Welcome to the short story series today we are featuring a New Writer By the pen name Ella Chris
The smell of blood hunts Margret’s nose as she stands in the mist of the crowd, gathered around the pale lifeless body of a young girl. Even after taking a job at the school, Margret had no luck of clearing her son’s name or capturing the killer. She patiently waited for his hunger to break him, and now after a year the killer finally struck again, the same pattern, as the rest. Purple marks around the neck of the victim, a sign of being strangled. A distinct carving of the letter E on the victim’s chest, a clear indication of ownership, but what stands out the most is the way he positions his victims, just like Christ on the cross of Calvary, he spreads their hands apart and nails it to the ground and then crosses their legs and strips them off their clothes.
Despite the horrific sight in front of her, Margret couldn’t help but feel a bit of hope for the chance to clear her son’s name. After losing her husband to cancer, Elijah was all she had left but her mistake took him away from her, she couldn’t forgive herself for letting him down when he needed her the most. She tightened her grip on her rosary as the tiny delicate voice of Amanda calls her attention, she turns to see the petite lady trying to push her way through the crowd towards her.
“Is it true, did the killer really strike again, the same pattern as the rest?” Amanda’s desperate voice cried out.
“Yes he did, the same pattern. He finally fed his demons”
“But what is going to happen now, what do we do next?” she bites her nail, a nervous habit she is fond of.
“I would have to go to the station, but I am guessing they will have no choice but to re-open the case”
“This is good news, I mean bad for the dead girl and her family but good for us”.
“They will finally listen to what I have been trying to say”.
Detective Jones and his partner, a chubby looking man, watch as Margret paces around the waiting room, both not prepared for the hours of complaints ahead of them.
“Let’s just get this over with Bill” he picks up the files on his desk prepared to face Margret, Bill grabs him by the arm, an attempt to stop him.
“That lady is crazy, maybe we should go over what we are going to tell her one more time” Bill said a bit reluctant.
“We have gone over it a few times, don’t worry we got this. She’s just a grieving mother”.
“Grieving mothers are the worst, I am so going to be wasted tonight”. He knew after meeting with Margret he would need to hit the bar for a couple of drinks.
They join Margret in the waiting room, their appearance puts a stop to her incessant pacing, she takes a sit alongside them. Margret wasted no time in chit chat and went straight to her reason for being there.
“Now that it is clear my son was not the killer, what is going to happen next?” she said staring right at them.
“I am sorry but we can’t confirm he wasn’t the killer” Detective Jones voice wavers a bit.
“What do you mean you can’t confirm his innocence? the killer resurfaced.” She gritted her teeth trying to hold her tongue, because she knew her next words wouldn’t be pleasant, Jones and his partner took note of the warning glare directed towards them, they knew their next words has to be chosen wisely.
“We just need to rule out other possibilities, this recent kill could have been done by a copycat or your sons accomplice.”
Margret furiously slams her hand on the table, she couldn’t hear any more of their excuses, when she sent them an anonymous tip about her son being the killer they didn’t question where the tip came from, they didn’t doubt his guilt. They were eager to close the case and arrested the first suspect they came across, but what right does she have to judge them? She didn’t believe her son was innocent. All the evidence pointed to him, the killer’s pattern was the same as the drawing of dead bodies she found in her twelve-year-old sons room.
It first started at the age of two, when she found him smiling with bloody hands and a dead bird at his foot. The revelation of her son being a psychopath was not easy to deal with, constant praying and spiritual healing didn’t do much; she was left with rehab as her only option.
Elijah never was the talking type. He was as quiet as his stature. Lanky, handsome, and strangely brave. He would kill lizards with his bare hands and dissect them like a surgeon. To Margret, it was fun, at least for the first few times. She always thought he was going to be a medical practitioner, after all, he would take after his late father. Nothing ever bothered Margret, although the sudden death of her husband shook her for years, the beautiful smile of Elijah constantly gave her hope. But this was different; He was standing in front of the house with a bloody hand and a dead vulture in his foot. And in that moment, she knew she had created a monster.
One could feel her heart on her feet as she raced towards the house. Her lips shivering in fear and disbelieve. It wasn’t just about the scary manner at which Elijah had dissected the vulture; it wasn’t the creepy blood splashed all over his body; it wasn’t the thought of the pain the poor thing suffered; it was about the calm smile on Elijah’s face. “What have you done? Why? How?” She wanted to ask all those questions, she needed to but she couldn’t. She knew she had to make the decision.
The idea of sending her only son to rehab sounded odd, but rational. “It is for a few years after all”, she kept whispering as she drove Elijah to rehab hoping she made the right choice.
Sending him to college after his release from rehab seemed to be a good choice at the time, but not long after a girl was killed and all evidence led to her son, scared of the monster she created, she assured his arrest thinking being locked up for life would save him from his demons, but the judge dealt her a new card by giving him the death penalty, on the day he was to be hung, his girlfriend convinced her of his innocence by claiming to have been with him on the night of two of the murders, of course she was furious that the information was just getting to her but her sons girlfriend; Amanda said she promised him not to tell, her son knew she was behind his arrest and all he wanted was for his mom to trust him. Her lack of trust killed her son and she had no one to blame but herself.
“My son was innocent, he didn’t kill those girls, someone else obviously knew about his drawings and used it as inspiration to kill, my son was not a serial killer” Margret screamed, she walked up to them leaned close enough to whisper, “I don’t care that you’re a cop, I also don’t give a damn if you take my next words as a threat, but if you don’t reopen this case and properly re-investigate, I will show you exactly what a scorned widow whose lost her only child is capable of.”
Detective Jones tightens his grip on his file, and his partner Bill gulps, shaking in fright. Margret turns and walks out of the room, giving them the chance to sigh in relief.
“I told you she’s crazy” Bill said, still shaking a bit.
“What if she’s right and her son was innocent? That means we sent an innocent guy to prison to die.”
“What difference does it make if he was innocent, her son was a psychopath he may have not been the killer but he would have eventually killed, I say we did the world a favor.”
“My son must have shared his drawings with someone else, we just have to find out who”. Margret says to Amanda as she goes through her son properties trying to find a clue. “Check those boxes by his dresser, they are his stuff I collected from his dorm room after he errmm…” she couldn’t bring herself to say the word without remembering how it happened. Amanda hurriedly goes through the box.
“I saw you talking to a guy earlier in school, who is he?” Margret inquired.
“you mean Mathew? He’s a friend from art class”
“He seemed off, how well do you know him?”
“I don’t really know him, but he’s the only one in school who talks to me, no one wants to be associated with the supposed killer’s girlfriend”
“I am sorry; I didn’t know it was that bad” Margret couldn’t help but feel responsible for Amanda’s dilemma”.
“he’s nice, you don’t have to worry about me”. Amanda assured her, Margret smiled but knew there was no way she could stop worrying about her, so she decided to change the topic.
“Try to remember, he must have said something to you”.
“No he didn’t, I had no idea he was talking to someone else, he was always on his laptop and he hardly left his room, we were together most of the time and he— “
“Wait, what did you say before?” Margret asked.
“That he hardly left his room”.
“No before that”.
“He was always on his laptop”.
“Laptop, he could have been talking to someone online, no one can be on their laptop for long without making use of the social media, what social network was he on?”.
“I think he mentioned having a Facebook account”.
Margret turned on his laptop, luckily he didn’t have a password she found his Facebook, but couldn’t log in without a password.
“It’s not his birthday, name, favorite movie, place or animal. What are we going to do?” Amanda asked, unsure of their next step, Margret tried three more names and it opened on her third try.
“What did you type?” she happily inquired.
“Marama, what is it?”
“The combination of the first three letters of our name”. They looked through his Facebook, he didn’t have much friends and only chatted with three people. But he joined a group called broken minds, it consisted of just 5 members. Their chat was mostly about death and different ways to kill, it also had graphic photos, her son sent his drawings to them but his last conversation was about how he wanted to quit, he told them he didn’t want to disappoint the people in his life. The founder of the group didn’t seem happy about it, called him a coward for giving up on such talent, described his art as magnificent. Margret looked at the founder’s profile, he had no photos but attends the same college, goes by the name Mer probably his initials.
“I had no idea he was still… he wanted to quit though, he wanted out”.
“We have to go to school and check the record book, I need to find the full meaning of Mer, something tells me he’s our guy. The other three members attend different schools and have their pictures on their page”. Margret says, trying to ignore the fact that her son was still battling with his demons.
“I can’t, I promised to work on a project for art class with Mathew”. Amanda says sounding a bit remorseful.
“Okay that’s fine, I can handle it myself. Just promise me you’ll be safe”.
Margret stares hopelessly at the litter of books surrounding her, she had no luck in finding the killer, the initials M.E.R was a popular one and she couldn’t figure out which particular name belonged to the killer.
“Think, there must be a way. Drawings, yes they all had personal drawings, okay which student with the initials M.E.R is taking art class?” she checks the record once again and stops at a familiar name. “Mathew Ethan Ross, Mathew where have I heard this name before?” she tries to remember but another name catches her attention. “Amanda? That’s right he’s Amanda’s friend, I knew something was off about him, I could feel… oh no Amanda is with him”. She tries calling her line but it’s switched off, she calls Detective Jones but he doesn’t answer, she checks for Mathew’s address and writes it down on her palm, takes her car keys and rushes out of the building, she gets in her car and drives with no regards for traffic, she calls the Detective once again and he picks “Detective, I know who the killer is and he’s got Amanda, come to this address, number 12 john’s street”. She doesn’t give him a chance to speak as she ends the call.
“Mrs. Clark”. Mathew said sounding surprised to see her standing at his door.
“Is Amanda here? I would like to see her.” She tries peeping through the space between his door.
“yes, would you like to come in?” she nods and follows him into a well furnished apartment. “I am sorry about your son, for what it’s worth I don’t think he did it”.
“thanks, where is she?” Margret ask.
“In the bathroom, should I get you anything?”
“no thanks I’m fine.” They sit in awkward silence until a noise coming from the basement get their attention.
“what’s that?” she stands up and walks to the noise which appears to be a person shouting.
“who’s down there?” Margret asked, he moves closer to her, she backs up and takes out her gun, points it directly at him.
“whoa I don’t know okay.”
“did you lock her in your basement?”
“I did not, she said she was going to the bathroom”.
“open the basement, I am not going to let you kill another person I care about”.
“kill? I haven’t killed anyone”.
“just open the basement and get in” Margret said a bit impatient, he does what she says and leads her into the basement, Amanda sits on the floor hands tied to a pipe and blood dripping from her legs.
“okay I have no idea what’s going on here” Mathew says as he begins to panic.
“Amanda are you alright, did he hurt you?” Margret ask.
“please help me, please help me” she cries.
“don’t worry I’m going to get you out of here alive” she turns to Mathew “untie her this instant”
“I don’t understand what’s happening, but I didn’t do this. I can assure you I don’t know how she got here”.
“I said untie her, or I swear to God I will redecorate this basement with your brains”. He unties her and Amanda hides behind Margret.
“he’s the killer, he killed those girls, he was going to kill me too.” Amanda says as she clings to Margret frightened.
“no, that’s not true I don’t know what she’s talking about”.
“get down on our knees, you can stop the act. I won’t fall for your lies, I know you killed those girls and framed my son for it, and I will make sure you pay for your crimes, get down on your knees” he does as she says and Amanda ties him up.
” I didn’t kill anyone, she’s lying I swear, she said she was going to the bathroom”
“so you’re saying she did this to herself? Do you know how ridiculous you sound? I found your group-broken minds, I read the chats, M.E.R are those not your initials, Mathew Ethan Ross?”
“you have to believe me I am not the killer; she set this whole thing up”.
“why would I do that? Tell the truth, you killed those girls and you would have done the same to me if Margret hadn’t showed up”. Amanda says.
“she is lying to you I swear”.
“you loved his art so much that you decided to make it real, you said he was a coward for wanting to quit, you called him a divine mentor, those were your words”
“divine mentor, how do you know about that? You left before I saw that in the chat”. Margret inquired.
“no I didn’t, we saw it together” Amanda reassures her.
“no I can vividly remember, you had already left before I saw that part of their conversation, so how could you have known about it unless you wrote it, but I don’t understand your initials aren’t M.E.R” Margret said sounding confused, she didn’t know what to believe anymore.
“no, but my middle name is Elizabeth”. She says as she grabs the gun from Margret and shoots Mathew, Margret stares in shock as it dawns on her, the letter E drawn on the victims didn’t stand for Elijah it stood for Elizabeth.
“you’re the killer”
“she finally gets it”
“did you know I was in therapy with your son, that’s where we met, we fell in love. He wanted to get better for you but I didn’t want that, I wanted us to hunt together. So I had a planned, form a group, show him what his missing and get him to join the fun, but he was so stubborn. So I used his drawings to kill, I wanted him to see the beauty of his art and it would have worked if you didn’t screw things up by sending him to jail”.
“you are sick”
“I’m an artist”
“you won’t get away with this; the police will soon be here”.
“oh please, I got the perfect story for the police after I kill you. He kidnapped me and Mrs. Clark tried to save me but he killed her, I fought him off and shot him in self-defense. Oh god I killed a person”.
“they wouldn’t fall for your act?” she tells her as she tries to distract Amanda from the knife she was pulling from her back.
“why not? you did.” She points the gun at her, before she could pull the trigger Mathew distracts her by throwing a spanner at her head, it cuts her. “you are supposed to be dead” she angrily shoots at him continuously; the moment she turns to face Margret the light goes off. “this is how you want to play?” she feels a sharp pain at her back, there’s a struggle and she hits Margret in the head with her gun, she gets on top of her and pulls the trigger.
“oops someone wasn’t counting” Margret says as the gun doesn’t go off, she quickly picks up her knife and stabs Amanda continuously on her neck blood splashing everywhere, Amanda’s body falls on her just as the lights come on revealing Detective Jones and his partner.
Author: Ella Chris