I'm not a monster- I'm just talented.
{My school had a short story competition of 1000 words or under, and this was the result *tada*}


1. Hey There, Little Fly. Come Nearer To My Web


After I killed Rebecca, after they found her body at the bottom of a ditch in northern Wales, they almost caught me.

Almost, of course, because I’d thrown out my laptop long ago. It’s crushed plastic now, scattered carelessly over a landfill site birdseed. It’s not like it’s my only one; rather it’s simply one of the many cheap plastic bundles that I’d bulk-ordered from a shopping site. Their sole purpose is being able to be disposed quickly and easily when someone else is dead, once I’ve finished with that fake account. Fake email, fake name, fake photo… I’m almost as pretend as Rebecca had been, with her stick-on eyelashes, paint-on-face and that oh-so-famous pout that she plastered over social media like band posters on a bedroom wall.

As soon as Rebecca was found my television was screaming- a battle wail of ‘murder’ and ‘kidnap’, over and over again, a broken record of black-streaked eyes, choked-back sobs, and- most interestingly- a challenge. A challenge against the shadows of social media, against me, against the world. The police, stuttering out warnings that only the old and wise pay heed to; the cracks in their voices and carefully applied masks conforming what I already knew: they were no closer to finding the killer. To finding me.

Rebecca had taken her laptop and phone with her when she left- her head no doubt overflowing with a ice-cream sundae of sugar-coated teenage illusions of meeting a girl called Lydia- and instead met me. I didn’t bother disposing of them; it was almost ironic that she was left with the very object that caused her death. I assume that when the police finally found her and her belonging, they would be richly rewarded, and so they were: conversations with a beautiful, yet mysterious fifteen year old girl, with whom Rebecca had chatted, flirted, and eventually agreed to meet up with.

Stupid child.

She  wasn’t the first, not by a long shot. Each of their faces, their names and their ages are captured inside the metaphorical photo album of my mind, along with a polaroid photograph of their eyes when they realised that I really wasn’t who they believed me to be.

It was Rachel first. She was seventeen and wept like a child after a nightmare.

Then Ryan. He was fifteen and tried to run. I let him; chest heavy, fat arms pumping his legs forward, but I caught after a mile or so and killed him anyway.

Rani. Are you beginning to see the pattern here? Nineteen. She was the bravest, I’d say: she looked me straight in the eye and didn’t say a word.

And then it was Rebecca. Dear, sweet Rebecca, with a wild mane of crimson- as dark as the blood that would soak her side- dragged back into bunches that gathered at the sides of her head like a rabbit’s ears. She was thirteen and she tried to fight me, which would have been adorable had it not so rapidly evolved into something so insistently irritating. It wasn’t brave- she bit, she scratched, she fought me like the cornered animal that she was. She was desperate. She didn’t want to die.

But die she did.

And then I left her in a ditch, and then I went home.

I feel like you’re expecting me to explain. I can feel the anticipation, the curiosity, the noble anger curling your fingers into fists and crumpling your forehead like a discarded newspaper. How I did it. Why, too.

‘How’ was explicitly easy. Child’s play, really, except my game isn’t a game for children.  Buy a laptop. Set up a new account, create a new name, a new face (Google Images is good for some things, I suppose) and then make friends.

‘Why’ is just a simple, even though the more moral of you may not understand my logic. Boredom. I’d nothing to do, and so I decided to end a life. I can forge myself another reason; one that ordinary folk might almost find acceptable if they didn’t consider the torturous, tragic ends to those young lives, cut tragically short by a few emails and internet chats.

And I’m not a liar, so don’t call me one. I haven’t lied since I was eight: when my uncle was dragged, shrieking, into the icy, emotionless arms of prison one bright summer morning and was left to rot. He was abandoned with the sick and twisted minds, smothered in them, choked on them. And that was a good thing  because he was one of them; one of the monsters that parents fear and haunt the children’s waking moments.

I’m not like that. I find them, trap them in the web and pull them closer, closer to me, closer to their death. But I am nothing like my uncle. I’m twisted in an entirely different context.
I’m an actor; immersing myself in an entirely new identity, moulding their character until it was perfect and playing it to perfection. You wouldn’t call the people like Johnny Depp and Angelina Joli liars. They play characters- fictional people with fictional lives and fictional pasts. And that’s what I am.

I’m not a monster- I’m just talented.

So don’t come after me. Don’t try to trace me with your hackers and your detectives. Don’t mourn the dead when there are so many people out there are still to die. You’ll never find me, so don’t bother to attempt to. Think of me as doing you all a favour. Think of me as demonstrating to the young and naive how scary the Big Bad World really is; or how fragile the human mind can be, how susceptible the young are to silken words and silvery promises. Think of me as the example, the one that proves that no one is safe, not even surrounded by the shielding walls of their own home.

Remember that the young will listen to no one until it is too late. And maybe it already is for some.

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