This particular victim died before she knew what had happened to her. I wasn't given the same courtesy.

I kill people for fun. I am very good at it. I take pride in my hobby. I enjoy blowing out candles, eating the last cookie, and eliminating life from the body of a human being. It makes me feel that I have completed something. When you work for the Post Office, like I do, it is nice to complete things.

Some days are better than others, and I do not need to kill. It is those bad days that get me down, when the dogs and the rain and the sleet and the packages keep coming as though they would never stop, that cause my killing instinct to rise. Wanting to kill someone is a feeling that stings like a paper cut mixed with lemon juice, somewhere inside my head. Today was one of those days. I kept myself calm through boxes upon boxes of mail knowing that, after work, a life would become mine. And now she has.

The bitch was talking on her cell phone in a movie. That's how I knew. Some people I kill because I don't like their face or their clothes. Some I kill because they are assholes. Everyone I kill deserved to die. This one deserved to die many times over. You don't take a cell phone into a theater and then talk on it, you dumb whore, and slit-stab-slash while the audience is laughing, now we can enjoy the movie in silence. There are ways to kill people silently and quickly, and I know them all. She didn't know she was dead until Satan was beating the crap out of her with a cell phone for the rest of eternity. I exited in the middle of a crowd. No one looked at me twice. Another kill, and I'm away without a trace. The movie sucked, anyway.

I needed more. It was a bad day, as I said. Luckily I knew exactly where to go.

My car twisted its way to the poorest section of town. I got out and started to walk. It didn't take long. I dress decent, for a mailman, and I pay attention to my appearance. To these human trash, I looked rich. I didn't kill the first person who asked me for money, nor the second. I gave them each $5 and a smile, and kept walking. "God bless you!" they called after me. Oh, God does, indeed.

No, it was the third prick who stopped me, walking down the sidewalk. I could smell the bourbon on his breath heavy enough to give me a bit of a buzz. I hate that. I know what you're going to spend the money on, you asshat, so don't pretend you're buying food. I told him I kept my money in my car, and could he please follow me to it? We walked a block until we were in an alley. I shot him twice in the head. Oh, how that bang feels good, that recoil against my wrist. Lord only knows why he followed me, but some people are just stupid, I suppose.

But why would I shoot someone? Wasn't that noisy? Wasn't I likely to get caught? Sure I would. Try this thought experiment: Gunshots go off in a bad section of town, and you happen to be there. You clearly are dressed too well for that area, and you're a bit lost. What do you do? You look around to identify a threat, and then briskly get the hell out of there. End of story. That is precisely what I was doing after I shot the man. I didn't wait to see him fall, I simply exited the alley and began my act. Look around. Brisk walk away. End of story.

As I returned to my car, I congratulated myself on two flawless kills. My hands were steady. My head was clear. My trunk was ajar.

What? That didn't make sense. I closed the trunk and drove home. But something was bothering me, and it was not the murder weapons in my pockets, which I knew wouldn't be traced back to me. It was my trunk. How did it get open? I hadn't done anything with it lately. Oh well. Then I did something stupid: I decided to stop thinking about it. In the history of stupid things, this was high on the list. I could have saved myself then. But after you kill a few people and get away with it, you aren't the most humble of fellows. Trust me. Hubris had me helpless in its grasp, and its deathstrike was coming.

I parked, then went around back to get the trash. It was that day again, and there wasn't anything I hated more than taking out trash. That is why I did it as soon as I returned home on Tuesday nights. I walked around to the back of my small house, and wheeled the trash can out to the curb.

My chore finished, I passed my car on the way back to my front step. The trunk was ajar again. That's odd, I thought. I really must get that fixed. I closed it again. Ah, that trunk. Of all of the scary things in life, many of which I had come into close acquaintance with during my intimate study of death, the trunk of a car probably ranks somewhere between a mousetrap and shampoo. Why did she ride home in my trunk? Why did she feel that riding home with me was a necessary touch? I can't answer this, but I think I might have a guess: she wanted to give me one chance. One, sporting, American, chance to figure out that something was wrong and to kill her while I could. I didn't take advantage.

I entered my home. Cracking open a beer, I turned on the TV. I turned the game up louder. That is how I failed to hear her, the insurmountable, invincible, immortal, everlasting her who ended my existence forever, breaking into my home. Not until the dart was in my skin did I notice her presence in my house. Then I passed out.

"Why a dart?" I wondered as I came to. She answered me as though she could read my mind. "I used a dart so that I could kill you slower. I want to enjoy it." I couldn't see anything, and my eyes hurt like bloody fire. "You don't have eyes anymore. I want it to be a surprise every time I cut something new off of you, just like you took all of your victims by surprise.

"I think I would like your nose, first. No, I have plenty of nose myself. I have been following you ever since you killed my husband. Toes, perhaps? I do love cutting off the odd toe. You see, I was rather fond of my husband, and I took it rather personally when you killed him. I know what you have that I don't: a penis. Can I have that off, with scissors perhaps? I have been following you for months, admiring your work." I heard the noise of a chainsaw roaring to life. She yelled, "What about if we start big, like, say, with your leg? I'm impressed, you see, with your facility at killing people swiftly." The chainsaw was silent. "But I would dearly like to start small, with a smaller appendage, so that you feel it more. You see, I kill people as well, and I like to think I am quite good at it. The thing about you is, however, that I don't think you understand the importance of letting the victim know that she or he is about to die, so that they may properly enjoy it while it is taking place. Your quick, wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am murders just aren't satisfying to me. If I may begin to instruct you . . . "

Shit. I made a mental note not to kill any more husbands of serial killers. I had a feeling that I would not be enjoying the ability to carry out any more mental notes. Then she cut off my ear.

For The Blood is the Life: A Frightful Halloween Quest

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