Flash Friday 07/06/2013: A Helping Hand
The Midnight Murderer always liked it when people left the lights on. It made it easier to count the potential victims.
The houses with only one person within was like a diamond in the rough. He studied the front door through his hockey mask for structural weak points. Not many door makers take into account how sturdy their product is against a chainsaw, but he was always willing to make tests.
He slammed the spinning blade through the glass window on the door, dragging it downwards through the wooden body. The door fell apart on its own, leaving nothing between him and his victim for tonight.
That’s when he saw her.
Victims usually scream a lot; that’s a trend he’d noticed over the years. They howl, cry, and start calling out for some loved one. This one, however, didn’t do any of that. She simply looked up from her seat on the steps, her black attire making her look more like a shadow than a person.
“Midnight Murderer?” she said with a tone like a dentist calling in their next client.
“Yes, that’s me,” the Midnight Murderer said, slightly taken aback by the question.
The young lady didn’t say much else. She simply stood in front of him, knelt down, and bowed her head, revealing the ‘CUT HERE’ dotted line across the back of her neck.
“In your own time,” she added. “Little off the top, if you don’t mind.”
“Oh.” The Midnight Murderer stopped the chainsaw. “No, no, hold on a moment. This is just wrong.”
“Is it?” the girl said, looking up. “I thought you did this all the time.”
“Well, yeah, but nobody asks for it. Is something wrong?”
“Me? No. Life? A cesspit of money-based power, cruelty and lack of compassion. To be honest, it’s not how they advertised it.”
“This sounds like a serious problem, Ms…?”
“Janet. Could you do me a favour?”
“Could you put the kettle on?”
“I mean,” the Midnight Murderer said, placing the mug of tea back on the coffee table. Hockey masks became a second face with enough practice. “Yeah, life is rubbish and all, but you can’t just throw it away like that. That’s just wrong, especially for a girl at your young age.”
“I’m twenty-two,” Janet said, seated on the other side of the sofa. “I’m old enough to make these choices.”
“You’re still young. It may feel like you’re as old as the rest of us, but you have a lot of life ahead of you. Lots of opportunities opening up. Right now is the absolute worst time to just top yourself.”
“Which is why you entered my house?”
“Look,” the Midnight Murderer said, adjusting himself on the sofa. He always hated explaining this to people. “What I do is a hobby. A few scary phone calls, a few beheaded pets through the mail, a bit of kicking down doors and a lot of chasing about. I find them, I lop their head off, I go home and catch Game of Thrones on the telly, everything’s fun and games. You, however, have a serious problem that needs fixing. Something that could seriously hurt the ones you love.”
“Nobody cares about me,” Janet said, sipping her own tea.
“And you think people do about me? My parents were highly sceptical when I said I wanted a career change from burger flipper to full-time serial killer, but I still got the gig going, didn’t I? Mum and dad were speechless when I made it.”
“Probably because you murdered them.”
“That’s not the point. The point is, being what I am is a lonely business. It’s hard to get into this networking malarkey when every like-minded man I meet is out to kill me. It’s gotten to the point where my LinkedIn profile is an absolute mess. I don’t need other people, though. Everything I do is for me and me only, and I’ve never been happier. In the mood for a new chair? Make it out of the skin and bones of my victims. Really economic, and very good for recycling. Very self-dependant career.”
“So you’re saying I should be a serial killer?”
“Of course not. You have to find your own way, your very own equivalent of a serial killer in your own heart. If you don’t like the way your life is headed, you can change it. It takes a lot of strength, and you feel like giving up half the time, but it’s worth it. Wouldn’t be here today if I didn’t stand up to my self-doubts.”
“You had doubts?”
“Of course. ‘What if my next murder isn’t as good as the last one?’. ‘What if people rate my killings as boring and uninspired?’. A lot of the effort put into these murders is song and dance for the news reports. I made it here despite all that, though, and I believe you can make it as well. You just have to keep going.”
“Well…” Janet said, smiling for the first time that night. “I’ll give it a shot. Thanks, Midnight Murderer. I hope I didn’t waste your evening with this chat.”
“Don’t worry about it. I’ve scouted out a little old lady down the road from here, saved her as one to do on an off-day. I’ll just give her a chase-about and meet tonight’s quota without breaking a sweat. You, though,” he said, pointing at Janet. “You best keep living, okay?”
“Alright,” Janet said. “Have a good night.”
“You too.” The Midnight Murderer stood from the sofa, tugging his chainsaw off of the ground. He could probably make a killing from going into the self-help industry; it was just a shame that it was the wrong kind of killing.