There once was a person named Teddy. He was a middle aged, balding, over-weight, lonely man.
He never had siblings and both his parents were dead, which consequentially left him with an estate and lots of money. This meant that he didn’t need to work and the big house with huge back yard made him go crazy with solitude. His parents raised him to be a well-mannered Catholic, something he wasn’t very orthodox about until after they died. It gave him no comfort in thinking they were in heaven or that God was looking after their souls. He had issues with religion, you see, with God in particular.
He was taught that God was all powerful and loving and that he watched over everyone. But Teddy, being stubborn, didn’t buy into all the benevolence, omnipotence and omniscience of God.
He found problems; if God was so powerful why didn’t he just fix the evil in the world? If he was loving, why did bad things happen? And if he knew what everyone was going to do, what was the point in watching over them? His father had little chats with Teddy when he was a boy, telling him that his mother was one of the “beautiful ones” and that she was lucky God made her that way. That always stuck with Teddy, “the beautiful ones”. Why didn’t God make him into a “beautiful one”? This supposedly all loving God didn’t seem to love Teddy too much.
When growing up, Teddy found people in school and college that he found beautiful and wanted to become friends with them. But they always found him weird and creepy for trying to talk to them and hang out all the time. He eventually gave up on trying to be around them and just watched from a short distance away, eavesdropping on their interesting conversations. He found every word they said to be striking, a kind of beauty that came naturally to some.
Being an older man now, Teddy went to a cafe a few times a week, just for something to do. He was a big reader and always took a Stephen King book with him to read while he drank his coffee. Not that he did much reading. He would peer at people over the top of his book, only people he found “beautiful”.
He pretended to be texting sometimes and took snapshots of the people he adored from the first sighting. He printed them out and tacked them up on the walls in a spare room in his house, each with a number written underneath them. When he felt alone, which was most of the time, he would go and stare at their faces just to consume himself in their array of beauty.
Soon this wasn’t enough for Teddy. He craved to be near to these people. To watch them intently. See how they live. Observe a way to become one of them.
He started following a few favourites of his from the cafe. They were regulars, coming in on their lunch breaks to grab a coffee, chatting away on their phones or to other “beauts”. He followed them to their offices, sometimes home. He took notes for each that he followed, noting what cars they had, what job they did, their address, marital status, whether they had children, what bank they used, what social circles they were in and anything he could find out about them.
He followed one of his targets one night; he had a plan. She was walking home in the dark, taking a short cut down an alley. At first she didn’t realize Teddy was behind her, but after she heard his footsteps she became wary. He was smart; he got out his phone and pretended to call his “wife”:
“Yeah, I’m just making my way home now, won’t be too long.”
“Okay, love you too.”
She seemed to ease at the knowledge that he was a family man, as if it made him less of a threat. He fastened his pace, coming up behind her in the darkness, grabbing her, and wrapping a chloroform-soaked hanky around her lips and nostrils. She struggled for a while but eventually drifted into unconsciousness. He had parked his car at the end of the alley, and he carried her dead weight body in the darkness and carefully placed her onto his back seat.
He stared at her face for a minute. Absorbing her beauty. Basking in her victory of catching her so easily. She is his now, they will live in his house together, and everything will be perfect, he thought.
When she came round she struggled, trying to attack him and escape. He eventually killed her in his attic where he kept her. She wouldn’t do as he said, she wouldn’t understand that he didn’t want to rape her. So he got angry and struck her over the head, over and over.
This happened several more times, men and women, kidnapped and killed because they struggled when he got close to them. He buried them in his back yard, each grave marked with the number of their photograph, which now had crosses through them and each body, each mutilated body, was buried with the notes he took of them whilst stalking them.
I say each mutilated body because after he killed them, he cut them open to see what was inside, to see what made them beautiful. He made incisions from the chest down to the abdomen, using the masses of tools he had from his father’s shed, he cracked open the ribcages and skulls. Pulled out most of the organs for closer inspection, ripped out the spinal cords, removed their eyes from the sockets and left them mutilated in a shallow grave with only a stick with their individual number marking the graves. He never found any evidence of beauty inside them, even though he kept looking. After the third corpse he knew it was pointless.
He proceeded to stalk people from the cafe, kidnapping the ones that he liked the most. He extended his search area as the same old faces lost their beautiful touch, driving out to other cafes or restaurants and waiting for his victims to go into a secluded dark place where he could pounce on them. He didn’t kill these ones, around 9 of them. He kept them in his basement (it was a huge basement) kitted out with cages that his predecessors used for hunting dogs, around 30 all together. He chained “the beautiful ones” up inside the cages by their necks so they had their hands free to eat. He tied some up more than others, and gagged the loud ones.
He would go watch them, and he kept cameras on them. If they misbehaved he would murder one in front of the rest to strike fear into them. He sat on a small wooden chair, rocking back and forth as he watched them; he gave them water to wash in and basic beauty necessities to keep them looking prim.
But he tired of just watching these people. They weren’t in their social environment to interact properly; they lost their touch after a while. He thought of killing them all, but was too lazy to dig all them graves in one go. He came up with several ideas as for what to do with them next, but there was one that made a huge, spine-chilling grin grow onto his face.
He was going to make a whole new wardrobe. Who would he wear first...?