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July 16th, 2007 - that was the day my life changed.
Some would think it small in the grand scheme of things, but it was that day that I had been introduced to the person that would shape his vision into my future. I had not understood his methods at first, but after the grueling months, I realized his ultimate goal. To my surprise, I was flattered by it - that I would be able to take part in a thing that would turn the attention of the whole country upon us. My teacher warned me of those thoughts, though. "Lustful thoughts," he had said. "It is lust for attention."
It had been almost two years before my teacher had taken me under his wing, and the time had come for us to throw that small town of Somersett into the chaos we had contrived. Our plot was simple – show our town, and the world, their wrongful actions.
“They are the perfect crimes,” I had assured to him.
My teacher lay quiet for a great time, before addressing me oddly. “A perfect crime is the planning of a crime – and the affair that decides a perfect crime, is by absolutely getting away with it.”
I understood what he meant – that we were not meant to commit a crime that would go unsolved, but that we allow actions to take their course. The plan was set on September 8th, and we finally took action. Our first victim: Richard Allen.
I despised the man; the actions he had gotten away with had gone on long enough. He was a junior in high school, but already he was beginning to show signs of one who thinks with lust in his heart rather than intelligence. Three women he had taken advantage of – three women who were classmates of mine. One of them was my friend, Amanda. I had been horrified and disgusted when I had learned of these crimes, and justice had to be taken. Richard Allen had to die.
On the night of September 8th, my teacher and I had followed Allen for hours, waiting to strike. We learned that Allen also had plans – plans for a fourth woman to enter the fray. It was almost perfect, as if the stars had aligned to show that this is where we would act, this was where we would save a life.
Our scheme was a design of ingenious. First, we would spook the lady that was with Allen, just to show the monster lurking within him. If the lady was unable to get away from the beast, we would intervene – thankfully, however, that was not the case. She walked away unscathed, and Allen retreated from the crime scene with haste. It was in his hurry that he did not catch a glimpse of me as I slipped into the back of his Pontiac Grand Prix.
The drive went on for a half hour, perhaps more, but at that moment time seemed to have slipped away. All my focus was on the man in the front seat – the beast that had to be slain. But I was not to commit the deed then and there – the grand aspect would be carried out by my teacher.
It was when the moon was hidden behind a blanket of clouds that Allen’s cell phone began to vibrate. Without a care as to look at who would call him at this time of hour, Allen flipped out the phone and asked, “Hello?”
The second part of our plan was now in play. The speaker on the phone was my teacher, the grand architect of this arrangement. His voice was low and fluid on the other line, and even in the dead silence I could not hear what my teacher whispered to Richard Allen that night. Not that it mattered – by the way Allen reacted, it wasn’t hard as to find out what my teacher was saying.
Allen had taken a sharp intake of breath after the first reply. “Who is this?” he asked. I heard my teacher laugh quietly on the other end, before giving Allen the instructions to open the glove box. Allen obliged quite willingly, but after what he saw there made him react in horror. Allen let the three pictures of the women he had taken advantage of slip through his fingers. I could feel the fear that made Allen’s fingers shake as he held the cell phone back up to his lips. “Who is this?” he asked a second time, his whisper like a breath of wind through lifeless trees.
I took out the chloroformed cloth from within a deep pocket in my jacket. I sat up slowly, watching Allen’s dark figure as he maneuvered his Pontiac over to the side of the road. I had thought, then, that this was easier than I had expected – Allen was playing right into their hands. Once the car was stopped, I made my move – I placed the cloth over Allen’s mouth and nose. I was gentle, but firm. He immediately slumped back, letting his head hit the leather passenger seat. I smiled to myself in victory; our plan was working.
I picked up the dropped cell phone and placed it to my ear. “It is done,” I had said. My teacher had given me his consent – I was free to take Allen to our hideaway. I clicked the phone shut, and replaced it into my jacket pocket. I dragged Allen into the back seat before starting the engine to the Pontiac back up and heading to the house.
My teacher was already on the gravel pathway that led up to the house. As I took the keys out of the ignition, he had by then taken hold of Allen’s limp arms and halfway out of the vehicle. I hurried to help him, taking hold of Allen’s feet. If one had seen us, then our plan would have been foiled – but, again, the ingenious of the plan was still there. Given the small, rural community we lived in, neighbors were distant and even they could not see through the forest that lay on all sides of us.
We took Allen into the basement, where I helped place him on the table there. My teacher and I carefully bound his feet and his hands to the table with leather straps, aided only by the light of the furnace on the other side of the room. My teacher revealed a package made of leather then, slowly undoing the strings that held it together. He opened it up to reveal an odd assortment of surgical tools, and as my teacher examined them, he seemed to find one he liked. He took out a scalpel, checked the edge to it, and smiled to himself.
He cut the front to Allen’s shirt right down the middle, and then folded the edges underneath Allen’s body. My teacher replaced the scalpel back into the leather package, and took it away from sight.
I went back upstairs, up to the Pontiac. I took the two gas cans and a bucket of water my teacher had left for me upstairs and replaced them in the trunk of the Pontiac, and then I drove the car a few miles away, to one of the many lookout points in the area. There was a pathway that led into a dense copse of trees, and I maneuvered the Pontiac into it until it was snug in the undergrowth. I got out and took the two gas cans out of the trunk, put them off to the side, and then created a circle with the bucket of water. It went around the Pontiac, two feet on every side. I put the emptied bucket of water back into the trunk, and then took one of the gas cans and proceeded to soak the inside of the Pontiac with the contents of the can.
Afterwards, it reeked heavily with the stench you might find at a driven down gas station, but I continued on. I closed the doors, and then used the second gas can to soak the outside of the Pontiac. After making sure I had done a perfect job, I took both of the cans and placed them beside the bucket of water in the trunk. I closed the trunk, and then backed up to where I was a few feet outside of the ring of water.
The gloves on my hands that night were finally making me feel uncomfortable as I took out the matches. They made me feel clumsy. Nevertheless, I struck the match and watched it burn for a moment, before flicked it at the blaze waiting to happen. I half expected the match to burn out in the air, but the car lit up instantly, producing a tremendous orange light. I backed up slowly in surprise, but a childish smile swam over my lips. It was…beautiful.
I made sure the blaze was kept under control before I made my way to the car I had hidden for myself, as a way to get back to the house.
As I walked back down into the basement, I realized I had made it just in time for the third and final act. Allen was almost awake – he was aware of his surroundings, but was still groggy and his speech was slightly slurred. My teacher was over by the furnace, looking at something within the depths of the coals. Without looking at me, he asked, “The car?”
I told him that the deed was done.
Allen came to his senses a few moments later, screaming at the top of his lungs. His gray eyes took in everything – the basement, my teacher, me. Especially me.
“I’ll get you! I swear, I will! You coward!” Allen screamed, over and over. My teacher looked his way and smiled.
And, to this day, no words have ever been more haunting and serene than those my teacher spoke then. Even Allen was entranced by his voice, eyes opening into gray liquid.
“Hello, Richard. Being powerless is a frightening thing – it’s something most people never want. They feel as if they should always have control over themselves… and, some people believe that they should control people beneath them. You are one of these people, Richard. Now you feel as powerless as your victims – now you feel their terror. As you committed three acts of violence, so I have used three acts to bring about your demise.” My teacher stopped talking for a moment, letting his words sink in. And then, he took hold of the brand that was in the furnace. It throbbed, like a heart.
I could make out the word it spelled clearly: lust. It could be read both upside down and right side up.
My teacher stepped over Richard Allen slowly, smiling. He aimed the brand over Richard Allen’s torso.
“So as you have let lust burn your heart away, so shall it leave it’s mark upon your body.”
No one heard the screams coming from that basement. None heard the dying gasps as my teacher put Richard Allen out of his misery. But, the next day, everyone saw the mark on Richard Allen’s body. Everyone saw the word burned into his skin: