Into the woods I go again. I follow my usual path. I know it so well that I don’t need a torch to light my way; all I need is the stars and the moon, but I could probably walk this route without them either. Tonight, however, the moon is bright.
The thing on my shoulder is heavy, they always seem to weigh more in death. Dead weight. How true. It bumps up and down lightly as I move over the rough ground. The plastic I have wrapped it in makes it easier to carry, it keeps the thing’s limbs pressed to its body and keeps my hands clean. I don’t want to touch its blood anymore. I’ve already done that bit, now I just have to get rid of it.
This one was a screamer – oh how it screamed! A tortured yet delicious sound, music to my ears. The more they scream, the more I enjoy it, but I am not evil or malicious. I try to make their deaths quick - I can’t say painless as that would be a lie. My method of killing isn’t sophisticated or original, you see. All I need is a knife. A few well placed stabs and they soon bleed out. Blood, blood, so much blood. Blood everywhere. And after the excitement and thrill, I come back down to earth and have to deal with the practicalities – I need to clean up and get rid of the cadaver. Boring but essential if I am to continue to satisfy my need.
This one is thing number 7. I call them things because they’re not women to me, just things. Spurned by them, laughed at by them, ridiculed by them all my life, they think I’m nothing, but it’s the other way round. I have the power, they are nothing.
Women have brought me nothing but pain. My mother used to hurt me and taunt me and tell me she hated me, so I became a quiet, scared, vulnerable little boy. I used to wet myself at school and they’d all laugh and point, the girls’ voices particularly strident and piercing. I tried to get on with girls but they always rejected me; I asked some on dates but they just laughed in my face and called me “weirdo Billy.” I eventually grew tired of being weirdo Billy… Evil, nasty, bitch women. Get what they deserve.
It’s very late, or very early depending on how you look at it, and it is very, very cold. The cold is helping to preserve the bodies. I haven’t caught so much as a whiff of one of them rotting yet, although I expect dogs and foxes have already been regaled by the delightful aroma of death. The plastic I wrap them in helps too, it’s harder for odour to pervade through plastic. And, of course, they’re dumped in the old mine pits of St Leonard’s Forest, so the wind would have to be blowing just right to pick up the scent.
I don’t have much further to go, which is a good thing as I am actually feeling pretty tired tonight. My plan is to dump the thing, sit for a minute in the forest, enjoying the peace, perhaps listen to my recording, and then I’ll go home and probably have something to eat, maybe a nice warming bowl of soup, and then go to bed.
I see my destination ahead and it only takes me a few more minutes to walk to it. I throw the thing on the ground without care, and bend to remove some rocks and vegetation I have placed over the opening to the pit. Then I simply roll the thing inside. It slips down easily, and hardly makes a noise when it hits the bottom. It is landing on other things after all, so I wouldn’t expect much sound.
I sigh contentedly. Job well done.
I cover the mouth to the pit back up and then proceed to a small mound of earth which is just beyond the trees, in a clearing. I sit. Now, I think I will listen to my recording. I have a quick look around to see if there is anyone lurking around me; I don’t really need to as I’m sure I am alone. Nobody comes out here in the dark and if they did, they probably wouldn’t find this place. It’s not on a beaten path and is deep in the woods.
I press play and the air is filled with the sound of things screaming - to me a harmonious cacophony. I take my killing knife out of my pocket and hold it in my hand; I love this inanimate object more than I have ever loved a person. It gives me my power. I close my eyes in rapture, each shriek taking me back to the moment I plunged my knife, the moment I took their life. Each scream is a memory; each memory is a life. The screams play over and over again as I listen to them on loop. I begin to rock gently back and forth as my pleasure builds. Already I can feel the urge rising within me again, it is so hard to control. For years I managed to supress this murderous desire, but eventually it became too much, erupting in a frenzy of blades, blood and bodies. And now I can’t stop.
As I sit and listen to my music, for that is what it is to me, I become aware that something is wrong. I can feel it; something is not right. The hair is up on the back of my neck and suddenly I know there is someone here. I turn quickly and almost cry out in shock as I glimpse a figure standing amongst the trees, looking at me. It is a woman, a thing, and it looks terrified, the pale skin of its hands and face illuminated by the moon. That it is scared makes me feel omnipotent. This could be fun.
I tap my knife against my leg, a silent threat. Best you start running for I am coming. The thing understands my implication and it turns and runs. I run too, I will catch it. I am a hunter and it is my prey. It’s fast and makes good progress, but I am taller and stronger so I quickly gain ground. It stumbles and gets up again, running, running, I know it is terrified. I shout: “Stop woman, stop! I won’t hurt you!” Of course I am lying but I figure the thing may not guess that. Oh how I wish I could see its face!
Tree branches, twigs and foliage tear my clothes and scratch my face, but I don’t feel anything, I’m so focused on my quarry. I am fit so I do not tire, and I am closing the gap between us. Its short hair flies around the back of its head, legs pumping, arms powering it forward. Not enough though for now I am upon it. I slam my hand down on its shoulder, knocking it to the floor and I fall upon it. It wriggles and squirms beneath me, surprisingly strong for one so small. I manage to roll it over so it is face up and I am straddling it.
I would usually stab a thing such as this, but this is a different context so I am drawn to try something different. I place a hand around its throat and begin to squeeze; I hold my knife in my other hand above its face. I’ll use it if I have to. This feels good. I can feel the warmth and softness of its skin, then the firmness of the muscles in its neck. It begins to gasp and splutter, desperate for air. Its eyes begin to bulge, fly like. It swats at me pathetically. I am too strong for you, thing!
I can feel it becoming weaker as I squeeze the life out if it. I am in awe of what I am doing, this is so exciting and fun! I am faintly aware of the sound of barking in the distance but it does not stop me. If I had not been so caught up in the moment, I would have stopped to think about what this meant – why would there be dogs in the woods at this time of night? If there are dogs, usually there are dog owners.
Just as I am beginning to think I have completely overpowered it, it strikes at me, knocking my knife-wielding hand downwards. I am caught off guard and lose grip of the knife. Angry now, I grab its throat with both hands and squeeze as hard as I can. Again it surprises me by slashing my cheek with my knife, my knife!
I squeeze, squeeze, its close to death, I can tell. I have seen this look on the faces of the other things shortly before they gave up clinging on to life. Its almost there when I feel agonising pain in my arm and in my leg. Dogs, dogs are biting me! The thing has stopped moving completely beneath me, but I am not sure that I have killed it, I think I needed a few seconds longer.
The dogs will not release their jaws and I cannot pull my limbs from their teeth. What is wrong with these animals? Then I hear voices, lots of voices shouting. I hear the words “police” and “stop”. I feel rough hands pushing me off the thing and onto the ground, where I lie unceremoniously in the dirt. I am handcuffed, pulled to my feet and dragged away.
Now I sit in a police cell. I won’t be going anywhere, I know. I have been interviewed by detectives who asked me so many questions and from their questions I learn what they know. They have my audio recorder so they have heard the screams, but they do not yet know that the cries are the final shrieks of the dying things. They haven’t yet found the bodies in the pits, although I know it is only a matter of time before they do. I learn from them that the thing I was strangling is still alive, the bitch, and it is the one who called the police. It was camping in the woods and happened upon me. I suppose deep down I knew that I couldn’t continue to kill things indefinitely, I just didn’t expect it to be over so soon.
I am waiting now for them to decide what to do with me. I know I could survive prison, for that is where I am heading. I have no romanticised notion of a Hollywood ending for me, no dramatic reprieve, no excusing what I have done. But the truth is, I don’t want to go to prison and share my space and air with low-life thieves, paedophiles, wannabe gangsters and maybe even other killers. I consider them beneath me. I am powerful.
So, there is only one option left to me and it is not going to be a happy ending. I sit here in my cell and feel almost at peace. I am powerful, I decide my fate. I tentatively push my tongue against my teeth top teeth, feeling the pain, tasting blood. Then I bite hard, moving my jaw from side to side as I gnaw through my own tongue. I collapse on the floor overwhelmed by the pain, but still I chew. It won’t take me long to bleed out. I am powerful, I decide my fate.
Blood, blood, so much blood. Blood everywhere.