A Single drop splashed on the ground. I turned around at the sound. My trained eyes swept my surroundings. The walls were splattered with blood. It was also on the ceiling and puddles formed between the evidence on the floor. The sound that caused me to abandon my deep thoughts seemed to echo through the quietness of the room. I always worked alone, not allowing for the smallest interference to contaminate the crime scene. The offending drop of blood came from the severed head of the father, which was hanging upside down from the expensive crystal chandelier. Another droplet formed at the tip of the nose but it froze in place as it congealed. He bled his last drop. I could feel the animal surrounding me; sheer evil hatred emanated from the scene. I could almost sense them in the room with me. There were two of them, a male and a female. She was the leader, he, the puppet. She was cool, calm and collected. She knew exactly what she was doing and she enjoyed every moment of it. He was a new addition. She picked him up 3 murders ago. This was number 24. They were young, probably not even 25 yet. She was never molested, never abused and never neglected. She was born evil. He was a different case; a drifter with no roots and a neglected childhood that he buries in booze. She took him under her wing for her own reasons and he relishes the attention and recognition he always craved but never got. O yes, I knew what they were. It was who they were, that was still shrouded in mystery. She is painfully careful, never a mistake, never a clue. Perhaps this new hired help will err. Perhaps he will be the one to expose her.
I looked around me once more, making certain I have not missed anything. The pale naked body of the young mother was lying spread-eagled on the heavy oak coffee table. Her limbs were tied to the corners and her viscera were strewn all over the room, splattering the walls. That was her work. I could see her dancing and twirling like a ballerina, throwing handfuls of bloody entrails through the air. The father’s headless trunk was propped against the wall, a deep gash above his severed neck where the axe bit into the masonry. The baby was carefully laid in its mother’s emptied body cavity, still swaddled in a warm woolen blanket. A ceremonial Japanese short sword from her father’s den, protruded from her tiny body. It slid through her in its entirety, piercing her mother’s remains and the oak coffee table beneath her with ease. The blade was intended for honorable suicide, never for the murder of an innocent. The Nanny was stuffed under the couch, her severed legs fried to a crisp amongst the logs in the fireplace. That was his work. Ashamed of what he had done a vain attempt at hiding the evidence. Perhaps he will learn, still. Learn from her to be proud of his work, proud of himself, if she allows him to last that long. I leave the crime scene and motion the crowd outside to enter. They are the evidence collectors; the photographers, the coroners and the cleaners that followed me around like a pack of faithful dogs. They irritate me, but I knew I had to tolerate them. They are part of this drama, just like me and the perpetrators and the victims; each performing his part faithfully to the end.
Outside, the cold wind bit through my waterproof overcoat. I could feel the cold seep through my clothing and all remnants of heat dissipating like mist before the morning sun. I felt irritable. My blood was boiling from the boldness of the carnage I just witnessed; so much like all the others that I had seen over the past few months. I knew her handiwork intimately. I waited in vain for those typical signs of deterioration when a serial killer nears his end. Not her. Her work is always the same; unwavering precision amongst the apparent bloody slaughter. She leaves me little messages but no clues. She was toying with me. She was playing me like a fiddle, all the time smiling sweetly at her audience.
Later, when the sordid cast completed their scenes inside the house, morbid faces emerged carrying the props. Bodies 56 through 59 were labeled, tagged and bagged. The only evidence remaining of the bloody carnage that preceded the bleak morning, were the bloodstains on the walls, floor and ceiling of the happy home she chose as her latest stage. The wind was cutting like a knife through any body not wrapped in canvas and the policemen carrying the body bags down the stairs, huddled in their jackets. Grim expressions, bought with the images and of the mangled bodies they carried, covered their ashen faces. The bags containing the remains of the mother and the farther were loaded first. Those of the Nanny and the 9-month-old baby followed them into the black mortuary van. The iciness of evil enveloped the scene like an impervious viscous plastic blanket, smothering heat and humanity from everything forming part of this hellish scene. My mind drifted to four days ago.
Another time, another place, the same evil. Icy wind blew over the barren land, swirling clouds of dust and debris high into the air. A human would have difficulty breathing in that mess. A team of mortuary workers was lowering the naked decapitated body of the 84-year-old farmer from the tree near the house where he lived. His 82-year-old wife was found in the barn with fresh cow manure stuffed in her mouth and down her throat. This caused her to die of suffocation, but not before she was raped and her toe cut off with a rusty bolt cutter. The farmer’s head was found in their bed with his shriveled penis stuffed in his mouth.
My office was stark. It smelled of emptiness. It contained a desk, a phone, a chair, a filing cabinet, a board on the wall and me. No dustbin, no visitor’s chairs and no books.
I studied the pictures that filled the big board on the wall. They were neatly grouped and dated, with notes weaved in between them. There were 24 groups. All I had that linked me to her. In all that was displayed before me, was not a single clue as to who she was. Not a single lead to follow, not a single piece of evidence to hint towards her identity. How did I know it was a she? A hunch; a deep hunch born from experience. A sixth sense honed by evil men and women whom I have hunted all of my adult life. Evil I never shared with anyone. I was married to my work. I had no woman in my life except her. She was my latest love and also the one who has frustrated me more than any of the others before. My superiors knew I was the best. No other man or woman could do what I did for as long as I have with such complete commitment. I knew how their minds worked; I knew their every motivation, their very thoughts when they committed their vile crimes. The FBI sends me where terror strikes down the innocent. Blood and guts are part of my daily life. I hunt the bad boys and girls that stalk the realms of our country, the bad ones; the really bad ones. This one is the worst of them all. I call her Mala, The female personification of Evil who in ancient times, haunted men in the Darkness of Purgatory. She smiled at me from between the pictures; a sneer that shone with my inept abilities to catch her.
I took my jacket and walked out the office, locking the door behind me. I’m one of the privileged few with an office door that can lock. With the key in my pocket I walked the two flights of stairs to the basement where my trusty Chevy is waiting. She has a crack in the windscreen and her bonnet sports a few rusty spots. Her shocks need replacement a wash would be a welcome change. Above all, despite the fact that she once was beige, I love her. More urgent matters than a wash is at hand. My reason for enveloping myself with her comfort is a phone call telling of another murder site found. Perhaps this is where we meet at last. It is another rich house in an affluent suburb. She favors the mansions of the rich. Large expansive places situated on acres of ground, hidden from each other by high walls and groves of trees. The people who inhabit these places all crave one thing - privacy. That is exactly why my Mala seeks them out.
As the basement garage door closes, I slip into the congested traffic. The streets of New York are exactly what they always used to be; filled with vehicles. It is one thing that never lets you down, New York Traffic. It is always the same, slow and exasperating. The motto of New York should be: “If you’re in a hurry, go somewhere else.” I turn into 42nd and head for Madison, resigning myself to the beat of the traffic.
Moving up the driveway heading towards the house, I take in the surroundings. Rolling lawns on either side, massive trees, statues and a massive electronic gate that closes in my rearview mirror. I noticed the prerequisite cameras at the gate upon entering and wondered for a fleeting moment how she circumvents these. I pushed the thought out of my mind before it could settle. She is much more resourceful that having to enter at main gates. The driveway swept passed a sprawling porch flanked by enormous pillars. The gravel crunched under old Millie’s wheels. Yes, she’s got a name too. I have an annoying habit of naming things. The car, the kettle, the phone, everything I have regular contact with has a regular name. All my murderers get names as well and sometimes it is difficult to think of them as someone else when they get caught and identified. I don’t give them names like Slaughter Sam or Tic-Tac-Joe either. I have an affinity for mythology. Mythology is permeated with Evil. Evil characters lurk around every corner in every mythological tale, no matter which culture. I believe that the Evil we find in mythology is timeless and continuous. It is always the same everywhere and only manifests in different forms at different times, adapting to the particular situation. In Greek mythology it might be a half-man, half-goat, playing the lute and luring young virgins to their doom. In Nordic shadows it might be a dark creature, scouring the land and devouring humans. In the Bible he is a horned beast with legions of imps corrupting the good of mankind. In my times Evil manifests as murderers and other evildoers, who look like us, act like us and live amongst us. So my murderers get their names from ancient mythology, named for the similarity in their deeds, forever connected to each other by the flood of base evil that runs through them all; like my Mala.
The house was in disarray. He was still with her. She allows him to personify himself in her crimes in exchange for his cooperation. After she has had her fill of blood, she allows him to rape, steal and destroy. His anger at society is starkly evident in his rampage. She has started to grow weary of her sport. He amuses her. That is his Raisonner pour l'existence. She carefully cleans up in his wake, making sure he leaves no clues as to her identity. Despite the utter mess he makes, there are no fingerprints, no hair, no semen, nothing. As if a whirlwind rolled through the house and not a man. In the living room it is a different story. There it looks the way she intended it to. The two children are neatly arranged on the couch, the girl staring blankly at the TV. Her eyes are missing. The boy is lying on his back with his head in her lap. His left hand is tucked into his chest like Nelson of old. His shoes are neatly tucked under the couch with his feet still inside. The mother is crucified spread-eagled against the wall, her entrails sprawling from her body through the hole where her vagina used to be. Daddy got his hands stapled to the grand piano before his chest was opened and his vital organs were removed. His heart, lungs, liver and kidneys were strung on a piano wire, hanging in one of the large windows as if on display in a butcher shop. I stood in the middle of the room, alone. I looked around me almost in wonder, almost in despair. I knew what I would find. Nothing.
The following two weeks brought me 6 more bodies. She is slowing down for some reason. She must be growing tired of her games. She is looking for a different amusement. Strange, blood never becomes monotonous to its devotees. Perhaps it is the art. I knew something was about to happen; I was just not prepared for it when it did.
The call came at 2:30 am. I woke from an uneasy sleep and picked up the telephone on the third ring. It was the first fingerprints.
I stared at them where they were written in blood on the bathroom mirror. That they were left there deliberately was as clear as daylight. I knew it was his. She was giving him to me. He turned out to be Mason Silver, a smalltime druggie with a misdemeanor list as long as my arm. The last time his cronies saw him was three weeks ago at the Boom Box, a club on 42nd Street, which attracts sleaze. I combed the hospitals and morgues to no avail. He was officially a missing person. Two days later his body was found in a remote Motel room on Route 59. It was her best work of art yet. His naked body was suspended from the ceiling by 10 stainless steel hooks. The hooks were symmetrically pierced through his skin. Two through his nipples, two through the abdomen, two through the hips, two through the shoulders and two just above the knees. Each hook was attached to a stainless steel ring in the ceiling, by a thin piece of gut, 25-pound strength, used for deep-sea fishing. The bulk of his weight though, was hanging from his huge erect penis. Upon closer inspection I saw that she fastened a cable tie at the base of his penis, constricting the blood in his erect member and scrotum. The entire penis and scrotum was then tightly wrapped with thin parcel string, giving it a mummy-like appearance. A loop of red nylon string was then passed around the base of the scrotum, pulled tight and hoisted through a stainless steel loop in the ceiling, causing the man’s body to arch upwards with arms and legs outstretched, head thrown back as if in mighty thrust. Residue of duct tape around his mouth indicated that he was conscious during the torture. His facial features were rearranged to a look of sereneness but his wide stretched eyes told of horror and pain. All the excess blood was cleaned away after the body stop bleeding from its wounds. The bed was neatly made and nothing was out of place in the room. She was clearly reestablishing her identity as a competent artist; freeing herself from the diversion she entertained the past few weeks. The epitome of the scene was realized when the body was examined in the mortuary. On his left shoulder blade was a freshly tattooed heart. Inside the heart was her name. Mala. I don’t know what it was in the scene that made me feel like a schoolboy. I just had a feeling I was almost there.
From then on the Mala Killings returned to normal; clean, neat, macabre works of art. I never found a clue as to her identity but the feeling of kinship between us was growing daily. I was abhorred by my feelings but could not resist admiring her. Her style was becoming more fantastic with every new discovery. I found myself anticipating her next creation and felt pangs of disappointment when a day passed with no new developments. I stood alone in those halls of horror where she plied her craft and wondered in amazement at her skill. I smiled in wonderment at the innovation she showed in her art and I learnt to do it without a feeling of pity for the poor souls who had to succumb in order to become part of her creations. She was a Master of her craft and I have never seen her equal yet.
My days became absorbed with the hunt. Every waking moment I spent poring over the case files. Sleep became less and less important and my days and nights became interwoven with death. At one time I feared for my sanity, but I realized that there was nothing wrong with my mind. It was just my point of view that differed from that of my peers. I alone recognized the love and passion she expressed for her art, while the others only saw death and diabolic demeanor. Where I saw expression of a deep-seated creativity, they saw blood and insanity. I saw justification for the careful selection of appropriate material; they saw wanton disrespect for human life. I saw the reluctance of a true artist to display her work publicly; they saw malice and asocial behavior. Despite their worst denunciations, her art prevailed.
When I found her note to me, I was in a state of euphoria. I was called to yet another murder scene discovered by a delinquent son who came home too late and missed the party. Nobody was allowed in the room. The bodies were, as always, carefully laid out in a true artistic setting. The Grandmother in her motorized wheelchair covered by a warm shawl and her frail legs stylistically placed upside down in a large flower vase. The 16-year-old punk daughter who was good enough to stay home that night, painted from head to toe in a nice leafy green, the paraphernalia in her many body piercings polished to bright silver. The father, for his laxness in raising his children, draped in a languid manner over the couch, his back bent backwards until it snapped, holding a roll of barbed wire clenched to his chest. The mother was the grand prize. Her eyes were removed and the hollows filled with candle wax. Wicks were placed in the wax and they were still burning when I arrived. She was naked and laying on her back. She was a serene picture of pampered beauty, from the manicured nails on both hands and feet to the neatly trimmed wisp of hair coyly hidden between her legs. Her body was a picture of perfection. No excess fat anywhere and muscles neatly trimmed by hours of aerobic exercise. Her nails were painted a light rose and apart from the missing eyes there was no blemish on her beautiful body. I saw her left hand was clenched in a fist from which a rose protruded. From up close I could see the stem of the rose was de-thorned and wrapped in yellow paper. I immediately felt that the paper meant something and big was my surprise when I removed the rose from her fingers and read the note to me on the yellow paper. It was in a neat distinct female handwriting. The message contained a suite number and the name of a prominent luxury hotel in the city, together with a time. 03h00. I glanced at my watch. There was forty-five minutes left before my life would change forever. I replaced the rose in her hand, put the scrap of paper in my pocket and left my last crime scene.
The hotel was luxurious, the best in the city. I would have expected nothing less of her. The suite was on the top floor and my heart beat in my throat all the way to the top. I had no idea what to expect, but I knew to disappoint her would be to disrespect one of the greatest artists the world has ever known. It would not only be that, it would also be an act of sacrilege to my very soul. 03h00, I was standing before the closed double door to the penthouse suite; standing before the greatest moment in my life and I savored the metallic taste of anticipation in my mouth. Without me having knocked, the door opened. She was standing there, more beautiful than I could ever have anticipated. When I saw her, I knew that for the first time in my life, I saw love. Her long black hair was brushed backwards and tied in her neck with a blue ribbon. Her face was shining with a smile that radiated love on my entire being. I stared into her deep green eyes, deep like the ocean and knew that no matter what this creature ever did to me, I would never take my gaze from those eyes. Her nose ran to a point underneath which a perfect line connected it to her full round lips. White teeth underneath the lips gave me a hint of what was to come and I relished in the simplicity of her artistic nature. She reached out and pulled me into the dark recess of the room. I glided after her as if in a trance and the door shut noiselessly behind us. In the room was a grand piano. On the piano in a subdued spotlight stood a bottle of expensive champagne and a bowl of strawberries next to a vase containing a single red rose. I failed to remember which was supposed to enhance the taste of which, but I was sure she knew. Her dress was of exquisite translucent green satin and I could make out the curves of her perfect body underneath. There were no undergarments to mar anything, just the soft material of the dress. Her feet were clad in golden slippers that moved across the plush carpet without making a sound. She handed me one of the already filled champagne glasses and placed a ripe red fruit in my mouth. I bit into it and experienced a flood of sweet juice exploding over my tongue as if for the very first time. She smiled and placed the glass to her lips. She drained the glass and turned towards the door to the bedroom hidden in the darkness outside the reach of the light. She looked at me over her shoulder and smiled while leaving the sheer dress in a fluttering puddle of butterflies at the door. I followed her as if in a trance. The bedroom was softly lit and she was sitting on the side of the bed, looking like a shy virgin expecting her lover for the first time. I undressed as I walked towards her and as I reached the bed, the last piece of clothing fell to the floor. She lay back on the cushions and opened her arms to me. The nipples of her perfectly rounded breasts perked in the air in anticipation and I felt saliva building up in my mouth. I sank into her beckoning arms without any fear and kissed that soft mouth I dreamt about so many nights, for the first time. We pressed our bodies together and rolled on the soft satin sheets of the bed in our passion. Soft moans escaped her mouth and mingled with my racing breath. She stroked my body tenderly and I wondered in amazement at the luxuriousness of her touch. We rolled over and she straddled me, enveloping my pulsating member with her wet womanhood. I slid in and out of her to the rhythm of a long forgotten lullaby. She arched backwards and in my mind’s eye, I saw Silver hanging from the ceiling, my back arching in synergy with his to meet her thrust. She slid her fingers across my face and over my eyes. I saw the beautiful picture of the pampered mother with the candles burning in her eyes. Everything she did to me brought back exquisite memories of her work and I realized that everything she did, she did for me. Every piece of art she sculpted, she did with love in her heart and passion in her loins for me. They were all for me, every one of them. In each of them, she tried to express her feelings to me. In each of them she showed me the endearment and tenderness she carried for me in her heart. Our rhythm grew stronger and stronger. I could feel a crescendo building up in my body. It gathered momentum from the speed of my heart, my lungs and the contraction of the muscles in my arms and legs. The energy flowed through our bodies and fused us at the hips. Together we rode the waves of passion that filled our beings. Oblivion descended upon me as I got lost in the warm depths of her body. My passion pumped in warm spurts like an unstoppable torrent and the last thing on my mind was Mala’s lips pressed tightly to my neck, her glistening white teeth rupturing my jugular and sucking my life away. Her teeth tore at my throat until my lungs stopped sucking for breath and the pillow under my head was bathed in my blood. My eyes glazed and a final spasm of passion rippled through my otherwise inert body.