CUT TO THE CHASE
March 10th, 1992
I’ve been stalking her for hours. She knows it now. I can tell by the nervous little glances over her shoulder, the way she’s walking faster and faster – crossing roads back and forth, trying to shake me off. Her heels semaphore the panic loud and clear, each one sending a little pinprick of excitement into my groin.
She won’t lose me.
The thrill of following her is wearing off now, boredom’s setting in. Time to move in, cut to the chase. Looking around me, I can see a few possibilities – quiet alleyways, shop doorways. No. Wait. The park’s just up ahead.
I like the park.
I like peace and quiet while I work. No distractions. The gates are just up ahead, time to be quick. I start to run, quickly and quietly on the balls of my feet, just the way I practised.
I don’t make a sound.
Just for a moment, for one split-second, I wonder if she’s going to see me and scream before I can close the final gap. I clamp my hand across her mouth just as she draws a deep, shuddering breath. Christ, that would have been loud! I like to whisper to them as I drag them off. I like to tell them all the things I’m going to do to them. It’s a real turn on when they start shaking against me, begging me to let them go, not hurt them, they’ll do anything I want …anything.
The park’s deserted as I haul her deep into the bushes and slam her down onto the hard ground. That knocks all the air out of her, and the twigs have done a pretty good job of scratching her face up. I can almost kid myself that it really is Karen this time, that Karen didn’t desert this one as soon as she knew I was following her, leaving just another girl, just another piece of meat. Whatever fight is left is soon knocked out of her by forcing her face into the dirt. Then I…
December 31st, 1982
Happy New Year! That’s a joke. It’s not like I’ve got anything to be happy about anyway. That bitch Karen’s gone and finished it, and taken the kids with her…and I’m out of beer.
They’re all the bloody same. Out for all they can get. She’s bled me dry over the years, bitch. Not much left now.
I’ll show her.
January 6th, 1983
I’m sorry about the kids, I really am. They weren’t bad kids, I was quite fond of them. How did I know they were going to be in the car? They should have been safe in bed, not loaded into a car at two in the morning.
I almost didn’t recognise them when I went to identify the remains. The only way I recognised Kelly was by the scar on her left calf. I remembered the panic on her little face as next door’s dog sank its teeth in, and the way she clung to me after I kicked it off. Karen had to be identified by her dental records, so at least I got that bit right.
Shame about the kids, though.
October 4th, 1993
The nights are the worst. I can’t get to sleep for all the noise. People coughing, snoring – even sobbing. It’s mainly the new boys that cry – missing their loved ones, their life.
Life. You can keep it.
I haven’t got to put up with it much longer, though. It only took them three hours to reach the verdict, and it was unanimous. Two more days. That’s all I’ve got left.
It feels like forever.
February 15th, 1984
She won’t shut up. Even now. In eight years of marriage she never stopped nagging, and the bitch is still at it, even now she’s dead. I meet a girl, I start to have a nice time – and there she is. Sniggering at me. Belittling me. I just wish she wouldn’t try and use the face of the girl I’m sleeping with. I mean, surely she knows by now I can tell it’s her. It’s in the eyes. They give her away every time. One minute everything’s fine, we’re both having a good time – the next she’s back, and all hell breaks loose.
I have to shut her up, don’t I? I have to make her leave me alone. And I wish she wouldn’t bring the kids into it. She sits them there in the corner where they can watch me perform, as she puts it, and that’s just wrong. I hate that. Makes me feel like a seal or something. I always try to ignore it; concentrate on the face I know is really there, beneath the illusion. It’s no good, though.
She just starts to laugh, harder and harder, till crimson tears are streaming down her face. I have to stop her! She won’t stop laughing at me, not until her lips burst when I mash them into her teeth, grazing my knuckles. Then she starts to moan, deep in her throat, and suddenly I don’t have to worry about performing any more.
At least the kids aren’t looking now. They’ve turned their backs on me, and are giving me the silent treatment.
They always did side with their mother.
July 5th, 1957
I hate it when she looks at me like that – when she makes me cry. She just stands there, arms folded, one foot tapping. She looks down at me, standing in the middle of the spilt milk, shattered glass on the floor. She looks…disgusted.
She grabs my wrist so hard it hurts, and starts dragging me along the hall to the cellar door. She doesn’t listen to my apologies, she takes no notice of my tears.
She never does.
October 5th, 1993
Last day. Funny how quiet everyone is today. You can feel it in the air. Death, that is. Cold and heavy. The others are probably down on their knees; thanking whatever God they believe in that it’s not coming for them. Not today, anyway.
Some of them whisper to each other late at night, when time slows down and grows thick, like treacle. Superstitious crap if you ask me. They say that when the screw hits the switch and the juice hits you – in that instant – then your life starts to roll. I mean, we’ve all heard that, right? How your life flashes before your eyes just as you’re about to pop your clogs? But what they say here is that it doesn’t stop. It just keeps on rolling.
That can’t be true though, can it? I mean, when you’re dead you’re dead, right? There can’t be anything left.
In a way I’m quite looking forward to it all being over. At least I won’t have to listen to her incessant bitching anymore. Peace at last.
I tried to explain it to the shrinks, that I was just trying to shut her up, but they didn’t get it. I could tell they didn’t. They just nodded and made their notes, and went off to discuss my case. That’s all I am. A case.
December 4th 1992
I think I’ve done it. I think the worst is over. I’ve been seeing Shelley for six weeks now, and I haven’t heard Karen’s voice once. Shelley’s just Shelley. So far. Please God, let it all be over. I can’t take this any more.
She’ll only be happy when I’m gone.
May 4th, 1993
I knew she’d come back. God forgive me, it wasn’t my fault. Maybe if we hadn’t been so drunk. It all started off so great… a few drinks, a few laughs. It was when we got back the problems started.
I shouldn’t have had so much to drink. I was never much good in bed pissed. Of course that would be the moment Karen chose to come back…said I’d never been much good in bed, anyway, drunk or sober. I never meant to hurt Shelley, I just wanted to shut Karen up. Only when I did, it wasn’t her at all, it was Shelley all the time. I can never catch Karen. I tried telling the police that, but I can see they don’t believe me. It would help if they’d look at me, look at me! rather than at the blood on the walls, and my hands, but it’s too late now. I’ve lost everything. Karen’s won.
I’m sorry, Shelley.
October 5th 1993
The priest has just been to see me, wanted to offer me absolution. As if I could ever be absolved of all I’ve done. I don’t deserve it. I deserve to die. In fact I think I’ll welcome it, at least I won’t have to listen to Karen anymore.
Twelve o’clock. Time to die.
It’s funny how long that corridor seems when you know it’s the last walk you’ll ever make. None of the guards can look me in the eye. What do they think, they’re going to catch it? They’re all just staring blankly ahead as if I’ve already gone.
I can’t say I blame them, really. I wouldn’t want to look someone like me in the eye, either. You don’t know what might be in there, waiting.
God, we’re there already. At the door. How the hell did that come up so quick? I can see the door opening, feel the guards urging me forward, but I can’t hear a thing. Why can’t I hear anything? They say it’s quick, but what do they know?
So I’m strapped in. The bastards won after all. Still, it took six of them to get me into the room and strapped to this chair. I managed a few good punches, too. Might even have broken the fat one’s jaw. Hope so.
The hood is the worst part. I can’t see what they’re doing. I can’t see if she’s here. God please don’t let it take long.
I can hear her. I can hear her laughing.
Ungh! What a jolt! I can feel it racing through me, like fire. I’m burning all over! Soon be over, soon be…
March 10th 1992
I’ve been stalking her for hours. She knows it now.
©2006 Marie O'Regan
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