Article found on unknown corpse between fourteenth and Cedar street, on the morning of June tenth at seven thirty-two.
616 Henderson Apartments
The first thing I killed was innocence. It had a taste and smell like warm milk and kisses. I put it in a box and stowed it beneath the old ash wood boards of my bedroom floor. The box was a clean lined old shoe box, small at only seven inches but the perfect fit. I scrunched up comic book pages for bedding and stapled a thick plastic sheet from school along the cardboard walls of the miniature crypt. I kept the collar with its bright chrome bell under my pillow. I liked to grip it as dreams and consciousness shook hands and changed shifts. When my mother found the collar with its blue flowers and paw print design she asked me why I kept it there. I told her with a tear in my eye that it reminded me of its owner. This was no lie, though the sad tear was false. We cry when we think of happy things too, don’t we?
Perhaps I started too early. Not in the sense that my work started when other boys my age were collecting baseball cards and dreaming of high school. But maybe I travelled too far back to make this a meaningful account. In truth, I didn’t move on to larger boxes and steel drums until I was in my early teens but even that seems to be a laboured beginning. I imagine you’re a busy, busy guy. Your desk probably looks like one of your crime scenes with innocent people piled in corners and the dregs of civilisation littered about. And of course, there is a weapon hidden somewhere, there always is. So, I’ll be brief, and stick with the facts, oh just the facts.
Every single bloodied and wane faced corpse in that container you and yours found on Route fifty, just south of the Tallgrass Prairie deserved to be there. Each one in their way earned a seat on the six feet under express. The reasons are clear I’m sure and I won’t belittle your intelligence or guile with feeble reasoning and explanation. Clever men such as you and I need little by way of suggestions to see beyond what the standard simple-minded masses perceive. Those mushy faced sticky portions of degenerate waste owe their slow and tender demise in that forty-foot oven to one simple piece of logic. A brief examination will show that they all shared a common and putrid relation.
Oh man I can just imagine the smell when that bolt lock was cut and those high doors pulled open, like a whole mess of barbequed pig marinated in their own juices. But that’s the only way to cook them you know. A bullet between the eyes or a cold sliver of stainless steel just won’t fix what ails those things. Believe me, I’ve tried.
Once, it must be eight or nine years ago. I endeavoured to peel one of those creatures from stem to sternum, like a jack rabbit, just as my daddy did. He showed me many ways but a nice clean stab at the devil’s crotch and some quick determination upward usually uncovers all the nasty, the bits that are no good to eat. I tried this a few times but people don’t split like rabbit. And people sure holler when they see that knife and feel it’s bite.
So, I found that heat, be it fire or a slow roast generally frees the corpse of them dark humours and for three years now I’ve travelled here and there saving souls and keeping my head straight. This is a difficult enough task in the ordinary world. What with those illegals and that blue cross or whatever? I figure I’m ahead of the game just staying sane. I won’t pretend not to have some of them, dreams. You know the ones when you’re falling and there’s an angel beneath you but it’s so far down you worry you won’t be caught. I get them every now and then and when I wake, sure enough there’s old man pain in my gut and I know that there’s a creature nearby that needs the heat. If I have time I’ll buy a big map and a hundred-piece box of coloured pins to mark it. I’ll leave it at the address on this letter for you. Be careful when you visit those spots though. I did my best but you can never be sure with demons.
As I write this, I am simultaneously counting down the hours and finalising my strategy. It won’t be easy but then God’s work never is and nor is it supposed to be. We must earn our keep in this world so that we can lounge in luxury in the next. Why else would the Good Lord arm me with my keen senses and early warning bells to the proximity of evil? Even as a lowly child I could feel the darkness in such creatures as cats and dogs and that surge of scripture and verse coursing through me made me wet myself occasionally. Such was the Lords power on my young body. My mother never understood it. She chastised me and belittled my calling. Still fresh faced and soft as I was I missed the obvious. I offer no apology for it but blame it on tender years and the yearning every boy has for his mother. But when I saw those dark eyes and the whorish way she fixed rouge on her cheeks I knew that demons lived and feasted on her soul. So, I executed my calling. My father and I moved after that. He must have realised that our old home was desecrated by the filth of the pit like I did. Soon enough though I found more demons, found more evil and carved my way toward sainthood in the only way I know how.
It was my mother that called my attention to the threat that I am presently dealing with. A picture of a harlot with the same long gold locks that she once had plastered on the side of a vehicle designated for the innocent. I followed it, keeping low and distant so as not to betray my presence. You cannot believe my shock when that bus stopped outside a Christian school. Thirty little angels with sweet cheeks and bright eyes emerging from its stale interior with one unifying thought on their tiny little minds. All they wanted was to learn how to live in the glory of the Risen Lord. But that was a lie. Each one, I tell you straight, each one was host to a crawling wailing monster. I could feel it deep in the pit of my stomach. Consternation and confusion overwhelmed me. What was I supposed to do with this knowledge? Was I to leave it to the ordinary folk to deal out the necessary? Could they even do it? In my experience, most people are far from God’s warm countenance and a great majority are as mad as Baptists. No I realised shortly, I must follow my calling. The ordinary citizen of our fair Nation is easily beguiled by demons. They think saints and prophets are mindless crazy belligerents set on war and terror. But we know differently, don’t we Detective Howard. We know more than those simple-minded fools. We know through experience. I’ve lived a lifetime with evils threat and you, well you face it day to day. Muggers and rapists and thieves, ne’er do wells all. And then there’s Simone. Oh poor little Simone, when she stepped of that bus I almost cried. The Lord sent me to you but up until that morning I did not know why. How hard it must be for you to see her every day, kiss her every night and all the time knowing what it is that lurks behind her soft loving gaze. I truly am sorry Detective.
It is my love for you and yours that spurred me on. Normally I find animals and women to be the most susceptible to evils wiles but luckily enough I met a trucker named Pete Ellsworth and inside him, well. I burned him quite quickly. I thought of you and Simone as I did it. What a tragedy my friend. But, as always happens, God sent an answer to my prayers. He sent Pete Ellsworth to me as he sent me to you and now I have a forty-foot container big enough for all those demon kids to fit inside. By now you will have found it. I saw in Simone’s journal, the one she keeps by her bed, that her class is going on retreat. My plan is simple. I will kill the bus driver. I will say the prayers for him and then I’ll collect those kids. From there to the container is only a half hours’ drive. I’ll then use some of them powers the Lord gave me to herd them monsters into the container and lock the door. I’ll take my knife for them that are strong under Satan’s yoke and enough gasoline to set ablaze for the almighty to see. Simone will bubble and boil but you should remember that a demon raped your precious little girl of her soul a long time ago and that she’s already long dead. I do this for you, as a decent man and a father, I do this for you.
I think I’ve done enough work to earn my place in the heavenly luxury so this will be my last act and this my final word on all things. I can’t take my own life but I know that junkies prowl an alley nearby and there I will find my end. I’m crying just thinking of the glory to follow. I’ll whisper your name to Jesus. I might even take a walk to that same alley tonight. It stinks of sin and piss but I’d like to choose the spot where they’ll kill me if I can.
I’ll take the bus on Friday morning, that’s the tenth. That means it’s probably about the thirteenth today as you sit reading this. Your crime scene guys will find the letter on my cold dead body because I’ll carry it everywhere. It’s a comfort to me just as this letter must be a comfort to you. Say a little prayer for me friend and in return I’ll knife the demon bitch that stole your daughter’s soul, amen.
Yours with deep sincerity and clarity of mind and conscience.
David P. Renfrew.
P.S. Those noises your wife makes when you’re rutting, they ain’t Christian. You should see to that.
A Little Extra
This is both the first story I ever recorded and the first story I sent to R.B. Wood and his Word Count Podcast back in 2011 (The Word Count Podcast is a show about stories. If you love listening to short stories or writing them, it’s the place to go). It’s the first story that I showed the world in fact.
That was a scary experience but I learned quickly that if you don’t put it out there, nothing happens. Good or bad.
And I learned that Richard rocks!
For the audio, I tried to kind of give out a Jack Bauer vibe, with predictably hilariously ridiculous results.