I didn’t often plan on who was my victim. I had no preference, and when the blade was in my hand or the body was in my ropes, my only thought was to act on my desires. Take. It was the only word that seemed to ever pass through my mind, and it passed through dozens of times a day. I heard it when I walked past a teenager biking to school. Take. I heard it when I sat beside an elderly man on the bus. Take. The same word. The same voice. The same urge to take. Make no mistake; I didn’t want to steal from them. My need to “take” was not based on a case of kleptomania. No, my disorder was much worse.
I never wanted money. No amount of riches would give me the pleasure I craved. It was unfortunate, because my desires, when unfulfilled, built up and ripped me apart from the inside, and the only way I could truly feed my desires was to take. And that wasn’t something that I could do that often. It was because of this that I did it so sensually each time. I had to drag it out, use my best work. The result was always orgasmic, placing me in a state of euphoria.
This time was no different.
His name was Derek Dare, and he was a fairly rich man of middle age. It was all I knew of him; I had only a vague outline of the man, as there was no time for research prior to my actions. I saw him and I made the decision. He was powerful and robust, a mesomorphic king among peasants. He was a man who looked like he had his life together, similar to my other victims, but unique still. Mr. Dare was more wealthy than my other victims, this acting as a scapegoat for the real motive. The man also held much greater of a media presence. While Mr. Dare was not the type to be inundated by the press the second his feet leave a vehicle, he was popular enough to have his face plastered upon the front page of a newspaper, or be interviewed on the morning news from time to time. Exactly what he did to earn his way atop the economic ladder, I wasn’t sure. I only knew that whatever it was, it made him money.
I was driving the taxi when I saw him standing on the corner of the street, shoulders slouched and cell in his hand. He was obviously deep in a state of intoxication, and the sight of him almost made me feel with pity. Mr. Dare was clearly a miserable man. What other reasons would he have for abandoning his office on a Monday to get drunk in a bar? I imagined hypothetical problems: his wife was an adulterer, he’s bankrupt, his father died. Nothing that came to my head was enough to make me turn away from him. I rolled the cab up beside him, slowly, rolling down the window.
“Chauffeur not on time?” I cleared my throat and asked. Up close, I could see that he was irritated. His face was red and blotchy, his hair was disheveled and his clothes were wrinkled. He had taken off his suit jacket, revealing a red splotch the size of a half dollar on his shirt and dark stains on his underarms. This will be easier than I imagined, I thought.
He looked up at me, then down at his cell, and cursed before tucking it away. “Yeah... Yeah, he is. Somethin’ about, ‘wife in labor’. But, I think the man’s got it out for me. The man probably wants a raise.” He slurred, stumbling to get into the taxi. “Hey,” he spoke at me, opening the door of the cab. “Hey, take me to my hotel. The North Dare Hotel.”
“Sure,” I replied, eyeing him in the rearview mirror as he clambered into his seat. He looked misplaced back there, in his posh suit, sitting on dingy faux leather seats. The North Dare Hotel. I could only pretend that I knew where that was. It was clear that I should’ve already known, with the way that he saw himself as some big guy compared to those such as myself. I didn’t know where the hotel was, but that was fine. He wouldn’t be getting there anytime soon.
“So…” Even though my plans for Mr. Dare were rather sinister, it didn’t stop me from attempting to make him feel like a regular client. “Rough day?”
Mr. Dare chuckled, “Rough week. You’d think that people’d be down on their knees for a guy like me, begging me not to put them in debt or fire them. I’m Derek Dare. My name radiates power. People like you should fear me.”
No, I thought, people like you should fear me.
“Yeah, and that chauffeur of mine didn’t fear me quite enough. A man like that deserves to be booted out of this country; he’s too lazy to do any real work. Honestly, a man who uses excuses just so he won’t have to do his job is a man who my name will not be associated with. His pay wasn’t even low. It wasn’t anything fancy, but I assure you, it was much bigger than yours. What do you make, anyway?”
I remained silent. I didn’t view it as much of an intrusive question, because I couldn’t care about how much the job made, but I knew that things would go smoother if I let the man talk.
“What?” Mr. Dare said. “Mad because a man of wealth tried talking about your personal life? I mean, I know you don’t make much, don’t be so immature. That’s it, isn’t it? You’re embarrassed because you’re one step away from having to scrape breadcrumbs off the streets to get by. You don’t want to ruin yourself in front of Derek Dare.”
I didn’t answer this time, either, and he sat back, pleased with himself, before slowly drifting away.
It didn’t take too long to get out of the city. I was lucky, for Mr. Dare remained in his deep sleep up until I dragged him out of the cab. We made it to a clearing in the thick wood that surrounded the city, a dreary looking glade in which a cabin stood. I opened the door of cab to see my victim, asleep with a glob of drool on his dress shirt. I smiled. There was some form of beauty in this, I decided. It wasn’t just going to be a crime. It was going to be art.
I struggled with how to go about it next. I wouldn’t dare kill him in the car; blood would stain the seats, and leave an insufferable odor. I could knock him out inside of the car, and drag him out, but that plan didn’t go off so well in my head. After a moment of considering different methods, I called out to him.
“Mr. Dare? Mr. Dare?” I said, reaching to unbuckle the man. “We’ve reached your destination.”
“Huh?” He sat up, eyes bloodshot and body quivering. He looked up at me and squinted, as if he had forgotten where he was. Then he sighed, relieved, as if he’d just woken from a nightmare, and realized that it was all a dream.
“Mr. Dare, we’re at the hotel.” I smiled at him, aiding him out of the cab. I walked with him, slowly approaching the cabin. He looked down at me from where he stood, slouched and sick, and smiled weakly at me. The man looked so vulnerable; I almost pitied him. Almost.
He looked relaxed. He looked pleasant. He looked kind. Then, he looked up.
I watched as his face contorted into one of confusion and anger. He whipped around, yanking himself away from me and scowled. His face was red. His eyes were angry. “Where. Am. I?” He stumbled back, head whipping around, taking in all the scenery.
“Welcome,” I say, reaching through the window of the taxi cab, my fingers meeting metal. “To my humble abode.” I felt pleased as I watched his shocked, angry face morph into one of despair as the realization of what was happening came to him. I brought my arm from the cab, raising the revolver so the barrel pointed at his chest.
“I-I-I,” Mr. Dare stuttered, and I laughed. He looked so low now, the man had fallen off of his pedestal and was now less than a peasant. He was a toy, a puppet, a slave.
“Look, Mr. Dare, I think we got off on the wrong foot. You didn’t even give me a chance back in the city.” My grin grew as I grew more confident. This was going well. “I think, maybe if you’d made a bit of small talk with me, instead of prying into my private life, we could’ve been best friends.”
“I-Is it money you want?” Mr. Dare looked desperate, as he slowly tried to approach me. “Because, you can have it! I’ll give you a whole fortune.”
I lowered the gun, just an inch. “Is that so?”
“Yes! Yes, anything.” He looked at me, eyes wide and hopeful.
I raised the gun once more, and shook my head. “No. No, Mr. Dare, I don’t think so.”
His face fell, and I worked out our negotiation. “So, here’s what’s going to happen: We’re going to go inside the building, and we are… going to have a chat.” By the look on his face, I knew that he knew that our “chat,” would not go well for him.
“So,” I spoke, walking him to the door of the cabin. “This is how it’s going to be, alright. You are going to comply to my wishes, and we will not have any difficulties.” I was only talking now to fill the air with noise. We were in a tense situation, and I wanted to calm the man down. I wanted him relaxed for what was about to happen.
Mr. Dare’s eyes were blank. He stumbled and staggered in front of me, his movements so broken and sluggish that I worried that he would fall over. He walked, foot over foot, nearly tripping. He was slow, and that was fine. Of course, the man would want to delay this. I wouldn’t deny him that.
It was only when his movements became so stagnant that they were ridiculous that I tapped him in the back of the head with the gun, reminding him what I had in store for him.
“Move on,” I prodded him gently, and he let out a sound of despair. “Move.” I sighed and hit him once, a hard whack on the back of the head. He stumbled faster, and I walked behind his hobbling form to the cabin door.
We got there, and I waited a moment before unlocking the door. Mr. Dare was breathing rather heavily. I smirked and said, “Having a tough time?” He remained quiet, so I went on. “I guess it’s you who’s not speaking now. You scared?”
I opened the door and pushed the businessman in, flicking on the lights as I followed after him. I led him into a dark room in the back of the cabin, where a matressless bed frame stood in the middle of the room, draped with thick ropes. Waving the gun again, I waited until he had lied down on the frame to speak again.
“You know,” I said, bending down to pick up the ropes, “It’s not actually that bad. You drowned in green ages ago, and you haven’t much life left. And think of all of the bad you’ve done to people. It’s like we’re cleansing this city of its biggest threat: you.”
Soon, Mr. Dare was tied down and I stood over him, smiling at the work I had done. “Well, well, well… Mr. Dare, I think that you are at your best. But, you’ll have to excuse me; my tools aren’it with me at the moment. Please, wait here while I go get them. I promise, I won’t be long.”
No, I thought, rolling the idea through my mind, I most definitely won’t be long. This is an opportunity that I won’it pass up. I will certainly be back. I was excited. But, who wouldn’it be?
I turned on my heels, flicking off the lights and walking through the door. I would get my tools. I would come back to the cabin. And then I would make art.
The tool shed was a beaten up thing; you wouldn’t expect it to hold the tools it did. It sat, an unstable stack of wood, hidden by bushes and trees. I didn’t know the owner of the shed, or if it had an owner. All I knew was that it had been empty for a long time, and it was hidden. Those were the only two things that I needed to know to claim it as my own.
Clenching the leather strap of the bag, I made my way to the shed. Licking my lips, I gently opened the door to the place that held some of my most prized possessions and walked in. It was clean in there, the exact opposite of the outside. I had improved it, left it dull on the outside and fixed it up nicely for the interior. Shelves held jars, and buckets held rags. There was an assortment of sharp metal items on display.
I took my favorites off of the shelves: an ice pick, a long blade and a bottle of rubbing alcohol. I tucked them into my bag, as well as a few plastic containers. I bent down to collect a few stray rags and put them in a bucket, but halted when I heard a the sound of a vehicle pulling up by the shed. Quickly rising and closing my bag, I spun around and took a deep breath. I put on my I-am-an-innocent-civilian face and stepped out of the shed.
The appearance of the man almost made me erupt in laughter. He was shorter than me, and thinner. He stood tense, a dedicated look in his eyes, which were trained on me. The man was younger than I, and looked very scrappy and poorly kempt. A smile slithered its way onto my face.
“Hello,” I said, sly, hands out as I approached him.
He backed away slightly and stuttered, “Who are you, and what the hell are you doing in my shed?” Noticing his cowardness he let seep through into his actions, he paused and puffed out his chest.
What a way to greet someone, I thought. I narrowed my eyes and rose to my full height. I wasn't tall myself -- I was just barely above average, but it was enough to tower above the man confronting me. “I was merely looking to see if this shed was abandoned. I was under the impression that it was.”
The man frowned, a wrinkle forming between his eyebrows. “Well, it ain’t been in use much,” he said thoughtfully, before the wrinkle disappeared and his head snapped up. “But that doesn't give you no right to take my property away.”
I put on an innocent face, hoping to deceive him into believing that I was of no harm to him or to anyone. “Oh, no, I wasn’it trying to steal anything. It’s your shed, and I was only hoping to borrow it. It’s a real nice shed, wouldn't you agree?”
He nodded his head and said slowly, “Yeah, it is,”
I smiled, “So, what’s the problem, then?” I offered no solution, but I didn't expect the man to know that.
“Uh, I guess that there ain't none.” I nodded, agreeing with this. “So, who are you?”
“I’m a cab driver from the city, but I’m doing an... art project out here. And you are?”
“I”m Bo Williams,” he said proudly. “I’m out here trapping raccoons. What’s this ‘art project’ you were talking about?”
I halted, before relaxing. “Ah, perhaps I should just show you.”