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A Traditional Love Story

I love Halloween. It’s the one time of year everyone wears a mask, not just me. People think it’s fun to pretend you’re a monster, but me, I spend my entire life pretending I’m not one. Brother, friend, harmless co-worker, all a part of my costume collection. But tonight, one very special person will get to see who I really am. Jonah Taylor will get to see behind the mask.

Jonah shares my passion for Halloween, albeit for different reasons. These different reasons are why I picked the lock on his back door and currently hide in his coat closet. What an interesting fellow, he keeps his ties in his coat closet. One more reason I need to be here. I feel his assortment of work and festive ties, all silk. I’ll admit I’m slightly jealous. I select a suitable tie and wait.

Ring. Ring.

Tiny visitors are at the door.

Ring. Ring.

Even though I’m in the closet, I can see Jonah’s plump face light up with a smile as he grabs his candy bowl and opens the door.

“Hello there! Oh my, what do we have here, a ghost and a vampire?”

“Trick or treat!” shout two children in innocent harmony.

“Here you go kids, you know there’s more if you want to come inside. Just give me a moment,” says Jonah as he closes the door and reaches for a hypodermic needle, but he doesn’t even get close.

As soon as he closed the door, Jonah Taylor was mine. Slipping stealthily from the closet, I stretch the tie until it’s taught, quickly slip the tie around his neck, and pull back. Jonah immediately struggles, knocking around furniture and even the coat rack. He even has the audacity to scrape at his own silk tie. Disgraceful, I cannot let this continue. With Jonah’s back towards me, there are a variety of options, but I must choose the funnest one… is that right? Funnest? It’s the regular superlative of fun, therefore making it a word, but fun is such an informal word and is generally frowned upon in formal writing. I ponder the implications of my thoughts for a few seconds before swiftly delivering a kick to the back of Jonah’s knees, causing him to fall to the floor, creating more tension between his festive tie and his air supply. It even rhymed! This night was shaping up to be quite a good time. After a few seconds Jonah passed out, poor boy, but I considered it good practice for him; for he would soon be passed out … well for eternity. I quickly realize that there is an error in my plan. Jonah Taylor weighs at least two hundred and fifty pounds. What I need is a Bobcat, one of those industrial lifters to carry this whale to a more…appropriate spot. I search the coat closet and to my great dismay, no Bobcat, but, standing straight against the back wall, there is a plastic sleigh. Santa came early this year!

After a few attempts, the sleigh is under Jonah the whale and I pull him through his house, out the backyard, and into his beloved garden shed. When I first started doing this “extracurricular activity”, the tying process took quite awhile, but I’m a pro now. Jonah is tied up like the hog he is in two minutes flat. Now time for the excavation, this would be the messy part. Even with the map I found in Jonah’s shed, it still took an hour to get everything topside. Then came the process of preparing the show, cleaning everything, getting the little details right. If God was in the details, he definitely was with me in that shed.

Jonah woke up and immediately began screaming. There is nothing I loathe more than screamers. A few good slaps and Jonah is quiet. Now the show could begin.

“Look,” I say.

Trembling, eyes clamped shut, Jonah shakes his head.

“Look,” I say.

“No, I can’t,” Jonah whispers.

“It’s terrible isn’t it…”

Jonah remains silent.

I lunge forward and grasp Jonah’s neck with both hands, “Open your eyes and look at what you did!”

Jonah began wheezing.

“Look or I’ll rip out your eyelids with my own hands.”

Slowly, Jonah opens his eyes and begins crying as he gazes upon the decomposed bodies of little children, all in Halloween costumes.

“Mary, full of grace, the Lord…” rambles Jonah before I slap him.

“Stop, that never helped anybody.”

Jonah wept.

“I..I just couldn’t help myself…please, please, you have to understand.”

“Oh, trust me, I definitely understand, but children, no. I could never do children. Never. Ever. Kids? Nope.”

“Why?”

“Because, little Jonah,” I say, grabbing his chin. “I have standards. Now let’s get started.”

Jonah begins shaking as I walk over to the tool bench where my tools are spread out, ready for playtime.

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.”

I turn and smile, “Let’s see what I can do about that!”

“Five bags, huh?” asks the trash disposal worker. “More than your usual.”

“You know holidays, families come over, late nights, the whole shebang!”

“I understand. I assume it was a good Halloween then?” asks the worker as I throw the bags into the pit.

“Oh, it was absolutely spectacular. Best one I’ve had in ages.”

“Well, I’m glad to hear that. See you next week?” asks the worker as I get into my car and roll down the window.

“As always, what’s it been ten years now?”

“Eleven actually. Have a good one, Mr. Boyle!”

“Wow, that long? See ya next time!” I say as I drive away.

Mr. John Boyle, one of the best names I’ve come across in my time. Perfect alias for all my “extracurricular” activities and my profession. I run a chain of storage facilities. It’s truly remarkable how many truly personal things are kept with utter junk in storage units. The trash must be sifted from the good. And people think serial killers are crazy. I just don’t understand people and nobody seems to understand me. Then again, everyone who has seen the real me is rotting in a trash dump. But I do have this completely illogical hope. I’ve been trying to rid myself of it for weeks, but it just won’t go away. I sometimes dream about her at night; her soft skin, smooth hair, and beautiful eyes. Her eyes aren’t pretty because of the color, but because of what she has seen, what she has experienced. I can see the pain, the suffering, the death she has experienced through her eyes. She too is damaged. Nobody understands her, just like nobody understands me. We are made for each other.

Ring. Ring.

I reach into my pocket and pull out my phone.

“This is Boyle. No, just driving, why? Oh, they gave up? I’m sorry to hear that. Where? This afternoon? Well, you know how I feel about… okay okay, fine, I’ll be there.”

“Alex Maldonado was a good doctor, no he was a great doctor. He healed people and he made their lives better. I know when I heard that he was missing, I thought he must have taken an impromptu trip to Africa or something to help needy children.I never thought we would all be here, mourning the loss of a friend, a brother, a husband. I miss you, Alex, I really do,” said Alex’s brother in a black suit, standing over a closed casket which stood in the center of King’s Cathedral.

Most people have a hard time dealing with death, but I’m not most people. It’s the grief that makes me uncomfortable. It’s not because I’m a serial killer or that I’m the one who killed Alex; it’s the emotion. Truly, I just don’t understand all those emotions and feelings, which makes them tough to fake. In these cases, I find that sunglasses come in handy.

I walk around the funeral lunch, wearing my shades and offering my condolences to family members. I don’t have the heart to tell them that Alex was purposely misdiagnosing patients to watch them suffer and die. Well, I do have the heart, but then there would be additional questions, allegations, and then the whole thing would get messy. I don’t like unscheduled messes.

Alex was one of the tougher ones I’ve done, not because I cared for Alex, but because he was my primary care doctor and just the thought of all the transfer papers I had filled out sends me into an episode. I’m nibbling on an excellent rendition of Devil’s Food cake in an attempt to calm down when it happens.

“Yeah, I mean I can’t say too much ya know, but we all know it was foul play and the police told me they are pretty confident in a few suspects,” says a relative

I nearly chuckle. There is no way the police would ever figure it out. Alex’s remains currently lay at the bottom of a huge dump pile or are being incinerated.

“You gotta keep this between me and you, man. They said it was one of his patients, they even got their number one suspect on video entering the office building after hours. I hope they catch the devil.

I almost spat the cake out. Well, this is going to be interesting. After giving the proper goodbyes, I leave the funeral and begin driving, where, I don’t know nor do I care. I just need to move. If the police actually have me entering the office on video that night… Still, even with that, there is no hard evidence to connect me with the murder. The body is in the dumps, I still have my tools, and there aren’t any security cameras in the back hallway. I even left through the front door and then went to the back of the office to grab the bags from the trash shoot which… which probably had cameras. I make a reckless U-turn and head towards my storage facility. There is only one way to be sure.

Stopping a block away from the storage facility, I park the car and get out my binoculars. Dammit. Three police officers are standing outside the doors of my facility. It’s official. My run is over. My time has come. I begin to think, trying to figure out my escape plan. I could flee the country, but my assets aren’t liquidated, and by the time they are, I’ll be on the no-fly list. Dammit. I could just move to a new town. No, if I escape, they will still look for me, and if they find my special room in the facility, there will certainly be a nationwide manhunt. I laugh and it quickly turns into a chortle. I now understand the hopelessness my victims must feel. Nowhere to hide. An inevitable fate closing in. Yes, I have become the prey.

Do I want to live? Yes. But I don’t consider living like a ghost, begging on the streets, and staying in infested motels living. I’d rather embrace my good friend death. But before I embrace death, I want one more kill. One more moment of dominance, of passion, of complete satisfaction. The question is who will have the honor of being my last.

I never do two in one week, but I think my inevitable death and or capture warrants a little leeway. The list for next week’s “extracurricular activity” looks promising, but all require a level of planning and patience I simply cannot afford. I start cycling through my little notebook of potential playmates when I come across the perfect entry. The entry only contains an address, but I remember the story behind it.

A few weeks back, I did Dale Cernovich, a wannabe serial killer who was picking completely innocent victims. I didn’t want to get involved, but when he killed a pregnant woman and her two-year-old, I had to step in. As I had him on the table in my special room, he confessed a secret.

“I didn’t do this alone you know! I had a mentor.”

“A mentor you say?”

“Yeah, I never met him in person, but he would send me letters showing me how to…”

“Why didn’t you meet him in person?”

“He said if I ever came to see him, he would kill me. I wasn’t going to take any chances.”

“Do you know where he lives?”

“Well, yeah, I have the return address from the letters. 4385 Navidad Drive.”

“Thank you, Dale, perhaps I’ll pay your mentor a visit after we are done here.”

   Today was the day I would meet the mentor. I park by the side of the garden home at 4385 Navidad Drive and grab a meat knife from my toolkit in the trunk. I pick the lock and survey the house. It looks empty, but I hear a TV. The wooden floors creak as I sneak further into the house. The sound leads me to a room with the door closed. I prepare to open the door and attack the mentor, when a rope wraps around my neck, choking me, and drags me to the floor. He has the drop on me. I struggle, trying to reach my knife, but soon realize that this is a professional, I can’t outmaneuver him. So I do what possums do. I play dead. I become limp, letting my arms fall to the side. The mentor quickly removes the rope from around my neck. This is when I make my move. I quickly turn around and force myself upon the mentor. I have him in my grips when I realize it isn’t him, it’s her. My illogical hope, my dreams, they’ve come true.

   “It’s you,” I say.

   “Nice to meet you too, John,” she says.

   “How? How do you know my name?”

   “I’ve been watching you for awhile. I used Dale as an invitation but…”

   “Oh yes, well, I got busy.”

   “I can see that. Can you get off me now?”

   “Oh yes, I’m sorry,” I say as I stand and help her up. “So you’re a uhm..”

   “Yes, I’m also a serial killer.”

   This was what I wanted, what I needed so desperately. Someone who understands me. Someone who I can understand. The sunrise was losing its hold in my heart already.

   “I’ve had dreams about you, someone who can understand me,” I say.

   “I do understand you. Your methods, your motives, your selection.”

   “I just wish we could be meeting under better circumstances.”

   “You were sloppy,” she says as she steps towards a window.

   “Well, yes. I messed up on Alex. I got caught in the cameras…”

   “No, you were sloppy coming here. You led the police to my house.”

   I move towards the same window and peek out. She is right. There are three police cruisers parked outside 4385 Navidad Drive. Without warning, she takes my hand and leads me through the house into a closet. Inside the closet, there is a rack of coats, which she pushes aside to reveal a hidden door. She unlocks the door and leads me inside. I follow her into a secret room, it’s a white fourteen by fourteen cube. It’s just like my special room.

   “It’s just like mine,” I whisper as she leads me around the cold metal operating table in the center of the room, to a set of chairs by her workbench.

   “We will be safe here. If the police search the house, they shouldn’t find us but if they do, there is an exit from this room to the backyard. We can make a run for it,” she says, looking into my eyes.

   How could I do this to her? How could I lead the police to her home? How could I put the one person who understands me, the one person who I care for in danger? I was done for. The police know about me and they have the videos, but she, she still has hope, she can still live a free life. She can find someone else who truly understands her like I do. I know what I must do.

   

“I think I love you,” I say, as I give her my knife, hop up on the operating table, and lay flat. “Whenever you’re ready.”

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