A Four part collaboration by Pierre C Arseneault, Sarah Butland and Angella Jacob.
All rights reserved.
The Damsel Almost in Distress
By Pierre C Arseneault
The young blonde limped slightly under the fading daylight as she walked barefoot on the cool concrete of a downtown sidewalk. Her left ankle throbbed slightly as she hurried past a slow moving older couple who walked hand in hand. She clutched her red shoes tightly to her chest with both arms. The left one was missing its heel which was lodged in a storm drain two blocks back.
“It’s him. It has to be,” thought the young woman as she paused in front of a small restaurant. For a moment she pretended to look inside as she glanced back and saw the man she now knew was following her. He had been since she left the coffee shop. She had seen him there often. Always sitting alone as he watched the women while sipping his coffee and pretending to read. She knew he was pretending because his bookmark had been on page ninety-three the last time she saw him there. A slightly handsome man reading a copy of The Catcher in the Rye would peak her curiosity until she walked past the second time and noticed the bookmark in the open page was at the same place as the last time she saw him there. That made her realize she had never seen him turn the page even once.
She recalled her friend’s Facebook post from the night before about the third woman found in the nearby park. They had found the body a week ago lying behind a patch of rosebushes. The previous two had been found in alleyways. Always sexually assaulted and strangled to death with their very own silk scarves. There had been five attacks in total and the last three had escalated from rape to brutal murders.
Her friend had shared an online newspaper article shedding some light on the victims. All of them frequented high-end coffee shops where it was believed that the killer chose his prey. He always chose young intelligent looking women but never the skinny ones.
Glancing down the sidewalk she saw the young strawberry blond man was standing near the front of what looked like an apartment building, hands in his pants pocket as if he was waiting on a cab or something. She knew he was waiting for her to keep walking.
With a dead cell phone in her small purse, she walked and made a quick decision to cross the street and call 911. She would dart into the Word-Nerds New and Used Bookstore. The lady who owned the bookstore, the one that looked like Kathy Bates, would let her use the phone she thought. Ignoring the fact that her bare feet were beginning to hurt, she darted in between parked cars. A small car and a white delivery van with an expired parking meter. Emerging from the other side, she hurried across the street and in a fumble, dropped one of her shoes in the process. After making it to the sidewalk, the young blonde stopped and turned to see where the shoe had fallen. She watched with a blank expression as her stalker emerged from between the same two vehicles. He slowed in his stride, smiling as he picked up the red heelless shoe. With shoe in hand he began to take another step as he turned to see the blur of the oncoming small blue car. The hard impact of the car made the man crash onto the hood, tumbling into the windshield cracking it in the process. His body was sent flying over the roof of the car leaving a trail of blood. He remained airborne for a brief moment before a broken and contorted body with a blood covered face would land clumsily on the asphalt.
The blue sports car would never stop.
Later as the young blond spoke to the police, she would describe the small blue car only she would say it was red. This would not be a mistake but rather she would say that on purpose. She would also remember the woman with the long brown hair and glasses who drove it. She would recall the smile on the woman’s face but that detail she would keep to herself.
The Blonde and The Catcher in the Rye
By Sarah Butland
A man followed close behind, appearing to be focused only on the blonde in front of him. He was mumbling to himself, something about blame and justice.
He knew she was scared and aware. “She is the one,” he thought. His prize for a game no one understood and he would always win. The rules changing with his mood and ending only when necessary.
The women always figured him out but always too late. His dapper appearance got him far in life and he’d never admit he couldn’t read a word. The Catcher in the Rye was his mothers favourite; he would play homage to her with it. Always turned to the same page, telling by the splash of blood on the bottom half of one side.
The blonde would be his fourth victim with many more planned. He had no idea she wouldn’t actually be his prize and his third was to be his last.
He stopped, seeing her out of the corner of his eye looking in a store window. Her silk scarf a beautiful auburn against her blonde hair and ideal for hiding the most blood. He wondered why she didn’t have a cell phone. Most of them did and before they could dial the first One, he’d have it knocked out of their hands.
They were coming close to Word-Nerds so he quickened his pace. It wouldn’t do to be seen by employees or patrons as he knew both well.
He stopped and picked up her dropped shoe and once again focused on her as he blindly walked into traffic. Not much traffic, just one blue car rushing right toward him. He tried to get out of the way but it was too late.
He felt his knees push out of joint, his feet leave the road and the force with gravity direct him to the ground.
Everything went black and he knew his game was over and he lost.
Such a Lovely Face
By Angella Jacob
The traffic on the corner of MacBeth and Willshire was heavier than usual, so I was lucky to find a parking spot near the coffee shop where I knew too well I’d find the bastard. Turning off my car, I glanced across the street catching the reflection of my blue sports car in the flower shop storefront panel windows. No doubt the same store where he’d bought me the three long-stemmed roses only a few short weeks ago. Pulling my purse onto my lap, I dug out my sunglasses from their case and replaced them with my prescription glasses. Undercover as I could be, I slipped on a black ball cap and tucked my long brown hair through the back, a cascade of flowing curls descending down my back.
Not long after, my eyes caught a young blonde woman walking barefoot on the sidewalk. No doubt she was the next one. Her plump hips and chunky build along with the frightened look on her face as she limped away from the coffee shop was a dead giveaway. As I turned to look down the street behind her, I spotted him immediately. I recognized his strawberry blonde hair and his shuffling feet right away. He was stalking this one now too. How lucky had I been to escape this deranged man’s clutches when I did. I should have known something was off when at thirty-three he was still living with his mother.
The young woman stopped at the restaurant past the coffee shop and glanced inside. She soon began her nervous walk onward. My attention turned back onto the handsome but psychotic man that was closing in on her. He walked faster now, his red shirt easy to spot amidst the busy sidewalk. His eyes had been so captivating. Clearly they had only been a decoy for his chilling grip on my throat that night. His hands squeezing hard had chased away every lust-filled thought that had played in my daydreams of him. Luckily, an older woman that looked like Kathy Bates had stumbled upon us in the park that night. He had released his grip instantly and stared at the old woman, his eyes wide and pale-faced. I ran away as fast as I could and never looked back. That is until I made the connection. The news and social media sites were bursting with reports of a serial killer in the area. I knew I had to confirm my suspicions before I went to the police, for fear he’d come back to finish me off if the cops couldn’t arrest him. I only knew his name anyways, which turned out to be of no use when I Googled it and did a Facebook search for him.
His new target was now crossing the street in her bare feet, darting between a parked car and a white van up ahead. Sticking my key into the ignition, the radio blared “Hotel California” in my ears and the cool air conditioned breeze made the wisps of hair that weren’t inside my ball cap to play around my head. They danced in unison with the mad rush that my thoughts created by the adrenaline as my instincts kicked into full gear. My right foot hit the gas as soon as I shifted into drive. My eyes transfixed on the red-clad shirt that was stepping onto MacBeth Avenue, following his terrified damsel who was now safely on the other side of the street. She watched her stalker with a look of anguish.
My timing was perfect. As the man bent over to pick something up in the middle of the street, I floored it until I felt the impact of his body on my front bumper. His eyes met mine for a fraction of a second, but as they did, I grinned wide. The last thing his lying eyes would see were those of the damsel who’d have proven to him that not all of us are in distress.
I never stopped my car, even with the windshield cracked and the bloody body sprawled out in my rear-view mirror. I just kept driving and left the past where it belonged. My heart rate returning to normal, I turned off from MacBeth and onto Clivesdale Drive, singing along with the Eagles, about a lovely place and a lovely face.
It’s Not Over Until the Fat Lady Says So
By Pierre C Arseneault
“Oh, Lord I’m such a terrible person,” thought the older woman behind the cash register at Word-Nerds New and Used Bookstore. The feeling of joy and happiness was still washing over her when this thought went through her mind.
“How can I be happy about what I’ve just witnessed?” she wondered. “If they ask, I’ll deny seeing it. I won’t admit it,” she thought as she made her way around the counter.
The only customers in the store were in the back and had been busy digging through her reduced to clear section.
“They too must have heard the noise from the impact,” she thought as they now made their way towards the front of the store. She opened the door as one of the young women brushed past her.
“Oh my God!” said the young woman who’s name escaped her under the circumstance. “Isn’t that… isn’t that your son?” she said wide eyed with a shocked look on her face.
“Yes. I think so,” was all that the old woman managed to say as she walked into the street. A man now knelt next to him and was feeling his wrist for a pulse then to his neck where he placed his fingers in the blood.
The man looked up at the older woman now that he knew who she was. “I’m sorry,” was all that he said.
One of the men on the opposite side of the street was talking on his cell phone to a 911 dispatcher. Quietly a barefooted blonde woman clutching a red shoe to her chest walked up and stood next to the book store owner. She was clearly shaking like a leaf and just looked at the old woman dumbfounded. Clearly having just realized that the dead man lying in his own blood was the son of the woman she knew as the owner of Word-Nerds.
“I wonder if she saw the car that hit him?” thought the book store owner.
Looking up she saw people taking pictures with their cell phones and all the while all she could think about was if they would figure out he was the killer they were looking for. Would they connect him to the rapes and killings to her idiot son whom she had to regularly punish for his stupid behaviour, even at his age?
“Stupid boy got what he deserved,” thought the woman as she placed her hand on the small of the quivering blonde’s back. She glanced at her and then at the gathering crowd of onlookers and spoke briefly.
“I better go lock up the store so I can tend to my boy.” Turning she walked back to her store as the onlookers watched her go.
Closing and locking the door behind her, a slight smile appeared on her face as she walked around the counter and disappeared into the small kitchen in the back. A moment later she emerged carrying a tray containing a dry sandwich on a soggy paper towel, a plastic bowl containing cold soup, crackers and a plastic glass of warm milk. No utensils. Walking towards the back of the store she spoke to herself.
“Finally rid of that stupid boy,” she said thinking of her boy in a puddle of his own blood. Setting the tray down onto one of her discount bins she pulled a key from a hidden pocket at the waistband in her long skirt. She proceeded to open the thick wooden door before her revealing a staircase to the cellar.
“We can’t let you starve to death now can we?” she said as more of a statement than a question. She picked up the tray and started down the stairs. “Steal from me will you? I wonder if you still think I look like Kathy Bates now, you little rat bastard!” she said as she fiddled with a second key to another wooden door. That door would lead to a sorry soul who would see the full brunt of the mean woman’s wrath now that her son wasn’t there to take his share anymore.