Tap tap tap
The branch hit the window for the thousandth time. Southern California was in the middle of the Storm of the Century, and though she had security on-call, Mary had never felt more alone in her life. Living on the beach was both a blessing and a curse. When her roommate was there with her, she never felt like this. She felt safe, loved, and warm. It was her weekend away, and Mary couldn’t shake the fear that she was being watched. Maybe it was the knocking on the window or the wind coming off the ocean. Either way, there was an eerie howl that sent shivers up her spine. Every hair on her body seemed to stand at attention, making her even more paranoid than usual.
A quick run through the house, Mary checked each window and door to the spacious home. Thankfully, it was a single story, but five bedrooms, two baths, and a maid quarters off the kitchen. It was one of those times she second-guessed her decision to buy this massive estate. As she walked down the hall to the last room, that was when she noticed it—a bone-chilling wind. Something was open to allow the draft into her home. Inching her feet closer to the door, it took an effort for her to turn that old brass knob. Holding tight to the metal, her feet bouncing back and forth, Mary held her breath when she pushed it open. Nothing. Not a damn thing on the other side other than an open window. The room was vacant of all furnishings. She planned on one day using it as a home studio, but that day hadn’t come. With a quick run across the hardwood floor, Mary slammed the window down, forcing the weathered lock closed. The one downfall of living by the beach is that the salt in the air and water damage quicker than usual. As though she was still a child, Mary ran from the room, slamming the door tight behind her. It was reminiscent of the times she would enter her childhood bed from a running start. If you get too close to the edges of the bed, a hand will reach out and drag you to hell. Isn’t that every child’s worst nightmare?
After a quick drink of brandy to calm her nerves, Mary realized how much she hated the taste of alcohol. The bar in the house was only there for guests. She rarely took a drink. Tonight, though, she needed something not only to sedate her overactive imagination but to warm her soul. Wrapping her hands around the glass, she settled into the corner of the couch, pushing her body as deep as she could into the cushions. It felt like a big hug the deeper she nestled, but in reality, Mary wished she could slip into the fabric and stay until dawn broke over the horizon. Daylight brought safety, or so she hoped. The more the storm raged outside, the deeper her paranoia settled into her bones. A bottle of sleeping pills on the table seemed to call her name, but did she want to sleep? The what if’s haunted her tonight. Next came the blanket from the back of the couch. An old afghan that her grandmother gave her mother, who gave it to Mary. Spread over the body, tucking her feet down tight, the bottle on the table once again called her name.
“Stop it, dammit!” she whispered.
A crack of light from outside, and the house went dark. The storm knocked out the power with one jolt of lightning. It wasn’t the breaker box this time. The power pole took a direct hit, forcing the entire block to go dark. A squeal, or was that a squeak that escaped her lips? A quick grab for her phone. Mary used the flashlight to search the room. Whatever she was looking for, she never found. All that existed were shadows on the wall and the howl of the wind. Both can play tricks on the frightened mind. Putting her hand to her wrist, checking her pulse. Under the tips of her fingers, she felt the thump of her heart racing. Holding her hand to her face, the flashlight on her wrist, Mary checked to see if she could see the pulse. Of course, that was another fear taking control of her active imagination.
Screaming, Mary pulled the old blanket over her head, hiding. What was she hiding from, though? The rain? Or maybe the wind? Reaching for the bottle on the table, she carefully opened the container, quickly swallowing one. If she slept, all the bad things in the world would go to sleep for the night with her. Does fear work like that? In the irrational mind, anything is possible. Mary held the bottle in her hand as though it was the key to saving her, jiggling them every few minutes to make sure they were still there.
“Maybe one more?” she asked.
Without reservation, Mary opened the bottle once again, swallowing the pill dry this time. If one didn’t work, surely two would knock her out for hours, right? Before she could set the bottle down again, she would swallow two more of the little white pills. She took more than three times the dosage amount. It was more than she ever took, but with the fear of the unknown lurking around the room, all Mary wanted was to close her eyes to whatever would happen. Within minutes, her dream to sleep turned into a nightmare she couldn’t escape.
There was a soft humming from behind the couch. He had laid in wait for hours. Honestly, he wondered for a while if this one would ever fall asleep. Each time Mary swallowed another pill, he inched closer to getting what he wanted more than anything in the world. Another trophy for his imaginary mantle. On his hands and knees, this man, or was he a beast, crawled to the end to get a closer look at Sleeping Beauty. A sharp inhale. He took in her scent. Sweet with a hint of honeysuckle, this one reminded him of the first day of spring. Or maybe funeral flowers.
“The itsy bitsy spider crawled up the water spout,” he sang as the tips of his fingers crawled closer.
All those hours that passed put vivid images into his head. Would he kill her? Or play with her mind? The possibilities are endless when a sick mind is at the helm. He unsheathed a 6-inch hunting blade now rested in his hand, the calloused digits wrapped tight around the pearl handle. It was his Grandfather’s knife. A family heirloom handed down to him on his 12th birthday. The day it all began. He killed his best friend that day. It was an accident, but no one ever forgot it. Forever labeled a killer, he would never find peace again. Twenty-two deaths later, his last one was laying out like sleeping beauty on the couch. His eyes diverted to the table, the bottle read, “take one as needed before bedtime.” He wanted her to beg for him to spare her life. To cry out for him to stop, but of course, he wouldn’t. Once the first scent of blood was in the air, he would envelop into a frenzy that wouldn’t end until exhaustion took hold of his body.
“How am I supposed to kill you if you won’t wake up?” he asked.
As the storm raged on, so did the one he played out in his head. The knife rested in his hand as he sat on the floor next to Mary. A loose grip threatening to force it from his fingers, but each time it slipped, he tucked it back tight in his hand. With boredom creeping in, his need to see her grew. Wrapping his index finger in the blanket, he slowly inched it down to reveal her chest. Small breasts, but well defined, she was pretty. Not stunning like a model, but pretty like a flower.
“A sunflower standing tall in the heat of the summer. You are bold against the wind,” he whispered.
A few more inches revealed, he pulled it down to her uncover her torso. Though she covered herself with a thin white t-shirt, he could see the definition of her stomach beneath. Athletic, but no abs. He hated those women who worked out so much that their bodies lost the softness. Those were the women that worked out down at muscle beach. On warm days he stood outside the chain-link fence and taunted them with homosexual slurs and the rants of how they would go to hell for ruining their bodies. More times than he could count, the cops came and forced him to leave. Didn’t they understand that he only did it to help them?
“Never ruin this body. You will look so beautiful covered in blood,” he added.
Only a little more, maybe an inch. As the afghan lowered, his heart rate rose. It was pounding against his eardrums by the time he reached Mary’s panties. White silk molded so tight to her body that her slit was visible through the sheer material. It tucked up into the crease, letting his imagination run wild. There was no hair to ruin it. For the first time, he thought about how she would taste. What could it hurt? Right? She would never know that he touched her. He inched over onto his knees, his face lowered to the source of her heart. As he inhaled deeply, that scent was intoxicating. If only he could bury his face in there and suck her soul right out through her cunt.
“Stop it. You’re not a fucking rapist. This dumb bitch needs to wake up already,” he said.
As the bile rose, the threat of vomiting came with it. A couple of quick breaths was all he needed to force it back down, but he would need never to think that way again. Sins of the flesh weaken a man, and he was strong. Stronger than those idiots down there at the beach. All of them pointing and calling him a scrawny little pussy. He would show them one day when his face was all over the papers and his name as famous as Manson and Bundy.
“Fucking whore, tempting me with that cunt of yours. All you think about is sex. I should crave your pussy out with a knife. Yeah, they will remember me then,” growling, his words followed by a line of saliva. He was drooling like a dog in heat, and the bitch pranced by wiggling her ass.
Mary moaned softly in her sleep, turning slightly to block his view of her panties. She was usually a light sleeper, but tonight, she slept like a baby. The four sleeping pills knocked her out.
“Wake up, wake up, wake up,” he whispered.
His breaths coming in pants, he rocked back and forth on his knees as he watched Mary sleep. Like a child on Christmas morning, his eyes glazed over in anticipation of opening his gifts. How could he kill her and get the full effect if she was too numb to feel it? If there isn’t screaming, there is no fun at all. Well, for him, there wasn’t. For him to become a true legend, it had to be just right. No mistakes made. It was those panties that ruined it all. He pushed her slowly to her back. The knife pressed against the material of her panties, gently slicing across the crotch. Metal to the flesh, he peeled back the thin fabric, exposing her ivory petals. He wanted to fuck her with the knife. Cut her wide open while she begged for him to stop.
BANG BANG BANG
“Mary, are you alright? The storm knocked out all the power. I want to make sure your okay.”
A voice from the other side of the door rattled the sleeping girl, forcing her out of her drug-induced coma. Without a trace, he was gone, but this won’t be the last time. She owed him, and next time, he would make sure her funeral wasn’t an open casket.