A Bittersweet Feeling

Drip… drip… drip.

Jennie stalked around the corner, a magazine in one hand and the TV remote in the other. The dripping noise was getting louder. She stopped at the corner, took a deep breath, and jumped out, the things in her hands now raised high above her head. She had unnecessarily closed her eyes. Slowly, she opened them again to frown at the kitchen.

Nothing was there.

The girl let out the breath she was holding. Jennie had been afraid that someone—or something—was in the house, causing the noise. With a feeling of relief, she realized that it had been the sink. The knob was slightly turned and the water dripped down. Jennie always got like this when she was alone. She would check under the couch, behind the shower curtain, and in every closet, she passed. Jennie convinced herself that it was okay for her to do it. There was nothing wrong with being over protective.

Her parents were out for dinner with a crowd of their friends and would not be back home until late. It was already dark and Jennie's senses were kicking into high gear. She blamed her skittishness on watching too many crime shows.

With a thud, she landed back onto the couch. The killer was about to be caught on the show she was watching. They had him in interrogation; now they were trying to get the location of the other bodies. Jennie pulled her knees up into her chest and hugged them. It was exciting, but sometimes she thought that it was too much. Every once in a while she thought that she saw something out of the corner of her eye, and she would jump up onto the couch cushions until she realized it was only a shadow.

Once she had told her best friend Aimee about her late night scares. "Don't be ridiculous," she had scoffed. "There is nothing in your house."

"You don't know that," Jennie had said. "Someone could break in while I'm home alone. What would happen then?"

Aimee had just rolled her eyes at her friend. "Like that's ever going to happen. Geez, you watch way too much TV."

Sadly, Jennie had to agree; but at least she did not watch scary movies all the time, like Aimee did. Crime shows with murderers were much better than scary movies with ax killers, right? On the TV, the serial killer was leering up at the screen. Don't zoom in, don't zoom in, Jennie thought, but the camera shot slid into a close up of his face. Crap.

The man started to talk to the investigators and his voice alone was enough to make Jennie squirm. "Do you know what it is like," he was saying, "to do something that no one else knows about…." He paused. "Well, someone does know all about it, but they are the person you kill. They know that you have snuck into their home—"

Jennie jumped. She could have sworn that she heard the window slam. However, Jennie dismissed it. She had just imagines it all, like always.

"—or that you have pulled them from their car or their lawn." A smile slowly spread across his face. "No, you have never felt that, I assume. You are, after all, an investigator."

The detective on the show started to take over. "I hate it when you killers think that they have a silver tongue. You never stop talking…."

However, the killer ignored him altogether. "The looks on their faces are the best part: the surprise, the shock—"

Once again, Jennie jumped. Was that a bump she heard? No, it could not be. She was being over edgy. Of course, there was no bump.

"—the terror…. Yes, I think that it the best part. They fear you so much that they would rather die at that moment, than let you allow them to live. By the time they see me they hope that I would kill them." The man took a deep sigh, as if it was a wedding he was remembering rather than a death. "The key to it is being stealthy, to not make a sound—"

The patter of feet was heard overhead. Jennie glanced upward at gulped. She wanted to turn on the lights, but was too scared to get up. The girl could hear Aimee's voice in her head: "Like that's ever going to happen. Geez, you watch way too much TV." Maybe she was right. Jennie went to switch the channel and found that she could not. Against her will, she wanted to know what happen.

"—that way they do not know you are coming. It is too much of a bother if they run, especially if it is toward the phone."

Just turn the channel, Jennie thought. You can do it…. This is bad for you; you know how jumpy these things make you feel. But no matter how hard she tried, she could not do it.

"Then comes the best part," the serial killer was saying, "the part where the knife that I hold in my hand is used to kill them. It is bittersweet. It makes you feel—"

The floorboards on the steps creaked. Jennie poked her head up and grabbed a pillow, entrapping it into a gut bursting hug. No, she thought. It is just your imagination, once again. She turned up the volume on the TV, but while it drowned out her overactive imagination, it increased the sound of the murderer's speech.

"—alive because that person's entire being depends on your choices. It is exhilarating—"

The standing lamp on the other side of the room fell to the ground. Jennie screamed, but it faded away when she saw her pet cat, Nanners, scurry away and hiss. Jennie was about to turn the channel for real when she felt a cold hand on her neck.

"He's right," a voice said. "It is an exhilarating feeling."

Jennie gulped, and everything that the killer on the TV show just said came rushing back to her. "You mean…" Her voice was so dry. "You mean I wasn't imagining those noises?"

A laugh came from behind her; it was rough as sandpaper. "Sadly, no…. I hate old houses that creak when I move." The hand tightened.

The TV cast an eerie glow on Jennie's body. "Tell us where you hid the bodies," the TV detective was saying.

"Oh, I'll tell you—for a price," the serial killer said.

The man behind Jennie tightened his grip on her neck and chuckled. "There's always a price for such a bittersweet feeling."


I, too, have a love for crime shows and I really should not watch them late at night. I like how you get the impression that the man strangling Jennie has been listening onto the TV show. Creepy.