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Whoever said New Year was the time to ‘wipe the slate clean’ never grew up Catholic. 

However, ‘starting over’ is a bit rich for those whose resolutions include losing that 10 pounds they gained at Christmas or cutting back on wine. People’s ideas of ‘self-improvement’ are extremely shallow. They don’t understand that the reason they hate their lives is not what they eat or the people they surround themselves with, it’s them. Someone needs to show them that. I need to show them that. I am only one woman with no interest in networking my New Year traditions, so I work on a small scale. 

I had been doing this for a cool nine years and every year followed the same routine. I decided to begin this tradition when I was at a friend’s party, otherwise known as a gathering of the most idiotic people I have ever met. The whole night was characterised by sharp screeching and sobbing about how hard this year has been for them. My personal hell. But this was no different to any other New Year party I had attended before. So, what made this one different? I hear you ask. It began with a conversation.

           “It’s always disappointing, isn’t it?” 

           “Predictable.” I quipped back.

           “Go on then what’s so ‘predictable’ about it?” She narrowed her brows at me.

           “Seriously? It’s always the same. Everyone gets drunk. Everyone creams over the fact that ‘this year is going to be their year! And then you’re asked what your New Year resolution is going to be just so people can talk about theirs because let’s face it people are inherently self-centred. And then the countdown comes, and we have to kiss for some ungodly reason. But don’t worry if you don’t have a date here’s a complete stranger who could have early onset herpes but it’s better than not kissing anyone you frigid bitch. And you have to get wasted just to make the ordeal bearable, so you end up spending the first day of ‘your year’ vomiting, picking pubes off your face from the toilet seat. Like I said, predictable.”

I realised I may have gone a tad far based on her wide-eyed reaction.

           “Okay crazy, I get it you don’t like it. So why do you keep coming to these things?” Excellent question because I haven’t got a fucking clue. I shrugged.

           “Okay… Then make your own traditions.”

           “Like what?”

           “I don’t know. Stay at home and order takeout? Go paragliding? Go on a fucking murder spree for all I care! Just something different from this because this clearly isn’t working for you.” Holy shit. She is right.

I stared at her until she looked back at me. Her eyebrow tensed in confusion. I grabbed her neck and kissed her hard. She gave me what I needed, and I was grateful.

           “You’re a fucking genius.” I held her face in my hands and held it close, almost touching noses. I walked away.

 “Enjoy the herpes!” I heard her call as I strode out of the door.

           I had no idea what I was going to do but I knew that if people really wanted to ‘wipe the slate clean’ they would have to confess and repent what had come before. I went home and devised a plan, a ritual I would undertake every single year till I died.

                      Step one – Find people. People who wouldn’t mind meeting up with total strangers on New Year. So naturally I thought dating websites. Sign up to three. Obviously under a fake name and random image. This isn’t amateur hour.

                      Step two – Background research. No point punishing someone whose biggest crime is desperation. It would defeat the purpose of the tradition.

                      Step three – When I have found sufficient dirt on someone I will arrange to meet up with them on New Year. But oh no! I can’t go out I don’t feel very well, I wouldn’t mind if you wanted to come to mine for a drink though. Only one person a year. Don’t over complicate things, that will get you caught.

                      Step four – Send them the address of the alley behind the storage unit. Knock them out. Be sure you don’t hit wrong. They will then wake up in a storage unit, bound to a chair. Be sure when they wake up your face is covered. I personally find a lamb mask very fitting. 

                      Step five – Set up a live stream on their Facebook account and tell them they must confess to their sins. Don’t think ‘what if they don’t have an account?’ They will have an account. Be prepared for denial or confusion. Show them that neither are options, by any means necessary. But don’t get slap happy, that is not the point of this.

                      Step six – When they eventually confess, tell them they are forgiven but they must now face the punishment, which in this chamber is becoming an outcast. Release them no earlier than midnight, they must start their year with this.

           For nine years this tradition, while unconventional, became my favourite. For nine years I have exposed the rapists, adulterers, murderers, addicts, the list continues. I finally understand what it means when people say ‘new year, new me’ because every time I fulfil my vigilante lifestyle I feel reborn, like I have shown these people that the problem in their lives isn’t ‘my father was an alcoholic’ or ‘I was abused as a child and this is why I’m like this’, it’s within them. I simply hold a mirror up to their reality.

           This year started exactly the same. I managed to get a date with this guy, Matt, age 24, fetish for minors, no preference, he wasn’t fussy. When I found this out I altered my profile:

                       “Hi, I’m Chantelle, I have to say I’m 18 on here but I’m actually 15 hehe. Looking for a man who can take care of me. Xx”

           Within fifteen minutes Matt was keen to meet me. A perfect candidate for my ninth annual celebration.

           Steps one to four went off without a hitch but something felt different when we reached step five. He was unusually calm when I demanded him to confess. He just stared at me with an absent smile. When I stopped momentarily, he chimed in.

                       “So, what is this then? Why do you do this every year? No friends to party with so you take out your loneliness on innocent people? Make it so they will have no one either?” He was fucking with me.

                       “Innocent people?” I scoffed. “Last time I checked rapists, murderers and adulterers are not innocent. Fucking paedophiles are not innocent.” I gestured my knife at him. “They must confess to their sins and repent.”

                       “You should be more efficient with your background research.” He arched his brow sensing my confusion. “Steven Parker was wrongfully accused of rape by his ex-girlfriend who wanted revenge for breaking up with her. Michelle Daniels had separated from her partner when she was arrested for indecent exposure with another woman, she just hadn’t told her family yet. Christ, you call Amber O’Conner a murderer because she was seen buying the morning after pill. Need I continue?” He was leaning as far forward as the ropes would allow him and his eyes were bulging. “You are not a prophet sent by the lord. You are a sadistic fuck.”

           He leaned back in the chair and smiled genuinely. “And now I can see the penny has dropped… I am not a paedophile. Ever since your first ‘confession’ if that’s what you want to call it, the police have been locking down on you and finally, nine years later, we got you. Wouldn’t have taken us so long if there weren’t so many frigging copycats.”

           Sweat was building underneath my mask and my chest was hot.

                       “So, all I want to know is, why New Year? Like we get all your fucked-up Jesus freak ideology but why New Year? People do bad shit every day.”

           I stuttered. “People wa-want to - I don’t know - ‘start anew’ on New Year. It’s all people ever fucking go on about! I give them an opportunity to do that, confess their sins and what? I’m a fucking criminal? I give them what they want even if they don’t see it themselves.” 

                       “No what makes you a fucking criminal is knocking out people who are either innocent in the eyes of the law or have served their sentence, forcing them to confess everything they’ve done wrong, torturing and being stupid enough to live stream it. IP addresses exist arsehole.” Turns out its been amateur hour for the last nine years then.

           He stared deeply into the eye-holes of my mask. “You are exactly the person you are trying to expose. So, why don’t you?”

           I was caught off guard. “What?” I felt small.

                       “Confess what you have done wrong. What you have done to innocent people for the better half of a decade.”

                       “Fuck you I’m not doing that.” I started to back away.

                       “You are no more without sin than the people you have tortured. So, show yourself and confess!” His face had turned red and veins popped inside his forehead.

           A rage was building up within me, boiling in my heart and crawling up my throat. I had been tricked by the police when I was effectively doing their job for them? I’m helping people move on from their past regrets and removing them from their life of denial and self-hatred. ‘New year, new me’ only applies to those who repent. I will not be cast as the villain. I began to scream, a deep guttural cry from within. He looked at me concerned, clearly unsure of my next move. I ran and thrusted my knife deep into his neck, so deep the blade disappeared. 

           The last thing I remember from that night is the shutter of my storage unit being forced open and demanded to put my hands in the air. As I was forced to the ground I heard one of the policeman say, “I think the camera is still intact.” 

Nothing more grounding than becoming the subject of your own New Year tradition.

January 01, 2020 17:46

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1 comment

Samuel Cardy
19:02 Jan 09, 2020

Fascinating story - I was gripped! The conflict between good and bad, the vigilante figure, the tension when she is caught out... loved it!


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