Memoirs of a Serial Killer
The blood flow was numbed, the knife still embedded
my inner devil sniggered waiting for the gush.
The sharpened edge slipped free with only cursory retaliation,
and euphoria was upon me.
Each scalding drop an instant high,
a narcotic hit of epic proportions.
Yet sadness remains for I know she is not the one,
not the goddess I seek, not the one I began my quest for.
But I am patient, perfecting my art each day.
So many days have come and gone,
so many nights watching from the shadows.
When the sun sinks into its own pool of blood
I return to the beginning.
A wraith hidden in the night,
bathed in the blood of your doppelgangers, I
watch and wait till the time is right.
Waiting for the whispers to end and
the euphoric feelings I seek to become mine.
Silence lies upon me, the devil understands
the time is now; you are to become mine at last.
I have pictured this in countless dreams.
The raw feeling and scent of your fear, my elixir to life;
your salted tears my ambrosia.
I watch your pale silhouette transforming,
each layer falls until you bask in your naked glory.
Drifting through the shadows I begin the hunt,
on silent feet I reach my goal.
With a small smile I turn the handle
my smile spreading, my feverish eyes can’t hide their mirth.
Silly! Silly! Girl!
I must remember to thank you for the open invitation.
Silently the door eases closed behind me.
Feeling the serrated edge slip free from her body, I wait. My eyes transfixed on hers, I watch for that moment of clarity and understanding, the singular moment in time that she clings to hope. Drawing my face back, I raise my blood drenched hand in front of her eyes. Understanding is quick, hope is lost and she begins to accept her fate. Nose to nose, eye to eye, she does not see or seem to care as my knife nicks the skin at the side of her neck. Slowly the light in her eyes is fading; time is short but still enough remains for a brief pain filled spark to widen her eyes. Drawing my blade around the sensuous arc of her throat, I wait suspended in time for the narcotic hit of the most potent man made drug, murder. Hot blood spatters across my face as the final spark of her life ebbs and dies in the red life-force running from her throat. Stepping back I allow her to find her allotted space among the filth and decay of her trade.
Before turning my back I spare a final look of disdain at the doppelganger before me. Short black bobbed hair, long shapely legs, slim waist, basically a damn sexy figure of a woman. It could be her, deep ruby lips below shallow green eyes; but it isn't her. The brief charade finally losing its appeal, I grab the black hair and stuff it in my pocket. Sniffing in disgust at the blond slumped on the filthy floor I turn on my heel and walk into the night. Keeping to the shadows had become necessary after the first kill. Finally negotiating lightless alleys and parking lots I reach my car and begin my second ritual of the night. Taking a bag of sanitary wipes, I begin erasing all signs and smells of the whore I had just dispatched into death. Placing each stained wipe in a rapidly growing pile I check for any missed spots in the rear-view mirror. Once clean I wriggle out of my blood spattered clothing and grab my suit, shirt and tie from their dry cleaning cover. Snapping my tie into place I begin searching my glove compartment for my warrant card and photo identification. Placing them in my inside pocket I turn the key and wait for the engine to splutter into life before beginning the fifteen mile journey to the police substation in Whitehall and my first night working under the bitch that had replaced me.
Until two days ago I had been lead detective heading the taskforce investigating the recent prostitute murders in and around Whitehall. Detective Inspector Alison Sheffield aka the bitch was one of the Mets new high fliers and was firmly on the Deputy Commissioners’ radar. Receiving the Commissioners’ complete backing allowed her to pick and choose her cases and this invariably meant mine. The ‘Whitehall Slashings’ would be the third case in as many months to have fallen from me to her lap and I knew why. Our break up had not been quiet or pleasant and after three years of marriage and one affair it was over. After passing the detective exam she was immediately fast tracked by her lover and left everything we had dead in her wake. By the time the divorce lawyers had finished divvying up our assets, I was left with our second car, sizable debts and a drinking problem. The only thing that had appeared to be mine was my career as a police detective and it now appeared that even that was up for grabs.
Pulling my car into one of the furthest parking bays from the entrance, I began the walk toward the entrance just as the heavens opened. Turning the collar of my jacket up I quicken my pace and head into the building. Out of the corner of my eyes I see her car parked under the only light still working in the parking lot; electric blue Tigra, once my pride and joy now hers like everything else. The fact that the bitch is already here is a surprise; on all the other cases she had stolen from me everyone had began with the grandiose entrance of Alison flanked by her two clones. Alison Sheffield, Jessica Carlisle and Kat Taylorford, all three black haired and looking enough like each other to passed off as sisters but all power hungry grade A bitches. Sauntering toward a seat near the back of the conference room that had been turned over for the taskforce, I quickly grab a coffee and wait for the usual image conscious dance of lies with my ex-wife. Sickly sweet smile, sensuous walk, I already knew she was not beyond using all the tools in her sexual arsenal to get what she wanted. However, the lies always showed in the hardness of her eyes. The emerald shards of pale green would probably betray her if a man knew where to look.
“You’re looking well Tom,” Alison said. However, her eyes told a very different story sparklingly alive in their deceit. I was under no illusions by this loose comment, for some strange reasons I have yet to figure out suits just always hang like a sack. Taking Alison’s barbed comment as a compliment, it is clear that the mini Atlas physique I have groomed for the last six months appears to be well and truly hidden. Coupled with the loose hanging suit, my unshaven face could only add to the generally unkempt look that I often wore. Toe to toe, we made a very odd couple as I was always in contrast with the finely tuned Amazonian now standing before me. Standing at a curvaceous six feet two inches when naked, Alison had long shapely legs and her black skirt stopped just above the knee showing off her finely moulded calves. Moving smoothly up toward her waist Alison’s skirt clung to her hips like a second skin. Tucked tightly into the waistband of her skirt, Alison’s virginal white blouse tapered from waist to breast, accentuating the material stretched across her ample breasts and was completed by her customary three buttons undone to reveal a hint of bra or breast. There is little doubt in anyone’s mind that Alison cuts a fine figure of the female sexuality but her choice of clothing leaves just enough to the imagination enabling her to coax anything out of anyone. Before reaching her face my roving gaze centres on her breasts and thrills at the widening red stain engulfing each breast.
“TOM! Where are we with the case,” Alison almost screaming my name forces me to snap my head back into reality and look upward toward her fine elfin face. Offering a sheepish smile I begin the report that had been passed up the line from the uniforms that had been first on scene. What the hell did she expect from me, I had only been in charge less than twenty four hours, so I basically knew the same small nugget of answers that had been gleamed from each crime scene. No DNA, no sexual assault, just four prostitutes found in abandoned warehouses stabbed, and throat slashed. Footprints found at the scene offer no distinguishing features to assist in the search for the killer. I barely suppress a smile at Alison’s body tightening with the distinct lack of evidence. Deciding to add further pain to her rapidly degenerating day, I stand and whisper in her ear. “Maybe you should of waited another forty eight hours before stepping on MY toes,”. Smirking I feel Alison’s body tightening beside me; turning on her heel she breaks the contact between us and heads back to her waiting clones. Finishing my coffee I head to the front of the conference room ready to steer most ideas down blind alleys and further away from the truth. Jack Saunders a three month, we behind the ears Detective Sergeant had the notion that the murders were linked in some way but nobody paid much attention to his musings. Saunders was partially right there was a link between the victims but it was not one that could be checked in death. It was none of the usual markers employed by serial killers. When I killed I had often seen the same hooker a few times but I was not continually drawn to her because she was good in the sack, a blonde or brunette or had a great figure. It was all to do with her gait; that perfect combination between walking and sexuality, these girls would don the wig and die; stabbed and throat slashed.
Watching Alison’s gait, as she quickly moves from desk to desk seeking any answers and setting tasks to find those answers, I glimpse clone number one Jessica Carlisle staring intently as she begins walking toward me. Glancing downward at her feet I let my eyes slowly wander up her shapely calves in admiration, eyes rising I take in her leather encased hips before rising beyond her slim waist toward her white encased breasts. Lingering briefly on her breasts my gaze continues its journey finally taking in her blood red lips and pale grey eyes. Daring a smile Carlisle stares directly into my own eyes before nervously looking away. Striding past me, I turn, watching her exquisite gait slide away from me as she heads for the door. In what was rapidly become a poor, poor day for Alison was about to get a hell of a lot worse for the Police forces rising star, victim number five would soon make an appearance and this one would be a lot closer to home for the bitch. Following Carlisle from the room into an adjoining office I enter to find Carlisle bent over looking into the bottom draw of a filing cabinet. Skirt hitched up revealing just a subtle hint of suspender; she again offers the same hesitant smile. Perching on the corner of a nearby desk I watch her closely, admiring each of her curves in turn. Offering a smile of my own, Carlisle straightens and begins smoothing her skirt back down her legs. “Would you like to get a drink .....sometime?” Carlisle whispers, as she begins crossing the distance between us. I didn't fail to catch the lingering open invitation as she purred her question; standing between my open legs, Carlisle stares into my eyes, gone is the hesitant girl from earlier, now I face a predator. Always a man ready for a challenge, I readily agree and watch with bated breath at her finely manicured nails quickly scribbling down her address and phone number. Watching her almost flee the office, I pause in thought at the chance presented to me, finally shrugging my shoulders I head back to the conference room. For the next five hours we danced around ideas, discarding each one in turn until finally all strung out we called it a night. Walking last from the station I was surprised to see Carlisle waiting for me. Grabbing me in the shadows her lips hungrily searched for mine, her right hand groped restlessly around my groin, caressing me and feeling me harden under her touch. My hands reach for her breasts but she is already stepping away, the fingers of her left hand lingering upon my face. Pulling her jacket closed, covering her heaving chest she asks me to come over in a couple of hours. Watching her turn away, my eyes drift to her exquisite gait till she reaches her car and drives off. My head full of the night ahead I barely glimpse the Tigra hanging a left on the other side of the traffic lights. Part of me wanted to follow Alison to see where she would be spending the night but the other half of me decided to go for a few drinks at The Angel pub as a celebration of my infiltration into the unholy trio of bitches.
Entering the pub I was surprised to see Saunders sitting in a corner nursing a pint. Pulling up a seat beside him we exchange pleasantries while we wait for the next round to be brought by the barmaid. Sparking a cigarette to life I wait for the usual barrage of problems on the Saunders family home front. True to form, Saunders began with the usual belief that Charlotte, his wife, was having an affair due to the job. After five minutes of Saunders’ hell I slowly began to tune him out, offering only a cursory nod of affirmation or the occasional yes or no, instead I allowed my mind to wander to Carlisle. The urge to feel her blood stain my hands; to see the final spark of life fading from her eyes was becoming unbearable by the minute. Swiftly finishing my drink I shrug into my jacket, offering Saunders the usual reassurances that everything will work out, I head to my car. I sit for a moment, re-running last night’s kill, looking for any improvements that I could make when I went to meet Carlisle. Rough sex or even rape were certainly possibilities, a ski mask or something similar would also add that hint of tension, not that any of them mattered because come the morning, Jessica Carlisle would be victim number five of ‘The Whitehall Slasher’.
Putting the car in gear, I begin the drive to Carlisle’s house almost salivating with the memory of her hungry embrace earlier. Parking opposite her house, I switch off the engine and remain sitting in darkness watching her house. My eyes are drawn to the net covered bedroom window; this was to be the kill zone. My heartbeat raises a beat or two when her light flickers on and her silhouette begins disrobing in front of the window. Frozen still and holding my breath I watch as her blouse comes off and is discarded on the floor before her breasts are released from the confines of her bra. As she begins undoing the buttons on her skirt, I climb from my car and softly shut the door. Heading swiftly and quietly to her door, I pull down the handle and am greeted by a soft snick as the latch disengages. Silly, silly girl, I make a mental note to remember to thank her for the invitation. With the same soft snick I close the door and then engage the lock before heading upstairs toward the small sliver of light showing from under her door.
Staying to the side of each step I slowly make my way upstairs, drawing my knife from the scabbard under my jacket as I reach her door. Turning the knob I begin inching the door open before rushing headlong in hope of catching her of guard. Skidding to a halt and feeling the blood drain from my face I look into the yawning muzzle of a gun. At first all I see is the gun and it takes a few seconds for anything else to register. The gun by its markings was a Police issue Glock but more to the point, was the fact that Alison was holding it. Glimpsing the half naked Carlisle behind the ex wife, two swiftly adds up to four. Eyes drawn back to Alison, I tense at her finger tightening on the trigger, surging forward knife held out before me I began my final act. Gun tracing my movements it belches flame once, the bullet rips a sizable chunk of flesh from the top of my thigh. Leg snapped backward with the force, I begin a face first descent toward the floor like a broken marionette. Twisting, I manage to take the impact of the floor on my shoulders but the knife bounces from my grip before my head smashes onto the unforgiving stained wood. My eyesight swimming from the impact, I still glance backward in time to see Alison striding forward, cuffs in hand and gun still trained on me. Feeling the onrush of darkness that rides along with unconsciousness I strain for one final glance of Alison’s gait. Snapping back to reality with the alcohol being liberally poured over my wound I grimace at Carlisle’s rough tying of a tourniquet. Feeling the cuffs snap shut on wrist, around radiator and back onto wrist, I long for the previous darkness to engulf me. Head snapping sideways from the ring weighted punch Alison delivers, I spit a globule of blood on the floor, struggling to a sitting position, I brace my back for another onslaught. Gripping the gun by its muzzle, Alison clips the side of my head and once again the darkness is rushing upon me under full sails. Seemingly from a distance I hear Alison’s voice, “You should never have used the wig Tom, after talking to all the hookers you used, you became known as, ‘The Wig Man’. Once it was described to me, you became the prime suspect; I even found your little mile marker game with the wipes.” Lifting my head I look at my ex complete with the same smug look of victory I had seen before. Turning toward her clone she drops her lips upon the nipple of Carlisle’s naked breast whilst shrugging out of the blouse that her lover had ripped open. Striding over to me again, I look upon her beautifully bra encased breasts coming closer, with a final kiss and sucking upon my split lip she returns to her lover. Weakly lifting a hand in defiance, I feel the darkness engulf me amid the cries of passion from the bitch.
Many years have passed since I saw you,
a shadow among shadows,
alive against the cobalt blue of early evening.
The heavily garmented trees soak up the day,
heading for slumber you wait to feed on their life force,
transforming them into your minions,
your sentinels in the darkness.
My bedroom looks upon your battleground.
The church lies shrouded, darkness in a realm of hope
But I feel you there hidden from sight,
waiting to reveal your power.
So I watch and I wait.
In the midnight blue of the witching hour,
we continue to play our game.
Light encroaches on night,
on Pegasus wings dawn approaches.
My eyes begin to flicker,
the exhaustion of my vigil calling me to slumber.
Soon I will return to see you again,
always watching, always waiting,
a guardian of the light,
hunting for the wraith who mocks my fear.
I climb tiredly onto my bike, 6 p.m. Friday night. Twelve hours of boring monotonous drudgery (loosely called work) finally behind me. Weariness in every pore I began the trek for home. Pedals slowly turning, my feet churn through each exhausted cycle, drawing me ever closer. The relief I feel on reaching the half mile steep hill leading down toward my home, hurts almost as much as the ride itself to reach it.
Pedals turning faster and faster, feet struggling to hold the pace, a wild grin creases my face. Memories flash, a young boy racing down this hill, wild war like cries splitting the night. Holding a crazy smile I thunder toward the village, my own reckless abandon spurring me homeward. Two sharp rights at breakneck speed; knees grazing tarmac I am catapulted into my street carrying enough momentum to reach home.
Not seeing my parents for a few days have made me realise I am working too much. Sixty or seventy hour weeks are not really good for the mind or the body. I had immersed myself in work as a layman’s answer to pain management. The bitch I had married had slunk back to her ex boyfriend, leaving me to pack for home. Work seemed a sensible answer but in truth is a coward’s answer to loneliness. My parent’s smiles dispel some of my weariness and ease my bitter hatred of life.
Wolfing down my food, I quietly mutter pleasantries to mam and dad and head for the shower. Thank heavens for power showers. Needle like jets of water acupuncture ease my tired, aching muscles, refreshing me. A night in the local pub with my friends the final piece of the jigsaw.
Thoughts of the pub and my friends bring with it the images of Dani, the new barmaid at my local. Fueled by thoughts of her I smile to myself. Maybe I am finally on the mend and at last I can find the courage to ask Dani out without the fear of rejection tearing me apart. After air drying on my bed releases the final aches form my body, I begin slipping into my clothes. Picking up my shirt reveals a new book, “The Magic Cottage” by James Herbert. Making a mental note to thank mam for the book I skip back to my bed. All thoughts of going out forgotten, at least for a little while.
My mam’s voice cuts through my reverie,
“Steven, Rossy’s on the phone”.
“Ok mam I’m coming”, I reply.
A quick glance at my watch shows 8:30. Ninety minutes lost in the pages of a good book. A rueful smile on my face I leap the stairs two at a time. I immediately hear the laughter at the other end of the line before my mate Rossy speaks.
“Yo! Pretty boy less of the beautifying and get your arse round here. Poor Danielle is pining for her little boy lost.”
The sound of a slap brings a smirk to my reddening face.
“Give me five minutes and get the bottles in, it must be your turn by now,” I reply.
Slamming the phone down before my mates get the chance to answer, I quickly retrace my steps. In moments I am dressed, coat on and heading out the door, while shouting a final goodbye to my parents.
The iciness of the night forces my hands further into my pockets and my neck deeper inside my collar. It feels like all the heat has been sucked from the night. Even this coldest of nights cannot dampen my good mood or the merry skip in my stride. Turning the corner at the end of my street brings the gaily lit pub into sight. Pace quickening I can almost taste the ice cold lager I know will be waiting for me. Cutting across the verge instead of following the path; in my haste I skirt close to the Old Saxon church surrounded by its own graveyard. The centerpiece of the village, quaint in daylight becomes an eerie, ghostly, monolith as darkness falls. For the first time in all my years living here, I finally saw how scary this church became when shrouded in darkness. No searchlights that have become common to other churches appeased the midnight hue of night in this little village. Laughing at my own scary thoughts I snuggle deeper into my coat, wishing I had worn my hat and gloves. The temperature plummets yet again. Fervent movement snaps my head back toward the pub, which is briefly obscured in the white plumes of breath escaping my lips. Studying the pub I search for whatever had caught my attention. Seeking an answer my eyes are drawn to the outside lights which seem a little dimmer as if bathed in a coating of oil. Seeing no answer was forthcoming I set off again for the pub.
Upon my first step, the lights outside the pub dim again, closely followed by the entire village. What the hell? I wonder. I struggle for answers, accepting and discarding each one in turn, till only one remains. Power cut imminent. Curiosity growing by the second , I quickly search each part of the village, waiting to see the lights finally flicker and die,followed by the first peals of laughter from the pub.Taking a step forward, my head swinging to and fro I search the village for an answer.
When looking toward the outskirts of the village, it appears although these lights are dim; they are still brighter than the ones around the pub. This being said it still appears that the entire village appears coated in a murky film; making sharp edges ill-defined and almost smoky in appearance. Shadows seem to writhe within the coating that is obscuring the lights throughout the village. Moving from translucent to opaque the nearer my sight travels to the center where the old church is supposed to be. Now an almost solid mass of darkness lies over it, obscuring the quaint reminder of Christianity from my sight. Taking a step in retreat; I sense rather than see the ridge forming over the church. More shadows pulse toward the ridge and then they appear.
Twin orbs of fathomless ebony staring down toward me. Recoiling in horror, my mind locks my body whilst struggling to process what lies before me. This murky shadow engulfs the whole village, from riverbank to the one road leading in and out of the village. Still held rigid in my own fear, my eyes are drawn into its eyes. Drawing me forward, hypnotising me, and pulling me toward its center Feeling the icy intrusion in its gaze, my mind recoils back to reality, screaming for me to get the hell out of there. My eyes swivel back to the pub, looking at its dimly flickering lights, I take my first step toward sanctuary.
Only thirty yards separate me from salvation. Breaking into a sprint, I head for the one place I know I will find people. Glancing sideways, the houses on the outskirts of the village snap back into normality as this thing, this wraith begins its metamorphism into a new form. Watching in horror, my mind screams a pitiful wail.
My bruised mind has no answers but urges me to slap my feet quicker on the tarmac leading to salvation. More shadows pulse to the smoky fingers of the wraith enabling another metamorphism.
Oh my God is the only answer my tortured mind can muster when the talons begin to take shape.
For fuck sake, what the hell is going on? My mind asks the question but can find no answer. Looking behind me, my eyes are greeted by the same apparition. Talons already on the move, seeking me out, but these ones are a hell of a lot closer. Heart slamming in my chest, from my efforts, or my fear I don’t know, but, the outcome is the same. Knees rising, feet slamming, I re-double my efforts to reach the pub. Racing up the two flights of steps to the pub I rip open the door. Back braced I wait for the talons that would surely rip into my body. Flinging myself inside I breathe a sigh of relief when the door clatters shut behind me. Staring through the glass panels at my feet I wait for the talons to seep through the glass; knowing in my heart I may have just cost the lives of everyone in the bar. Pulling my knees up till they lie under my chin, I watch and wait. A small wispy tendril breaches the gap and I can only stare in disbelief at the speed of its retreat.
Pulling myself off the floor, I squint in the bright lights hanging over my head. Looking around I notice all eyes are on me. Grasping the offered bottle from Rossy, I swiftly drain two thirds of it in one swallow. Taking a cigarette from my pocket I quickly light it in a vain attempt to hide my ravaged nerves and shaking hands. Inhaling deeply, I remove my cigarette and quickly finish my lager. Waiting for my next bottle I offer my friends a nervous laugh as explanation for my rather strange entrance.
“Damn bloody laces.”
This is the only other explanation I offer and laughter erupts around me. Slowly night-time in the pub returns to normal and my bruised mind finally resembles something of its former self. Staring from window to window I notice that the wraith has again settled above the church. Its talons shaping and re-shaping like fingers clenching and unclenching into a fist. Center shifting again, its eyes appear to stare deep into mine. Shadows pulsing quicker, a tear appears just below the eyes as my friend offers me a cold smile. I take a step back under the weight of shivers walking my spine. Turning on my heel I offer my back in a vain hope of forgetting what waits outside for me.
My friends attempt to draw me out but to no avail. Silent, tongue tied and dejected I slump at the bar, wondering if the village was going to survive this night. After a few strangers had left and made it to their cars intact, one fact was sure; the wraith was waiting for only one person tonight. Maybe I should have said something, but who would have believed me. It appeared that no one else could see it anyway. As the night ticks by, the early leavers run the gauntlet and make it home unscathed. Minutes become hours and last orders ring out. My friends finish their drinks and shrugging into coats make ready for their short journeys home. Each of my friends live within sight of the pub and watching them leave, I long to open up and tell them what had happened and thus keeping them safe. Fear of ridicule, that old thorn in my side strangles my power of speech and I leave them to the night.
My eyes follow the journey of each and every one of them, my silent prayers a poor excuse for my silence. As each of them enters their own private sanctuary of home I feel my relief choking me. One by one the pub empties and alone I stand; a silhouetted prey for the waiting horror outside. Looking at the church our eyes lock, hunter and prey playing a game for my survival. Turning my back again, I slowly drain my final bottle. Shrugging into my coat I spark up a last cigarette and step outside, ready at last to meet my fate. I speak no goodbyes as the door shuts behind me, because like a whippet I am off running into the night.
In the space of two yards my escape ends, when a smoky talon slams into my stomach. If only I had taken a final look, took the time to look once more through the windows and search the night for my nemesis. Then I would have known it had moved. Draped across the small copse of trees opposite the pub it had laid in wait, probably watching my every move. Hindsight, a bloody curse for a sack of meat hung on a transparent talon, waiting for the horror of death to begin. None of it mattered now; the talon was sinking deeper and was already on the move seeking my heart. Coming out of the night, a second talon sinks into my head freezing my thoughts. Impaled upon the talons I feel myself lifted and dragged forward toward the center of the wraith. All thoughts of escape are lost in the pain ripping through my body and echoed in my frozen silent screams. Forcing more of itself into my body, I begin crying at this final violation; wincing when the tears freeze upon my cheeks. Feeling its movement from stomach to breast I wait for death.
In its urgent probing of my body I feel the pressure on my head relent a fraction. A final thought escapes from me; my children. Whispered words of sorry send the images of their faces racing through my brain, pushing the pressure burning in my skull back just a little. With a little room to think I take my chance to say goodbye to my children and send a silent message across the night filled with love and apologies. Finally at peace, I am ready to face my own death, filled with the knowledge that my love for them will be a fitting epitaph.
Howling in agony the wraith hurls me to the ground; recoiling from me almost in disgust. Picking myself up from our frozen battlefield, I begin my escape again. Slamming down the steps I somehow keep my balance and hit the grass verge in a full on sprint. Lengthening my stride, I set off on a final run hoping to save my life. Maybe just maybe I can make this and for the first time since leaving my home I dare to feel hope. I was free, something had hurt it and I now knew that it wasn't the light, but heat that had caused the wraith’s disgust in me. My love for my children, the heat of human kindness, love for a fellow person, all these had prevented the wraith from following me into the pub and from killing me as I left.
I had only one chance left, a small glimmer of hope to end this night alive and I was ready to put it into play. A few yards from home I stop, my chest heaving, head hung low and waiting. The first talon smokes through my arm. Frozen pain erupts nauseating me at this fresh assault. Arm hanging useless I still wait. A second talon ghosts through the top of my thigh freezing me to the spot. Bringing its head level with mine the wraith begins again violating my body with more of its noxious self.
“Come on you bastard,” I scream.
The wraith is all too willing. Forcing more of itself inside me, it begins filling my every cell and overloading me till I believe I may explode. Now it’s my turn. Opening my mind I parade the images of my children; a slideshow of love, warmth and understanding. The unconditional love of a father, raw and honest, one of the most powerful emotions I could hold. As one slideshow finishes another starts, friendship, first loves, laughs and smiles, I parade them all. Recoiling again in its own agony, the wraith retreats into itself, gradually diminishing in size until only its eyes remain in the trees of the graveyard. Turning my back I walk the few yards to my door and slip quietly into my home. Pain is a powerful negative emotion and tonight I guess I saw just how powerful. Taking my phone from my pocket, I slowly key in a number and allow a sigh to escape me. Listening to her voice on the other end of the line, I dare to wear a smile.