Everyone's fair game for murder. Third place, See no Evil, Hear no Evil, Speak no Evil.
| He watched the woman struggle against her bindings of duct tape. The wooden chair in which he had arranged her squeaked with every panicked move she made; he imagined the squeaks as coming from a chorus of happy little crickets. He smiled.
The single lightbulb cast its mini spotlight over the woman’s form, but no further. The edges of the murky yellow light were swallowed by the thick shadows that snarled and prowled the outer reaches of the basement. His dungeon, as he liked to call it.
As he polished his tools, entranced by their wicked gleam, his body quivered with excitement, reminding him of how he felt going into his first kill. It was an exhilarating sensation, something he hadn’t felt in a long time.
Lately, it seems he had been growing bored with the hunt, to his dismay. He had even been contemplating giving the game up entirely, retiring to spend more time with his souvenirs. Then he found Her. From the first moment, he recognized how special she was and knew she deserved the best performance he’d ever given. So, for her, no excuse of a broken arm or a lost child; no, she needed, she was worthy of, all the creativity he could muster up.
Dressed in a rumpled trench coat, face swathed in wrap-around sunshades, he watched her as she roamed the grocery store. She was perfect, red-haired just as She was so many years ago, slender and willowy, with that pale, pure Irish complexion, so rare to find here in America. He made sure to keep to the shadows and the corners, careful not to disturb her or anyone else that might interfere with his plan. Finally, she emerged, bag in her arm, keys in her hand.
He stumbled out, right into her path. “Oh, what to do, what to do?” he moaned, slurring his speech to further inspire sympathy.
She stumbled, nearly dropping her groceries. “Here, are you all right?” she asked, placing a gentle hand on his stooped shoulder.
“Oh, I’m so sorry, dear. Did I hurt you? I’m blind, you see, and my ride hasn’t shown up, and I don’t know what to do!”
“You poor thing,” she cried. He risked glancing at her over the top of his glasses. She was gnawing her lip and looking towards the parking lot.
He watched as the expressions played over her face: indecision first, then doubt, and, finally, guilt when he told her that he could walk the distance home. Finally, she squared her shoulders, and determination settled her features. She took his elbow gently and led him across the asphalt lot.
He wove a story of an irresponsible nephew who abandoned his blind uncle to the mercies of the grocery store parking lot; he enjoyed listening to her noises of sympathy and indignation. With a chirp, she unlocked her SUV and settled him inside, going so far as to help him buckle his seatbelt.
Snuggling into the deep leather upholstery, he gave her the address of his non-descript clapboard house, a house that sat far enough away from its neighbors to give him privacy, without being too far away as to raise suspicion. She pulled into the driveway and let the car idle.
He knew she was nervous, even with such an obviously harmless man such as himself, and wasn’t willing to get out of the car. He had made plans for all possible contingencies, though. He fumbled with the seatbelt and, as he slid out of the vehicle, he groaned and slumped onto the driveway.
She ran around to his side. “What happened?”
“Clumsy me, I must’ve twisted my ankle getting out. I’m not used to riding in such high vehicles. Don’t you worry, though.”
“I am so sorry! I should’ve helped you out of the car. Here, lean on me and I’ll get you inside. Or, maybe I should take you to a doctor?”
“NO!” he shouted. Realizing he’d panicked, he lowered his voice. “No, dear, I’m fine. I’m sure it’s just a sprain. Some ice and some rest will do just fine.”
She draped his arm over her shoulders and, after an awkward shuffle to unlock the door, led him into his darkened living room. Carefully, she settled him onto the sofa.
“Where’s the kitchen? I’ll go get some ice for your ankle.”
“Through the hall, dear, and on your right.”
As soon as he heard the ice bin rattle, he quietly rose from the sofa. Picking up the syringe he’d readied before leaving the house, he slipped off the cap and held the needle in a firm grasp. Peeking around the doorframe, he saw her back turned towards him and with a great, silent leap, he grabbed her and plunged the syringe’s contents into her neck.
“There, now. See, I told you all I needed was some ice.” Her terrified eyes slowly glazed over as she slumped into his arms.
Now, he gazed lovingly at her as those same terrified eyes pleaded with him over her taped-up mouth. Tears and snot co-mingled into rivulets that ran down her face.
“Now, now, don’t cry. All that snot will build up and you won’t be able to breathe.” He fingered the blade of the scalpel he held, watching as the small cut it created welled up with blood. “Not that breathing will matter so much to you in a few moments.”
With a blur of movement, he had her eyes cut out, her lovely green eyes. He held them up to the light, deaf to her muted screams and gagging noises, blind to the blood that poured from her now-empty eye sockets. “Your eyes are lovely, my dear. Look, they’ve got flecks of blue and gold in them.” He held them out to her. “I bet you didn’t even know that, did you?”
He plopped them into a prepared jar, just one of many that sat in a long row on his workbench. His cheerful humming drowned out the rapidly fading sounds of her agony.
He burrowed deeper into his sheets. He always slept deeply and dreamlessly after an exciting hunt. He wanted to bury his head under his pillow and sleep a little longer, but he knew it was futile. He was one of those for whom it was impossible to go back to sleep once they’ve awoken.
He opened his eyes and was startled at the pitch blackness of the room. It’s morning, isn’t it, he wondered as he sat up to look around. Fear bloomed in his chest as he brought his hands up to rub his eyes and realized he couldn’t see his hands. His breath quickened as he cast about his bed, touching himself, his sheets, and not seeing any of it.
“—,“ he croaked, grasping his throat. His voice, what had happened to his voice? He fell out of bed, clumsily grabbing at the bedside table. He could hear a high keening and was shocked when he realized it was coming from him.
With barked shins and stubbed toes, he slowly made his way out of the bedroom and into the hallway. He never realized he had so much furniture, or that it was so obtrusive. The doorbell rang, startling him with its shrill sound. Half-running, half-shambling to the door, he smashed his knees against the coffee table, eliciting a low moan. He stumbled, caught himself and ran into the door, ending up sprawled against it. His hand clenched the doorknob; pulling himself up, he opened the door, feeling the heat of the day wash over him. His blind eyes automatically squinted against the morning sun.
“Hello, I was wondering if I might have a few moments of your time sir?” The young woman’s voice was fresh and chirpy.
“N-n-ugh,” he said, patting his throat as though he could somehow beat the words out of it.
“What’s wrong?” He grunted some more, willing her to understand. “You—you can’t speak, is that it?” He nodded furiously.
“Oh, you poor thing,” she said, taking him by the arm and leading him inside the house. The door closed with a loud bang. “I have some medicine here that I think will help you.”
The shock of the needle as it drove into the side of his neck brought tears to his eyes. He shivered as the syringe’s icy liquid coursed through his veins, bringing immediate oblivion.
Water, frigid and explosive, sluiced onto his face. He struggled against the tape that held him, recognizing the squeaks of his favorite wooden chair. He began to hyperventilate.
“My sister always had lovely eyes.” The woman’s voice bounced off the walls of the basement; he whipped his head around, trying to locate the source.
An icy hand slipped around his neck; he felt her hair brush his cheek as she whispered into his ear. “But, then, I guess you know that, don’t you?”
She moved away and he heard her picking up and setting down his jars of souvenirs. “You know,” she said, setting down the jar that contained her sister’s tongue, “I wish I could say I planned all this. But I can’t.” She moved back to him and heard a clatter as his tray of tools was set down in front of him. “I like to think of it as divine intervention.
“I mean, who knew that I would see my sister at the store as she helped a poor, blind man into her car? Who knew I would follow my sister because I was worried about her? Especially considering all the stories in the news lately, about how young women, doing good deeds, are being abducted and killed. And who knew that I would see you, quite conveniently fall, and need to be helped into the house? I certainly couldn’t have known.
“Now, granted, I’ve always hated my sister and I’ve been planning on killing her for quite some time, so I guess I should thank you for saving me the effort. Although, to be honest, I don’t think I would’ve done the deed in such a gruesome fashion. However, I feel I should in some way avenge her, plus I like things tidy.”
He heard the metallic scrape as she picked up the scalpel. Warmth flooded his lap as his bladder emptied.
She clucked her tongue, placing the blade on his eyelid. “Now, now, none of that. You know what they say: Turn about’s fair play.”
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