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A gunshot tore through the mellow evening air. John Carnegie, occupant of room sixteen in the Hatlen Motel, had just taken his own life. It was a nasty suicide; there could be no doubt about that. He was sprawled out horribly on his blood spattered bed, arms and legs positioned at awkward angles. The .44 pistol that John had used to shoot himself was still grasped in one cold dead hand. In his other hand, there was a fountain pen locked in his curled fingers.
Close nearby on the nightstand, there was a black leather-bound journal. The pages of this journal were consumed in neat handwriting, right down to the very last line. When these writings were later read by the police, they were almost immediately declared to be the deranged ramblings of a madman.
However, hidden away in the depths of John Carnegie’s final testament, there is a story. While certainly incredible, and most likely the product of a man suffering from delusions, as the investigators stated, the wife of John Carnegie, Diane, said herself that she believed every word her husband had written down.
Entry 1- Walk With Me.
I have six days before I die. However, when I do die, it will be on my own terms. My plan is to end my own life. Diane and Carl are paying a weeklong visit to the grandparent’s that I personally arranged, all so that they can come back home to find out that I have eaten a bullet. Do I feel guilty for this? Yes, very much so. Deceiving my own wife and child was difficult enough, but knowing that I have put them through more than I could possibly imagine is unbearable. However, given the circumstances of my predicament, I would rather kill myself than live on.
My name is John Carnegie, and I am the Reaper of Raleigh, North Carolina. I am the slaughterer of four women. Colleen Simpson, Mary Ann Louis, Sally Everheart, and Amber Walterson have all met untimely ends at the blade of my ax. I am an American serial killer guilty of crimes that could get me locked up for several consecutive life sentences. I’ve decided I’m not going to prison. I plan to end everything in a few days, with a pen in one hand and a gun in the other. But before I do inexorably put this pistol in my mouth and subsequently decorate this bed sheet with my brains, I feel the need to tell everyone why I committed these dastardly deeds. I don’t want to be remembered as a monster, although I fear that is inevitable. I want people to understand that, while I did do some very terrible things, I literally had no choice.
So, with that said, I shall recount the events of the past few years in this little journal that I was able to find in the convenience store right by this shabby motel. It’s going to take a while, as I realize that my story is by no means short. But I think that it’ll be worth it, just so that my family will know that I’m not insane.
Everything started with a car wreck.
I can remember the exact date as if were just yesterday though it seems like it happened very long ago. It was April the fourth, 2012. I had a decently well paying job as an accountant for my local tax firm, and at many dark hours I would find myself going home late from the office. This was one of these nights. My mind was exhausted from a tough day of work. I promised myself that when I got home, I would have a nice cup of hot chocolate before settling down into bed. Coming upon an intersection in the road, I made what was possibly the worst mistake of my life: I ran a red light.
You have to remember that it was nearing midnight, and the streets were all but abandoned. This was something I actually did often, so I was taken completely by surprise when the sharp beam of headlights pierced through the windows of my car. I didn’t really even have time to react. I was trying to make the split second decision on whether I should break or accelerate when the car hit me.
Everything happened incredibly fast. There was an immediate “Boom!” as my car was impacted. I was vaguely aware of the sounds of glass shattering and tires screeching. I tried to move my arms, but realized in a daze that the airbag had deployed, restricting my movement. The next thing I knew, I was spinning. My entire world became a twisted carnival ride that was careening out of control. Then I went for a steep dive into a ditch, hit my head, and blacked out.
What followed was the most painful experience of my life, or more accurately, my temporary death. For an infinitesimal amount of time, everything was simply black. Then, I began to fall. I couldn’t see anything, but I was gathering speed and I could feel merciless hot winds tearing at my body as I plunged downwards. I kept expecting to wake up with a sharp jerk in the stomach, as everyone has woken from a dream in this way at one point or another. But surprisingly that didn’t happen.
Instead I landed in the grounds of Hell. To even try and describe this abomination of a place would be pointless. I could go on for hours talking about the pure vileness of it all. It was a world of pain, far worse than anything or anyone could ever imagine. The things that I saw in there were considerably scarier than any living man could have the displeasure of viewing, and I dare not try to put them to paper. The one thing I remember most about the place, and the thing that I will indulge in writing, was the burning that lay within; the flames that licked their greedy lips upon my body, scalding every inch of me while I cried out in endless pain.
And of course, there was the Beast. The Beast approached me leisurely. Walking through the flames on its two padded paws like it was nothing at all. It didn’t appear to be capable of feeling the burn. With every movement it made, its cloak swished about his animalistic ankles… a cloak made of human scalps that had been woven together by the strands of hair attached to withered flesh.
The Beast was nothing short of a monster. Sort of like what I was to become, but in a much more literal sense. He was a curious cross between man and animal, with his milky white complexion, black claws that extended inches from his fingertips, and iron fangs that sprouted from blackened gums. Massive horns of ornate ivory protruded from its forehead. Its human face was old and wrinkled, his hair was a long natural black that caressed his shoulders and cascaded down his back. However, the thing that I will never forget was its eyes. The eyes of the Beast were of the deepest shades of golden yellow; beautiful, but also poisonous in the most sinister sort of way.
I was on the ground; gasping desperately from the effort it was taking me to withhold the pain. The Beast looked down at me in a mocking sort of pity, almost seeming to smile at me with its warped characteristics. Then it knelt down beside me, resting its several knees before extending a single clawed hand outwards.
Its finger touched my chest, and I jerked backwards, not wanting to be near this monster who wanted so much to take pleasure from my anguish. The thing let out a cold laugh. Suddenly I was immobilized, and even as on the inside I was screaming, on the out I remained completely still, incapable of doing anything at all as the Beast reached out its claw and stroked my chest, gently at first, before digging in, ripping in six concise movements across my torso, five of these being straight lines and one of them being circular. I was being attacked mentally just as well as my physically. Memories of evil were being projected into my head. I was forced to look at terrible images… a mother being murdered before her children, a young boy pulling out his teeth one by one with a set of pliers, a man having his legs cut off while spectators watched in horrid fascination. Then, there was the Beast itself, screaming its name, Castor, over and over in my mind.
When he withdrew, I was once again able to move, and when I looked down upon myself I discovered that a pentagram had been carved into my chest by the mighty claw of Castor. I had been marked by a demon. It was then, when I was observing my wound in horror, when the defibrillator revived me. My eyes snapped open, and for a moment, I could not see. Then my vision cleared and I stared into the masked faces of the paramedics above. I had died, and I had paid a visit to Hell.
It took the nurses a while to subdue me. I was screaming at them all, trying to get them to understand my terror. Hell existed, it was very real, and it had almost claimed me.
I was still spitting and reeling in my constraints when I felt the room begin to spin. I woke up again later, this time not to the faces of paramedics and doctors, but to my son and daughter. All the horrible things that had happened in the last few hours, the car crash and trip to Hell, and Castor, suddenly vanished.
Diane showered me with her love, kissing me all over and asking again and again, “Are you all right?” She pressed her hand against my cheek, looking into my eyes with the sincerest of concerns. Then there was an endless parade of questions. “John! Look me in the eye! Tell me, how did this happen? Where’s the person who did this to you? What were you thinking running a red light?”
Carl was bursting with excitement to see me. And despite my best efforts, I had a difficult time trying to wrap my arms around him, what with my various bandages and other restricting forces, despite my best efforts. He asked me a few questions of his own, including: “Dad…will you be able to finish my tree house?”
I had been working on a tree house for Carl and his friends for about five weeks. I had done it as a sort of recreational project. I estimated that it would be finished in a couple of months.
I smiled at him, stroking his hair and responding, “Yes, of course I will Carl. I can still do that.”
Then, with a sudden vehement anger that you often see on the faces of toddlers when they don’t get what they want, he let loose his resentment in a furious demand. Saying, “Where’s the guy who did this to you, and why haven’t you kicked his ass yet?”
To this I could only give laughter, while Diane gasped and called for him to tell her at once where he had learned such language. I stared at her with love while she scolded him, pointing a finger and absentmindedly tucking a strand of golden hair behind her ear. I always knew she would make a good mother.
Diane was, and still is, the most gorgeous woman on the planet to me. I remember seeing her in college for the first time. In a large crowd of people, a single blonde head of hair caught my attention. I sped up. Nudging my way past people, thinking it was an old friend of mine. You can probably imagine my surprise when I finally caught up with this person and was faced with a pretty girl I had never seen before instead of a buddy from high school.
“Hey… sorry about this, I thought you were someone else.”
With that phrase spoken, I turned and was about to make my escape when she replied, “Hey yourself, where are you going? Aren’t you going to miss me?”
I swiveled in place, taking in another good look at this mysterious girl. She had the bluest eyes I had ever seen, which were flickering with humor.
“I’m headed to my accounting class. What about you?”
Her head nodded slightly, the bemused half smile on her face never fading.
“I have art class. Say, where were you going a second ago? If you’re class is accounting then we should both be moving in the same direction.”
“Um… Bathroom,” I stammered, face reddening.
“There’s a bathroom in the hall up ahead. Come here, walk with me.”
Why she was so accepting of me I will never know. All of my other failed romances had left me with the mentality that I was probably going to be a bachelor for as long as I lived, but when I talked to this girl, I felt within myself a blossoming of hope. I think she could tell I was interested in her in more ways than one, so she was careful never to make things awkward between us. I learned that the name of this girl was Diane Tiller, she had the ambition to become an artist, and she came from Blackwood. By the time we had to go our separate ways, we had exchanged phone numbers and agreed to go out to eat sometime.
And so it began: a romance that should’ve lasted a lifetime and one that I am regretfully about to cut short. The years we spent together have been the best of my life, with the exception of these past four. We took to each other immediately on our first date. Diane was energetic, funny, attractive, and of course, thoughtful of me. We started to go out together more and more often. She was actually the more courageous one of the two of us when it came to romantic gestures. It had been her that sent me flowers for the first time.
Things just escalated from there. My confidence began to grow. We started to see each other every day instead of just on weekends. I went out of my way to impress her, going as far as to buy her tickets to a concert featuring Led Zeppelin, which I knew was her favorite band. I insisted that she go with a friend, but she took my hand, looked me in the eye and pulled me in for a long, lingering kiss before declaring that I should go with her.
Four months after that, I asked her to marry me in the secluded loneliness of my dorm room. I had made sure to get rid of my roommate, who I knew would ruin the whole experience. I wanted my proposal to be private, away from the prying eyes of my college friends, who had become the background of the big picture that was now Diane. As soon as I was on my knees, Diane was saying yes, with tears in her eyes that spilled down over her cheeks as she inspected the lovely iridescent diamond ring that I had bought for her with a large portion of the little money I had.
Diane, if you are reading this, than I am truly sorry for the pain I caused you. What I’m doing is selfish, but in truth I am only delaying what is inevitable. I was going to go to Hell anyways when I died. And I simply can’t stand to live on this Earth any longer. The longer I stay here, the more people will die of deaths they don’t deserve. At least when I am in Hell my sin will be truly punished… and I have hopefully saved some innocent people. What I am doing is more than just suicide. It is a sacrifice for the greater good.
Entry 2- Castor's Curse.
The injuries sustained from my accident were ugly definitely ugly, but after some medical care, they were no longer life threatening. The third degree burns that covered the backs of my arms and legs were soothed. The cut on my arm that had drained me of much of my blood was firmly bandaged, and in a short period of time, my head had mostly recovered from the damage of my concussion.
It became quickly apparent to me that something was dreadfully wrong with my life soon after I was liberated from my hospital bed. Diane was so kind to me, just as she always was. She greeted me in the waiting area, and much to the surprise of every other patient there, planted a kiss on my lips that lasted for several long seconds, with no perceptible embarrassment. I had to grin to myself. Something like this was really exactly what I would expect from Diane. After that, she helped me into her Black Saab that I had brought her for her thirtieth birthday, and we were off. Diane chatted with me all the way back, as if I had never been hurt at all, deciding to talk instead about the monthly book club she participated in, as well as how well Carl was doing in school. All of his teachers were vouching for how quickly he was learning. I felt pride rise from within myself. I know that one day Carl will do great things. Looking back on it, speaking on topics such as the neighborhood gossip and Carl doing so well in school was a wise move. I didn’t at all want to speak of the wreck I had been through, and the experience that I was trying to pass off in my mind as some sort of strange dream. I was actually trying to convince myself of this at the time. I thought that the fire I felt, as well as the claw of Castor, could’ve simply been the pain of the accident on a subconscious level.
That was when the freight train almost hit us. We were on a road that had a railway crossing sign that was seemingly broken. The lights that usually signaled the coming of a train that was traveling at high speeds did not flicker to life as they usually would have. The red and white bars didn’t make their sudden crisscross about our path to home. Instead the approaching train hurtled out from between the squeaky pines like a thousand pound metal wildcat. I was quick to react. I slammed my wounded hand down upon Diane’s leg, causing her foot to hit the break. Pain shot through my arm like a hot wire, but I paid it no mind. We managed to stop at the last possible moment.
“Holy shit…” Diane breathed, breathless from our near demise. I had given her a small bruise from the impact of my hand on her leg. But it was of little consequence when compared to what could have possibly happened.
She started to rant. “I swear to God I’m going to sue. Aren’t these railways supposed to be inspected or something?” It took me a minute or two to calm her down, and by then, the train had passed and our hearts had returned to their normal pace. We shakily continued to make our way home.
This was the first of many strange incidents in which I almost died. I suppose the best way to explain it would be to say that I had been cursed with a death jinx. It was always something insignificant that almost got me killed. I would go to saw off a piece of wood for Carl’s tree house, only to find that a knife was missing. And then, when I opened a particular cabinet in my search, the blade would come plunging down from a precarious perch at the top, and I barely had any time to get out of the way before it impaled itself in my wooden worktable. Or it could be something as small as a spider that made a home for itself in my closet. I went to put on my sports jacket one morning and didn’t notice the Black Widow’s plump body until I felt something crawling on my back. When I shook the jacket out the spider hit the ground and began to scuttle towards a crack in the floorboards.
Strange events like this continued to happen over a period of two weeks. I was always just clever enough to know when they were going to happen, and I had several very close calls. Rat poison somehow found its way into my soup. I received an electrical shock from a chewed wire that could’ve been severe. I became extremely paranoid to say the least. Near accidents just kept happening. One incidence after another that should’ve and could’ve gotten me killed… but never did. A loose brick on my house fell from above while I was raking the leaves outside, nearly causing me serious head trauma. While I was carrying shards of broken glass out to our trash can, a protruding branch just outside the back door nearly made me trip and spear myself. The first few times this happened I tried to pass it off as nothing more than strange coincidence, but eventually, I realized that there was something very ominous going on.
I stayed indoors all day, going as far as to call further injury leave on my job for fear of another wreck. I did not understand at the time what was happening to me, and I prayed feverishly day and night for God to help me. I had never been a particularly religious man before then, but events such as these tend to bring the idea of divine intervention to light in a positive way. Suddenly, I was indulging in the prayers I had been taught in my catholic upbringing. Diane and Carl were both very concerned. They didn’t understand why I was acting the way I was.
One afternoon, Diane approached me. I was pretending to watch a football game in the secluded loneliness of the master bedroom when I heard a knock on the door. Without waiting for approval, Diane stuck her head in.
“What is it sweetheart?” I asked with a sigh.
She stepped into the room slowly, as if treading on ice. She was wringing her hands and biting her lower lip.
“What is it Diane? Come on, you can tell me.”
“What’s wrong with you?”
“You know what I mean John. You never come out of your room anymore. What’s happening?”
“It’s nothing. I guess I’m just not comfortable with any of that. That wreck scared me; I don’t think I’m ready to get back into the swing of things quite yet.”
She was nodding her head thoughtfully, which was a surefire sign in her own language that she knew there was more to the story.
“Look, Diane, I promise you there’s no need to worry here.”
She still looked unconvinced, so I pressed on, saying, “I’ll go back to work at the end of the week. Really, I will.”
Almost immediately I regretted letting my promise slip out. Diane’s concern lessened a degree or two, but now, I had allowed myself to make a mistake that would force me to confront my fears. Diane, having her concerns vanquished, left the room, and I locked the door behind her.
It seemed like I spent days praying, but my hope went nowhere, and I eventually realized what I had known all along deep within, although I did not want to admit it. God no longer cared about me. No amount of prayer could possibly induce anything to happen that could save me. I was cast from God’s sight for a sin that I had never even committed. I recognized more than the fact that God no longer cared. I comprehended that he was cruel. It was a dark realization that paved the road for those many more which were to come.
I remembered my post wreck vision, detail by detail. The whole experience had seemed so real…
After much contemplation, I began to pray, not to God this time, but to anyone who was listening, I pleaded with the thoughts that appeared so imprisoned inside my own mind for someone or something that was omniscient… a higher power… to help my situation. In my desperation, I prayed to Castor, the demon that I had seen in the flames of Hell. I asked what it wanted from me, and if there was anything I could do to stop this curse that was haunting me, and ruining my life.
Entry 3- A Deal With a Demon.
In only a day, my prayers to Castor were responded to in the form of a dream. In this dream, I was sitting in the plush lined booth seat in the corner of a restaurant. Everything was incredibly real. It was as if I was actually there. All around me people were sitting and talking to each other. Every one of them was smiling and laughing, occasionally they would clink their ruby filled wine glasses against their silverware. Some of these men and women were old and some of them were very young, no less than teenagers, as a matter of fact. The youngest one, a boy of about fifteen years who wore long hair and a Slayer T-shirt talked openly with a blonde woman who looked to be in her fifties. The tables and booths were lavish, made of the finest wood that was had been stained and scrubbed clean of any imperfections. The air was filled with the faint aroma of apple crisp and creamy cheddar soups that made my mouth water. The walls were covered in the most intricate and beautiful paintings, one of them depicted a man holding a blackened rose to a woman who was blushing profusely. Another showed a picturesque country road that was partially obscured by the towering orange autumn trees, and, oddly enough, paved bright red. The gentle twang of a harp being played by slender fingers gave the place a sense of comfort and well being. I craned my neck, looking for the unseen player of the harp.
That’s when I caught sight of the Beast. And yet he was not the Beast. Instead of the half humanoid brute that I had seen before, with the horns curled high on his head and the cloak of scalps clinging to its pale skin, there was instead a man dressed in a silken suit that was as formal as it was reassuring. There were no fangs, no claws, nothing that would even so much as suggest hostility. Upon seeing me, he smiled in a gentle way that did not at all resemble the mocking cruelty that I had witnessed in Hell. He retained most of the same facial characteristics however. The wavy black hair and the aging face had not varied at all. But the eyes were now a brilliant sky blue that seemed to reflect his demeanor. When he smiled at me, his entirety of his whole thin face lit up, and his happiness appeared genuine. His white incisors were perfect, like they had been picked clean just for me.
The man approached my table and sat down across from me before extending his hand for me to shake. I was still hesitant, however. How could I forget the ringleader in the misery of Hell? The man let out a deep booming laugh seeing my concern. “John, there’s no need to get all scared with me. I’m your friend here; I’m trying to help you out. After all, it was me that answered your prayers wasn’t it?” His voice was deep and thick, overflowing with ancient power. His words were encouraging, but my doubt was firmly instilled.
“How do I know you aren’t lying?” I inquired, my voice layered in distrust. In response, Castor reached over and touched my hand, and immediately warmth spread throughout my body, starting at my fingertips and working its way up my arm until all the negative energy that I felt for this man had been thawed. Suddenly, I was not in the presence of an atrocity, but rather an associate. A friendly old man who wanted what was best for me, and was willing to talk terms of business. So, I spoke.
I went right into the important things. “What is it that you can do to help me? How can I escape my curse?”
Castor chuckled to himself, “Curse,” he murmured under his breath. “That’s a very much outdated word to describe what you’re going through.” Then, still chortling, he explained to me my situation. “You see John, Hell as you know it is far more than just a place. You should think of it more as a consciousness. It’s a living, breathing force, capable of thought and action. When you died in that car accident, you were claimed by Hell. You were specifically marked as an inhabitant. When you were revived, the signature on your body was complete, and so Hell tried to bring you back in the only possible way it knew how. Several times, actually. I’m very surprised you made it this long.”
In an awfully bizarre way, it made sense. I reflected on all the incidents that had occurred within the last couple weeks. I was still not fully sure if I believed this man, it all seemed too ridiculous to be true. Then again, my entire life had made a swan dive into the abyss of disbelief as of late. So why not believe him? What choice did I really have?
“Castor… can I call you that?”
“It wouldn’t make much sense if you didn’t. That is my name.”
“Castor, you still haven’t really answered my question. How do I get rid of this?”
“Well John, there is a way to prolong your life. There is a deal to be made here. And trust me when I say that this is something you need. Hell will only make its attempts on your life more and more diligent. You won’t last long without my deal.”
“What are the terms of the deal?”
With that encouraging smile on his face the whole time, Castor told me that if I were to accept his offer and bring him the soul of a female once annually, he would lengthen my time in life for one year each time. With the drunken air of Castor’s touch still presiding over my body, the possibility of what was being suggested did not seem at all unreasonable. The only question I posed was: “How should I do this, exactly?”
His reply was relaxed when it came. To one out of earshot, we might’ve been discussing the weather. “You will find an instrument with which to procure the female souls in your own earth, specially placed there just for you.”
“And what exactly happens if I refuse?” The question was out of my mouth before I could stop it.
Every head in that restaurant turned to face me. Every last person there, young and old, was staring at me reproachfully, as if I had said something overly offensive. The teenager I had seen earlier suddenly looked far more threatening, with his happiness gone and a newfound sinister glare on his face. I could quite literally feel their eyes crawling across me like I was the lowest form of a living thing that had ever existed, a lump between two layers of mold and filth. The harp playing stopped abruptly, and a metallic fragrance entered the now cold air. I shivered, and looked at Castor himself. All traces of compassion had vanished, and his eyes were of the deepest amber yellow.
“You’re fully aware of what will happen. Hell with take you away.”
While these words were impactful enough on the surface, they meant a whole new multitude of things when you really give it a bit of thought; Diane and Carl were the two most precious things imaginable to me. I wanted to spend every last living moment that I possibly could with my family, but if my curse got the best of me, that would not be possible. I would be sucked down into the very meaning of horror as any one man could know it. There were so many things I had not done. I hadn’t taken Carl to Disney World, I hadn’t seen his first day of middle school, and hadn’t grown old and happy with Diane at my side! What was a man to do? So, without really knowing what I was getting myself into, and without considering it for a second longer, I shot back four words into the face of the Demon.
“I accept your offer.”
The air of normalcy returned to the restaurant. Everyone turned back to their food, and the harp began to whisper its gentle tune. Then, Castor was holding out his hand to me, giving me that same old smile that I had seen throughout the duration of our evening together. Without a moment’s hesitation, I shook it.
Then I woke up.
It was early morning, and Diane was making her special blueberry pancakes. Although she called for me to come to the living room and enjoy my meal with her and Carl, I only lay there in bed, mulling over the dream that I had just had. It had seemed so very realistic.
That’s when the urges came. The sudden inexplicable feelings that I can only make feeble attempts to explain. With a jump in my chest, I hurriedly began to get up, donning my slippers and rushing to the bathroom so that I could brush my teeth. I couldn’t exactly tell you the emotion that had taken over my mind at that moment even if I tried. It was the feeling that there was something to be done, something outside my house that I would have to venture to find. I had to get out, had to find out.
I began my unplanned morning walk at a brisk pace, heading directly for the wilderness of the woods right behind the house. As I went deeper into the forest, my heart began to pound heavily in my chest. I didn’t necessarily know where I was going, I was guided only by some strange, internal compass that pushed me the right way until I reached my destination: a clearing about a hundred yards into the trees. In the middle of the clearing there sat a singular stump, with an ax imbedded in the fine whitened wood. The hidden power behind my actions practically dragged me to it.
Then I looked at the ax.
Its handle was a dark wood that emanated the scent of pine. It glistened slightly from the soft sheen of the morning dew that was only enhanced by the early sun. The blade was shiny as could be, and its fine pure silver coloring looked like it had been polished recently. I took hold of it and wrenched it free from its place in the stump before slowly bringing it around, and taking a look at my reflection in the cold metal. The words of Castor from my so called dream crossed my mind.
“You will find an instrument with which to procure the female souls in your own earth, specially placed there just for you.”
A chill descended over my mind as the full meaning of everything that had been going on since my accident hit me like a thunderbolt. The experience I had last night was no dream. I had made a deal with a demon.
I felt the ax slip out of my hands and hit the ground with a dull thud, as I gave this my full consideration. My legs gave out from underneath me, and I sat there, thinking for what seemed like hours.
What had I agreed to? What had I been idiotic enough to force myself to do? These thoughts brewed in my mind. In hindsight, I hadn’t been idiotic at all. I had been manipulated by a monster who wanted me to bend to his will. The ax lay on the ground, innocently enough, but I knew of its potential malevolence. Procuring female souls…. And had I found an ax. Castor wanted me to murder one person each year. Only then would he allow me to be with my family.
In anger and frustration, I snatched the ax from the ground and stormed home. I was going to take the ax and bury it deep in the earth, where I could never be bothered by its gloomy presence. I came in through the gate in my backyard, doing my best to hide the two and a half foot long weapon under my jacket. I retrieved a shovel lying in my tool shed before maneuvering myself behind the structure and beginning to dig. When I finished, I headed inside to greet Carl and Diane.
To my surprise, the whole rest of the day occurred without incident. There was no freak occurrence that posed as a threat to my life at all. Although I was still very tentative, I began to realize that the threat of my life had disappeared, and I was free to do as I pleased without the fear of death.
The day after that, in an act of unofficial and personal celebration, I took my family bowling. Silly as I might sound, nothing can compare with the joy that I had at that ramshackle bowling alley. There is a special kind of love that results from seeing your kin happy, and I rejoiced at the sight of Diane laughing even as she made a terrible attempt at rolling her ball down the center of the lane, only to have it slink into the gutter. Carl, as the goofy boy he was, gave her a standing ovation each round. Cheering her name regardless of whether she did bad or well. I myself taught Carl how to bowl, seeing as this was his first time. I showed him how to fit his tiny fingers into the slots before sauntering forward, with a form that was no less than perfect so that he could successfully slide the ball towards the pins that presided on the end of the lane. He was actually quite good at this once he got the hang out it, and, to the secret incredulity of both me and Diane, he ended up beating us both.
That night, Diane and I made the sweetest love that either of us had ever managed since those days in our college years where I had arranged for my roommate to be out. With nostalgia fueling my sexual desires, I climaxed with a satisfaction that was previously unheard of.
From there over a period of several months, things ran more smoothly than ever. I started going back to work, and was greeted by my coworkers by many welcome greetings and claps on the back. I stopped staying so late in the office and began leaving earlier, in the predawn hours of mornings when Diane lay peacefully in sleep. I began to work myself into a cycle. Get up at five, ready yourself for the day, go for a jog, go to work, come home, spend some time with Carl, and finally make love to Diane before falling into a restful sleep.
Entry 4- The Reaper Cometh.
Everything changed on April the fourth. I was awoken in the middle of the night by a strong sharp jolt, the kind that I had only been subjected to by the harshness of the defibrillator. I sat up in bed, breathing hard. There was a dull ache in the center of my chest and I clutched at it with my hand. It was then that I heard the sudden whisper, a murmur that told me to follow through on my bargain; it was the voice of Castor. The Beast, unseen as he might’ve been, gave me explicit instruction on what to do, hissing in my ear with the same lethal charm that he had used in my dream, putting me in the same befuddled state that had led to me making a deal. Without so much as a stirring from Diane, I slipped on my coat and wriggled into my shoes. The lingering presence of the Beast stayed there the whole time, emanating an air of impatience. For whatever reason, he couldn’t wait to see the events that were sure to unfold shortly.
Before I continue with the events that follow, I just want to clarify to Diane that I meant nothing against her when doing this. I beg of her to understand that I had to do what I did for her own well being, terrible acts as they might be. I was given absolutely no choice. I couldn’t control what I was doing on that night. Nor was I myself on the nights when I murdered Mary Anne, Sally, or Amber, all of whom you will hear more about later. I was being mastered by the hands of a momentous evildoer, and there was nothing I could do but follow through with the coerced actions presented to me.
An hour and a half after I left my home I was picking up a prostitute on one of the more unfavorable streets of urban Raleigh. It hadn’t been all too difficult. I just drove my car slowly around the city, observing the people walking along the sidewalk. When the shorts from the young females got short enough and the outfits revealing enough, I had parked my car along the road and got out, beginning to walk. I was looking for someone special tonight, guided by the same force that had taken me to the ax in the woods. I would know her when I saw her…
In less than five minutes I found her. In my inebriated daze, I walked up to her, saying, “Hello ma’am. You’re looking quite lovely tonight. Can I interest you in doing something special, just between the two of us?” This girl, whom I am soon to know as Colleen Simpson, let out a bubbly laugh, took my hand in hers, and promptly began to kiss my fingertips. She appeared to be in her early twenties, and I probably would’ve found her very attractive had she not been a prostitute. She had blonde hair that I could tell was bleached, and her eyes were a gorgeous green that were radiant in the streetlights. She smiled, showing teeth that were surprisingly clean before I remembered that I needed to make an attempt to talk to her. When I did, I was amazed at how easy it was to lure her into my car. It was, to use an old axiom, as easy as taking candy from a baby. Then again, this was a girl who cared only for money, and who was desperate enough to have sex with men who she had never met before.
As I began to drive I said to her that I knew a place, the best place, that we could do it. She responded in the most flirtatious of manners. As her talk got dirtier and dirtier, my hands tightened on the steering wheel, making the dried mud under my fingernails dig into my flesh and causing the grime to stand out, black against white. Relaxation flowed over me as Castor employed his techniques. Everything was going to be fine. As a matter of fact, this could even be a little enjoyable.
I eventually parked on the side of the sidewalk by the all but deserted warehouse districts that lay on the outskirts of Raleigh. Colleen was incredulous, but not in a demeaning way at all. “I can’t believe this is the place you were talking about!” She laughed, “I do hope you realize we’re breaking the law in more ways than one.”
“Oh trust me. I’m more than aware of that,” I responded cheerfully. With that, I strode up to the nearest warehouse. The lock was broken (I had personally made sure of this.) I opened the door and held it for Colleen to walk in, perfecting the guise of my gentlemanly composure.
I laid Colleen out on the concrete floor, caressing her body, then, slowly, I undid the button of her leather pants and slid the zipper down. She smiled, prematurely beginning to fake her pleasure as I slipped the slacks off bit by bit, revealing long legs that were bleached from lack of sunlight. Then I was reaching upwards, keeping my hands on her body the entire time, my fingers skating across her warm flesh until I hit a bump in the road that could only be her jean jacket. Taking my time, I loosened the buttons until I am able to gently pull it off with the greatest care. I felt my fingers reaching for my belt, and in a moment’s notice it was off. I took the belt and wrapped it around Colleen’s head, restricting her eyesight. She let me do all of this, with a sleepy smile on her face the entire time.
I stood up, telling her that I was going to get undressed, and not to move. In the moments that followed. Then, I reached over to one of the many racks of supplies that were lying nearby, and drew from between two cardboards boxes the ax that I had concealed there earlier. The moment I touched the smooth wooden handle of the ax, everything became even more exciting for me, and Castor’s stoned perspective intensified. My breathing deepened and my heart begin to pound with sweet anticipation. My fingers were white on the handle of the ax, and once again the dirt stands out in my nails… dirt that had entrenched itself there when I had dug up the ax no less than an hour ago. Colleen was beginning to get impatient; she was fidgeting uncomfortably on the floor, asking what was taking so long. I knew that I would have to act soon, and fast. With eagerness swelling in my body and glee in my heart, I stepped forwards, raising the ax high over my head. Colleen was starting to reach for the belt that was blinding her.
With euphoria taking over my senses, I swung.
The metal sunk deep into the space between Colleen’s breasts. I felt the warm spatter of blood hit my face. I heard the shocked gasp from Colleen’s lips, which was followed by a short scream that was muffled as gore filled her mouth. I yanked the ax out of her soft pale flesh before rearing up and once again striking metal against tissue. I was exhilarated by the feeling of the bloodthirsty blade sinking deep into her stomach.
I did this, again and again, for what must have been several full minutes, with the rising and falling strokes of my ax getting harder each time. My morbid determination energized by a ghoulish desire to finish the job. The whole time I was doing it I heard the most terrible ragged breathing. I thought that it was Colleen, still alive through all the wounds I had inflicted, perhaps desperately trying to crawl away with the remaining vigor she possessed. It was only later that I realized that these sounds were coming from me. Everything was becoming a blur. Things seemed to be moving faster. I could only hack, chop, and cut with the ax, again and again and again, her insides getting creamier each time.
Then, there was a sharp clang as my ax struck concrete. In disbelief, I looked down upon what was left of the wasted body of Colleen. All traces of loveliness she once had were now gone, completely obliterated by my ferocity. I had very nearly torn her in half.
The blood ran everywhere. It was all over me; it had doused the floor in a crimson coating, and given nearby storage shelves a sudden shower of cardinal fluid. Bits and pieces of severed spinal cord and hacked intestines flowed in miniature sanguine rivers away from the prostitute’s annihilated body. I stared incredulously at the mass of innards that I had exposed and separated at Colleen’s midsection, effectively splitting her open.
Suddenly, my line of vision became oddly hazy. It was as if I had drunk one too many shots of liquor, and my memory was just beginning to fade. I have difficulty remembering exactly what I did next. I do recall getting in my car, but not the trip I took from the warehouse to my car. Driving was almost too easy, I could feel Castor pushing the movements of my hand, ensuring my safety. Back at the house, I removed and threw away my soiled clothing before finally slipping into bed and falling asleep.
When I woke up next morning, the events of last night could’ve been nothing more than a bad dream. I remembered snatches of events here and there: Colleen’s laughter, the cool feel of the ax in my hands, and the delight that I experienced. But it seemed then that those things could’ve been nothing more than old memories resurfacing. I never would’ve guessed that I had committed cold blooded murder, got away with it, and even liked it. I had woken up with one of the worst headaches of my life, and stayed in bed throughout the early morning. Finally, when I went to cut on the news, I saw the story of my little crime on television. Only then did everything come back to me.
Afterwards I locked myself in my bedroom and curled into a corner. My hands were in my face, and tears of pure terror were squeezing themselves through my fingers. I was very afraid. I was afraid that I would be caught by the police. Scared that I would have to live out the rest of my life in prison, and then, if not that, I would have to murder one person each year to ensure my own safety. Most of all, I was scared of myself. The idea that I had snuffed out the life of another living breathing human being was shocking and painful. But what made it worse was how much I had treasured it. Could I really have indulged in violence?
I sat there for a long time, thinking in my shell of misery and dread. Was it really worth it? Was it worth having someone’s blood on my hands so I could have one more year of my life? The woman I had murdered was nothing more than a prostitute and a lawbreaker. She had probably had a very dismal life. Was she more important than me? No, most certainly not, but the question still begged… did that make what I did right? Every part of my brain was telling me that, no, what I did was completely immoral and wrong, but was it really?
I remembered the night at the bowling alley with Carl and Diane; I remembered the strong feelings of love and compassion.
Yes, I finally decided. It is worth it.
The weeks that followed were tainted with the aftermath of my brutal execution. The story itself was broadcasted all over the news. A killing with this degree of ruthlessness was uncommon in the city of Raleigh. One reporter even went as far as to compare it to the Black Dahlia murder. Everyone was talking about it. However, much to my surprise, the case remained a mystery. According to the news, the police were able to obtain fingerprints, but when they ran them through the scanners, there wasn’t a match. This puzzled me for a good long while until I realized that the reason they were not finding my fingerprints was because I had turned into a different person entirely on the night of April the fourth. Castor had, in a way, possessed me, and in turn, changed my DNA as well as my nature.
It was at this point when my mental health began to decline drastically. At every moment of the day, whether I was having lunch with Diane and her friends from her book club or sweeping the floor of my kitchen, I felt strangely on edge. Nothing could be quite right for me anymore, there was always something off-putting about every situation. A sudden noise or really anything of that nature was sure to make me jump. I had blurry split-second visions of Colleen’s eradicated body out of the corner of my eye. But every time I looked, there was nothing there. I felt the urge to stay at home, though I knew that work was necessary.
Worst of all were the nightmares. Every night when I crawled into bed I knew that I was subjecting myself to a realm of horror where any kind of twisted frightening occurrence was possible. Sometimes I woke up screaming, but the wickedest ones were the dreams where I was unable to say much of anything at all. A specific dream that has rooted itself in my mind was a phantasm in which I was Colleen. I was the one lying down on the cold concrete floor as a figure above that could only be John Carnegie approached me, leisurely swinging his ax by his side. I would try to get up, but my legs felt like they were made of lead. Worse still was my inability to call for help. My throat felt like it was made of sandpaper as I rasped desperately; trying with every last bit of gathered strength I had to call for help. The head of the ax would be raised high in the air, and before it came crashing down, I would catch a glimpse of John’s face, obscured in shadows. The most visible features were the eyes, which gleamed yellow with hate and malice. The nightmare would always end with the ax inches from my exposed torso before a jolt of panic would awaken me.
Also, there was the depression. Every second of enjoyment I could’ve had was cut short by the overwhelming emotion of pure sadness, or, to put it more accurately, emptiness. Nothing that I did had any real value anymore. I was doing things in my life, only to do things, if that makes any real sense. Because of this, I found myself not really wanting to take action.
Eventually, at some point along the line I realized that nobody was going to help me. Diane knew that something was very much wrong. She could sense my feelings, but couldn’t exactly tell what my triggers were. She asked me what was wrong and I would deny her, making up a petty excuse about an argument at work or a story I had read in the newspaper that saddened me.
So, I found it within myself to be the help I needed. I started to spend more and more time with my family, and unsurprisingly, things got better for me. Was I ever really the same again? No, not quite. Diane knew it, although she never brought it up, but something had changed inside of me. Maybe it made me wiser.
I did get to take Carl and Diane to Disney world. Our trip, although it was short, is definitely one of my favorite memories. We stayed there for three days, sleeping in at the Wilderness Lodge in the hours of nightfall, and spending the day the world renowned amusement park Magic Kingdom. Diane’s favorite ride was “It’s a Small World” Really, I think, due to pleasant remembrances more than anything else. However, it proved a great excuse for me to have her head on my shoulder and my arm wrapped snugly around her as the ride progressed. Carl’s favorite ride was, of course, “Space Mountain”, which brought back many warm and fuzzy memories from my own childhood. For me, I think, the best thing about it all wasn’t any kind of ride. It was seeing the expressions of joy of the face of my wife and kid, as I am sure many fathers can relate. Watching Carl’s eyes light up as he toured the “Haunted Mansion” could easily top any attraction that was there in the supposed world of dreams.
It looked like there was hope for me yet. Through the terrible deed that I had sewn and the trauma that it had inflicted in my brain, I could still live a happy life. There was no need for me to drudge in the dark underbelly of despair when there were things to be done, sights to be seen, and joy to be experienced.
I did, after all, get to see Carl’s first day of middle school. He was understandably nervous of his new placement. Minutes before the bus pulled up at the curb of our street, I felt a tug on my sleeve, and he was standing there, looking more anxious than ever. “Hey Dad?” he half whispered, “Is it okay if I talk to you for a second?”
“Sure son,” I replied, letting him drag me into the living room, safe from the ears of his mother.
Carl sat down on the couch, his face already beginning to go red. At once I understood what was going on. Carl had a crush, and now he wanted to talk to me about it. I bit my lip hard to keep a smile from coming on. I myself had experienced this firsthand when I was a boy, and to see it mirrored in the face of my son was just as amusing as it was amazing.
“Dad, there’s this girl down the street named Rosanna. I watched her move in three weeks ago, and I’ve really wanted to talk to her but I can’t… get up the courage. She’s really pretty and she seems nice, but I don’t want to seem like a jerk in front of her. Do you think you could help me out?”
I smiled at Carl reassuringly, in an attempt to gloss over the fact that his face had now turned a dark shade of magenta. “You know, Carl, when I was your age, I felt the exact same thing you’re going through now. I had a bit of a crush on this girl named Clarissa.”
“Did you ever go out with her?”
“Yes, briefly,” I lied, cringing inwardly. “But she eventually moved to New London or some such place down south. In any case, I’m sure this Rosanna girl will like you. You have your mother’s looks, after all.”
Carl didn’t look any less relieved. “Dad, I’m also scared my grades are going to go down. I hear in Middle School they give you tons more work.”
“Well, I’m going to give it to you straight Carl. Middle School is hard, and making the transition to Middle School is also hard. The thing is, since you already knew it was going to be hard, you’re brain prepared you for it. You’re going to ace this, and you don’t even know it.”
“You think so?”
“I know so. Remember, I was your age too once.”
With that, our conversation was dismissed, and Carl ran down to the bus stop, his confidence renewed.
Entry 5- Alleyways, Obituaries, and More Murder.
My happiness was cut short when April came again. I had been dreading the moment when Castor would once again summon me to do his will. All too soon, the day came when I would fall asleep as a loving family man with a moral compass, and wake up as a vicious sadomasochistic murderer.
I decided that I wasn’t going to fall asleep at all. I was going to wait for Castor. Whilst Diane fell asleep beside me, I sat there, eyes wide open in the darkness, not moving a muscle. The hours ticked by agonizingly slow, but my heart was pounding all the while. I was sick on my stomach, my form in a straight line on the bed, fists clenched tight, sweating in my nightclothes.
Then, at two in the morning, I felt Castor enter my room. I didn’t see him, but his overwhelming company was definitely there; all the noises from outside, including the shrill chirp of the crickets and the forlorn bark of a dog, suddenly ceased to exist. The temperature plummeted, and the air became thick. A dull pounding, deeper than that of my own heart, began to resonate within my chest. I lay still, unmoving in the darkness. I could actually feel the evil seeping into my skin. It would have to be something that you were looking for, but I felt it very acutely. It was the subtle slithering of something alien making its way into your pores and circulating into the bloodstream. My whole body shuddered, and then a smile crept across my face.
Shortly afterwards I was prowling in one of Raleigh’s many deserted alleyways, ax leisurely swinging by my side as I Bernard Herrmann’s ‘Twisted Nerve’ to myself. Just like before, I wasn’t exactly sure who it was that I was looking for; I only followed the instructions of the Beast who whispered in my ear. I paid no mind to the puddles that I stepped in, only searched with my eyes straining in the darkness to see someone or something worth my interest.
In the feeble light that the streetlamps cast into the dark corners of the narrow pathway, I caught sight of a woman lying in an assortment of flattened cardboard boxes. She looked to be about forty or so years of age, and most definitely homeless. Her long curly gray hair was matted and greasy on top of her oily head. The wrinkles on her face stood out, and her legs were so skinny that they could’ve been nothing more than broomsticks. When I was right before her, I stopped, hiding the ax behind my back with one hand before proceeding to prod her awake with the toe of my shoe. She lifted her head, blinking tiredly with eyes that matched her hair.
I stood there, motionless, as this stranger looked up at me. For the longest time neither of us said a word. Then the woman broke the silence, saying “Who are you? What do you want?”
Every time she spoke, I could see teeth that had been stained away with methamphetamine. “Why did you wake me up?” she rasped grouchily, imploring for some answer. In response, I laughed with scorn before taking out the ax from behind my back. The woman, whom I am to know tomorrow in the news by the name of Mary Ann Louis, scrambled to her feet, backing up with abrupt fear. Pouncing like a cat, I sprung forward, swinging with all my might. She made an attempt to run, but not before my ax buried itself into her thigh. She was seriously wounded, trying to get away by dragging her crippled leg, leaving behind a trail of vitality. She screamed with pain, and begged for someone to help her, but the night was unforgiving. It would’ve seemed that Castor had blocked off this particular street to the rest of the world, leaving me and this poor homeless woman to our business.
She made the mistake of looking behind her to see if I was drawing any closer. Taking advantage of her mistake, I pitched forward with the flat of the ax, connecting the harsh end of the weapon to her lower jaw. I felt a great burst of satisfaction as I heard the bone break. Her cries became garbled as she swallowed her teeth and blood, and again, my peals of bitter laughter echoed off the walls of the surrounding buildings. I took my precious time, bringing the ax behind my shoulder and walking slowly behind Mary Ann as she struggled to escape. Right when she was inches from the unlikely salvation of the street, I finally destroyed the last ray of hope she had by slashing downwards, cutting into her back and effectively knocking her down to the ground.
With some difficulty, she turned over, and looked at me with desperation as she raised one trembling hand, as if to protect her wasted figure. Her cheeks were swollen horribly, and her mouth had transformed into a yawning black hole at the bottom of her face, which leaked blood. She tried to say something, a word of pity, perhaps, but trying to talk was impossible with the way I had fractured her jaw. I gazed at her in fascination for several minutes as she made her pathetic efforts to speak. At this point she was too weak to try and crawl away, and her only option left was to beg for mercy.
I turned my back on her for a mere second, letting her think that I was going to allow her to live after all. Then, in a sudden whirlwind of spite and bloodlust I turned and struck with the ax a final time, swiftly cracking her skull and cleaving her head open, leaving a crevice from which her brain matter spilled.
Just like before, my world became fuzzy and blurred as I reentered my car and drove home. I got to my house, disposed of all my sullied clothing, and slipped into bed before closing my eyes and descending into a deep slumber.
The next morning, the only thing the news would broadcast was the discovery of a brutally murdered homeless woman, who had died in the same exact way Colleen Simpson had a year before. The estranged family of Mary Ann had been able to identify her only by the Eagle tattoo on her left hip. This death, if anything, was even more broadcast then the first of my short line of slayings, the reason for this being that two women who were both societal outcasts had been killed in the same day a year apart. The police made a statement in which they said they suspected a lone murderer who had a special connection with the date of April the fourth.
However, what I remember most about that morning was not the news itself. It was the obituaries. I was flipping through my newspaper, halfheartedly chewing on my cereal when I ran across the obituaries page. A sudden interest overcame me. I scanned the page with interest, but found nothing on the death of Mary Ann Louis. Her story was deemed strictly for the front page.
I left the house about thirty minutes later under the pretense of returning an overdue library book. I was not completely lying, my copy of Pearl Buck’s “The Good Earth,” had been lying unread on my bookshelf for the better part of a month. However, when I mounted the steps to my local library, my true intentions were a bit more personal. I went directly to the librarian sitting behind the front desk and asked her if I could take a look at the newspaper here in Raleigh exactly one year ago.
Only minutes later I was reading the obituary of Colleen Simpson. There was nothing in the few short paragraphs written about her to even suggest that she was a prostitute. Instead, there were the obligatory dates and times for the funeral before a delving into the personality and life of Colleen that I had never known. Apparently, this was a woman with a loving family. She always had a warming smile and a kind word. She let no obstacle in life overtake her. She was always steadfast and resilient in her happiness. She was also a firm believer in Christianity, according at least to the writer of the article.
Reading that obituary gave me plenty of mixed emotions to consider. I had thought of Colleen previously as nothing but absolute filth. The fact that she had a life outside prostitution struck me as oddly disturbing. Part of what had made it easier for me to cope with the principle that I had killed her was that she wasn’t the prime definition of innocence. But now I had to contemplate the fact that she had a family. Maybe, just maybe, she had a kid. Perhaps even a kid like Carl.
As I mulled over this idea, a wave of guilt washed over me, which I hurriedly pushed out of my mind. I couldn’t concern myself with that which was already done, and that which was unavoidable.
However, I wouldn’t feel my guilt to a full extent until a year later, when I killed Sally Everheart and Amber Walterson.
Twelve long months had passed, and the foreboding midnight hour of April the fourth had once again cast an opaque shadow on my ordinary life. I was crouching in one of the darker corners of Raleigh’s alleyways, ax gripped tightly in my hands. The only sound was that of rainwater making its slow downward trickle through the gutters. Tiny pellets of precipitation slid over my skin, but I was all but oblivious to them. My eyes were shut, and I was seeing with my ears. The closeness of the Beast in my body seemed to enhance my hearing. I listened desperately. Someone would be coming by here soon. I knew it.
Sure enough, I soon heard the sloshing of footfalls through puddles of water. Excitement began to build in my chest, the kind that I had only experienced twice before. I edged my way around the alley, getting closer to the mouth of my hiding place, continuing to listen. I heard laughter coming from not one, but two persons. I felt a demented grin write itself across my face. Two souls would rot by the deeds of the Beast tonight. The footfalls and voices grew nearer, and I readied myself, lifting the deadly ax, prepared to strike down whoever dared to come my way. The voices became closer… and closer. The time was right, I had to act now.
I leaped out in front of the pathway of the two unsuspecting young girls. One of them was a tall blonde with high cheekbones, blue eyes, and an expression of shock that quickly gave way to terror as she caught sight of the weapon raised high over my head. The other was a light brunette in dark clothing who let out a scream of horror before my ax slashed downwards, cutting off her scream and ripping into her throat. The blonde started to run before losing her balance in the slippery dampness of the sidewalk and falling forward. She was quick to scramble to her feet as I dislodged my ax from the collarbone of the brunette and gave chase.
Then, something unexpected happened. The presence of the Beast suddenly vanished. The cloud of wickedness that had hung over my mind and possessed my body disappeared in a fraction of a second. No longer was I a man doing what was right for his family, I was now a monster who was about to commit murder! The girl in front of me wasn’t a contamination who deserved death, but rather a human being who had an entire life ahead of her just waiting to happen. And what was I about to do? I was about to cut all of that short, and for what? My own welfare? Just so that I could live a little longer before I would have to do this again? These thoughts stopped me in my tracks for a mere moment, and the blonde gained a few yards on me. Then I thought of Diane, and of Carl, and of how painful it would be to leave them. I resumed my chase once more, although my heart was screaming for me to stop.
What I did next can absolutely be considered as the most selfish act I have ever committed. Although the girl ahead of me feared for her life, I was more athletic and caught up to her quickly. The first swing I managed only scraped her back, and she ran more incautiously than ever before finally tripping over the uneven pavement of the sidewalk and sprawling headfirst onto the ground. With her ankle now injured, she turned to look up at me, pleading for her life.
I had been in this exact same situation when I had murdered Mary Ann, but this time it was different. All of my emotions were intact, and I was unsure of whether or not this was really what I wanted. This girl was no older than eighteen at best. She probably had parents that were worrying about her, checking their watches anxiously and wondering why she had decided to stay out so late. Parents that would attend the funeral of their girl and probably grieve for years to come…
As the girl weakly held up a hand, continuing to solicit me, a prospect hit me that I had not considered, What if something like this ever happened to Carl? I couldn’t even imagine the heartbreak that I would have to go through. Then I remembered: I was doing this partially for Carl. With tears streaming down my face, I squeezed my eyes shut and swung the ax a final time.
Entry 6- The Downward Spiral.
A serial killer is defined as a person who murders over three individuals of a period of more than a month. Just like that, I had transcended into a whole new level of immorality. The press even gave me a name. While Ed Gein was the Mad Butcher and Jeffrey Dahmer was the Milwaukee Cannibal, I was the Reaper of Raleigh. The brunette, Sally Everheart, and the Blonde, Amber Walterson, were the two final victims required to cement myself as the unknown killer who was striking terror in the heart of urban North Carolina.
My mental health was once again deteriorating rapidly. Strong emotions of guilt followed me wherever I went. There was no shaking them off; they were forever there, in my mind, persisting with their devastating effects. Depression tore away at my being. I had difficulty with chores such as remembering and concentrating. Making decisions was suddenly a burden. My energy was all but depleted. I was always weary, like there were weights bearing down on my eyelids, convincing me to just stop whatever I was doing and take a nap until the end of time. And I did sleep often, probably too much for my own good. On the rare occasion that I was awake, I was irritable and couldn’t even enjoy the company of my family. I had dug myself in a hole so deep that not even Diane, or Carl, or anyone for that matter, could pull me out. Pleasurable pursuits such as sex with Diane were now boring. I almost never ate anything and my weight was decreasing pound by pound. Headaches were an everyday affair. All traces of any form of jubilation were diminished.
I stopped going to work every day. Phone calls from my boss became more and more frequent, but I never answered them, and eventually I was fired. It wasn’t like I really cared though. Diane could make us more than enough money herself. Each painting she sold earned us a few thousand dollars, and she was more than capable of pumping them out fairly quickly. We would live.
Diane realized that something was horribly wrong. One day she woke me up, sat me down, and reluctantly began to tell me some of her darker thoughts.
“John, something needs to be done here. You are in a serious state of disrepair. You always sleep, you’re never happy, you’ve been fired from your fucking job, and frankly, I’m worried about you. The best course of action at this point is probably to see a psychologist or doctor.”
I let out an involuntary scoff. “Diane, there is no need to worry about me. I’m fine, really I am. I just need some time to think things over. That’s all.”
She persevered, much to my increased annoyance. “You’re lying and you know it, John. Please. I’m begging you. See a doctor.”
“I’m not going to do it, Diane.”
“John, just humor me here. See a doctor.”
Right then, something inside me just snapped. I began to yell, much to Diane’s distress. “I don’t need to go to any fucking doctor, but I swear to God if you don’t leave this room right fucking now, then you might have to soon!”
With tears in her eyes, she left the room.
My fit of rage with Diane only deepened the hole. Though I apologized later, and I truly feel remorse with all my heart what I had done, I knew things would never quite be the same with us again. I became a worthless, helpless creature that lived in the cave of my bedroom. I seldom came out, only existed under the covers, sleeping my life away, making everything I had ever known nonexistent.
Then, one night, I had a dream. A dream that, as it turned out, would poison my routine of lethargy. In my nightmare, I was back where it all started: In a car, heading for a traffic intersection with a yellow light. I already knew what was going to happen, even in my vivid fantasy. I tried to remove my foot from the gas pedal, but it was impossible. I struggled, jerking my leg violently, but it was as if my ankle were being held down by an immovable, invisible clamp, and my foot stayed firmly on the gas as I inched closer and closer to the light, even as it turned red. Then, I was there, in the dead center of the intersection. My car suddenly lurched to a stop. I mashed my foot down on the gas, this time wanting to move, but the tires only spun. I didn’t budge a single millimeter. Then, the bright flash of headlights lit up the interior of my vehicle. I turned my head, goggling at the car that was barreling towards me at breakneck speeds. I looked into the windshield, and for a split-second, I saw the driver.
Castor was gripping the wheel tightly, bearing down on me with an expression of depraved insanity. His cloak of scalps almost seemed to be crawling. In a jolt of terror, I awoke.
All too soon, my problem went from getting too much sleep to getting too little. I didn’t want to fall into the seduction of slumber only to be terrified by nightmares of the past. I had to find something else to replace sleep, something that could assuage my mental problems and soothe my soul. For the first time in months, I emerged from my house and got into my car with a new sense of purpose. I had to find something to help me. I drove into Raleigh and I looked around, for anything really, that could fix what needed to be mended.
Ultimately, I found myself standing in front of a bar. Every once in a while, someone would go in or out, and I would be greeted by a whiff of whiskey and the laughter of the men inside as they socialized. I had allowed myself to drink heavily only once in my life, and I had ended up regretting it. I was twenty seven years old, and my father had just died of a severe stroke. In my misery, I had stumbled into a bar very much like this one to wash away my worries in a flood of Scotch and Jack Daniels. Alcoholism was something that ran in my family, so I knew what I was doing to be a mistake, but I simply couldn’t help myself. The bittersweet liquid always did its job right, no questions asked, and so I kept pouring it down my throat, night after endless night, until Diane had stopped me. She had made me sit down, looked me in the eye, and beseeched me to please, stop. It had taken considerable effort, and I even went through some of the more frightening symptoms of withdrawal, but Diane had asked me to stop, so I did. I went from four beers a day to three, then two, and finally one before I was able to stop completely. This time, a simple request from my wife simply wasn’t enough to cause me to quit. It wasn’t that I didn’t love her, because I did. I just needed something to take away the pain, and I felt like this was the only option. I loved Diane even through the point in which I yelled at her. That’s why my shame of that moment was so great.
I went into the bar. I dug a twenty out of my wallet, and I began to drink. Six shots later, my vision was going blurry, I was finding it difficult to manage my balance, and I was beginning to get dangerously drunk. I couldn’t say that I loved my new environment, but the way I saw it, being drunk and watching a football game in a world of Vodka and Martinis certainly beat muddling in my own self pity. I worked my life into a new endless cycle. Get up, go to the bar, get drunk, and come home, fall asleep, then repeat the process once you get up in the morning. Months passed by. My addiction to alcohol only increased tenfold. I made friends at the several bars that I regularly attended, who hailed my arrival every time I walked in and ordered my first Bloody Mary. Cards were dealt, gossip exchanged, and every once in a while we would play a drinking game, all of which I won. All of my new friends were in awe of my alcohol consumption. They claimed I drank religiously, and I suppose to a degree they were correct. I had a new home away from home; the many various pubs and taverns that Raleigh had to offer.
I tried to stop myself at a couple of points, really I did. I knew that I was tearing my family apart one drink at a time. But stopping was simply impossible. It seemed that my body could not function properly without some form of ethanol in its system. If I tried to go a single day without driving out to Raleigh and grabbing a quick drink, I would find myself there tomorrow, as if pulled there by some magnetic force, wasting away on the tartest of tequilas. Diane didn’t ask me to stop. She was scared of me. She hadn’t forgotten the evening in which I had unleashed my rage. I came to the conclusion that she had said something to Carl about it, because my relationship with him was practically nonexistent. He became less of a son and more of a person who happened to live in the same house as me. I think that I was trying to kill myself even then. There was the dark hope deep inside of me that maybe, if I was lucky, I would one day start to feel the ache in my side that signified alcohol poisoning.
Eventually, I realized that I no longer wanted to live. So I made a plan of action. I sent Carl and Diane away on a much needed long visit to their grandparent’s house. Then, I went to a pawn shop and purchased a .44 Snub Nosed Revolver and drove out to this motel. I can’t stand the possibility of Diane having to find my rotting corpse when she returns home. The thought of this is intolerable. I’ve disgusted her enough already, what with being a drunken pig most of the time. I won’t do it a final time. As soon as I arrived, my first thought was to write a note, an explanation, however long, so that Diane and Carl would know that I am not insane. So, I went into the gift shop, and I picked out this very journal that I am writing in now.
I’ve been delaying my undeniable death, but I can’t for very much longer. Before I do go, however, there is one thing I’d like to say. One last thought I need to scribble down before tasting the cool metal of my .44’s muzzle. I’ve had plenty of time to think over this short period of six days. When I’m not writing, I’m thinking, after all. And out of all this thought, one clear question has risen:
Why did I go to Hell in the first place?
I never did anything all too terrible, did I? I was just an ordinary person when this all began. I was far from a criminal or even just an ordinary asshole. I was a normal person. Sure, I hadn’t done anything significantly good, but it wasn’t like I did anything terrible either. Why would I, of all people, go to Hell after briefly dying in my crash?
There is only one answer. Since God no longer cares for us, and since he would be willing to let me, an ordinary man, rot in the depths of Hell, I don’t think it would be too far a stretch to say that we all go to Hell: The good, the bad, the in-between. Once we die, we are doomed to suffer forever until the end of time.
So, to all those reading this, including Carl and Diane, I’ll see you someday. Maybe even someday soon.
Written by SnakeTongue237