Title: Beware of the Stranger

Summary: Handsome men like him couldn't be murderers, Martha thought. He had blue eyes and blond hair. Serial killers were scruffy, ugly outcasts. Brent was far too good looking!

Claimer: I own the story plot and characters, any names related to those living or dead are purely coincidental. Do not use my characters without permission.

AN: I haven't written a oneshot in a while and just wanted to get something down. Experimenting with my writings and ideas, that's all I suppose. That, and I was kinda bored. Please note that this will NOT turn into a novel. This is a ONESHOT only. Please do not ask me to continue as I already have others stories that are begging for my attention…

In any case, please comment and let me know what you think as I would one day like to try my hand at a mystery/thriller type story.


It was something she didn't normally do. She wasn't the type of woman to pick up random strangers off the street and take them home. But he looked so…lonely, like a lost little puppy caught out in the rain; she couldn't help but feel for him.

Well, it probably helped that he had the most stunning blue eyes she had ever seen. They were mesmerizing, drawing her in completely and utterly. And his smile, small but gentle, when she offered him her place to stay for the night made her heart leap.

A man like him, both handsome yet beautiful at the same time, was hard to find. And she, with her emerald green eyes and vibrant red head, would know. She had no trouble attracting men. Usually the wrong kind of men.

But he felt different. There was something exciting and mysterious about him.

Her brother would worry, though. Over the last six months, there had been five murders, all of which were still unsolved. It was a scary time, she must admit.

But this guy was ok, she was certain of it. Handsome men like him couldn't possibly be insane killers; he was far too good looking. Murderers, in the books she's read and the movies she's watched, are all scruffy, unshaven outcasts, anti-social and rude. With his shiny blond hair, twinkling blue eyes and that gorgeous, gentle smile, this man was certainly a lady killer, but he's no murderer.

"By the way, my name is Martha," she said as she walked into the kitchen, leaving the man to sit himself down upon her two-seater lounge suite. "And you?"

He was silent for a moment. "Brent."

"I don't usually do this," she said with a small smile, before letting a light laugh pass her lips. "Letting strange men into my house, I mean. But…"

"You wanted to help me," he finished for her. "How kind."

Martha felt a heating sensation dance across her cheeks and she busied herself with the task of making tea. Tea would be lovely on such a cold and rainy evening.

"Why don't you tell me a bit about yourself?" Martha asked as she returned into the lounge room, setting the cup of tea on the table before him before she, too, took a seat upon the couch next to him.

He shrugged, rather jittery, as he made no attempt to take the tea. Instead, he sat on the edge of his seat, his hands clenched together and in-between his knees. He glanced over to her, a gaze lingering for a moment that made her heart skip a beat, before he looked away.

"There's not much to say," he said, his voice low, almost haunting. "I…don't like talking about myself. I have seen some terrible things in my life."

Martha felt her heart ache for the man before her. She reached forward, wanting to comfort him in some way, to let him know that he wasn't alone. But the sound of her phone ringing, the ring tone seemingly louder than usual, made her pull back. She was surprised by her own intentions and she hastily climbed to her feet, stuttering out a few apologies before moving to answer the phone.

"H-hello?"

"Marthy?" It was her older brother. She should have known he would ring her tonight. He would ring her every night, ever since the news broke about the murders.

"I'm busy right now," Martha said rather tersely into the phone, glancing over her shoulder to Brent, watching for a moment as he carefully sipped his tea. "I have a guest."

"A guest? Who?"

"Just someone," Martha muttered as she slipped into the kitchen, her voice lowering to a near whisper.

"You're being vague."

She sighed deeply. "It's a guy and…I picked him up at the train station, ok?"

"Are you an idiot?" his voice boomed in her ear. "Haven't you watched the news or something? There have been several murders reported in your area! What if he's the one who-?"

Martha rolled her eyes, even though her brother couldn't possibly see it through the phone. "Stop worrying so much," she said, exasperation heavy in her tone. "He's not a serial killer. Please, serial killers don't look like him."

"You've been watching too much garbage on TV!" her brother practically snarled over the phone. "That's it, I'm coming over."

"Don't you dare!" Martha hissed lowly, not wanting her guest to overhear her argument with her brother. She didn't want to make him feel as though he was intruding in some way. "I can take care of myself!"

Before her brother could make a reply, she pulled the phone away from her ear and angrily pressed the End Call button. She clutched the phone in her hand tightly, her face twisted into a look of irritation. Her older brother had always been highly protective of her. He was like that back in their childhood, when she was the most popular girl at school. Sure, there had been times where she had been grateful for his protection when a few of the guys seemed obsessed with her.

But, mostly, he was annoyingly protective. Just because there had been a few murders in and around her suburb, didn't mean she was going to become a victim. She always locked her doors and kept clear of scruffy strangers.

Besides, nothing like that would happen to her.

"Something wrong?"

Martha nearly jumped out of her own skin when she heard a voice directly behind her. She spun around, her fiery red hair dancing across her shoulders from the abruptness. "Oh! Brent, you startled me…"

He was close to her, so close that she could smell his scent; musky and manly. It was rather intoxicating. And yet, his closeness startled her and she took a step back away from him. A sense of unease washed over her, though she didn't know why.

"Oh, that was just my brother on the phone," she answered his question, giving a long suffering sigh. "He's-"

"Ah, yes," Brent chuckled, his expression gentle and aloof. "He has always been protective of you, hasn't he?"

Martha felt her breath hitch in her throat. "What…?"

Again, he chuckled.

"Don't you recognise me, Martha?" he asked her, his head quirked to the side. "No, I suppose you wouldn't. After all, I was the four-eyed loner with curly brown hair and a face covered in pimples."

Curly brown hair…Pimples…?

It couldn't be.

"…Gil…Gilbert?" she stuttered as her body trembled, a feeling of unknown fear gripping at her chest.

Gilbert Newman. He was the short, scrawny kid in her year 9 class, wasn't he? The one she and her friends used to tease mercilessly when it was rumoured he had a crush on her. He used to follow her around the playground, watching silently from the background.

He laughed, cold and bitterly. "I don't go by that name anymore."

Suddenly, she felt a sharp pain against her torso and it took her breath away. Her hands immediately went to her stomach, her fingers shakily touching something wooden, yet sticky and warm that appeared to be sticking out of her stomach.

With her eyes wide and unblinking, she looked down. She slowly pulled her hands away, turning her trembling palms toward her.

Blood...

Martha jerked her body backwards to get away from him, pain ripping in her stomach. She had to get away. Her stockinged feet slipped across the tiled floor, her back colliding with the kitchen bench behind her. Her body felt weak, unresponsive, and all she could do was stare into his eyes, the ones she first thought were a beautiful blue, were now deep and menacing. So dark and filled with insanity.

"No…" Her voice was raspy, her body shaking behind her control. Shock, she was going into shock.

"I remember you telling me at school that you didn't like geeks," he said as he drew closer, each step more menacing than the last. "You only went for hot, sexy guys. You valued your appearance above everything, didn't you?"

Martha felt cold, oh-so very cold.

"This is your fault, you know?" He continued to smile, even as he paused before her. In his hand was the knife, covered in blood and he gripped the handle so tightly, his knuckles were white from the pressure. "You weren't very nice to me at school. No, you were too beautiful. That's all that matters, right? Appearance."

She felt the tangy metal taste of blood in the back of her throat, her body convulsing uncontrollably. Run! She told herself, I have to run!

"Beautiful people aren't kind. They use their looks to get what they want, even if they don't deserve it."

"M-my brother is…"

"Coming over?" he interrupted, his smile faltering as he furrowed his brow in irritation. "I'll have to be quick, then."

She all but stopped breathing.

"Yeah, I'm about to murder you." He chuckled as he tapped the bloody knife against his cheek. "But that's totally ok, right? After all, it's all about being sexy..."