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Self-Control

By Ronald Cypress

 

The killer slowly put on their brown jersey gloves as they allowed the urge that had been growing for weeks to elevate even more. They had tried determination and will, telling themselves over and over again that they would remain in control; they wouldn’t let the impulse win again. The tension inside had grown too much and had taken over their entire body, leaving no doubt about what was going to happen later on that night. There was going to be a climax; it was necessary. The killer could feel their chest starting to rise more. Sweat was beginning to flow down past the cuff of the long black sleeves that covered their arms. Their jaw clenched, and for a moment it almost felt as if they were going to crush their back teeth together.

You don’t have to do it, the killer thought over and over again.

But the night was too perfect, and the feeling was too much to adequately handle. It was a warm night with a slight breeze. People were going to be out and about, and surely someone would be alone at an unfortunate time. The killer kept their pace slow as they began to walk around the neighborhood they had scouted in before. No one noticed them as they strolled around with a hood covering the top of their head. No one looked in the killer’s eyes to see the hunger and frustration that was growing. The killer was inconsequential to everyone that passed.

Several blocks from where the killer had parked, they came upon a house that they had stopped by before. An elderly woman lived there with an elderly gentleman. The man was in bad shape and had been walking around with an oxygen mask the last time the killer saw them. It wasn’t him that caught their eye. What they really wanted was the woman. The killer knew she would either be in the kitchen or the living room, completely alone with a few windows opened. They knew that she would be there that night.

She was standing in the kitchen when the killer looked in on her through the window. The woman was standing at the sink, completely oblivious to what was lurking around her. The killer began to shake, their teeth began to grind and their fists tightened. They could hear the woman humming. The killer reached down into their right pocket and grasped their usual weapon, an eight-inch chef’s knife. The woman turned away from the sink and went into the living room. The killer was ready to pounce and be upon the woman. They could already feel their hands around the woman’s neck and the knife plunging into her skin.

They wiped the sweat away from their face.

It didn’t have to happen. The killer took deep breaths, an attempt at restraining what was driving them. They moved away from the window and fell down to the soft grass that was outside. Inside the home, the elderly woman was still humming. It was a happy tune that the killer didn’t recognize. There was no need to hurt the woman. The killer grasped two handfuls of the grass. The ground beneath them began to waver, and it started to feel as if the whole world was about the tilt over.

They lay down and closed their eyes. Their thin legs suddenly jerked, and they’re jaw clenched again. The killer began to lose track of time, and at one point it felt as if they would just fall asleep and not wake until the sun was back above them.

Several loud voices woke them.

The killer rose and started to walk away from the house. They focused on the way they were feeling as they went down the road. The urge was still there. It had to be satisfied. They continued walking around the area. Part of it was aimless, but there was also a small amount of instinct involved with how they were moving. The killer could sense that they were getting closer to what they wanted.

The killer made a sudden right turn and started to walk down into a neighborhood that was very well lit. The homes on the street were older ones that retained a strong sense of nostalgia.

A man carrying a brown paper bag started to pass them.

“Hey you got a light on you?” the man asked.

The killer walked past them. They were getting much closer.

“Hey, a light?”

They began to walk faster, rapidly moving away from the man.

They were almost there. The killer’s eyes began to scan the whole area that was around them. Their mind started to ignore the buildings and objects, focusing solely on the people. There was a couple on a porch, a woman walking her dog, and a young man looking under his car. Then they saw her. She was on the parallel sidewalk, walking in the same direction as the killer and talking on a cell phone. She was young, and the killer saw something in her. It was a familiar essence.

The killer’s entire body briefly trembled.

They began to follow the young woman.

It was as it had been in the past. The killer started off with some distance between them and the young woman. They gradually began to get closer, close enough to touch and smell the other person. The killer always went unnoticed. The young women never paid attention to them until contact was made. That night the killer would make their move as soon as they had an opportunity to find themselves alone with the young woman right outside the house she was about to enter. The young woman had just reached the front door when a forceful figure took her from behind, covered her mouth, scooped her up and took the victim off to assuage a craving.

The sun came up and nearly ten miles away from where the young woman had been abducted a person slowly removed their brown jersey gloves and dropped them on the backseat of their car. They removed their black hoodie and threw it in the trunk. They tucked a stained eight-inch chef’s knife underneath the hoodie before closing the trunk and walking away. Their feet dragged as they moved towards the front door of the place they called home. They took out a key and used it to unlock the door.

An elderly woman wearing a cross around her neck was there to greet them.

“Mary, where have you been all night?” the elderly woman grabbed her.

“Auntie Belle, I’ve been—”

“What were you doing, you little whore?” Auntie Belle’s right hand went up, a wooden cane in its tight grip. She began to strike her niece on the head and neck. “Why do you do this to me, Mary? Why?”

“Auntie Belle, please—”

She continued to strike the young woman.

“You whore. Do you even know how dangerous it is out there? Come look at this.”

Auntie Belle dragged her niece into the living room.

“Look at this!”

She pointed the television.

The news was on, and they were reporting on a homicide.

“Some little whore like you was murdered last night,” Auntie Belle said. “Not far from here. Is that how you want to end up? Because that’s how you’ll be. Stabbed and dead as can be. Do you get it, you whore?”

Auntie Belle began to strike Mary with the cane again.

“No!” Mary pushed her aunt away, ran out the living room and rushed up the stairs.

“You don’t know what’s out there for you. You don’t know what this world can do to you.”

Upstairs, locked away in her room, Mary dropped to the floor.

“You’ve got to practice self-control, you whore!” Auntie Belle was screaming from downstairs. “I know you’re out there sleeping around with those men. One of them is going to leave you just like this dead girl here if you don’t shape up.”

Mary stared at the wooden floor and took deep breaths.

“I’ll pray for you, Mary. I’ll talk to the Lord for you.”

The suggestion wasn’t a bad one. Mary closed her eyes and mumbled.

“Our father in heaven.”

She barely said the rest of it, mostly praying in her head. Mary prayed and prayed for forgiveness. It was all she needed at that moment, forgiveness and a stronger resolve.