Well, thought Simon, looking down at the glistening blade in his hand; I guess I am a murderer after all.
He quickly stalked through the corn field. His boots squelched in the mud and he came back to the side of the road where the bodies had been. He slipped the blade into his back pocket as he saw twin headlights racing towards him. Come on now, look terrified, Simon! You’re just a scared little businessman from Cincinnati. You don’t know why some psycho came out of nowhere and slaughtered your cheating girlfriend. You don’t know anything. You don’t even know where she is, do you Simon?
No, sir! Simon replied to the voice in his head as he waved his arms at the jeep and the driver rolled down her windscreen. ‘Oh my god, are you okay? Is that blood?’
‘P-please, miss! Y-you gotta help me! He’s out there! He got my wife and-and I-I think he’s comin’ for me too!’ A particularly strong gust of wind rattled the corn behind him and Simon used it to his advantage. ‘Oh please god, I think I hear him! Please miss, you gotta get me to a police station!’
He smiled inwardly as he sensed her fear and heard the click of the passenger door opening. ‘Get in, the nearest station is about an hour from here.’
‘Thank you so m-much, miss!’ Simon flew into the car and the young woman at the wheel stepped heavily on the gas.
He hid his hands behind his face and sobbed. ‘Came outta nowhere… Penny, she… She recognised him… How could she recognise him?’ He sobbed again and felt the sympathy of the driver drifting over him in waves.
‘What happened? Who’s after you and your wife?’
‘Girlfriend!’ Simon couldn’t help correcting. Stay in character, boy. ‘My girlfriend and I- we-‘ He choked back another sob. ‘Stayin’ at her pa’s house, y’see. Then, ’bout half past nine, we’re all gettin’ ready for bed and she goes to answer this knock at the door. I hear her screamin’ “What the hell are you doing here?” And then I hear this bang and look down the stairs and she’s gone, she’s a pile o’ angeldust in the hallway. I see this guy standin’ over her, turns to look up at me and I jump outta the window, tryna run away from him real fast. I hear more shots and hear her ma and pa shoutin’ and then somethin’ whizzes past my head! Bang! I run into the corn, but I hear him comin’ after me! Catchin’ up to me! About then’s when I ran into your fine self and I’m so, so grateful to ya, miss!’
He was even more grateful when he slipped the blade across her throat less than five minutes later.
“KANSAS SURVEILLANCE CAMERA CATCHES FIRST IMAGES OF POSSIBLE KILLER”
Simon smiles. It’s a nice photo- he’s wearing the jacket he borrowed (on a permanent basis) from the guy in Wisconsin. That man had good taste.
The long dusty roadside is the perfect place for Simon’s pleasure. Ever since the night when he was born- truly born, that is, not the thing that happens to everyone with the mothers and the doctors- it’s become his own sort of palace of solace. Then occasionally someone will slow by him, disrupting the quiet with their humanity (his least favorite part of the game) and then he paints the air with the music of blood until the solace returns.
He hears the ruckus before he sees it- a filthy truck, laden with emptiness in the back, roaring as if in pain. Instantly Simon wants to put it (and anyone in it’s belly) out of their misery. He sticks his thumb out with a particular gusto as he shoves the newspaper into his duffel bag, his fingers briefly brushing over the long, shiny fishing knife hidden within.
The window on the driver’s side is rolled down and a new lovely young woman sticks her head out, smiling down at speaking in a sultry Southern drawl, ‘Where you headin’, Sugar?’
‘Anywhere, miss. Lookin’ for work in any old place. Mind if I catch a ride with you, wherever you’re goin’?’ Simon has perfected this pathetic role over the past 6 months. Deception has always been his second nature, but he never enjoys it quite as much as he does at this part, when the driver acquiesces to his humble pleas, opens their doors willingly, and allows the devil into their garden.
It’s only when he’s in the back of the truck that he realises something quite inconvenient. Damn it, damn it, damn it!
There’s another hitchhiker in the truck. A burly, dopey-eyed sonofabitch, but he’s big. A big goddamn problem. Simon smiles charmingly in greeting at this unexpected complication, all while covertly looking at his neck and thinking, How am I supposed to wring that? Honestly God, it’s like you hate me for somethin’ I can’t quite put my finger on…
Simon ponders how best to get rid of the problem first, so he can enjoy the woman properly, as the countryside speeds by. He’s done this often enough to be completely and utterly relaxed, his pulse elevated slightly not in fear or apprehension as it might once have been, but in excitement and something that could even be called lust.
The heat-beaten tarmac turns to a dusty road as the car suddenly swerves off of the main highway and onto a smaller farmer’s track. The burly man (had he introduced himself as a “Tom”?) looks carefully alarmed. ‘Erm, excuse me? Ma’am, this ain’t the road to the city.’
The woman (a “Rosie”?) now has a dark smile taking over her face. ‘I know. Now, both of you shut your faces and don’t move a muscle.’ There’s a click of a small pistol she flashes from some deep cranny of the car, and now she’s pointing it at both of her passengers.
Well well, isn’t this interesting? Says the voice in Simons brain, and he nods in agreement.
‘Tom, would you be so kind as to roll your window down? I’m feelin’ a mite hot in here.’ Rosie smirks as the shaking giant follows her orders instantly. ‘Good boy.’
They drive in silence for several miles. The brittle heat of the countryside still beats off of the car as they pull into the shade of a lonesome tree. Rosie stops the car and orders them both out of it- at this point Simon is more observing her actions than consciously following her orders- she seems to sense his eyes as she hands him a shovel. ‘You better start diggin’, pretty boy.’
Then there’s a click behind her.
Oh! Oh! Oh! The plot thickens! Cheers the gleefully chaotic abyss of Simon’s mind as he doesn’t move an inch (Rosie’s gun is pointed at his heart and he doesn’t really want her to pull the trigger just yet).
Rosie keeps the gun trained on him as she looks at Tom. ‘What the hell are you doin’?’
Tom keeps one hand on his gun, finger on the trigger, while his other hand pulls out a badge. ‘KCPD, I’m arresting you under suspicion of multiple murders, kidnapping, and kidnapping an officer of the law. You have the right t-‘ Tom’s throat makes a guttural noise as Simon expertly throws his blade into it. It would be comical if it weren’t so pathetic… Simon smiles to himself as the officer falls to his knees, and winds up face-down in the dust.
Rosie raises an eyebrow and smirks herself as she looks back at her new friend. ‘Whatcha do that for?’
‘You seemed to be havin’ some trouble there, miss.’
‘Well, thanks for helpin’ a girl out!’ Rosie laughs and Simon bows slightly. ‘Now what’re you gonna do?’
‘Well, I was thinkin’ we could go for a…. drive.’
‘I think I’d like that…’
Well, Simon smiles as they get into the car. I wonder which of us is going to get what’s comin’ to ’em…