September is here, which means it's almost Halloween! My favorite holiday, of course. Here we are again on the first Sunday of the month with another short story. I post one every month as a thank you to all of you wonderful readers. And as always a grateful thank you to my amazing editor Liane at Mystic Canyon Publishing. Hope you enjoy the stories as much as I do writing them. As always please like and share!
This month's story The Psychopaths Toolbox delves into the seriously damaged mind of a serial killer with an ending twist that is sure to shock and terrify.
Here's an extra special bonus this month! But only for a limited time!
If you'd like to check out The Blood Prophecy ebook FOR FREE it will be available September 3rd through the 7th on Amazon
READER DISCRETION ADVISED, this may not be suitable for all audiences.
If you enjoy my short stories please consider trying my books, The Blood Prophecy series, and Inferno of Secrets.
The Psychopaths Tool Box
Author of The Blood Prophecy series
Mother always told me to act accordingly. Whatever the hell that means. I think she was implying that one should go with the flow, but that just wasn't my style. I preferred to swim upstream, rock the boat, ruffle some feathers. Then again, she always did say that I was just a vulgar child with no understanding of how the world worked and that if I didn't mind my behavior, I would, in the end, be sorry. Well, I'm all grown up, and as far as I was concerned, I was always sorry, and with that understanding, I chose to step out into the world and shake up the status quo with every abused bone in my thin five-foot-ten body.
I washed and shaved, and I dressed for the evening in my finest suit, a pin-striped number that I used to wear to the office before I won the lottery. But no matter how much wealth I obtained, I could never wash off the filth of my violent youth. I opened my trusty rolling red Craftsmen tool cabinet, and, after rifling through the many drawers, I finally decided on just the right tool for tonight's job. I put the three-inch hole punch into the breast pocket and the smallest bal-peen hammer in the box into the side pocket for quick access for when the time was just right. The thought sent splinters of excited energy through my body.
I headed out to find the fanciest drinking hole that I could find. Yes, I said hole. For me, all pubs are holes, no matter how shiny the mahogany bar or clean the urinals are. Bars and Pubs were all quintessentially the same and served no other purpose than to get drunk and hope to pick up someone to take home for the night. Then toss their asses out in the morning like an empty Styrofoam take-out tray. That is if they didn't sneak out of bed before you woke up and do the sunrise walk of shame to the nearest bus stop or back to their piece of shit car. Cowards. No, right now, I'm not going to dwell on the assholes of the world. Tonight was going to be fun. I hadn't had one of those in over a month, and it was once again safe for me to go out and play. The trick was always to use a different but appropriate tool. My insides trembled and itched from head to toe with the thought of that glorious feeling of a blood-drenched body slipping and struggling beneath me. I closed my eyes for a moment and replayed the glorious vision of my last night of fun and how good it felt to pry that bastard's head open with a screwdriver. Yup, the right tool for the job. I let out an excited laugh. Yes, tonight was going to be a whole lot of screaming fun.
I walked into Shea' Hifalutin at around ten-thirty. No, that wasn't the place's real name, but it might as well have been. It was rather quiet and empty for a Friday night, but that didn't stop me from holding my head high and acting like I owned the place. Confidence, that was the bait that no one could ever resist. It worked every time without fail. For some stupid reason, the assumption that if you were confident you were somebody, a high power maverick who knew their way around the proverbial block. It was like rotting meat to a fly. Sometimes, this was just too fucking easy. But that notion wasn't going to stop me from enjoying the hell out of what was to come. Some things just never get old, and watching the blood flow happened to be my favorite pass time. I walked around the room for several minutes, scoping out just the right table until I came across the only one with one of those small cardboard signs, folded in half so it stands up in the center of the table that read in big bold print, RESERVED. I gave it a hard flick with my thumb and forefinger, and it sailed effortlessly onto the tongue and groove parquet floor.
The maître d’, or manager, or I don't know who, just some aging, balding, uptight, anal-retentive restaurant-bar guy, who couldn't get a better fucking job, came running over as if his ass was on fire.
"Excuse me, but the Smithfield's have reserved this table. You will have to move elsewhere," he shrieked in a haughty tone.
The thought of making him my playmate for the evening crossed my mind briefly. Although, it was far too early in the night to make such decisions without seeing what else might be available from the project list that surrounded me. Besides, for him, I would have brought nails, and I had a taste for something more delicate than something so crude. The anticipation sent shivers up my spine like tiny electrical shocks of joy. I kept my excitement to myself and said nothing as I slipped my hand casually into the inside pocket of my jacket and pulled out a crisp one-hundred-dollar bill, handed it to him, and watched the pushy arrogance melt off his face like tar on a metal roof in the hot summer sun; priceless. He made a mild attempt at a smile, and I winked back at him, which seemed only to make him all the more uncomfortable. My senses rejoiced in making him squirm.
"You can stay until the Smithfield's arrive, and then you will have to move," he said and then waited for just another moment before he hesitantly asked what it was that I wanted to drink.
I handed him another two-hundred, "Bottle of your best white wine," I said, and he gave me a bewildered expression before he hurried off.
The table I was at was only a few feet from the bar and a few more feet to the stage where a balding forty-year-old with a long ponytail who resembled Friar Tuck from Robin Hood was setting up a microphone. I had no idea who was playing, and frankly, it didn't matter. Although Friar Tuck certainly had possibilities, I think a reciprocating saw would be fun to carve his head up like a Halloween pumpkin. The sandwich board sign by the entrance read 'Clifton Parker.' I just assumed it was some comedian or a one-man band, but again, it didn't matter unless, of course, they were going to be on the fix-it list. Not far from me, at the long stretch of the highly polished cherry wood bar, sat two young women who had caught my attention. They both had tall drinks in front of them with small plastic swords of fruit and pink umbrellas sticking out of them as if to affirm their femininity. Lying on the bar next to the pink umbrella-laden concoctions laid what appeared to be a manuscript bound in faux leather. Standing on the other side of these ladies were two more cackling hens, holding martini glasses filled with unnatural looking lime green fluid in one hand and more of these thick manuscripts in the other. They huddled together in a tight herd like grazing cows in a field. They repeatedly pointed, whispered, and giggled. It was obvious to me that they had already had a few of the Day-Glo colored drinks. I watched their gossipy feminine behavior with vehement disgust and knew that I had found what I'd be fixing tonight.
It wasn't long before more people came dribbling into the place, single men in leisure jackets, also carrying manuscripts, and more fancy-dressed women. When the waiter came back to ask me if I was ready to take my bottle to another table, I asked him, “What the entertainment was for the night?”
With his voice filled with prestige and upright posture, he replied, "It’s the midnight release party for Clifton Parker’s new book, ‘Eating Them Alive.' His publishing house is also running a contest for a book deal to the best manuscript,”
“Who?” I asked in an unimpressed tone.
His eyes opened wide, and his wildly fuzzy European eyebrows rose toward the top of his wrinkled forehead, “Clifton Parker! Just the most brilliant horror writer of the twenty-first century!”
“Never heard of him,” I answered dryly.
Then again, I did not need to read horror. I much preferred to see a live performance.
“He’s written dozens of books, Blackened Corpses, Red Memories, Lucifer’s Ballet, to name just a few. He was on the cover of People Magazine last month and named the scariest man in the world by the New York Times.”
I just shrugged my shoulders to show I had no idea, which just annoyed the old coot into not saying anymore on the subject other than to make a disgusted humph sound from out of his nose.
“Mr. and Mrs. Smithfield are the owners of the publishing house that puts out his books, and they will be here shortly for this table.”
It obviously bothered him that I wasn’t a fan, and the Benjamin I gave him earlier had just run out of value, so instead of throwing more money at the problem, I opted to move myself and my bottle over to an empty seat at the bar. The clutch of ladies I had spied earlier sat just one stool down, and I had no choice but to listen in on their frivolous fodder as I poured myself another glass and got comfortable.
“I don’t know why I’m even bothering to give them my manuscript. If you get the deal, everyone just assumes you slept with the editor or owner of the publishing house,” said the twenty-something heavy-set blonde, wearing a dress with a neckline that highlighted her ample cleavage.
“Yeah, I know what you mean,” replied the brunette next to her, “so many of the guys in this genre just don’t respect women who write horror. It’s still a good old boys club, and they don’t want women in it.”
“Tell me about it,” added another blond in the group. “I once was doing a writing gig for a TV pilot, and after I left for the night, this executive from WG ran after me in the parking lot and tried to convince me that hooking up with him in his hotel room would do wonders for my career.”
“Oh please. I don’t know why you would even expect men to play fair in this genre. For God’s sake, it’s always the women in the stories who are being raped, mauled, burned, or drowned while some guy is the crazy serial killer. Women are supposed to be the victim or the damsel in distress that some man comes along to save,” added the heavy-set blonde with the cleavage.
I listened to the male-bashing conversation go on and on. They waved their female gender about like a great big flag of protest with little or no intention of ever truly addressing the issues. It was a classic case of what all women are taught as young girls—not to rock the boat. They drank and whined and complained to each other about all the disrespect they had received from clueless male agents, editors, and other horror writers. With each tale of woe, I began to prickle with angry excitement. These were exactly the kind of women I enjoyed fixing the most. It boggled my mind that it never occurred to the stupid bitches to simply do writing worthy of everyone’s respect; that was the craft, after all, wasn’t it? God, how I hated those kinds of harpy bitches, and the thought of poking holes in them gave me such a perverse thrill that it made every inch of me tingle.
I waited, letting the excitement build and build in every cell of my body until even my blood felt as if it would boil. I listened to the ladies continue to whine themselves into a disgusting state of mind until I couldn’t stand another moment and thought my flesh would burst off of my bones from the intense itching need that was rising inside of me. The time had come for me to make my move. Since I was sitting right next to them, I effortlessly swiveled my stool toward them.
I entered their conversation with my most sympathetic expression. I then quickly swiveled the stool back toward the bar and raised my arm up.
“Pardon me, barkeep, could you please bring these extraordinary ladies a bottle of your best wine.”
I pulled out another couple of Benjamin’s, which got all of their attention, and handed them to the female bartender along with a fifty-dollar tip while all the ladies watched with dropped open mouths. I knew at that moment that I had them, like a fly to rotting meat.
The bartender put out four glasses and filled them each. Not one of them hesitated to pick up and accept a drink from a stranger. The heavyset blonde with the cleavage raised her glass in the air toward me and smiled, mouthed a thank you in the now noise-filled room, and took a long sip. She then came over to stand in front of me. She held out her hand.
“I’m Shelly Bourdon,” she said with a drunken smile.
I smiled confidently back at her and could barely keep from exploding with excitement over the prospect of how perfect she was as a choice for someone who needed fixing and how much I was going to enjoy getting the job done.
I reached out my hand to take hers and smiled warmly at her as I shook it but never told her my name. She was much too self-centered and already too drunk on both the alcohol and the male bashing to have even noticed.
“Perhaps you’ve heard of me,” she said with a slight slur. “I’ve written three books on how to maneuver through the horror jungle, The Jungle of Screams, Running the Horror Gauntlet, and my most recent How to Kill a Horror Manuscript.”
She beamed with overwhelming pride. I smiled at her as if I were very impressed and then reached over for the bottle of wine and refilled her glass. She giggled shyly but didn’t make any attempts to stop me.
“I understand how you ladies must feel,” I said, reassuring. “My father was a carpenter. He taught me how to use every tool known to man. He was also a sexist pig who thought it was okay to have extramarital affairs and molest his children. He always said women have no other purpose on this earth than to please their men and have babies. But I couldn’t disagree more. That kind of thinking is insane.”
The blonde opened her mouth to form a giant O and gasped at the story.
“Wow, how could you stand living with a father like that?” she asked.
I smiled humbly at her, “Oh, he was a tough nut to crack, but right before he died, I just kept hammering on his attitude until he finally saw the light. Repetition is the key, you know. You just have to keep at it and at it until they finally understand how wrong they are.”
She was now shaking her head from side to side with admiration for my persistence, and I thought it appropriate to fill her glass again. As I filled her glass, a tall, lanky fellow got on the stage and began addressing the audience.
“How did your mother put up with that?” she asked, astonishment still stuck on the story I shared and not even noticing the man adjusting the microphone on the stage.
I smiled meekly at her. “She simply continued bitching endlessly to her friends on the topic. But never had the courage to do anything about it or even bitch to him."
“That’s terrible! Your mother should have dumped his cheating ass!”
“Ahh, but she didn’t,” I answered, not hiding the disgust in my voice.
I didn’t waste another precious moment on them since the main event of the night was getting underway, and I wasn’t merely referring to the announcer on the stage. “Hey, let’s go out back for a quick smoke before Clifton Parker gets on stage,” I said with renewed high spirits. I knew the blonde was a smoker since she reeked of stale tobacco. Now that we shared a touching personal moment, I knew I had earned her misguided trust.
“Sure, sounds good,” she said as she visibly shook the sad story from her mind. “I have to hit the ladies’ room first, though,” she said almost as if just waking from a bad dream.
The other ladies had now gotten up from their barstools and were moving closer toward the stage, manuscripts in hand, ready for Clifton Parker to sign.
I nodded my head at the blonde, Shelly; not that I cared what her name was, “meet you out back,” I said as she headed down the hall toward the ladies’ room. As all in the place were now focusing on the lanky man speaking on the stage, I grabbed the empty bottle of wine from the bar and proceeded out the front door. I knew that many of these establishments had cameras posted at the doors, and I didn’t want my picture showing me going out the back door rather that I simply left for the evening from the front. I had played this game often enough over the years to have learned the necessary things to do to keep anyone from discovering me doing my side jobs.
I walked down the side of the building. There was an unlit, narrow alleyway shared with another building next to the bar—a furniture store that had long closed for the night. I ever so carefully poked my head around the corner and looked up. A double flood light dangled over the back door, one completely burned out and the other a fogged-over antique thing that held on to the wall with nothing but a single wire. In the dim light, my eyes scanned the edge of the roofline and around the back door and, much to my pleasure, found no cameras anywhere. I felt the excitement rise in my belly, thrilled at the tingles of anticipation that crawled over my skin like tiny electrical charges. I thought perhaps I could convince her to come home with me and take my time, but I knew she would want to go back inside and see this Clifton Parker and give him her manuscript, so there was no time to waste.
I paced with anticipation for what seemed like hours, even though it had only been a few minutes, and then took my position behind the big metal door and waited with the stillness of death for my prize to come from behind it. I waited and waited, keeping my breath calm and steady until, at last, the door handle slowly began to turn, and the unpleasant squeak of rusty hinges filled my ears. At first, I couldn’t see her as the door opened wider and wider, and then a flood of light and a glimpse of a high heel shoe came around the door, and then a swatch of blond hair. With all the pressure of wanting, needing, and bridled excitement coiled up inside, I finally popped like a champagne cork. She never saw it coming. She didn’t even get a chance to scream as the empty bottle of wine in my hand came across the side of her head as if I were Babe Ruth hitting a home run. She tumbled out the door that closed with a crash behind her, and I watched her roll down the three steps to the hard concrete. She moaned just a little and tried to sit up. As she brought her hand up to the bleeding gash on the side of her head, I came down the steps behind her and struck the bottle once again to the back of her head. I hit her with such force that the wine bottle shattered and sent shards of green glass raining down over her—almost like a dance—and cut deeply into her flesh.
She lay on the ground in a bleeding crumpled heap, and I couldn’t stop smiling. “That’s for looking out for me, Mom,” I whispered angrily into the air. I pulled her broken body into the dark and away from the stairs. She was unconscious but still very much alive as I took out of my pockets the hole punch and hammer. I smashed, and I smashed and smashed some more until her gelatinous eyeballs rolled out of her head and blood poured from her sockets down into her mouth. Much to my surprise, she woke. I continued my work and punched a dozen holes into her breasts beneath her low-cut dress. Blood spurted in long flowing streams. With each hammer blow, she let out a scream, but before it got too loud, I slammed the hammer down on the top of her head. And then one final time to make sure she was dead.
I ran dripping in her blood back through the alley unseen and then out front to my car and every so cautiously drove away from the bar. I laughed with triumph all the way home. Tears of joy ran down my face, and a feeling of release filled every inch of my soul. I got into my apartment and showered her blood from my skin and then threw all the blood-soaked cloth into the incinerator at the end of the hallway, as I had done so many times before. Then I went back inside and poured a cold glass of milk and ate half a bag of Oreo cookies before going to sleep.
I woke up shortly after ten the following morning, relaxed as could be and feeling satisfied, at least for the moment. I hummed a happy tune as I made a cup of coffee and then drank it in bed. I read a romance novel for a while before finally getting up and starting my day. I went to the sink and carefully washed the blood off my tools so I could put them neatly back in their box for their next use. The phone began to ring. I hurried back down the hall to my room, tools and dry rag in my hands, and answered it just before the answering machine kicked in.
“Hey, Susanna, how’s my beautiful girl?” my boyfriend Mark asked in a loving voice from the other end. “I tried reaching you last night, but I imagine you were probably busy fixing something,” he said with a teasing laugh, never knowing how right he was. I paused for a moment, “You know me too well,” I replied jokingly with a smile as I continued drying off my tools and chatted with my man for a while.