot to foot in agitation and flicked her blond hair as the attendant looked for a window seat on the computer.
“I’ll switch with her,” he said, rising form his seat and walking to the counter. “I don’t really care where I sit.” The attendant looked at him, puzzled by his generosity at first then relieved.
“Oh thank you sir, are you sure?”
“Absolutely!” Joe flashed a fake smile at the woman and extended his hand. “Bill LeFleur,” he said, trying to seem friendly.
“Daisy McKenna,” she said, seeming a little embarrassed as she shook his hand then quickly pocketed her phone. Joe handed the lady his ticket and winked at her, hoping she wouldn’t out him for the name change. She glanced at the ticket, then back at the man, catching his wink and continued with the process a little shaken.
“Thanks, sir” she said as she handed him his new middle-seat and Daisy her new window-seat before turning away and ignoring the two at the counter.
“Well, have a safe flight,” Joe said and turned to sit back down.
“Thanks, that was really nice of you,” Daisy responded, following him to his seat. “I really appreciate it.”
“Not a problem.”
“Really, though, I’m so embarrassed by the way I acted, I must seem so high-maintenance. Let me buy you a drink on the plane at least, what’s your new seat?” She tried to steal a glance at his ticket but he turned it away from her.
“Ok, Bill in 28B. I owe you one.” She flashed a smile at him and walked off to find her own seat in the crowded waiting room. Joe smiled a little, staring down at his ticket and realizing that he had just began his first real hunt.
Sep. 14, 2017
The following day Joe watched with delight as the blue and red lights flickered throughout his apartment, bouncing off his walls from the street below. He watched as the cops gathered the body and placed their tape and markers all over the scene. He loved how they scurried to and fro like mice trying to figure out a maze. He hadn’t felt this alive and happy in years, a giggle even escaped his lips a few times. After some time one of the officers saw him watching so he backed away from the window and just sat in the red and blue glow, listening to the commotion with a wry smile creeping across his lips. When it was all over he remained seated at his desk, listening to the empty street below. The knock on his door jolted him out of his stupor. Suddenly agitated and anxious he crept to his door and peered through the keyhole. The cops! He opened the door slowly and just enough for him to pop his head out, leaving his shoulder pressed against the inside of the door in case he needed to slam it shut.
“Can I help you?” he asked timidly, trying to appear as nonchalant as possible and failing miserably. The cop peered at him through squinted eyes, then looked him up and down, at least what parts of him could be seen in the barely open doorway.
“Are you Joseph Terry?”
“I saw you in the window, do you know what happened?”
“A young man and woman were murdered last night, none of your neighbors saw anything, most of them claim they weren’t home. They all said you rarely leave the apartment, did you happen to see or hear anything last night?”
“No…I…I’m sorry, I didn’t.” Joe opened and closed his mouth a few times after stammering out that pathetic sentence, trying to figure out what to say next. “Sorry.”
The cop crooked his head to the side like some idiot puppy and narrowed his eyes as Joe continued to stutter in the doorway. With a sly grin, as if he knew something Joe didn’t and was lording it over him he shook his head and said, “Alright, just relax. Don’t get out much do you? It’s ok, if you think of anything, just call me.” He extended his hand to give joe a small paper card with his number written on it. The outrage, this man pitied him! That smile, that shake of the head, it was just like they used to do in school, as if he was some urchin so comically low in society that he wasn’t worth talking to. The anger began to well up inside of him as Joe gingerly reached out and pulled the card from the cop.
“Thanks, I will,” he said cautiously, then closed the door as the cop walked down the hall. As soon as the door shut and latched he began to breathe heavily. The audacity of that man, treating him like he was some kind of child. That smile that he let cross his face at my expense, due to my stuttering, it was absolutely maddening. Joe’s anger surged inside him as he grabbed a bottle from the shelf in his kitchen that held the various whiskey and scotch brands he had collected over the years. With a shaky hand he poured himself a tall glass. Sipping on the 10 year old scotch whiskey he had selected, he walked briskly to his desk and sat down. It was nothing special but soon he began to relax. ‘What am I doing? I cannot be angry at a cop, not now.’ He mused to himself, starting to see the humor in the situation as the scotch warmed his belly. The memory of the blood spilling out of the woman the night before, running down the steps like a majestic waterfall brought a smile to his lips and he laughed for the second time that he could remember. For the first time in his life he was happy, he leaned back in the chair and listened as the cop knocked on his neighbors door to resume his line of questioning.
As the days wore on his mood slowly started it’s downward journey back to normal. The street seemed a little noisier each night and his coworkers slightly dumber. The people on the train talked a little louder or smelled a little fouler and his patience began to wear thin. Even the thoughts of that wonderful night began to feel a little less comforting and invigorating. His apartment, which use to be his fortress of solitude, had begun to feel like a cage at times. The walls would close in, the windows would shrink down to pinholes and he would sulk in the corner listening to the incessant dribble of shallow conversation echoing up from below. He had taken to going for walks in the evening to remedy this. Once or twice around the block usually did the trick but he hated it. His neighbors gawked at him as he walked by, as if just because they had never seen him out at this time of night meant it wasn’t allowed and he was breaking some sort of rule. No one said anything, they just stared and avoided him.
One particular night, about eight days after the events that he referred to as his happy night, he found himself wandering a little further out. Instead of rounding the block like he had been doing most evenings he went straight at his first corner headed down the darkened street. The streetlights had all gone out and he usually avoided it, it seemed smart to do so. This particular night the quiet called to him and he let his trance take him into the void. As he walked past the darkened trees and stoops by the dark buildings he began to hear a faint conversation playing on the air ahead. As he came closer he could start to make out the words, a typical imbecilic conversation about sports or music or something, he didn’t recognize the names they were comparing. His heart began to race as he neared the conversation and could hear more and more of it. The anxiety bubbled up inside of him and his hands began to shake slightly, but instead of a panicked feeling he felt excitement. Joe pulled out the flask that he kept tucked in his pocket and unscrewed the lid. After drinking the remains of the flask he slid it back into his pocket and pulled out a knife. For a brief second his inner self questioned him, why did he have a knife? He didn’t remember bringing one, but here it was in his hand. The questions slowly gave way as he rounded the corner and saw the man and woman engaging in conversation on the stoop in front of their building. Their faces were obscured by the dark but he could make out their basic features in the faint glow of their cigarettes. Joe wriggled his nose in disgust at the horrible smell emanating off of both of them as they puffed away on their sticks of flaming tobacco, paying him no mind.
Without having time to consider his options Joe ran up the steps and shoved the man’s left shoulder. Caught by surprise, he fell forward into the woman, catching his feet on the steps and slamming his knee hard as he went down. The woman opened her mouth to scream but Joe’s knife quickly silenced her with a quick slash to her throat. She made a queer gurgling noise and clutched her neck as red lines squeezed through her fingers and dripped onto the stone steps below. She stumbled slightly as Joe danced out of her way, then collapsed, slamming her face into he concrete sidewalk and splaying her legs out at odd angles. As she spasmed slightly Joe turned to the man who was holding his face, blood dripping through his fingers.
“What the…” he was muttering, unaware of what had happened in the few seconds he had spent trying to stand up. Joe’s knife came down from above and plunged into the back of his neck. The man jerked suddenly but made no sound as he collapsed to the ground. His chest heaved and his breathing quicker as joe watched the steps and sidewalk slowly transform into a bloody mess. The smile returned to his lips and a quiet laugh escaped him. He quickly filled his flask while the blood was still flowing freely from their wounds and then backed up, taking one last long look at his work and glancing around to be sure there were no witnesses. Feeling satisfied and turned and began to skip home, laughing gaily and humming a little tune, he had no idea what it was. ‘This is a wonderful night,’ he thought to himself as he tucked away his flask, ‘a wonderful night indeed!’
Sep. 14, 2017
“I regret every decision I ever made.”
The words stared back at him, peering into the very depths of his soul as the cursor blinked at the end of the line. Joe leaned back in his chair and rested his hands on the back of his head, the stale taste of whiskey filled the room as he exhaled and closed his eyes. Every night, ‘Every god damned night,’ he muttered to himself, as he sat at this computer in the dark listening to sirens scream by outside his dark windows. All of the self help gurus, or con artists as he liked to call them, said the same thing day in and day out. ‘No regrets! Live every day to the fullest! The past is the past, tomorrow is a new day!’ Yet every night Joe sat at his computer and ran through his day, word for word, step for step and found that he regretted it all. Every step was in the wrong direction, every word was wrong for the situation, every smile fake and every hand shaken was with a person who should have been shot instead of embraced. Every decision made that day was wrong and he regretted each and every one of them.
The streets outside buzzed with life as people rushed here and there. Sometimes Joe would watch them from his darkened apartment, enjoying the fact that they couldn’t see him as he started down at them. This didn’t last long, though. Typically after ten or fifteen minutes Joe would grow impatient or angry, unable to understand why that one girl smiled or that one guy laughed. Whys should they be happy? They were pathetic. It was he who should be happy, he who should be laughing. He’d pull his gun off the table and marvel at the weight as it hung limply by his side and he’d watch them laugh. Once in a while he’d even aim the gun at one of them as their neck craned backward and an exclamation of joy escaped their lips. He’d peer down the sights at them as they smiled and reveled in the moment. ‘They do not deserve it,’ he would tell himself as he checked to make sure the gun is loaded, ‘they do not deserve to be happy.’ Every time he’d put the gun down, if they didn’t deserve to be happy they definitely didn’t deserve him to either give his life to take theirs or for him to sacrifice his life to prison to end theirs. ‘One day someone will be worth it, then it will finally be over,’ he would say as he set the gun down on the table, leaving the safety off.
Tonight the gun sat on his short wooden coffee table in the center of the room, away from the window. Joe listened as the sirens faded into the distance, wondering who they were off to abuse or arrest. He clicked the button below the monitor to shut off the screen, leaving the apartment dark and silent. He loved the moment before his eyes adjusted, when he was completely lost in the darkness, unable to see his own hands in front of his face. It was as if he had been transported to a different world, one less horrible, perhaps. But like all good feelings, it came to an end as the ugly apartment slowly faded back into view and his eyes adjusted to the new level of light. Joe’s apartment was spotless but mostly unfurnished. He had his desk with the single monitor on it. A simple mouse and keyboard then the rest of the surface was clear, save for the occasional glass of scotch or perhaps bottle. He had a futon and a coffee table but no tv for it to face. Shelves or cabinets were only for people who owned things and Joe owned nothing. His studio apartment felt more spacious and empty than most three bedroom homes but there was nothing inviting or warm about it. The entire unit was a reflection of its owner; cold, alone, and depressed. Joe loved it and yet he hated it at the same time. He constantly regretted not buying a tv or some bookshelves, not making the place more habitable. Perhaps if he did he would be happier. Of course, he immediately regretted that thought, the things you own end up owning you and it was pathetic to think otherwise, and so the cycle continued night after night.
The street was quiet tonight as Joe stood from his desk, he didn’t even own a chair, he sat on a wooden crate he had used to transport his computer when he moved. Not many people milled around and he enjoyed a rare moment of silence. When the streets were empty, these were the only times that Joe felt truly happy. As if he was the only one left in the world, left to die alone, the last human, allowed to live beyond all overs due to his superiority over all. It never lasted, though, and soon a cab pulled up in front of the building and a couple got out. The man got out first and ran around the back of the cab, opening the door for the lady and helping her out. Joe grimaced with disgust at this act of chivalry, it was disgusting and pathetic, treating another human being like something other than a sack of meat with falsely derived emotions. As he pulled her out of the car she giggled and waved to the cabby. The door shut and the two stepped onto the sidewalk, watching as the car pulled away and around a corner, disappearing into the night. They laughed some more and engaged in conversation, kissed here and there, it was all too much for Joe to take. He stormed away from the window in a rage, snagging the bottle of scotch off his desk as he swept by.
Joe clutched the bottle of scotch tightly as the wind and rain pelted his face. He squinted down the street, his head reeling slightly and his ears ringing. ‘How did I get here?’ He wondered silently to himself, trying to recall the span of time between grabbing the bottle from the desk and leaving his apartment. The street was silent again, no cars or laughter. ‘The couple,’ he sneered to himself, remembering their horrible smiles that were obviously undeserved. He took a step out of the doorway to his building and peered both ways down the street. Not a soul in sight. Joe ran his hands through his hair, letting the water drip out and onto his face. As he turned to head back inside there they were. The happy couple sat awkwardly, propped up in the doorway of his building. Blood trickled down the stairs and washed away in the rain, creating a pretty red smoky look on the sidewalk before disappearing down a drain. He stared at them, then down at his hands. He was still holding the bottle of scotch, there was no blood on him. ‘They deserved it,’ he shrugged and pushed past them into the building.
Joe sat back down at his desk he poured himself a tall glass of scotch. As he lifted it before his eyes it seemed thicker than usual, and darker. He sniffed and caught the heavy smell of iron. In shock he pushed the glass away from his face and watched the thick liquid swish around violently, not spilling but nearly splashing out of the glass. His gaze shifted from the glass to the window, then back to the glass. His memories completely evaded him but something felt different, a feeling of relief had washed over him outside and he was experiencing a calm that he had never felt before. He brought the glass to his lips and tipped it slightly, letting the warm liquid touch his tongue. The taste of iron evoked a horrible gag reflux and he was forced to set the glass down on the desk for a second. Breathing deeply and clenching his fist he picked the glass back up and tossed it back, swallowing the liquid in a massive gulp.
Suddenly the memories washed over him. He was standing in the doorway with a hammer and the bottle of scotch. He threw back the scotch and drained the bottle, then set it down gingerly in the doorway. As he stepped out the couple was happily kissing in the rain and remarking on how romantic and odd they each were to do such a thing, it was stupid. The hammer was heavy in his hand as it caved in the mans skull from behind, forcing his face into the woman with such force that she fell back, slamming her head on the pavement. She made a quiet squeak then fell into a deep rest on the ground as Joe stood over her, hammer dripping with the blood of her lover. He smiled as her face caved inward with the hammers blades and cursed as it became stuck in her skull. Finally, he was able to pry the bitch off of his weapon and drag them both to the shelter of the stoop where he used tattered pieces of their clothes to soak up blood and squeeze it into the bottle of scotch.
Joe sat in his chair, an eery smile playing on his lips as he thought through these events over and over. Each step, each action played over in his head a thousand times from a thousand different angles. It was like a beautiful ballet as he watched himself dance around his victims, ending their lives without any regard for his own. As he played through the evening events he realized something that he had never known himself to realize before. For the first time in his life he had done something that he truly did not regret. He laughed aloud and began to dance around the room to the music in his head, laughing gaily as he did so. A life without regret and without consequence was freeing and exciting. “This is the first day of my life!” Joe yelled, craning his neck and screaming into his dull white ceiling. “I regret nothing!”