His finger squeezed the trigger. The feeling was at once familiar and alien. It had been so long, but not long enough to affect his aim. The shot rang true, as evidenced by the sound of ripping flesh and the iron-like scent of hot, fresh blood. A psychotic grin warped his weathered face. Time to take care of business.
He pulled the curtains closed, sneezing in the dust, and locked the front door with his black-gloved hands. The radio on the counter played an upbeat country song, and he bopped to the beat as he set to work. From a sleek black medical bag, he produced a small bonesaw and a large sheet of plastic. He lay the tarp on the floor and dragged her lifeless body onto it. With careful, meticulous cuts, he sliced through each joint, ignoring the occasional arterial dissections which sent blood spurting into the air like miniature geysers erupting.
It took a full hour. His first time, it’d taken nearly four, but he was still unhappy with the amount of time he’d spent in the woman’s home. A prime location, her house was the last one on a run-down, dead-end street. He’d been casing her for awhile, following her to and from her job at the grocery store. She’d been a cashier. The last one was, too, though he wasn’t choosing them because of their occupations. Three or four had been teachers, and his first was a dental student. What they did with their lives didn’t matter to him. It was their very existence which caused his severe mental anguish.
Again, he heard his father’s words, “Women are a fucking disease, son! Don’t you ever forget that! They are temptresses! Evil, spiteful whores! Your mother was a whore! And where is she? Fucking dead, like the stupid whore bitch deserves!”
Stop it! As his father’s voice echoed in his mind, he raised his hands to his ears, hoping to block it out. His blood-stained hands covered his face, the woman’s blood mixing with his tears. I’m sorry… I’m so sorry, father. I’ve failed you. Please, don’t hurt me. Please, father! “Devil whores!” No! “You disgust me! You pity them!” No! See, father? I’ve killed her, just liked you always said I should. “Big fucking deal. So, you killed her. Then why are you sitting here crying like a little bitch?! Get the fuck up before you get caught you fucking idiot!” He sniffled, drying his tears and smearing the woman’s blood on his face. Yes, father.
The man wrapped his victim’s body in the sheet of plastic, fastening the ends together with a long, thick chain and padlock. He unlocked the door, lifted the tightly wrapped corpse, and quickly shuffled the bulky package into his truck bed. His work was not finished yet. He headed back inside and reopened the curtains, straightened the couch pillows, and flicked off the light. Glancing around the small house one last time, he smiled at his handiwork. The radio was still going, a woman singing about some judge in Georgia. Whistling to the tune, he shut the door and entered the vehicle.
With a flick of his wrist he started the truck, shifted, and drove away. He fiddled with the radio, searching for the country station. Once he found it, he began to sing along with the new song, “All I wanna do is let it be and be with…” his words were suddenly cut off by the ear-piercing screech of metal-against-metal.
He panicked and hit the brakes, but it was too late. A head on collision with a semi caused his neck to snap backward. He would have been instantly killed if not for the padding keeping his head in place. He blacked out and came to, then blacked out again. When he regained consciousness, he thought for a moment he was at home, in his bed. His pillow was uncomfortable, though. He reached to fluff it up. It was wet and sticky and crinkled in his hands. Not his pillow. He felt a tug on his arm and slowly became aware of the flurry of movements outside the vehicle.
Paramedics and firefighters surrounded the scene. They’d been unable to open his crumpled door, and had finally brought in the Jaws of Life. As they worked to pry him free, he wished only for death. He could barely move, but saw in the cracked rear view mirror the broken back window. Protruding from it was the tarp with tufts of thick brown hair, covered in dried blood, sticking out prominently. He knew his time was coming. Reaching toward the glove compartment, he screamed with fresh pain, realizing his body was covered in shards of glass, and his right arm was pinned through with a long, thin piece of metal.
Panting, his mind whirred, There’s no way to get out of this… I’m either going to die or go to jail. “Fuck that. Get the gun.” But, I’m pinned. I can’t reach it. “I knew you were a fucking pussy! You’re such a little bitch. I should’ve killed you when I shot your momma. Only reason I ever kept you around was because you weren’t a stupid, whore girl. Now you go and act like a fucking pussy bitch anyway. Why the fuck did I waste my time on you, you stupid little shit.” He sobbed, begging for mercy, Please, stop. Just, stop! I’ll do it…
He reached forward once more, screaming and crying, but pushing past it anyway. Ignoring his injuries and the throng of people outside, he opened the glove compartment and pulled out a loaded pistol. Silent tears streamed down his dirty face as he lifted the short barrel to his head. “Just fucking do it you fucking pussy bi-”
As the shot rang out, the paramedics, police officers, firefighters, and others on the scene stopped in their tracks. None knew what to make of the drastic turn of events. Slowly, the Jaws of Life snipped through the last bit of metal, and the door was pried open. Only then was the truth revealed.
The police recovered the woman’s body, and she was identified as Katherine Hartley, a local cashier, daughter, sister, and mother of two. She’d met her end at the hands of a notorious murderer. Known for his clean crime scenes, he’d been dubbed the Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS) Killer. An unlikely end to a decade-long federal chase, but the DNA confirmed it – Walker Roberts was the KISS Killer.