Her Next Victim

Without a sound, Francis crept into the dark room, listening to the quiet breathing of her next victim.  The soft red glow of the light emitted from the bedside clock allowed her to see part of his face.  She stood and watched him sleep for well over an hour.  This was a critical part of her procedure; it created a feeling of dominance that she would need to complete her task.

Francis was a serial killer.  She has killed eighteen times, so far.  It was something that she was proud of, and worked hard to accomplish her goal, becoming the world’s most prolific murderer.  She wasn’t a cruel person; in fact, many times she has spared the lives of her potential victims because of a sudden change of heart.  She only killed those that she felt deserved to die.  Included in her list of past victims was a father she suspected of beating his children, a wife who was cheating on her husband, a boss that mistreated his employees, and her next victim, a man who had given her incorrect change.

It didn’t occur to Francis that her motives for killing were becoming more trivial.  She wasn’t aware of the slowly diminishing barrier that had been keeping her compulsion somewhat under control.  If the current rate of erosion continues, by the end of the year she will be choosing her next victims randomly.

Even her method of killing was changing.  Her weapon of choice had always been a knife; it was easily concealed, and allowed her to watch her victim’s life slowly fade as they bled to death.  She planned to kill her next victim, this man, with her bare hands, by choking him to death; she had deliberately left her knife at home.

Watching him sleep, she tried to imagine what he was dreaming.  Was he stealing money from other people at his register?  She excitedly anticipated the look of shock on his face when he felt her hands around his neck and opened his eyes to see her smiling face, staring at him.  Would he recognize her?  She hoped he would, and planned to tell him that he was dying because he didn’t give her the correct change.

Her anger was mounting, as it always must before she could complete her task.  No one else would be forced to deal with the humiliation that he had made her feel.  His refusal to admit his mistake was fatal.  It was the time for her next victim to die.

She was next to the bed now, within arm’s reach of him, and as she began to place her hands around his neck, she could see his face more clearly.  She hesitated – was this him?  She thought he had a mustache, this man was clean-shaven.  Is it possible that she had entered the wrong apartment?  She’d been careful to keep a close eye on him as she followed him home.  She’d seen him enter the apartment building and waited as he walked up the stairs to the second floor.  Running up the stairway after she heard the door close, she saw him entering apartment 213.  But, his back was to her, so she didn’t see his face.  She wasn’t completely positive that this was he.  She decided to leave the apartment and return to the store tomorrow to follow her next victim home again.

Francis quietly left the apartment, leaving her next victim safely sleeping in his bed.  If she would have been more attentive, she might have noticed the smell of shaving cream coming from the bathroom.  Upon entering the bathroom, she might have seen the razor that her next victim had left on the sink after shaving off his mustache, in preparation for the new job he’d be starting tomorrow.

About the author

JimsGotWeb

I write short stories, love to travel, install auto glass, and collect Beatles memorabilia.

Posted on by JimsGotWeb in short stories

6 Responses to Her Next Victim

  1. Jaja
    Twitter:

    I would have liked to hear about her past, especially her childhood. There is usually some event that has occurred in a serial killer’s life that influenced them in that direction.

    Was she bullied in school or was she a bully? Did she torture animals? Abusive parents? These events are typical in the life of a serial killer.
    Instead of announcing that she was a serial killer at the start of the second paragraph it would have been better to describe her crimes so the pattern could be seen by the reader before announcing it.

    There was no sign of a struggle when she was strangling the man. It would have been more interesting if he had put up a fight.

    A physical description of Francis would be good. She had to be a strong woman to be able to strangle that man.

    The previous story The Line was good. I never had a problem with you not revealing what happened at the end of the line because some stories end on an open note and leave the audience to create their own ending.

     
    • JimsGotWeb
      Twitter:

      JaJa, thanks for your comments.
      I agree that more of a back story would have given her character more depth. I was really just trying to show a quick glimpse of time in the life of a serial killer.

      As far as the sign of struggle, maybe I didn’t make it clear enough that she didn’t strangle the man. When she got close enough she became doubtful that she was in the right apartment, so she left without attacking him.

      I’m glad you liked “The Line.” I’ve gotten a few comments about the ending, or lack of ending. But, I hope it got people to think a little about what was behind the wall.

      Jim
      JimsGotWeb recently posted…Her Next VictimMy Profile

       
  2. Rooster Smith, Breaking all the rules, when it comes to doing laundry!
    Twitter:

    Francis was a serial killer. She has killed eighteen times, so far. It was something that she was proud of, and worked hard to accomplish her goal, becoming the world’s most prolific murderer. She wasn’t a cruel person; in fact, many times she has spared the lives of her potential victims because of a sudden change of heart. She only killed those that she felt deserved to die. Included in her list of past victims was a father she suspected of beating his children, a wife who was cheating on her husband, a boss that mistreated his employees, and her next victim, a man who had given her incorrect change.

    SOMEBODY VOTES REPUBLICAN! WELL, IT’S GOOD TO HAVE A GOAL IN LIFE I GUESS. I JUST HOPE SHE REMEMBERS WHY SHE STARTED KILLING IN THE FIRST PLACE, AND IT DOESN’T TURN INTO A “SECOND JOB” FOR HER.

    Even her method of killing was changing. Her weapon of choice had always been a knife; it was easily concealed, and allowed her to watch her victim’s life slowly fade as they bled to death. She planned to kill her next victim, this man, with her bare hands, by choking him to death; she had deliberately left her knife at home.

    THAT’S NO EASY TASK. UNLESS IT’S SOME KIND OF JUI-JTSU CHOKE, USING YOUR ACTUALL HANDS MIGHT NOT GET THE JOB DONE.

    Francis quietly left the apartment, leaving her next victim safely sleeping in his bed. If she would have been more attentive, she might have noticed the smell of shaving cream coming from the bathroom. Upon entering the bathroom, she might have seen the razor that her next victim had left on the sink after shaving off his mustache, in preparation for the new job he’d be starting tomorrow.

    DAMN IT! IT JUST ISN’T FAIR!

    IT’S $1.27! IT’S NOT $1.25! AND WHILE WE’RE ON THE SUBJECT! IT’S NOT MY JOB TO CARRY A PENNY WITH ME WHEREVER I GO!

    …….

    HEY, MAN FUN PIECE OF FLASH HERE. REALLY ENJOYED IT. DESPITE THE SAD ENDING.
    Rooster Smith, Breaking all the rules, when it comes to doing laundry! recently posted…Dragon Fucker Part 11: The Battle of Rape DungeonMy Profile

     
    • JimsGotWeb
      Twitter:

      Yeah, she would have to be really strong to choke him with her bare hands, probably should have had her use a thin metal cord or something. Oh well, since she changed her mind at the last moment we’ll have to wait and see if she tries it again.
      I’d like to see the look on her face when she goes back to the store and finds out that he doesn’t work there anymore. Does she start searching everywhere and become so obsessed with finding him that the killing stops? Or, does she say the hell with it and move on to “Her Next Victim.”

      Thanks Rooster.
      Jim
      JimsGotWeb recently posted…Her Next VictimMy Profile

       
  3. Rooster Smith, Director, "Of Mice and Men 2: Lenny's Revenge!
    Twitter:

    Fun piece of flash fiction here Jim.

    It’s just so unfair! They guy short changes her by a 4 cents and he just gets away with it!

    But I liked despite the sad ending.

    I did my ussual review on this, all caps…

    but i wasn’t signed in, so something happened and the review got erased. Oh, how i’ll mourn those lost words. my wit! wasted!

    But seriously, real cool ending. hope there’s more coming from this character.
    Rooster Smith, Director, “Of Mice and Men 2: Lenny’s Revenge! recently posted…Dragon Fucker Part 11: The Battle of Rape DungeonMy Profile

     
  4. Scott L

    Jim,
    Yikes! Foiled again!
    I can just picture her surprise when she visits the store the following day. What would be MORE intriguing is whether she’d switch to plan “B” and GOAD the new guy into fumbling her order. You know, try the old “throw-out-random-numbers” while he’s counting change, works every time …

    Now that I think about it, there’s a few litterbugs out there that could use a little of my OCD brand of Justice!

    Hurry back Jim, we’ve got a biker/demon throwdown brewing at the WN free-forum.
    See you there!
    Scott L recently posted…Down on RangeMy Profile

     

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