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.