I’m Not Going To Tell You To Calm Down But You’re Not Going To Like The Alternative

There was very little light in the parking lot, which was going to make my job much easier to do, but also presented issues. The women I pick have one thing in common, they need to look like her. The one. The only one. Danae. But in this double-edged illumination I can only make a rough estimation. She is older, I think, than I usually go for. Definitely older than the seventeen year old girl I had fallen in love with almost a decade earlier. However my hunger is too great. I am driven by a need that can only be spoken in the language of stabbing and slashing. Choking and striking. And I must speak. She will have to do.

I put my mask on. The fools have made it so easy these days to evade their cameras and facial detection software. I sneak up on her with a stealth that was etched into me through a childhood of gymnastics and dance, then augmented in my late teens with parkour. She doesn’t hear or see me coming. Mask – bam! Injection of a cocktail of sedatives – BOOM! She is putty in my arms and I easily drag her back to the van.

Before you start judging me, I am not some cliche. I will not justify the van with a soliloquy on the practical merits of adhering to that cliche. I got it from a neighbor super cheap less than a month after my last car had broken down. It was providence, albeit fatally so.

My neighbor was an old woman named Betty who hated everything more than anyone I have ever met. She was full of so much venom and vitriol for the world that I could not help but love her. Even when she turned her bitterness and spite at me, I had to admire her. I recognized that she was just like me, but without an outlet. She complained, I killed. If she wasn’t already suckling towards death’s nipple I would have taught her, but it was too late, so I just enjoyed her company and tried to be as helpful as she would allow me to be whenever I could.

When she died, and no it wasn’t me, her son sold me the van for a hundred bucks. He didn’t need it, or want it, and was baffled by the fact that his mother had spoken so highly of me on a few occasions. “I mean, she didn’t even like me, let alone love me, but she seemed to think the world of you. You got a pen so I can sign over the title?”

So that is why I have a van, not because I am some kind of pragmatic murder artist.

Anyhow, I have this girl in my van, and she may or may not be a passable analog for Danae, but I am about to find out. First I have to drive to a secluded place, but not so secluded as to appear out of place, and wait for the first wave of the drugs to wear off. I am not sure if I am just unusually lucky in this way, or what, but however long it takes to find the second location almost always seems to coincide with the amount of time it takes my victim to start regaining consciousness. Sure enough this time is no different, and almost immediately after I park I hear the groans and coughs that accompany the process of coming to. The mask can never come off until they have come to. That is one of the few rules I have. Well, you might call it a rule, but for me it’s more like a kink. That’s how I float my goat. There is beauty in ritual, and satisfaction in controlled restraint.

Well I take the mask off, and what do you know, it actually IS Danae. We recognize each other right away. She laughs and looks relieved, like this is some kind of practical joke, and she is going to be safe after all. This is super fucking embarrassing for me.

I don’t want to kill Danae. In fact that might ruin everything for me. It might satiate the hunger that I thrive on. I want nothing less than to kill Danae, but sooner or later she will say something to somebody and that will be the beginning of the end for me. So I stall, and make small talk.

The first thing I want to ask is why she just so happens to be here right now, a few states away from where we grew up, and not back home with her husband and their young son. But if I do that she will know this is not an intentional, good-spirited kidnapping, and its game over, so I change the subject to her and she starts telling me all about her life. She is incredibly boring. I remember why we didn’t work out now. So much inane jabber. Couldn’t do it. She notices that I am no longer paying attention and starts to look around the van.

“Hey, what is this? I assumed it was just one of your famously bad jokes, but I am starting to get creeped out. Why haven’t you untied me?”

“Listen,” I say. “This is very awkward for me. I am so ashamed right now. The truth is, I didn’t mean to kidnap you. I was trying to kidnap somebody who looks like you used to.”

I stop to think carefully about what I am going to say next. Not for her sake, but mine. I don’t want to remember this one as the one where I got all flustered and lost control. This one has to be perfect. Also, she is older, but she is very attractive. Still chatters gratuitously, but looks damn good doing it.

The silence grows too much between us and she becomes obligated to break it. I should have said something else sooner. Something mysterious but profound. Deeply dark, or darkly deep. But now she is pleading with me, which is always my least favorite part. I hear some guys get off on that, but not me – I hate it. It’s just pathetic. It makes me feel like I am killing some helpless lamb, instead of a fully self-actualized human being.

Yet it turns out this is a good thing, because suddenly I remember the first awareness of this urge I have. I remember the desire to choke the life of her way back then when she got like this. Her hysteria, though completely understandable for a teenager, awakened something in me that could see things the old me could not see. I could see the power and gratification in just wrapping my hands around her fucking throat and…

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