As a child mermaids dominated my young imagination. I was Ariel for Halloween for four years in a row. I wore out my VHS tape of The Little Mermaid with my incessant watching. As I got older, my love for them stayed it had just evolved, grew into something so big my mind couldn’t contain it. I decorated my skin with colorful and permanent underwater murals and grew my hair into a long, wavy style. I dreamed often of how it would feel to be weightless all the time, to feel ethereal and beautiful like the merpeople. One with nature, free to explore the ocean floor. Finding sunken treasures, befriending the sea life.
Only, that wasn’t my life. Not at all. It never would be, not after the incident.
I was stuck in a prison with no water, told time and time again that I was crazy.
The pills were meant to take away the delusions, as they called them. The obsessive behaviors I apparently had needed to be contained, dealt with. My dreams were now nightmares to the people who supposedly loved me. But, if they loved me…they would have understood that I had to do what I had done. It was my one dream, my one hope to become who I knew I was inside. I didn’t mean to hurt anyone. The ocean was beautiful and powerful, only dangerous to those who didn’t respect it. I had the utmost respect, but I guess she didn’t, as it swallowed my sister whole.
They cut off the long mane of hair I’d grown, made me wear sleeves to cover the dreams I’d inked into my skin. I was devastated. Night after night, I’d awaken, gasping for breath. The once calming effects of the sea become suffocating.
My doctor told me that was guilt.
But I knew better. It wasn’t guilt, it was anger. Blood boiling anger.
This wasn’t who I was supposed to be, where I was supposed to be. I had a higher purpose.
So under the cover of night, I made my way out of my tomb. Silly, silly guards. A little skin and their lips were loose. You know how the saying goes, loose lips, sink ships. And oh would their ship sink and the captain would go down with it.
I’m on my way to the Jacob kid’s parents’ house when a voice crackles over the radio.
“Pemberton, do you copy?”
I let out an aggravated groan as I stop at a red light, picking up the radio. “Yes chief, Pemberton here.”
“Get your ass down to Hazel district. Corner of Bartel and 5th.”
“Chief, I’m on my way to question the parents on the Jacob case, can’t—“
“Get down here. A body’s been discovered.”
The light goes green and I stomp down on the gas. “A body? I’ll be there in ten.” With that, I slap a siren on the roof and breeze down to Hazel.
I park my car across from the crime scene. The chief, along with several other officers, and the coroner are convened around a lumpy sheet just shy of the shrubbery beside an apartment building. I jog over to them, slightly out of breath.
“Ah, Pemberton, glad you could join us,” the chief says, turning to me. “I had a feeling you should see this.”
I nod as the coroner bends down to remove the sheet. I’ve see several bodies in my career, but never one as bad as this. The guy looks to be in his late thirties, with straggly brown hair and hollow cheeks. His throat is slit and the blood has dried on his skin and pooled beneath him. There are several other stab wounds to his chest visible through his sweater. The sheer amount of blood makes me want to gag, but I hold it back. I turn away for a moment to take a breath.
“What are you thinking happened?” I ask. “A drug deal gone bad?”
The coroner replaces the sheet and stands. “Normally I would, yes. But this doesn’t seem right. The usual indicators aren’t present.”
I glace at the chief. “So what does that leave?”
The chief scratches his chin. “Judging by the wounds, we’re most likely looking at some sort of specialized knife. Also, the sheer amount of carnage inflicted on this guy tells us the killer really had it out for this guy. Several of these wounds were inflicted post mortem.”
“You called me down here because you think this is connected to my case?”
“Right. Now we’re still running prints on this guy, but chances are he’s going to have some sort of mark on his record. I’d bet my career on it.”
I nod. “Ok, so why was the killer so sloppy this time? He’s been so careful, we haven’t even found any other bodies.”
“Perhaps there was a witness he wasn’t counting on or he was put into a situation where he rushed. There are several possibilities,” the coroner says.
“I see. What’s my next move, chief?”
“Go question the parents. See what you can find out.”
I head back to my car. This guy was spooked. The murder was hasty and careless. I’m still having trouble imagining the Jacob kid being responsible for something that horrific.
A knock on my passenger side window has me looking up. A young guy in a turtle neck blinks at me behind sleek glasses. I roll the window down clear my throat.
“Can I help you?”
He leans into the car, bracing his arms along the bottom of the window opening. “Are you investigating that body over there?”
“I would like to offer some information.”
“What kind of information?”
He looks quickly around before continuing. “I saw what happened last night.”
“What did you see?”
“I couldn’t make out much, it was dark. I was walking home from work and I heard some voices. I couldn’t make out what was being said. There was a car parked half way on the sidewalk. There was a guy attacking this other guy. He used a knife and stabbed the guy over and over.”
“Did you see anyone else with him?”
“When he got back in his car I hid in the bushes. As he drove by I noticed someone in the passenger seat.”
“A man or a woman?”
The guy shakes his head. “It was too dark to tell.”
“Could you identify the killer?”
“Again it was too dark. I just know it was a guy.”
I let out a chuckle. “So what you’re telling me is aside from a possible accomplice, you really aren’t telling me anything I don’t already know.”
The guy starts to sputter some sort of retort but I’ve had enough.
“Save it, pal. Go get your attention from someone else who gives a shit.”
His face goes red as he unhooks himself from my window and steps back. I roll my eyes as I speed off down Bartel.
Newest installment in the Jacob series. Read with caution as this is slightly graphic.
I see him before he sees me.
Little does he know I’m gunning straight for him. With my car. I know the moment Angel sees me, her eyes widening and glancing back at her would be stalker. As much as I want to ram this bastard with tons of steel, I’d rather get up close and personal. I slam on the brakes, putting it into park and heading straight for him, not bothering to turn off the car or close my door.
“Hey, you!” I yell at the stalker behind her. He stops in his tracks. His hands are twitching, pupils dilated. His hair is long and greasy, and the stench coming off him is atrocious.
“Angel…get in the car.” I say, not taking my eyes off the tweaker that dared follow my girl.
I can tell her body is tense, her arms wrapped around her waist, she does as I say, going to the passenger side and slamming the door.
“Hey man…I meant no harm, I’m just walking here.” The stalker says, his eyes flicking back over to Angel.
Oh no, he isn’t getting away with this. I slide my hand into the holster behind my back, hidden by my black sweatshirt. I grip the handle, releasing my breath on a sigh. I pull the serrated steel out of it’s resting place, and into it’s home. My palm.
His breathing accelerates when he sees my baby glinting in the moonlight.
I know I shouldn’t be doing this in an open area, with Angel just a few feet away. But I’m not sure I can contain my monster, not today. Not now.
I can tell this guy is about to run, his foot is tapping, turning to the right. He may just be some drug addict hoping to rob a young woman for another hit, but I can’t let this scum go. Not alive.
Just as I predicted, he bolts for it. Unfortunately for him, I’m faster. My blade flies from my hand, with no effort on my part at all. It sticks him in the side. He falls to the ground, howling in pain. My baby sticking out of his ribs. I know Angel just witnessed me in action, the real me. But I could care less at this moment. I know she won’t run.
Blood is pouring out of my latest victim, in an open street no less. There will be no clean up this time. No disposing of his body.
“Please…pl…I didn’t…I just…I wasn’t gonna hurt her!” He pleads. Oh, yes, the pleading. I only took a victim an hour ago and here I am relishing in my favorite pastime again. This time feels different though, better. Almost like the first time. Protecting Angel always gave me this feeling.
I ungraciously pull my blade out of his prone body. “Tell me…why should I not gut you like the pig you are right here, right now?”
His eyes go wide as saucers. “I’m an addict man…I got a problem. I wasn’t gonna hurt her. I just needed some cash…I promise you! I PROMISE! Don’t kill me, please. I got a kid.”
Like that would change my mind. I drag the bloody edge of my weapon along this throat, down to his collarbones. Playing, teasing.
“That woman over there…” I use my blade to point at Angel, not meeting her gaze though, “that is my woman. Do you understand me? And you had the audacity to mess with her. To scare her. That is an unforgivable thing.”
He nods vigorously. “I won’t do it again, I’ll do anything…it’s…just let me go.”
I chuckle. It’s time to end this. He isn’t getting out of this alive. I’m too far gone for that. I can tell the moment he realizes what I mean to do, the light drains from his eyes, his grip on his wound loosens. I bring my blade up to his throat, pressing in, I’m about to sever his life from his body when an angelic voice sounds behind me.
I don’t turn, I keep my knife on his jugular, but lessen my pressure.
“Please…don’t make me witness anymore…let him go.”
My heart constricts in my chest. I want to make her happy, but I want to end this guy more. I need to kill this scum.
“Look at me!” She pleads, her voice breaking. I can’t help myself, I turn. Taking in her tear streaked cheeks and red eyes. “Let’s just go, please, Jacob…let’s go home.”
Home…she said home. With me? She wants to go home with me…It plays on my head on a loop. I can’t break her gaze.
But the monster is louder, beating inside me for release. I can’t deny it…my monster takes over.
I end the stalkers life, and shatter my Angel.
The idea that Harold could kill someone was completely ridiculous. I knew this. I did. Yet, the longer I thought about it, the less sure I was becoming.
I thought back to the cocktail party at Mr. Jib’s house. We’d arrived around six to his lavish estate, Harold looking dapper in a slick tuxedo and I in a floor skimming down that dazzled as I exited the car. The party was in full swing as we entered through the enormous front doors. Several servers offered us champagne flutes from trays they carried. We smiled and accepted.
Mr. Jib lit up as we approached through the crowd and greeted us warmly.
“Harold, such a pleasure you could make it,” he said, shaking Harold’s hand firmly. “And, this must be your wife.” He regarded me with sparkling chestnut eyes.
I offered him my hand. “Millie. I’m very pleased to meet you finally. Harold’s told me so much about you.” Mr. Jib was Harold’s boss down at the steel mill.
“All good things I assume.”
I grinned a little. “Of course.”
Harold stares at our entwined hands before I clear my throat and Mr. Jib lets go. I shuffled back a step and leaned into Harold’s side. Harold forced a smile onto his face. “Thanks for inviting us.”
“You’re welcome. I hope you enjoy that party,” Mr. Jib said as we melted into the crowd.
“Let’s dance,” Harold suggested, grabbing my glass and setting it down in a nearby table along with his. He led us to the middle of the floor and proceeded to guide us through the waltz. The music was enchanting and we spun around the floor between other couples for what seemed like hours.
A tap on his shoulder had Harold turning around.
“Mind if I cut in?” Mr. Jib grinned.
Harold’s face took on a light red shade but seeing at Mr. Jib was his boss, he decided letting him have one dance with his wife was alright. “Fine,” he grunted before dropping my hands and walking off the floor.
“Mr. Jib,” I smiled.
“Please, call me Sam,” he laughed, taking up Harold’s position and leading us around the floor in a flurry of spins and foot work. It felt like I was flying. “So, what do you do for work?”
“Well, I’m a secretary. I type memos, fetch coffee, records notes…” I flush lightly as I notice Sam’s eyes remain focused on my face as I speak. I avert my eyes, staring down at his chest, at the pocket square protruding from his breast pocket. “Enough about me. Harold tells me you’re considering a merger with the rival steel mill?”
“Yes. It’s all good business sense. Tell me, how did a fine looking gal like you end up with ol’ stick in the mud Harold?” His tone is joking, a flash of gleaming teeth visible between his parted lips.
“We were high school sweethearts, married for seven years this March.”
“How very romantic,” Sam said without much enthusiasm. He dipped me suddenly and in a rush I was nearly upside down. He pulled me back up and wrapped his arms around my waist. “I could show you real romance.”
“I beg your—“
He leaned in close to my ear and we rocked back and forth. “You’ve been stuck with the same guy. Boring, serious Harold for years. Don’t you wonder what you’re missing? What I could show you?”
“Mr. Jib, I don’t know what you think—“
He tilted down suddenly and kissed my cheek. I bolted from his grasp and bumped into a couple behind me. Harold barrelled through the crowd and grabbed hold of Mr. Jib’s lapels.
“Do not touch my wife again!” he shouted, the music drowning out the gasps around us.
“We were just dancing, weren’t we?” Mr. Jib asked innocently, his eyes darting to me.
“Don’t talk to her. I saw what you did. If you touch her again I swear I’ll… I’ll…”
Mr. Jib chuckled, pulling Harold’s hands from his jacket. “You’ll what?”
Harold looks down at his hands, then slowly back up to Mr. Jib. “I’ll kill you.”
I stepped forward, clutching Harold’s shoulders. “Harold! Don’t say such things.”
Mr. Jib appeared amused at Harold’s sudden bravery. “You keep that spark of bravado and you might just be able to hold onto your wife. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have guests.” He departed, though not before offering me a wink.
Harold was practically vibrating with anger.
“Come, Harold, let’s go. He didn’t mean any harm, he was just drunk.”
“I meant what I said,” he whispered as we exited the party.
“Sure you did. Let’s just go home and forget the whole thing,” I said. “I’ll make us some tea and we’ll watch the Ed Sullivan show. You like that show.”
I’d thought everything was forgotten, but a few weeks later, Harold came home happier than usual. He threw his lunchbox down on the kitchen table and kissed me.
“You’re home early, dear.”
“Yeah, they let us out early. There was an accident at the mill.”
I turn to him, sliding on a pair of oven mitts to retrieve the casserole from the oven. “That’s terrible, what happened?”
Harold opens today’s newspaper as he sits down at the table, flipping to the sports section. “It was Mr. Jib. He was up on the catwalk surveying the progress of a new shipment when he slipped and fell at least thirty feet.”
I freeze with me hands half way inside the oven. “Is he going to be alright?”
Harold flips the page. “He’d dead. Enough about that, when’s dinner going to be ready?”
It takes me a moment to respond. “Half an hour.”
“Call me when it’s ready,” he says, jumping up from the table and tossing the newspaper down. “I’m going to take nap.” He heads up the stairs, whistling a tune.
I stare after him. He…. Couldn’t have, could he? I shake my head and grin a little. No, not of course not. Mr. Jib was right when he said Harold was a stick in the mud, boring, and serious. Harold wouldn’t have the gall to do something that rash.
I chuckle to myself, crossing the kitchen to empty Harold’s lunchbox. When I open it I find something peculiar. Beneath the apple and half eaten sandwich is a pocket square. A red pocket square. I hold it up to my face and examine it. Mr. Jib wore a pocket square exactly like this one the night of the cocktail party.
I drop the pocket square and brace a hand against the table for balance. He did it. He really did it. Do I turn him in to the police?
He did it for me, because I mean so much to him. He couldn’t bare for another man to put his hands on me. It was for love. A crime of passion. A smile starts to spread across my face. He loves me.
With that, I return to preparing dinner. Harold’s getting his favourite dessert tonight.
Newest Jacob piece. Enjoy.
It’s time for family dinner. I haven’t attended in quite awhile and my mother was becoming bothersome. I’m here to appease her, to keep up appearances and to warrant another four months without coming.
Not that I don’t like my family, I do. As much as I am capable of. Besides Angel, my emotions have never been a large part of who I am. I’m merely indifferent. Although hate is a feeling I am much more accustomed with. But I digress.
I smooth my hair back one more time before knocking on the door. Father always insists I just walk in, but that doesn’t seem right. Especially with my lack of communication as of late.
“Ah, my sweet boy, you made it!” My mother croons. Her short gray hair tucked behind her ears, her large blue eyes with the crinkles in the corners regard me with what I assume is affection. Actually, that’s not true. I know it’s affection. My mother is the most boisterous, charming woman. According to Angel, at least. I take her word for it.
“Mother.” I respond. She gestures for me to come in, rubbing her smooth hands across my cheeks before giving the left one a light tap. I want to cringe at the contact, but I school a smile onto my features. Evelyn does this every time she sees me. So I remain ever the actor.
I walk into my family home, the one where Angel and I would have play dates. Where we would read books, and play hide and seek. It might seem strange, that I would have had such a typical childhood, only to turn into what I am today. But it’s true. I wasn’t always this way. I had normal experiences. Loving parents. And an annoying…
“There you are, you little shit.” My older brother, Keith, says, grabbing my shoulder and trying to put me in a headlock. I want to stab him in the thigh for it. I restrain myself. He finally lets me go when he realizes I’m not going to take the bait and wrestle him to the ground like I used to when I was younger. I’ve gained much more control with age.
I nod my head. I really have nothing to say to him, I feel like I should. I should probably look up to my pre-med older brother, with his beautiful girlfriend and lavish predictable future, but I just don’t. His eyes turn down at my dismissal.
I head towards the dining room where my mother has a full spread out with all my favorites. I can hear her bustling in the kitchen, always the perfectionist. It’s the one thing I have inherited from her. I walk past to the den where my father is sitting, watching Wheel of Fortune, calling out the correct answers each time. He hasn’t noticed my prescene yet, I take in the room that hasn’t changed in twenty years. Same faded yellow couches, same creaky rocking chair. Same bay window with a view of the house of horrors that was once Angel’s home. I feel my pressure rising the longer I stare at it. I itch for my blades, their smooth metal between my fingers. The spray of blood as I bring it down into my victims.
“Dad, guess who’s here.” Keith says coming to join us in the living room, garnering my fathers attention. He plops his ass into his usual spot on the couch, throwing his arm over the back. I take my spot on the rocking chair.
“Well, long time no see, Jake. Where have you been? Your mother has been beside herself with worry.”
“I’ve been busy.” I respond, turning my attention to the T.V.
“Busy, too busy for your family?”
With that, Keith turns to me. “Yeah, what gives? You know Yvonne really wants to meet you.” Yvonne being his blonde, bimbo girlfriend. Whom I’ve already found every piece of dirt on. Luckily, her family line is clean, she is just a few nuts short of a bolt.
“I have a lot of clients. I’m busy, working, making money.” Hopefully that appeases them.
Dad shakes his head. “Money ain’t everything, Jacob.”
I ignore his response. And my brothers glare.
After only one more puzzle, my mother announces that dinner is done. We all gather around, piling our plates with our favorite foods. This is one thing I do indulge in whilst here. The food. My mother is a great, fantastic cook.
It doesn’t take long for the questioning to start. “So…how is Reina?”
And there it is. One of the biggest reasons why I never come here anymore.
“Are you ever going to bring her back? We miss her around here.” My father says.
My fork stabs into my pot roast, pulling away pieces, before I shove them into my mouth to avoid answering.
Keith nods, speaking around a mouth full of food. “Yeah, I miss the little squirt.”
“I don’t know.” I whisper. Hating how weak I sound, how weak she makes me feel.
This is bullshit.
“What was that, Jake?” Mother asks.
My fork is displaced as I slam it into the table.
“I said, I. Don’t. Know.”
And with that, I’m done. Because I have no answers when it comes to her and I can’t stand to be reminded of it.
Newest piece in the Jacob series. Feels good to be back in his head! Enjoy.
“You shouldn’t be here. I told you to leave and not come back.” She whispers, her body rigid. These may be the words she is using, but I can see the truth in her eyes. They’ve never lied to me before.
“I know.” Is all I say as I work my way past her into her home. I take in the surroundings, it’s a small place. Just one level with one bedroom and one bathroom. But she’s made it hers. Although I already knew this, seeing as I’ve been watching her in here for weeks, months.
“Jacob…I’m serious.” She says, opening the door wider and motioning for me to exit. I want to laugh at that. Like I’d leave before I’m ready. I’ve given her months. I can’t go any longer without at least a taste of our once friendship.
“I’ve missed you, Angel.” I say, running my finger down her arm. Loving the goosebumps that overtake her smooth, flawless skin.
Her face turns a bright shade of red with her anger. She turns around, slamming the door closed before brushing past me and into the kitchen where she reaches to the top of the fridge, grabbing a large bottle of vodka. Pulling the lid off and foregoing a glass she chugs back a fair portion. Hm. That’s new, Angel never was much of a drinker. We’re going to have to work on that. Must be the influence of those new friends of hers.
“No. I didn’t want one, thanks for asking though.” I tease her. She doesn’t take this too well, her eyes are now shooting fire at me. I’d take the burn from her any day. Any time.
“What the hell do you want from me?” She spits, slamming the bottle onto the counter in front of her, the clear liquid sloshing onto the clean surface.
Now this is an easy one. “You.” I say, taking measured steps towards her. She stands her ground, not backing down until I’m right in front of her, breathing in her floral scent.
Her eyes glimmer at the same time her fists clench. She’s at war with herself, not that I blame her. I haven’t sent out the best signals lately.
“I gave you a chance to have me.” She whispers, her gaze thrown to the other side of the room, avoiding my own.
“I know.” Because I do, but the monsters inside, the darkness, was too much then. I was worried it would consume her. That I would consume her. But I know better now, I know I can’t live without her light. It’s the only thing that’s kept me who I am, kept me human.
She scoffs. “Then why are you here, you threw it away, Jakey.” She uses my old nickname. It makes my heart beat faster, something that almost never happens to me.
I cup her cheek in my hand, running my thumb along the slight freckles there. Feeling her essences seeking me out. I pull her gaze back to me, she has to crane her head up to look at me. “I would never throw you away, Reina.”
Her body sags, falling into mine. Her forehead resting against the beat of my heart and her hands fisting the sides of my jacket. If it’s in defeat or exhaustion, I don’t know.But I don’t care. Because now that I’ve got her in my arms, I’m never letting go again.
I will kill anyone who tries.
My blades sing to me, speaking their promise.
I doubt the reason the chief’s called me into his office is to award me a gold star for effort. I sink into the worn upholstered chair in front of his desk as he slams the door shut. He rounds his desk, unbuttoning his suit jacket and setting in over his chair back. I watch as he rolls his sleeves up one by one before settling his eyes on me.
“How are things going with your case, Paul?”
The chief’s eyebrow twitches. “Is that why I haven’t gotten an update in two weeks?”
I twiddle my thumbs in my lap. The chief hates fidgeting, so I continue. “Jacob hasn’t made any movement in the last while. We’re sort of playing the waiting game now.”
I glance at the chief’s desk. It’s pretty bare, with a folder, some papers and pens. A single photo of his daughter graduating rests in a plain wood frame in the corner. No photos of his wife.
“A waiting game?” The chief scoffs. “Sounds to me like you’re being lazy. I gave you this assignment to get your blood pumping, to reignite your passion for police work. You don’t get paid to sit around, inhaling donuts and watching your waistline grow.”
I resent his comment. I’ve been watching my weight. In fact I’ve lost two pounds. I shift forward in my chair, resting my elbows on my knees. “I told you about what happened at the coffee shop. Since then he’s been quiet. I planned on—“
“Planned on wasting precious time? My god, the quality of our force has fallen steeply since my day.” The chief pinches the bridge of his nose and exhales slowly. He plucks up the folder from his desk and opens it, flipping through the pages inside. “You seem to have a lead right under your nose. The girl from the sexual assault case. Haven’t you thought to interview her yet?” he asks, an edge of irritation to his voice.
I force a grin. “I was getting to it. Why is it such a big deal to check this out now?”
“Because there’s been another disappearance. A couple of days ago Vincent Harbringer went missing. He’s in his late fifties and his family hasn’t seen him since he went out for a walk.” The chief’s mouth draws into a line. “Harbringer has several counts of sexual assault under his belt.”
“It sounds to be like you believe this Jacob kid is guilty. Isn’t that jumping the gun?”
“He’s the only lead we’ve got right now. So while we’re in here talking about this, Harbringer’s probably rotting in some alley and his killer is free to kill again. So what I’m asking is for you to get your ass out of my chair and into your cruiser.”
I stand from “the chief’s chair.” I hate his hard ass cop attitude. It’s not 1980 anymore. And if all the hard work he did is what led to his receding hairline, I don’t want any part of it. I force a smile to appease his pompous ego and exit the room.
Kevin saunters down the hallway, a cup of coffee in his hand. He grins when he sees me. “Did the chief rip you a new one?”
“Jesus Kev, don’t get me started. I’m on my way to question a magical lead right now. Chief’s orders.”
“Tough break. Hey,” he says, brightening up, “You still coming out for bowling tomorrow night?”
“Wouldn’t miss it. I could use a few beers and laughs. A night away from the old ball and chain wouldn’t hurt either.”
Kevin chuckles and sips his coffee. “I hear ya. Listen, I gotta get back to work, but I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Take it easy.”
After I talk to Kevin I head down to the second floor of the precinct to grab my jacket and badge, then out to my cruiser to pay the lead a visit.
Here’s what Paul sees after Jacob’s conversation with Angel…
I missed the last quarter of the game. So that was great. My wife also burnt the meatloaf, so I spent dinner scrapping the blackest bits off and crunching on the less black bits. My son refused to talk about anything other than macro- something or rather or whatever the hell he’s learning in that fancy collage we spend twelve grand a year on.
I don’t know this Jacob kid, but I hate him. I watch him from around the corner, behind a giant shrub. He’s bugging that girl he’s sick for. They talk for a minute, and she stands inside, hidden behind the door the whole time. He’s itching to come inside, I can tell by the way he leans forward, shoulders hunching. He must say something the girl doesn’t like, because the door slams shut, leaving him frozen on the porch.
He just stands there for a good two minutes before he slowly turns and descends the steps. He stops at the sidewalk, glancing both ways, his hands balled in the pockets of his denim vest. His face is screwed into pain but shifts quickly into a smooth plain of nothingness. He starts quickly down the street, heading downtown.
Man this kid couldn’t tell rejection from an invitation to a dinner party. Either he’s stupid, or just a gluten for punishment. That girl looks way out of his league anyway, all blonde and beautiful.
I follow him discreetly for six blocks before he enters a coffee shop. Some fancy place where they serve you your drink in a ceramic mug instead of a Styrofoam cup and put root extracts from Mongolia or some shit in it.
How hard is it to sell straight black coffee?
I shake my head in disappointment and pull at the tie I’m wearing. It’s tight around my neck and choking me. My wife gave me this god-awful tie two years ago for Christmas and I have to pull it out of the closet every few months to make her happy.
The door rings a little bell when I push it open and one of the baristas smiles at me, a young girl with shiny eyes. It’s crowded in here, everywhere expresso drinking hippies with their laptops and barets sit in upholstered chairs. Jacob stands at the counter, ordering. I slip in line, three people behind him, and manage to catch the last bit of the conversation.
“I’m sorry sir, we just ran out of that brew twenty minutes ago,” the barrister says. He’s a young guy with glasses and zits who probably spends his weekends studying instead of getting laid.
Jacob’s hands curl into fits on the counter. “That’s the only brew I like. Go find some in the back and make me some.”
“Again, I’m sorry,” Glasses says. “Our shipment of that brew was delayed, so we don’t have any in store after we run out.” He laughs nervously. “Which we just did. Could I interest you in our featured brew?”
Jacob’s jaw clenches and he lashes out, knocking a container of straws off the counter. Glasses’ eyes go wide and he starts to look a little nervous. Jacob grabs his head and shakes it. Damn, that girl’s got him riled up.
“I’m sorry about that,” Jacob says, struggling to calm his tone. “Fine, I’ll just get a large of whatever that featured brew is.” He tosses a five dollar bill down on the counter. “Keep the change.”
Without another word, Glasses grabs the money and pours Jacob’s drink in record time. His hand shakes as he hands it over, liquid spilling over the edge of the mug. Jacob frowns, but takes the drink and heads over to a table in the corner.
The line disappears and I order a bagel, a whole wheat one with butter instead of cream cheese. I’m trying to lose a few pounds. “Does that guy come here often?” I ask Glasses.
He glances over to Jacob’s table for a second, his face getting a little red. “Yeah, he’s a regular.”
“Is he usually that pissy?”
Glasses hands me my bagel. “No, he’s usually pretty nice. But he does say weird stuff sometimes.”
My interest peaks. “Weird stuff? What kind of weird stuff?”
“I don’t know. He once asked me if I had a sister. My co-worker over heard him talking to himself about his ‘angel.’ Weird stuff like that.” He leans over the counter a little. “I think he’s crazy.”
With that, I take a seat at the long bar along the window. I watch Jacob out of the corner of my eye. So really all I still know about this kid is that he’s love sick and unstable. Creepy, even. But I still can’t how he could be capable of murdering anyone. I shove the bagel into my mouth, ripping it in half in one bite and chewing roughly. This is such a waste of my time. What am I supposed to tell the Chief when I get into work on Monday? He’s going to chalk up my lack of evidence to lack of conviction for this fucking job.
Jacob shifts in his chair, leaning forward so that his elbows rest on the table. He spins the half empty mug idly with his fingers, his attention on something else, or someone else. I follow his gaze to a middle-aged man across the shop. He sits alone at a table, eyeing a group of teenage girls. They laugh obnoxiously and toss their hair. Most likely going to grow up to be a bunch of little teases. They get up to leave, tossing their garbage in the trash. As soon as they leave, the man gets up, leaving his garbage behind. Jacob gets up a second later and crosses the shop quickly.
I abandon my half eaten bagel and follow after him. The man ghosts behind the girls, getting closer and closer. He’s about to clap one of the girls on the shoulder when Jacob grabs his shoulder and whispers something to him. The man turns his head, his eyes shoot open, the blood vessels in them popping out.
Then, midsentence Jacob stops speaking and turns around suddenly. The man doesn’t wait around and flees across the street. Jacob narrows his eyes at me. “Why are you following me?”
“I’m not. I’m a little turned around here and I can’t find a cab. I was gunna ask that guy if he knew where I could get one, but you scared him away.” I hook a thumb through my belt loop and try to look relaxed. I haven’t had to act undercover in years, but I think I’m pulling it off.
Jacob’s face is plain again, no trace of agitation or suspicion. His lips taught across his face into something resembling a snarl. “Cab’s that way, now piss off,” he says gesturing lamely down the street.
I watch him slide silently out of sight around the corner of the coffee shop. Rude little bastard.
I think back to the pattern of what the disappearances had in common. That guy was going after those girls obviously. Now, whether that was to ogle them, or to try and rape them is the question. If Jacob thought the latter, was he trying to exact his own kind of justice? Suddenly I’m not so sure this kid is what he seems.
So, I’m not sure if you guys remember but a while back I posted something I wrote, about a young man named Jacob who craved blood. Yeah, that messed up guy. Anyways…as much as that was just a short, something I was prompted for…I decided to write another installment in his story. So here it is. Warning…this one is a little dark. Okay, a lot. Enjoy!
It had been mere days since I’d last seen her,my chest ached to be near her.
But not more then it ached for blood.
Blood that I was currently getting from the man underneath my blade.
“Please…have mercy?” A gurgled cry came out of his throat. I laughed at him. Mercy? He wanted mercy? I brought my bowie knife up again and brought it down, right into the fleshy material of his thigh. Rapists didn’t deserve mercy. I was there to extract justice. For all those little girls who didn’t stand a chance, who’s innocence was stolen. Just like her. I grit my teeth at the memory of her beautiful features, twisted by her nightmares, of him stalking her in her dreams.
“Ahhhhhh!” A desperate scream came from him. Now, if I was in the city I would be have been worried about someone hearing him. But we weren’t in the city, we were deep in the woods, the smell of wet moss surrounding us. The darkness hiding us, not even the light from the moon could penetrate the canopy above us.
I pushed the black hood I had concealing my face off my head, it fell against my shoulders. I could feel the blood on my hand transferring to my skin. I relished in the feeling.
“Tell me, Mr. Harris…was it worth taking those little girls? Breaking them? Raping their little bodies?” I spit. I don’t take my eyes off his, which were glossy with crocodile tears.
“DO NOT LIE TO ME, Mr. Harris.”
“I…I’m sick! The doctors…they say I’m sick!” Blood rushed from his lips as my knife once again struck something vital.
I chuckled. “That’s right. You’re sick. And sick perverts aren’t welcome here.”
And with that…I took the sick bastards life. A feeling inside of me swells…pride. I wish she could see what I had done for her.