by Lost Stranger.
The cute little girl looked at me for a second, and flinched away from me at the very moment I made a move towards her. She huddled in her bed, hugging an old, well-loved teddy bear with a missing eye. I put a finger to my lips and made a shushing sound. She nodded, and whispered to me.
“You’re not gonna hurt me, mister ?”
I smiled. “Don’t worry, sweetie. I only hurt bad people”, I whispered back, winking at her. She giggled at the wink, then her face fell into a sort of frown-like pout as she thought about my answer.
“You mean, like my new daddy ?”, she asked, and I thought I saw something in her eyes, something that didn’t belong in the eyes of an eight-year-old girl.
I took a step towards her, and this time she didn’t flinch. She eyed me curiously, and I could only guess at what she was seeing when she looked at me. Certainly not a tall, dark and handsome young man draped in a black leather duster and carrying a big knife in his hand.
My gaze caught hers, and everything became clear to me in that second. Her ‘new daddy’, her mother’s latest in a long series of partners, was a monster only slightly less frightening than anything that ever came out of a Hollywood studio. Forget Jason Voorhees or Freddy Krueger, this man was exactly the kind of man who made up my annual body count, and I sighed in disgust at the realization that I had been right once again.
With a second thought, I caught the girl’s name, Lisa, and her mother’s, Ellen. The monster masquerading as Ellen’s ‘boyfriend’ was unknown to me. From Lisa’s thoughts, I picked out his name. Jeffrey Manson. I smiled briefly, but the smile was quickly gone as I reminded myself of why I was here. Lisa looked at me with an out-of-place, oddly satisfied expression, watched as I slid my knife back in the sheath at my waist and walked towards the door.
From further down the hall, I could hear the sounds coming from the TV. I was more or less certain that Manson would be sprawled on the couch with a beer or a joint, and I sensed that Lisa’s mother was in the kitchen. Smiling grimly to myself, I whispered “Dull eyes, closed ears, deaf minds, let no one see that which is not here”. From now on, no one in the house would see me or otherwise notice my presence unless I wanted them to. I wasn’t sure the spell would work with the little girl, for my magick had a strange habit of failing me when it came to hiding from the eyes of children.
Moving as silently as the air itself, I walked down the hall until I saw the pale glow of the TV. I had been right. Manson was sprawled in front of the TV with a beer. Still invisible to his eyes, I sent him a thought. “Good night, Jeffrey. Valentine says die”. Melodramatic, OK, but I liked to help the actual killing with a good dose of fear.
The effect on Manson was rather comical, would have been if the circumstances had been different. The man fairly jumped from the couch, spilling half his beer in the process. To his credit, he didn’t cry out, or say anything. He just looked around the living room, his eyes flickering wildly back and forth. While he was still desperately trying to see where the voice had come from, I stepped into the kitchen.
Ellen had her back to me. She was sobbing quietly, and for a second I almost didn’t notice the bread knife in her hands. Her intentions were obvious even to a novice mind-reader like me, but I could already tell that she wouldn’t see it through. She was too afraid of missing, and of his reaction to the attempted murder.
“Well, that’s why I’m here, Ellen”, I thought. With another thought, I reached out with my mind, back into the living room, where Manson was draining yet another beer. It was child’s play to seize control of his trachea and esophagus during the split-second when he swallowed. Immediately, the distinctive sounds of someone choking came from the living room, and I could sense that the kill was as good as done.
He was choking to death, and no one could help him. He would be dead or dying when Ellen would reach him. I saw to it that she didn’t move for just the right length of time, and I heard the sound of 180 pounds of dead flesh hitting the floor in the living room. This sound was music to my ears, and I allowed myself another smile. Another night, another worthless, victimizing asshole wiped from the face of the Earth.
I left the house the same way I had entered it: through the window in Lisa’s bedroom. I already knew the little girl would say nothing to her mother or to the cops. She had been waiting for me or someone like me, and I had done what she wanted. The source of hurt in her life was gone. That was why I was here. That was my job. The children had always come first, however, and if Ellen had turned out ‘sour’ as well, she would have died in the same instant. But without pain. I am not a monster, even though the newspapers call me the Angel of Death. Funny how close to the truth they were without even knowing it.