I knew when I stepped into the room that he was there. I could smell the old grease and the sweat on his clothes. I recognized the restless leg movements. Yes. Shane had come to kill me. I had told the apartment manager that he’d been dealing and so he’d bumped him out of his apartment. The super was pleased. He’d hated trying to keep the plumbing working and the fires out in there. His complaints had fallen on deaf ears, but the manager’s kid studied with me and he trusted me.
I wasn’t really surprised that Shane had found out it was me, though. And, I wasn’t surprised that he had come into my apartment to do me harm. He had a short temper and he didn’t really think things through.
“Hello Melody,” he rasped. “Does my presence…frighten you?” He was playing the predator card. I was his prey. He was an amateur.
“Oh, Hey Shane. Ya’ know, most people knock before coming in.” I didn’t turn around to face him. It’s usually not a good idea to keep your back turned toward a predator, but…I sensed another presence here.
“You’re not afraid?”
“Ha! I give beginning banjo lessons! There’s not much you can do to frighten me!” I tried my best to ease that feeling of dread, but it kept rising like lava burning away my sensibilities. I slowly cast my eyes around the darkened apartment, looking for that other…thing. I couldn’t put a label on it. It was malevolent. It was dark. It was hungry. I wondered why Shane didn’t notice it.”
“You got me kicked out the apartment you bitch!”
“You were the one that got a D+ in chemistry and you thought you could mix your own meth? You’re lucky you didn’t blow us all to smithereens!”
“Shut up! I’m gonna kill you.” He’d gone back to the raspy voice. I think it was supposed to intimidate me.
Something by the bedroom door moved…just a bit. I picked a spot as far away from both predators as I could– the window by the fire escape. I started to ease in that direction and he started to cross the room toward me.
“First, I’m going to slash up that ugly face of yours. Then I’ll remove your ears…”
I grabbed my coffee cup off the table. It wasn’t much but I knew it would hurt if I hit him with it.
He moved so fast. Shane never saw or heard him coming and he went down fast, without a word. The real predator looked at me and removed the needle from Shane’s neck. I got chills. He was so calm. It was as if Shane was a chihuahua and he was a lion. He duct taped Shane’s wrists and ankles and put a strip over his eyes and his mouth.
He smirked, “Banjo teacher…” he said under his breath as he pulled Shane out of the apartment.
There’s a hierarchy of sorts, I guess. There are the killers that kill for cause–passion, drugs, vengeance. There are the killers that kill because they can–the bullies, the contract killers…they kill because they want to and you’re just in the way of their plans. They’re cold. Then there are the ones that don’t get a thrill from killing ordinary folks, and those police and “heroes” that try to catch them seem so insignificant. These are predators that hunt PREDATORS. My rescuer was one of those.
The investigators found Shane’s DNA all over my apartment, even in my underwear drawer. I threw all those things out and am stopping at Penny’s after work tomorrow. There was absolutely no trace of the other intruder. They don’t know how he could have gotten in and no one had seen him pulling Shane down the front or back stairs. They haven’t found him yet, and it’s been hours. They keep asking me if I was sure I saw someone. Now one of the detectives has asked me if I was sure Shane had been there with me. The little perv could have come and gone a dozen times when I wasn’t home, so the fingerprints and DNA evidence were all over the place when it came to time and date. I know what I saw.
A couple of the FBI guys were asking if I smelled sulfur, noticed flickering lights or cold spots. This sounded familiar. But none of those things were present. They said they hunted monsters all the time. I wonder if they ever came up against a monster that preyed on other monsters.
I have mixed feelings now. I almost feel sorry for Shane. To think you’re the baddest ass player in the hood and then to come up against something like my rescuer has to be heart-stopping. Then I think “You know that punk would have cut you up. You might have gotten your licks in but there’d be a big pool of blood over there by the window and you wouldn’t be feeling sorry for anyone now.” 1 man can make a mistake and cost an innocent person his life. But on a jury, if that same person makes a mistake, there are eleven others that will make sure the truth comes out. When this vigilante is acting as judge and jury, he assumes he will make no mistakes. He may not for a long time…but there will be one mistake. The line between good and evil will get blurred. He’ll start killing for self preservation.
Ya never know…