Kicking the Habit

Submitted into Contest #118 in response to: Start your story with “Today’s the day I change.”... view prompt

1 comment

Fiction Suspense Thriller

“Today’s the day I change,” I say to myself, waking up from a long rest. The activities from the previous night still lingered in my mind. “I know I can do it this time.”

I get out of bed, head to the bathroom, and turn the shower on as hot as I can take it. I move to the sink and mirror and look at myself. “I should shave,” I say. “But I really don’t want to.” I noticed a zit coming in on my forehead and squeezed it until it popped. There is more puss than I expected, making me reach for a tissue to wipe it clean. I press a second time and make it bleed. Another wipe of the tissue and then add pressure for a few seconds makes the bleeding stop.

I get into the shower and cringe as the hot water hits my back. I wait until my cold body adjusts to the water’s temperature before turning around to acclimate my front end.

As I stand there with the water hitting my chest, I see a little blood wash down into the drain. “Is that mine?” I ask myself. I search my body and can’t find any trace of blood. I decided it must be from my forehead, where I had popped the zit.

After my shower, I wrap the towel around my waist and turn the news on the television. The news anchor had just talked about another murder that had taken place downtown. It was the third one this week.

Police are still searching for clues and more evidence, the anchor says. But at this time, there is still very little they have to go on. And this being the third murder this week, police believe they have a serial killer on the loose and are working 24/7 to find the murderer.

I giggle. “Stupid police. They don’t know what they’re doing. They think they are dealing with a serial killer based only on the three recent murders. They should look back to last year and the year before—the cold cases. They will see that this is a killer that has been around for a long time.”

I walk into the kitchen and start my coffee maker to brew a pot of coffee. I used to use the K-cups, but I knew I would drink anywhere from four to six cups by the end of the day—the drip coffee maker just made more sense.

My cat, Simon, leaps on the kitchen counter, looking for his morning breakfast. Even though he had an automatic feeder for his dry food, he knew mornings were for fulfilling his wet food fantasy. I scratch his neck and give him his food.

I am walking back to my bedroom to get dressed when I hear a commercial on the TV—The rodeo is in town. Out of all my victims, I have never killed a bull rider. It sounds challenging and exhilarating, and I note the location and time and get dressed.

As I was buttoning my shirt, I remembered I had told myself that I would change today. That meant no more killings. No more murders. No more being a bad guy. I had to change, or it would get out of control, and I would not know when to stop.

I think of other things like flowers, kittens, puppies, and anything else that would make me smile and happy. But I always returned to the fact that I have never killed a cowboy. It was a challenge—it was a vendetta. It was something that I felt I had to do.

I had a flashback of a Ms. America pageant five or six years ago when the news reported the runner-up girl had committed suicide after losing. I knew the truth. I am that good. I can cover up most of my killings to make it look like a suicide, or my favorite, make it look like a friend that kills their friend for whatever reason.

My brain moved back to me, saying that I was going to change. I did not want to be a killer anymore—I wanted to be normal. You know, the great neighbor you could count on to watch your kids or your brand new puppy. I wanted to be that guy. I wanted to watch the rodeo and be entertained by the bull riders and the clowns. I wanted to enjoy the atmosphere of the crowd yelling. But if I wanted that, then why did I want to kill a cowboy so desperately?

My first victim was seven years ago. It happened downtown at a nightclub. I waited until closing to find the one girl that nobody had taken home. I put on the charm and asked her to join me. She was so relieved to have someone ask; she didn’t think it would be any trouble. I lucked out, and she was an out-of-towner here on business. I remember seeing the fear and terror in her eyes as I wrapped my hands around her throat and squeezed. I then tied several towels together and made a noose. I tied it around her neck and set her up in the bathroom to make it look like a suicide. That’s when I realized I enjoyed killing. It wasn’t so much about them dying but the fact that they suffered just before they did.

I watched the news for several days to see if they ever reported anything about her. It disappointed me that there wasn’t. To my knowledge, her killing was closed as suicide, and she was never heard from again. Poor girl. She may not have had any family or friends that even knew or cared about her. Who knows?

My focus now, though, is how I’m going to meet one of these bull riders at the rodeo coming up. I did some research using the internet and found an inexperienced rider by the name of Josh Perkins. He’s a young 21-year-old man in his first year on the circuit. He shows promise, but when you look at this record, he’s barely average.

My plan is to fake my way into meeting Josh by pretending to be a reporter for a local newspaper doing a story on rookie bull riders. If Josh doesn’t do well this weekend, the story will be that it frustrated him, and he commits suicide by not being able to handle the stress.

If he does well, another bull rider will get upset, and the killing will look like that cowboy killed young Josh Perkins.

This means I have to prepare for both scenarios before the event.

I plan to meet with Josh after the event in my hotel room to do an interview. Before then, I get my press credentials to report on the rodeo.

I watch the bull riding and pay attention to the results. Josh places 8th overall, never making it to the final round. This meant I would use the suicide scenario.

Josh arrived at my hotel room later that night to do the interview. I gave him a seat at the table and poured him a glass of whiskey. I made sure his back was to the bathroom, where I was holding my killing tools.

Halfway through the interview and halfway through the bottle of whiskey, I excuse myself to use the bathroom. While Josh sat innocently looking out the window, I approached from his back and wrapped a thick rope around his neck, and pulled tightly.

I quickly realized my mistake of underestimating the strength of a bull rider. Josh reached for the rope around his neck and pulled it loose from my hands. He leaps from his chair and, with one swing, hits me with his left hand, tossing me to the bed. I try to get to my feet quickly but stumble on the nightstand, causing me to trip and fall to the floor. The next thing I feel is a rope wrapped around my neck and then wrapped around my wrists and ankles. I had made another mistake not reading up on Josh’s history. Otherwise, I would have known he was a champion steer wrestler. Before I knew it, he had me tied up and hit me in the face with his fist.

After I lost feeling of my face, I have an out-of-body experience and see myself sitting in the room’s corner, watching Josh continue to hit me. I do not know that I am actually dead. It isn’t until Josh stands up and kicks me in the head before leaving that I realize I am witnessing my own death.

Death is nothing like I would have imagined it to be. It made me think of my victims—Did they witness their deaths as well? Did they see me meticulously put them in a noose to make their deaths look like a suicide?

I THINK SOME LIGHT WILL SHOW UP from TV shows I’ve seen to take me away. But nothing shows.

I sit down and try to turn the TV on, but I can’t seem to make any of the buttons work on the remote. I try to leave the room, but I cannot turn the doorknob. It never occurred to me I could probably just walk through the door.

Hours go by, and all I’ve been doing is sitting and waiting. I look at my lifeless body, realizing I had finally kicked my bad habit of killing people.

November 01, 2021 04:27

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

1 comment

Alice Richardson
22:46 Nov 06, 2021

Excellent closing line.


Show 0 replies