WARNING: ADULT CONTENT
For the love of God, if you are a sensitive reader DO NOT, I say again, DO NOT go any farther. Contained in this-part one of two-story are references to paedophilia, rape, and other nasty things. Please, do not read if you don’t want to touch any of those subjects with a ten metre pole. I won’t get offended, I promise.
You have been warned.
I love paedophiles.
No, not in that way. Not in the way you’re thinking of. The kind that is going to make you close this book, or your browser (yes, I know what those are), with a sour look on your face.
I love paedophiles because they are so. goddamned. easy.
All it takes it a clever lift of the skirt, a clever shifting of the body into an oncoming breeze when you know he’s sitting on the park bench just outside of the fenced in school yard. Looking at you. Licking his perpetually dry lips, comb over moving weakly in the same breeze that’s given him the glimpse of an immature thigh.
So easy to bait. So easy to trap. And so easy to send them on their merry way right into oblivion.
Dad’s had his eye on this one for a while. No. That isn’t right. This guy has been at the top of dad’s list for a while now. Dad’s been so drunk I don’t think he even knows his own name any more, much less what he does for a-well, let’s go with living.
Martin Schultz. Forty-two. Bank manager. Just moved into town from Denver not a year ago. Behind him, bodies. A long list of them. Added to that are the bodies of girls in my town.
Abbie Martinez. Six years old, disappeared off of the playground while her mom’s back was turned.
Stuck up little Shirley Jones. Plucked right off of the curb after school.
Each girl had been found dead, mouths stuffed with their own underwear. Rope marks around their throats and wrists and ankles. Things done to their little bodies. New holes where there shouldn’t have been any.
Except for me and my dad’s list. I don’t normally go after people. Death doesn’t really do the deed, you dig what I’m saying? It’s kind of hard to understand. Usually, my Reapers are the ones that do the dirty work, which is why people die. All the time.
There is also more than one Death. Or Grim Reaper. Whatever you want to call us. It’s kind of a family thing.
But, see, when this kind of shit happens in my town, when some sick fuck decides he wants to move from one place to another and start killing little girls in MY TOWN, I kind of take it a little personally. And I also pay a collect call to my Uncle down in Denver to figure out what the fuck.
But that’s later.
I’m walking now. He’s following me. Not too close though. He doesn’t want to pull attention to himself. Never mind that his badly selected suit does that for him. But the people around only notice that in passing, he’s clever enough to mask his true intent even though he’s following thirty feet behind me. I’m pretending to pay close attention to what is on the ground under my feet, humming a little to myself. Not a mirror of the tune I’m listening to. Something that’s not going to come into existence for a while yet.
(Because of who dad is, I’m allowed tiny slips in the fabric of space and time. It’s not like the hole is going to do anything. Skrillex will still be famous and I’m getting a little tired of the hair bands.)
I should mention that I look younger than my fourteen years. Another one of the perks of being the spawn of my dad’s loins. Mr. Schultz is coming after me like a bee to honey. Cheesers shifts restlessly in my skirt pocket. He doesn’t like this any more than I do. My hand closes around my charm bracelet, taking a modicum of comfort from it. It’s too big for my slim wrist even in my normal body, my hand is perpetually closed around it to make sure the thing doesn’t slip off.
It’s too important to lose.
There’s construction up ahead. They’re going to put in a new mall. God knows why, but it’s going to happen. I do know that’s where he does his killings before he goes out and buries the girls. That’s what he does. He kills them, chills them, then buries them after wiping them completely clean of any incriminating evidence.
I pretend to look around, pretend to be suddenly unsure of my surroundings. Skrillex screams in my ear to ‘call 911 now!’
He takes his chance.
“Hello little girl.”
Even his voice is oily. I look up at him, taking out a single headphone, trying to make my face the perfect mask of innocence.
“Are you lost?”
I bring tears to my eyes, as if just suddenly realising the world is much bigger than what my feet were stomping on. I nod, wiping my tears away with a sagging sweater sleeve.
“Come on,” he says, holding out his hand, “I know a short cut.”
I bet you do, big guy. I bet you do. Cheesers squeaks. I clap my free hand over my skirt pocket, shushing him. Mr. Schultz’ brows knit. I blink up at him.
“Are you going to take me home?”
“Of course. Where do you live?”
I give him a fake address. His liquid smile grows. He squeezes my hand. I fight the urge to puke. Real fear sneaks up my spine. I have to remind myself who my dad is and just what, exactly, I can do to this guy when he tries something funny.
That doesn’t help.
There’s something not right about this guy. Never mind the paedophilia part. He’s twitchy, sweaty, and his hands are cold. And if there is a word better than clammy to describe how his hand feels in mine, I’d love to hear it. Disgust rises in a wave of hot bile, settling at the back of my throat, tickling it.
Jesus, I want to puke.
He tugs me along, toward the construction zone, strangely quiet despite the hour. I struggle against him. Cheesers squeaks again, louder this time. Images of what, exactly, he is going to do to me fly through my mind’s eye at a rapid pace. Almost like a flip book where someone wants to be funny and make the poor stick figure bite the big one at the end, I can see him tying me up. First my hands, they’ll go behind my back. Then my ankles. I’ll be lying down on a grimy mattress stained with I don’t want to know what, because this construction zone is abandoned-has been for a long time-my legs will be spread until it almost hurts, my ankles tied down.
My underwear will be cut off me, sweat pouring down his face, a hungry look in his eye and on his lips as he moves the scissors across the part of me that no man his age should ever be thinking about inserting himself into a girl of my age.
I try to scream. Nothing gets past my clenched teeth. I fight him. His grip is like a vice. He’s dragging me now. More images run through my head.
He’s going to have his way with me. Again and again until I stop screaming. Blood will leak out of me, he’ll dip his head and lap it up, long tongue making sure to stroke my thighs as it takes the blood back into his mouth. Like a dog lapping up water. Then the knife-
Fire slams through my brain. White hot and punishing. I finally scream. His hand releases mine. I sink to my knees, clutching at my forehead and temples. I black out. When I can open my eyes, it’s to find myself on the mattress. The dirty, stained, stinking mattress he’s violated all of the other girls on. He probably dragged it from Denver in the back of some awful, cliched van. Beside me is an unfinished post. Blood stains it in marks. Five sets of four with a diagonal slash to finish off the set. Five sets of four. Twenty girls.
I’m going to start the next set.
I fumble for my bracelet. Cheesers panics, scratching my leg underneath the skirt, scrambling, trying to get out. My bracelet misses my hand each time I grasp for it, sliding up my elbow almost as if it wants to get away as much as I do. Finally, it slides into my hand. I feel it growing, feel slick wood under my fingers.
He appears out of nowhere.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” he says, wagging a finger at me in a perfect mime of a metronome.
His voice is flat and stale, devoid of any oil, any secret glee. He keeps himself in shadow, only his eyes glitter behind rounded spectacles. Not even his hair moves. I whimper, trying to look at him and failing.
“Let me go!” I manage.
“When I’m done,” he promises in that flat voice.
“Let me go!”
My voice echoes in the empty, half-finished building, reverberating back against the pillars and archways that might have made the beginnings of a store or two. Suddenly, I don’t want to be eight years old any more. The thought hits me that maybe he won’t like me if I really turn out to be fourteen. Maybe he just likes really little girls and I can save myself. I let my body change back.
“That’s a nice trick.”
He comes closer and I am petrified. Any one else who saw an eight year old girl age six years right in front of them would have fallen to the ground insensible. This guy just walks closer, something shiny in his hand, something else erect in front of him. He climbs on top of the mattress. It sinks with his weight. He crawls until he is on top of me. I’m crying now, begging the God that never answered my prayers before to get me the Hell out of this situation. His long tongue finds my ear, slides down the lobe. I turn my head away, trembling in disgust.
“I have one of my own.”
The shiny thing-the knife-sneaks down and cuts through my underwear and the skin underneath. Blood wells from the deep wound. I scream again. He doesn’t pay any attention to me, head going for the wound, going for the blood.
I don’t want his mouth on me, try to wriggle away, try to kick him but the rope around my ankles is tied too tightly. I can’t move. He growls, hands clamping down on my hips to stop my thrashing. In the next instant, he’s wailing and holding his hand. Blood gushes from a missing finger. Relief makes me laugh. Cheesers squeaks another warning, his white fur matted with red. He hisses then runs up my arm, beginning to chew the rope that holds my braceleted wrist hostage.
“Vermin!” Schultz wails, holding his wrist, very pale now. “You brought vermin in here! Vermin! Vermin! Vermin!”
He dances from foot to foot, too lost in his pain to really notice me or Cheesers. Cheesers chews through the thick rope, releasing my hand. The bracelet finishes what it started and grows into my dad’s scythe. I see my haggard reflection in a too sharp blade. It slices through the rest of my restraints quickly. I stand on legs that are rubber, naked and bleeding from the waist down.
“Martin Schultz,” I say in a shaky voice, listening to my own blood plip plop on the dirty ground below me. “You are going to die.”
His eyes widen in fear. He shakes his head. “No,” he says, licking those perpetually dry lips of his. “No. I’m not supposed to die.”
“Yes,” I say. “Yes you are.”
“No,” he repeats. “No, they told me I would never die. They told me you couldn’t touch me!”
He backs away, stumbles over himself and falls to the ground. I advance, scythe at the ready. He crab walks backward, conveniently stopped by his own sick tally board. I raise my dad’s scythe, refusing to recite the Rights of the Dead. This pig has no rights. This bastard raped and killed at his leisure and now he’s going to pay the price. I’m going to tear a hole right into Hell and personally deliver him to Lucifer myself for punishment.
He puts his arms up in front of his head in the ages old mime of supplication. “No!”
I swing my scythe, aiming for his head, not caring if the arms go with it. The scythe imbeds itself in his arm and stops. I stop too. In disbelief. Dad’s scythe, Death’s scythe, doesn’t stop in anything. I blink. Something is holding the blade through the guy’s arm. Oil black hands drum sharp nails across the blade, cracking tiny spiderweb lines through the metal. I jerk it back on reflex, staring at the marks in dumbfounded horror.
“I’m afraid I can’t let you do that, Grimm,” a thick voice says from Martin’s mouth.
“You can’t stop me!” I shout back, even though it obviously could. Raising the scythe, I try again to cut his head off.
The hand stops me again. With a laugh. A deep, menacing laugh, that promises so many different horrors if I don’t figure out a way to stop him. Smoke slowly rises from the black hand. Its claws dig into dad’s blade, cracking it now. Martin smokes, too. Little curliques rise up from his shoulders. I watch as his eyes go blank, a wide grin spreading his cheeks slowly.
“Are you going to give her to me?” He asks in his own voice. “Can I have her?”
“When we’re finished,” the deep voice answers.
Martin giggles a little. The smoke turns into thick black ink, roiling and bubbling, reaching and climbing from his shoulders like some sick witch’s brew. Martin was the cauldron. I can’t move. I’m stupid and sick with an animal fear. Pure unadulterated terror. Suddenly, I’m not Grimmauld Regina-Ann Mayweather, Death’s daughter. I’m Grimm. Fourteen and wanting her mommy because she’s in way over her head. The black ink climbs and climbs in the space between Martin’s shoulders and the ceiling. A body slowly emerges, connecting with the clawed hand that had maimed my dad’s scythe, forming a torso, shoulders, and finally a head. A pair of large white eyes stare back at me. A slow, white grin spreads.
To Be Continued…