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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic

A serial killer with a penchant for watching young, naive girls swing from a noose begins experiencing difficulty securing his victims due to his now aged exterior. When he finds a fertile new
hunting ground, he believes his troubles are over, but unbeknownst to him, they have just begun.

Submitted: February 11, 2018

A A A | A A A

Submitted: February 11, 2018



At first it seemed like it happened overnight, though looking back now, it's clear it’d been progressing for some time. I was so cocksure back then, the concept of failure was an absolute fallacy. To not be at the top of my game was inconceivable, but after nearly striking out at McCorkle’s, the most plentiful premises for easy prey on the planet, it was clear... I was officially in a slump.

I wanted to cry, to scream, to use a flamethrower on that pub, watch it burn to the ground and laugh my ass off at the patrons as the skin melted right off their bones… but that wasn’t my preferred method. While finishing my beer, I debated whether to take a leak there or hold it til I got home. I couldn't say why I chose to wait in that line (perhaps divine intervention?), but as I stood amongst the drunks, and at the pinnacle of my certainty that Lady Luck would never again pass my way… the bitch did just that.

Jessica was her name. She was short, sassy, and full of grit. She strolled up, gave me a peck on the cheek, and thanked me for saving her spot in line. I hadn't a clue who she was, but played right along so she wouldn't have to wait so long to pee. I even threw an arm around her shoulders to ensure our partnership looked legit. She gladly accepted when I offered to buy her a drink, we found a quiet table in the corner and began getting to know each other. Turns out she’d been stood up by a blind date, so as the evening progressed, as her anger intensified, she couldn't drink hard or fast enough. I provided a sympathetic ear, let her get it all off her chest, showed her that good guys truly do still exist. We soon slipped out the door hand in hand; she, ready for a night of unbridled, angry sex, and I, visualizing the eyes bulging from her sockets just before she took her final breath.

On the ride back to my place, I could see she wouldn't last long, so all my usual pre-kill activities would have to be scrapped. The second she passed through the front door, I tied her hands behind her back and placed a bandana over her eyes. Her first reaction was one of playful ignorance, but when she received nothing from me in reply to her sexual suggestions, and as we descended the stairs toward the basement which emanated the putrid pungence of rotted flesh, she finally grasped the concept of what was really going on here and started screaming like a lunatic. At one point, her foot missed a step and she nearly plummeted head first down the landing. But I was right there to catch her, to keep her safe so she could die the right way… my way.

When we made it to the basement floor, I stopped and removed the blindfold like a proud papa showing my sixteen year old her brand new car. The walls were crafted, piece-by-piece, with brick and mortar, as was done in the olden days, and a single bulb dangled from above, shedding an orangish hue over the entire room, giving off the feel of certain doom in the air. The look of abject terror that came across her face made me feel right with the world.

I spared no expense, took considerable time designing this den of horrors to my own specifications. The building process was laborious, but I completed it on my own, an accomplishment of which my deceased father would never have believed me capable. It was my pride and joy, my one true love, the place where all my dreams came true. Whenever my eyes gazed upon its magnificence, my mind would transport to another plane of existence, one purely of my making, where my state of being resided in perfect symmetry with peace and kismet, where I was God. Not agod… the God.

And in the center of the room, showcased like a prized piece of art, was my baby: A gallows with five steps leading up to a platform where the condemned stood, waiting to die. One long beam rose vertically from the backside of the structure, supporting another that rested horizontally and protruded out past the platform’s edge. To this was attached the rope that hung lazily down, ending with a perfect crescent noose which, though having already taken so many lives, always craved more. It took me forever to find the right rope for tying a noose capable of killing in the manner I’d always envisioned. After many failed attempts with inferior brands, I happened upon this one inch Poly-Manila that was super strong and had the perfect slide-factor. I also learned that by wrapping the knot seven times, rather than the standard six, it allowed the rope to tighten slower, which prolonged the agony and prevented the neck from breaking too fast.

Being that I had conceived and erected this death machine all by myself, it truly was mine, but it needed something external... something special… a piece of history that paid homage to the Masters who had gone before me. So I searched high and low until finally I located and procured priceless pieces of wood, gearing, and hardware that had been used to construct the very gallows ending the lives of Peter Manuel, the “Beast of Birkenshaw,” whose despicable crimes rank him amongst the most heinous of murderers, and Dr. H. H. Holmes, the first known American serial killer, who some contend was also Jack the Ripper. Once these pieces were affixed to the structure, my masterpiece felt whole.

As Jessica stepped up onto the platform, her legs began to quiver. Her expensive, chic jeans became soaked with urine, and the volume of her cries increased. Once she was set with the noose tightened just right, I crept quietly down the steps, sat cross legged on the floor before her, started a timer and held my breath. Sometimes it took minutes, sometimes many hours. My preference was for a more drawn out experience. The longest I ever had to wait for the “magic dance” was 22 hours, 14 minutes, and 34 seconds. It was the best night of my life… but that was long ago.

It never used to be like this… so much time between kills. With my superbly sculpted body, confident smile and brash swagger, the second I walked through a door, all eyes were on me. The girls would pout their lips and puff out their chests, practically begging me to end their lives. It would take less than five minutes to select my victim for the night, and not an evening would pass without at least one neck in my noose… but then came the steady, imperceptible decline.

It began as an oddity, happening only every now and again, but then rapidly increased to twice or three times weekly. My numbers just kept dropping, and eventually the best I could manage was a single hanging, two if I was lucky, for an entire month! Unacceptable. With each passing day, as the drought continued on, I felt the separation widening, sensed a disconnect happening between me and my “gift.” The problem, as I finally came to accept, was that though the venues in which I chose to hunt were overflowing with game, other “pursuers” with whom I was forced to compete possessed a particular weapon far superior to my own: Youth. I had recently turned forty.

As a youngster, I didn't waste my time crucifying cats or trapping and torturing cute, cuddly puppiesThat’s amateur hour for pathetic punks who still wet the bed and miss their mommies. My hours were spent building models of execution devices: electric chairs, guillotines and, of course, hangman’s gallows. I knew from the get-go that I would be a killer, so my focus first was to keep this drive secret, and then to find the method that would prove most entertaining when the time came for me to transform my fantasies into reality. My dedication and deception paid off as I was never suspected of anything nefarious by parents, teachers, or even the closest of friends. In the end, I found that the process of ending a life by means of strangulation fit my personality best.

With my partiality toward suffocating victims, I was fascinated by the Thuggee, a raucous band of marauders who traipsed through India, robbing, strangling, and then burying in shallow graves wealthy travelers who happened to be in the wrong place at the worst time. By the 1830s, the gang was totally destroyed, but their legend lived on since, in modern times, most malcontents are affectionately referred to as “Thugs.” Every piece of information I could find on the Thuggee provided further insight into the mentality of these killers. Their mantra of luring prey, securing their trust, then slaughtering them before they knew what was happening laid the groundwork for my modus operandi. I felt a kinship with them, was comforted knowing that I wasn't the only one who killed simply because I loved to kill. With the knowledge I gained from studying the Thuggee, as well as the talents I already possessed, I developed a murder methodology that was well organized and exceedingly efficient. Unfortunately, nothing in the literature I perused offered any suggestions on how I could stop getting older. As much as I hated the thought, if I wanted a true return to the “glory days,” a major change would have to be made… I just didn't have a clue what the hell it would be. And that night, with Jessica ready to do her sweet thing, it couldn't have been further from my mind.

I glanced down at the timer, saw she’d reached the five minute mark. So far, so good. When I looked back up, I was pleased to see the telltale signs of defiance. Her screams no longer requested help, they cursed her captor. She stamped her feet on the platform like a four year old child refusing to go to bed, and pulled with all her might against the ties that kept her wrists restrained. Judging by her quickly re-attained sobriety and feisty, never-say-die attitude, she had all the markings of a record breaker. The harder she fought, the better it was. The more she protested, the longer she denied what would be the inevitable outcome. I watched with an eager eye, loving each stage of this process which maintained its consistency almost every single time.

But at the exact moment I felt content with the night’s progression, all Jessica’s motion ceased, her cries and whimpers hushed. My breath caught in my throat and before I could manage even the slightest utterance of protest, she suggested I go fuck myself, then leaped from the platform. Only on rare occasions did my victims go rogue and end things in such a rebellious fashion, and when they did, I’d simply go back out and find myself a replacement. But this was the now, and I was too damned old. Not a chance in hell I’d have been able to score again. I could do nothing but watch her swing, listen to her fight for breaths she would never again take. And just like that, it was all over.

I stopped the timer at six minutes and fifty-two seconds. Pathetic! Lowering my head in defeat, I slowly rose up from the ground. Rather than cutting Jessica down and depositing her corpse within the walls as was the norm, I walked right past it and ambled up the stairs wearing a face of disappointment I never knew I owned. So much effort for so little return on the investment. My existence had begun to feel pointless. I needed to figure this thing out, and fast.

I didn't leave the house for weeks. Sleep came in short spurts, food and drink were consumed, but seemed unnecessary. Stains covering the V neck tee I wore showed my complete disregard for laundering, and a raggedy beard had taken over the lower half of my face. The stench of Jessica’s rotting carcass below had begun creeping up the stairs, but I couldn't have cared less. I just sat in my own filth scouring my brain for the revelation that would salvage my future and justify my past. My eyes began to close and seconds later I was fast asleep.  After only a single minute had passed though, they opened right back up. A smile parted my lips exposing the yellowed teeth within, and my heavily bagged eyes beamed bright with confidence. At long last… I’d found it.

My decision to prowl at popular straight pubs and clubs was made simply due to an abundance of naive young girls in attendance who would bite on my lines, swallow the bait, and by evening’s end be hanging from the neck with disbelieving eyes and twitching feet. But the girls no longer showed any interest, and the soil of the places they frequented had gone sour… so what about gay bars? Would there not be scores of unjaded young men at these establishments eager to impress an older chap who showed a bit of interest in them? Especially if that older chap had lots and lots of money? It worked with the girls, why not the boys? I felt reborn. My future looked once again bright, and I couldn’t wait to get out there.

Though things started slow, and the transition proved rougher than expected, I eventually found my groove. Over the course of the next five months I had gotten myself right back on track, was hanging one, then eventually two victims every night. What amazed me most about hunting this new breed was that they weren’t turned off by age. To them, it was simply a number. If you maintained your appearance and showed that you were at least trying to keep yourself in respectable shape, they’d find you attractive, they’d trust you, and before they knew it, they’d be standing on the platform of my gallows fighting hard to figure out how to stay alive, eventually succumbing to death’s sweet call. I was back, and the experiences I’d had, both past and present, showed me how wondrous my future could and would be.

It was Christmas Eve, and the holiday spirit seemed excessively robust. I was in such a cheery mood I decided this special, most holy night would be the perfect time to bump up my kill number from two to three. The first two were textbook: easy pickins, scared out of their minds, died screaming like the cowards they were. Under normal circumstances the brevity of these executions would’ve saddened me, but not this night. I had a feeling victim number three was going to be special, that I’d need a considerable block of time to see it through to the end. And when I met Thomas, found him to be a true intellectual ally, my instincts were proven right.

He exuded the confidence of a superstar despite his youth, and was a confirmed conspiracy theorist to boot. When I first laid eyes on him, he looked like all the rest; young, pretty, and stupid. But when I offered the lad a drink and was invited to sit in his booth, I quickly learned that the boy had a brain. Over the next two hours we touched on topics such as the alleged alien outpost on the dark side of the moon, the impossibly precise cuts on the H blocks at Pumapunku, and Hitler’s remains that were tested and proven to contain only female DNA. I was so taken by Thomas’s mind that for the first time ever, I decided to let a mark live, would just have to find another for the night’s grand finale. In the meantime, I'd stay right where I was, listening to the brilliance spewing from this kid’s lips. Then, when he mentioned, almost in passing, his fascination with the Thuggee, I nearly fell to the floor. It was all I could do to not let him know the truth of my existence. Like with the Thuggee, I felt an affinity with him. What a shame, I thought, that he would be scared out of his shoes if he knew the real me. As it happened, he claimed to be in possession of an authentic Thuggee strangling handkerchief dating back to the 16th century. This I had to see.

The ride to Thomas’s house seemed to take  forever. I shimmied in my seat with the impatience of a child, nearly blurting out the “Are we there yet?” line a hundred times. I was so excited to see, and hopefully feel, this piece of memorabilia that had actually been used by a member of the group after whom I had patterned my life. When we arrived, Thomas opened the door, told me to make myself at home, that he needed to check on something in the backyard. With my sights set on fulfilling the number one item on my bucket list, I paid him no mind and entered before he had even removed his key from the lock. My eyes scanned the room in which I stood, but were unable to locate what I assumed would be some type of secured glass case containing the priceless artifact. I ventured further on into the house, through an alcove, and came upon another room that was dimly lit. As soon as I crossed the threshold, I felt like dropping to my knees in adoration.

On the walls hung drawings and photos of the Thuggee, as well as framed Hindi writings I assumed were stories and accounts of murders attributed to those wondrous rebels. And then I saw it. Placed reverently in the corner, just as I’d imagined, was a display case much like you'd see in a museum. I swallowed heavy and approached with slow steps. When I got to within a foot of the enclosure however, my brow furrowed and my smile disappeared. I called out to Thomas but received no reply. “Where the hell is it?” I asked myself out loud with such sadness in my voice. Thomas, having sneaked up right behind me, pulled from his pocket the ancient length of cloth, whispered, “Right here,” and before I had a chance to turn, before I could at least see the Thuggee treasure that ironically would serve as the instrument of my death, it was wrapped around my neck, pulled tight and unrelenting. Thomas killed me with no conscience, and had a good time doing it. I was duped, in the exact same way as I had duped so many over the years. I looked on from afar as my body was dismembered and discarded, fed to the animals, the elements, and the nothing that comprised the hereafter. Finished with this task, Thomas cleaned himself up and headed back out to find his next victim, because that's what he did, it's who he was. Such a shame, we would have made a spectacular team; like Burke and Hare or Leopold and Loeb. With all said and done and my existence at an end, I'm happy to know there’s at least one other who kills simply because he loves to kill… what a shame though that I had to learn this the hard way.

© Copyright 2019 Matthew D. Saeman. All rights reserved.

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