Author: BookAddiction PM
A schizophrenic man is compelled to murder, suffering painful physical symptoms if he resists. He pleads with a detective to stop him through notes in blood at his crime scenes. That is, until the voice he hears orders him to kill the detective.Rated: Fiction T - English - Crime/Suspense - Chapters: 3 - Words: 11,682 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 3 - Follows: 1 - Published: 06-20-11 - Status: Complete - id: 2925240
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
He sat on the bus. It was late at night, but he had nowhere else to be. He felt nervous, jittery. More than once he caught himself fidgeting with the sleeves of his shirt or running his hand through his long hair.
"Would you stop that incessant clicking!" the woman next to him said, slamming the book she was reading into her lap.
He swallowed, "I'm sorry." He didn't even realize he was making the noise. It was an old nervous habit of his.
The woman rolled her eyes and went back to her book.
The man studied her; she wasn't anything special. Middle aged, brown hair, brown eyes. Average.
And we don't deal with average, do we? the voice asked.
We don't deal with anyone, he told the voice. He was out of that now, that whole business. He didn't need it anymore.
Ah, but how long can you stay away? the voice taunted. You can feel it now, can't you? The nerves getting to you, urging you along.
The man crossed his arms and looked around the bus. I don't need it, the feeling will pass.
The bus stopped and the man hurried off. He didn't even know where he was, but he hoped the cold fall air would clear his head. But instead-
Her, the voice said.
The man saw her. A beautiful young woman about twenty with long black hair that she had open cascading down her back. She seemed to be in a hurry, digging through her purse as she rushed across the street, only glancing up to check for oncoming traffic.
I'll never catch up to her, he told the voice. But then, to his horror, the woman stamped her foot and looked up in disgust, only to turn back the way she came. She had forgotten something.
Go on; follow her, the voice urged.
He watched as the woman went back to a townhouse on the left side of the street and dug for her keys. He ran after her as she opened the door, and caught the door before it shut. She turned, a startled look on her face.
He pushed her inside and shut the door behind him. She was talking but he couldn't hear. His heart beat too loudly in his ears. Just once more, he told the voice. Just once more, then I'm through. He grabbed the girl roughly by the shoulder and dragged her into the kitchen, where he leisurely picked out a knife.
Then suddenly, something changed. It was as if everything shifted. He looked from the knife in his hand to the girl he held against the wall.
He could hear what she was saying. "Please," she begged. "I have a boyfriend; he'll know something happened if I don't show up."
What am I doing? he wondered.
You're going to kill her, the voice answered his silent question. And he felt it, the nerves making him shake, his muscles tense and uncomfortable, like he was about to crawl out of his skin. His stomach churned from the denial of what he wanted. Needed.
His mind raced. Stop, he begged.
On with it.
"Please, don't," the woman pleaded. And it sickened him. She didn't get it. No one did. He gripped the knife harder and plunged it into the woman's stomach. He felt the relief instantly, like waves of calm washing over him.
He sighed, he could breathe normally again. He gulped in the blood tainted air, feeling his head clear. The jitters stopped. He looked at the woman. Dead. He pulled the knife out of her and let her slip to the floor. He looked down at the knife and noticed the blood all over it and his hand. It was warm, he mused.
Didn't I tell you this would make it all better? the voice asked.
The man grinned and took a step back.
The man laughed. He knew what the voice cautioned him about. The light from a street lamp poured in through the thin curtains.
"Yes," he said aloud, as he relished the light, "It was almost as if I wanted to get caught, isn't it?"
You wouldn't, the voice threatened.
The man laughed again as he began to write on the wall with his blood stained fingers.
Help me, stop me. Before I kill again.
Help me, stop me. Before I kill again.
The detective stood in the kitchen of a small downtown townhouse, reading the message written on the wall in blood. Slumped against the wall, under a cloth, lay the dead body of a woman.
"He's taunting us," the officer next to her said, referring to the killer.
"No," the detective said, "This isn't meant to taunt us. This feels honest. 'Help me'? No one would say that unless they meant it. This guy actually wants us to help him."
"And by 'stop me'…?" the officer asked.
"He wants to stop, but I guess he realized he can't stop himself, so he's appealing to us. He wants us to catch him," she answered.
"Maybe," the officer replied.
The detective shrugged. "We're gonna catch this guy either way. Who called it in?"
The officer checked his notebook. "The boyfriend, a Charlie Weaver. Came to the house when the woman, Abigail Pent, didn't show up for a date last night. Found her like this," he nodded to the body, "and called 911."
"This morning?" the detective asked.
The officer glanced at his notebook again. "Six forty-five."
"Someone was up early."
"It wasn't him, I already talked to him," the officer replied to the unspoken theory, "he's still puking his guts out from the sight of her."
Meanwhile, the man sat on the city bus on the way to work.
"You're that moron from last night, aren't you?" a woman said, indignant.
He looked at her, she looked vaguely familiar.
"You're still on it with that clicking noise!" she said.
Now he remembered. She looked different without a book attached to her face.
He gave her a shaky smile. "Sorry."
She smiled back. She seemed to be in better spirits than the night before. "What is that noise anyway?" she asked.
"Echolocation," he explained. "It's a way blind people get around. Kind of like what bats do."
She studied him. "But you're not blind."
He laughed, "No, I'm not."
"Then why do you make the noise?" she asked.
He shrugged. "I learned it from a friend, and it's been an unconscious thing ever since."
"Teach me?" the woman asked.
He smiled again. "Sure." He felt so much better ever since last night, he realized. And the voice shouldn't bother him for a while now…
Everything seemed to slow down as the bus drove by the crime scene. Yellow crime scene tape blocked off the house, and police cars crowded the small street. But what caught his attention was a woman walking out of the house. She was younger than him, but not too young, with dark brown hair she had tied up and the self-assured walk of any police officer or detective.
"No," he muttered.
"What?" the woman asked, bringing him back to his surroundings.
"Huh? Oh, nothing." He forced a smile. "It's just a tragedy what happened."
"What? That house?" she asked. "What happened?"
Realizing he shouldn't know about what hasn't hit the newsstands yet, he changed the subject. "You wanted to know how to make the clicking noise?" he asked.
At the crime scene, the detective walked out of the house as a bus went by.
"Great," she said, "now the news crews will be all over this." She looked around and spotted an officer. She waved him over. "Keep this as quiet as possible, understand?"
"Yes, ma'am," he said. "May I ask why?"
"This is the third murder like this in the last four months; I don't want anybody getting any ideas about a serial killer."
The officer nodded and walked off to tell everyone to keep quiet.
"You forgot to tell him about the murders from three years ago." The officer from the house came up next to the detective.
"No one needs to know about that."
"You think it's the same guy?" he asked her.
"I know it is."
"He's never left a note before."
"He's never left anything before," the detective said.
"So why change now?" he asked.
"Whatever made him stop before is making him want to stop again. But this time, his will power alone isn't enough," she explained.
The officer shook his head. "You really think he made himself stop killing for three years? Serial killers like this can't just stop."
"There are no serial killers like him. He's truly different," she said.
"Sounds like you're rationalizing his behavior," the officer said.
"No, that's not it. I just…" she trailed off. "It's just that he's not like the others. He wants to stop. He's asking for our help here." She looked at the officer. "Isn't that worth something?"
Three weeks and two murders later, the detective sat in her office reading the results of the DNA test. No match to anything in their database.
Great, it took them three weeks to tell her that they have no idea who's freaking DNA it is. It was recovered from a cup in the kitchen. It didn't match the boyfriend's so they sent it in for analysis.
She ran a hand through her hair. They might have their killer's DNA and it'll do them no good without anything to match it to. A knock sounded on the door, she looked up.
The officer from Abigail Pent's house came in. "Another body," he said.
The detective sighed. "He's escalating fast. A murder a week at this rate."
When they pulled up to the house, the officer led the way in, explaining as he went. "Older sister called it in an hour ago. Came home from grocery shopping and found her sister like this."
They were in the living room. It was small, but lived in. Halfway off the couch lay the body of a woman the detective identified to be not much older than herself.
"Notice anything odd about this scene?" the officer asked.
The detective shook her head. "Knife to the stomach, same MO as always. Used the victim's own knife, washes all the knives in the dishwasher to make it hard to figure out which one he used. She matches his type. Female, dark hair, early to mid-thirties."
The officer shook his head. "No, she doesn't. If I didn't know better, I'd think that was you on the floor."
The detective shrugged. "So I'm his type."
"No, it's more than that. Have you noticed the abrupt change in victimology? He used to target anyone who struck his fancy, but now, these last three, they look like you."
"No, they don't," she said. But she knew better. These girls all had faces uncannily similar to hers. Dark hair a similar length. Eyes a close shade, too. "He could be targeting anyone, maybe it's a coincidence I look like them, like the girl he's after."
The officer gave her one of those you-know-better-so-cut-the-crap looks.
"We can't be sure," she insisted. Then, to change the subject, she said. "He left another message."
The officer nodded. "Second one."
This one read:
How many women do I have to kill before I'm caught?
Tell me, and I'll do it.
"He's getting desperate," the detective remarked.
"And bold," the officer said.
The next day, the detective and the officer were at the precinct going over the case. Spanning an entire evidence board was a timeline of the killer. His estimated birthday and eighteen years of nothing were followed by a six year killing spree. The detective's eyes followed the line of twenty six crime scene photos; the man's original victims. Then there was the three year break, and then the most recent kills. Abigail Pent was victim three out of six, all in less than five months.
The detective shook her head. "There's no way to stop him, he's a ghost."
The officer looked at her. "He'll keep killing of we don't catch him. He's escalating so fast, I'm almost scared to see what he does next."
"How can we possibly catch him?" the detective asked. "He never leaves anything behind." With no DNA, no fingerprints, no witnesses, they had no way to move forward.
"You seemed convinced he wants us to stop him."
"Well, he's not doing a very good job of helping us out."
"What I don't get is why he doesn't just turn himself in," the officer said thoughtfully.
"I wouldn't know. Maybe he can't."
"Like someone's stopping him?"
The detective shook her head. "I don't think we're looking for a team."
"What are we looking for? We don't even have any ideas about this guy," the officer said, slightly exasperated. "He ruins any profile of a serial killer that we have."
The detective looked at the evidence board and didn't answer.
"What are you thinking?" the officer asked.
"How did he get away with twenty-six murders in the span of six years?" she asked.
"Like you said, he's a ghost," the officer said. "You'd think this was the perfect crime."
"There's no such thing," the detective said absently.
"That's what I thought before I met this guy," the officer said. He had been working the case since the start. The detective only came on the case five months ago when the killer resurfaced.
The detective sighed.
She knew the only way to catch this man was if they got some evidence. The only way to get evidence was if there was another body. She pinched the bridge of her nose in frustration. "The only way to catch him is if he keeps killing."
The man was in his room in his small apartment. It was dark and rain drizzled down, pattering at his window. He sat against the wall, knees to his chest. He ran his fingers roughly through his hair.
Kill her already, the voice said. How many times have you followed her home? You know where to find her.
"No," he said. He shut his eyes and gasped. His muscles ached. He dug his fingernails into his palms in an attempt to stop the shaking.
His nerves were on edge. He opened his eyes and they darted around the dark room. Over his bed, the dresser, a pile of books, the only real things he owned.
"Don't make me," he begged.
But don't you see? I'm not making you do anything, the voice said soothingly. I'm the only one helping you. The detective woman will make you feel better. All you have to do is kill her.
The man shook his head and stood up to look out the window. Down on the street, a woman rushed by, in a hurry to get out of the rain.
The man's eyes lit up at the sight of her hair. It was the proper length and dark enough, plastered to her shoulders from the rain. Something in the sky caught the woman's attention and she looked up. The light caught her eyes and the man saw that they were a brilliant shade of blue.
He cursed. He needed brown eyes.
It wouldn't have mattered, the voice said. She wouldn't have helped. None of the other three helped, did they?
"I won't kill her," the man said, talking about the detective.
"I don't want to," the man said. "I don't have to."
You'll feel like this forever, then.
"Whatever it takes to stop."
You couldn't stop before, what makes you think you can now?
The man smiled. "I have help."
The man didn't say anything.
And that's why you won't kill her, the voice accused, condescension ringing in each word.
The man shook his head. "It's so much more than that."
The man waited, but the voice didn't answer. The silence stretched on deafeningly. He worried for a moment that he had upset the voice too much, and feared being alone. He quickly buried the thought. Being alone was a small price to pay to have the voice gone.
The man sighed and lay down on his bed though he knew he wouldn't be able to sleep. The shaking was too much and he hurt all over. He crossed his arms and dug his fingernails into his arms.
Being alone was a small price to pay to have the urges gone.
You're doing more harm than good with this, you know, the voice said softly. Killing three in the place of one? Where's the justice in that?
The man started making his unconscious clicking noise, speeding up as the urge to kill overwhelmed him.