By Fungai Chigumbura, Zimbabwe:
So, apparently, I have a side-kick now. Or maybe I'm the side kick. I don't know. All I know is that this fool whom I call my assistant has me by the low and dangling. His evidence is not conclusive; heck, it just barely scrapes the surface of circumstantial, but I know enough to realise that should he ever present this to the police, they will be more than happy to run with it. My activities have always been a castle built on a pebble really; it stays steady for only as long as no one knows that it's built on so flimsy a foundation and once they know, very little stands to stop them from kicking out that pebble and sending it all crumbling to oblivion. I digress; at this point my focus is on keeping this idiot happy until I can figure out a means to be rid of him.
Right now, he is in my office gleaming over our first adventure together. He is ecstatic about it and he is describing the thrills to me for at least the twelfth time since the fact. Really, if there was anything that convinced me of the need to extricate myself from this predicament, its how that first time went.
We arrived for another industry seminar on a Friday evening, and all through the night and the next day at the seminar, that dense plank was giddy with excitement. His effusiveness demonstrated such a level of idiocy that I wondered how he had even managed to recognize my pattern. I suppose I did leave a careless amount of breadcrumbs that would have taken a minimum of competence to track down to the whole bloodstained bakery. When the seminar finally ended, he pestered for us to drive down immediately. I gave in and roughly two hours later, we were in our intended location. I had meant for us to get to one of the low brow establishments which had the advantage of allowing for an inconspicuous entry and exit. However, my obtuse friend insisted that we go to a flashy bar that was guaranteed to be filled with onlookers and revelers. I had pointed out to him how unsafe this was, but he had waived away my concerns.
We were in the bar for all of five minutes before he pointed to a girl who had apparently caught his eye (which had been roving from the moment we entered). The girl was standing with two others, all of them looking the part. He swayed over to them and singled her out and whatever he said made her laugh heartily. After a few minutes of whatever he was talking about, he motioned for me to come over. As I approached them, one of the other two girls pulled the girl aside and from what I could tell, she didn't seem too happy about her friend's intentions. The second girl gazed at us and I could swear I saw her mouth the word 'suspicious' to her friend. I turned to my assistant
“We should go,” I warned.
“Why?” he asked.
“The other girl doesn't seem to like us. And if she doesn't like us, she'll remember us when the police come around to ask about her friend. We should go,” I insisted.
He laughed off my concerns, and he went over to the two girls and gently pulled his target away and introduced me to her by name (a mistake; never, ever introduce yourself to your target). He suggested we leave and I had to comply despite my objections to the whole situation. I caught the other girl looking at us skeptically as we left.
The entire drive to the lodge, he and the girl were fidgeting and giggling in the back seat. I took cursory glances at her in the rearview mirror: she was not un-pretty, but her features did not stand out either. Nothing was exceptional in either a good or bad sense. I wanted to go to one of the low rent lodges on the other side of town, but again my dim partner in crime overruled me, instead opting for something nearby that the girl had suggested. The room she chose overlooked the parking lot (not what I would have chosen) and was right in between two lamp posts that cast bright white light on the door and window. I instructed the girl to go inside and pulled him aside.
“How do you want to do this? We should tie her up and gag her and-?”
“No, not 'we', just me,” He cut me off. “I'm going to do this alone. You stand out here and keep watch.”
“Are you sure?”
He smiled at me, that same arrogant grin he had flashed in my office, with the same spark in his eye and patted the left side pocket of his jacket, which I noticed had a rather unusual bulge.
“I know exactly what I'm doing”
He walked in and I stood outside, looking at the street lamps and trying to gauge what was happening inside from the sounds that escaped. What I heard initially didn't suggest that he was doing anything she didn't experience on a nightly basis. After a few minutes, the heavy breathing died and I heard a few muffled groans and squeals. There were a few thuds and I could swear I heard something break inside. Those sounds soon subsided and were replaced by what sounded like metal grinding on a hard surface. Like wood…or bone. I stood my post for a few minutes longer before I decided I could wait no longer and walked in.
What I saw made me recoil. He was sitting in a burgundy pool of her blood. The walls were sprayed red and the bed sheets were scarlet. At first I though he was cradling her in his lap, but then I saw that the distance between her head in his lap and the rest of her body was too great. Eventually, I realised that he was holding her severed head in his arms. He was mumbling something under his breath and when he looked up at me, he smiled a crimson smile, complete with bits and pieces of strands of hair and flesh.
It took upwards of an hour to get him cleaned up and remove as much evidence as possible. He was silent throughout the exercise and all the way back to the hotel and on our drive the next day. He had said nothing until that Monday at the office, when his numerous recollections of his experience began.
It is a week later, and he has just finished telling me the story again. He sits down in the chair opposite me and breathes out heavily, apparently exhausted by his narration. And then, he says something that jolts me.
“Of course, my girlfriend was bummed that I didn't take photos, but I was so caught up in the moment that I didn't think to,” he says. I look at him.
“Your girlfriend knows about this, about us?” I ask incredulously.
“Oh yeah,” he admits. “She was the one who actually turned me onto you. She and I have always wanted to experiment, and this'll be just perfect. Oh well, can't think about that now, got to get back to work.”
He bounds out of my office, skipping like some special needs kid. I'm left to ponder on what he just said, and a smile creeps onto my face. In that moment, I know exactly how I am going to get out of this.
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