Making the News

I got home too late yesterday and wasn’t able to get the photo I wanted to get on the way home, so Lazy Fiction Friday has become Slothful Story Saturday.

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Samantha rested against the tree trunk, glad she managed to secure such a good vantage point – easy to see anyone approaching, but concealed enough that nobody should see her. She forced herself to stay still, just in case her movements gave away her position.

The South Square Stabber had been all over the news for the past six weeks. There were only three deaths so far, over a period of about seven months, but with the last death being the son-in-law of prominent media mogul Johan Poklowski, every edition of the Morning Post had featured at least two pages dedicated to the ongoing investigation, much to the consternation of the local police force.

Samantha herself had followed the coverage eagerly, in an almost sadistic way. You’re not supposed to be curious about this kind of stuff, but Matthew Poklowski was notorious for being an asshole. Every journalism student in the city had had a brush with him at some point, and he revelled in the fact that he could have his pick of the eager, young female journalism students. Schadenfreude. That was the word she was thinking of. Pleasure from someone else’s pain.

The police are yet to arrest anyone, and if the newspapers are to be believed, they’re too busy trying to find their own feet to even consider looking for the killer. But Samantha new better than to read the papers. There were many online forums where people were speculating on the killer’s motives. The three victims didn’t have much in common.

Katerina Montoya, 58, mother of two children. Her husband was an accountant, and she had stayed at home to raise the children. She had a lot of spare time now that her children had left home, so one of them had convinced her to start a food blog, detailing how to cook the traditional South American dishes that had enriched their childhood. Her death had shocked the local Latino community, and her the readers of her somewhat popular blog, but in a couple of weeks, had faded away.

The second victim, Tim Michaelson, 23, was an arts student, studying part time, and working part time on his YouTube channel, where he uploaded videos of himself playing various video games. His death was considered odd at the time, as his friends and fans found it strange that he would be out at South Square on the day of the release of Darkness Rises 3, the sequel that had been in production for more than seven years, but the constant anonymous tips from his fans led to the police releasing an official statement saying they were looking into it.

The only thing linking the three victims was the location and the MO: all three bodies had been found in South Square Park, a single slash against their necks, and then three stabs in the chest, left, right and centre. The nuttier of the conspiracy theorists began to guess that the attacks were related to religion: the father, the son and the holy spirit, ignoring the fact that the neck was slashed, not the face.

Samantha continued waiting. South Square Park was closed off in the month following the death of Poklowski, but the day after it re-opened, there were tents set-up with kids camping out in the park. #survivedSouthSquare started trending on Instagram. Samantha rolled her eyes in disgust. Parents petitioned for protection from the local police, but after a couple of weeks without anything happening, people figured that there was safety in numbers. The crowds had died down, but there were still people camping out. Idiots.

Photos of the crime scene had been posted online to the different forums, and Samantha had picked up on one of the more frequent posters: izElectro. A browse through his posting history revealed that he had a Twitter account where he reported on the events of the local sporting clubs. Though Sam felt that the word “reporting” was too strong for what he did. In her opinion, Twitter, blogs and Instagram were the writing tools for those who couldn’t write. They relied on being the first ones with the news, and it didn’t matter that the content had poor grammar, spelling or even form. It was just a matter of putting it out there, adding some photos of girls in skimpy clothing, slapping on a stupid title like, “Things the government doesn’t want you to know!” and you could call yourself a writer.

Meanwhile, actual writers, like herself, were struggling to find work as newspapers and magazines were moving online, and those easy-to-read, shallow articles were a lot more popular than the real hard-hitting news. Click here to read about 5 ways the journalism industry is dying!!!

She knew izElectro would be out here again tonight. He seemed to know more about the killings than anything else listed in the investigation. Perhaps he shared her morbid fascination with the events. She had gleaned from his online presence that he lived alone, was roughly in his late twenties or early thirties, worked in the central business district, in the financial industry. He had made a post detailing his theory that the kills weren’t even in South Square Park, but happened elsewhere and the bodies were moved. None of the other media sources had suggested anything like that, but it could be that the police had figured that out, and withheld that information to try and separate a real lead from a false one.

He wasn’t going to be in a tent with the idiot teens, as she knew he wouldn’t be able to stay out too late since he had to get up for work the next day. She had found a picture of him from a FINSIA conference five years ago, so she had a vague idea of what he looked like. So she continued to wait.

It was quarter to ten when she finally spotted him. He was scarily close to her position, snapping photos of the nearby trees and the grass. Just how much did he know?

She shifted from her resting position and crept towards him. “izElectro?”

He jumped up in shock and turned around to the sound of the voice. “Umm… hi. Who are you?”

“‘SS_Hunter’ I know, probably not the best name, but all the good names were taken.” she chuckled.

“Oh! I love reading your posts. What do you think about my theory about the kill site?”

“I think you might be on to something. I’ve actually been looking around, and I think I might have a potential location. Want to see?”

“Sure!”

She led him out of a park, to a nearby warehouse. The dirty windows were like pockmarks on the walls, ruining the smooth facade, and making it look even more eerie in the moonlight.. “I was thinking this is probably it. There used to be be an abattoir here, but the factory moved. Perfect place to kill people. The blood stays hidden.”

“Good thinking.” he said as he turned towards her.

“So how did you figure out the kill site wasn’t in the park? Do you have an inside source in the police force?”

He laughed. “No, it’s probably just too many episodes of CSI.” He retrieved his phone from his pocket and began to take some photos of the exterior.

Sam was surprised at the feeling of disappointment. For a moment, she had been hopeful of finding a kindred spirit. “The place isn’t even locked. Let’s take a look inside!”

The two of them walked through the unlocked entrance and Sam switched on her torch, panning the light around the interior. Her investigative partner gasped. “Wow, this place is huge! It looked so small from the outside.” He headed towards one of the bloodstained walls and began taking photos. “This seems too fresh to have been from when this was an abattoir.”

“Really? How can you tell?” Sam’s head perked up again.

“Oh, I have no idea, it just sounds like something they’d say on TV.” And again, her hopes were dashed. The two of them wandered around the warehouse in silence, the only sounds were their footsteps and the quiet camera shutter sound of the phone.

One more chance, she thought to herself.

“You would think they would have painted over the bloodstains when this was converted into a warehouse.” he said. “I can’t imagine coming into work and seeing this every day.”

He’s getting warmer.

“You’re right.” she nodded in agreement.

He suddenly stopped. “That’s weird. These are offices. But the bloodstains continue.”

Sam shined her torch on the walls and bent over for a closer look.  I don’t remember this being here… She spun around quickly. Her “partner” held a large chef’s knife in his hand, the torchlight reflected against it and made shadows against the wall as he rotated it side-to-side.

“Part time chef?” she asked, coolly.

“South Square Stabber.” came the response.

“No. You’re not.”

“I’m not…. But I could be.”

Sam face wrinkled in confusion. “I don’t understand.”

“You were sloppy with Poklowski. If I was able to find this place, then it won’t be long before the police do, if they haven’t already.”

“So what do you want?”

“We kill again. More accurately, I kill again, when you have a clear alibi.”

“And why do you want to do this?”

“I’m never getting promoted. My boss isn’t going to retire for years, and he’s never getting promoted either.”

“Are you kidding? This isn’t some Agatha Christie novel. How do I know I can trust you?”

“I can probably stab you right now before you get your own knife out of your bag. But I won’t. You need me as much as I need you.”

“So what’s the plan? You kill someone while I’m overseas, and in return, I kill your boss?”

“Something like that, yes.”

“OK. Well, I guess I don’t really have a choice. I have my next target in mind. Meet me at the McDonald’s near the Ikon building at 3PM tomorrow, and we’ll go somewhere and exchange details. Don’t write anything down. Don’t record anything in your phone. Delete the photos you took of this place.”

“No. Those photos are my back-up, in case you don’t hold up your side of the bargain. They’ve all been backed up to Google Photos, and I have them synching to another account, so even if you delete them from my phone, you won’t delete them from that account.”

“Makes sense.”

“Also, I think it would be best if you kill my boss first, as an act of faith.”

“Makes sense.” she repeated.

“I’m glad we could come to an agreement.”

She could see the greed in his face, he was already picturing his promotion. She gestured for him to leave. “I have the torch, you go ahead.”

“OK. I’ll see you tomorrow, at the McDonald’s.” He put the knife away, and turned to walk out, Sam following close behind. As they left the office section, she switched off the torch.

“What’s going on?” he asked, panicked.

“I think the battery died.”

He pulled his phone out of his pocket to serve as a makeshift torch, just in time to see Sam slash at his throat with her knife. He felt blood dripping down his throat, and he tried to scream, but he wasn’t even sure if he did, the pain was overwhelming. She stabbed at him again, and his mind was yelling at him to defend himself, but he felt his body moving far too slowly in response. He struggled to stay conscious, but his mind was shutting down to block out the pain. He didn’t even feel the second or third stab.

“Sorry, I’m not hiring.”

—————————————————————-

I’m not particularly happy with how this one turned out. I wanted to try and get into the mind of a psychopath, since I’ve often wondered if I am one, but I guess the fact that I couldn’t is a good sign?

But the story definitely feels badly executed. I read so many thriller novels, but I couldn’t seem to capture the same suspense.

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