She was dead on the kitchen floor. I was lying beside her, staring at her from the angle that my head was at as it lay on my arm. I could see the sharpness of her jawline, some of the veins in her neck and collar bone, because her head was twisted upwards, facing the kitchen window.
I went to play with her hair, using the arm I was laying on to reach out my hand and tangle it within her sun drenched locks. I wonder if that was her natural blond shade or if she had dyed it? The hair was soft under my fingers and seemed to shimmer when it caught the sunlight coming in from the window.
I didn’t want to get up, but it was time to move. Slowly, I pulled away, careful not to disturb the position she had fallen into. Sitting up, I folded my legs and rested my hands in my lap. Her dress had rode up, revealing more than it should do, not that the tight red dress had left a lot to the imagination anyway. I pulled it down, pinching just the edge of the silky material as I did so and covered her up.
That done I cast my eyes down her slim, tan legs and noticed that her shoes had come off her feet. Kneeling across her, I pushed the shiny red heels back into place. I licked my dry lips and moved to sit by her head. I had shut her blue eyes before, but I could still feel them staring up at me. They had been a light shade of blue, like a spring sky or crystal waters of a calm sea. Happiness had shone out of those eyes, life had shone, youth and so many other things which she was now robbed of. I noticed her lipstick was slightly smeared at the bottom edge which was closest to the floor. I wanted her to be perfect, perfect in life as in death, but to fix that lipstick smear would mean moving her head…..
I left it and traced the curve of her neck downwards. There was a thin sliver chain around her throat at the end dangled a small flat heart. I remembered it sitting in the hollow of her throat before. She was on her side now and I doubted that the heart would stay there again. I pressed the heart between my fingers and put it into the hollow. Luckily, the bones were raised and the heart rested on one of them.
Did that mean she was un-weight? I hadn’t seen any other bones sticking out…..I dipped my hands to her chest and pressed down, I felt a slight stickiness on her skin and a faint tingle of the perfume wafted over to my nose. I had forgotten that smell, it had faded somehow. No bones raised against my fingers, so I guessed she was okay. My eyes moved down, the neckline of the red dress dipped very low and it was now clinging to her skin. I pulled it out a little.
There she was almost perfect….but the scene was not. I shuffled back and stood up. I had to leave her and the kitchen to gather what was needed. Around her, I arranged the small, thin glass candle holders I had taken from the bathroom. There were six of them, one at her head, and another at her feet and then two on each side of her, spaced so that an oval shape was created. I had put in fresh candles- vanilla scented- the only ones she had left and they were a cream colour in the glass holders.
There was a box of matches on the kitchen top. I opened the box and struck the first match, it flickered out. The smoke rose and I could smell burning. I knelt down and struck another. The flame sparked and caught this time. I lit the first candle and then lit the rest using four matches in all. I threw the used ones in the bin and then replaced the box.
How peaceful she looked, almost like she was sleeping only there were no movements and the kitchen floor shattered the image of her being comfy. The light from the candles was a gold halo on the floor and the smell of vanilla drifted upwards, covering up the scent of death which had settled on her before. She looked nice in all that red and was another satisfactory offering to the Reaper.
A noise outside drew my attention away; the low rumble of a car engine as it slowed down. There came a slight squeak of the wheel as it hit the curb. Time to leave. I went to the backdoor and after a last glance around I stepped out into the sunlight, a smile on my face.
I saw it in the newspaper the next day; it must have been Thursday because it was a free newspaper that got delivered through the door. I flicked through the paper over a late lunch, until I found the article; a photo of her caught my eye. A quick read of the small article showed me that everything was still fresh and the police were giving nothing anyway. I threw the paper into recycling after I had read the ads for jobs page.
I stayed inside that day, watching TV and staying away from the news. I could no longer bear hearing the reports about the murders and watching the sobbing family members begging the public to help them. Instead I watched cartoons, recalling fond memories of my childhood and wishing to be back in that innocent state.
I didn’t kill for days after that. I went out once to buy food; readymade meals, some fruit, some snacks and a bottle of blackcurrant juice. I liked the young woman at the till who severed me, she kept smiling at me- I must have looked good that morning. I didn’t want her to be next, but I had a feeling she could be. I had killed enough of my long distance friends and family members now, I had started on friends of friends and girl/boyfriends, but I knew the police were clever and would figure out who was at the centre of that circle. I had to start on strangers and take up a different method.
It was raining. The sky was a dull grey colour and the wind was tossing around some rubbish in a corner. I was shivering in my coat, but I had to stay hidden. She must have been working a late shift, because there was no why she could have sneaked passed me. From this angle I could see the staff door and the main door. I didn’t want it to be her, but it had to be someone……
The staff door opened and into the rain she stepped. I watched as she shook out the umbrella and started walking away. I followed her, pacing slower behind her. The car park was empty, but for a line of cars and it was to one of these she was heading. I couldn’t let her get into that car. I had to take her now.
I crept up behind her and slipped the knife from my pocket. She had stopped by a small green car and was fumbling for keys. I swung my arm around her neck, she struggled and went to scream, but I drew the knife quickly across her throat. I hear her choke and felt the warm blood pouring down and across my arm. I pushed her away, but she twists around as she falls and I see her wide, brown eyes staring into mine.
I have to wait till she dies, but she’s still struggling for breath, maybe the cut wasn’t deep enough? The knife is shaking in my hand, I can’t cut her again. It was a mistake to kill her in this way….it’s not a perfect death. All that blood gushing, her struggle, the pain and fear in her face. I reach out for her with my other hand, but before my fingers can touch her warm, wet skin, a door bangs shut.
I shoot upwards, my eyes fix on the staff door and the two men walking over. I clutch the knife in my hand and flee the scene, but they see me and start yelling. I run on, my feet pounding the wet tarmac, blood dripping off the knife and the edges my coat hitting me. I hear feet pounding behind me, someone gasping for breath too closely! I get out of the car park, hit the street and take the turn off into the woods.
It was early in the morning and someone was banging at my front door. The sound vibrated through my head, causing a headache to fire up in my skull. I struggled out of the bed and went to the door.
“Police! Open up!”
I froze at the voice and words….Why had they come for me?
I went to the door and the voices yelled the same thing again. I peered out and saw at least four policemen on the doorstep. I opened the door and stuck my head out, “Is there a problem?” I asked.
The officer asked me my name and when I give it to him, he kicked the door in and grabbed me, shouting, “I’m arresting you for murder!”
“Murder? What? I’ve done nothing!”
He turned me around and clipped the handcuffs on telling me the normal arresting lines as he did so. I echoed the part about the lawyer and then they dragged me off into a police van. I sit in the back, eyeing the cage interior and listening to the police radio announcing things. The cuffs were tight on my wrists. The police sirens were on, so clearly they were in a hurry to get me back to the station. I had too much time to think and as a crime investigation van pulled up, I had already worked out that telling them the true just wouldn’t cut it.
I was quiet as an officer took me from the van and to the desk. I had to fill out some forms and have all my things taken from me. Then came the interview…..I lied and denied everything. It seemed my innocent act didn’t work though and as I sit before a spread of photos- staring at the dead bodies just I had left them-I decided to come clean about my actions.
It wasn’t to be believed of course.
A shaft of moonlight peered in the cell window. I shifted my head to cast I look up at the full moon as it bathed light across the sky. The jail was still echoing with voices and though I had a cell to myself I just couldn’t sleep. This was my second night and I knew time had run out for me. There was no way I could carry on my killing spree in here. So I was just going to have to face up to the fate I had been dodging for years.
As the moon disappeared behind a cloud, the cell suddenly got colder, freezing almost. I looked around, trying to see through the pitch blackness and then I was aware of a black figure appearing out of the wall. I stood up and braced myself for my last audience with the Reaper.
“I can’t kill any more,” I whispered.
He was silent.
“The pact is broken…..there can be no more deaths to allow me to keep living.”
The moon appeared, hitting the scythe he held with a bone hand as it swept downwards to my chest.