A serial killer is born in a small mid-western town.
Chris awoke with a start. His heart was pounding and the bed sheets were soaked with perspiration. The nightmare was more vivid this time.He glanced around the room trying to make a connection to reality.He could still feel the chill running up his spine and if he had not known better, he would have believed the phantom pain encircling his neck was real and not the after effects of his nightmare. He dreamt he was being strangled again and it felt too real this time.
As he slumped back onto his pillow, he wondered if the nightmare would come again when he closed his eyes. It had started coming more frequently and the dark purple beneath his eyes was proof. His breathing slowed, returning to normal, and he drifted off to sleep.
The metal door slowly stopped in its tracks, echoing down the soft white hallway.Chris sat up on the edge of his bed, listening to the footsteps approach his door.He broke out into a cold sweat as he heard the key enter the lock.“Hello Chris,” the tall, lanky guard spoke.Anderson was six foot three inches tall with bright red-orange hair and blue eyes.He was clumsy and awkward but was Chris’s favorite guard.He treated the patients with respect and dignity.“It’s time for your appointment Chris.”Chris looked up at the gangly guard and smiled, “I know, I know.Let me put my pants on and we can go.”
He did not really like going to see Dr. Patterson or any of the other psychologists.They kept him pumped full of drugs so much of the time that he was barely lucid most days.He sauntered in to Patterson’s office and slumped down in the easy chair directly in front of the window.The view from the office was spectacular compared to the view from his cell.The trees that littered the front lawn had begun their fall changes and the colors were vibrant, reminding him of the outside world.
“Chris, we need to talk about that night.”Patterson prompted.He was a short, stout gentleman in his mid thirties.His hair was dark brown, almost black, speckled with the first signs of gray.His blue eyes reminded Chris of the ocean.“I know this is a difficult topic for you,” he began, “but I need to get a feel of what was going on that night.”
Chris slumped even further down in the chair and continued to stare out the window at the squirrels playing in the closest tree.He felt as if he might drift off to sleep as the memory of that night came back to him.
Loud music filled the dimly lit room with an electrifying and almost tangible energy.Chris entered the Flip Side, a little bar smelling of cheap booze and cigarettes.It was tucked away in the middle of nowhere at the edge of town.The ruggedly handsome nineteen-year-old had never been to this type of establishment before and was nervous.Glancing around anxiously, he raised his muscular arm and ran his fingers through his soft brown hair, wondering if he should stay.
He made his way through the small crowd that was gathered near the dance floor and took a seat at the narrow bar.“I’ll have a Bud Light please,” he spoke to the young female bartender without making eye contact.As he sat there listening to the throbbing music, he muttered, “I can’t believe I’m here.”
“Excuse me?” a soft, gentle voice spoke from behind, trying to get his attention.
“Oh, hi,” Chris began, startled and embarrassed, “I was thinking aloud again.”
“Would you like to dance?” inquired the tall, slim blond.
“I’m not much of a dancer,” Chris paused, “but how about I buy you a drink?”He pointed to the empty stool to his left.
The young man took a seat at the bar, inching the stool closer to Chris.“I’ll have a beer please.”Chris motioned for the bartender, ordered another beer, placed the money on the bar, and informed her to keep the change.
He extended his hand and introduced himself.He could feel his cheeks warming, turning a soft shade of pink.He felt excited and scared all at the same time.His heart, pumping rapidly, felt as if it would explode from his chest.“I’m Jason,” the young man took Chris’s hand; a soft smile lit up his face.
Jason was a handsome young man who looked no more than sixteen years old, but was a mature twenty-four.He had soft, chiseled features with short blond hair and steel gray eyes.Chris relaxed after gazing into those beautiful eyes.He had studied journalism and had just been offered a position as a staff writer for the local newspaper.Chris listened intently, unable to look away from the handsome young man.
After several beers, Chris had summoned the courage to speak his mind.“Would you like to go somewhere a little quieter?” he prodded with a playful smile, his emerald green eyes sparkled.They left the bar at and headed to the CrystalHillsPark where they could be alone.It was the last time Jason Brown was seen alive.
There were several inches of new snow on the ground when they left the bar.They pulled into the park, now deserted, and found a quiet spot, a few hundred feet into the woods, where they would not be spotted or interrupted by anyone still in the area.
Despite the snow, it was not a cold evening and the two decided to sit under the snow-covered trees where the moon was visible through the treetops.Jason carried a soft flannel blanket to the tree where Chris stood.The two men looked at each other for several minutes before Jason leaned over and softly kissed Chris.There was an instant explosion of passion that he was not aware he possessed.He was filled with so many emotions; he could barely distinguish one from the other.Jason’s hand slid under Chris’s shirt, caressing his tight, well-muscled chest.Chris rolled atop the muscular blonde-haired man, letting a barely audible moan escape.He bent down and kissed Jason with tender force, his tongue probing hungrily.He was so handsome and strong.Chris’s body ached for the older man and the experience that awaited him.
He could hear Jason gasping for air and writhing beneath him.His hands were clasped around the man’s throat and he was squeezing with every bit of strength he had.The look in Jason’s eyes betrayed his fear.“Stop,” was all he managed in a half whisper.It was getting more difficult for the young blond journalist to get air and the fight was quickly leaving him.
He was not sure how much time had passed.The world seemed to have gone black.The questions running through his mind were drumming away with an intensity he felt would make him pass out again.What Happened?Why?How many people had seen him at the bar with Jason?What happens now?There seemed to be no easy answer to any of these questions.Everything in his head was jumbled and distorted.
His head was filled with the sound of the breaking bones as he squeezed what little life was left out of Jason.The movement beneath his body ceased.He was unable to remove himself from atop the lifeless body for several minutes.Jason’s eyes stared, fixed, at the canopy of the woods.Moonlight reflected from his glazed eyes.
Chris rose to his feet slowly, as if time were standing still.Stunned and shaking, he peered at the lifeless man at his feet.“Damn it,” he muttered to himself as he pulled a cigarette from his coat pocket.The light from the match illuminated the area, revealing the congealed blood that trickled from Jason’s mouth.His stomach lurched, pangs of guilt stabbed at his conscience and at his heart.The smoke rose in lazy swirls, catching the soft moonlight before drifting into the trees above.He was pacing; the sound of the snow crunching under his boots was amplified by his panic.
He took another drag, letting the smoke fill his lungs.He finished the cigarette and flicked it into the dense brush surrounding the thicket of oak trees.It landed a few feet from Jason’s body.
He was not aware that the snow had started to fall again.The body was covered with a fresh dusting of soft white powder.Pulling his coat tight to his chest, he turned to leave.
Approaching Jason’s vehicle, Chris glanced around anxiously, making sure he had not been seen.The snow was now filling his tracks as he exited the woods.With a heavy sigh, he pulled onto the main road and did not look back.
The sun was starting to set throwing shadows across the front lawn of Crystal Hills Psychiatric Clinic.The squirrels had long since scurried away and the only audible sound in the office was the swishing of the pendulum on Dr. Patterson’s desk.Patterson cleared his throat hoping to bring Chris out of his daze.
The tears were streaming down his face but he was unable to lift a hand to wipe them away.His body felt as if it were filled with lead.Chris had never revealed the whole story to anyone and the retelling of it now brought back all of the guilt and shame he had been trying so desperately to suppress.