This story is by Trey Reed and was part of our 2017 Winter Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
“This is so romantic, Charlie.” the woman said rolling her head to look at him. “I love the mountains and the cool breeze!” The two were lying on a wool blanket, remnants of their meal piled around it neatly.
Charlie smiled and stood, “Yes Nicole, these mountains are a beautiful place to get away.” Nicole leaned forward, attempting to join him standing. “No, no,” Charlie said, “Here, this was my favorite thing growing up.” Charlie laid her on her back once more, edging her to the side of the blanket and began to roll them together.
“Hey!” Nicole said playfully, “What do you think you are doing?” almost bursting with laughter.
Charlie glanced at his watch. 7:51. He sat next to the cocooned Nicole. “I loved my mother, you know? Yes, a true ‘momma’s boy’. She and I would go shopping, do arts and crafts, and even cook together. She was my biggest fan. Then one day, I came home from school. I was only seven at the time and my father was home. He never was home that early. I asked him where Mother was. He looked at me and with tears in his eyes recounted how she was struck head-on by a drunk driver.
“Oh, I’m so sorry.” Nicole said. Charlie held up his hand to stop her.
“That was when my father turned to the bottle. I would be in bed. My father would stumble into the house hours after his shift would be over, drag me from the covers and whip me with his belt. One day, I stood up for myself. That’s when the belts turned to fists. Since I couldn’t face my father, I took my frustrations out on what I could control. Ants, then mice, even rabbits in the field behind my house. I could sense I was making my mother proud. I can hear her saying: “‘Abe, I’m proud of you.’” Charlie said, looking skyward. “When I was fourteen, I happened upon a stray dog. Nobody would miss it-“
“Charlie you’re scaring me.” Nicole said barely over a whisper.
He put a finger to her lips. “Shh, I told you, it’s Abe.” he replied, shaking the index of his other hand. “Can’t be having the police come after me if something were to go askew, can I?” Abe sighed, “You know how things go. After doing the same thing time and time again, it’s not satisfying anymore.” Abe looked at his watch again: 7:56 PM. “Rabbits to dogs to children and so on. Do you understand? I’m making my mother proud.” The finger over the woman’s lips shot slightly forward and his hand now covered her entire mouth. Abe drew a compact hunting knife from the pocket of his cargo pants.
Nicole tried a muffled scream and writhed from inside the picnic blanket with a futile effort to escape. Abe stared intently at his watch: 51 seconds, 52, 53. “Shh… It’ll be over soon.” 57, 58, 59… As the clock hit 7:57, Abe slammed the hunting knife into Nicole’s neck, slicing from ear to ear. The writhing ceased moments after. Abe sighed in relief and relaxation. Blood spilled out, mixing with the mountain dirt, soaking the wool blanket.
Monday, October 9th, 2017. 9:00AM
Special Agent Felds clicked to the first slide of his presentation. “Officers of the Colorado PD, here are the faces of twenty-one men and women who were either killed or have open missing persons reports in the last three years. Upon examination, my fellow agents and I have concluded that each of these occurrences either murdered or their last known sighting have come at roughly seven weeks apart, the last being 26 year old Ms. Nicole Browning last seen the morning of August 21st. This means that our next victim will most likely be this weekend. We are on a clock and we don’t have much time. I’ll need your every effort.
“Our coroner has further reported that, of the bodies we do have, each have their time of death between 7:00 and 9:00 PM. That being said, we have also concluded that these crimes are linked to the same individual. We have a serial killer on our hands. We have to assume that all missing persons have also been murdered. Here to explain the type of person we are looking for, is Doctor of Psychology, Harry Bloomsburg.”
“Usually in cases such as these,” Bloomsburg began, “the person has their sense of belonging destroyed, replaced by violence and anger. They are a shell, pronouncing a mask to the world while in absolute control of their real self. This person has shown many symptoms of extreme obsessive compulsive disorder. Please review the guides I have given you and look for those who match these behavioral descriptions.”
Friday, October 13th, 2017. 7:47PM
Abe adjusted the rod to his left hand, getting a clear view of his watch. “Anything bite, Lou?” he asked the elderly man on the other end of the fishing boat.
“Not yet, Graham. Don’t worry though, it ain’t called the ‘dream stream’ for nothing! Don’t tell meh you’re already tapped, are yeh?” he asked, chortling to himself.
Abe laughed, “Oh no, only thinking-” Abe turned to face his elder when a sudden crash rocked the boat. Abe realized he hadn’t been chortling at all. Lou, clutching his chest, let out a final gasp as his arm fell.
Abe looked at his watch once more. 7:49. “No!” Abe exploded in frustration. He knelt awkwardly beside Lou, putting his fingers to his throat.
“You can’t die yet. It’s not time!”
Flustered, Abe checked his watch again: 7:55. He removed the knife from his pocket and slammed it into the man’s chest.
Abe could still feel it. Lingering in the back of his mind was the need to kill.
Rowing them to shore, Abe leaped from the boat and ran a short distance to the turn-off. He glanced down again. 7:56. Come on! Anyone? There was nothing in sight, no lights from oncoming vehicles, no one. Abe turned to the trees. Come on! A squirrel, rabbit, raccoon, anything! But there was nothing. 51 seconds, 52, 53. He accepted it. He calmed himself, trying to even his breathing. 54, 55, 56. He turned the hunting knife toward himself. 57, 58, 59. Abe plunged the knife into his own chest, piercing his heart. As he bled, a smile creeped onto his face when a final thought popped in his head. Are you proud, Mother? I got the kill.
Saturday, October 14th, 2017. 11:22AM
Agent Felds closed his car door. “Who do we have?”
The officer in charge walked him through the crime scene. “Abraham Shepherd, 29, knife wound to the chest, apparent suicide,” the officer gesturing at Abe’s body, “and Lou Bellarini, 72, knife wound to the chest, however, it was made post-mordem. We’ll have to take him in to be sure but the probable cause of death is cardiac arrest. He is in the boat beached on shore.
Agent Felds knelt beside Abe, “any affiliation?”
“Not that we can tell.”
Agent Felds stood, “Alright, I want Mr. Shepherd’s place searched. My gut tells me we just found our serial killer.”
Later that day, after receiving a phone call from a Detective Winsley, Agent Felds rushed to the house of Mr. Shepherd. He was ushered to the study where the detective and Dr. Bloomsburg waited eagerly.
“Take a look at this,” Winsley said showing him a notebook. The notebook had the date: January 22nd, 1957, stamped in ink on the cover with a black and white picture of a young lady. “Please, look inside.”
Agent Felds turned the cover. At the top of the page it read: 1 Month, 22 Days, 19:57. Underneath were journal entries, the first was in 2010, addressed to his mother. As Agent Felds read the entry, the story he recounted to each of his victims, he gasped. “My God, this has been going on far longer than we thought.”
Dr. Bloomsburg interjected, “Unfortunately from my quick study of the entries, it looks like my character analysis was correct. I must add that you were right too, Agent Felds. From the notebook, I can only assume his mind was radical, fixed on the need to kill every seven weeks. 1 month and 22 days to be exact, at 7:57PM, 19:57 military time. He was paying homage to his mother by twisting her birth date.”
“Damn him, clocking himself before I had a chance at him,” Agent Felds said closing the notebook. He turned to Detective Winsley and handed him the book, “Make sure this gets to evidence.” Agent Felds strode out of the room, coming face to face with a hallway full of portraits of the woman on the notebook’s cover. Abe’s mother. He pondered over the details of the case, and came to a final conclusion, “I sure hope you wouldn’t have been proud of him. Your son was a monster.”