Dolores looked dispassionately at the man she was about to kill. It would not be a pretty kill, but none of them were. This one would be particularly gruesome, and she would quietly love every second of it.
Randall McTavish, the man who had been dubbed ‘The Screwdriver Killer’ by the more sensational printed media rags, was lying on Dolores’ kitchen floor. He wasn’t restrained but he couldn’t move. He didn’t know why. The chill he felt in his soul and in his bones deepened, washing over him with irresistible force. For the first time in his adult life, he felt fear.
“Pancurium bromide. One of the drugs given to death row inmates at the time of execution. It paralyzes the body.” Dolores said. She straddled the supine man and started undressing him. Clothes would only inhibit her plan.
Dolores hummed a tune as she worked on unclothing her victim. ‘Tiny Dancer.’ She loved the lyrics because it reminded her of her at this moment. She was a blue-jean baby. She had a pirate’s mind, if not a pirate’s smile. And now she was lying near McTavish, with no one near, and only he could hear her speaking to him softly. Today would be a busy day for her.
“You will die today. Let’s just get that straight right now. You will see your death coming and you won’t be able to do anything about it. I don’t know if you’ll feel the pain from the drug, but I pray to a God that I truly believe in that you will.”
The whispered words caused McTavish to groan and try to talk, but all that came out was a guttural grunt and lots of drool. Dolores patted the man’s cheek and took his clothes to the burn pit.
After thoroughly dousing the clothes with gasoline, she tossed a burning stick onto the pile. The whoosh of the accelerant caused Dolores to take a step back. She watched as the clothes caught fire, smoked, and turned to ashes. Soon, the fire would burn out and the ashes would be nothing more than cold, powdery flakes.
Dolores strode back into her house and sat down in a chair in front of McTavish. She smiled at him, a smile that contained no warmth or comfort.
“I bet you never thought that this would be the last day of your miserable life, did you?” Dolores lit a cigarette and smoked most of it before putting the glowing end of her smoke to McTavish’s neck, watching him intently. He groaned and tried to scream, but nothing came out except a wheeze and some flecks of spit. Satisfied, Dolores tossed the cigarette into a commode and flushed it.
“We have about twenty-five minutes before the drug starts to wear off, and we can’t have that happen, can we?”
God! I wish I had the words to describe this, to illuminate how I feel.
Dolores caressed McTavish’s forehead and wiped the sweat from his eyes.
Hemingway would have the words. Hemingway could have written my story. Or Flannery O’Connor. No one reads O’Connor anymore. Pity.
“You were easy to catch. Once I figured out that you were a free-lance photographer and you spotted your victims buying orange juice, I knew how to catch you. I turned blond and I dressed like a slut. And I bought orange juice.”
Dolores chattered on, aware of McTavish’s distress but unwilling to empathize with him. Or unable to empathize. She still wasn’t sure about that, after all these years.
“You had the perfect cover, Mac. Photographer, and a good one. I’ve seen your work in National Geographic. Do they pay well? I’m a fan of the mag.”
Or maybe Nabokov. He was good with guilt and redemption – I think. Maybe I’m thinking of Dostoevsky. Or Chekov. All those Russian writers were fucking incredible with guilt.
McTavish grunted some more and tried to move, but the body didn’t respond. The girl was looking at him with an intensity that he didn’t understand. He should have understood because that’s how he always looked at his victims. Like specimens displayed behind glass, pinned to a board and suitable for study.
“I spiked the orange juice, in case you hadn’t figured it out by now. Using your victims’ orange juice to make yourself a drink or two before killing them is pretty gauche. But I know why you did it.”
A scuffling sound came from the back. Twelve pigs were penned up and they were hungry. Dolores had deliberately withheld feeding them for almost a week.
“You hear my babies? They will be the last thing you see before you die. You will smell their odor and you will hear their hungry squeals before they tear into your flesh.” Dolores squatted in front of McTavish to observe his eyes. They widened with fear. The tears came, along with a strained whistling noise from deep within his throat, sounding like terror.
Dolores stared into his eyes.
“Did you tell all those women you killed to stop crying? I bet they were terrified, just like I hope you are. Or did you just gloat and enjoy their tears and terror? Hmm. I wonder.”
Dolores stood up quickly and went into the storeroom to get out the cleaning supplies that she would need after the kill. It gave her a particular thrill to parade the cleaning supplies in front of McTavish. He was not a stupid man, and he would divine what the supplies were for.
“Yep. Have to clean up the blood that’s left after my babies finish with you. Bet you figured that out, huh? The things is, I’m erasing you.”
Dolores set down the cleaning supplies and knelt in front of McTavish again. The darkness that had pervaded her soul for the past two years had lifted, if only temporarily. She could smell the stench of his sweat and she could almost taste his unheeded, silent cries for help and mercy. She calculated how much longer she could prolong McTavish’s ordeal. Forever, her soul screamed.
“After my babies finish with you, all you’ll be is pig shit and teeth. No one will remember you. Pfft! Pig shit and teeth.”
Dolores stroked McTavish’s brow as she quietly reflected on the events that led to this moment, this very necessary moment. The cold rage and hot hunger inside her could only be assuaged in a very specific way.
He is terrified. His eyes give it away. And his scent. The sickly-sweet smell of fear is intoxicating. The feeling of creating the circumstances for a death is exhilarating. When I die, I want to smell just like this.
“It took two years to get you to attack me. I feel a little insulted, Mac. Here I was, following you all around the country, following you inside supermarkets, buying orange juice right in front of you. Why did it take you so long to latch on to me? I have to tell you, I felt like I was losing my touch. I had to resort to getting blonder and wearing fewer clothes. I hate that shit, Mac. I don’t like going around in public without a bra. And I really don’t like wearing those ridiculous cut-offs that barely cover my private parts. Good girls don’t dress like that.”
Dolores was unaware of the irony in her last sentence. Morality, to her, had a far different face than it did for most. Had she given any thought to the flawed syllogism that she purported, she might have laughed.
“I love entropy. And I hate it. I’ll tell you why because I see that you’re dying to know. I got that wrong. You’ll know right before you die,” Dolores said. A soft smile, complete with sad eyes, graced McTavish’s last moments.
“The second law of thermodynamics, you see. Energy dispersion tends towards equilibrium, which increases entropy. What I mean is that everything always changes. That’s the way the universe works. I love it because disorder gives me a reason to live. A reason to hunt, if you see what I mean.”
Dolores stood up, dusting off her knees, and sighed. Her slow dance with entropy was coming to a close. Dolores went to the back door and opened it. A dozen pigs met McTavish’s fevered eyes, all rushing towards him.
He felt the pigs tear into his flesh; all parts of his unprotected body were attacked. The pain was horrific but he couldn’t yell or scream or flinch. All he could do was watch and feel as the pigs bit huge chunks out of his legs and torso. One pig started chewing his face, and this is when he mercifully (for him) passed out of consciousness and out of this world.
Dolores watched it all with a grim detachment that belied her true feelings. Her body sang electric, her nerves tingled sonic, her soul swooned romantic. Crunching bone and blood smears were her love language.
Peace reigned in her heart as she bent to the task of cleaning up the blood from the kitchen floor. There wasn’t much; her babies were amazingly efficient eaters, and they licked up most of the blood that had seeped on to the cheap linoleum floor. She loved her babies.
Dolores stripped off her clothes and tossed them into the burn pile, along with the rags she had used for cleaning. Another liberal dose of gasoline and fire served to eradicate what was left of Randall McTavish. She took a shower, ate a microwaved pizza, and went to bed. Dolores fell asleep almost instantly, and slept through the night undisturbed by the calls of the coyotes or the yowling of the feral cats. She had had a very productive day.
It took two years to get the fucker to target me, but I had everything ready when he did. The pancurium bromide was laughably easy to obtain. The storage facility where it was kept was not difficult to break in to. Why don’t they protect it better? Seems like they should.
I knew he was waiting for me last night. I walked in and saw him. He counted on me being shocked, but I wasn’t. I had to act like it, though. He strapped me down in a chair and did his little ritual of drinking Screwdrivers before killing me with – get this – screwdrivers. Pretty fucked up, wouldn’t you say?
Like I said, I was prepared. I had modified the chairs so that they would come apart easily when I stood up. After McTavish fell to the floor, I stood up. I have to say that I’m very proud of this part. I’m sure he was surprised as well. I hope he was.
I had fastened a razor blade into a door jamb so that I could cut myself loose. Another proud moment for me. I’m getting to be quite the handywoman.
I considered letting the pigs eat his hands and feet first and then inject him with some adrenaline to keep him conscious. In the end, I decided against it. Yeah, he killed a lot of women but he didn’t rape them. Small mercies deserve small concessions.
The normal length of time for me to feel ok is about a month. After that, I have to hunt again. A month to keep the monsters at bay. I’ll have words with God about this when it’s all said and done.
Dolores put her journal away and made a mental note to buy another one; this one was filled. She would put it away in a safety deposit box when she got back to Chicago, along with the other two journals. She would begin her next hunt then, hiding away in her house and spending hours online looking through newspaper articles and doing Google searches. She would spend time at kill sites. She would sleep with whoever might have information she could purloin. And she would hunt in a far different way than the authorities.
It took Dolores a week to dig through the pigs’ effluence and find the thirty-one teeth that belonged to her latest kill. She cleaned them up and then trekked out into the countryside, dispersing the teeth amongst the sagebrush, mesquite thickets, and the prairie grass. I feel like Johnny Appleseed. Or Cadmus.
A nice couple had taken care of Dolores’ pigs while she was away, for which she paid them well. They never asked why she wanted pigs in the first place, but the topic was a rich source of discussion at the couple’s church. The consensus was that “the girl ain’t all there,” followed by a tapping of the temple. Sinister motives were not considered.
She sold the pigs to the nice couple at an absurdly low price after dispensing with McTavish, thereby cementing the community belief that she was a little crazy. Marjorie and Thomas Beadle were thankful for the windfall and duly donated 10% of the profits made from the pigs to the church. They were, like all of their neighbors, big believers in contributing to God’s coffers in exchange for a preacher telling them to be nice to people.
Dolores loaded up her much-battered Jeep and drove away, looking forward to the open highways through Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Indiana, and finally Illinois. It would take several days but they would be fine days, albeit the last of the fine days before the hunger to hunt invaded her psyche and her soul again. She would then have to find new prey. Prey worthy of her talents and her inclinations.
Pulling in to a roadside stand, Dolores bought a plastic cup of iced tea and sat on a bench underneath a small shade tree. The sun warmed her face and the condensation from the cup beaded and eventually trickled down its own labyrinthine path to the table. She lit a cigarette and watched the smoke go from shade to sunlight, curling and undulating to a rhythm that only it knew, dancing slowly upwards before disappearing into the heavens. It all made her smile.
Entropy, she thought. You gotta love that shit.