By Chris Bunton
It was the end of October, and the haunted house was over. He felt sad that he would not be able to frighten any more children, or the mommies escorting them. No more hot chocolate. No more secret conversations in the dark with the skinny little clown girl, who followed him everywhere.
The air was cool in the midnight hour, as they all said good bye. And he lingered holding hands with the clown girl, now dressed in everyday wear.
“When will I see you again?” He asked; hoping for another chance to get a little closer than before.
“I’m sorry, but … I like you… But, I think we should just be friends.” She said quietly, hoping to soften the blow, like anything could.
“But, I thought we had something going…Ok. It’s cool.” He told her. Slightly confused, but he was used to this sort of rejection. He let her hand go and smiled.
She smiled and punched his arm.
“You have my number…call me! Maybe we could hang out!” Then she ran to her car and was gone.
He turned and walked to his car. The feeling of being alone forever engulfed him in the midnight air.
“Why would I want to call you for?” He asked himself. “Would you like to go shopping? Or perhaps, I could tuck you in, while you sleep with other guys, since we are such good buddies.. Friends; what good is that?”
He opened the driver’s side door of his old four door beater and sat down inside. He fired up the motor, happy it started again. The radio blared full blast, making him jump. He had forgotten to turn it down when he parked. He had been jamming that tune that he cannot even remember now.
“Police found another body today. The victim killed by three shots to the chest.” The radio said.
“Police confirm that this makes victim number 10, of the killer, being dubbed ‘The South Side Hater‘; because of his apparent hatred for his victims. The police have not determined a motive, and there seems to be no connection between all the victims. Just random killings performed at night. Police are recommending that people stay indoors at night, or be in groups.”
He laughed and turned down the radio. He put the car in gear and drove out.
“Groups” he laughed. “That just makes more victims”
The darkness was cut with flashing strobe lights, filled with fog and the sounds of demonic laughter; over and over and over again he looked down the insane dark flashing hall.
Then he awoke. He was dreaming about the haunted house again. He missed that place. The excitement of waiting to frighten children and silly women was awesome for him. But, he had an odd feeling that his dreams were not normal. Almost like some kind of demonic force had attached itself to him, because of the activities of the house. Or maybe it was some kind of change that occurred in his mind, from scaring people and the darkness of the activity. He did not know for sure. But, he knew that he really missed scaring people.
He hopped out of bed, dressed, and drove to the local super market where he purchased some batteries. While standing in line he overheard the two ladies in front of him talking.
“Have you heard about this serial killer?” The first said.
“Yes! It’s insane. He just seems to kill random people” The other returned.
“These killers always have a pattern. The police will figure it out and get him. My cousin is a cop.”
He smirked at the conversation, thinking
“Silly silly women. Maybe one of you will get popped off next.”
Then, he noticed the little girl sitting in the shopping cart, looking up at him sweetly. He bared his teeth and made a horrible face to scare her. The little girl shrank back, feeling very uncomfortable. He chuckled; satisfied that he had frightened another child.
It was a short drive to the tanning salon, where he entered the same tanning booth he always used. But, instead of disrobing and lying down to tan, he quickly located a tiny camera he had hidden, and replaced the battery in it. He chuckled in amusement at the thought of all the videos he had and the unsuspecting nature of his victims. So, soft and trusting; not even suspecting what he did. It was funny.
He suddenly felt very sad; almost like he was hungry, but not in his stomach. It was a gnawing desire; a craving to hurt someone; a feeling of wanting to terrify someone. He wanted to just go out and grab the pretty little cashier at the front desk. Then, drag her into the room, just to show her that she is not in control like she thinks she is. He just wanted to fulfill his desire; his sick little desire. And he chuckled. He chuckled at the thought, that his desire was sick. Sick to whom? And who cares?
He quickly replaced the camera into its hiding spot and exited the tanning booth. In the lobby he noticed a beautiful deeply tanned woman was leaving at the same time as him. The urge arose in him. He followed her, Ninja style. He was a little behind and to the left, in her blind spot. She saw nothing. She was too busy texting someone. Who was it she texted; a child, or maybe a husband? It could be a lover, or all three? He moved closer as she pulled out her keys and began to unlock the car door. He leaped forward and screamed
She jumped a foot into the air dropping her keys and trying desperately to catch them before they hit the ground. She grabbed once, then twice, fighting to grab the keys, and glancing to see who had scared her, while trying to keep from cussing, all at the same time.
Finally she caught the keys and ran behind her car and screamed at him.
“You freak!! What is your problem??!!”
He just laughed and walked around the building to wait for her to leave. He did not want her to see him get into his car. He stood there chuckling. The woman was familiar. She was probably in one of his videos at home. He would look through his videos and see if he could find her. Maybe spend a few more moments with her. He chuckled even more.
Finally she left, and he went to his car to drive home. He felt refreshed after the scare. Almost like he had gotten his drug fix. But, it really wasn’t enough to stop that deep gnawing. He needed more.
He dreamed of the haunted house again; a weird sort of dream. He was not exactly asleep but not really awake. A strange dream, it was just the flashing lights, fog, and the sound of his demonic laughter, taunting the victims. He watched the sad little girl, holding her mommy’s legs and weeping.
“I’m scared mommy!! I wanna go home!! Please mommy!!”
She buried her face into her mother’s stomach, while mommy dearest laughed. And he waited, with sick anticipation. Ready to leap out and make this little girl scream! The delight he felt, as he waited, was unreal. He rocked back and forth in his shallow hiding place, watching her careful approach. He salivated, like a predator, ready to devour. Closer, closer she came.
“Maybe she will pee her pants when I scream at her?” he thought.
Then, he awoke again. Ready for the day and shaking off the frostiness of the dream he just had. He felt like something was implanted in his mind, and there was a desire forming from it. It was a delightful dirty little plan; full of promise and terror for…someone. He laughed.
At noon, he pulled up at the local park, and sat in his car for a moment. He looked at all the people moving around, going about their business, oblivious to his presence. He grabbed the shopping sack from the seat and walked over to the children’s play ground.
As he approached, a man walked up to him and handed him a tract.
“Do you know if you’ll go to heaven when you die?” The man asked.
Our character took the pamphlet, and looked at the man and said sincerely.
“I’ll read it later”
The man nodded
“Well, let me talk to you for a minute” The man said.
“I’m busy.” He said, and walked away
He continued on to the play ground, where he climbed up onto a park bench and sat down on the back of it, with his brown work boots, on the seat. He unzipped his green coveralls, and placed the pamphlet inside a pocket in his shirt. Then, he zipped back up, grabbed the plastic grocery bag, and reached inside.
He quickly pulled out a werewolf mask and put it on his head, letting the plastic sack fly away in the wind. So, there he sat. Creepy as all get out, in his green coveralls, brown work boots, and werewolf mask, watching the children chase his old plastic sack.
He just sat there; watching and sweating in his coveralls, and rubber mask. Several mothers glanced at him nervously.
“Halloween was over 3 weeks ago. So, why is this creepy man sitting on a park bench watching my children?” the mothers thought to themselves.
One of the children ran up to him and tried to hand him the plastic sack; which led to yells from the mother.
“Brian! Get over here!!!” she screamed. Trying to be firm, but not wanting to show panic or disrupt the social fabric around her. She didn’t want to look like a psycho. But, she was afraid for her son.
Our character reached down and took the plastic sack, ever so gently. Then, unzipped his coveralls, which led to screams of protest, in the belief that he was about to expose himself to the children. Instead, he reached into his pocket, and handed the child a lollipop.
The child said “thank you” and ran to his mother, handing her the candy. Which she promptly threw on the ground like so much rubbish, and dragged the child away to their car. A horde of kids quickly ran and fought to pick up the lollipop. One little fat boy won, ripping off the paper and putting it into his mouth. He quickly deposited the paper wrapper, in the nearest trash can.
It didn’t take long for the entire play ground to be emptied out by worried mothers and scared kids, frightened by the weird werewolf man who just sat and stared. He laughed, taking off the mask and walked back to his car. He walked past a news paper rack with the headline.
“The South Side Hater” kills 3 with .45. Police say” He laughed, and laughed, fingering his mask as he threw it into his car and drove off.
He awoke, from a dream. Again, the little girl was in the haunted house weeping. That was the last straw. That was the last sign. He had struggled to figure out what the dreams meant. What was he being told to do? Was it God? Or some other type of god. He didn’t know, he just knew that he was special, and called to a mission. Everything he had done so far had been fine. The spirit had protected him and this would be no different. He finally understood that he was to create fear, to cause people to want God, or whatever this thing was.
He decided to abduct a little girl. Not just any little girl, but a cute little blonde haired girl with pig tails. Someone the news media would freak out about, and post her picture all over the TV. Some sad little girl, that would cause mothers everywhere, to post missing children alerts on their Facebook pages. All of them begging for prayer, and filled with fear over this little missing girl, who could be just like their own little angels.
He arose and went to his closet where he took down a shoe box from the top shelf. He took the lid off the box and tossed it on the bed. He reached into the box and withdrew a .45 caliber 1911 pistol. He tossed the empty box on the bed, beside the lid; and then he danced around the room with his beloved weapon. It was his tool of power.
He aimed it at the walls pretending to gun down police officers bent on killing him. He quickly turned, and aimed it at the mirror. He fired imaginary rounds killing zombies that plagued his mind. He looked at himself in the mirror with the weapon and smiled at how tough he looked. Then, he admired the weapon, glistening black in his fist.
He walked back over to the bed and picked up the box, and placed the .45 inside carefully, then replaced the lid. He wouldn’t need it for this mission. He had no desire to kill the little girl. He only wanted to get her, and cause fear in her and the whole country. This wasn’t about killing. This was a different hunger. He placed the box on the shelf, grabbed his keys from the dresser and headed toward the door. But, something flopped on the floor behind him, causing him to stop and look. It was the tract; the Gospel tract given to him in the park. He felt prompted to take a moment and read it. Then, he felt prompted to hurry and leave. He chose the latter, and left closing the door behind him.
He drove his car down the street, past all the houses where all the innocent people lived. All the people who just lived their lives and had nothing else to live for; but perhaps today, he would give them something to live for. Maybe help them to realize that there are more important things in life than TV, and slaving away for some employer. He made himself feel good with these thoughts as he searched for the perfect girl.
And there she was; a cute little blonde girl riding her bike down the sidewalk. Her head bobbed back and forth with the rise and fall of her pedals. Her pig tails swung side to side, along with the tassels on the end of her handle bars. It was the perfect little girl. She was the girl from his dreams. It shocked him that she was real. He became scared for a moment that something was wrong, but an urge convinced him that this was confirmation of his mission.
He quickly whipped over to the side, and opened his car door, pulling the little latch that popped the trunk. He ran and grabbed her, wrapping his arms around her body and lifting her off her bike at a dead run back to his car. At first the little girl was shocked, and did not want to fight the adult, like any good little girl. But, as she neared the trunk she started kicking and screaming, and he threw her in.
He slammed the trunk down, and ran back to the driver’s seat. He jumped inside, and took off at break neck speed.
The little girl; we shall call her Sally, because it’s a sweet little girls name, started screaming as the man threw her into the trunk and slammed the door leaving her in terrifying darkness.
“Mommy!” She screamed. “Help! Please No!”
No one answered. It was only darkness. She couldn’t breathe; she gasped for air and screamed again. Tears rolled down her face and tasted salty in her mouth. The terror of the darkness was upon her and nothing was coming to save her. Where was Mommy? Where was Daddy? Why? Why? She kicked at the trunk lid and cut her ankle on something. She squirmed and struggled with the junk in the trunk, trying to get it away from her and find a place to hide, but nothing. It was just darkness. No escape.
He had been driving around with little Sally in his trunk for quite awhile now, listening to the news reports. Someone saw little Sally grabbed by a man, wearing a hat, in a green car. He laughed, because his car was brown, not green, and he never wore a hat. No wonder kids are ever found.
He just had to see this in real life. He had to find a TV. So, he drove to the mall. He pulled into the dark parking lot and drove around to the side where few cars ever parked. He slid into a slot, and stopped. He put the car into park, and quickly jumped out. He ran inside to find a store with TV’s. Which didn’t take long and he quickly turned all the channels to the local news. Then he stood there rubbing his hands together with glee, watching a press conference unfold before him on the big screens.
The mother had made a plea that he let her little girl go. She was her sweet little angel. Then, she cried. This was hilarious to him. Her tears of fear for her child were gold. And of course the father was standing by her side, with the firm strong look on his face… No wait. That wasn’t daddy. That was a step father, trying to pretend to be sad, but probably glad the little brat was gone. There on the other side, standing next to a woman who looked just like his ex-wife was daddy. Yes. The look on his face was clear. He was absolutely sick with worry. Old’ daddy was dying inside. Gold! The police spoke of the case, and the seriousness of the matter. How, all their resources were being brought to bear on the case and they were hopeful to have some leads very soon.
He turned away from the TV’s and started to feel a little fearful. What if he got caught? It could be kidnapping. They might put him to death. What if the police shot him while they arrested him? He’d be shot by “accident” of course. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all, he thought. What if this little girl identified him after he let her go? The fearful thoughts, followed by suggestions, flowed through his mind, as he walked back to his car. He opened the driver’s door and sat down with his leg hanging out.
He made a decision. He couldn’t let her go. He couldn’t let her identify him. She would have to die and be buried somewhere. He pulled out his belt knife, and opened it up, rubbing it. Just sitting there thinking.
Sally was still in darkness. Tired, scared, and wanting her mommy. She just wanted to go home and get in her little bed. She would be a good girl. She would not make mommy mad any more. She promised. She finally prayed to God. Just like in Sunday school.
“Please God. Please help me. I want to see my mommy. I won’t be bad any more. Please. In Jesus name I pray” She said.“Amen”. She just knew God had heard her. She wiped her snotty nose and waited… And waited… And waited…And waited. Then, she screamed, and cried.
“Please!!” She kicked the trunk lid.
“The South Side Hater” walked through the mall lot toward the building. He was on a mission. The Spirit had told him to come this way. But, something drew his attention to a car parked in the darkness with the driver‘s side door open. He had a feeling. It was that familiar feeling; that feeling of the Spirit guiding him. He knew this was the one. This was his next target. He turned and started walking toward the car with a purpose. He saw the leg hanging out the driver’s side door from the man sitting inside. “The South Side Hater” opened his jacket and drew the .45 caliber 1911 classic pistol; the weapon of his service to God.
He stepped to the door of the car and fired three rounds into the man sitting there; one round for the Father, one round for the Son, and one round for the Holy Ghost. All three bullets penetrated the man’s chest and ended his sin forever. Well, at least in this world.
“The South Side Hater” opened his jacket and holstered the weapon. His service being finished, he felt dirty. It always made him terribly sad as though he had done a great evil. But, he could not stop. He was serving God. He knew God wanted him to kill the wicked. Then, he felt great evil descend upon him, which caused him to cry out to God. Then, he felt God drew near to him in grace. The evil was needed to draw God near. It was a perfect circle. It went over and over again; Obedience, Sin, Repentance, and then Grace. He understood it.
He heard a cry from the trunk. He reached inside the car over the body and grabbed the keys from the ignition. He walked to the rear of the car, and unlocked the trunk, opening it.
Out sprang little Sally, running as fast as her stumpy legs would carry her. She wept, screaming for help, as she ran across the lot, a new believer in prayer.
“The South Side Hater” looked at her running, and thought about shooting her in the back of the head to stop her. But, he did not have a direct call from the Lord to do that. So, he left; walking into the darkness, where he could find a place to weep, and pray his sins away.
(Bio: Chris Bunton is a writer, poet and blogger from Southern Illinois.)