Kane Salzer

Ten

The house is an absolute shambles. Unwashed plates and cups lurking just below cold, oily dishwater in the kitchen. The trash needed to be taken out three days ago and I can’t even look at the dirty clothes in the laundry.

It’s so embarrassing, the place is totally unfit for guests and yet here one sits. Anxiety churns my stomach turning coffee and toast into a sour lump. I’m still in my dressing gown!

“This wasn’t as well planned as I had hoped, I’m sorry. You won’t count this against me will you?”

My house guest shakes their head vigorously and I can finally relax.

“Your arrival was a surprise to say the least. I genuinely wasn’t prepared for visitors today, but it’s always lovely when someone drops round so we’ll make do.”

I’m dithering, flustered. Need to pull myself together and focus. Whether I’m ready or not, today is the day.

“Can I tell you something? Something I’ve never told anyone else?”

A quick nod in the affirmative from my guest.

Leaning forward in a conspiratorial manner, my lips barely touching their ear, it’s warm, intimate, almost like a kiss. I whisper “I’ve never killed anyone before, you’re going to be my first.”

All things being equal, they took that revelation much better than expected.

“You’re going to help me work out my modus operandi. Apparently, all serial killers have one. But as yet nothing’s set in stone so I thought I’d put it out to the floor. What do you think it should be?”

As soon as the gag comes off my guest…no, my victim, starts to scream. It’s pretty tedious to be honest. I ‘gently’ remind them it’s a soundproof room. That seems to take the wind out of their sails a bit. Hammers have that affect on people.

“Look, I need be totally candid with you, bargaining’s probably not going to work today. You don’t have anything I want.”

Now come the tears and the bargaining. Why don’t people listen?

“Don’t cry, it makes me uncomfortable.” I have to put their gag back in, the sobbing and screaming are distracting.

My ‘tools’ take some time to lay out. Mostly gardening supplies bulked out with a selection of craft knives and stuff from the kitchen. The time had arrived, nothing would be gained from further delays. And yet I find myself anxious. What if it wasn’t everything I had hoped for? What if I couldn’t go through with it? Humans are very different to neighbourhood cats and dogs. My hands are clammy, stomach in knots.

I give my hands a quick shake and tighten my grip on a pair of secateurs.

“Right. Fine. Ok. Let’s begin.”

“I tell you what, I’ll start slow okay? We’ll start with fingers and count down to zero. Once we get there I’ll do the deed. Does that suit you?”

Laughing self consciously, I realise what I said “Oh, sorry! You’ve got the gag in. I’ll just assume you agree and get on with it.”

In the light, the secateurs gleam dangerously. They make a metallic slicing sound. They were only sharpened a couple of days ago.

Gently I take my victim’s little finger, laying it in the razor caress of the garden shears. I filter out the high pitched whining. There’s no going back now.

“Right then.” I take a deep breath.

“Ten,” snip.

“Nine,” snip.

“Eight,” snip.

“Seven,” snip.

“Six,” snip.

“Five,” snip.

“Four,” snip.

“Three,” snip.

“Two,” snip.

“One,” snip.

“Zero…”

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