Immunity. That’s a funny word. It gives the impression that there are absolutely no effects on those who have it, those who have been handpicked by fortune and nature. It didn’t take me long, though, to realize being immune doesn’t mean freedom. It doesn’t mean impunity.
It doesn’t mean you can’t be hurt.
I stand up from the plot of grass where I’m kneeling beside my sister’s gravestone and wipe the tears from my eyes. A chill runs through my body as a breeze hits me, a bitter gust laced with the hints of a snowstorm brewing in the distance. I push my wild hair out of my eyes back behind my ear and look down the line of grave markers; there are my two brothers beside my sister, my mother beside them, my grandparents in another area of the graveyard.
My six month old daughter.
I didn’t even have enough money for a proper casket for her.
The anger surges through my veins, turning my blood to ice and making the cold November air even more intolerable. Didn’t they say children were safe? Wasn’t the plague supposed to pass by the innocent? How could my whole family be so susceptible, so ravaged by this disease, and I be so unaffected?
The doctors called it some sort of superbug, something that’s evolved far beyond our current capacity to understand. Then they studied me, and they called me an unholy incubator for the next generation of human-borne viruses. They tried to quarantine me and force me to stay in some padded, plastic bubble room, but I couldn’t let them do that. They told me I’m a danger to the public and to the people I come in contact with.
Well, that much I’m counting on.
I turn from the gravestone marked Lillian Mitchell: March 23rd, 2020 - September 17th, 2020 and make my way slowly back to my car. Well, not my car. I’m...borrowing it. The owners wouldn’t want it back anyways, not if they knew the Angel of Death had occupied it. I’m doing them a favor by keeping it.
I had to sell my own car a while ago; with all the hospital payments I was making, I had to sell pretty much everything that wasn’t nailed down, and even then I didn’t have enough money to pay the rent. My landlord ignored my pleas to wait for the life insurance money to come in, and kicked he kicked me out. Wouldn’t even give me my deposit back.
Didn’t matter anyways—the insurance money never came. The agent said there was nothing they could do because it was an Act of God, whatever the hell that means. There’s no way this disease is an act of any god I know. If infecting people and getting them killed mere days later is god-like, then I’m about to become a deity.
I step into the property management offices of my old complex and make my way to the office of Mr. Nate Euler. He’s sitting behind a nice looking desk decorated by an arsenal of degrees, licenses, and training certificates—the prideful sack of crap. It’s not like he’s a university professor or anything.
He turns around when I come in and rushes to put on a mask. The mask has crudely designed comic characters printed all over it; it looks like he cut out his pajamas or something to make it. I laugh internally. The fabric won’t stop anything—it didn’t with my family.
“Ms. Mitchell, I didn’t realize you’d be here. If your looking for the garbage you left behind in your apartment, I had to toss it—”
“Oh no,” I say with the most fraudulent smile I can muster. “I appreciate you taking care of that for me. I’m sorry I’ve been such a pain recently.”
“Yeah, no kidding,” he says with a scornful chuckle, though I sense him lowering his defenses. Good.
“Well,” I say, brushing my hair back with a sideways smile, a smile hidden by my own mask, of course, “I know you have a rough job and it’s been hard dealing with all the crazy cases this year. I’m sure it’s been wearing on you.”
He shrugs and sits back in his seat, his ego apparent in the way he moves.
“Yeah, for sure. It’s not as easy as you think, all the idiots I have to deal with. Whole world is going down the crapper, if you ask me. It’s probably better that your family isn’t here to see it.”
I suppress the fury that’s beating against my chest and force my eyes to maintain their indifferent look. It almost makes me throw-up to continue with what I have to say next.
“Anyways, I just wanted to say thanks for helping me through the moving-out process. If you’re free Friday next week, I’d like to take you to dinner.”
Mr. Euler widens his eyes in surprise and rolls himself in his seat closer to me.
“Well I can’t say no to that, can I?”
I grin, hoping my eyes portray benevolence rather than the burning spitefulness that’s consuming every cell of my body.
“I should hope you wouldn’t,” I say, leaning forward so close that I can see the individual blackheads on his nose. I pull my mask down and place a gentle kiss on the round, exposed part of his upper cheek, then take a flower from my bag and leave it on his desk. He doesn’t know it yet, but he won’t even make it to next week. I’ve given him much more than just that flower, a million-strong army that’s just invaded his body.
I turn to leave the room but give his desk one last look, at the pinkish flower resting by one of his trophies. It’s a shame to leave something so beautiful so close to this disgusting man. He definitely doesn’t deserve it, but I want it to be the last thing he sees before he dies. I want him to remember what brought him to Hell’s gates.
It’s a lily.
I’ve got a dozen more in my car.
Anonymous Killer for Hire- Let Me Do It For You
Name: Don’t Ask – Just call me “J”
Telephone: I’ll contact you (place an ad saying, “searching for nirvana” and I’ll be in
Specialty: wet work
wives, husbands, employers, disgruntled employees
sniper, knives, ropes, swords, poison, you name it
can pin it on someone else of your choosing
guilt free for you and for me (I’m a psychopath)
can’t be traced, no fingerprints on file
kidnapping, holding for ransom
mother-in-law’s, boyfriends, girlfriends, ex-friends, your choice
sabotage resulting in death
fake insurance claims
Payment: Drop box, 100% in advance. Since you have contacted me and made me
aware of your need, you already have received my sterling
recommendations and know I will fulfill your assignment. I charge
according to what you need done but I am not cheap!
Advantage: I can blend in with a crowd, very experienced; will send photos as proof,
no evidence left at scene.
Sasha clicked her tongue. Her phone buzzed. Ah, here we go again. She smiled. Who would have thought she would enjoy working right from the comfort of her own home.
She set up her devices. Now the real fun would begin in just a moment. A giant screen emerged from behind a sealed wall. Sasha snapped her fingers, and the device which had a range of satellites to send her all the data that she needed turned on.
She grabbed a few remotes and pressed several buttons. The screen switched from the satellite view of the earth to a closer location within a mountain range.
Sasha clicked some more buttons. A couple of drones surrounded the spot on the map.
She squinted her eyes and focused on her work. Where was he hiding?
The drones moved about the mansion searching for their target. They encountered guards by the main entrance and front doors. But they were hit in seconds. They didn’t even have time to realize what was going on.
Her drones carried on with the search. They moved into the living and kitchen area. Nothing. Then there was a loud blast. Sasha saw great flames through the front and side cameras of the drones. The fire was coming from the corridor.
She directed the drones to fly a bit on higher ground. They swerved to and fro, trying to avoid being caught in the fire.
Sasha spotted a figure running away. Whoever it was they seemed to not have noticed the drones hovering near the ceiling. The drones swooped in for a dive in attack mode.
The figure waved their hands in surrender thinking they might be lucky today. Sasha sighed. Did he seriously think this was going to work. She selected kill mode. The weapons on the drones fired at the figure. He shut his eyes and clasped his hands.
Sasha blinked at the sight. Was he praying? Well, she hoped he remembered to say a little prayer for the guards, too.
The drones shots never missed their mark. The figure was lying face down on the floor. His body lay still in his pool of blood.
Her work for the day was complete. She signed out of the program. The drones made their way to the company site.
She wondered if her boss had tuned in for the live feed of the job. Or if he would just stick to view the saved recording.
Hypothetically... *looks around furtively*.... and I mean hypothetically, if I were a serial killer, I'd be just as I am... except I'd be a serial killer.
After all, nobody expects the wide eyed teenage girl who is always stuck in books to be truly present, much less kill real people. Then again, nobody checks to make sure I've actually read them either. You wouldn't know that they could read English. Or were ever teenagers. I mean honestly, do they really think I want to read an entire book about other stupid teenagers who do stupid things like falling in love? Goodness.
And getting out? No biggie. It's not hard to hang out with friends that don't exist. Who needs to sneak out of windows? Lame. And then, after the deed is done, just waltz up to your room and BAM! Alibi. Because nobody really remembers where I was, nobody really cares. And I've been working on that butt load of homework, hmm? Well, naturally it's hard work being a serial killer. I've got to work my hand off at school copying answers all lunch. What a fantastic student.
Not to mention my murder weapons. Ha! They're lying right under their noses. Papa, I'm so sorry. I was showing your gun to a guy friend and forgot to give it back. At most, a small scolding and a pat on my head. Oh, Ms. Rainsfield? Mind if I use the chemistry lab after school? It doesn't hurt to bat an eyelash or two with her either. An unlimited supply of super strong acid in the clutches of a teenage who may or may not be alone in the AP Chem classroom? What could go wrong? *bats eyelashes*
Why become a serial killer? Well first off, paid target practice with the gun! Blowing up heads is pretty cool, especially if you weren't particularly fond of them. The poison is for jobs I might possibly feel guilty about in the long run. Leave it up to providence then. After all, I'm not making them drink that cup of water on the nightstand. Then again, fate's pretty cruel too.
Besides, the black market pays well. College? Bah, I don't need to go to some stuck up school to make a decent living. I'd rather not put myself under that ginormous pile of debt only to have to live under it. Might as well sell yourself in to slavery. Me? Once I make enough dough I'm going to see the world.
Live life. Survival of the fittest, you know. Who says you have to live by society's rules? Not me, no siree.
But you know. It's not like I have it planned out or anything. I'm just one teenage girl who is so stressed by her exams she's always breaking out. Such a brilliant student, a bookworm as well! She's got her head in the clouds, couldn't have done this. Besides, there's no murder weapon. Because, y'know. This is all hypothetical.
By the way, there's a glass on my nightstand. Thirsty?
The Psycho Sings
I wanna see you cry,
I wanna see you die,
I wanna kill you in my web,
My dear fly.
I wanna cut your head,
And suck your blood
Wishing to see the colour,
The colour of red.
I wanna see you in pain,
Crying in vain
And see all your clothes,
I wanna see all your blood spilled,
And finally get you killed,
Though I know,
That this is all my guilt.
I am sorry, what?
Oh, if I had a heart?
Well, I had one, long back
And someone like you made it rot.
So, I wanna see you cry,
I wanna see you die,
I wanna kill you in my web,
My dear fly.
In America: Be a cop.
In Canada: Nurse in retirement home.
Or just throw peanuts all over the place anywhere I go.
Victim Number 27
It’s routine now. There’s a set of rules, and if you follow them, you can pull this kill off flawlessly. Just like the others.
Rule one: Always have a cover up.
You told him that you needed a new accountant, and suggested you talk buisness over lunch at his home.
The idiot agreed.
“Excuse me for a moment,” he says. You want to tell him take as much time as you like, but that would be pushing your luck. He staggers off to grab a stack of papers to be signed, and you want to congratulate him for his absentmindedness.
He turns a corner, and you pull the vial out of your purse.
Rule two: Be discreet.
The vial is only an inch high, and filled with bubbly pink liquid.
Rule three: Be quick.
The neurotoxin will kill him in four seconds.
You lean over, the table's wood digging into your stomach. You tip the vial into his drink. The pink dissolves instantly. He won’t even know.
He comes downstairs, and as if sensing what you are mentally willing him to do, takes a sip.
He’s gone. The sight brings tears of joy to your eyes.
But you’re not done. Time for the hardest part.
Rule four: Make it look like an accident.
He’s pretty heavy, so you settle for the least creative option. You drag his body over to the bottom of the stairs. You kick his head a few times, to mimic genuine head trauma, and the scene is set.
You stroll out of the house, smiling. One thought is one your mind:
Rule five: Have fun.
make it look like a suicide
it was cliche
a one way ride
under flashing lights
hands laced under
to sit alone
with his self-hatred
burning under his skin
in the distance
six stories below
people began to gather
under his breath
if he's even barely
I am so
over the balcony
in the darkness
at the bright city lights
over the body
on the sidewalk
he couldn't hear
from this high up
but it looked like
who looked like
from this high up
were trying to do
probably they would
call an ambulance
and maybe the cops
he silently prayed
please if there's a
please don't let him
the wind gusted
and his skin
under its cold
he pulled his
up over his head
and tugged down
on his black baseball cap
casting a thick
shadow over his face
he turned back
towards the open door
and picked his way
through the untouched
he had gloves on
and his shoes were wrapped
in plastic bags
which was probably
since the apartment had a
shitty threadbare stained
and there was no mess
to clean up
but you could never be
he carefully closed
the front door and
with the key
he had swiped
from the hook
by the door
no forced entry
checking off a box
on his mental checklist
as the lock shifted
"is that you
from the dimly lit
in the hallway
and every muscle
he turned his head
at breakneck speed
to see an elderly woman
a living white-haired
"is that you
she said again
her head craning
as if she were struggling
he was motionless
his blood pumping
seared onto every
cell in his body
the long stick
in her arthritic hands
by her right side
and the dark glasses
on the tip
of her nose
there really is
he thought to himself
he stared at her
and she seemed to stare back
though of course she
couldn't actually see him
and then finally
after many days passed
or at least
she shook her head
"I'm hearing things
and she plodded softly
in her worn slippers
down the hallway
her stick clicking
on the wooden floor
he turned quickly
to the stairs and
over his own feet
as he rushed
he went the back way
out of the building
exiting into an
that smelled like
when he came out
onto the street
the body was gone
only a few lonely
and a dark rusty stain
I'm so hungry
but the pizzeria
is probably closed
the next morning
watching the news
like he always did
while he ate cheerios
out of the box
and sipped milk from
when a familiar face
the tv screen
SUCCESSFUL 57 YEAR OLD BUSINESS EXECUTIVE COMMITS SUICIDE
POLICE FIND KIDDIE PORN STASH IN DEAD MAN'S APARTMENT
on top of the tv
a pretty young girl
with blue eyes
and long blonde hair
and a nose shaped
smiles at him
from an old
back at her
as the ache in his heart
that makes 34
he says to her
I swear I'll
kill them all
until the day
so they can't hurt
a little girl
Cindy left the house through the front door as she had every day for the last two weeks. She walked the three blocks to her car, keeping on her mask and gloves until she reached the highway – never know when a traffic cam might be working. As she sped along, she tossed the mask and gloves out the window, laughing as the wind blew in her face.
“I can take this off now,” she said to no one in particular as she pulled off the short-haired, brown wig, and removed a few pins, allowing her golden curls to fall to her shoulders.
She drove for a few hours then pulled into a gas station where she bought a newspaper as well as a full tank of gas. She continued driving for another hour before she pulled into the parking lot of a Residence Inn. Parking in the back, she took a bag from the trunk of her car, pulled out a key card and let herself into the building. The hotel was generally empty these days, but she’d been there before the lockdown and more likely than not would continue there for at least the rest of the year – since she’d paid for it up front. She did her own cleaning so the hotel was happy to have a paying guest that didn’t require any services.
She dropped her bag on the floor by the door, headed to the bathroom, stripped and jumped in the shower. “Finally, I can get rid of the smell of mothballs and old lady piss,” she said to the empty bathroom. She spent a good half hour scrubbing and thinking dreamily about sitting on Mrs. Watts’ sleeping chest, injecting the air into her vein, and then watching as her eyes flew open, first confused, then angry, then afraid, then full of pain, excruciating pain, and then, empty. Dark soulless, globes, her mouth still open in a silent scream. Little thrills made Cindy shiver as she remembered. It was almost as good as an orgasm.
She wrapped herself in a towel then sat down on the couch with the newspaper, searching the help wanted ads for her next client. It had become so easy since the lockdown to find elderly patients, desperately in need of home care. Someone virus free, who didn’t mind living in and had experience as a nurse. Cindy fit the bill in spades. A pretty girl with a sweet disposition and experience? They couldn’t wait to hire her once they met her. And she was so kind in her ministrations, her clients were thrilled to have her care for them. Until they weren’t.
It used to be more difficult, as adult children would stop by or even be the ones to interview her. But those cases ended up being her references. She had good references. Now, however, every client was hers to euthanize. Well, sort of like euthanize. She ended their earthly suffering, freeing them from this mortal coil. She giggled. Granted, it was with several moments of terror and pain…but she should get some pleasure out of dealing with those society no longer wanted; those it preferred to ignore or forget. She smiled thinking last year she’d had to settle for only four happy endings, but this year in just six months she’d added some 18 blissful memories to her collection. It had taken her four years to get that many before.
Sighing, she circled a few possibilities and took out her phone.
A giant dropped down behind him, could have been from the sky, shoving his elbow up towards his face and he rested two dirty fingers on the bridge of his nose where a perpendicular line was beginning to form and should not be at his tender age of nine.
He never cared to know her name, but he knew she was watching him and he wondered why. Maybe the old gray woman next door would like to smash spiders with a hammer too. Maybe she would also like to rip the wings off dead birds and hang them on the branches like Christmas ornaments in June. Once, when their eyes locked he wanted to ask her why she was watching him, but he decided against it, wearing his silence like a noose. With one dead mother and one sorry drunk Dad, he was alone when the days were long and short to whistle while he worked.
Losing interest in spiders and birds, it was a squirrel this time. He had set a trap made from scraps from the trash, surprised that it worked because he found squirrels to be rather swift and clever. He explained himself in so many words to the squirrel as he took his time slicing off his fur with a tiny pocket knife made sharp enough to do the job on a rock he found while digging the first grave in the backyard where he kept the others; seven brown mice, and three black voles. It wasn't the blood he like best; he expected more, it was the bones, their strength, their permanence, keeping a tidy record for him of his wrong, turning what was once alive into his first draft manifesto below the earth where the unsuspecting adult often walked and sometimes watered, taking false credit for the fertilized springtime crocus.