Author’s Note: Years ago, I wrote this story in an attempt to enter in the serial killer genre of crime fiction. Despite completing it, for whatever reason I packed it away in a box with other abandoned pieces. So, now I’m taking a fresh look at it and seeing what I can do. Come along if you dare, lol….
She’s The One
She’s the one. I knew it from the moment I saw her. It was like a revelation, realizing your destiny is right before your eyes, and there she was, an angelic vision of one man’s burning desire.
The first time I had seen her was in the newspaper. I know it wasn’t really her, but still a close look-alike. Long, yellow-blond hair, big baby blue eyes, cherub face with bee-stung lips, the perfect epitome of the all American girl. Except the one in the paper was dead.
This girl though was very much alive, jogging through the park on a Sunday afternoon. I was with my wife and kids when she came running by. My heart nearly stopped, a lump growing in my throat as my eyes followed her intently. Quickly assessing her mannerisms, I noted the way she lightly brushed her hair back from her eyes, the rhythm of her stride, the way her feet lightly glided across the pavement.
I looked at my children to see if they had noticed me looking at her. They didn’t. But my wife Samantha did. She lightly punched my arm to regain my attention, and so I looked at her and smiled, embarrassed.
“Honey, you don’t want that,” she playfully scolded.
If only she’d known what I was thinking about that girl. If she could have seen the dark thoughts of my imagination, she may have immediately gathered up the kids and ran. I know it’s not normal to have such thoughts, but I never claimed to be normal, now did I? All of my life I’ve been different than everyone else. That’s why I do what I do: Think out dark thoughts and then act on them before it gets too late. Of course, sometimes I am too late. This time it would be different though, because the moment I saw her, I knew she was the one and our fates were entwined.
When men do evil things they can elude detection for a long time. If they are meticulous enough and have an eye for detail, their perverted thoughts can seem non-existent to the rest of the world. On the outside, evil can wear the face of a neighbor or family man. Just like these thoughts of mine. Who in my family or among my friends would ever think my thoughts are full of obsession, abduction, and the need to put a stop to the emotions that course through my very veins?
Even in the evening, when I lay down in the bed next to my wife, my head is still full of darkness and evil. I close my eyes to try and shut it out, but I can almost hear the voices taunting me, “she’s the one, she’s the one.”
The day after I saw her, I sat at my desk at work, all thoughts on her blond beauty. Co-workers came by my desk and said hi, most of which I didn’t even acknowledge. All I could see were her long flowing locks of hair, fine toned legs propelling her down the sidewalk, sports bra fitting snugly to her frame of perfection.
I had a piece of paper in front of me on the desk, jotting down names, trying to figure out what hers might be. Jenny, Susan, Diane. Nope, none of them seemed to fit. How about Rhonda, Mary, or Teresa? No, none of those either. I tried to imagine what name matched her, but the distractions of the office made it near impossible. So I closed my eyes and pictured her standing in front of me, hovering over my desk. Her white neck glistened with sweat from her jogging. She reached up with a hand and swept a lock of hair from her face and lightly whispered her name to me.
“Linda,” she breathed.
My eyes sprang open. She wasn’t there, but I’d already written the name down. Linda. Yes, that was it!
Now all I needed to do was find her again. My only course of action was to return to the park, this time alone. So I grabbed my jacket and left the office, heading for where I thought she would be. It didn’t take me long to reach the park, and sure enough there she was. I could see her coming down the asphalt path that threaded among the trees and bushes. I sat down on a bench and pretended to watch the pigeons.
She came running by, completely oblivious to my presence. I looked at my watch. It was four PM. She’d run Sunday at four, now Monday at four, and so my mind reasoned she’d be back again tomorrow at the same time.
I got up and left the park. Before going home, I stopped at a sporting goods store and bought a jogging suit. If she were in the park tomorrow, I would meet her face to face and she would see these eyes that have sought her out for so long.
I chickened out on Tuesday. It’s not that I thought of my family and what they would think of what I was doing. No, it was just that I lost my nerve. It’s like when you’ve waited for a moment forever and then when it arrives, you just freeze. You don’t know how to act or proceed, so you stand there mute watching the opportunity run by.
And that’s what she did: run by me, not even giving me a second glance, much less a first. Again I watched the rhythm of her stride as she moved away from me, the muscles in her legs pumping, as she left the park to wherever she lived.
I found myself wondering about that place. Her home. What was it like? Did she live alone? Did she have many friends come by to visit? No matter, I would find out soon enough.
So instead of meeting her as I planned that day, I went back to the office. No one even seemed to miss me. I had changed out of my jogging outfit and back into the required coat and tie. It was as if I’d never left.
The only colleague who seemed to notice my absence was Bill Marsten, whose desk was situated right across from my mine. He looked up from what he was working on, his face betraying a look of concern.
“Jack, you don’t look so good. You okay?”
“I’m fine,” I replied, though not very assuringly.
“You look pale,” he added.
I didn’t know what to say and so the words that came out of my mouth were, “I saw a girl.”
His face lit up. “Aw, well then that explains everything,” he chuckled. Then he picked up some papers from his desk. “I have to go file this report with the Big Kahuna. You got anything?” Before I even had a chance to answer, he grinned. “Of course not, you’ve been out of the office chasing girls.”
I nervously smiled, wondering if maybe somehow he knew what I was up to and would be a problem to my plans. I briefly considered the thought of doing something about him and finding out what he may have known, but then it passed. He didn’t know anything; no reason involving him in this already twisted game I was in.
This was for me, and me alone.
Wednesday. I didn’t even go to the office. I put on my jogging suit, kissed the wife goodbye, and walked the kids to school. Then I made my way to the park. I knew she wouldn’t be there until late afternoon, but I had other things to do, other plans to think about. Like where would you hide a body there in the park? Would a broad daylight attack be arrogant? Or would one best wait until dark and inside a person’s home?
The answer was simple; Even the most foolish of murderers would wait until dark and do these things in the victim’s home rather than a park.
But still, I wanted to meet her first. See her face to face so she could look into these eyes that hid so much from the world.
And this afternoon was the day. I would see her, touch her, and she would know my name, or at least the one I was prepared to give her.
While I waited for the magic hour, I studied the park, just in the event a daylight attack was meant to be. Every bush, tree, or potential hiding place came under my studious eye. I ate lunch at a nearby hotdog stand and then returned to the park to wait.
So as not to arouse too much suspicion, I jogged a little, and even engaged several people in friendly, casual conversation. A woman and her two young daughters were on the playground and I soon found myself chatting with the lady. She was divorced she said, and I noticed she looked at my finger. Though I knew she’d seen the wedding band there, I imagine that if I’d asked her out she would have agreed. There was a look in her eye that said she didn’t care if I was married or not.
But I could never cheat on my wife. She’s the only one for me. Yeah, I know there’s the blond in the park, the one who haunts and obsesses me so, but that’s different. My feelings about her are nothing like the ones reserved for my wife and family.
Four o’clock came and like clockwork the jogging blond arrived. Now was time for our worlds to collide. I had been waiting along a thick strand of trees and shrub. When she came down the path, I darted out of the brush, pretending to look back, and ran headlong into her.
Wham! I feared I might have hit her too hard, for we both went down to the ground, her body trapped beneath my own. There was a look of surprise on her face that suddenly turned to fear when she looked in my cold, dark eyes. Her body seemed so soft and fragile beneath my weight. I feared I’d crushed her, so I rolled off of her and rose to my feet, giving her a little chance to breathe.
“Oh my god, I’m very sorry,” I apologized. “Are you okay?”
I had stood to my full height, and reached a hand down to her as she lay there, the wind knocked out of her temporarily.
She didn’t take my hand, but instead got to her feet on her own, fear now turning to anger. “You should watch where you’re going.”
“I’m sorry. There was a dog chasing after me back there and so I went through the bushes to lose him.”
She peered into the foliage I had burst out from. “Looks like you lost him then.”
“Yeah, I guess so.” I knew she would be jogging off again soon, so I needed to think quick, otherwise I’d lose my window of opportunity. “You sure you’re okay?”
She nodded, starting to lightly jog in place.
“Hey, are you a model?”
She rolled her eyes. “No,” she replied and started to look around, as if to spy anyone who could rescue her from this awkwardness. The only person in sight was a guy selling flowers to a young couple not far away. He looked at us briefly before returning his attention to the lovers.
Acting quick, I reached into my outfit and produced a card, which I handed towards her. “I’m a modeling agent. Here’s my card.”
She looked at the card but didn’t take it. “Jack Lawrence,” she said aloud, reading it. “Shift Left Models.” She looked up at me suspiciously. “What kind of name is that?”
“One I would hope you’ll remember,” I smiled.
“I’m sorry, Mr. Lawrence, I have to go. I’m expected home soon.”
I felt like that was a lie, but I knew it was best to let her go this time. “Well, again I’m sorry, Miss..” I left the sentence hanging in the air and she took the bait, finishing it for me.
“Belinda,” she said. But all I heard at first was the “Linda” part. Just like I had imagined in the office. Yes, this was even more proof to me that she was the one. I must have had a strange look on my face, because she got that nervous look in her eye again. “Goodbye, Mr. Lawrence,” she said and then jogged off down the path.
“Belinda,” I whispered, watching her go, knowing I would see her again soon. But the next time would have a far different outcome than this.
To be continued….