Right On Time by Vincent V. Cava
He’d been watching her for a couple of weeks and in that time he had memorized her entire daily routine.
7:30 am- Wake up and shower
8:00 am- Head to Starbucks for a disgusting cup of sugary syrup, a splash of milk, and just a hint of coffee.
8:30 am- Arrive at the office
11:45 am- Lunch – a salad at her desk, except on Wednesdays. That’s when she meets the black chick from HR at the café across the street for a little girl talk.
And so on…
It hadn’t been hard. He noticed almost immediately that she was a slave to her ways – the type of person that didn’t typically deviate from her schedule, which was fine by him. Her predictable habits had made planning her murder practically effortless.
He checked the time on his watch as he pulled the stolen sedan up in front of her townhouse that night.
That meant she had just finished watching television for the evening. Probably one of those shitty reality shows she DVR’s, he thought to himself. If he had to venture a guess, he would have said she was brushing her teeth right about then. In ten minutes she’d be in the shower and after that it was bedtime. Except – he managed a smile – she wasn’t going to make it to bed. Just a few more minutes and all of his careful planning would finally come to fruition. He let his fingers slip down between his legs. His cock had gotten hard in anticipation.
He told himself that she deserved what she was about to get. All of his victims had. Sure, none of the women he raped and murdered had ever done anything to cross him directly, but that didn’t matter. They were the type of females that sickened him – promiscuous sluts in their late 20’s or early thirties that claimed they were too wrapped up in their careers for a serious relationship. Dumb broads who considered themselves independent women, skanks who wore over priced designer blouses and carried obscenely expensive Michael Kors handbags wherever they went. Grown ass women who idolized the geriatric whores from Sex & The City.
Women like her didn’t even notice guys like him, but it wasn’t like she was too busy to meet men. In the three weeks that he’d been stalking her, she had hooked up two different fellas. They seemed like real douchebags too – the type of guys who used dating apps and wore too much AXE body spray. The fact that she fucked men like that made him hate her all the more.
His watch now said 10:47 pm. She would be in the shower by now. 10:45-11:02, those were the golden minutes – his window of opportunity. He had decided that the best time to break into her place was while she was busy washing. He thought about her tits for a minute and what they must look like up close. Again he reached his hand down to his crotch, this time gripping it tightly. Somehow his cock was even harder. He popped the car’s driver side door open then headed around to the back of the house.
It had rained pretty hard earlier that day and now the air was unusually fresh. He swore he could smell the ocean even though it was eight miles away. Part of him wished the weather hadn’t cleared up. There was something peaceful about the sound of heavy rainfall to him – as if it drowned out the earsplitting roar of existence and brought a few brief hours of harmony to the world.
The lot in the back of the townhouse was so small he felt like he could stretch out his arms and touch the fences lining either side of it. There was a fake rock sitting underneath the yard’s one rosebush. It stuck out like a sore thumb. Inside was a key to the patio door. He knew it would be there because he had watched her use it before, but even if he hadn’t he surmised it wouldn’t have taken him too long to locate the obtrusive thing.
“Dumb bitch,” he whispered to himself. “You think someone couldn’t tell this rock was fake? Dumb bitch like you deserves to get skull fucked.”
He bent over and removed the key from the faux rock’s tiny compartment, then slowly, quietly, he unlocked the patio door and stepped inside. He was in the kitchen now. The shower was running; he could hear it as soon as he entered the townhouse. So far, everything had gone just as he expected, but this wasn’t a surprise to him. After all, he’d been preparing weeks for this night.
He always planned his kills meticulously. The last place he wanted to go was prison. Most serial killers were in it for the fame. They left clues and calling cards so they could read about themselves in the paper. They wanted the talking heads to argue about them on TV and when they got caught, they wanted to be celebrities. Not him, though. He only wanted to maim and torture as many stuck up skanks as possible. Getting arrested would ruin all the fun and he’d barely just begun to play. The woman in the shower would be his ninth victim, but there were more that needed to die. So many more. Half the human race if need be.
He floated through the kitchen and into her living room. The shag carpet squished underneath the wet soles of his shoes as he walked across it. He moved through the shadowy house like a phantom. The darkness was his domain and he was the monster hiding in it. The sound of the shower was louder now. It was coming from the second level. He stopped at the base of the staircase and peered up. A yellow light was seeping out from beneath the door of the upstairs bathroom.
That famous scene from Psycho bled into his mind. He supposed jumping her in the shower was a little cliché, but at least he wasn’t going to use a knife. No, he preferred to choke the life out of women. It got him off. Besides, it’s not like he was dressed in drag like that faggot Norman Bates.
He crept up the stairs as silently as possible. There was no need to check his manhood a third time, he knew he would be ready to give it to her when the time came. Excitement was beginning to surge inside him, but as soon as he got to the door, a sudden twinge of panic shot through his body.
The door! What if it was locked?!
He had just assumed it wouldn’t be since she lived alone, but that didn’t make it a sure thing. If she heard him trying to fiddle with the doorknob then she might scream. All of the townhouses in that neighborhood were packed close together. Hers even shared a wall with another one and the people living in the adjacent building would easily be able to hear her cries for help. Even if no one called the cops, people would be looking out their windows to see who came out of the house, maybe even snapping pictures on their camera phones. What if they got a clear shot of him? The police would catch him for sure once her body was discovered and then his playtime would be over.
How could he have been so careless?!
He thought about turning around and heading back down the stairs. There was always tomorrow. If he was quiet about it, he could just come back. Then something else skipped through his mind. The man from the grocery store two days prior – the one she had been giving “fuck me eyes” to at the check stand. Weeks he had been tailing her and she hadn’t once looked his way, but that slimy prick in the sleeveless t-shirt sure got her attention easily. She was probably in there right now thinking about him.
No, he decided to himself. She doesn’t get to finish that fantasy.
He wrapped his fingers around the doorknob. The metal felt like ice against his skin. The sensation of his heart beating wildly in his chest was tremendously apparent to him. He took a deep inhale. If the knob didn’t turn he would break the door down. With a little bit of luck, he could crash into the bathroom and grab her around the throat before she could let out a shout.
He twisted his wrist a half-inch to the left and the knob spun with it. Success. A triumphant sigh emerged from his mouth. All of his worrying had been for nothing. The door was unlocked. He cursed himself for his stupid mistake, then turned the doorknob the rest of the way and slinked inside.
The shower sounded so loud, like snow on an old analog television when the speakers’ volume is turned up all the way up. The air was so thick inside the steamy bathroom he could practically chew it. Cautiously he stepped, taking care not to slip on the slick tiles, wet with condensation. He moved slowly, but with a purpose, concentrating only on his target. His dick was practically ready to burst through his jeans.
Her opaque, beige shower curtain had a pink, flowery design stitched into it. It was the kind of tasteless garbage he figured a woman like her would hang up in her bathroom. His focus was keener than ever. Closer he stalked and now he was standing directly in front of it. He extended a hand out towards the shower curtain, but felt himself recoil before touching it.
Something was off.
The shower was running. Like the rainfall earlier that day, it dominated his ears, but this time he didn’t find it comforting. He had come to a realization that made his stomach drop. Aside from the sound of the all-too steady stream spraying from the shower head, there were no other noises coming from the other side of the curtain. No singing, no splashing, no sound of water occasionally sloshing around the bottom of the tub – no nothing. It was as if he was alone in the bathroom.
But then why was the shower running? He glanced at his watch; it read 10:58. She had to be in there. In 3 weeks, she hadn’t finished a shower before 11:02. Had he missed her?
The shower’s roar seemed almost maddening now. He stood in front of it listening, waiting to hear something, anything, emerge from the other side of the curtain, but nothing ever did. With a shaky hand he reached for the hanging fabric barrier, gripped it firmly, then in a quick, sudden motion, he jerked it back.
The woman was indeed in the shower, her eyes wide and gleaming. They sparkled with terror. Her panicked face looked as if she was readying a scream, except he knew it wouldn’t come. How could it? She was already dead – a naked bloody heap at the bottom of the tub. Someone else had gotten to her before him and by the look of it, they didn’t seem to mind movie clichés.
Her killer had mangled her with a knife. Each of her toes and fingers had been sliced clean off and her legs and stomach were riddled with deep cuts and gashes. For a moment he wondered if she was still alive while her assailant had been whittling her flesh. He looked away, trying to divert his eyes. That’s when he saw the pink gelatinous lump laying next to the drain. He stared curiously at it. To him, it looked like a blood-soaked jellyfish. It wasn’t until he glanced back at the woman that he realized her murderer had carved one of her breasts from her chest and left it in the tub for him like some sort of grotesque Easter egg.
He hadn’t planned for this. He had taken almost everything into account, but he hadn’t planned for this.
Fright’s razor sharp talons sunk themselves into his chest. He turned to leave, but stopped abruptly in his tracks when he saw the mirror. There was a message written on it, a string of crimson letters smeared across the glass surface. He had been so focused on the shower earlier that he hadn’t even noticed it. He read the words. It was short and brief, but it sent a horrible feeling of dread through his entire being because – and this was something he was sure of – the message was written for him.
RIGHT ON TIME
The humidity of the bathroom was making him woozy. It was an odd sensation; the steamy heat coming off the shower in combination with his dizzy head made everything feel unreal – almost as if he was experiencing a bizarre fever dream. He opened the door and wave of cool air crashed against his face. With it came a heavy dose of reality.
It hadn’t been an accident that the woman he’d been following was murdered the very same night he decided to make his move. No, the killer had even sent him a message. The entire time he had been stalking her, someone had been stalking him. While he had been planning her death, someone had been planning his.
He didn’t run out the bathroom; he galloped. It seemed like the staircase had somehow moved a hundred feet down the hall. The shadows were no longer his to hide in. They had a new monster – and it was coming for him. His legs stopped working as soon as he reached the top of the stairs causing him to collapse onto the bannister. With all of his strength he hoisted himself up to his feet.
What had happened?
A couple seconds later and a searing pain in his back answered that question. He reached behind and felt something sticking out of it, like a cold metallic cyst that had suddenly sprouted from his spine. There was pressure pushing down on the back of his head now – a hand forcing him into a helpless position, doubling him over the bannister. For a second it felt like he was levitating as he dangled precariously, looking down towards the living room floor fifteen feet below. Then came another searing pain even worst than the first. Slowly, his assailant had begun to pull the knife his body. It felt as if his wound was being defiled, as if someone had just finished using it the same way he used his victims.
How big was the blade? How deep had it been buried? It seemed like it took forever to remove. Once it was finally out, he could feel the hallway’s cool, drafty air add insult to his injury as it licked at the gaping gash in his back. He tried to get back to his feet, but before he could, someone snagged ahold of his ankles. In and instant, he was toppling over the handrail. The living room spun around him as he fell down to the floor. He landed on his shoulder with a THUD and let out a groan. There was no doubt in his mind that it was dislocated.
He gazed up and saw the figure of a man crawling down the stairs on all fours like an animal and he wondered for the second time if he was dreaming. The only thing he could make out was his pursuer’s bushy hair, blacker than midnight and as wild as a savage. Desperate questions streamed through his head.
What is that? Jesus Christ, what the hell is that thing?
He watched silently as the man or animal or thing that had attacked him reached the bottom step and stood up on two feet, uncurling its spine like a cobra dancing for a snake charmer. The shaggy head of dark, matted hair turned in his direction and now he could see a face – a human face – or at least one that used to belong to a human. His stalker wore a skeleton’s smile – no lips and a set of flat white teeth that contrasted bitterly against purple gums. Like a rotting corpse it had no nose and its pallid complexion looked snow white in the moonlight seeping into the living room. In its hand it held an eight-inch bowie knife, coated in blood.
It began to slither towards him again, watching him through a pair of bulging, yellow eyes. It almost looked as if it was wearing a person like a Halloween costume. A teenager or young man perhaps. It was dressed in black pants and a white hooded sweatshirt that had been tie-dyed in the blood of the woman in the bathroom.
He tried to get up, but it put a foot on his chest and pinned him to the ground then crouched on top of him and placed the point of the knife up against his abdomen. He barely felt it penetrate his stomach. But as the blade turned inside him a blazing hot sensation swelled throughout his core. He stared back into the ugly thing’s unblinking eyes as his vision started fading to black. The last thing he heard was its horrible, croaky voice – just as repulsive as its face.
“Go to sleep,” it growled.
He decided not to fight it so he closed his eyes and let the darkness take him.