Fantasticoe 2006

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Tyler Spratt
Harold's Reflection

I

           "I'm sorry Harold, but we have to let you go" said Mr. Anderson.  We 're downsizing and we just can't afford to keep everyone.  I hope you don't blame this on me…"

          Harold sat in his chair and said nothing.  He stared blankly back at Mr. Anderson, who continued to ramble on unconvincingly about how sorry he was.  What would he tell his family?  How would he make ends meet?  His mind was filled with angry things to say, but he kept his composure.  After cleaning out his desk he left his job of 12 years without speaking a word to anyone.

          After loading his things into the back of his car, he sat down in the driver seat, took in a deep breath and howled out his first words since being fired. 

          "Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck ! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!" 

Harold screamed as he pounded on the steering wheel.  His face looked red enough to pop, he was furiously blurting out obscenities, pounding on the wheel with white knuckled fists, and periodically honking the horn with his forehead.

          After a few minutes of this Harold lost his breath and found his wits in the same moment.  He hadn't missed a day of work in 2 years, in fact he hadn't even taken any vacation.  He pretended to laugh at Mr. Anderson's lame jokes, and could regularly be found at work on weekends.  He had done everything right and somehow he was dismissed so easily, and to top it all off his boss of 6 years didn't even pretend to care.  After reviewing these facts several times in his head Harold finally concluded that whether or not his firing was justified, there was simply nothing he could do about it.

          So Harold started his car, backed out of his parking space and drove off toward his home.  It was a Friday morning so his wife Grace would be at the grocery store.  It was good she was out because Harold needed some time to think about how to tell her the bad news.

          As he pulled into his driveway he found that things were as he expected, his wife's car was gone, and he would have the house to himself.  Harold entered the house through the front door and hug up his coat in the closet.  After turning on the television only to find nothing but soap operas and infomercials on all networks, he headed toward the kitchen to fix himself a sandwich.  Upon entering the kitchen he noticed a piece of yellow notebook paper sitting on the counter. 

          "Grace must have forgotten the shopping list" Harold thought to himself.  When he finished preparing his sandwich he returned to the living room and plopped down in front of the television.

          Harold spent the next several hours watching syndicated reruns of Jerry Springer and Montel Williams.  By 3:00pm Harold had become curious why his wife hadn't returned home, but he quickly dismissed his worries after remembering that she had told him what a busy day of running errands she had planned for today.  One of these errands was to pick up their son Ronny from school. 

          Because Ronny was a particularly enthusiastic 8 year old Grace didn't like to take him on errands.  So logically Harold assumed that his wife and his son would be home shortly, as Ronny had just gotten out of school.

          During a particularly dull commercial break Harold slipped into an afternoon nap.  He awoke at 6:17pm and to his surprise he was still home alone.  "Where could they be?" Harold thought to himself as he stretched his legs.  Harold's stomach growled and he made his way to the kitchen to fix another sandwich.

          As he walked sleepily into the kitchen he again noticed the piece of yellow notebook paper.  However, this time he did not dismiss it so quickly.  He walked over to the counter and looked down at the letter, it read as follows. 

-Harold 

I have left you for your brother Tom.  I took Ronny, Tom is his real father anyway.  I emptied our bank account and maxed out your credit card to buy the three of us first class plane tickets.  I wish you and your job all the best, after all that is your real marriage.

Good Riddance,

-Grace 

          Harold's jaw dropped as the yellow letter floated to the floor.  After the shock has passed Harold's face turned the same unnatural shade of red as it had in the car, and after cursing a few times under his breath Harold broke into a hysterical rant.

          "Unbelievable!  Absolutely un fucking believable!" Harold Barked.  "I work tirelessly 50, 60, 70 hours a week to provide for this family and my fucking bitch wife leaves me for my deadbeat brother!  How dare she!  How fucking dare she!  Lazy bitch didn't even have a part time job!  And she took the kid, she took the fuckin' kid, the same kid I paid to send to daycare so she could watch her goddamn stories in peace!" 

          Harold paused to breath, and when he regained his breath he could no longer adequately articulate his rage, English simply lacked strong enough words.  For the next several minutes Harold stood stationary, fists clinched, head shaking, and teeth grinding.

          The two worst events of Harold's life had happened on the same day, only hours apart.  There was only one thing left to do, booze.

          In no time at all Harold had arrived at The Seaside Tavern, a neighborhood bar sandwiched between a pizza kitchen and a bus station.  Harold sat at the end of the bar until last call, speaking only the names of the drinks he ordered.  He sat and drank, drink after drink, hour after hour, but no amount of alcohol could drown his anger.

          Harold let the rest of the patrons clear out before he stumbled out of the bar.  He knew he was too drunk to drive, but after today death seemed almost inviting.  As he walked past the bus station toward his car, he heard a voice.

          "Got any change for a bus pass sir?"

          Harold turned to find a boy leaning up against the bus station.  Based on the long greasy hair poking through the front of the boy's backward hat and his skeletal childlike frame the boy could not have been more than 17.

          "I need to get back home sir.  Tickets are $60 but anything you can give will help."

          Harold stared blankly at the boy for a few seconds, then continued to walk toward his car.  The boy seemed shocked, and his shock quickly grew into anger.

          "Thanks a lot asshole!" the boy jeered.  "I see that fancy coat!  I know you have money to spare!  Go back to your perfect life you heartless bastard!  That's a nice car you got, is that your family vehicle?  Bet that cost a pretty penny huh!"

          Harold froze, his rage returned, but this time stronger than ever.  The next few minutes were a blur, and when Harold regained control he found himself sitting on the boy's chest, raining down fists onto the boy's already battered face.  When Harold stopped himself, he froze in position with his right fist raised high in the air.  He looked down at the boy's battered face, he was coughing up blood, and his body was trembling.  Harold leapt to his feet and started to pace.  The boy continued to cough up blood, and his trembling had escalated into convulsions.  Finally the convulsions stopped, as did the boys breathing, and finally his heart.  The boy now lay dead in the street for anyone to see.

          Harold was mortified, up until this point in his life he hadn't even gotten a parking ticket, and now he had killed a man.

          "I k-killed him" Harold said in a timid stutter.  "What do I do?  What do I do?  Holy jumpin ' fuckin' Jesus I killed a man what do I do?"

          Harold paced back and forth trying to develop a plan.  Then a light came on in his head "the ocean, like in the mob movies…" he thought to himself.  Harold continued to pace and think.  "He said he had to get home… so he's not from around here…"  Harold looked down again briefly at the body.  "I beat him beyond recognition" Harold said to himself under his breath.  "Perfect!" Harold exclaimed.  "If I take his identification off of him there will be no way to identify the body!"

          So Harold followed through, he removed the boy's wallet from his pants and dumped his body into the ocean.  As he looked down at the body floating lifelessly next to a lobster trap, he happened to catch a glimpse of his reflection.  Seeing ones reflection in the water is not a particularly uncommon experience, but whether it was a trick of the light or of Harold's own mind, he swore he saw his reflection wink and smile at him.

          Harold returned home without any complications.  After lying awake nearly to the break of day his eyes finally shut tight.

          He awoke the following day just in time for the evening news.

          "Early this morning an unidentified body was found floating near the north shore.  Police are reporting no leads at this time…"

          Harold had conflicting feelings.  On the one hand yesterday had happened, and he could no longer pretend it was just a nightmare.  However, the police had no leads, so there was adequate time to run or hide.

          Harold sat up on the couch still covered in the boy's blood, recounting the events of the previous day in his head over and over again.  Before he knew it an hour had passed, then two, then the day, then the week.

          Harold had now been without a job or a family for 8 days, and since that time he had not bathed, and had barely slept or eaten.  Having not left the house in a week Harold's supplies were beginning to ware thin, soon he would have to go out and face the world.  Harold decided to clean up before leaving the house, after all he had not shaved or washed his hair in what felt like ages.

          Harold walked into the bathroom, flipped on the light switch, rubbed his eyes, and looked into the mirror.  There he saw his reflection, but something was amiss.  His reflection had no beard, and his hair looked neatly maintained.  Harold looked away and said allowed  "That can't be, I must be losing my mind."  Harold scratched his beard and turned back toward the mirror, and again he saw his reflection nicely groomed and clean shaven.  Harold could not believe his eyes, his whole body locked up.

          Harold's reflection winked and smiled.  "How are you Harold?" said his reflection. 

          Harold did not speak. 

          "I know you can hear me Harold.  How are you?"

          Harold paused a few seconds to gather his wits, and then said with a stutter "f-f-fine."

          Harold watched in aw as his reflection lit a cigarette.  In a breath of smoke Harold's reflection replied.

          "f-f-fine… You sound so sure of yourself."  Harold's reflection paused to take another drag from his cigarette, and then continued "You killed a man Harold, quit being such a fuckin' twat!"

          Harold turned away from the mirror again. 

          "I have lost my mind" he said to himself.  "But crazy people aren't supposed to think they are crazy…are they?  Maybe it's this mirror?  Yeah that's it!"

          Harold picked up the plunger and used the handle to shatter the mirror.

          After sweeping up the bits of glass, Harold took his shower, and prepared to go out as he had planned earlier.  He located his keys and wallet, then walked out to his car, sat down, and turned the key.  When he was adjusting his rear view mirror he noticed a familiar smirk.

          "Did you really think it was the mirror Harold?" his reflection cackled.

          Harold screamed and dove out of his car, which was still running.  But running was useless, in every mirror, every puddle, and every window, he saw his reflection.

          Now lying face down on his lawn sobbing, Harold raised his head and looked into the gutter.

          His reflection stared back at him and smiled wide.

          "There is no escaping me Harold" his reflection said with a chuckle.

          "What are you!" Harold howled at the top of his lungs.  "Are you a ghost, a Demon, or a figment of my imagination?"

          His reflection paused to light a cigarette, then looked up at Harold and said with a grin.

          "Does it matter?"

          Harold's face looked puzzled.  After a few moments of silence he asked his reflection again.

          "What are you?"

          Harold's reflection took another drag of his cigarette and said to Harold in a breath of smoke.

          "It matters not what I am, It only matters that I am."

          Before Harold could respond his reflection continued.

          "Listen Harold, I have been watching you for years now.  I am here to help you fix your life."

          Harold's reflection took another drag and continued on.

          "You know why you lost your job Harold?  Do you know why Grace left you?...Because you are a pussy Harold."

          "I…I am not!" Harold argued.

          "Oh come off it Harold!" his reflection snapped back at him.  "You never put up any resistance, and everyone in your life walks all over you.  It's time you take a stand Harold,"

          Harold's reflection through his cigarette to the ground and promptly lit up another.

          "Your wife and your brother…You have to show them you' re not going to sit idly by and take this" his reflection spoke calmly.

          Harold didn't understand.

          "W-What do you mean?" he said timidly.

          "Kill them you moron, and that little brat of theirs too!  It's not like I'm asking you to do something you haven't done before!" his reflection replied.

          "But…but..they have gone away and I don't know where they have gone, and…and I raised that boy as my own son!" Harold said hopelessly.

          "You have a bank statement and a telephone Harold, be resourceful." his reflection replied sharply.  "And that little runt is the seed of those who have betrayed you, you can not let that seed grow!"

          After reviewing his bank statement, and calling the airline he found the whereabouts of his former family.  A few calls later Harold activated a new credit card and bought a first class ticket.

          Now there was nothing left to do but bide time and plot the details.  Harold sunk into his recliner and a smile spread across his face.  It was only a matter of time before he made things right.  His revenge would be sweet.

II

           When picking up and leaving one's life behind certain details need to be sorted out, especially when an individual is looking to take drastic action of an illegal nature.  So while waiting for the day of his plane ride Harold, or at least whoever was now occupying Harold's former body tied up the loose ends, and made a clean cut from the community without a single "goodbye".  After the house and its contents were sold, Uncle Sam and the Bank took their cut, and the realtor was paid, he was left with a little more than $600,000 in the bank.

          The day of the plane ride was grey, cool, and unremarkable.  To airport patrons, the man once known as Harold looked to be a business man who was particularly excited to get home to see his family.  However, the thoughts behind his innocent smile would have horrified even the strongest of them. 

          The mind in Harold's body was now romanticizing about the night he killed the boy, in fact he now remembered it well, it was the night Harold began to waste away and the beginning of his rise to control of Harold's body.

          After checking his lone suitcase, which contained a week's change of clothes and his personal hygiene supplies, a wedding dress, and a newly purchased Polaroid camera.  "Harold" cleared security and soon there after boarded the plane.

          "Ladies and gentleman this is your captain speaking.  We are scheduled to arrive at Logan International Airport on time today, it is currently 65 degrees and overcast in Boston.  We should be on the ground in another hour…" the captain rambled on in the same staticy unintelligible voice shared by all airline captains.

          Hearing this news, it became clear that the time was now to use the restroom.  So the man, whose ticket read - Kramer, Harold – made his way down to the back of the plane.  After relieving himself he washed his hands and looked into the mirror and smiled wide as he saw only the reflection of the door behind him, reminding him that he was in control now, and that Harold was gone. 

          Upon arriving in Boston, The man in Harold's body collected his bag and hailed a cab.

          "Where to mister?" said the cabbie.

          "Take me to the nearest gun store."

          "You're the boss." the cabbie said as he pulled into traffic.

In a matter of a few minutes the cabbie pulled up at a gun store, and his passenger stepped out of the car.

          "That'll be $13.50," the cabbie said.

          "Stay put" the passenger said dropping a hundred dollar bill on the cabbies lap.

          "Can do!"

A few minutes later the man in Harold's body came out of the store, now equipped with a handgun and a large hunting knife.

          "Where to now?" asked the cabbie.

          "The Four Seasons" replied the passenger.

          "Oh ho, fancy!  You on a business trip or somthin'?"  the cabbie inquired.

          "I'm not really one for conversation" the passenger replied.

The cabbie gave a dirty look to the mirror, and then remembering the hundred dollar bill, began the drive to the four seasons.

          "I'm sorry sir, but we are all booked up." said the concierge.

          "How about now?" said the patron at the desk, spreading out ten one-hundred dollar bills on the counter.

          The concierge leaned forward and gathered up the money, he then looked up at the patron and said with a grin "how long do you wish to stay sir?"

          "What's a month?" the patron inquired.

A shocked expression spread over the concierge's face and as he opened his mouth to speak the patron interrupted him.

          "I said what's a month?  As in how much will it cost to stay here for a month!?"  the patron replied hastily.

          "Um…Um…I don't know, I suppose somewhere in the neighborhood of $15,000 dollars." the concierge stuttered.

          "Sounds good, but tell ya what.  Let's call it twenty, and I want that to include the mini-bar, meals at the restaurant, a rent-a-car, and under no circumstances will there be hotel service of any kind in my room.  Can you do that for me?" the patron said pulling the full twenty grand from his wallet.

            "I certainly don't see why not." replied the concierge.  "What is your name then sir?"

The patron stood in silence for a moment.  Ever since Harold had ceased to be, the current occupant of Harold's body had not been asked for his name, at least not in a context where he did not have to pretend he was Harold.  In fact he had not had a purely social conversation in his entire existence. 

          "The name is Blackhart" the patron said.

          "Right this way Mr. Blackhart" the concierge said as he personally took Harold 's bag in hand and escorted him up to his 10th floor room. 

          Blackhart's first act was to cash out and close his bank account, as a man in his situation shouldn't be looking to leave a paper trail.  Harold's family was no longer particularly important to Blackhart, but he felt perhaps he could do Harold this one favor, he was using his body after all, but before he could kill them, he would have to find them first.

          When searching for people in unfamiliar territory, it is necessary to acquire a few eyes and ears.  If Blackhart were merely searching for Harold's family perhaps he would have consulted the police department or a private investigator, but the paper trail those services would leave leaves a convenient paper trail for investigators to follow.  What Blackhart needed were a powerful set of eyes and ears, that wouldn't ask questions, in short Blackhart needed a crime boss.

          Blackhart spent the next few days rubbing elbows with the locals doing all he could to learn where to find someone who could provide the service he was looking for.  In this process he came across a man named O 'Brien in a small, dimly lit Irish pub, and after many rounds of drinking the two men got to talking.

          "So what brings you to Boston friend?" O'Brien asked before lifting a large stein of beer to his face.

          "Business" Blackhart replied.

          "Oh, you're a corporate guy huh?  Some kind of hot shot business man are ya?"

          "I don't like to talk about my job much, it's really not that interesting."

          "Aye!  Thanks for sparrin' me the details then." O'Brien said as he poured the last of his beer down his throat.

          "Barkeep!  Another beer for my friend here!" shouted Blackhart as he reached into his pocket for a cigarette.  "Care for a smoke?"

          "Aye, thanks again friend."

Blackhart lit his own cigarette first and then O'Brien's, and after each man had taken a few drags the conversation resumed.

          "So, how long have you been living in Boston?" Blackhart inquired.

          "All my life!  I know everything there is to know about this city."  O 'Brien stated proudly.  "The good and the bad."

          "Oh really?" Blackhart said as a smile spread over his face.  "Tell me about some of the bad.  In my experience it is always far more interesting than the good."

          "Aye" O'Brien said nodding.  "We have a bit of organized crime here, as you might expect in any big city –"

          "Ahh the mafia" Blackhart interrupted.

          "Ha!  Some greasy whap running Boston?  I think not my friend!  The Irish run this town you see!  The man on top is one of my countrymen!" O'Brien stated proudly.

          "If you don't mind my asking, what is this man's name?"

O'Brien leaned over the table causing Blackhart to do the same.  "I'll tell ya, but it would be in your best interest not to make reference to him.  He has eyes and ears everywhere, and he won't hesitate to spill some blood."

          "I understand" said Blackhart as he put his cigarette out in the ashtray.  "What do you know about this guy?"

          "Same as most others I suppose.  I know his name, and where he spends most of his time."  O'Brien replied.

          "Is that privileged information?  Or are you going to tell me?"  Blackhart replied in a more urgent voice than before.

          "Oh, oh of course friend!" O'Brien replied cheerily, trying to ease the nerves of his conversation partner.  "His name is Francis O'Hanrahan, and it is common knowledge that he spends most of his time in his office, which is located above The Mad House."

          "The Mad House?" Blackhart said prodding for more.

          "Aye, it's one of his businesses, a crazy dance club for college kids."   O'Brien replied as he finished his beer.  "My wife will be expecting me soon, but it was a pleasure to know ya."  said O'Brien as he stood up and put on his coat.

          "The pleasure was all mine" Blackhart replied as he checked his watch.  "11:00" Blackhart thought to himself.  "Plenty of time!"

          After a short cab ride Blackhart found himself in front of The Mad House.  He surveyed the seen, a line half a block long of overdressed yuppie college kids waiting to get in.

          "This is the place."  He said aloud to himself as he walked directly up to the front of the line.

          "Are you on the VIP list?" inquired the man at the door.

          "Always." Blackhart replied coolly, as he stuffed a hundred dollar bill into the bouncer's front pocket and let himself in.

          Blackhart stood out amongst the crowd, he had to be the oldest person in the place by at least 10 years.  He located a door that was flanked by two large bald headed gentlemen, and made his way over to it through the sea of drunken madness.  As he reached the door the two men stepped out to great him.

          "Whatchu doin' in here pops?"  said one of the guards.

          "I was hoping to see Mr. O'Hanrahan."  Blackhart replied confidently.

          "Well I happen to know that he isn't expecting company tonight."  the guard replied.

          "Is there anything either of you gentleman can do about that?" Blackhart said, presenting each of the men with a hundred dollar bill.

          "I'll ask him if he's busy."  The guard replied as he hurried up the stairs.

A few minutes later the guard returned downstairs, and began to pat Blackhart down.

          "Hold on a second!" Blackhart barked as he stepped away from the guard.  Blackhart reached into his coat and presented the guard with his gun and knife.  "Don't lose those."  Blackhart stated as he began to make his way up the stairs.

          Upon entering the room Blackhart could taste the power in the air.  The room had an immaculate hardwood floor, the ceiling was high enough that it could not be seen in the dim light, and framed artwork covered the walls, and at the end of the room, behind a huge cherry desk, Blackhart could see smoke rising from behind a large arm chair facing away from him.

          "Do you care for a drink?" said a thin man stepping out of a dark corner of the room.

Blackhart was startled at first, but turned to the man and nodded his head.

          Blackhart followed the thin man to the desk and sat down in front of where his drink had been set.

          "Leave us Mikey!" said the voice behind the chair. 

The thin man nodded and quickly darted out of the room.  There was an echo when the door closed shut, and the chair began to spin around.

          "What brings you to my desk?" inquired a short potbellied man with about half a head of red hair.

          "I need some people dead, and word has it that if you want something done you're the man to talk to."

          "I suppose it would be fair to say that."  The man said before taking a large draw from his massive cigar.  "Your task is fairly simple now, I need names and photographs, and the cost is $5,000 a head." 

          Blackhart presented the man "Forgive me for misspeaking earlier.  I don't want you to kill anyone, I just want you to find them for me."  Blackhart stated carefully.

          The red haired man's eyebrow's rose and he took another draw from his cigar before speaking.  "I have never met a man who wanted to do his own dirty work before, you're an intriguing man Mr…?"

          "Blackhart."  Blackhart said presenting his hand.

          "Francis O'Hanrahan."  the red-haired man said as he shook Blackhart's hand.  "For you, I will do this for free.  Our business is done here, I will contact you soon."  Francis said as he turned his chair back to the position it had been in when Blackhart entered.

III 

          "Come on baby, let's go."  Trenton said to the faceless girl he was taking home from the bar that night.

          "I don't know, are you sure you should be driving?"  the girl slurred.  "You drank twice as much as I did, and I don't think I'm going to remember this tomorrow."

          "Relax babe!  Check out my ride!"  Trenton said pointing to his Hummer.  "That baby is built outa titanium alloy, there's nothin' to worry about babe.  It doesn't even matter if I hit anything."   And with that Trenton sunk into a waking blackout.

IV 

          Blackhart awoke the following morning to the sound of knocking on his hotel door.  " I said no fuckin' disturbances!"  Blackhart screamed before pressing his face down into his pillow.

          BANG! BANG! BANG!  The knocking was louder this time.  So Blackhart rolled out of bed and went straight to the door in his underwear, ready to give somebody a piece of his mind.  "Listen Fuckbag" Blackhart started as he opened up the door.  He quickly stopped speaking when he saw the same thin man that had brought him a drink the night before.  Without a word the thin man presented Blackhart with the very same envelope he had presented to Mr. O'Hanrahan the night before, and quickly moved out of sight.

          Blackhart knew what this was, and a smile spread over his face, today was the day he would make things right.  Blackhart showered and began preparing himself for the day.  When it came time to dress himself he had brought some things especially for this occasion.  A long trench coat that matched a brown panama hat with a white stripe, and brown steel toed-shoes.

          Having now examined the contents of the envelope Blackhart made his way down to the street and hopped into his rental car.  It was 1:30 now and according to the contents of the envelope Bow New Hampshire, the current residence of Harold's former family, would take him about an hour and a half to get to.  According to the schedule in the envelope Ronny should be arriving home from school just about then, and his brother would already be home.  This would allow Harold some time to prepare before his wife came home.

          The car ride was slow, but the scenery along the way was beautiful.  For those who have never been to New Hampshire it is largely uninhabited.  From the highway one can only see an endless sea of rolling green mountains.

          Blackhart arrived at the house just after three.  He parked his car in the driveway of the small country house, quickly made his way up to the door, and without any hesitation kicked it in.

          "Dad!" "Harold!"  Yelled the boy and the man sitting in the room to Blackhart's left.

BANG! BANG! went Blackhart's gun as he put a single bullet in each of their heads.  These kills were less satisfactory than his previous one, but it was no matter, it was Grace who needed to suffer.

          So Blackhart snapped a couple Polaroids, hauled the bodies out into the woods for the animals to pick at, and returned to the house.  Grace was due home in less than an hour.

          "Hun, what happened to the doo.." Grace started to say as she was unexpectedly knocked unconscious.

          She awoke a few hours later with a splitting headache.  As her senses returned to her she could not help but notice she was tied to a chair in her living room and seemed to be wearing her wedding dress.  She tried to speak, but her mouth was duct taped shut.  Searching for answers she happened across a face she knew very well.

          "Hello Grace." said her former husband.  "I would say I'm sorry it had to end like this, but I'm really not.  Any final words?"

          Tears began to flow down Grace's cheeks, and her screaming was audible, even through the tape.

          "Don't cry Grace.  You have this coming to you!" her former husband shouted angrily.  He began to get closer to her until his forehead was pressed against her forehead.  "It's amazing you can still fit into that dress.  Do you remember our wedding?" he said tenderly. 

          Grace nodded emphatically, pleading for mercy the only way she could.

"You seem to have forgotten your vows Grace,"  her former husband said before kissing her on the forehead.  "Till death do us part!"  Blackhart screamed out as he pulled a large knife from his pocket and then jammed it through one temple and out the other.

          Grace's eyes rolled back and blood poured from her head, the last thing she felt was her former husband's tongue licking the blood off of her face.

VI 

          The following day Blackhart was again woken by knocking at his door.  When he answered the door he was greeted by the guards he had met at The Madhouse.

          "Our boss has requested your company."  said the guard who did the speaking.

          "I suppose that means now."  Blackhart replied.  "Let me get dressed, and I will go willingly."

          Both of the guards nodded, and in no time at all Blackhart once again found himself in the office of Francis O'Hanrahan.

          "It's good to see you again Mr. Blackhart."  Francis said as a smile spread over his face.

          "Likewise" Blackhart replied as he sat down.

          "Let me cut to the chase Mr. Blackhart, I know about your wife, and I was wondering if I could acquire your services?  In exchange for your services I will pay you handsomely, as well as provide you with one Gift that your heart desires."

          "Sounds great.  What's the job?"  inquired Blackhart.

          "It's those assholes in city hall!  A few of them have taken some recent political action that has proven to be less than advantageous for me.  I have hired guns, but I'm looking to put some heads up on a pike!"  O'Hanrahan said in the matter of fact way he said everything.

          "I understand completely."  Blackhart said as a smile spread over his face.  "All I need is the particulars."

          Working for O'Hanrahan had its perks.  Blackhart received a car, and whatever else he asked for as long as it pertained to the job.  The following weeks went by at lightning pace, and the blood of Boston's elite flowed like wine.  The mayor was found on the footsteps of city hall, cut into pieces and stuffed in his gym bag, and the chief of police's head was found in the bathroom of a public library, and numerous other public officials went missing.

          By the time he had completed all of his objectives Blackhart had developed a considerable taste for his work, and for the taste of human flesh, he even had Mikey set him up with community members interested in his services.  But on the day after he had finished his assignment, he returned to O 'Hanrahan's office to receive his due.

          "I saw on the news today that you have completed your final task." 

          "Indeed boss, I have returned for what is due to me."  Blackhart replied.

          "Aye, with pleasure, my grip on the city is firmer now than ever!"  Francis replied as he presented Blackhart with a black suitcase.  "Now about that gift, got anything in mind?"

          Blackhart slid a folded up piece of paper across Francis' desk.  Francis unfolded the paper, and after he had read it looked up at Blackhart in disbelief.  His surprise had lasted only a few seconds before his face resumed its normal powerful look.  As he stared into Blackhart's eyes Francis handed the piece of paper to Mikey and said as many powerful men had before him.  "So let it be done."

VII 

          As one might expect the murder of so many of the city's prominent citizens did not fail to take public notice.  There was a buzz all around the city about a mysterious man who killed people so brutally, in many social circles, and on the television news, Blackhart came to be known as "The Butcher ." 

          While the private citizens spoke of "The Butcher" in bars and at the water cooler, two young officers of the law  by the names of David Bircher and James Huff were on the case.  Bircher was a fiery, passionate young detective that loved to put criminals behind bars, in fact he loved it so much he had not been on a date since high school.  One might guess at Bircher's profession by the stern look he wares on his face and the long beige trench coat he wore.

          Huff however, is a policeman by trade and a family man by nature.  His wife is pregnant with their second child, and he hopes to one day move into a more lucrative desk job.  Huff's kind nature is visible in his kind round face and stout portly build.

          The two men had been on the case ever since the day they were called to the footsteps of city hall.

          "What are we here for?"  Huff said to  Bircher as they walked briskly toward city hall.

          "Somebody found a mutilated body in a gym bag.  We're here to search for clues and take the body down to the coroner."

          "What do you mean mutilated?"

          "Mutilated!  You know cut up into pieces and covered in blood!"

          "Oh…mutilated…" Huff said as he lowered his head.

VIII 

Ding!  A bell sounds as a man walks into a room.  He surveys the room and although he has never been there before the scene is familiar enough.  A long flat grill lines 1/3 of the back wall, which was surrounded by a lunch counter with stools built into the floor, and booths surround the perimeter of the rest of the Four Aces diner.

          The man stands at the door and surveys the faces in the room, as 40 year old waitresses scoot around with coffee pots.  An old couple sits in a booth in the corner of the restaurant sipping soup from spoons and debating over where to eat dinner.  Truckers sit at the lunch counter making suggestive comments to the wait staff, and then he saw the face he was looking for. 

          The man he was looking at was not an old friend, but conversely he was not an enemy.  He was a black man of about 30 by the name of James Gardner, and his eyes were fixed on the man near the entry way.  The men were perfect strangers.

          The man took off his coat as he approached Mr. Gardner's table.

          "Are you Mr. Gardner."

          "That depends whose asking," James replied smugly.

          "Oh," the man said without emotion.

          "Are you Mr. Blackhart?" James inquired.

          "The same," the man replied.

Mr. Blackhart hung up his coat and sat across from James.

          "I am a busy man Mr. Gardner and I don't have time to chat.  So let us come to our business" Mr. Blackhart barked in a serious tone.  "Who is the mark? and how do you want it done?"

          "It's this kid Trenton Hillsboro, and I don't care how you do it.  I just want that no good motherfucker to suffer!" James replied with rage present in his voice.

          A smile spread over Mr. Blackhart's face.

          "Your anger intrigues me Mr. Gardner.  Usually I don't ask, but whatever could he have done?  Did he fuck your wife? or maybe your daughter?"

          "Not that it's any of your business, but no.  I have no children, and I love my wife, but if I ever caught her with another man I would kill them both right there myself." James said convincingly.

          "Ahh…then what?" Mr. Blackhart inquired.

          "Well if you must know, that dirty motherfucker killed my mother!"  James barked out.

          "Armed robbery?" Mr. Blackhart inquired again.

          "Quit askin' questions and I'll just tell you the fuckin' story.  James said with a hint of irritation. 

          "It was 10 days ago when it happened, when that motherfucker wiped my mother out of existence…  It was 11:30 at night when my mama decided to go down to the store at the bottom of the hill.  My mama was 53 years old, but the woman had gasoline in her veins, and walked wherever she could.  Now my mama lives on top of Stover's hill and it's quite a walk down to the store and back especially at night.  So she got to the store no problem but on her way back home she got her foot stuck in the gutter by the side of the street.  She had only been stuck a minute and surely could have worked her way out hat it not been for that irresponsible, subhuman, piece of shit!" James lost control briefly and his eyes poured out tears, as he lowered his head and pounded on the table.

          After James had regained his wits Mr. Blackhart spoke.

          "So what the fuck happens!" said Mr. Blackhart anxiously.

          "You are a sick fuck, you know that?  It is not natural to get off on this stuff" James said in disgust.

          "Finish the story Mr. Gardner.  And don't kid yourself, you wouldn't be at this table if the world didn't need people like me" Mr. Blackhart shot back. 

          James shook his head, pulled out a cigarette, and lit it up.

          "You know those things will kill you" Mr. Blackhart teased.

          "I didn't think someone in your line of work would mind.  Anyway, you know better than anyone, somethin's gonna get ya." James replied.

          "Ha! Fair enough Mr. Gardner, now please continue the story" Mr. Blackhart said with a grin.

          "Anyway my mama is stuck in this gutter when out of nowhere here comes this kid Trenton Hillsboro.  Now it's important you understand who Trenton Hillsboro is, he comes from a very wealthy family, I'm talkin' the type of money that can rent you a senator from time to time.  But the thing is a few months ago his whole family, except of course for Trenton, crashed their private 747 into the ground on their way to a family retreat on their private island, apparently the pilot forgot to put down the landing gear.  Well anyway, With the whole Hillsboro line burnt into ashes Trenton gets all the money, all the property, and all the life insurance policies too."

          Mr. Blackhart interrupted, "sounds like quite a span of good luck."

          "Decent folk value family over wealth" James snapped.

          "It may not surprise you to know that I think otherwise" Mr. Blackhart replied.

          "No it certainly doesn't.  Now don't interrupt me again, and I will finish the story " James said calmly.  "So anyway, here comes Trenton Hillsboro in his tank of an automobile, 100 miles an hour down the road and Bam! Just like that my mama was nothin more than broken pieces and a big red spot in the fuckin' road!  But that's not what gets me.  What gets me is that because this little punk is rich he paid the authorities to look the other way.  He paid some big shot lawyer to plead his case down to manslaughter, and after a couple more bucks and a little more paper work, Mr. Hillsboro will be off parole in two months time!"

          "You shouldn't be so surprised at this Mr. Gardner, you must understand that we live in the age of pure capitalism.  The law only applies to those who can not pay the fines."

          "Evil as that shit sounded, that's god damn right" James said as he clinched his fist.

          "Your loss is terrible indeed Mr. Gardner…  I trust you have the things I require?"

          "Its all right here" James said holding up a yellow envelope.

          "Than our business here is done" said Mr. Blackhart as he extended his hand.

          "Our business is done, but if it's all the same to you I would rather not touch you, you sick twisted fuck."

          "I understand Mr. Gardner, and don't bother checking the obituaries, just keep your eyes on the local news" Mr. Blackhart said in a chilling voice.

          James turned around and nodded his head at Mr. Blackhart, and then walked out of the diner to his car.

          Mr. Blackhart sat at the table long enough to order and finish a cup of coffee and then made his way back home, their was work to be done.

          A few hours later Mr. Blackhart returned to his home and opened the yellow envelope.  He found everything in order.  A picture of the mark, an address, a list of hangouts, and of course $10,000 cash.  Mr. Blackhart smiled wide, this was a much different smile than the toothless smirks in the restaurant earlier.  Mr. Blackhart's wide smile revealed a mouth full of razor sharp triangular teeth, that fit flush like a bear trap.

          "The young ones always taste better" Mr. Blackhart chuckled to himself as he looked at the photo Mr. Gardner had provided him.  "This one is going to be fun…"

IX

           Later that week Trenton Hillsboro was returning from a night out drinking, and although he had bought countless drinks for female patrons he had failed in his mission to bring one home.

          "Fuckin' prude bitches!" Trenton shouted out as he stomped into his house.

          Before he could turn the lights on Trenton heard the door slam behind him, and before he could turn to see what was the matter he was seized from behind and a wet rag was pressed tight against his face.  Trenton resisted to the best of his ability, but it was no use, in a few seconds he lost consciousness, and did not awake for many hours…

          "Ah fuck! What happened?" Trenton said to himself as his consciousness returned to him.  " What the fuck is going on here?" he yelled, realizing that his arms and legs were bound to what looked to be a large wooden table.

          "Relax Trenton, there is nothing you can do now" said a voice that made Trenton's bones shake.

          "What are you going to do to me" Trenton pouted with tears in his eyes.

          "Notice the tools over to your right, and use your imagination" said the voice.

Trenton looked over to his right and saw a wall full of some of the largest knives he had ever seen.

          "Oh God Mister, No! Please! No!" Trenton said with tears streaming down his cheeks.

          "Now you will see no more" said the voice, and in the same instant a dark cover was placed over Trenton's eyes.

          A few minutes later Trenton felt a shooting pain in his stomach and chest, he screamed for mercy, but no one could help him.  Next Trenton felt and heard a sensation that could only be the splitting of his rib cage. Trenton screamed, and cried out for help, and then all at once his mask was removed.  Trenton looked up to find a man he had not seen before, and he was holding Trenton's beating heart in his left hand.  The strange man looked deep into Trenton's eyes and smiled the most horrific smile Trenton had ever seen.  For an instant two shiny row's of jagged steel showed Trenton the reflection of his horrified face.  Seconds later the man opened his mouth as wide as he could and bit down into Trenton's beating heart.

          Trenton's face cringed hard, and as the emotion slowly ran from his face his eyes glazed over.

          He took a Polaroid of Trenton's body, a tradition he had started with his wife, a pornographic memento. "Now to tie up the loose ends" Blackhart said, wiping blood from his chin. 

          The next day James Gardner turned on his television, and was interested to hear that a body had been found in the lion's pit at the local zoo. 

          "Commissioner O'Neal reports that dental records have helped to identify the body as Trenton Hillsboro.  The autopsy revealed that the cause of death was by wounds consistent with being mauled by a lion" said the news anchor.  "No foul play is suspected at this time." 

          "Fed him to fuckin' lions" James said to himself.  "That's better than he deserves."

          By this time Blackhart was no longer staying at the Four Seasons.  O'Hanrahan was going to feed him a Fat farmer named Mitch Jackson who only had two human contacts in the entire world.  Carol St. James, his girlfriend, and Cassandra Goldsmith, a prostitute that lived next door to Carol.  O'Hanrahan was going to feed Blackhart the farmer because he had grown fearful of his hit man, and to give Blackhart a clean identity.  It seemed to O'Hanrahan that Blackhart had become a loose cannon, and by giving him this farmer he could get Blackhart out of his life. 

Their final meeting began as most of their meetings had, with the exchange of an envelope.

          "Do you know why I have called you to my office today?"

          "I assume you have a project for me."  Blackhart stated anxiously.

          "No, no, I'm afraid not.  I have called you here to inform you that I am no longer in need of your services.  We have had a good run, but I do not foresee a time when I will need your skills again.  Enclosed in that envelope are the identities of the man I have arranged for you to legally become, as well of the names of the people it will be necessary to eliminate.  All that is his will be yours, and you can do with it as you please."

          "All of that sounds fine to me sir, anything else?"

          "Yes, as a gesture of good faith, I will again grant you another gift."

Blackhart knew immediately what he wanted.  He had never seen an image of himself before, and not being able to see a reflection in the mirror teased his vanity.

          "A self portrait" Blackhart replied.

          "As you wish."

When Blackhart received his portrait his madness deepened.  He now saw himself in a new light, he was no longer a man, just as man is not an ape.  He was more evolved now, and had moved up literally and figuratively on the food chain.  In his own mind Blackhart had become a god.

XI

"You have until the count of 3 to open this door, or I am kicking it in" Said Detective David Bircher presenting his badge to the eye piece on the apartment door.

          "One…"

          "Two…"

          "Three!" the Detective shouted, as he kicked in the door.

          As the door flew open Detective Bircher and his associate Officer James Huff were hit with the putrid smell of death.

          "Fuck, what is that?" said Huff as he gagged and covered his mouth.

          "Jesus Christ! Smells like death!" Bircher exclaimed as he put his face into its coat.

          The men then covered their mouths with the medical shields from their first aid kit and started looking around the apartment.

          "Whose place is this again?" Huff asked as he pulled his gun from his pants.  "We should secure the area, you never know who or what you are going to find in a place like this."

          Bircher nodded, hunting down murderers can get messy, and this place had all the makings of something real nasty.

          "Hey Bircher, whose place is this?"

          "Some broad, and I do mean broad, named Carol St. James." Bircher chuckled.

          "I'm afraid I don't understand the joke." Huff said with a puzzled look on his face.

          "Oh, I mean this bitch was 400 pounds, a couch potato in every sense of the word.  Apparently being a big fat ass is considered a disability in this country, so she gets welfare money to sit in this shit hole and cram snacks into her face."  Bircher ranted.

          "Ha-ha! What a bitch, she's eating her self to death off of the same pool of money, give me more money and let the fat people starve!  That's what I say!" Huff shot back.

          The two men shared a laugh, and then the smell, and the severity of the situation retook their notice.  They walked down the hall, examining each room, the bathroom looked as if had not been cleaned in years, the rooms were full of cobwebs and all the furniture was caked with dust, and then finally, at the end of the hall, in the bedroom of Carol St. James, they came to the source of the smell.

          "Holy fuck!" Bircher screamed as he averted his eyes.

          Huff gagged a few times, and then lost his lunch on the floor.  There, with her wrists nailed to her tall bedposts, was the body of Carol St. James.

          "Jesus fuckin' Christ man! What the fuck is this?!" Huff yelled, unable to control his emotions.

          "I don't know Huff, but I don't like the looks of this." Bircher said as coolly as he could.

          "We came to talk to this chick about our case, and that dirty motherfucker beat us to the punch!" Huff barked.

          "How could he have known?"  Bircher pondered.  "This guy is sick!"

          "Have you ruled out women all together?" Huff inquired.

          Bircher remarked "Look at that huge bitch up there Huff, do you know any women that could have done that?" 

          "What about those power lifters from the Olympics?" Huff shot back.

          "Oh, real likely asshole" Bircher replied.  "What does this chick have to do with the other murders?"

          "Well, she did live right next door to the last one" Huff reminded Bircher.

          "Yeah, well crucifixion typically isn't something that happens in the heat of the moment."

          "Aye, fair enough." Huff conceded.  "Well alright then, let's call the fuckin' station and have them case this place."

          Bircher nodded, and the men then made their way to the car.

          "Let's get some lunch, and go over that other file again" Bircher said coldly.

          "Not over lunch Birch.  I can't look at that shit when I'm eating" Huff replied with a grimace on his face.

          After returning to the station after lunch the two men opened the case file of the other murder.

          "Cassandra Goldsmith, found dead at 1221 5th avenue apartment #4 September 4th" Bircher spoke aloud without emotion.

          "How did she die again?" Huff inquired.

          "How can you forget shit like this Huff?" Bircher snapped, angry at Huff's insolence.

          "Some of us like to leave work at the office Birch" Huff replied in defense.

          Bircher exhaled hard through his nose and began to re-explain the case.  "If you recall correctly we found this girl in the apartment next to the one we were at today"-

          "Oh yeah yeah, I remember this chick, she got her face smashed in on the kitchen counter." Huff declared proud to have remembered.

          "No, actually she was just lying on the kitchen counter, she got stoned to death with rocks, remember? "

          "Oh yeah yeah, that's right, and we found a bottle of ruffees in the sink. "  Huff continued.

          Suddenly Susan, the officer at the front desk, burst into the room.  "Hey fellas" Susan said in her awkward voice.  "The crime lab just turned up some results, they found the same guy's semen at both crime scenes."

          "Then we gotta go right away!" Bircher declared.

          "I don't think so boys, you're never going to get a warrant this time of day." Susan chimed through her adult braces.

          "Fuck! She's right" Huff yelled.  "Guess we will just have to wait till tomorrow…"

          "The fuck we will!" yelled Bircher as he stormed out of the room.

          After visiting the crime lab and learning that the sample matched that of a farmer named Mitch Jackson from a cow town about 40 miles away, Bircher got into his car and fired up the engine.

          "What the fuck do you think you're doing?" Huff yelled as he ran toward the car.

          "I'm going to get the man!" Bircher replied.

          "But you can't bring him in without a warrant!" Huff pleaded.

          "Watch me!" Bircher shot back angrily as he peeled out of the lot.  He turned on his sirens, and flew down the streets determined to get to the farm as fast as he could.  And in no time at all he found himself there.

          The farmhouse was unimpressive, the house needed paint, and the silos and barn seemed to be in disrepair.  The autumn air blew cold across the acres of farmland, chilling detective Bircher's bones.  "This place give me the creeps" he thought to himself as he knocked on the door.

          A few moments later a large man answered the door with a cigarette in his mouth.

          "Who the hell are you, and what do you want?" the man said frankly.

          "I'm David Bircher, and I'm here to ask you a few questions."  David replied shocked at the man's poor manners.

          "Well I'm Mitch Jackson, and I don't want to answer any questions."

          "I'm with the police sir" David asserted himself.

          "Well if you have a warrant than I guess I don't have much choice do I?" Blackhart replied opening the door wide and motioning for David to enter.

          David walked in knowing full well that he had no warrant, and no right to be there.

          "Have a seat over there" Mitch said pointing to a chair.  "I'm going to grab a drink, do you care for a cocktail?"

          David paused for a second to contemplate why this killer was being so friendly, and then it hit him, this man was no killer at all, he just had sick sex fetishes.  "Thank you, I think I will." David said as he exhaled his worries away.

          Blackhart then walked into the kitchen and David looked at his surroundings.  Christian paraphernalia was everywhere, Noah's ark trinkets, crucifixes, and a countless number of cross stitched bible verses hung all over the wall.

          When Blackhart returned David began his interrogation a little less formally than he had initially planned.

          "I see you are a man of faith Mr. Jackson"

          "I am, the lord gives me great strength and power.  Are you a man of faith Mr. Bircher?"

          "I can't say that I am." David replied.

          "That is too bad, for faith can cast a light in the darkest of places." Blackhart said as a smirk spread across his face.

          "Save me the cliché Christian Wisdom Mr. Jackson I am here to ask you about something more serious. " 

          "Blasphemy! Nothing is more important than the word of God!" Blackhart screamed out.  Then realizing his error he wiped his brow and apologized to David.

          David was quite disturbed by the whole scene, so he spent the next few minutes in the company of his cocktail.  When David finished his drink he looked up at Mitch, and began to say "Mr. Jackson, do you have any idea why I am he—"  when he passed out, head between his legs and did not awake for several hours.

          David awoke to find his arms and legs numb with pain.  He looked at his hands and feet to discover that he was nailed into a giant wooden cross, which was suspended high above the ground in the barn.  David began to repeat the prayers he had learned as a child, as tears rolled down his cheeks.  Then a sound attracted David's attention.  It was the unmistakable roar of a chainsaw.  "God help me!"  David screamed as Mitch began to charge at him. 

Hearing this cry Mitch shouted back "My deeds are the will of God, for I am him!  Die Blasphemer! "  With that Blackhart cut a rope and David's body inverted, and as the cross snapped into position his wounds were cut wide open.  David screamed in agony as the blood from his feet covered his body, and the blood from his hands poured onto the Barn floor like twin trails of red wine.  After a few minutes of this horrible gut wrenching pain David's body locked up, his eyes shut tight, and his breathing stopped.  The last image that passed before his eyes was the childlike splendor on the face of the man who killed him.

XII

           Huff arrived at work the following day looking like a train wreck.  He had not slept well all night, and to make matters worse his workaholic partner had not shown up or called in.  Upon receiving the warrant David had been to anxious to wait for, Huff led a caravan of police cars to the house of Mitch Jackson.

          "Look, there's Birch's car." Huff said anxiously as the caravan pulled into the driveway.  "No time to lose people!  Let's go!"

          Huff approached the house, while other officers started to detail the rest of the area.   Knock Knock! Knock!  "Mr. Jackson, this is the police.  Open up!"  Huff ordered.  A few moments of silence passed and Huff knocked again.  "Come to the door Mr. Jackson!...Fine!  Here I come!"  Huff screamed as he kicked in the door.

          Huff drew his gun and carefully began to move through the house.  After looking through the kitchen and living room he made his way back to the master bedroom, and when the door opened Huff's jaw dropped.  Polaroid's of mangled bodies covered the wall, and square in the middle of all of them was a large painted picture of a man with jagged metal teeth.

          "Holy shit!"  Huff said to himself.  "This guy makes Charles Manson look like a choir boy."

          At that moment a young officer by the name of Joey Parker entered the room.

          "Huff, we found Birch out in the barn."

          "Is he alright?"

          Joey hung his head and replied "No Huff, and I would advise you against going to see him."

          Huff looked back at the pictures and nodded.  "Help me load this shit into the car."

          When they arrived back at the station Huff showed the Polaroid's and the portrait to the chief, and without hesitation the chief stepped into the middle of the floor and began to yell.

          "Everybody listen up!  We have a mass murderer on the loose and the time to move is now!  Susan get on the phone!  I want this guy's picture on the front of every newspaper, and on every television in the country!  Orders are dead or alive!"

XIII 

          In the meantime Blackhart had bitten out an old woman's throat, stolen her car, and tossed her in the trunk.  He knew he had to get out of the country, but he couldn't pass border patrol, and he certainly couldn't fly.  So he was on his way to Texas where he planned to cross the border in exactly the opposite fashion of illegal immigrants.

          However, a key limitation of car's is that periodically you have to stop to refuel, and so Blackhart found himself doing so just after he had crossed the border into Texas.

          "Just the gas for you then sir?"  asked a thin, long haired gas station attendant.

          "Can I get a box of Camel lights as well?"  Blackhart replied.

It was at that moment that the gas station attendant happened to look down at the news paper to see the face of the man he was currently serving.  The attendant's eyes gazed up at Blackhart, then down to the paper, then up at Blackhart again.

          "That newspaper just cost you your life" Blackhart barked, before taking hold of the gas station attendant by his long hair and biting out his throat.  With his face covered in blood Blackhart ran from the store, blowing past a young woman in the doorway.

          The young woman walked into the store to see the gas station attendant laying face down on the counter in a pool of blood.  She heard a loud screech in the parking lot, and turned to see Blackhart peel out onto the highway.  Within the next 5 seconds she was on the phone with the police.

          "Hello? Hello?  I just saw a man kill a gas station attendant down at the BP!"

          "Calm down mam, can you tell me what he looks like, or which direction he was headed?"

          The young woman looked down at the newspaper and saw Blackhart's face.  "It…It's the man from the paper's!"  The young woman exclaimed.  "And he's headed south down I-96 In a light blue Ford Taurus!" Click!  "Hello? Hello?"

          By this time Blackhart was flooring it down I-96, he had been recognized and he knew that he had to make a run for it now.  He had only been driving for 20 minutes before the first cop car was on his tail, and after that new car's seemed to join it by the minute. 

          "Fuck!...Fuck!" Blackhart screamed as he looked at the car's gathering in his rear view mirror.  Kawump!  Went Blackhart's car as it went over a bump, causing the trunk to release and the old woman's body to flop out onto the road.  Blackhart looked up in his rearview mirror only to see the light blue trunk, and a set of eyes.

          "Remember me fuckstick!"  Yelled the voice in the mirror.

          "I don't have time for you now Harold!  Shut your mouth!"

          "Or what?  What are you gonna do about it cockbag?  Yell at me more?"

          Blackhart stared into the mirror locking eyes with Harold, and Harold stared back into the empty pits of Blackharts eyes.  The stare raged on for only a few seconds, but to both of the beings engaged it felt like an eternity.  Then, all at once Harold found himself driving the blue Ford Taurus.  Harold tore the rearview mirror off of the windshield and through it out the window, he had no intention of giving Blackhart a second chance.  He felt the metal teeth in his mouth with his tounge, and the taste of human flesh nearly caused him to vomit.  But now was not the time for vomiting, regardless of whether Harold and Blackhart were separate the men on his tail and the Judge would surely think so.

          He then looked back at his pursuer's , they were now at least 100 strong.  It was then that Harold noticed his opportunity to escape, a train was coming, and it was running on a track perpendicular to the highway.  It looked as though he could make it, it would be a close call but it was a risk he would have to take.  Harold unbuckled his seatbelt and crouched over the steering wheel, standing on the gas.  The red lights on the track began to flash, the crossing bars lowered, the police slammed on their breaks and Harold flew toward a chance for escape.  The freight train blew its whistle as the blue Ford Taurus slammed through the crossing bars, narrowly avoiding the train.  Harold had done it!  He was only a few miles from the border now and nothing was in his way…at least so he thought…

XIV

          Harold could now see Mexico very clearly, it is the land across the river.  The river however he could not see, all he could see was a wide line of police cruisers a quarter mile in front of him, and from the looks of things they were all armed and ready to fire.

          So Harold stepped out of his car and lit up his first cigarette.

          "Give up now!  We have you surrounded!"  Boomed Huff's voice over a megaphone.          Harold continued to smoke his cigarette, he knew this was the end of the line, that regardless of whatever happened now it would eventually mean his death.  Thoughts of what would come if he turned himself in lit up his mind.  He had no delisuions that pleading insanity would do anything to help him.  He would undoubtedly come to be known as Harold "the Butcher" Kramer, the new standered in embodied evil.  Undoubtedly he would sit in a solitary cell for a decade, waiting for the day when he would have his brain fried in front of a national audience on pay per view television.  "Fuck that shit!  That's not how I'm going down!"

          "Lay down on your stomach and put your hand' s behind your back!"'

          Harold finished his cigarette and dropped it on the ground, then slowly sat back down in the driver seat.

          "Sir, step out of the vehicle!"

          Harold stared straight ahead, threw the car into drive, and stomped on the gas.

XV

          "He's charging us!"  Yelled an officer.

          "Fire at will!" Huff screamed.

          A hail of gunfire poured through the windshield of the blue Ford Taurus, carving Harold into a tattered mass of flesh and bone,.  But the car charged on.

          "Dive! Dive!"  the officers yelled at the officers near the site of the impending crash.

          SMASH!  The Taurus slammed into a police Cruiser, rocketing Harold's body through the windshield and into the raging rapids of the Rio Grande.  Harold's tattered lifeless body sank beneath the surface and vanished from site.

          "Fuck!  We'll never find him now!"  Huff screamed.  Huff then lowered his head, he knew that it would take longer to drag the river than it would for that man's body to make it to the gulf of Mexico.



Acknowledgments 

          I would like to thank all of the members of the class for taking the time to read my story.  I would like to thank Terry Heller for his helpful criticism and words of encouragement, and I would like to thank all of the colorful people in my life for helping me to find the words.