I don't know why I decided to be a killer. I was bored, mostly, and I know how terrible that sounds, but that’s what it boils down to, I think. Bored and alone. Not lonely, but alone.
Nobody around to talk me out of it, no one to tell me what a stupid, insane idea it was. No one to compare myself to. For all I knew, everyone sat around nights contemplating murder, until they got curious enough to try it.
I didn’t really think that was the case, but the point is, I didn’t have anyone around. No friends, no family. Just me and my apartment and my job at the camera shop, where I talked to strangers all day, and my boss every Monday. I didn’t even have a goldfish.
I didn’t plan on getting away with it. Not once was there ever a doubt in my mind that I’d get caught. I didn’t care, honestly. When I decided to be a murderer, I decided to do it just like I did everything else—efficiently, and as easily as possible.
I didn’t want to do a lot of planning—I didn’t know enough about the subject to form an intelligent plan, anyhow—and I didn’t want to do a lot of preparation work. I just wanted to get to it. Seconds after I had decided to become a murderer, I was moving.
I pulled on my jacket and searched through the hall closet until I found the hammer I kept for small tasks such as hanging pictures. I tucked it inside my jacket and left the apartment. I didn’t bother locking the door—I assumed I’d be caught before I had a chance to return home, and I also assumed that the police would be searching the place soon enough. I didn’t see any reason to make them force open the door, or kick it down, or anything like that. No reason the landlord should have to replace the doorjamb, just because I was curious.
I walked down the stairs and onto the street, unsure of how to begin. I took a breath and decided to go for a walk—just let things work out how they would. I was a mere eight blocks from my home when an opportunity presented itself. A single man coming towards me, walking a tiny dog.
It was a cold night, so there was nothing suspicious about the way I carried myself—it didn’t look as if I was hiding a hammer under my coat, but rather like I was huddling against the chill.
As I approached the man, I tried to remove the hammer. It hung on the inner lining of my coat, and because I was nervous and sweating, my hand actually slipped from the handle. The hammer fell to the concrete with quite a ruckus, and I was sure that this would alert and frighten the man. Instead, he stooped down and picked my hammer up for me.
“Ah, thank you,” I told him.
“No problem,” he smiled. “This weather plays the devil on motor skills, doesn’t it?”
I laughed along with him. “Indeed it does.” And then I struck him between the eyes with the hammer. I didn’t hit him nearly hard enough to kill him, but he looked shocked and confused, and staggered backwards. He wasn’t trying to escape, but his senses had left him for the moment, and his body was simply reacting.
I struck him again, and he fell. The tiny dog attacked me, snapping at my legs and barking furiously. I stomped on its neck and crushed the life out of the noisy little beast. I’ve never much cared for dogs, and was curious about the differences between killing a man and killing a dog.
There was a brief sense of power as the dog died—an intense superiority—but it was fleeting, and as soon as it had passed, the entire episode was quite unremarkable.
The man was trying to regain his footing, and I hit him again with the hammer. And again. He dropped to the ground and his head hit the concrete with a mushy thunk, like a watermelon dropped on linoleum.
I reached down to check his pulse, but his blood was still.
“What happened to your friend?” Someone asked from behind me.
“Is he okay?” Another voice asked.
I turned and saw a young couple. Mid-twenties, half my age, dressed smartly. They looked as if they could have been pulled from a magazine article about young professionals on the rise—both of them beautiful and powerful and ready to pounce the world.
“I killed him,” I said. I stood up, and they both stared at me in amazement. I swung the hammer around and caught the young man in the side of the head. I am no connoisseur of death dealing, but I could tell by the look on his face that he was dead before he hit the ground.
The young woman tried to flee, but mis-stepped from the curb, and fell to the street. Her arms—perhaps assessing me as the greater threat—didn’t reach to slow her fall, but instead reached at me, hoping to ward me off, I suppose.
Her head connected solidly with the asphalt, and her arms dropped to her side. I stepped forward and searched for a pulse. I felt it—slow and a bit irregular—so I wrapped my hands around her neck and squeezed until her heartbeat fell silent.
I stood and looked at the three corpses—four, including the annoying canine—and instead of sating my curiosity, the scene only piqued it.
It had all happened so fast, you see.
And these people had practically helped me murder them. The only one who had put up the slightest fight had been the dog.
I walked to the corner and took a left.
I wasn’t sure where I was going—wasn’t sure of any plan, actually. I had assumed that I would have been caught immediately after my first murder, and was left wandering. And wondering.
I came upon an all-night deli, and stepped through the door.
In the blazing light, the bloodstains which covered me were blatantly obvious. The man behind counter stared at me with wide eyes.
“What has happened?” he asked with his thick accent. “Has there been an accident? How badly are you hurt?”
He rushed from behind the counter and I struck him dead with the hammer. In my haste, I had gotten it turned, however, and had buried the claw deep within his skull. As he fell to the floor, his corpse pulled the hammer from my grasp.
I entertained the idea of pulling the weapon from his skull only for a moment, and decided instead to look for something else.
I walked down the first aisle, bordered on one side by shelves full of boxed cereal and on the other side by refrigerated units full of soft drinks and beer.
There was an old woman leaning toward the shelf at the end, comparing two different brands of cat food. I opened one of the refrigerator units and removed a glass bottle of ale. I smashed it over her head and then jammed the bottleneck into her throat.
She slid to the ground, gurgling, and reached for me as she died. I knelt by her and allowed her to take my hand.
“Damn…you,” she whispered. And then died.
I was a bit disappointed with her last words, but I decided not to dwell upon it—I wasn’t doing this for creative last words.
I walked around to the next aisle and came upon a mother and her baby. She was bent down, cooing to the infant, playing the strange game that all mothers seem to play with their children. Peek of boo?
As soon as I rounded the corner, she noticed me, and became defensive.
“Stay there,” she said. “Don’t come any closer.”
She was about halfway to the end of the short aisle—perhaps six feet away from me. Although I am in relatively good shape, there was no doubt in my mind that she could have gotten away from me.
The stroller in which her baby was contained was pointing towards the back of the store, however—towards me—which meant she would either have to drag it (leaving her baby exposed to me if I chose to give chase) or turn it around.
I didn’t say anything, but began jogging towards her. I am not an old man, but I’m certainly not fit enough to sprint. She still could have gotten away, but the safety of her baby wouldn’t have been guaranteed.
Instead of running, she charged.
I wasn’t surprised by this, if only because I had no preconceived notions of how people would act in these circumstances.
If I had been a seasoned killer, perhaps I would have known she would charge, or perhaps I would have expected her to run. As it was, I had no idea what she would do, and only assessed the situation as clearly as I could.
She was two feet away from me when I scooped a jar of baby food from the shelf and smashed it into her face. She screamed as I ground the glass into her eyes, and I grunted as her body hit mine and forced the air from it. We hit the ground hard, and my head hit the floor, causing quick flashes of blackness in my vision. She was screaming, both with rage and with pain, and her hands were clawing at my face.
I reached to the nearest shelf and my hand found a ketchup bottle. I smashed it over her head, and hoped to stab her with the remainder, the same way in which I had killed the old woman. Instead, the glass crumbled. I reached for another bottle, and the woman rolled off of me.
She used the shelves to pull herself to her feet, stumbled, fell, and pulled herself back up. I wasn’t sure how badly she was injured—it was impossible to tell what was her blood, what was my blood, and what was the ketchup/strained carrot mix.
She turned and struggled towards her child. I climbed to my feet, and reached for the closest solid thing I could find—a can of candied yams. I threw it, and it caught her at the base of the neck
I’m no professional athlete, but getting struck with a can of candied yams is rather painful no matter who throws it, I imagine.
She fell to her knees.
I pulled another can of yams from the shelf and rushed forward, bringing it down onto her head again and again, until I had crushed her skull.
When I had finished, I was out of breath and tired—ready to return to my apartment and await my imminent arrest.
The baby was wailing, and I wondered if it was because it knew I had murdered its mother.
I unbuckled the strap that held it in its stroller, and lifted it up. I wasn’t sure if it was a boy or a girl—my time in contact with infants is limited, at best—but it was dressed in powder blue, so I assumed it was a boy.
His face was flushed red, and covered with tears and snot. I dashed him to the ground and then stomped him in a similar manner with which I had disposed of the tiny dog.
I felt much worse about murdering the baby. Killing the infant felt dirty. Wrong.
But it was done.
I left the store and began the walk to my home.
On the way, I passed an old man. I say old, although he was probably only a dozen years older than I. He was from my neighborhood, and we passed each other regularly during the spring months, when we both took walks.
He smiled and waved, and I smiled and waved back. As we drew closer to each other, he saw that I was covered with blood, and his look of comfort turned to one of alarm.
“Dear lord, what has happened to you, my friend?”
I was touched by the way his pace increased, even though he had bad knees, and I knew that it hurt him to move much faster than a scuttle.
I yanked his cane out from under him and used it to beat him to his death.
He cried out in frustration as I pulled his cane away, but was quiet as he died.
I dropped the cane beside his body and continued home. I didn’t encounter anyone else.
Once home, I stripped off my soiled clothing, tossed them into the plastic refuse can under the kitchen sink, and went to the bathroom to take a hot shower. I doctored the wounds inflicted by the mother from the deli, and I dressed myself properly, so I wouldn’t be caught naked when the police forced their way in to arrest me.
I wasn’t sure if I would be able to sleep, but as soon as I settled into my bed—still fully clothed, of course—I faded into unconsciousness. Murder, apparently, is good exercise.
I woke up the next morning, slightly surprised that I had slept through the night with neither fitful dreams, nor interruptions from the police.
I bathed again, dressed, and went to work. Not many customers asked about the wounds to my face, but to the ones who did, I explained that I had gotten a new kitten—one which was fascinated with the way my mustache twitched as I slept.
That got a great laugh out of many of them, and a gasped apology out of the others. None of them seemed suspicious.
I didn’t worry about getting caught.
I knew I would be caught, you see. It was only a matter of time.
But then timed turned against me.
That was twenty-three years ago.
I still live in the same apartment, and I never leave it. I order everything over the phone, and what I can’t get through the mail, I get through courier. I don’t leave.
You must understand why.
There are killers out there.
Before, I assumed that the murderers and psychopaths were caught. Caught and locked away. But now I know the truth.
They’re out there, these lunatics and killers. There is nothing to stop them.
As much as I wish I could return to the haze of ignorance—criminals are caught, murderers are locked away—I can’t.
Because I got away with it, you see. Without even trying.
They’re out there, these lunatics and killers. Probably everywhere. And they can’t be caught. I got away with it, and I didn’t even try.
It isn’t safe.
Sometimes I see the ghosts of the people I killed, and they taunt me, tease me, tempt me to go out.
They tell me that the way I live now, I might as well be locked away. The same walls surrounding me, day after day; the same food, day after day; the same fear, day after day.
And they laugh at me as I cry.