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- Story Listed as: Fiction For Adults
- Theme: Mystery stories
- Subject: Horror / Scary Stories
- Published: 11/04/2019
To Catch MyselfBorn 1945, M, from Farmersburg, United States
Could I tell you when I became a killer? A murderer. I’m not sure if anyone could pinpoint the hour the second the minute or even the year. From a small child I was fascinated with the transition from life to death. My mother said as a toddler, when we walked down the sidewalk, I would run in front of her and step on ants. She laughed and said she was proud of me for protecting her, but even at that age I knew better. I would smash their little bodies then stand back and watch as they writhed in death. At a young age, I became the chief fly killer in our home. I hunted them down even to the point of leaving the door open hoping more flies would come in. At the age of 10, I kept a hunting knife with a serrated blade in a shaft, duct taped to the bottom of my bed. In summer, I might sneak out of my bedroom at 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning. Creeping to the open door of my parent’s bedroom, watching them sleep, wondering what it would be like to kill them. It is typical, according to all law enforcement material, for a serial killer to kill small animals. Dogs, cats, and other pets, and work their way up to humans. I never did that. Dogs and cats were safe around me. I practiced instead on possums, raccoons and squirrels.
Also common for serial killers to be bed wetters. I was dry from the day I was potty trained. Typical serial killers are psychopaths. this allows them to murder without concern for legal, moral, or social consequences. Not true of me. I knew from my first time of taking the life of another human being I was mindful of penalty. If I was caught, jail, prison, or death loomed in my future. Therefore, I did the thing I hoped would insure I would never be imprisoned. I planned to become a law enforcement officer.
From kindergarten through grade school I just knew I liked killing. When my grandmother died from a fall when I was 9 1/2 - and no I didn’t have anything to do with it – my mother couldn’t drag me away from her coffin. My parents and others thought it was sorrow. It was something else. Was this end of Gram? Standing on tiptoes, I touched her arm. I drew my hand back from the cold flesh. I remembered her telling me of a place called heaven. One time I asked her to see it, this land she said she was going to. She smiled and said it was a long way off beyond the moon. I went outside right after she said this and looked up at the sky. All I saw was the stars and moon. I thought I couldn’t see heaven because it was dark so I waited until the next morning. Unfortunately, it was cloudy but later that afternoon the sky cleared. The sun came out bright and hot. I searched but all I saw was a few lingering clouds and a jet leaving a vapor trail. But I believed my grandmother and liked being around her. I was happy when I was there with her. Then she died. Just like that she was gone. Where did she go? Did she go to this place she called heaven? Was it a good place like she said it was? Or was she just dead, lifeless, unconscious? One thing I did know, the happy times at her house had ended.
My grandfather, tolerant of me before, was now surly. My parents said it was because he missed my grandmother. However, as I became older I began to suspect there was more to it. Gramps was known to take a nip or two behind the barn. At times, he didn’t stop at one or two drinks. When drunk he became mean. So as a 10 year old I began my own investigation. It was said Gram died from a fall in the cellar when she slipped on a rotten potato on the steps. The injury was to the side of her head just behind her right ear. I knew the steps in the old cellar were made of concrete and the wound on her skull was inconsistent with a fall. I mashed a rotten potato on the step and tried to reenact the accident. It wouldn’t work. I fell several times. A small woman, she was 18 inches taller than I was, so I calculated her size and adjusted my falls. My grandfather at times used a cane. In checking it I found several drops of blood on the tip. I came to the conclusion she had been murdered.
As I lay there on the cellar step thinking about this I heard the voice of her killer. “What are you doing down there boy?” Gramp said in his voice harsh. He leaned over the propped open door, his face flushed. His eyes gave it away. They say serial killers have no feelings but at that minute looking into the eyes of my grandmother’s murderer fear caused me to stammer. “No…nothing just playing.” I said scrambling out of the cellar. “You stay outta there.” He said slamming the door. At that second, I knew how he had killed my grandmother. Stopping I turned and faced him. I’m not sure what I planned to do. He was over six foot tall. Muscular, though not as much as when he was younger. His face transformed into a mask of rage. “Get out of here.” He screamed at me. In his right hand, he held the murder weapon. Raising it, he waved that murderous cane at me. I ran. I hitchhiked and walked the ten miles back to my home. Gramps called my mother and said I cussed him out for no good reason just because he told me to wash up for dinner. In addition to being yelled at by my parents, I was grounded for two weeks. I didn’t care. I knew Gramp had killed Gram, maybe not intently, but she was dead nevertheless.
That night lying in bed at the age of ten, actually ten and a half, I plotted the murder of my grandfather. As I stared at the ceiling, I ran one and then another scenario through my mind. I rejected each one. My grandfather was much bigger. He wouldn’t fall for the same trick my grandmother had. At that age I had no access to guns. Even if I did I would be very clumsy. I would be fortunate if he didn’t kill me. Several times that summer he asked if I was coming for a visit. I developed creative ways of refusing to be alone with the man. I can’t say I spent every waking minute planning how to kill my grandfather over the next three years; however the subject was never far from my mind. He lived alone now. His fault. You may be thinking I wanted to bring him to justice. To face a jury of his peers. No. I wanted to kill him.
I felt no love in my heart for the man. My only concern was how I could take his life without jeopardizing my own. I had no desire to spend the next several years in a juvenile facility. So the dilemma was how could I kill him in such a way he would know I was his murderer without detection by the authorities. Another problem presented its self. How could I, now a 13 almost 14 year old, travel the ten miles between my parents home and that of my grandfather’s. I could bike the distance and most of the journey would be on back roads, most of them gravel. Yet I was almost guaranteed to meet someone. In addition the round trip of twenty miles, even at a hard pedaling, would take well over two, almost three hours.
The opportunity presented itself in the spring of my 14th year. My father, president of our local farm co-op, received an invitation to speak at the state meeting. A great honor as there would be thousands of other farmers, politicians and business men attending. The meeting being two months away gave me time convince my parents I was at the age where a babysitter wasn’t necessity. At first, they wanted me to accompany them. I knew if I came right out and said I wanted to stay home, it would arouse their suspicions. As I said before I didn’t relish going to jail. I laid down hints of the cattle needing to be looked after.
My grandfather had, according to my parents, become more and more despondent. Also he had learned the art of making wine. Now with his alcohol cheaper he drank more. The result was most nights he was drunk.
The meeting was to be held in Indianapolis on the third weekend of March. My parents left at three Friday afternoon and would return sometime Monday. Dad shook my hand and mother made sure I had my cell phone. She hugged me and then held me at arm’s length. She commented on how I was growing into a man. For a fleeting second I thought they had changed their minds and I would be coming with them. Instead, she climbed in to the passenger seat and closed the door to our car. Dad backed out of the drive and they were on their way. Stepping to the edge of our county road, I waved at them until they were out of sight. There was a chilly wind out of the south with a promise of rising temperatures during the night.
My grandfather did very little writing, however I had been able to procure a letter he wrote to my father about repairing his barn. Dad had cashed the accompanying check and thrown the letter away. I dug it out of the trash and hid it among some old papers in attic. For the last six months I copied his writing making sure to loop my L’s and cross my T’s as he did.
I worked at it until I was satisfied, then I wrote his note confessing to my grandmother’s murder. I burnt the one and did another and another setting a match to all of them. It might not be questioned by my parents. However, it must pass the scrutiny of the authorities.
The thought of not leaving a note never crossed my mind. There must be no question he took his own life. I spent the evening preparing. I greased my bike. Took a hot bath and almost shaved but settled on rubbing the washcloth over my body vigorously to remove any loose hairs. What if he was passed out in the house? Worse still, what if he was sober.
I took a call from my mother at 6 PM. they had arrived safely and checked into a downtown hotel. She gave me the room number and for the hundredth time asked me my plans for the night.
I told her I was going to make a bowl of popcorn and watch one of my favorite movies. We spoke for a few more minutes and then ended the call. Though I was nervous there was an undercurrent of excitement. True, animals had died by my hand, however; this would be my first human.
I opened a can of beef stew, heated it in the microwave, and ate a little. I paced the house watching the clock. At nine, my mother called again. Anticipating her call I ran the movie until it halfway through and waited for the phone to ring. As my cell phone jingled, I answered. I could just imagine my mother smiling as I turned down the volume so I could hear her. She said the evening went well and dad was staring out the window at the lights of the city practicing his speech. We spoke even less than in evening and ended the call. It was time to go.
Clouds covered the moon and a light mist fell coating everything. Walking my bike to the center of the road, I sighed. This was it, this is what I had planned for so long. Did I really want to go through with it? After tonight, there would be no going back. Pushing off I pedaled down the road setting the course for my destruction. An hour later as I approached my grandfather’s farm, I saw headlights coming through what was now a thick fog. I swerved the bike off the road and into some bushes. A few scraped my face leaving a scratch or two. Nothing major. The pickup passed within five feet of me. I recognized the driver as one of my grandfather’s neighbors. He set upright staring straight ahead unaware that a would be murderer stood in his field. After he passed I waited about five minutes, screwing up my courage.
At the farm, I leaned the bike against the far wall of the barn away from the house. Cautiously I entered by way of the kitchen. Unknown to my family I oiled the door hinges on our last visit. It opened easily with no squeaking. I smelled the booze as soon as I entered the house. Standing stock still, I listened. I could hear his deep snore from the bedroom. I had studied the layout of the furniture so was able to move without bumping into anything.
Cold sweat mixed with the rain trickled down the back of my neck. This was the most critical time. if he woke and saw me he would guess my purpose and kill me. There were no lights on in the house yet I felt exposed.
I stepped into his bedroom, slid to the side with my back to the wall. I had debated with myself. I wanted him to know why he was dying but knew I couldn’t take the chance. If he survived, I would spend several years incarcerated.
So I settled for the plan with the least risk. The smell of corn whisky on his breath was almost overpowering. Yet he was rumored to be a light sleeper. moving an inch at a time I approached the bed. His breathing and snoring remained unchanged. Slowly I touched the wall. Feeling along I moved to the corner. There it was. it hadn’t moved in twenty five years. The old double barrel 12.ga. Retrieving it took more time than I had allowed for the killing. Back at the bed, I gently pressed the barrel under my grandfather’s chin. I took his thumb and placed it in the trigger. He stirred and opened his eyes.
“Yo…you... what are you doing h…here? He said starting to push up. His face a mask of rage.
“You killed my grandma.” I said pressing the trigger. Suddenly the thought occurred to me... What if it’s not loaded. What if after all this time my grandfather felt a loaded shotgun in the house was not a good idea. The twin explosions shocked and surprised me. I had convinced myself the gun was empty, as my grandfather’s face and the front part of his head disappeared. the wall behind the bed was covered in goo. I checked to make sure I didn’t get any on me. I smoothed out the suicide note leaving it on the bedside table.
Retreating from the house, I retrieved my bike from behind the barn and peddled home. The fog was thicker now, coming in chunks. By this time, it was past midnight. I could have been within four foot of a vehicle and never saw them or they me.
Back home I put my bike away. Then going into the house I stripped down to my underwear and put pants shirt and socks the washer. After a long shower, I put on my pajamas and crawled into bed. I would like to tell you I had nightmares and trouble sleeping. the truth is I had the best night sleep I'd had in a long time.
My parents arrived home on Monday morning at nine o’clock. My father, an early riser, didn’t relish the traffic in Indianapolis. They congratulated me on how well I had managed the farm while they were gone.
Later in the day, after receiving no answer to her phone call, my mother went to check on her father. My father, busy with the cattle, didn’t go with her.
She found him in bed just as I left him. I wanted to spare her the shock of seeing her father with his head blown off but didn’t see any solution. Tearfully she called my father. The one thing I remember most about the day is how strange I felt walking into his bedroom and seeing him laying there and knowing I had killed him. It wasn’t an unpleasant feeling.
The next week was fascinating. First there was an investigation. Quickly they concluded he committed suicide. Then there was the funeral. Closed casket of course. Then because my mother was an only child, my father took over the farm. My parents hired a local man to maintain my grandfather’s farm. To oversee the care of the livestock and upkeep. His wife and two children moved into my grandfather’s home. They closed and locked the door to his bedroom where I killed him.
So life went on for a few years. Turning seventeen, I began to wonder what it would be like to murder a complete stranger. Someone who I never met and had no connection to my family or me.
I picked a middle-aged man named Rudy Michaels. Rudy was a State Farm agent who worked alone out of a small office. Rudy’s wife had passed from cancer the year before. He was withdrawn and had suffered deep bouts of depression. Also I convinced myself I would be doing Rudy a favor. The man lived in an old farmhouse on the outskirts’ of town about thirty miles away. I had bought an elderly pickup the year before when I turned 16. I kept it clean and girls I dated were farm girls and didn’t seem to mind that it was a truck.
For the next six months, I studied Rudy’s life and daily habits. Thanks to Google earth, I was able to see the outside of the house and surrounding area. I planned my attack for the 26 of June. Once again, my parents would be gone. This time for a mini vacation to the smoky mountains.
This would be totally different than killing my grandfather. Rudy Michaels might be a drinking man however. he was according to internet 46. I must make it look like a burglary gone wrong. I would use a knife. No gun. Guns had bullets and could lead to the gun that fired it. Knifes not so much. Best to use one from the victims home, that way it looked unplanned.
My parents left the morning of the 26th. They were to arrive in Gatlinburg late that afternoon.
Standing in the woods surrounding the home I waited. Just after sunset, a late model Chevy turned into the drive. The overhead garage door opened and the car drove in. The door closed and lights came on in the house. Creeping up to the kitchen window, I watched Rudy prepare a microwave meal. When the device dinged, he carried the small container to the table. After he finished eating, he turned the lights off in the kitchen and moved to the living room.
Wearing gloves I tried the knob. Unlocked. Opening the door, I slipped inside the house. From the other room I could hear the TV. Rudy was listening to the news. I smiled. tomorrow Rudy Michaels would be the news and I would have gotten away with my second murder. How many could I commit in my lifetime? At this rate maybe twenty or thirdly by time I was in my 70s. A lifetime of being undetected.
Right now, however, I must concentrate on the task at hand. Peeking into the living room I saw Rudy seated in what must be his favorite easy chair facing away from me. A can of coke set on the table to his right. Gently opening drawers, I found a butcher knife with an 8 inch blade.
Moving back to the doorway leading to the living room, I thought I heard a sound. I almost laughed out loud. Rudy was snoring. This was going to be easier than I thought. One step at a time I moved up behind the unsuspecting man. Two feet from his chair, I raised the knife ready to strike. I paused, relishing the moment. I looked down at the top of Rudy’s head. I was about to take the life of my second victim. Tomorrow I would begin to plan for the next. I was well on my way to my life as a serial killer.
I gasp. something was wrong, something was very wrong. The man setting in the chair wasn’t Rudy Michaels nor was he asleep.
I stared down into the barrel of the biggest pistol I ever saw. At least it seemed so at the time. I dropped the knife as if it were on fire. Police officers materialized from the other rooms. Come to find out the man setting in the chair taking Michaels place was the town’s police chief. They put me in handcuffs, read me my rights and led me away. As we were leaving Rudy Michaels came out of hiding.
“How, how did you catch me?” I said to the police chief and the man who should be dead.
“We didn’t. You caught yourself.” The police chief said smiling. “I’m sure relieved you didn’t carry out your mission.” Rudy explained. “Several years ago your mother was cleaning your room. Hidden away in one of your textbooks she found a duplicate of your grandfather’s suicide note. It must have been one of the early versions because the signature wasn’t very good.”
“I thought I burned all of those when I decided to fake his suicide.” I said. the handcuffs were getting tight.
“So your mother started to suspect your grandfather didn’t kill himself. She didn’t want to believe her own son was a murderer.”
The police chief completed the conversation.
"She had no proof. She and your father decided they were wrong. Then a month or so ago your behavior changed. That zip drive you hide in a hollowed out place in The Shining. We have it. The transcript and your confession are being typed up as we speak.”
The police chief, the other officers and Rudy Michaels began to laugh. I didn’t see any humor in it.