A serial killer begins his rampage. Told through the eyes of a horrified young witness.
|"You know, when I said I could follow you anywhere, Kris, I didn't exactly mean in circles."
"I know where I'm going." I didn't really, but I smiled and glanced in the rear view mirror at my boyfriend following me in his car, his cell phone pressed against his ear. His soft brown curls and bright blue eyes I couldn't quite make out in the dark, but I could picture them just the same.
"Yeah, right. I've seen that same blade of grass three times now, Beautiful." I could hear the smile in his voice, that smile could melt any girl.
I laughed. "You didn't have to follow me, you know. My car's fine. And I was pretty sure I could make my way back the way I came."
"Was being the operative word," he teased. "Besides, how could I kiss you goodnight without my mom watching? She just met you, and I'd hate for her to see that my intentions are completely dishonorable."
"Andy!" I giggled.
Thankful that he couldn't see me blushing, I turned left and hoped it was the right way. The street signs were always so hard to read in the dark. This whole directions thing had been easier in daylight when I drove to meet his parents earlier. The suburbs all looked the same too, and that didn't help.
"Plus this way I don't have to stalk you to find out where you live," he flirted.
"You could have just asked me, you know."
"That would have been much too easy."
My smile faded when I saw something in the road. I squinted and eased on the brakes—at first I thought it might be a bag of trash in the darkness—but no, my eyes flew open when I realized the bulge was a man. A man lay sprawled in the middle of the road, passed out drunk or something.
“Oh my god!” I blurted. Hell of a place to pass out. As my gut sank, alarm bells wailed inside me. Something wasn’t right.
“What?” I could hear his voice change from flirtatious to concerned. I swerved to avoid the figure, “There’s a man in the road, don’t hit him!” His car approached the body behind me.
Without hesitation, “I’m going to stop and see if he’s okay!” he told me. “I know CPR. We should stop.”
“No, Andy, please don’t,” I pleaded. “This is a bad part of town and I have a bad feeli--”
“Of course you have a bad feeling. Something bad has happened here already. What if he’s hurt? We can’t just leave him!” And with that, he slammed on his brakes, just short of where the man lay and I heard the silence which could only mean he’d hung up on me.
“Dammit!” I slammed on my own brakes, only I was about half a block ahead of him. I pressed the emergency blinkers on my car, knowing that my heart was pounding twice as fast. Leaping out, I could see Andy already leaning over, fumbling with his phone, no doubt trying to call 911. But he never got the chance.
The speed with which the figure moved reminded me of a wild animal striking its prey. He raised a handgun that seemed to come from nowhere and shot Andy at point-blank range in the chest. Crying out, he crumpled on the unforgiving pavement. At that moment, everything seemed to slow down. I saw the scene over and over in my mind, like a nightmare. Who was this monster? The nameless man wasted no time in going through Andy’s pockets, who offered little resistance as he coughed up blood.
Frozen, I stood like a statue in the middle of the road. Out in the open. And that’s when he saw me, with my mouth and car door both wide open, and my stupid blinking emergency lights. They were meant to attract attention, but right then I wished they hadn’t. As he raised his weapon, a half-gasp, half-scream escaped me. I felt the rush of the bullet shattering my car door window behind me. As though someone had given me permission to move again, I sprinted. All the moisture in my mouth disappeared and instead it poured out of my eyes. I didn’t know I could run this fast. I heard two more shots behind me, and something else too, something human, I thought. Later I would realize the horrible sounds had been Andy, screaming with all he could muster for me to “Ruhnn, Krisss, Ruhhhh!” and for the gunman to “Cuuhm bakghh, you coowird!” Wheezing, I twisted my neck back to see how much ground my pursuer had gained, but the gunman had turned back to Andy. And like a gift from God, my hiding space appeared in an alleyway bush. It pricked me, and I discovered my calf was throbbing… and wet. Thoughts raced through my mind: Oh my god, he’s shot me! He’s shot me, and I'm bleeding....
One more bang, and the horrible human-like sound stopped. My vision blurred from the hot moisture streaking down my face. I crouched there for I’m not sure how long, not daring to breathe, my heart pounding in my throat almost as intensely as it was in my calf. Why didn't I stop the man from going back? I could have stopped him, shouted and saved Andy. But I didn't. Instead I hid like a selfish coward. My anger burned. I told Andy not to stop the car. But he didn't listen, too concerned with some Good Samaritan bullshit. He always had been kinder than me. "Andy... Andy...Andy"... maybe if I whispered his name enough I would wake up with his arms keeping me safe, stroking my hair and telling me it was just a dream. My silent, terrified tears splashed my knuckles, which must have been white if I could have seen them, because I was gripping my phone so tightly—my phone!
I had never let go of it after Andy had hung up on me. Praying, my fingers shook as I dialed my own 911 call. The phone’s light seemed like the sun in that dark bush, and I hoped he couldn’t see it. I remembered from Sunday school that killers seemed to be attracted to brightly-shining bushes. Cupping the light with one hand as best I could, I used the other to try and stop my calf from bleeding so much.
Finally, “911, what’s the location of your emergency?”
Shut up, I thought. He’ll hear you. For a moment, with no way of knowing just how close he was to me, I was too afraid to answer. I wondered if maybe waiting here for him to go away would be better. But the pain in my calf gripped me and I knew I had to take the risk. If I waited, I would bleed to death.
“911, is someone there?”
“Yessshhh” I breathed. “If he finds me, he’ll kill me. Please come. Please, I need help.” My voice was barely audible, but the fear had volume levels of its own.
“Alright, I need you to calm down. Can you do that for me? Where are you?”
“I’m not sure, we were lost driving around when it happened.”
“Okay, do you know what street you’re on?
“Uhhmm…” Dizziness and blackness threatened to overtake my consciousness. “I’m… in an alley. Hiding in a bush. But I think…I think it was Anders Street… oh my god, Andy. I think he’s dead. He shot him, oh my god, he just...shot him. He... he shot me too.” My grief tore through me; another bullet would've been better. My tears were steady and I strained to keep them silent. He could still be close. My calf pain worsened.
“I need you to try and calm down, okay? Stay on the line with me. What's your name?"
"Alright, Kris. The police are on their way. Is your attacker still armed? Does he know where you are?”
I heard the gravel crunch and sucked in my breath. Even a whisper could give me away now, my mind was coherent enough to at least know that much. The dim streetlight gave him a slight shadow from my angle through the bush. He lingered there, his height and pale skin made him look almost like a skeleton. My eyes focused on the gun dangling from his bloody hand, which shimmered in the darkness.
"Kris, can you hear me?" I flinched and clutched the phone, trying to muffle the sound. I slowly formed my lips into a circle and breathed out, making that wind-blown sound into the receiver. That would have to do for my answer. Anything louder would be suicide. I felt as though he would never leave, his eyes would find me. They had to be staring right at me, accusing me of abandoning Andy.
Police sirens filled the night air. Oh, thank you, thank you...The figure jumped at the sound and dropped his gun. It clattered on the pavement right in front of me. I gasped and I saw him react to my breath. Now I'm going to die, I thought. He knows I'm here now, and he's going to kill me. He pounced on the ground so quickly it made me dizzy and his arms grasped around the dark, rough pavement. Then the realization struck me--he couldn't see his gun in the darkness. I dropped my phone and the light from it illuminated what we were both looking for. He was faster, but I was closer and my life literally depended on winning this race. The metal felt alien on my skin, and strangely sticky, the blood from my own hand mixing with Andy's. The gun fired between us and the man staggered backwards, crying out. But I must have missed, because I heard the ping on a trash can across from us. The police sirens gained volume, and my attacker finally leapt up and sprinted down the alley. The newspapers would call him "The Possum."
Andy. I had to get to him. I had to. Moaning, the pain threatened to overtake me as I crawled out from under the bush. I slowly dragged myself to the road, my calf throbbing the whole way. Now I was the one laying in the middle of the road, needing help. How ironic, I thought. I strained to look over at Andy's motionless body, which displayed the horrors of the night in a painting of dark red. Wet paint. My vision blurred, and the last thing I remembered was a rush of police and paramedics in a haze of red and blue lights.