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Killer, murderer, slayer, ripper, butcher, slaughterer - whichever term you wish to use, they all describe me. I attack other human beings with the intent to cause either death or serious injury. According to British common law, I am guilty of the most serious form of homicide: the unlawful and premeditated act of killing another human being with intent. I am what is known as a serial killer. Why do you kill? You may ask, bewildered by what I do, or maybe you're one of those people who think they can explain all of human behaviour with a bit of pop psychology. Whichever it is, if you are interested in finding out, then read on.
Allow me to deal with some basics first. With so many deaths on my conscience, you may wonder how I can sleep at night. It's a predictable enough question, but that question is loaded and demonstrates just how little you understand me. If you think I can't live with myself, then you have no idea who I really am. Or perhaps you think I don't sleep well for fear of being apprehended? But again, that would mean you haven't got the measure of me at all. I lay awake with neither a sense of guilt nor the fear of being caught. I don't mean to say that I wouldn't rather remain free; of course, I prefer freedom, but neither do I fear the consequences of my crimes. Fear and morality, in fact, hold little sway over me, leaving me largely unburdened with the cares of ordinary men; consequently, I am free to indulge my passions with relative abandon.
I am a keen observer of human nature and behaviour. I understand how people think, and I probably know you better than you know yourself. So, though you do not know me, I certainly have the measure of you. Simply by asking the aforementioned question, what you really mean to do is to set yourself apart from me – establishing a moral difference between us. It's likely you're not consciously aware of that motivation, but that only goes to show how little you really know and understand yourself - but then, most people don't. Is that arrogant of me? Think that if it makes you feel better, but let me be clear, despite your sense of moral superiority, you are already complicit; that you are still here, reading, has already seen to that. You are intrigued and fascinated, so much so that you intend to lay aside your moral outrage and continue reading to satisfy that fascination. Oh yes, you are already committed to knowing what makes a man like me tick, and that means your moral distance is already compromised. Oh, don't worry, it's human nature to be drawn to the disturbing and morbid; the macabre and the gruesome. Didn't you know phobophilia is a thing? It's a love of fear – the urge to be disturbed. So, there's no point in getting squeamish and stopping now; just admit it, your interest is piqued; you are as drawn to a glimpse of my otherness – my darkness - as a moth is to light, and you may as well see it through to the end.
Maybe you wonder how I became a killer – why I do it? Possibly you think that if you could find out when it all started, and what happened to trigger such extreme behaviour, you could psychoanalyse me and explain me away with psychology. Let's be clear from the outset: what you're really asking is: was I born this way, or did I learn to become what I am? It's the age-old debate of nature versus nurture, and what you are actually wrestling with is how I challenge your philosophy of life and what it truly means to be human. Are you religious; is your worldview built upon a divine being? The religious mindset is always so simplistic: I am evil or sick. So black and white; so inadequate. Is the Lion morally corrupt for hunting and killing its prey? Does its nature make it innocent or guilty? Does your god punish the lion for the very nature with which he endowed it? If I am born flawed, damaged, 'sinful', then surely your God cannot punish me for my crimes, for I am merely acting upon impulse, no more guilty than the Lion is for hunting and killing its prey; it is simply my nature. If your God punishes me, nonetheless, then he is not a god of mercy, but a tyrant, and his morality is flawed. Where does that leave you? Have you not considered that human societies had not already agreed murder was not in the interests of their society before your religion even emerged? Do you truly choose not to murder because your Bible tells you so – that your conscience wouldn't function without your god's intervention?
Perhaps you propose it is not nature, but nurture that makes me what I am - that life has taught me to be what I am today, and I have made evil choices in response, for which I will suffer for all eternity. Would that please you? Would it comfort you if I paid for my crimes, if not in this life, certainly in the next? Is it really just your fear of Hell that deters you? If the fear of Hell is your only motivation, then I would say you are in no way morally apart from me. No, there is no such thing as good or evil, just actions and consequences. But none of this holds any meaning to me. I no more believe in your religion than I do in Thor, the god of thunder.
Or is your perspective more humanistic? You understand, then, that all morality is a human construct, that we have evolved as social and tribal creatures, and that humans, for the most part, have agreed that going around killing each other is no more beneficial to society than it is to the individuals killed? At least I can respect that position; however, just because the majority of society agrees 'that is wrong' or 'this is right', it does not mean I should be a slave to society and its rules. Indeed, I believe society needs people like me to challenge it. It is that simple for me. If I choose what is deemed a 'moral act', then I do it for my own reasons, not because the society in which I live says so, and the same applies to what is considered to be an immoral or unethical act; I need no god to show me what morality is or to compel me not to commit a crime, and society's rules are agreements I may choose to ignore, consequences be damned! We are all, ultimately, motivated by our own interests. So, you see, your so-called morality is a moot issue; I am unmoved by it.
Ah, I could deconstruct your feeble philosophy all day! But I digress. I suspect you want to know how it all began - to understand me, figure me out with every delicious detail of my life, yes? Of course, I know what you really want: it's to indulge your morbid fascination. Like a rubbernecker passing a car crash, you have to see the carnage. Well fine, I shall indulge you for now.
For as long as I can remember, I have never felt constrained by society's rules. I have learned to stick to them, as far as others can see, for camouflage – a charade, if you like, but not constrained. Indeed, I have always felt the thrill of power over another being, and a fascination with suffering and death. From the pulling off of a fly's wings to the maiming of a neighbour's cat, I loved to cause suffering and observe how the creature responded. Perhaps you think that clichéd. Perhaps it is, and I am the archetypal psychopath. I don't care; your shallow labels mean nothing to me.
Now, human suffering, that's where it's at. Nothing compares to the primal thrill of causing and observing how a fully-fledged, self-aware human being responds to fear, pain, and ultimately the realisation of their own imminent demise. But I'm running ahead of myself.
As I said, it began with the urge to hurt whatever animal life came my way. I don't think, as a child, that I was by any means fully aware of why I had the urges I did; I only knew that the urge was irresistible, and the thrill addictive. I think, now, that it was being able to exert my power over the creature that initially thrilled me, then the flush of self-satisfaction and pride in knowing I could do it and get away with it. I would revel in my cleverness. My first kill beyond insects was, in fact, a duck. Yes, I know, you weren't expecting such a surprising choice, were you? But I admit, it was more a case of blind luck that the opportunity presented itself, than actual choice. When I was…let's see…probably only six or seven years old, I think, my parents naïvely took me to see the lovely animals at a small rare breed's farm nearby. There were pigs and sheep and geese and ducks and cute fluffy rabbits – the whole gamut. But it was a lame duck that presented the opportunity. You know, it's an eternal source of amusement to me that they thought that it was a good idea to take me to the farm, and, of course, a source of great pride that I was able to hide my true nature from such a young age. Children were allowed into some of the pens to pet or feed the animals. I went in with some other children with a little feed for the ducks and spotted how a lame duck couldn't get to any of the food in time, and when it did, the others bullied it out of the way. I managed to lure it out of sight behind one of the hen coops with some feed and pick it up easily. When I was sure I wasn't being observed, I took its neck in my hand and its head between my middle two fingers, and twisted and pulled with all my might. The neck broke easily, and I fizzed at the thrill of watching the light of life disappear from its eyes. With hindsight, I understand that the cruelty of nature meant that the duck would have slowly starved to death, so you could call it a mercy killing if you like. Not that I care; I was just another manifestation of nature's cruelty – a predator that preyed upon the weak. That thrill, however, coupled with the adrenaline buzz of being able to do it without being seen and get away with it, was immense. Looking back, I think my kill that day was one of the defining moments in which I knew my true vocation as a bringer of death.
The satisfaction of killing animals, however, ultimately falls short. Animals, you see, are such basic creatures. They display a kind of instinctive fear at first, but there's no true awareness of their doom. Take the duck, for example. Sure, it was a thrill, but the animal was too passive, too unaware - there simply wasn't the complexity of emotion that you get from people. People are where it's at; they cycle through such a gamut of emotions: confusion, fear, anger, denial, hope, and even acceptance. It's all there, and it's never quite the same from one person to the next. There's so much fun and creativity involved in prolonging the inevitable – of manipulation in order to elicit the emotion I want to see, but…well, yet again, I am getting ahead of myself.
Torturing and killing with impunity - without being caught - takes careful and thorough planning, time, and the luck of the perfect opportunity. Impatience leads to mistakes, and mistakes lead to no longer being able to indulge. So, for a long time, I have played and explored. One such game is the single slice or stab, unseen, in public, then being close enough to observe my victim's realisation. It still, of course, takes patience and planning, but it makes for a fun game that is an excellent appetiser whilst planning a more satisfying escapade. I came up with the idea after one of my first human kills. I realised, one day on my walk home from work, that I passed a man waiting at the same bus stop almost every time, and it occurred to me that he was incredibly vulnerable. You see, it was a relatively quiet spot with no cameras and no houses with twitchy curtains, so it didn't take too much planning to realise I could kill him without being seen. I selected my knife of choice and made sure I always had it with me, ready for the perfect opportunity. I even began to nod hello to him as I passed, and it became a routine of ours. Then the odd comment about the weather gradually progressed to me stopping and chatting with him a few times. You see, once a relationship is established, their shock at you killing them is so much more satisfying, but for obvious reasons, that scenario is a rarity. Anyway, eventually, the conditions were perfect. I stopped and began a conversation. The last thing he saw before I plunged the knife was the reflected glint of lamppost light from the blade. What I saw was the confusion in his eyes, then the dumb shock when he realised he'd just been stabbed in the chest. It's at that point that you are tempted to hold back and enjoy the moment – see how they will react. Out in public, though, you have to be quick and decisive. You can't have someone turning up, or the victim drawing attention with screaming and shouting. You need to puncture the lungs and achieve pneumothorax – that's a collapsed lung – immediately. So, I plunged the knife in several more times in quick succession to make sure he was unable to scream and couldn't possibly survive, and I was gone before anyone could discover me. Anyway, it was this killing that inspired my little game. Could I injure someone in public – in a crowded place, even, and get away with observing the fallout, too? So, the premise is simple: go to a busy, crowded place, where you are likely to be buffeted shoulder to shoulder by people, cut someone, and stay around to enjoy the results. These days you have to account for the wealth of cameras in public places, so location requires careful planning. You bide your time, pick your victim, choose the right moment, and with a scalpel blade, or other pre-chosen instrument – being extremely sharp and discreet is the point – excuse my pun - and with a deft slice or stab, you make your cut as you pass by each other, but remain close enough to observe. It often takes a while, so involves some careful following of the victim. The slice is the most fun; the blade, you see, is so sharp, and the cut so swift, they don't even feel it, or if they do, they pay it no heed. I can never decide when is the best time of year. The benefit of winter, when everyone is clad in layers of clothing, is that the clothes hide the blood for a while, delaying the victim's realisation and giving me more time to move away to a good observational distance undiscovered; but the downside is that it's much more difficult to make a good cut through the layers of clothing. Summer has the advantage of making a strong, clean, deep cut, but the danger of discovery is far greater. Anyway, eventually, the wound begins to sting enough to warrant investigation, or it may be the blood they notice first. Then we get the delights of the shock and confusion, and I just observe from amongst the crowd - hidden in plain sight, you might say. Sometimes my cut proves to be fatal, sometimes not. Death is not the aim, just an added bonus. It's a fun game either way. and I particularly like it for two reasons: Firstly, I enjoy the challenge of getting away with it in public, secondly, I enjoy watching the realisation, particularly, I think, because their shock is all the more enjoyable because they were hurt in what should have been a relatively safe place – you know, safety in a crowd and all that. You see, creating fear and taking a life in the place where the person feels most safe is a special thrill. It enhances and amplifies the shock, disbelief and terror.
With the thrill of transgressing a person's sense of safety in mind, invading a person's own home to make the kill has become another one of my favourite methods. Ah! But I am running ahead of myself constantly! In my excitement, I have completely forgotten to tell you about my very first human kill. My first took place when I was still a child. Allow me to set the scene. It was during a school trip to Edinburgh. We had been around the castle, of course, but then we split into two groups: I was with the group who would ascend Arthur's Seat, and the other group, for those who either didn't want to or couldn't do the walk, went to the Zoo. As it was, we were running late, and the teachers decided to take us up Crow Hill instead, which was a shorter walk, but still allowed for stunning views of the city and surrounding countryside. Some of us loved the cliffs and were constantly being told to stay away from the edge. Close to the summit, Alfie Edwards, who was fascinated by the crows flying beneath him and then landing close by right on the cliff edge, managed to drift closer and closer for a look without anyone noticing – anyone except me, that is. I caught up with Alfie and joined him, excited to see how close to the birds and cliff edge we could get. It was in the exhilaration of being so close to the fatal drop that it occurred to me in an instant that I could push Alfie over the edge. Monitoring the rest of the group and the teachers, I encouraged him to get closer and closer to the edge and hoped for the perfect opportunity when no eyes were on us. Finally, the opportunity presented itself. I didn't hesitate. It took just one hard shove, and he went over the edge. It happened so quickly, he barely made a sound, as he tumbled and crashed onto the rocks like a rag doll. I screamed with delight, quickly having to disguise my exhilaration as shock and horror. I was so overwhelmed with what I had managed to do, I cried, but thankfully, this was appropriately misinterpreted. I should have won an Oscar for my performance that day. Nobody doubted my story or my reaction for a second. What did it matter to me that Alfie's parents would be grief-stricken, my peers traumatised and my teachers' careers ruined? I dined out on playing the role of the traumatised kid who witnessed his friend tumble to his death, and even got to play the hero a little with the old, "I told him not to get too close, miss, then he just missed his footing and fell. I tried to grab him, but I was too slow." I enjoyed replaying his fall and the ensuing scene over and over for years, revelling in the knowledge that I had killed him and got away with it. I think it's fair to say that was another defining moment.
Well, I was talking about killing in places where people should feel safe. It begins with the careful selection of the victim, which of course, can take time – even many months – and requires the right kind of preparation, observation and thorough planning. There are sometimes false starts because the details of the victim's life turn out to be less than conducive to a successful kill, but eventually, patience pays off, and all the pieces fall into place. I've had three successes so far.
The single man was my first kill in the victim's own home. I made myself extremely familiar with his routines, broke into his apartment numerous times and observed him closely, including his regular substance abuse, which I knew would work in my favour. On the night of the kill, having waited patiently in his storage cupboard, I had expected him to go to bed at his usual time after injecting, or smoking a joint, and fall asleep high, but, as can happen, this changed slightly in that he fell asleep on the sofa after numerous cans of super-strength cider instead, with a god-awful film blaring in the background. No matter, as it didn't adversely affect my kill. He awoke to a single stab wound before he was quickly and efficiently thrown face down onto the floor, pinioned, his hands bound behind his back and a gag tied over his mouth before he could even begin to make much noise. The fact that he was pissed as a fart, not only made it easy but turned out to be better than him being drugged up (being brutally attacked has the effect of sobering someone up rather quickly). When he was secured, I flipped him onto his back so that I could look him in the eyes while torturing him before enjoying watching his death. I made that one look like some kind of drug-related robbery gone wrong.
I enjoyed the woman more, though. With her, I waited under her bed before silently sliding out at the right moment. I was able to secure her without serious injury first, thus having more time to enjoy her shock and terror at what was happening to her in what she thought was her safe space. I was able to toy with her and torture her for a good while before the kill, and what made it all the sweeter was dangling the hope that I might eventually leave her alive if she just obeyed my instructions, which made her incredibly acquiescent and open to suggestions. Her death, I made look like a suicide.
My greatest and most thrilling achievement to date, however, was a wealthy young couple who lived in a relatively isolated rural cottage which they were attempting to renovate. The beauty of it was that they hadn't lived there long and were sloppy in their false sense of safety, in that they hadn't yet bothered putting any security measures in place. I had a lot of fun observing them from within their own home, especially as they were quite the kinky couple who enjoyed some rather deviant sex games at times. Surprising them in their own home was quite the thrill, and I was able to use their own games against them as she had already gagged him and bound him to the bed for me! I toyed with them, too. Their fear for each other galvanised their obedience and amplified my enjoyment. What was quite special about this kill, though, was, with the right prompts from me, how their fear for each other gradually disintegrated and became pure, selfish self-preservation in the end. Still, it was intoxicating making one of them watch the other die. Needless to say, I made their deaths look like a sex game gone tragically wrong.
Well, I think I've given you an adequate picture of who I am. No need to labour the point. You may still think I'm evil or sick, and maybe you think it's only a matter of time before I make a mistake and am caught…perhaps you're right. One thing is certain: I have no problem sleeping and I'm always on the lookout for fresh victims; who knows? Maybe my next victim will be you?
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