Sara remained hidden off the path within the park. Her eyes darted around her surrounding area, chest heaving heavily, and her breath expelling into the air in white, translucent puffs. Her hair was tangled and her eyes were wide and bright. Her cheeks were flushed with adrenaline, and faint tremors ebbed and flowed throughout her body in waves.
The weak moonlight was all she had to go by as she tried to find him, needing to get a visual on her target. Something silver glinted in her hand, reflecting the pathetic rays of the moon, and she was quick to angle her hand so as to prevent it from giving away her position.
“Come on…come on…” She whispered, her smoky breath floating before her with each word, “Where are you?”
Sara continued to wait, never once relaxing from where she was stood camouflaged by a tree.
“Come out, come out, wherever you are…” She whispered again, a lyrical timbre to her voice.
The muscles of the girl in question tightened, and her tongue darted out to run along her lips to wet them with anticipation, like a lion salivating over its prey.
“Sara, where are you? I got your text…”
The figure of the male Sara had called to collect her had finally reached the tree she was stood at, but he didn’t stop, since she didn’t make herself known. A grin flickered and wavered with each moment that passed, her eyes following him as he took a few more steps away from her position.
“Sara, seriously, I’ll be so pissed if you called me out here and it’s just a fucking prank.” The figure continued, and she could imagine the furrowed brow and downturned lips that would mar his features whilst he walked on.
Eventually, Sara moved from her hiding space, the silver gleaming once more in the moonlight as she kept it just out of sight behind her thigh. She maintained a steady pace, carefully placing her feet so as to not upset the gravel and alert him of her presence.
“I swear to fucking god.” The male in front of her muttered, and Sara could imagine those lovely brown eyes surveying the park for any sign of her.
Giggling softly, Sara tapped his shoulder as her head tilted to one side. “I’m right here, silly!”
The male turned, eyes ablaze and lips parting ready to unleash a lecture, but no words came out. It was if he had suddenly, and unexpectedly, been frozen. The fire in his eyes gradually dwindled to embers, widening instead and focusing on Sara. His lips formed an ‘o’ rather than the words he wanted. His body stiffened, and his hands reached up to clasp the knife in his abdomen.
“But I wouldn’t swear to God, not with where you’re going, He might not appreciate such language.” She added in a tender whisper, feeling the warmth of his blood begin to seep out onto her hand as she retracted the knife.
Theo sucked in a harsh, shallow breath and his hands, too, soon were stained crimson. “Sa…ra…”
He collapsed onto the pathway, hands on the wound and chest rising and falling rapidly. His sister bent over him, tutting gently, “I never realized just how much of a mess it would make.” She observed, eyes trailing over the growing stain the blood was leaving on his shirt.
Smiling to him, she crouched down to caress his cheek. It left behind a trail of copper, not that it mattered with what was spreading along his shirt. She then kissed his forehead tenderly, for added measure.
“We could have gotten along so much better…if only you weren’t so perfect.” She murmured, the smile leaving her lips and eyes becoming cold, never averting from Theo’s as she slipped the cool steel of her knife into his warm, frantic heart.
Her mother was wailing as she stood out in the middle of the road, her father there ready to embrace her firmly as she turned to sob into his chest. Sara’s head tipped lightly to the side as she watched the scene develop from the window, the curtain being held out of the way with a limp hand. Her mother always loved the family cat, but Sara never personally saw the appeal of such an obnoxious creature.
Sara always thought cats were like people. Uncaring, rude, and vain. Never giving a damn for anyone, or anything, but themselves…always looking out for number one. It’s why she did it. Killed the cat, that is.
Sara was only curious, and the family cat was the cost of such curiosity. A smirk had pulled at her lips as she considered the notion, eyebrows raising at such a thought. Guess curiosity really had killed the cat.
Curiosity that involved seeing the no longer beating heart. The bloodied spleen. The lungs that no longer inflated with life and air. It amazed her just how easily, and quickly, cooling blood stained her fingers and the fur of the animal. It turned the fur from smoky grey to a deep metallic shade. And all it took was a single, weighted and long slit down the length of the cat’s stomach.
“You did this, didn’t you?”
The accusation came from behind Sara, but she didn’t bother turning.
“I didn’t know they cared so much about the bloody cat. Cats get hit by cars all the time, just get another one.” Sara shrugged, watching her parents’ misery for a little while longer.
“That cat didn’t die in a hit and run, Sara. I think we both know this.” Theo continued.
Sara finally turned to face her brother, who was stood in the doorway of the lounge. His arms folded tightly across his chest, his eyes fixated on her, and a muscle jumping in his jaw.
“Do we? All I know, Theo, is that the cat is in the middle of the road, and it’s now dead. Cats get hit by cars all the time.” Sara smiled, pulling away from the window and walking over to him, “So, unless you actually have something to say…I’m going to go.” Leaning up to kiss him on the cheek, she laughed lightly as she felt him stiffen at the contact.
Pulling back, Sara’s lips turned upward once more as she reached up to tap the end of his nose. A giggle sounded once again, and she slipped past him out of the lounge to leave him statuesque in the doorframe.
Sara leaned sharply sideways from her position on her bed, reaching out to turn down the volume of her laptop as the screaming started. The only light in her bedroom came from the screen, not that there was much anyway, all dirtied blues and greys. Her eyes couldn’t move, refusing to stop watching what was unfolding before her.
It was the first Saw movie, and with a certain grotesqueness, she found enjoyable pleasure watching some poor guy saw his own foot off. He had to do it, otherwise he’d die chained to a cold, metal pole.
The sheer human nature to survive, regardless of the costs, and the desperation of the man in question led to her heart beating faster as she played witness to his attempted escape. Her fingers tightened around her pillow, clutching it harder and harder to her chest as minute after minute passed.
Her brow furrowed lightly and her eyes flickered across the screen as the saw continued to cut into the man’s skin, blood beginning to seep from the wound. Such a pristine and beautiful colour, was the shade of human blood. Such a rich, deep burgundy that would have gone well with Sara’s fair skin.
She could imagine it, smearing along her fingers, beads of blood crawling along the palms of her hands. She longed to feel the warmth of it, suddenly.
The true warmth of life.
Sara poured over the book in front of her, sat at the desk in her bedroom. Her legs were up and resting on the surface, ankles crossed one over the other and book resting in her lap.
It was an old biology text book she had stolen when she was still in school; it wasn’t exactly a crime – who would give a damn if it was missing? Sara had no idea at the time just how fascinating and useful it would be to her.
The human anatomy was such an interesting thing. All the veins and arteries that laid beneath such a thin and vulnerable layer of skin. The arteries ready to spurt blood the moment they were slit, and veins ready to bleed and weep if they too were disturbed. It was always fascinating to Sara just how vulnerable humans were when it came down to it. You could be the strongest man in the world, yet a single knife wound in the right place or a gunshot…and you would be a goner.
No amount of praying to a god, or crying to mummy, would help you. Of course, every person had a different pain threshold, but what difference did it make if you could endure the pain?
You were still going to die.
And if it a severed major artery? You better have finished your prayers in ten minutes…
“Why couldn’t you have been more like Theo?”
Sara couldn’t count the times she had been asked this question. But she definitely knew it was enough to drive anyone insane.
“Because it’s got to be boring being the same perfect pet day after day…don’t you think?” Sara responded, legs tucked up beneath herself on her favourite armchair in the lounge, eyes lazily studying the fireplace where her father was stood.
The topic of conversation was no surprise, not considering it was her brother’s AS Level results day. A reminder of just how perfect he was. How sickeningly perfect. Her gaze narrowed in on him, burning into him. He dared to hold her gaze for a few moments, before finally looking away. The corner of her mouth flickered into the beginnings of a smirk.
Her mother sighed endearingly, whilst her father grumbled with an accompanying eye roll. Theo sat on the sofa beside their mother, watching his sister as the results sheet hung limply in hand. It…informed the family of Theo’s success…three A’s and one B.
“You could have done so well in school, Sara, if only you had actually tried…” Her mother continued, leaving Sara to roll her eyes in response.
Her father stood straighter, taking a step toward her, “Don’t roll your eyes at your mother.”
Her eyes drifted up to the large man, scrutinizing him as he folded his arms.
“Feels like déjà vu, you know.” Sara muttered shortly after, finally having averted her gaze and breaking the stare contest.
Her mother’s brow furrowed softly, “Déjà vu?”
Sara huffed, rolling her eyes again and earning herself another growling warning. “Yes, mother, déjà vu. You know the feeling that something has happened before?” She questioned, letting her head roll to the side so she could look at the woman.
“I…I don’t understand-“
“You gave me this same bloody lecture three years ago when I got my GCSEs back, remember?” Sara gestured impatiently for her mother to hurry up with her poor memory.
Her mother looked back at her, blinking a few times as if that would help jog her memory. Sara didn’t need help remembering. It was burned into her mind. “You told me that I…”
“…should have tried harder! Going out, all hours of the day, when you should have been in and doing revision…” Her mother shook her head, eyes focused on the sheet of paper laid out on the dining table before her.
Sixteen year old Sara stood, hands on the dining chair in front of her and body tense, allowing her mother to rant at her. Not that she had the right to, it wasn’t as if it was her future, her life.
“Thirteen GCSE’s and you barely got five above C grade! What’s happening with you, Sara? You were doing so well before and now…and now…”
Sara cleared her throat, pulling back, “Now…what, mother? I’ve become a disgrace? A failure?” She asked, eyes trained on the woman, voice cold. “An embarrassment? A delinquent? A retard? What, mother? What is it!” The volume of her voice built, growing with the pace of her words.
Her father was quick to step in.
A hand found its way onto the back of her shirt, at the scruff of her neck, and lifting up. “Don’t you dare speak to your mother like that.” He yanked her away from the table. “We’ve done nothing but clothe, and feed, and love you. Put a roof over your head and given you what you’ve wanted-“
“I didn’t ask you to do that!” Sara yelled, struggling and finally managing to break away, even hitting his arm away, “I didn’t ask you to bring me into this bloody world! I didn’t ask you to give birth to…to…a disgrace.” She spat the insult out, like a bad taste on her tongue.
They entered a standoff, daughter and father, eyes locked and neither refusing to concede. “Up to your room, and stay there. You’ll be lucky to see any dinner tonight.” Her father eventually snarled.
Sara’s lips curled up into a disgusted grin, “Gladly.” She sneered, shoving away from him and storming upstairs to her room, slamming the door behind her for extra measure.
Important things never interested Sara. School was a complete write off. Work was tedious. Family were just self-righteous. Friends? What friends?
If there was one thing that Sara had any remote interest in, it would be reading. Not just any reading, however. The non-fiction genre was what she poured over the most, specifically those that directed their attention on famous moments in history. And by moments…really it was the murders. The murderers themselves. Serial killers.
The book she was reading, curled up on her bed and with a cup of cooling tea on her bedside table, was probably one of her favourites. The World’s Greatest Serial Killers by Nigel Cawthorne. It covered so many of the different killers and their murders.
Sara couldn’t delve deep enough into their worlds, she was never satisfied with what she read in books. She wanted to learn more about how they tortured their victims and how they finally ended lives.
The bloodier the murder, the more psychotic the killer, the better. In Sara’s opinion, anyway.
Sara was sat at the dining table, with a simple bowl of cereal and orange juice. Her eyes trailed along the width of the table to land on her brother’s own bowl before continuing up to rest on his face. A dribble of milk had escaped the corner of his mouth, which Theo was quick to wipe away, as another spoonful of soggy cornflakes was shoved into his mouth. Sara’s nose wrinkled and her brow furrowed as she swallowed back a noise of disgust.
It was here, over an innocent, calm, and mundane breakfast that Sara had her first thought of murder.