Damn that bitch! I hope she burns in Hell for the shit she put me through. All these judging eyes, all these smiling faces - how they taunt me with their bliss!

These were the thoughts of a madman.

I’ll kill them all! I swear it! Damn them! They laugh at my grief! I know they do! How could I allow a woman to make me so weak! Never again! No. I will never surrender myself to these damn watchful eyes.

He lived a tormented life. Fear, anxiety, anger, paranoia, had disciplined his mind into a robotic state, no longer did he act like a human being. His anger, so quick to arise, terrified the people he knew.

My family is in on it too! I will never trust them again! Damn everyone to Hell!

His grudges were delusional, his schemes for revenge, insane.

I’ll kill them all, starting with her! She denies me my love, spits upon it and gloats - oh, how she vexes me! There’s no other choice. If I can’t have her, nobody can! Tonight will be the night. Yes, tonight her blood shall spill!

Night drowned the old countryside where she lived; her name had been Amanda.

My lovable Amanda...

The man approached the house. Midnight was beginning to reach. He crept through the grass and bushes of her front lawn and arrived to the window leading into her bedroom; it was open.

You shall die tonight.

He wore a dark trench coat, and from it he pulled out a slick knife. A fresh blade, newly bought. Perfect for murder. “Murder,” the lunatic tasted the word on his tongue and smiled wickedly.

How would he go by doing it? Simply slitting her throat? No. That was too quick, too easy. He wanted to enjoy his work.

Maybe I’ll fuck her, he thought. Tie her up and drill the slut with my penis. No. That’s too barbaric. I want this murder to display the art of killing.

He thought for several moments; the wind rose, rustling the bushes beside him. His head was right underneath the windowsill. He made not a sound, though, in his mind, trains collided. He lightly ran his bony finger down the cold tip of the blade and slowly raised himself to look inside the room. Nobody.

Perfect. That wicked smile never left the man’s face.

Quickly, he returned the knife into his trench coat and looked a few more times in the soulless room; finding that it was now or never, the madman stealthily hoisted himself up against the windowsill, his head the first body part to enter, and used his right hand as a balance beam against the floor as his legs, one by one, slid inside.

The room was lit by a small lamp beside a bed. The covers and pillows were pink.

Red is so much richer than pink, he thought maliciously, remembering one particular phone conversation they’d shared about their favorite colors.

He noted her makeup department in the furthermost corner of the square room. He distracted himself on it; something odd was fishing around in his mind.

That’s it! he thought. The madman took one step deeper into the room and luckily the wooden floor didn’t creak. Perfect. He took another step, his muddy boots dragging behind some dirty footprints, but that didn’t matter. He planned to kill her before the hand struck 12:30.

Her makeup department, he noted, once he arrived to it, was overly encumbered with lipsticks, hair dyes, mascaras, blush, eye-liners, etc. He stuffed his jacket with them; but before he left, he looked upon himself in the mirror that hung in a slight slant.

He couldn’t recognize himself. His eyes were dark and baggy from the lack of sleep he suffered through the past week; his cheeks were beginning to change color, the chilly air from being outside made them look blue; his brown hair was stiff and smelt of pastures.

There suddenly came a sound of feet from the next room.

The lunatic felt his heart jump out of his throat. He turned away from the makeup department, looking for a way out of such condition. The window, he thought for a second, no, it’s too far.

The steps grew closer. Closer. Every time his heart beat inside him, there came another step. He didn’t have time for sweat or any rational thinking. They grew closer. The little devils! The time had come!

The lunatic, petrified of his intentions, pulled out his knife. The footsteps continued. He lunged out at the doorway and fell into the hall where he saw her: she, the one of sublime beauty and character. His Amanda. His love. The one he wanted to be with forever.

Her ghostly white skin tormented him. Her lips were plump and soft; her caring blue eyes caused more pain than his knife ever could.

“Amanda,” the madman said ghastly, raising his knife.

Her mouth dropped in terror as she screamed! She ran oh so fast down the hall that the man barely had time to react.

He chased her; his loud, boisterous footsteps colliding on the wood, echoed throughout the house, which was bigger than he’d previously thought. Had she been coming to bed when they met? Or was she about to remove her makeup? These questions came and went from the man’s mind.

He gained up on her. She looked back and screamed. Through the living room they ran; Amanda threw down one of her glass lamps in order to slow him down. Shattering, the broken glass proved to be a failed attempt as the lunatic simply ran through it in his boots.

“Amanda!” he cried, leaping forward with all his weight, grabbing the woman’s leg and pulling her down. There’d been a large, unlit fireplace just a few feet from where he‘d tackled her; they both came crashing down and Amanda hit her head on one of the logs, knocking her unconscious.

Her body, still and unmoving, was in the perfect condition for the lunatic to do whatever he wished. The knife he’d been chasing her with slipped out of his hands when he fell; it landed somewhere nearby. Slowly regaining his confidence, he tasted the irony sensation of the blood that oozed from his now busted lips. With a groan, he stood up. At first, the feeling of being upright on his feet made him dizzy. It took a moment for the room to stop spinning. But when it did, he gazed upon the sleeping body before him.

She’s as beautiful as ever, he thought. She slept peacefully; he listened closely to every time she breathed. For a long while he sat next to her. Not touching her. Not moving her. He looked at the clock hanging on the wall, and it read exactly 12:00.

Just thirty more minutes, he thought. From his trench coat, he began to pull out the makeup he’d stolen. He smiled. “You, now, beautiful.” The words of a maddened cow.

The dining room, he saw from where he sat; it was only a couple meters away; and he saw a rounded table and a few chairs. He took one of the chairs and brought it to where Amanda laid unconscious - he hadn’t the courtesy to at least move her head away from the log in the fire pit. The sight was disgusting, for the man drooled himself gazing upon the well curved and proportioned woman.

“Rope,” he muttered in a raspy voice. “Need rope.”

The rope, he found, was in her garage. It’d been about fifteen yards in length, plenty to do what he needed to do. And on his way out of the garage, he grabbed a roll of duct-tape from a shelf.

He threw the utensils onto the couch, and then proceeded to drag Amanda’s unconscious corpse away from the fireplace. Her frail frame, her bony hands that he adored, her soft lips, her scent of youth, the madman craved it all. He craved her.

Time seemed to go by so slow, for the time it took him to do all this was a mere five minutes, followed by another five as he began tying and bondaging Amanda to the chair. He started with her feet first, wrapping them tightly around her ankles until they blistered. Her stomach and chest soon followed; wrapping around the woman’s body five times before moving to her hands. He cupped them similarly as he did the ankles. He ripped out a large piece of duct-tape and forced it around her mouth and kissed her forehead when all was done.

The silence that followed was a silence of death itself. The horrific cries of a lustful Hell! The madman gazed upon his artwork as she sat motionless, unmoving, her head dangling at her shoulders, her golden locks running past her knees.

The makeup, which he hadn’t touched since retrieving the rope, was right beside his feet and ready to use at his disposal once the woman awoke.

Time continued to prosper, and the hour drew nearer. The madman began to grow impatient with the woman’s sleep. “Wake up!” he cried, shaking her fiercely, but only her head jerked to and from her left and right shoulders. He tried slapping her, but it only left a red mark from his palm.

12:15 came and she still hadn’t awoke. The man tensed in frustration as he sat on the couch across from her, waiting. 12:30, he kept telling himself. It has to be at 12:30.

12:20 came and went, yet still she hadn’t awoke. His face had already turned red. He glared at the clock, not taking his eyes off the big hand as it tormentedly ticked.

12:25 and he tried drawing on her face with lipstick. The pink hardly showed up on her fair skin, and so the man tried the black. Her drew on her closed eyelids two eyes and a big smile on the duct-tape around her lips. 12:30, he thought desperately. “Wake up!” he screamed. She didn’t.

The clock finally struck 12:30. Amanda awoke. She looked around the room, her eyesight a little bit hazy, and noticed that all her limbs were bound to a chair. She tried shrieking, but all she tasted was the duct-tape. She gagged, she hissed, she moaned. “Mmm m mmmm m!” that’s all that could be heard. That’s when she saw him. The man behind the act. The lunatic of our story. The madman who’d planned such an evil scheme.

She glared at him with fear and anger. He glared right back, but with a smile on his face. He walked over, laid his cold hand on her shoulder, and ripped the duct-tape off.

Amanda paid no attention to the pain left by the duct-tape as she immediately yelled, “Help! Somebody, please!”

“Shush,” spoke the man, cupping her mouth with his other hand. He gazed deeply into her blue eyes. He saw the fear; he saw the anger; but sympathy, he had none. He looked at the clock one more time. “12:32,” he continued, “and you’re still alive.”

“Please, why are you doing this, Is-”

He slapped her. "Don’t speak that name to me! He died years ago. I’m all that’s left of him.”

Tears burned Amanda's eyes. “Please, why?” Her face blistered from where he’d hit her. The pain, Amanda bit her tongue to deal with it.

The man continued to ramble. “You’re going to be my art piece,” he said; Amanda could barely utter another cry (the slap had hurt so much).

“What do you mean?” she asked in a weak voice.

“I saw your makeup department back when I was in your room nearly two hours ago - you really were persistent in sleeping; another hour of you being unconscious and I would’ve left. But, it’s only a few minutes past your supposed to be death, oh well.” He smiled and uncapped the black lipstick he held in his hand. “Black’s really not your color, but I didn’t grab a red.” He leaned over and lightly stroked Amanda’s cheek with the lipstick. “You make a wonderful canvass!”

“Help,” she pleaded, though her voice was weak and raspy; the man carried on with his task.

He stroked both her cheeks, and when he’d finished, he looked upon his masterpiece with glee. He brought up a mirror for Amanda to see herself as well. In horror, she saw that he’d drawn two pentagrams on her face.

“Isn’t it perfect?!” the madman shouted happily. He leaned over and whispered in Amanda’s ear, his breath stale and cold, “I hope you like it.”

The girl froze. She couldn’t speak a word. Terror had struck her so strongly that, even though she knew she was alive, her limbs dangled like an unstringed puppet. “Please, no,” she whispered.

The man turned away from her and started pacing to and fro the front door and her; what was he thinking about? His face appeared to be in deep reflection. He rubbed his chin coolly, looked at Amanda, looked at the front door, and looked at her again. “You know, you remind me a lot of my mother.”

Amanda said nothing; and the madman didn’t approve of her silence. From his trench coat, he pulled out a handful of sharp tacks. Their small handles ranged from any color from green to blue. The lunatic grinned and approached.

She felt her heart give out. “No, please!” she screamed. “No!”

Another slap across her face silenced her. “Don’t talk,” he instructed in a calm, soothing, sadistic voice. “Let me see your face.” He took a firm hold on the woman’s jaw, filling his palm with her cheeks and chin. The tacks came later. “How many do you want? Five or six?” he asked, holding them in his hand.

Amanda’s face went blue and she shook her head fiercely. “Stop it! Please!” Tears flooded her night gown, leaving noticeable wet stains.

He paid her no mind. “I think six will be enough,” he said, “three on this cheek,” he stroked it and continued, “and three on this cheek,” he stroked both of them.

“No, don’t!” she started jumping up and down in the chair, but it did her no good. The rope was too strong and tied around too tight. She accepted her fate and closed her eyes.

The madman noticed Amanda suddenly ceasing to shout or cry. It worried him. “Is everything all right?” he asked her.

From her cold, defeated, lips, she answered, “Do your worst, bastard. You disgusting freak. You’ve thrown your life away chasing me-”

“Shut up!” the lunatic cried. “I loved you!”

Amanda growled. “You loved the thought of me!”

Angry, and in a frenzy, the man seized hold of her cheek and stabbed one of the tacks into the soft tissue. Amanda shrieked in pain.

“Kill me, you son of a bitch!” she cried, tasting the blood in her mouth from the wound.

“Not yet! You have to be perfect!” He picked up another tack and once again tore through the flesh of the girl.

Amanda’s face ached. She felt woozy, but still she persisted on. “How could I ever love someone like you! Obsessed, miserable, you only care about yourself.”

The man stopped once more. “That’s not true! From the time I first set my eyes on you, I knew we were meant to be together.”

“You’re crazy!”

“I’m in love!”

The night wore on. Amanda had two tacks already in her cheeks. The man went for a third one, when, suddenly, she said, “If you only would’ve been patient, then maybe I would’ve loved you.”

That made his head shoot up and gaze deeply into her eyes. “What do you mean?”

“You were always so brash and hasty. You never allowed me time; you wanted your answer then and there. You asked me to sleep with you; we both knew that that wasn’t going to happen. Do you understand? Isaac, tell me you understand.”

He hadn’t heard that name in so many years - the years of his youth and early adulthood. What evil had been bestowed upon him? Isaac, we now know was his name: the man behind the veil of betrayal and envy.

The very ground shook beneath him. The words from Amanda’s mouth brought him crashing to his knees. He cried out: “Forgive me, my dearest! Oh, forgive me! How far have I sunk! Oh, mercy, mercy! Lord, please! Allow my soul rest, and the courage to free her from her bondage.” He went to the knife in the corner, picked it up, and hurried back to Amanda.

She noticed a different sort of gaze from his eyes. Something had changed in him. The chances of him being worthy of repentance was low, and she planned to call the police if he released her, if he released her. “Isaac,” she spoke again to the man with the raised knife in front of her, “what are you planning to do with that?” Her voice was calm.

Isaac’s heartbeat banged against his hot chest. He looked many moments upon the woman who remained tied up and unmoving. He said in a voice different than the usual raspiness: “I don’t know.” Tears formed in his eyes, and they ran down his cheeks.

The guilt overwhelmed him. He thought about his life in these final moments; the woman he’d cared so much for, was it worth killing her? No. His soul was dead; tonight was the final nail in his coffin; Isaac knew he would not survive.

And so he began to say a prayer as he cut the rope, releasing Amanda. He then fell to his knees as she ran to call the police; he didn’t care; nothing except his few final heartbeats could be heard within him. The knife, still in his hand, he gripped its handle until his knuckles turned white.

Amanda had already fled the house; she’d ran to her neighbors, all bruised up and with the two tacks still in her cheeks, to wait for the police to arrive. The neighbors tried questioning her, but she was shaking so bad, and felt so weak, she collapsed on their doorstep. They brought her into their home and laid her on the couch.

The clock ticked on, and Isaac raised the knife slowly to his neck. The last image he wanted in his head was of Amanda walking the beach with him beside her. He smiled at that one, single image. He closed his eyes when he heard the sirens from outside and the red and blue lights filling the house. Goodbye, Amanda. I love you.

He slit his throat.