She woke, cursing God for not taking her during the night; a daily ritual.
Rising slowly, opening her eyes, swinging her legs over the side of the bed until her feet felt the floor, then standing; it was all such a chore. Not again, Lord; let it not have happened again! She sighed, stepped forward. She took hold of the handle of her bedroom door, but hesitated. Get it together, girl! Another sigh – one of resignation – and she opened the door.
As soon as she stepped through she could smell it. The coppery odor she had become accustomed to. Loathed. Feared. Her eyes watered, but she forced herself forward. Turn left, down the hall, past the opening to the front room, to the end. Bathroom door in front of her, another door (the dreaded door) to her left. Nature had to be satisfied first (A short reprieve!), so into the bathroom she went.
Ignoring the pooled water beside the tub (and its slightly red tint), she did her business, washed her face and hands – repeatedly, until she felt she had steeled herself, and was ready to face it. She left the bathroom.
Through the (dreaded) door to her brother’s bedroom she went. He didn’t sleep here anymore; not since their parents had died. She didn’t know where he slept. He still used the room, though.
Every Saturday night.
And there before her was his handiwork. Her heart skipped a beat. You’d think I’d get use to this! She took a path around the girl tied to the chair, until she stood in front of her. She gazed upon the horror, saddened. The girl’s throat had been sliced open just like mom and dad’s, she recalled. The blood had stopped flowing, but the girl’s naked front was streaked in her own blood. It had pooled on the seat around her thighs and buttocks, and a larger pool had formed on the floor beneath her.
She shook her head sadly, resignedly. she made a half turn and went into the bedroom’s private bathroom. This had actually been their mother’s walk-in closet until her brother had turned it into a bathroom - of sorts. There was a stool, but the sink wasn’t an ordinary one; it was an industrial type; the kind she was certain you’d find in a slaughter house.
She looked up above the sink and looked at the assortment of saws, knives and tongs. She chose the items she would need (she’s a little thing; shouldn’t need the heavy-duty stuff) and laid them out on the stainless steel top at one end of the sink.
She looked down at herself. I can’t ruin these; I just bought them! She stripped off her underwear and hung them on a hook beside the door. She stepped out of the bathroom and faced the girl again.
“I’m tired of cleaning up after you!” she said aloud, even though no one could hear her. Sighing heavily, she resigned herself to the task, and started forward.
He was her brother, after all. She was certain he was the one who had murdered their parents, even though the police never seriously considered him a suspect. He was doing them both a favor, really; there had been years of abuse… she shoved the thoughts away, and began her Sunday Ritual’ - cleaning up after her brother.
Hours later, she was tying up the final bag. She had cleaned up the tools and equipment (except the bone saw, which had broken right as she was almost through with it – that was in one of the bags, now.
She looked around the room, seeing if she had forgotten anything; but she hadn’t. She was pretty much covered in blood, but a good shower, and she’d be ready for her trip to the dump site – one the cops had still not discovered (thank God!).
Several more hours had passed. She was turning back onto the main road again, having finished her grizzly work, leaving the body of her brother’s latest victim in a shallow grave in an area frequented – by no one.
Her brother had snapped, of course. Killing our parents shattered is physique! She had often wished she had been strong enough to do it! He did it for me, as well as himself! she thought. And that is why every Sunday morning, for the past year, she would wake to the horror, and clean up after him. She realized this made her an accessory, but what was she suppose to do? Turn her brother in? The only family she had left? The only one alive that she loved and who loved her?
Fifty murders, she thought. Fifty murders, and the police still had no clue! Of course, her brother was a smart one. Straight A’s in school. He’s probably taking them from towns all around the city. Even fifty missing hookers, between New Jersey and NYC, wouldn’t be easily noticed as a serial killer.
Her heart skipped a beat again.
Serial Killer! She screamed in her head. My brother’s a serial killer! Still, what was she to do? Turn him in? Her brother… in prison for the rest of his life. No! She couldn’t do that to him. Not after what he had done for them. For me!
But he was tortured. She knew that. He was as tortured as she was; of this, she was certain. So do it!
She startled herself by the vehemence in her own thought.
Do it! her though persisted, put both of you out of your miseries!
She started to cry. They weren’t tears of sadness though; they were tears of relief! For in that moment, she knew she had finally made the decision – the one she should have made long ago! It was the only answer. No life in prison for her brother, no more tortuous Sundays for her!
When she came to the next exit, she took it. She wasn’t sure what city she was in, but it looked like it was a rather large one. Certain this city would have what she needed she started following the signs of urban blight.
It didn’t take long. It had barely turned dark when she saw the sign: “Perry’s Pawn – Guns, Electronics, Books and More!” She pulled into the small parking lot, took up a parking space and went inside.
The clerk on duty proved younger than she had expected, but that was a good thing; when he mentioned the waiting time law, a little feminine wiles (and an extra hundred dollar bill) got her the desired result.
“Just don’t go telling anyone about this!” the clerk told her, handing her the bag which now contained a used .38 cal pistol and a box of ammo. She let her hand linger as his finger rubbed the back of her hand as she took the bag. She smiled seductively.
“What time do you get off?” she asked him.
“I close the place at midnight,” he responded.
“Mmm,” she cooed, “I guess that means you’ll be ‘getting off’ about one?” she winked.
His eyes gleamed with lust.
“See you at midnight, hon!” Another wink, a wave, and she was out the door.
She got into a car, took the gun out of the bag and loaded it. She lay her head on the steering wheel. She felt disgusted by her actions, but it had been necessary. Still, between her impression of a whore and knowing what she had resigned herself to do, she was feeling nauseous. She shook herself, started the car and drove off.
Back inside the pawn shop, Gus, owner of Perry’s Pawn, stepped through the door from the back office. He looked at his young clerk, and smiled cruelly. “Forget her, Jimmy; she won’t be back.”
“You was watching?”
Gus guffawed. “I’m always watching, Jimmy!”
‘Yeah? Well, why you so sure she won’t be back? I’m pretty good looking!”
Gus leered hungrily at the boy’s body. “Yeah, that you are!” Seeing the boy’s discomfort, Gus quickly added, “She’s been in here before, your new love.”
“That’s the fifth .38 she’s bought off me. Wooed me four times to get around the waiting period. “ He laughed meanly when Jimmy scowled. He took a big cigar from his pocket, clipped and lit it, and took a deep draw from it. Then, using the cigar to point at Jimmy, he said, “I’ll be docking your pay fifty dollars, by the way; my cut of your ‘tip’.” Seeing Jimmy’s anger sent him into uproarious laughter. He puffed steadily on the cigar as he went through another door, leading into the back room.
She had talked to her brother, and found out he planned to go bar hopping in Manhattan Saturday night. Tonight! She would end all this tonight. Finally to rest!
She’d been walking the streets for some time with no luck. She passed a hooker, dressed in red. She smiled, in spite of the situation. With any luck, she thought, I’ll save your life tonight, whore! She walked on.
He was momentarily startled. He wondered how long he had been standing there looking at the toy train in the window. I always wanted one, but dad wouldn’t get one for me. He looked around, glad to see no one was staring at him –no one even looking his way. He turned left and moved off swiftly down the sidewalk.
It was a pleasant evening. For hunting! his inner voice added, making him chuckle.
Then he saw her, about twenty feet ahead. A pretty little thing, all dressed up in white! His hand went to his right pocket – and was startled at what he felt there! He quickly ducked into the space between two buildings. He dug into his pocket and pulled the object out. He looked down and was shaken to see it was a gun! What the f! He tossed the gun further into the narrow opening. He felt a moment of panic, but when his left hand found the shape of the large switch blade in the pocket, he relaxed. Leaving the puzzle of the gun for later, he stepped back out onto the sidewalk
He approached the scantly-dressed - all in white! - female, smiling. “Hi!” He said gaily.
“Well, hey sweetie!” the girl drawled, “What can I do for you?”
“I’m looking for a date!” he explained.
The girl - Can’t be twenty yet! – looked him up and down. She seemed indecisive for a moment, then shrugged. “Yeah, I can do ‘ya! Gonna be a hunnert, though.”
“Well, that’s a bit much,” he feigned his own indecision, “but you sure do look yummy!” They both laughed. “Okay then, let’s do it!” he told her, then looked around. “Where?”
In response, she nodded her head toward the alley behind them. She stepped briskly into the shaded alley. He followed her to a short dumpster. The prostitute pulled her top off. “You got the hunnert, honey?” When he pulled the bill out from his back pocket and handed it to her, she deposited it in her purse, then patted the top of the dumpster. “Up here, honey.”She dropped to her haunches. “You sit ‘n let me give you some face!”
“Oh, that won’t be necessary,” he told her. “You see, I’m in a bit of a hurry.” He was really feeling the hunger. His blade was out, raised high above her; she didn’t see it.
“Police! Drop it!!” a voice called out. He ignored it. He thrust the blade downward.
A shot rang out.
The two detectives were standing over the dead woman, while the hooker cowered beside the dumpster, crying.
“So it was Susan Holt, after all,” the female detective said. “Good thing we were following her!”
Her partner nodded. “The killing spree is over,” he said.
BIO: I usually write fantasy. I have written and published Flight of the Elves,
•Book I of the "Mountain Elves of Kali" series (Book II, Relics of Kali out in December). I have written several short stories. I currently write a regular article for Realms Explorer magazine, as well as short stories for the magazine and other works published by Prince Publications (princepubs.com). I am also finishing a simple fantasy game system (The Simple Fantasy Game) due out next month.