Author note: This story is the first of the many Gavin and Rikarah stories- this was written six years ago, when I was sixteen. I continue to write a story revolving around them about once a year. The sequels include Twisted Affections, Fair Weather Friend, Scary Christmas, Redefined, And To All a Good Night, Unholy Night, Trick or Treat, The Golden Rule, Four Scenes of Halloween. Because I was so young, this is the roughest-reading one, but it holds a soft spot because it was the first.

The young man stood silently in the outskirts of the crowded public park, the shadow he cast mingling with those of the tall trees behind him. He watched as the children ran past him exuberantly, laughing, shouting, and chasing each other, none paying him the slightest bit of attention. Children were like that, he knew- so caught up in their own small worlds that those of others escaped them. He didn't mind- it amused him to watch those who could still so easily feel happiness, innocence.1

He watched the parents too, who were, in turn, watching their children- most of them, anyway. They were also interesting- some looked relaxed and happy, smiling as they watched their child. Others looked weary, near exhaustion, as though they rarely sat down or slept. Some were impatient, or angry, as though they really didn't want to be there- busy parents, he thought. And still others weren't interested at all- they were typing on laptops, or flirting with women or men he doubted were the children's parents. 2

As he watched the park's occupants from his solitary spot in the back, one person in particular caught his eye. A young woman, around his age, 20 or 21, was sitting on a bench, watching the park's inhabitants as intently as he was. She was very attractive, he thought, with her short, stylishly cut brown hair, and an open, friendly face. He noticed that like him, and unlike the kids' parents, she didnt seem to be focused on any one person, but rather all of them.3

His attention distracted from the other people, he watched her for a few moments, a faint smile on his lips, feeling strangely drawn to her, as though he wanted- needed- to speak to her. Though he hadn't heard her speak, or even seen her move, and he was sure she hadn't noticed him, he was almost certain that should he approach, she would not only be receptive to him, she'd also feel the same magnetic pull toward him that he felt toward her.4

He heistated only a moment in the shade of the trees before stepping into the sunlit park path and making his way to the woman on the bench. She still had not noticed him when he came to a stop beside her.5

" Nice day, isn't it?" he said in a casual tone. Startled, the girl turned to see he was standing nearby. She smiled, and his heart pounded in his chest. She was even prettier than he'd thought- her brown eyes sparkled, and she had a lovely smile. Despite the cool autumn day, she was wearing a sleeveless shirt and capris, and he noticed a tattoo of a nude fairy on each shoulder blade, and a Chinese symbol on her ankle.6

" Yes, it is, isn't it?" she replied. " October's my favorite month."7

" Mine too," he said. Following her gaze, which was resting on a little boy playing in a sandbox, he asked, " Are any of them yours- the kids, I mean?"8

The girl laughed, making her eyes dance once more. He found himself leaning closer to her unconciously.9

" Oh, no! No, I don't know anyone here. I just like to come and sit out here and watch everyone. People are so interesting, you know? You can learn a lot from watching strangers... you probably think I'm strange."10

He shook his head. " No, not at all. I do the same thing. In fact, I was watching you before I came over, believe it or not."11

She raised an eyebrow. " Really? Well, I'm flattered."12

" My name is Gavin," he said abruptly. " Gavin Berwin."13

" Nice to meet you, Gavin," she replied, shaking his hand. Her palm was soft and cool to his touch. " I'm Rikarah Pallaton."14

Once introductions had been made, Gavin and Rikarah began to talk in earnest. Gavin marveled at how easy it was to talk to her. She was so open and honest- she said whatever popped into her mind, no matter how strange it sounded, and most of what she said, Gavin could identify with. From her lively comments, it was obvious she was an intelligent, very individualistic girl. Gavin liked her immediately- and he could tell she liked him too.15

They had been talking about random stuff for nearly an hour before Gavin suggested going for coffee together. Rikarah had agreed, and they walked to a coffee shop only a block or so from the park, standing rather closer to each other than necesscary so their shoulders bumped often. 16

" So what kind of stuff do you like to do for fun? Besides watch people, I mean?" Gavin asked as they sat sipping their coffee.17

" Sometimes I draw. Or write stories, I like to do that. I guess I'm a nerd, huh? I love movies-especially horror. Even cheesy ones! And I started a collection recently- I only have a few things in it now, but they're very special to me."18

" What do you collect?" Gavin inquired curiously.19

" Well, it's kind of hard to explain... you'll have to see it for yourself," Rikarah told him. Gavin smiled.20

" I'll have to take you up on that."21

They continued on with their pleasant little date, and Gavin forgot about Rikarah's comment about her collection. He was trying to work out an acceptable way to ask her to his apartment when she beat him to it.22

" Gavin, why don't you come over to my apartment? I can make dinner for us... and you can see my collection," Rikarah said in a light-hearted and causual tone. She waggled her eyebrows at him mischieviously. " I know you're dying to see my collection! Not to mention exploring my... apartment." The way she said the last bit implied a meaning beyond the literary sense. Gavin grinned. He had to love this girl- she'd just made it so much easier on him.23

" Sure," he said. " Sounds great. Can't wait to... uh... see your apartment."24

" I don't live far from here- less than three blocks," Rikarah told him. " I walk everywhere. You didn't have a car in the park, did you- it's okay for you to walk?"25

" Oh yeah," Gavin assured her. " I walk everywhere too." 26

The walk to Rikarah's house was a blur for Gavin. All he could concentrated on was his anticipation of going home with her- just the two of them, completely alone-he couldn't have planned it better himself. He found himself focusing on parts of her- her eyes, her lips, her chest, her neck- one at a time, rather than listening to her talking. If she noticed, she didn't seem to mind.27

Rikarah's apartment, though modest, was well-kept, at least on the outside. The very small yard was neatly trimmed, and though the aparment itself was old and out of style, it was painted and the stoop was swept. Rikarah led Gavin up to the stoop and fumbled for her keys, finally opening the door and gesuring Gavin inside.28

" Here it is, my palace," she said dramatically. " Doesn't it just take your breath away?"29

Stepping inside, Gavin smiled at her obviously sarcastic words. Her living room was rather small and cluttered- the ugly, mismatched furniture taking up too much room. However, like the outside of the house, Rikarah had done her best to make it look better, taping her own drawings to the walls. Gavin stepped over to one of them and examined it more closely. It was a rather good sketch of a teenaged girl who resembled Rikarah.30

" This is really good," he told her. " Is that you?"31

" Yeah, a self-portrait. I was 16." 32

He continued his walk around the room, looking over each of Rikarah's drawings. Finally he had seen each of them up close. Looking up, he commented, " Rikarah, you're really talented."33

She shrugged. " I work at it. It was a form of escape for me for a while. When I was younger." An odd expression crossed her face that Gavin couldn't read. Sensing he'd hit on a sensitive subject, he asked, " So where's this collection you were going to show me?" 34

Rikarah's smile returned. " Oh, it's in my room... you want to see it?" 35

Gavin nodded. Rikarah's smile widened. " Are you sure?" she teased. " Okay then- follow me! And prepare to be stunned!"36

She walked down a small hallway. Gavin followed, wondering what in the world her collection could be that she was so mysterious about. From what he knw of her, he guessed it was an artistic thing of some kind. Rikarah opened the door and stepped inside to a room.37

" Here we are!" she said. " This is my collection... isn't it beautiful?"38

Gavin walked into her bedroom after her. Like the living room, it was small, cramped, and had drawings hanging up everywhere. But all of this completely escaped Gavin's view. His eyes were focused on a shelf fixed right at his eye level and the items it was holding. His mouth dropped open in complete shock, and he stared, unable to speak or make a sound. Rikarah watched his reaction with a strangely twisted smile- for the items on the shelf-her collection- was the gruesome, decaying heads of three people that had obviously once been alive and well- and not such a long time ago either. They were sitting up on the stumps of their necks, dried blood coating their faces and necks grotesquely. But the strangest and scariest thing about them was the faces' disturbing mutilations. On the left, the head of the only male, the eyes were missing- they were only empty sockets. The woman's head in the middle was missing both ears, and the head of a teen girl on the right had had her mouth crudely sewn shut with coarse black thread. 39

Gavin gaped dumbly at the gruesome figures, unable to believe his eyes. This couldn't be right. These- this- these DECAPITATED HEADS were the collection Rikarah had been talking about? They had to be fake, masks, or sculptures, or something!40

Rikarah, observing his reaction with a mix of pleasure, smugness, and disappointment, finally spoke. " You don't get it, do you?" she said calmly. " I guess I can't expect you to."41

" Are those real?" Gavin stuttered.42

" Of course they are," Rikarah smiled. " Right now, you don't get it, but that's ok. It's an artistic statement, Gavin. I'm rather proud of them."43

" Who are those people?" Gavin sputtered.44

" My family," Rikarah stated. " Let me explain. You have to know the full story to understand the meaning of the my collection." She paused. " Ever heard of the three evils- hear no, see no, speak no evil? The little monkeys?"45

Gavin nodded wordlessly, not sure where she was goin with that. He eyed her in still complete disbelief and shock at his discovery.46

" That's kind of my theme here. See how the man is missing his eyes?" she asked, gesturing at the male head. " That was my father. You see, my whole family was evil- even my sister, and she was only fifteen. My dad was a nasty, dirty-minded pervert. He couldn't keep his eyes where they should be- he was always leering at some girl, some woman- if not a real one- then porn. He couldn't even restrain himself from looking at me, his own daughter! HE was always after me, touching me when no one was watching, staring at my boobs, my butt... he was a sicko. He even wanted me to have sex with him, can you believe that? I managed to avoid it, but it wasn't enough to stop him. Which leads to my mom. I told her what he was doing, but she refused to listen to me. She wouldn't believe me. She said I was lying- she stuck up for that pig!"47

" You see, my dad- he saw evil, or he let himself see evil. And my mom heard evil but did nothing to stop it... hence their mutilations. See no evil, hear no evil, get it?" Rikarah grinned. " Oh, and my sister. Isabella Rue. You'd think with a name like Isabella Rue she'd be cool, but no, she was a typical snobby bitch. She was such an awful sister. I always tried to be nice to her, and Isabella Rue would completely backstab me. She'd pick fights all the time- she'd yell and swear at me, and she was my little sister! She'd try to get me in trouble all the time. Isabella Rue would make up horrid stories about me and tell not only my parents, but all the kids at school. Not a pleasant girl. Isabella Rue spoke evil- but she can't anymore!" Seeing the stony look on Gavin's face, Rikarah's smile slipped.48

" You still don't get it. I guess I can't expect you too... Not many people would understand my collection. I take it you're afraid of me now? I take it you think I'm crazy, that you're going to make up an excuse to leave so you can run straight to the police? So you can tell, so I get sent to prison, or a mental institution, if I"m lucky? Am i right? Well guess what Gavin, that's not going to happen. Not if I have any say in this..." Rikarah's usually sunny face had gone as hard as flint, her cold eyes narrow, a malevolence coming across her pretty features as she stared intently at Gavin. He shrugged, his former shocked expression gone-he looked blank, unconcerned, as though he didn't care what might happen to him- or what she might do to him.49

" Actually, you're not right. You couldn't be more wrong."50

A startled look flickered across Rikarah's face, but it was quickly replaced with a smirk.51

" Oh really? You expect me to believe you aren't horrified by this, that if I let you go you'd stay quiet the rest of your life? Please Gavin, you're human- and humans have an unbelievably long moral streak. Most do anyway... I mean, I kind of feel bad now that I've seen you're a nice guy and all, but... I want to start a new collection. Something with hands and feet. And you're here, so..." She let her voice trail off, shrugging.52

" I mean it," Gavin insisted calmly. " If I leave- when I leave- I can promise you I won't tell about your- uh- hobby."53

"Right!" Rikarah said cynically, eyes boring holes into his. He stared right back at her. " YOu want me to just trust you- to place my freedom, my life, in your hands?"54

" No," Gavin said in a tight, cold voice. " I expect you to."55

Suddenly his hands plunged into the baggy leather jacket he'd been wearing and withdrew a sharp, menacing-looking knife. He held it up, its blade glinting ominously. Rikarah gasped, her eyes widening. She stared at him, speechless- just as he'd stared at her only a few minutes ago.56

" Weren't expecting that, were you?" he asked in a friendly tone. " Just like I wasn't expecting you to be an axe murderer, or however you cut off their heads."57

" Butcher knife," Rikarah said faintly, eyes fixed on his knife.58

" Oh, so we're both knife people. Guess that makes sense. What irony, huh?" he said, smiling ruefully. " You see, you brought me here to kill me- but I came here to kill you. I go to the park to scope out victims- I assume you were there for the same reason?"59

Rikarah nodded tightly.60

" I picked you out as soon as I saw you. I knew there was something different about you.. I was drawn to you, though I didn't know why. Guess I do now," he smiled. " Likes attract more than opposites."61

Rikarah shook her head in disbelief, still trying to process this turn in events. " I don't believe this. I brought you here to kill you and you came here to kill me? This is unfathomable!"62

" Not really," Gavin replied. " Like I said, likes attract more than opposites."63

Rikarah narrowed her eyes at him. " Do you still think you're going to kill me, Gavin? Because if you do, you can reject that little notion fast. I can assure you I can quite easily put a stop to any plan you have formed. As you can see, I'm not the helpless little woman you thought I was."64

Gavin grinned. " Oh, I believe it. I think the two of us are rather fairly matched in that respect. It would be an interesting battle."65

"So what's your plan then?" 66

" Well..." Gavin said slowly, thinking. Finally he said, " I never met anyone before who was like me, Rikarah. And I bet you never met anyone who was like you either. I liked you even before I knew about your collection... and to be honest, now that I know what you're really like, I find you sexy as hell."67

Rikarah's wary look softened, and she smiled.68

" Really? Same here."69

" I have a proposal for you. Instead of trying to do each other in, or letting each other escape alive and never meeting again- why dont' we work together? We're so similar. We obviously have a lot in common, and we're both attracted to each other. I could bring home people and we could kill them together- then you could add them to you collection. I just think it would be a shame to fight each other, or try to forget each other, when the chances of us finding someone else like us, someone we could live with and work with- even love- are close to zero. I think we'd be good together, Rikarah- better than either of us are alone. What do you say?"70

Rikarah cocked her head, smiling slowly her approval. Her eyes glowed.71

" I think we agree, Mr. Soulmate. I also think you can drop your I'm-a-gentleman act and kiss me like you've been dying to all night."72

With a sadistic grin, Gavin tucked his knife back into his jacket and roughly pulled Rikarah into his arms, brutally crushing his lips against hers. Her arms tightened in an almost strangling grip around his neck, and she kissed him back just as violently. On the shelf behind them, Rikarah's collection sat placidly, seeing, hearing, and speaking nothing of the evils they were so proximal to