A short story from 2007. Disturbing content, with a twist.

Part I.

Children make the best targets. She was just fourteen when I very easily and quickly stepped out of the shadows on her back porch and grabbed her, whisking her off through the back fence and into the darkness of the rural bushland behind her home. Her parents, as you might imagine, were deliciously distraught. It was wonderful. The media screamed as impotently as ever, volunteers flooded the area looking for clues they never found, and police and politicians did their usual concerned rendition of “I’m a parent, too” before life went back to what it was and the next crisis gave them the opportunity to grab some more sound bites.

Three years later, and all was as it should be; life, as they say, moved on. There were many times when I felt like just reaching out and doing it all over again. Society breeds so many interesting possibilities, and they simply swarm through shopping centres, movie theatres, malls, and everywhere the young like to congregate. Occasionally I did reach out and touch somebody, but only to briefly amuse myself and keep my skills current. One very fat little boy actually died of fright within an hour of my taking him, which made me tut with disapproval at the state parents are allowing their children to get into.

In the beginning I simply took trophies; a finger here and an earring (with ear attached) there. Of course, I varied my routines to throw those stupid, stupid profilers off. It worked remarkably well. My pet hate was those disgustingly ‘trendy’ names people give their children nowadays. I despatched one young boy, whom I had intended to release, simply because he had the enormously irritating name of Kirby. Nice name for a dog. The boy looked more like a Walter or Eric to me, so I put him out of his potentially misery-laden future.

Anyway, back to the star of our show, a young lady with the lovely name of Carmen. During our time together I often thought of Carmen Miranda, the fruit-on-her-head singer from times gone by. It inspired me to experiment with acids. Later, during one of our discussions and with a bit of prompting, she told me of Carmen Electra, so of course I rewarded her with electricity.

There was nothing sexual in our relationship. I never was a paedophile, although I suspect I’ve killed a few. They were crowding out the market, so I thinned the opposition. It was strictly business and I took no pleasure at all in it.

Carmen and I got on well enough over the years. She was an exceptionally bright girl, always watching, even when she was in fear of her life and undergoing some interesting if painful experiences. Sad, really, when it came to an end.

Part II.

They say that time heals all wounds. I wonder about that. Does it really heal them or just overlay them with so much scar tissue and silt that you must, due to the sheer weight of memories, allow some to go to their final resting place?

Martin came at a pivotal point in my life. Like many young girls I was facing my seminal identity crisis, acne, puppy fat and parents who put me on a leash they’d have resisted when they were my age. It was even worse after I escaped him and finally came home. My room was as I had left it, but it was the room of a fourteen-year old girl and not the nearly eighteen-year old that I had become. Everyone thought they understood my silences and moods. Everyone was wrong. He had never been caught.

I made my escape from him in the middle of the day, but I couldn’t say where I had been imprisoned because the flood of emotions at that time completely swamped any sense of location or direction I might have had. I know I walked a long, long way before my odd behaviour was noticed.

When I was finally returned home after days in hospital under observation, it was surreal. After the tears came the barrage of questions and the disbelieving looks. Martin had certainly tortured me, but he had also educated me. I read the dictionary six times cover to cover in those three years of captivity. Mistakes invariably invited pain. I was given a range of subjects and expected to excel in them all, which I did, because I had hoped it would lessen the frequency and intensity of my torture, which it didn’t.

Children were still going missing, only to be found later either dead or with trophies taken. None were taken, like me, for extended periods. The police theorised that it had become either too risky or inconvenient for the perpetrator to hold someone in captivity.

They never found Martin. When I found a small opportunity to run I took it, straight into his kitchen where I gathered up every sharp instrument I could find before lying in wait for him. The three years of torture he had perpetrated on me was returned twofold, only over a period of a few hours rather than years. I fed him to his pigs before turning the rest of his livestock loose in his house. A reclusive man, it appears that no one ever questioned his disappearance and the ruination of his home and property.

I learned much from Martin. I believe I have surpassed him, however, because I will never allow a victim to see my own predictabilities and eventually use them against me.

—April 2007—


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