One of the most over-the-top stories I've ever written when it comes to gore. Wondering if I should dust this off and try to save it... Note - the parts in italics are the 'story' that my main character is writing.
Warning- foul language, gore (of course) and excessive violence. Not for the squeamish. Solid 'R' rating with this one...
Derek watched the light wink on in the second floor window of Emily's house. As much as he enjoyed her company, the time had come for him to collect his reward.
"Hmmmmm... not too bad," Sheri said to herself after reading what she'd just written. She leaned back from her keyboard and sighed. Her back ached, yet she was unable to stop writing, and her eyes wept from staring at the screen far too long. Massaging her fingertips, she returned them to the keys. Sheri couldn’t quit now, even if she wanted to. Derek, her serial killer, was stalking his first victim.
The house around her remained quiet, save for the clicking of keys and occasional tiny blip from her computer. Her cat, Solomon, twined around her legs in a bid for attention. She gave him a quick scratch on his ear. "Chill out, Sol. I’ll feed you as soon as I’m done with this section, I promise."
He meowed, and she detected a note if irritation. Then again, maybe she’d been awake far too long. Times like these were rare, though. When the Muse finally called, Sheri answered the damn phone.
She typed on; her mind caught up in her unfolding tale. Then, an hour later, she paused and noticed a headache brewing. She massaged her temples and re-read Chapter Two.
Derek checked the front door and the doorknob turned easily. He gave a nod, satisfied. Emily grew up in a small town where they didn’t use locks. She’d told him so.
He crept into the house, setting each foot down with care onto the clean tile floor. Emily didn’t like carpet – she’d told him the day before that a rug was hard to keep clean.
Somewhere, deep in the house, he heard the sound of an appliance churning. A dishwasher, perhaps. Positive that the machine made enough noise to cover his footsteps, he ventured further in, past an ornate mahogany grandfather clock and a table covered with a collection of porcelain piggy banks.
How odd, he thought and suppressed the urge to laugh. Emily collects pigs.
A floorboard upstairs creaked and he froze, listening. Emily moved about, maybe preparing to take a shower. He’d watched her through the window of the house across the street for several days running and knew that she showered several times a day. Her bedroom window stayed open, affording him an excellent view. The walls groaned as water rushed upward through rusty pipes.
"That’s my girl," he whispered and licked his kips. "Right on schedule."
Emily feared germs like others feared rapists and murderers. He felt a rush of pleasure knowing that he’d soon bring an end to her suffering.
Calculating from memory, he estimated the time it would take for her to undress and step into the shower. She would stand beneath the steaming water for at least ten minutes before she began to scrub herself. He had plenty of time.
He slipped into the kitchen.
Solomon jumped up on Sheri’s desk and set one of his velvety black paws on the keyboard, typing ‘mmkljnk.’ She laughed and hoisted him off the keys and got up to carry him to the bedroom door. He felt heavy, warm and fuzzy in her arms, and for a moment, she buried her face in his fur. When she looked up, the digital clock on the nightstand by her bed told her that she’d worked way past bedtime.
Three thirty-three a.m., she thought, I’ve been at this for over fourteen hours.
Holding both Solomon and her cell phone, she peered out into the hallway. Through the darkness, she made out the shape of the light switch on the wall beside the stairs.
"I swear I hate this place at night," she said, more to herself than to the cat.
Solomon purred and rubbed his face against her neck, not worried in the slightest. Holding him close, she hurried to the light switch and flipped it on. The stairwell plunged down into utter blackness - the yawning throat of the house. Solomon blinked at her, his bright yellow eyes reflecting the overhead lamp.
"I suppose if you’re really starving, I can brave the depths of the first floor." With a shudder, she descended, each wooden step creaking beneath her.
Her last footstep brought her down into the living room. The grandfather clock caught her attention as she passed it. The polished cherrywood clock was a hand-me-down and it seemed only natural that she’d added it into her story, along with her table laden with ceramic pigs. She couldn’t afford the porcelain kind. The pigs looked rather sinister in the darkened room, however, and with a shiver she set her cell phone on the table and twisted the knob on the floor lamp. The cool yellow pool of light fell on one pig in particular, the heavy plaster one she’d picked up in Mexico. It leered at her, its happy pink face disturbingly human.
"Next time I have a yard sale, SeZor Porko, you’re history," she said, and hurried to the kitchen with the squirming Solomon.
With the fluorescent lights humming above her, she felt better as she spun a can of cat food on the can opener and dumped it into Sol’s bowl. He grunted as he chowed down, and she leaned against the counter to wait.
Living in the old Victorian home wasn’t so bad. During the day, the house looked like a peach and cream confection. She’d spent a great deal of her savings moving in, but regrettably it only looked nice from the outside. Dirty dishes filled the sink and several pairs of gym socks were scattered on the floor between the kitchen and the laundry room. In the living room, her furniture looked even worse; a brown floral couch she’d rescued from a Salvation Army donation box, an easy chair on its last legs, and a wobbly coffee table she’d picked up at the thrift shop. The lamps were ugly green dime-store specials.
The house’s owner, Mrs. Moira Gentry, had been trying to find every excuse she could think of to be invited inside, but Sheri always held her ground. The house wasn’t in any shape to have visitors, let alone the nosy landlady and her goofy, slow-witted son, Elbert.
Maybe if this novel sells, she thought, I could afford some decent stuff, and maybe a housekeeper, too. Hell, maybe I can afford to move.
The cat took his sweet time over the bowl. She stroked his silky back, as if that would make him eat faster. "Hurry up, will you? I don’t have all night."
Solomon ignored her and munched away at his stinking pile of Fancy Feast.
Sheri didn’t want to leave him and go back upstairs alone. The cat wasn’t much in the way of company, but he was better than nothing. Aggravated, she began rinsing plates and putting them in the dishwasher. When was the last time she’d cleaned them? Tuesday?
Damn - that was, like, four days ago.
Minutes later, with the cat fed and the dishwasher running, Sheri checked the locks on the front door. There were four of them, and she made sure that each was secure. Unlike Emily, Sheri grew up in Compton, California, which was no place to leave doors open. She knew better. Leaving every light on, she bounded up the stairs, the cat held under one arm like a football.
Depositing Sol on the bed, she locked her bedroom door and settled back in front of her computer, anxious to find out what Derek would do next.
Emily’s kitchen, perfect and neat like the rest of her home, proudly displayed its wares. Copper-bottomed pots hung over the island stove, arranged by size, and Derek felt his lips twist into a smile. With Emily, everything had to be just so.
He moved past the stove to the wooden knife rack on the counter beside it. First, he selected a thick butcher knife and held it up to the dim light pouring in from the orange street lamp outside the tiny window over the sink. The pink, frilly curtains swayed in the light summer breeze as he examined the blade. It glinted pinkish-orange in the darkness.
Despite the obvious choice of the butcher knife, he slid it back into the rack. No, with Emily, he needed to be more creative. His thick fingers closed around a pair of steel-handled meat scissors and drew them out. He opened them, hummed in appreciation and snipped at the air. The whispering sound of the razor sharp metal blades sliding together excited him. The heavy-duty scissors were made to cut through two or more inches of steak, creating neat bite-sized strips. They would also work quite well on human flesh.
Yes, he thought, these will do.
Derek held the scissors up, relishing the way the dim light played along the serrated edges of the blades. His weapon chosen, he left the kitchen to find the curving flight of stairs that led to Emily’s room. Setting his hand on the polished rail, he breathed in and detected the scent of orange oil. He could envision Emily cleaning every crack and crevice of the staircase with a Q-tip.
By now, she would be scrubbing every inch of her flawless white skin, seeking out each and every microbe that could possibly be crawling there.
He set a foot on the first step and put his weight on it. The step creaked.
The groaning of the old wood filled the room. He paused and listened once more. The pipes thumped and whistled within the walls, telling him that Emily hadn’t left the shower – yet.
He climbed the stairs, excitement twisting in his gut with every step he took. By the time he reached the upper landing, his crotch throbbed with anticipation.
Soon Emily would be freed from her bothersome skin.
Sheri arched her back, feeling her bones crackle. How much further could she go on? Even her vision began to blur. Reaching into a desk drawer, she found her unused pair of reading glasses and put them on. Her long brown hair itched against the side of her face and growing annoyed, she gathered it up into a ponytail, twisted it around into a rough knot and speared a pencil through it.
"Ah, that’s better. Now, if only I could think."
The writing on the screen called to her, but she had to stop just for a moment to collect her thoughts. Behind her, Solomon curled up into a ball on the wadded blanket. "Sleeping - that’s what I should be doing," she said to him. The cat raised his head and peered at her, his ears perked.
Then, a sound came from downstairs: thump...crack.
She snapped her attention to the bedroom door and held still. "What the Hell was that?"
Sol jumped down from the bed and went to sit in front of the door. He parked himself beneath the doorknob and stared up at it.
"You heard it, too, didn’t you, Sol ol' pal?" She pushed herself out of the desk chair and tiptoed to the door. Leaning against it, she pressed her ear against the painted wood.
No further sound came.
"It’s nothing. Just the house settling, maybe." She laughed and bent down to pet Sol. "Guess we’re both hearing things, aren’t we?"
The cat turned away from the door and rubbed against her leg, then leapt up onto the bed, resuming his previous lump-like position. Feeling bold, she opened the door and padded out into the hall. At the top of the stairs, she stood still and listened. The house remained quiet, except for the faint swish-swash sound coming from the dishwasher.
Maybe a fork got stuck in the blades or something. Now I’m getting paranoid from lack of sleep.
Feeling stupid, she went back inside and sank into her desk chair. Before she knew it, she found herself back in the story. Derek was about to be a very bad boy. The meat scissors were an excellent weapon. Her mother once owned a pair of them, and Sheri remembered how well the scissors could cut through chicken bones. One slip and a person could lose a finger. She quivered at the mental image of it, but then her thoughts returned to the unwitting Emily. Her hands found the keyboard and the tale took hold.
#The hot water streamed down her back, and Emily imagined it scouring away any germs that might have adhered to her body during the course of the day.
Feeling especially filthy that evening after work, she thought of grabbing the bottle of bleach beside the toilet. Yes, it might burn her some, but she’d feel clean. Her boss, Sam Fletcher, had grabbed her bottom again, for the third time in a row.
"I’m gonna report him this time," she mumbled aloud to herself.
She scrubbed at her backside, trying not to think of Sam's nasty, grease-covered hands. He probably hadn’t washed them in over a week, maybe longer. Whenever she saw him, his foul breath seemed to seek her out, and she could smell his dirty clothes from across the room.
She’d told Derek about the ass-grabbing incident, and he seemed to empathize with her on that count. They both hated the man, and neither of them liked the idea of Fletcher touching the food that they served to the unknowing customers out in the cafeteria line. Sam, the disgusting son of a bitch, liked to dip his fingers in the gravy and then stare at her while he licked the goop off. She knew that microbes had to be slithering around all over him and in the gravy.
Turning off the water, she thought of Derek and smiled. Yeah, he was a bit overweight, but very sweet. He also kept himself neat, too, with his clothes cleaned and pressed regularly by the dry cleaners. Emily pictured herself maybe one day dating him.
Pleasant thoughts of Derek circled in her mind. She pushed the glass door open and groped for a towel. Her hand closed around the one hanging on the bar beside the shower stall. Pulling it to her, she patted her skin dry and went to work drying her hair.
A shuffling noise came from the bedroom. She froze and looked up to see the shape of a large man filling the doorway. Her towel fell to floor, landing in a heap by her feet. The shape stepped into the light and the first thing she saw was Derek’s flushed, angry face. Her scream caught in her throat when she saw the gleaming pair of scissors in his upraised hand.
Sheri lit a cigarette and blew a puff of blue smoke into the bedroom's warm, cloying air. She studied the words she'd just written and sighed.
Okay, it needs work. Screw it, I’ll fix it later.
She glanced over at Sol, who lay stretched out on the blanket. One paw twitched as he dreamt. On the night table beside him, she spotted the red and white bottle of No-Doz beside the alarm clock.
Why not? I can sleep in the morning. After all, she’d taken a week off of her secretarial job to make some headway with the novel. She could sleep as long as she wanted – as soon as she knocked out a few more chapters.
She went to retrieve the No-Doz, and felt a stab of guilt at the sight of her sleeping cat.
"Must be nice to be you," she said with a smile. Solomon lay still, lost in the land of Felinian Nod.
Popping two of the pills, she then replaced the cap and paced the room, wondering what Derek would do when he looked at Emily's face. It was one thing to think about killing someone, but what about the actual doing of the deed? Would he chicken out?
No, she decided, he’s gone way too far for that.
Would Emily try to fight for her life or would she simply stand there like some dumb college-age bimbo in a cheapo slasher flick and let Derek kill her?
Nah, she thought. Not Emily. Emily's a fighter. Sheri hated weak, simpering female characters. The scene played out in her mind even before she set her fingers to the keys.
He held the scissors up high for her to see. The look of slack-jawed terror on her face was priceless.
"You poor, stupid, scared little bitch," he said, feeling drops spittle fly through the gaps in his teeth. "And you were so afraid of germs! Don’t you know how pathetic that is?"
Emily’s mouth worked, as if she wanted to speak but suddenly forgot how. He stepped forward into the oppressive humidity of the bathroom and she backed away, colliding with the glass shower doors.
He grinned, unable to stop himself. All Fletcher wanted was to sample some of Emily’s goods, but Derek wanted more than that.
He wanted her skin.
Opening the scissors, he snipped at the steam-filled air in front of her.
Emily screamed, dropped to her knees beside the toilet, and amazingly enough, tried to crawl behind it. Derek laughed at the sight of her perfect little ass, scrubbed bright pink.
"Derek, please don’t…" she wailed, and covered her head with one shaking hand.
He shoved her hand aside and grabbed a hank of her thick blonde hair. She tried to pull away, and her head smacked into the side of the tub with a loud crack. The blow should have knocked her out cold, but no such luck. Instead she squealed and kept on with lame attempts to twist free. Wrapping her hair around his palm, he reached in toward her scalp and cut. The scissors sliced through in one try. He giggled, and let a quarter-sized patch of skin with bloodied strands of hair fall to the floor.
Emily's shriek rang off of the bathroom walls. He winced and bent forward, gripping her by the neck. "I’m just here to help you, Emily my love," he whispered into her ear. "I just don’t want to see you suffer anymore."
Without warning, she twisted around and her nails raked across his left eye. "You crazy bastard," she said, her voice triumphant.
He yelped and fell back on his ass, letting her go. Through his weeping eye he saw her lift a fat white bottle from behind the toilet and tear off the cap. He raised his hand just as the pungent liquid slapped him in the face.
It burned. He immediately clawed at his face and eyes. "I’m blind!" He wailed. "What did you do that for, Em? I can't fuckin see!"
Panicking for the first time, he groped around for her and instead found the cold, brittle edge of the toilet seat. Something brushed past his side when he dropped to his knees and he reached out for it. His hand closed around Emily's ankle.
She squealed and gave another hard twist. He felt her leg slip from his grasp.
Reeling from the pain and the sharp sound of her voice, he sunk his fingers into the soft meat of her foot and pulled. A split second later, she hit the floor with a thud.
Then, he heard the sound of metal clattering on tile. She’d found the scissors. Acting on instinct, he rolled over and crawled on top of her, pinning her into place.
"Get off of me, you son of a bitch," she shrieked, her breath coming out in a frenzied wheeze. She twisted and bucked, trying yet again to squirm away.
"Oh, no you don’t," he said, and then his hand found hers.
The scissors, locked in her small fist, were still wet from the splash of bleach. By touch alone he worked them loose, bending her fingers backward as he did so. One of the fragile bones in her hand broke with a dull crunch.
"No…" she said and gave a low moan of resignation.
The scissors came loose and he heard the blades skitter across the floor. Following the noise, he fumbled around until he found them. Scissors now firmly in hand, he opened his eyes and peered down at Emily. Through the blurred haze of his burnt retinas, he made out the form of her round, pink face. He bent down and gripped her hair then forced her down, pressing her face against the tile. Finally, Derek regained control of the situation.
"That’s enough. Now dammit, hold still," he said, trying his level best to be calm.
"Get off of me!" Emily thrashed beneath him, but even so, he could feel her energy draining away. The dark bloody hole in her scalp leaked, painting the side of her face a garish red. One of her baby blue eyes blinked, then closed.
"Don’t, Derek." She was calm now, too.
"Good girl," he said. "Now you understand." She went limp beneath him. He gripped back of her neck and felt around for the soft spot at the base of her skull. He brought the scissors in to it and began to snip.
Emily belted out a long, one-note scream that reminded Derek of an operatic aria. Then with a shudder, she fell silent.
Sheri rubbed her eyes and sat back, looking over the finished chapter. "Sorry, Emily," she said aloud. "I hated to do that, but you’re only his first victim." For some reason, Sheri felt guilty about the killing of Emily. Maybe she'd poured too much of her own personality into that character.
Outside her bedroom window, the sky turned pale blue, threatening her with daylight. She got up and went to the window and looked out into the sleeping neighborhood. Old houses that connected to hers were all dark and silent. Somewhere nearby, a car with a whining engine rumbled past. In the yard beside her own, Mrs. Gentry’s son Elbert lumbered across their dead brown lawn, dragging an unfurling green hose and carrying a rusty sprinkler.
She wrinkled her nose in disgust at the sight of his flabby gut hanging over the waistband of his grime-encrusted jeans. He screwed the sprinkler onto the hose and stepped back, releasing the kink that held the water back. One of Elbert’s ham-sized hands reached up and scratched his sweaty mop of red hair. As if he felt her eyes on him, he turned and looked up at her. His round, moon-like face spread into an idiotic grin. His eyes looked like a pair of dead black marbles.
Startled, Sheri backed away from the window. "What a creep," she said, and returned to her chair. Rather than begin her next chapter, she clasped her hands behind her head and considered Elbert. She’d modeled her serial killer after him, with a few enhancements, of course: Derek had brains.
Stretching, she yawned and turned to face the computer. For the first time in many hours, she entertained the idea of sleep. Studying the chapter on the screen, she scrolled back to the top and began editing.
An hour later, she sighed at the sight of the sun as it crept above the jagged row of rooftops arrayed in her window. The bed, with its complimentary cat, seemed more inviting than ever. She yawned again, rose from her chair and shut the computer down. Crawling in next to Solomon, Sheri collapsed into the coolness of her pillow and closed her eyes.
Sheri’s eyelids sprang open and she sat up. The noise came from the hall. Feeling a stab of cold fear pierce into her gut, she waited.
"There it is again!" She knew the sound well - the third and fifth steps on the staircase. Rolling out of bed, she hurried to the door, then put her ear against it and listened.
Clomp, skreeeekkkk…. Clomp.
Steps number nine, and ten.
She reached down and grasped the doorknob, her hand sweating and her legs going weak. Then, the brilliant idea dawned on her to call the police.
She tiptoed to her desk and rooted through papers, flinging them to floor, hoping to find her cell phone.
"Where the Hell is it?" The words felt as though they died in her throat. She’d used only her cell phone in the past few months, trying to save money by disconnecting her land-line. Now, she regretted it.
Her purse sat on the floor beside the bed. She snatched it up and dumped it out on the floor, rifling through the mess. Makeup, tissues and hairy bits of candy were present, but no cell phone.
The sound drew closer, and Sheri realized that the intruder had reached the landing at top of the stairs.
Solomon arched his back, startled by Sheri’s frantic digging through the purse and then the blankets, and his tail puffed out like a skinny Christmas tree.
Where the fuck is my damn phone? Then, her heart sank as she remembered. She’d left it beside SeZor Porko, down on the Table of Pigs.
The clumping of footsteps neared the other side of the door. The hallway lamp remained on, from her earlier foray into the kitchen. As she watched the slit of light near the floor, it revealed a pair of feet coming to a stop outside the room.
The knob shook, and turned, but the lock held. A second later it rattled, the intruder picking at the latch.
"Who’s there?" She said in a harsh whisper.
The door shook as someone pounded on it. The room around Sheri began to sway, and she felt sickening warmth creeping from her belly to her throat. The warmth spread to her brain and the edges of her vision grew dark.
The knob rattled, and then something hit the other side of the wood, splintering the doorframe.
"Go away!" she cried, and dropped to her knees on the other side of the bed, near the window. Solomon peeked out at her from beneath her desk.
The door rattled and split, then an instant later, it flew open and slammed against the wall.
Elbert Gentry waddled into the room, holding a pair of steel sewing scissors.
Her steel sewing scissors.
His mindless gaze locked onto hers and Sheri screamed. Just as she detected the presence of yet another person behind him, the darkness that crowded the edge of her vision rushed forward. Her head cracked against the thin Chinese rug covering the oak floorboards, and a brilliant light spread through her brain like a supernova.
Sheri woke sometime later, to find herself in her bed, staring up at the familiar round light fixture in the ceiling. Solomon lay beside her, purring and licking his forepaws. Reaching out for him, she stroked his fur, just to make sure he was real.
"That was some dream. It was like my story came to life or something."
The sound of heels scuffing on carpet came from the doorway. Sheri rolled her aching head to the side to look. Her mouth fell open. "Wha…?"
Mrs. Gentry stood there, a cup of something held between her gnarled, liverspotted fingers. Sheri recognized the landlady’s thick pile of gray curlers right away and tried to sit up. The room shifted and spun, and she ended up back on her pillow. Mrs. Gentry hobbled over to the night table and set the cup down. Sheri smelled tea of some sort, with a hint of orange in it.
"Mrs. Gentry, what are you doing here?" She asked.
The woman smiled, her wrinkled lips revealing a set of ancient yellow dentures. "You’ve been asleep for several hours now, so you should feel well-rested."
"Tea smells good. Why the special treatment?"
Mrs. Gentry shrugged. "Well, Dear, you fainted and hit your head. I had Elbert put you into bed."
Sheri's stomach heaved at the idea of Elbert touching her, let alone picking her up and laying her on the mattress. She suppressed a violent shiver. "I hit my head? Why didn’t you call an ambulance?"
"I never call a doctor unless I think it’s serious," the woman replied, her rheumy blue eyes watering at the edges. She waved a dismissive hand.
"They’re so expensive. You just have a little goose-knot, anyway. There's no blood. If you want, I can still call them for you." Mrs. Gentry now looked worried, her curlers bobbing as she fussed with the hem of her purple floral-print blouse.
"That’s all right, forget it." Sheri groped around on her skull and found a tender spot behind her ear.
"Oh, that," Mrs. Gentry said, with a frown, then something in her eyes softened and her lower lip quivered. She reached out and patted Sheri on the knee. "I’m so sorry. I had Elbert break into your room. He saw you this morning at your window and said you looked rather pale and sick. So, naturally I got worried and used my key to get in. Elbert and I thought something bad had happened to you. We haven't seen you in days."
Sheri groaned and let her hand fall to her lap. "You broke in? Then why did Elbert have my scissors?"
"We tried to pry the latch to the bedroom door," Mrs. Gentry said. Her pale face blazed pink with shame. "I know I’m just a nosy old broad, but I was worried about you. I got the scissors from the kitchen drawer and gave them to my son. Don’t worry, we’ll get the door fixed, and we didn’t mean to scare you. Can you ever forgive me?"
Sheri relaxed and nodded. "I guess. You really should have called an ambulance, though. Elbert could’ve given me a heart attack."
Mrs. Gentry handed her the cup. "Drink this. It’ll help clear your head."
Reaching for the tea, Sheri looked over Mrs. Gentry’s shoulder at the form of Elbert staggering into the room. She tried to smile at him, despite the eerie feeling of him being in her room. Mrs. Gentry never looked up, and continued to make excuses and small-talk as Elbert came up behind her. His bulky frame eclipsed the light from the hallway. Then Sheri noticed the item in his right hand.
The cup slipped from her hands and shattered on the floor. Elbert raised Sheri’s steel sewing scissors and brought them down in a swift arc toward his mother’s neck. Mrs. Gentry clapped a hand to the wound and a geyser of blood jetted out from in between her fingers. She stared at Sheri, gurgled once and dropped to the floor like a rag doll.
Sheri screamed and crawled backward over the bed. "My god, Elbert what did you just do?"
Elbert's grin widened. A thin rope of drool dangled from his chin.
"I think you're real purty, Miss Sheri," he said, wiping his runny nose and leaving a shiny trail of snot on the back of his sausage-like fingers. "I seen you a-lookin at me, too. Momma didn't like you much, but I done fixed that now." With a bashful "aw-shucks" kind of giggle, he stepped forward to claim her.
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Last edited by OnceUponATime; 03-20-2007 at 09:38 PM..