Fly on the Wall of a Serial Killing by Rebecca Gaffron

Body in a suitcase.

Male. Female. It makes no difference. Young or old is irrelevant. Hopes and dreams are etched into the features. Potential lies crushed under unnaturally folded limbs. Intangible concepts can’t be killed, energy is neither created nor destroyed, but it’s all lost just the same.

I feel the killer loitering nearby, relaxed. You make an easy victim. You are predictable. I know what you’re going to say before you open your mouth. I know it before you get out of bed in the morning. The hesitation. The second guesses and apologetic guilt. They might as well be bull’s eyes on your forehead.

And I wonder — is there some perverse thrill in despair? Some sanctimonious reward in proving that things really are worse than they seem? Some instant of delight in the paralyzing fear that nothing you do will ever be enough? Or ever be right?

“Enough of what? And right for whom?” I scream.

Or maybe I just mutter it into the stagnant conversation hanging between us. But you don’t stir. My warning is lost on you. I stretch my wings and flutter away, out of the killer’s reach but suffering from your absence. Your choice to be absent.

I leave the air heavy with clich├ęs about lives not lived. There’s no room for one more. You wouldn’t hear it anyway, not now the killer is moving. You embrace this slow death with a sigh of relief, submitting to insecurity’s garrote without the slightest gurgle.

Self-doubt leaves you lost, an empty shell.

Another body in a suitcase.

Copyright 2009

Author's Bio: Rebecca is a mother and sometimes writer who recently traded the rolling hills of Central Pennsylvania for a wind-swept barn in Britain. Occasionally people read her stories in journals like Pear Noir, Ink Sweat and Tears, Camroc Press, The Salt River Review, SNReview, & Colored Chalk.