A serial killer.

A victim.

What more needs to be said?


1. Beau


From the abyss of the shadows he studied the house from across the street, noting it’s weak points, it’s disadvantages.   It’s flaws.   To someone untrained, a passer-by, the building was foreboding. Impenetrable, even.   …but he knew better.   He slowly moved, his black-clad form parting from the shadows as if a shadow itself. No cars were coming down the narrow, car-lined street, and as he slowly crossed the road, casually - to avoid attracting attention, he pulled on his gloves.   His breathing was steady.   He passed through the open gate and silently moved toward the steps to that beckoning open door. Whoever lived there, whoever it was, they never should’ve left it open those few inches…he was skilled in taking advantage of such a thing.   ***   The TV droned on as she sat in the darkened room, zoning out. The steady flicker from the screen, monotonous voices babbling on about the new; dire event after tragic catastrophe and then a light hearted segment before some local news to do with an alleged serial killer.   She bored, picked up the remote and channel surfed apathetically. She didn’t know what she wanted, she just knew that her interest would snag once she found it.   Food. No. Flick.   Nazis. Maybe. …no. Flick.   Animals. No. Next.   Music. She paused. Yeh.   ‘Cornflake girl’ by Tori Amos greeted her. It filled up the barely furnished room with song as the screen did the same with light. She smiled, brushing a dark strand of her behind her ear. The chorus was coming, Amos climbing each note higher and higher.   …and then…what was that?   A door closing?   She froze, her heart pounding…was it the wind? She cast a quick glance out the window, not hinging but still trees.   Then what was it? She thought of lowering the volume, even switching it off, but if she did that and it was some…   A creak.   The floorboard that should’ve been fixed months ago, but that she had allowed to remain. No, this was no longer her imagination, that bit of doubt in her mind had been quickly locked away. This was no longer the non-existant wind. Someone was in the house. Her house. Stood in her corridor.   She was alone in this modestly furnished home, with not even a pet to keep her company, but now, it seemed, company was what she had. Slowly she rose to her feet, cringing as the sofa groaned beneath her weight. Amos still droned on and as she tried to focus her ears she hated her choice of channel.   Another creak.   Another floorboard that was never fixed.   She took a sharp intake of breath, her heart beating furiously now, and carefully, on the balls of her feet walked towards the closed door leading out into the corridor. Placing her ear to the door she tried her best to hear through the music, through the wood. To pick up even the slightest piece of sound that could be trying to elude her.   She held her breath.   She closed her eyes.   Could she hear the intruder? His breathing? Or was it her mind, filling in the concentrated silence that lay just under the noise?   Carefully she moved her hand to the handle…a peek, that’s all it would take. Just a peek. Maybe it was nothing, maybe it was this non-existant wind that had shut an imaginary door and creaked the unfixed floorboards.   …but, what if it wasn’t?   Adrenaline began to course through her, giving her the courage she needed as her instinct to fight or run away started ticking within. Waiting to make it’s choice.   With every movement thought out, she gradually increased her weight on the handle. Turning it with such care and patience, not wanting any movement to be quicker than what it needed to be. Then, even slower, she began to pull…   ***   The house was modest. Minimal. If it could even be called that. The corridor filled with nothing, not even pictures…or coats…or shoes. He stood in the corridor, allowing his eyes to acclimatise to what little light there was, before, with such great care, shutting the door behind him.   He listened.   A TV was on a few steps down the corridor. The music channel. Some wailing. The light flickering under the door in a timely fashion.   Occupants.   This room, this is were he’d start.   He stepped forward. He prepared himself.   He was ready.   ***   The door opened a few inc…   CRUNCH.   The sound echoed in and around her head. The door, this familiar thing that had only moved when she commanded, had attacked her. Swinging open with such velocity that it had slammed into her face. Staggering back, she clutched her nose. Blood wept. Gushed.   A slight moan escaped her lips as pain jumped across her face, stirring her mind in a frenzy.   Focusing her.   The warmth of her blood, it’s slick texture, covered her hands as she struggled to stem it’s flow. The subtle taste of iron whetting her tongue.   She didn’t get time to think, didn’t get time to regain herself. Within seconds of all this happening, the person responsible, the imaginary intruder, broke into her reality. He stood in the open doorway, a large, masculine figure who’s features were seen only briefly in the flickering of the television light.   And then he descended.   He moved so quickly, so calmly, but oh-so-brutally. Raising his foot he slammed it’s sole into her chest, sending her staggering across the room and onto the floor.   She sprawled. Shocked. Pain shot up through her chest and breasts, she gasped, her breathing became ragged and harsh as it was snatched from her lungs.   Pushing herself up onto her elbows, she tried to move away from this man, from this…this monster. But once  again, with lightening speed, he swooped down.   A gloved hand snatched her throat, her head was slammed down into the bare wooden floor.   Once.   Twice.   Then it held fast. Squeezing.   She pawed at him, clawed. Her nails digging into the leather glove that was holding her in place, scratched up the denim arm, trying to rip it. Tear it. Trying anything. Kicking out, her feet hit nothing.   The position he was in, she was in, she was his. It was his upper hand against her injured mess.   First blood to him.   “Are you scared?”   She groaned, lashing out some more. His face looked down on her, the slightest tease of a sneer in his voice. The shadows of the room, the flicker of the TV, the water in her eyes all contributed to smearing his features into a blurred smudge. A faceless monster.   “I asked you a question…”   A spluttered answer. Choked. Cough-filled. The blood was trickling down the back of her throat and she was choking on it. Amongst it all, however, she managed to squeeze out a small, tiny, insignificant .   “Yes.”   The grip was loosened.   The man stood up right.   She seized the opportunity and turned to her side, choking up the blood that had poured down her throat. Taking in deep, plentiful breaths inbetween barbed retches.   “So…this is it?”   He spoke calmly, almost mockingly, as he looked around her small, modest, living room.   “One TV? …a sofa? No pictures? Trinkets?”   She looked up at him, her hair falling in front of her face. How dare he…how, how can HE judge her?! She spat blood at him, hitting his heavy boot.   “Wasn’t really expecting…company.”   She coughed a chuckle. The shortest chuckle. Shortened even more by the blood-stained boot coming down  heavily on her hip. She squealed in pain, reaching to soothe this new injury as the intruder knelt down and grabbed hold of the back of her hair.   Her head was violently pulled back, their eyes locked.   “Now I know…”   He sniggered.   “Now I know, why you never have anyone back.”   His breath invaded her nostrils.   She needed cigarettes.   Funny, the things that spring to mind at inappropriate times.   “Y-You’ve been watching me?”   He chuckled lowly as a response, throwing her head roughly forward.   “Where’s your money?”   She rubbed her hip, attempting to pick herself up from the ground. An attempt that was crushed as he placed his boot on the small of her back and shoved, slammed, her back to the floor.   She groaned, turning her head to try and look at him.   “I’ll show you. The…the kitchen. It’s…I’ll show.”   She winced. He placed more weight down on her back.   “I know where the kitchen is, it looks out on to your lovely garden.”   Another mocking sneer. Belittling remark. Her garden was overgrown, full of junk, it was hardly going to win any awa…but, wait, what? He’d been staking her out. Watching her. He’d been…violating her with his eyes even before he did this.   How long? Days?   Weeks?   MONTHS?   How can she not have noticed, not have realised. She wanted, no, needed, to know how long. Where he had been, how he had done it.   “Ho-how long?”   Silence. Only a gloved hand was his response, reaching down he wrapped her hair around his hand. Hoisting her up from the floor, he then proceeded to drag her towards the door. To the corridor.   Into the kitchen.   As they stepped into the moonlit room he released her, again forcefully shoving her head down as he did. The pain she was originally feeling was beginning to subside, drowning in the sea of adrenaline that was now coursing throughout her body.   Even her bloodied, broken nose was steadily beginning to congeal. The rapid pouring turning into nothing more than a steady drip.   “Where? Where’s the money, then?”   Placing both her palms on the linoleum floor she slowly pushed herself to her knees, knowing she only had a few more minutes of this numb comfort before the adrenaline wore off and agony quickly resumed. Her attacker was facing away from her, eagerly looking around the softly-lit kitchen for something, anything, of value.   He wouldn’t find it.   She knew it, he didn’t.   That meant the ball was in her cour…   “What the fuck do you think you’re doing?”   He turned, see’s her kneeling before him, preparing to stand, before masterfully, and with great intent, kicking her square in the chest. She slid backwards a few inches along the floor, her breath once more leaving her for the second time that night.   She lays still. Mothionless. Staring only at the ceiling as each ragged breath reintroduces her with pain.   Then, somewhere in the room there’s rattling, drawers are being opened. Thrown about. Trying to sit up she gives up half way, choosing to lay there instead. Prone. Vulnerable?   Not yet. But close.   Smashing now. More rattling and then…silence. He’s found something. Found what he’s been seeking. She could’ve had three guesses to figure it out, but she only needed one, and so to see him reappaear standing over her, flaunting it, she was less than shocked.   A knife.   The serrated blade being moved smoothly across his gloved hand. It was no longer than 4 inches, but supremely sharp, something she had always made sure of. Still, it was less than impressive in looks.   “Not one I’d’ve chose. …but, y’know, size isn’t everything.”   Sbe spluttered a chuckle.   It was hard to guage his reaction from his face, his current position made him little more than  a sillouette, but it was soon made aware he didn’t find her one bit amusing. Crouching down, he roughly pulled down her crimson-soaked, once white top, delicately placing the blade on her left breast. He then slowly began moving it slowly up to her throat, then chin. Not hard, but enough to leave a trail of reddened skin.   “Yeh? I’m sure it’ll do the job.”   He flicked the blade upwards once, hard enough to go through the skin. The pain was sudden, shocking even, and the trickle of blood that emerged was enough to create a steady stream down her neck.   “Now, your cash, where is it?“   She turned her head, pointing to the corner of the kitchen, a lone door that, if not knew of may’ve passed the intruder’s hungry eyes. It stood, modestly, hidden in a blanket of night. Firmly closed.   “D-Down there.”   His gaze turned to follow her finger, noting the door, he then turned back, nodding.   “Really? And what’s down there?”   “Recording equipment. A-Another television. A laptop. …and more…”   She coughed.   “…more personal stuff.”   He sniggered.   “So, shit then?”   She ignored the remark.   But he didn’t like to be ignored, apparently, and he slapped her hard across her face. It was enough to illicit tears from her eyes.   Slowly she nodded.   “Yeh…a lot of shit.”   He stood, grunting an approval, then backed away, holding his hand out to her.   “Come on.”   Carefully she moved her hand to his, allowing him to grip her and pull her half way…before dropping her back down. She fell back with a thud, groaning as her head hit the ground and starbursts floated and danced around her head.   His laugh, though brief, zigzagged around the ransacked kitchen like a bark. A growl. Something a monster would utter to call it’s own, to communicate. …and that’s what he was, she had decided. A monster. Not human, not misunderstood or a lonely soul on the wrong path.   A monster.   As her eyes slowly came back into focus he had already began reaching down for her again, this time, though, he grabbed her shirt and lifted her from that. …not slowly, or gently. …but a rough tug. Once on her feet she was pushed toward the door.   “You first.”   Her feet stood on and scraped by cutlery and fragments of cups and plates. She tried her best not to lift her feet, lessening the chance of her standing on an upturned knife or a sharp shard, but that, apparently was too slow for him and he shoved her.   Hard.   She stumbled forward, nearly falling once more but miraculously managing to keep her balance. Reaching for the door, she grasped the small, ball-like handle and turned.   Pulled.   Opened.   ***   The house was nothing.   The house had nothing.   The upstairs needed to be searched thoroughly but if these first two rooms were anything to go by there would be nothing worth his time up there either. The woman, obviously single, seemed to be the only thing of value in this empty husk of a place. He watched her shuffle towards the door. Broken. Tamed.   This was definitely not worth the effort he had put in, the days he had put in, staking the place out. …but still, his gaze fixed on the woman’s physique…the end was coming.   …and not soon enough.   ***   Stairs leading downward.   Down into a seemingly endless pit.   She stood atop and looked down, wondering. He came up behind her, close. His face almost rested on her shoulder.   “Down you go.”   A sudden impact on her back.   Hard.   Forced.   A push.   The top of her body flew forward, her feet literally leaving the ground as she headed, almost head first, down the stairs. Her arms flailed, her hands scratched at the wall before finally finding the banister mid-way down. Her right hand gripped. Clung on for dear life as her entire body took the stairs at an awkward angle and twisted her around, forcing her to face upwards, even though she was practically sprawled downward on the staircase.   Her adrenaline topped itself up.   Her fear momentarily frozen as her brain worked overtime into figuring out how to regain some kind of normality on the stairs.   Her intruder didn’t care, however, and slowly he walked down towards her, sniggering.   “I hope you go down better the second time.”   Another bark before his hand gripped hers and, with surprising ease, ripped it off her hold. She tumbled backward, the wooden staircase causing pain beyond pain.   Agony beyond agony.   Her muscles screamed out, and as she hit the harder, concrete floor at the bottom, she thanked it. It may’ve been harder, it may’ve hurt her more…but it stopped her. …it had stopped this.   She was completely lost in darkness now. Laying on the ground, crumpled. She knew the end was nearing, could feel the pain slamming into the wall of adrenaline. Forcing it’s way through. Forcing it’s way back. It was going to end, finally. She was thankful.   Slow thumps got nearer.   His boots. Louder.   “Where’s the light?”   His voice was calm, as if he hadn’t just thrown a helpless woman down the stairs. As if he hadn’t just broke into her house, beat and threatened her with a knife.   Mocked the idea of her valuables.   A stinging sensation in her face. An ache. A throb. Her nose, broken as it was, began reacquainting itself with her pain receptors.   “It’s…automatic.”   More sensation. More pain. Her back, her thigh, her stomach.   It was flooding back. It was circling, swooping and latching on. Focusing her. Carefully she stood in this sea of agony. Feeling the flow of it. The current.   Her hair stuck to her bloodied face, hung in front of it.   Sticky.   Greasy.   Slick with blood and sweat.   “Well it seems to be broken.”   Her eyes closed. She visualised the pain. Saw it.   “You ha…”   His hand grabbed her once more by the throat and held her in place. Though he hadn’t been able to see her, just by speaking he had figured out her location. He didn’t choke her, this time, though, merely held her. As you would a child’s hand. …or a cat by the scruff.   She continued her sentence.   “You have to c-clap your hands.”   A brief flex. His fingers tightening. Her throat constricting.   “Then do it.”   Eyes closed, she brought both  her hands up.   Moved them together.   Contact.   Clap.   The light…the lights…erupted. A blast from every angle. Enough power to light a street…maybe even a football stadium. Even with her eyes closed the hard beam, the harsh white, penetrated. A startled, agonised shout and he had let go of her throat and staggered backward.   She opened her eyes to see him shielding his, her back to the beams themselves…he was bathing in them. Like the cockroach he was he scuttled back, groaning, not noticing the room, not caring for the valuables that had began to moan and groan.   She turned to the table and reached for the Crowbar, picking it up in one swift move. He hadn’t even regained his composure when she struck him the first time. His eyes didn’t even have chance to acclimatise.   Crack.   Kneecap.   A yell, a howl. Maybe even a curse.   Her time to snigger.   The pain was coming thick and fast now. This is what she had been waiting for. This is what she needed.   And as she looked at his pathetic form knelt before her, wailing, shouting. She smiled.   …and swung the Crowbar for the final time.   There are some things that are worse than monsters.   Some things that are worse by far.   ***   He awoke. Slowly. Groggily. Painlessly. …but restrained. He couldn’t remember much about what had happened…about why he was here…laid down…tied to the gurney…but he did remember a bright light. Painfully bright.   When she moved into his gaze that was when memories began to creep back. Back to the house. To the woman. To the kitchen and…finally…to the basement.   He tried to speak. Gargled instead.   Groaned.   She was smiling at him, her nose bandaged, her eyes taking on a black-purpley colour.   “Hey there.”   She spoke softly. Almost lovingly. A latex gloved hand rubbing his abdomen.   …reminding him he needed to buy some condoms.   …funny…   …the things that spring to mind at inappropriate times.   “You shouldn’t be in too much pain. I’ve numbed your injuries for you…y’know…so you don‘t pass out Miss anything.”   He lifted his head.   Looked down.   Noted he was naked.   “Don’t be ashamed.”   She said, soothingly, as he protested. Gargled. Drooled.   What the fuck was going on? Why, no, HOW had this happened?! He struggled against the restraints, arched his back, screamed and flung himself against them…but to no avail.   He was stuck.   Trapped.   Screwed.   “They‘ve seen it all before.”   She turned her head, allowing her eyes to scan the cages that lined the wall, drawing his attention to all of them.   Cages filled with…what? People?   “Don‘t be ashamed.”   He glanced down, hearing the scrape of metal upon metal as she picked up a hammer.   "Not of this. Not of any of this."
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