God, he loved it when they begged. It was so hot.

“You know, they say that people are smart, that humanity is boundlessly creative and intelligent. I would disagree. While there are certainly plenty of smart people out there, although few as brilliant as myself, most of the people you encounter are varying degrees of dumb. If there’s anything about humanity that’s boundless, it’s stupidity.”

“You don’t have to do this.”

“Let’s take you, for example.”

“I swear I won’t tell anyone,” the girl pleaded.

“Oh, will you SHUT UP!

The girl clamped her mouth closed, her teeth making an audible click as they came together, and shrunk away from Gary. Fresh tears spilled from her eyes.

“Now, as I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted, let’s take you, for example. I know that the cops on your campus keep putting out emails telling the student body not to be out alone after dark. Don’t you read them? And it should be common fucking sense to change up your routine. But in all the time I’ve been watching you, you never vary. I can time your schedule to within, I’d say, five minutes. Maybe ten if you’re running late. You take the same route. You visit the same coffee shop each morning on your way to class. You go to the same bar, and I can always count on you to show up at the Saturday-night Sigma parties and get wasted. And if you don’t sleep over, you walk home, usually alone.”

The girl’s lower lip was quivering. Her mascara had run, dark streaks down her face. Gary was getting awfully excited, but he held himself in check. He wanted to draw it out, enjoy it as much as he could. It would be over too soon even then.

“What rational, sane female approaches someone who looks like me asking for directions? In a panel van, no less? At night, when you’re alone and inebriated? I mean, who doesn’t have a smartphone these days, or a GPS? How can you be so stupid?”

Gary jabbed a finger into her forehead and rubbed it back and forth, moving her head with it. “You’re like lambs, so innocent, so naive, so unaware of the wolves lurking just out of sight, watching you, scenting you, just waiting for you to wander away from the flock.” He withdrew his finger and turned his back to her.

“Puh-puh-please let me go,” she blubbered.

“Puh-puh-puh-please,” he responded, mocking her. He turned back to face her.

“You want me to let you go?” He said the words slowly, as though speaking to a small, confused child.

The girl’s head bobbed up and down frantically.

Gary nodded back in a pantomime of agreement. “Maybe I should release you. Would you like that?”

The girl nodded even harder. Gary was amused and wondered if she might not break her own neck.

“You know what? I will release you; you’ve convinced me.” Her eyes looked so nakedly hopeful that he almost laughed. “I’ll release you from your banal existence, this vapid life that you lead, floating between classes and parties and home, like a bit of poplar fluff adrift on the breeze, oblivious to its surroundings, its destination, even the direction it’s heading. I will release you from your dim, meaningless future. And I will release the rest of humanity from your stupidity and the threat that you might reproduce, passing on your genetic garbage to future generations. Yes, I will release you. But first, we’ll have some fun.”

Gary smiled broadly. He reached into his back pocket and withdrew a long, well-worn handle. With a flick of his wrist, a straight razor swung out into view. It gleamed wickedly. The girl’s eyes, bugging out of her skull, locked onto it. He twisted it this way and that, throwing flashes of light into her eyes. She jerked against her restraints, pulling the twine tight into her wrists, causing the blood to start flowing there. Gary reached out and snatched a handful of hair, holding her head still.

He leaned in close to her. He could smell the alcohol and the terror rolling off of her in waves. “Now, let’s see about turning that frown upside down, shall we?” he whispered, bringing the edge of the blade up to her mouth. He caressed her lips with the cold metal. Then, with a savage grin, he began.

She screamed for a long time.


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