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What Happens At Night
I laughed as my shiny red curls bounced on my shoulder. Today, I was with my best friend, Anna, and we were having a ball. Call us nerds, but we were at the children’s playground going around and around on the marry-go-round. I was laughing hysterically, almost to the point of pain. Anna, like me was in tears, we fell over each other.
“Your turn to push,” I said, breaking the laughter. She jumped off, and began pushing the marry-go-round around, yet again. As soon as it stopped she jumped back on, plopping down beside me.
“Where were you last night Victoria?” Anna asked. I knew at once she was referring to the party; her seventeenth birthday party. Her parents had given me the invite when I was over at Anna’s house after school last week. I had promised to come.
“I’m sorry,” I apologized, looking apologetic. She simply shrugged her shoulders, like always. “I was busy, my mom asked me last minute to help her with the laundry, and you know how it is. I told her I had plans but she didn’t care.” The words rolled right off my tongue, no hesitation. Of course, I wouldn’t tell her where I really was. I couldn’t.
“It’s fine,” She said, “So want to go down the slide?” She asked smiling.
“Race you,” I said laughing, taking off toward the slides.
“Hey,” She called after me, “no fair you got a head start.”
“So?” I said, “Loser’s weepers, loser’s weepers.” I chanted, laughing. Something about this struck me as funny so I doubled over with laughter, unable to contain it.
“You’re so weird!” Anna said, going around me to climb the stairs to the slide.
“Hey!” I called, trying to be calm. “Me first, I got here first! It’s my turn!”
“Chill Vic,” She said, climbing down, giving in. That’s what I love about her. She gave up. I smiled and climbed up, laughing as I slid down.
Today was Tuesday, and Tuesday meant work. The diner needed him from four to ten. He was a cook, and making minimum wage wasn’t supporting him anymore. He grabbed a newspaper from one of the vendors and flipped through it on his way home.
He was a small man, weighing only 100 pounds and only five feet tall. He was self conscious about his size, and knew he would lose in any fight that presented itself, so naturally he tried to avoid violence.
He had just gone out for a smoke break. There was a dark alley behind the diner he usually went. It was usually deserted, like tonight. He checked his watch, which read nine-thirty. Thirty minutes left until his shift ended. He lit his cigarette and took a drag.
Suddenly he was tackled. Some force heavier than he landed on top of him. He felt his cigarette fall out of his hand. Faster than he could scream, a razor came out slicing off all the fingers on his hand, one by one. He screamed in pain until tape covered his mouth. He could feel the warm blood trickle down his hand. He tried to get away, push the force off, but it weighed him down. Then, ropes bound his feet. He squirmed under the weight, struggling, but he had no chance, he tried to see the face of his attacker, but the darkness hid the features. The razor sliced his forearm. The pain seared all the way up to his shoulder. He yelled behind the tape. He had to get help he looked around searching for someone, anyone that could help. No one was in sight and he prayed someone would come along soon. He heard a joyful laugh, but still he couldn’t place it. It was no one he knew, that was for sure, but who else would be out to get him?
The razor gleamed in the light from the streetlamp. He was scared about where the razor would go next. It found his face, slicing at random. Moving his face to avoid the edge only made it worse. The razor sliced his throat, and the struggling stopped. His attacker laughed again. The attacker stood up and cleaning the razor, went on their way.
I slid into the car with my mother; the leather seats were warm from the sun. I smiled over at her as she was fiddling with the radio.
“Victoria Mills,” She said, eyeing me suspiciously. “How late did you stay up last night?” I rolled my eyes and looked at my mother.
“Not that late...” I said, strapping in. It must have been an acceptable answer because she shifted into reverse and pulled out of the driveway. She picked me up to take me to Anna’s. Every week on Saturday night we got together and had a movie night. It was usually pretty fun, so I was excited. It was always some romantic comedy we watched, or something of that sort. I sometimes suggested a horror movie, but Anna had a weak stomach and couldn’t handle it.
She dropped me off, and I ran to the door. Anna showed me in, then we went to her bedroom and plopped in front of the TV. She had only just turned it on when she said, “Hey, Vic, we’re having steak for dinner is that cool?” I nodded.
“Yeah,” I said, “Except…” I stopped.
“What?” She asked.
“No,” Anna said looking at me, “you can tell me.”
“Well, I’m kind of a vegetarian, as of yesterday.”
“What?” Anna asked with shock in her eyes. Anna was a hard core carnivore. She loved any and all things meat.
“Yeah, I just…I want to save the animals. Ok??”
She laughed, then stood and walked into the kitchen. A few minutes later she returned. “I told my mom. She said she’ll make a salad special for you.” Anna smiled at me.
“Oh, no,” I said, “I don’t want her to go through that trouble. I just won’t eat.”
“No, really, Victoria she’s cool with it.”
“Thanks,” I said, smiling at her. “Can we watch the movie now?”
We sat down to dinner about an hour later; Anna paused the movie so we could resume it later tonight. Her mother set the table while her father laid a plate of steaks on the table in front of us.
Her father picked up my steak and put it on my plate; I was treated like family here, something I liked.
“Dad,” Anna said, taking my plate with the steak and giving me her empty one. “Victoria’s a vegetarian now.”
Anna’s father looked at me, and then shrugged. “Ok, you can just have some salad and bread then.” He said, sitting down.
I liked Anna’s parents; they were quiet and never asked too many questions. It was peaceful there, I could relax. They only spoke when they had something to say.
“Anna,” her mother said, “did you see the front page of the paper today?”
“I don’t think so,” She said. Her mother reached behind her and grabbed the paper off the counter and handed it to Anna. She stared at it for a moment then simply said, “That’s horrible.” She showed me the paper. It was about a murder. They found the body of Eddie Stewart, a twenty-six year old cook at a diner. They found his body behind the diner, in the alley. His throat was slit, all ten fingers removed, and his cuts in his forearms.
I gave a small gasp, and turned to Anna’s mother. “That’s awful,” I said, “Do they know who did it?”
She shook her head. “No, the police are still searching. This isn’t the first body they’ve found like this, in fact, they’ve found several.”
“Well, I hope they find who did it! This is horrible, who would do something like that? That’s just sick.” I said with disgust.
“Tell me about it.” Anna said. Just then, Patches, the family’s spotty, yappy little Jack Russell terrier entered the kitchen. I hated the dog. He always growled at me, as though I was a bad person. He stopped at Anna’s feet and gave a small whimper. She leaned down and gave the dog a small piece of steak. I scowled at the dog. He turned his eyes on me and growled.
“Patches, no!” Anna said, pointing her finger at the dog. He stopped but continued to glare at me.
The rest of dinner followed with small talk, and then Anna and I went back to her room to finish the movie.
The night was dark and cold. It was November, and a cold front just blew through town. Maria was on her way home from the movies. She had gone out with some friends. It was Saturday night, so that meant church in the morning. She left early to allow herself a good night’s sleep. She looked at her phone; it was a quarter after ten. The streets were empty, and no one was out. She began to get nervous, but relaxed when she saw her house up ahead, knowing the safety was so close. Then out of nowhere, someone grabbed her, she felt herself hit the ground. She struggled and tried to scream, and then a hand covered her mouth, silencing her. Then in the glint of the street lamps she saw a flash of silver, fallowed by a sharp pain in her hand, someone was slicing her fingers off, she realized with horror, one by one. She screamed behind the hand of her attacker. The pain was sharp and intense. She could feel the blood run down what was left of her hands, and could feel tears budding up in her eyes.
She was scared so much so that I couldn’t think, at all. Tape covered her mouth. The rest was just a blur. Pain, was everywhere from the razor. Time seemed to slow down, almost to a stop. Then before she could react, it sliced her throat. Everything went black.
The day was a bright, happy kind of blue. It was the kind of day people dreamed about. It brought a smile to my face. My red hair shone in the sun as I spread a blanket out in the yard to read. I might as well take advantage of this sun. I had only just begun when Anna rode up into my yard on her eco-friendly bike.
“What?” I asked, my eyes not straying from my book.
“I...I...” She broke off. I looked up, only to see tears running down her face.
“What happened?” I asked, using my sympathetic voice.
“I..I came to t-tell you,” She said, “Patches got hit by a car this morning, and the vet doesn’t think he’ll make it.”
I gave her a sympathetic hug. “Oh, Anna,” I wrapped my arms around her. “I’m so sorry. He was such a good dog.” I lied.
“I know,” She said wiping away tears from her cheeks. “He wasn’t that old, he had so many good years ahead of him, the poor dear.”
“Oh, yes,” I nodded, pulled her close to me. “The person who hit him just left, without even telling us! I mean, who does that?”
“How awful! Whoever they are, I’m sure their ashamed of themselves.” I said. “I mean, they were probably too scared to come back and tell you. You should forgive them.”
“I know,” she laid her head on my shoulder. “I’m so thankful I have you as a best friend.”
After Anna left, I was thankful for the peace and quiet. I laid the book down, and let the sun soak into my skin. I liked the warmth, it was almost like—
“Anna!” I heard my mother scream from the porch. I looked up to find her standing with her hands on her hips, evidently angry.
“What?” I asked, rolling over onto my stomach.
“I’ve been calling you forever! Why didn’t you answer?”
“Sorry mom, guess I didn’t hear.” Her features softened.
Grace stepped off the porch of her small one bedroom house where she lived with her mother and three sisters. Leah, the youngest of her sisters stepped out of the door behind her. They were on their way to the library. It was only a few blocks, and after all it was a gorgeous Sunday evening. The sky was beginning to darken, but she figured they could make it before dark, and then call their mom to come pick them up.
“Grace?” Asked Leah, tugging on her shirt sleeve, Leah was only six, and still asked a lot of questions.
“Why do you think the sky was made blue, Grace?” Leah asked.
“Well, blue makes people happy, doesn’t it?”
“Yes, it makes me happy.”
“Exactly,” Grace answered. Grace and Leah neared an alley, the one they always went down as a shortcut to the library. The alley was deserted.
“I hate this alley!” Leah griped. “It gives me the chills.”
“Oh, relax!” Grace said, she grabbed Leah’s hand and led them down the alley. The sky was getting darker; the sunset cast different colors all over the sky. They were about halfway down, when they spotted a person at the end of the alley; they were dressed entirely in black, and begin walking down the alley towards the girls. Grace heard Leah whimper, but she ignored it. The person came closer and closer until they were only a few feet ahead of the girls. Grace looked up then saw the glimmer of the razor. She only had enough time to gasp.
“They found two more bodies.” Anna told me.
“What?” I asked. Anna tossed a newspaper at me. I looked down at the headline announcing two girls, sisters, were found, throats slit, in an alley yesterday night.
“Wow,” I said.
“Yea, I know,” Anna said, gripping her books closer to her. “They have found several like this, but lately it’s increasing. It has to be the same person, their all murdered the same way. Just be careful, okay? It could be anyone!”
“I know!” I said, then turned away from her and smiled to myself.
Tonight was my night. I pulled my hair back, smeared on some lip stick, dressed all in black. I looked out at the night sky, it was darkening. I grabbed the razor out from underneath my mattress.
“Mom,” I called down the hallway, “I have a ton of homework to catch up on I’m going over to Anna’s!”
“Okay, honey, be home by ten.” I walked out the front door and began walking the streets, looking for my next victim.
Sometimes I asked myself why I never wanted to cry, why I never felt anything but anger, then joy slicing open a throat. I smiled when I thought of it. How come I never had emotions? Why I never felt sadness, guilt, remorse? I don’t know, but from a very early age I learned this wasn’t normal, when I first remember seeing my mom cry over her mom, my grandma, dying. I didn’t feel bad, but I trained myself to appear normal, to take on emotions, but only in front of people. My mother never suspects, my best friend, Anna, doesn’t suspect. If you can even call her a friend, I only have her, like I said, to appear normal. I don’t need friends, I don’t need anyone really. I would kill Anna, if she deserved it.
I would kill anyone.