It started out as a normal day. I woke up, brushed my teeth, went to work, and on the way home I stopped at the grocery store for a frozen pizza and some beer. I felt a little uneasy as I pulled into the drive way, parked, and exited the car, however nothing seemed out-of-place. The door was still locked, there weren’t any broken windows, so I figured it was just my brain playing tricks on me. I went inside and turned on the living room light.
As soon as I turned the light on, before I had a chance to close the door behind me, I felt two hands hit me in the back, giving me a violent shove forward. I stumbled forward, losing my balance, and dropped my groceries. However, I managed to get my hands in front of me so they hit the carpet before my face did. Heart-pounding, confused, angry, and with a fresh shot of adrenaline pumping through my veins, I began to get up so I could confront my attacker. Before I could get my feet under me, everything went black.
When I awoke I found myself in the living room, facing the couch, tied to one of my kitchen chairs. The lights were on, but I couldn’t see or hear anyone else in the house. My hands were tied behind me, and my legs were tied to the legs of the chair. As I tried to come to terms with what was happening, I struggled against the ropes, but they wouldn’t give. I glanced over at the clock and saw it was after 8:00. I had left the grocery store around 5:30, so I had been out for a while. As I glanced around the room, I noticed a rock by the front door and wondered if that was used to knock me out.
Just as I started to think maybe I was alone in the house, my assumed attacker walked into the living room. There wasn’t anything particularly menacing about him. He was about my height, around six feet tall, of average build, and probably no older than forty-five. He had sandy brown hair, brown eyes, about three days worth of stubble on his cheeks. He wore a black hoodie, black pants, and black shoes. He had a beer in his right hand and a piece of pizza in his left.
He stopped about six feet away from me and just stared at me. I think he was trying to look menacing, but was missing the mark. I didn’t think it would help to scream. I live in a quiet neighborhood on the outskirts of town, and although I do have neighbors, this house is new and well insulated. I knew I was going to have to either fight my way out or talk my way out. Since my arms and legs were secured to the chair, I was only left with one option.
“Hello. I’m Steve. Can you please help me understand what is happening?” I said, trying to sound genuine. That’s all it took, and his menacing facade was broken. His face relaxed, his shoulders slumped, he took a few steps forward and plopped down on the couch facing me, setting his pizza down on the end table.
“I can’t do this,” he began, wringing his hands in his lap. “I don’t have a choice. I HAVE to do this, but I also CANNOT do this!” he exclaimed, his voice cracking. He looked very distraught. I thought maybe he was having some kind of a psychotic break. If that was the case, I thought maybe I could actually talk my way out of this, but I had to be careful.
“What can I call you?” I asked, “I don’t need your real name, I don’t want any information that would allow me to identify you to law enforcement.”
“It doesn’t matter, nothing matters. I thought I was a good person, but that must not be true,” he paused long enough to finish his beer in one long gulp, tossing the emptied can across the room. “Why else would I be here? Why else would this be my fate?” he responded, tears forming in the corners of his eyes.
“I still don’t understand. Is there a way that I can help you? You can talk to me, I’m sure we can figure something out that keeps us both safe” I lied.
“No-no-no-no-no-no. It’s too late. I need to explain this to you,” he said sitting up, “I don’t know that you will believe me. In fact, I don’t think you will believe me in the slightest,” he said as he reached into the back of his pants. “Ah! Here, that will help,” my eyes widened at the sight of the revolver that he freed from his waistband. It now sat on the couch next to him. “You can call me Carrie. That is my real name, but no one will ever find me by it,” he added.
“I’m still very confused Carrie, I’m listening if you want to talk about what’s going on,” I said carefully. I didn’t want to sound condescending, but Carrie is obviously disturbed, I knew I was treading on thin ice.
“I drank all of your beer. I was hoping it would take the edge off, that it would be easier to do what I need to do. Spoiler alert, it didn’t help at all. Oh well, anyway, my full name is Carrie Henderson. I see you cringe at knowing my real name, but don’t worry, it doesn’t matter,” he said, standing up and handing me a small piece of paper he pulled from his pocket. I flipped the paper over and saw that it was actually a photo. The woman in the photo was very beautiful and probably no older than thirty-five. I tried to make a mental note of her features in case I did escape. I want to give the cops as much information as I possibly can.
“Who is this?” I ask, handing the photo back to him.
“I will tell you, but please let me get through this whole thing before you interject or flip out,” I nodded in understanding, so he continued, “That photo is of Carrie Henderson. It is a photo of me. A few days ago I went to a party with some friends. It was at an old friends house, and we were there pretty late. I took an Uber home alone around two o’ clock in the morning. I remember walking into my apartment, then everything went dark. When I woke up I was on the couch, my legs duct taped together, my hands duct taped behind my back. There was a man sitting in the recliner across from me. He and I had a conversation almost identical to the one you and I are having.” As he spoke, I was trying to focus on what he was saying, as well as trying to figure out what I should say to get myself out of this situation.
“This man explained his predicament to me. He said that he was cursed to be a murderer. He said his name was Thomas, he was nineteen, and he was going to kill me. I didn’t understand because he looked like he was in his forties. I didn’t really understand until after he killed me,” he paused, I can only assume to make up more nonsense or to listen to the voices in his head. It was obvious at this point that he was completely insane. Unfortunately that wasn’t going to help me get out of this situation.
“So,” he continued, “Thomas told me he was murdered. He was shot in the head, right between the eyes. The last thing he saw was the man standing over him, pressing the gun to Thomas’ head, and quietly sobbing. The next thing Thomas knows, he’s standing in front of his now lifeless body. At first he thought he was just a spirit, seeing his body as he moved on to whatever is next. That was until he looked at his right hand and saw he was holding a revolver. In fact, it was this very revolver,” he said as he held the revolver up for me to see, then set it back down next to him. I was starting to panic. The closer he got to finishing this insane story, the less time I had to escape.
“He went and looked in the mirror and saw his murderer’s reflection staring back at him. A few weeks later he followed me home from a coffee shop. I left later that night for the party, and he waited for me to return. He murdered me, Carrie Henderson, and when I opened my eyes, they were no longer my eyes, they were Thomas’ eyes,” he paused, gauging my reaction.
“I’ll admit it Carrie, I’m still confused,” I said, feeling the minutes slip by, I am barely keeping my panic at bay.
“You probably won’t really understand until you die. The simplest way I can explain it is by calling it a curse. I’ll call it the Serial Killer Curse. Thomas was murdered by a man. After he was murdered he regained consciousness, but he was no longer Thomas, he was in the murderers body. Thomas killed me, Carrie, I’m a woman by the way, and when I regained consciousness I was in my murderer’s body. Tonight I will kill you and you will come back, but in the body of the mid-forties man you see before you. You will then murder someone and they will take your place, and so on and so forth.”
“If I’m understanding you correctly, the body sitting in front of me, the one you are in, is a constant,” I began, trying to keep the tremble out of my voice, “The body is used to murder someone, and the victim’s soul is placed into this body. What happens to whomever is in the body before? What happens to you when I take your place?” I ask, trying to buy myself time.
“I get to move on to whatever is next. I’ll be free from this prison, from this torture. Once I kill you and you wake up in this man’s body, don’t waste time. You need to kill someone as soon as possible. You have no money, no phone, no contacts, no job, and there will be no rest until you do what needs to be done. If you try to continue to live in this foreign body, you will regret it. Each day that passes the voices get louder. It’s like the screams of every victim taken by this body are screaming in your ears at all times. The longer you go without taking a life, the louder the voices get. It’s maddening. Not to mention that I feel like I’m wearing someone else’s skin, it doesn’t feel right. It’s like an itch you can never scratch. There are lots of other unpleasant things, but that’s enough for now, we need to get on with it. Any questions?”
“What if once I’m in that body, I kill myself? Will that stop the curse?” I ask. I hoped this hadn’t dawned on Carrie, and that he would turn the gun on himself instead of killing me.
“No, Thomas tried that a few times. I even tried it once myself. This body is truly cursed. I put this revolver to my temple and pulled the trigger. I didn’t die, but I blew a hole in the side of my head and I felt the pain of that gunshot wound. It was excruciating. I spent a few days lying in an alley, hidden under garbage while the body regenerated. The same thing happened each time Thomas tried to end it,” he said sadly.
“So, once you kill me I will take your place in the body. I cannot kill myself, and continuing to live in the body will be torture and drive me insane. If I kill someone, I will be allowed to move on because my victim would take my place. Did I get that right?”
Carrie picks up the revolver and stands up. “Ya, you got it dude. I’m sorry that I’m doing this, I never would’ve hurt anyone in my real life. Religion has always been very important to me, and I don’t know if I’ll be allowed into heaven once I do this, but I don’t have a choice. I can only hope that God forgives me. I hope you will forgive me too.”
I had no choice but to beg, “Please, Carrie, please do not do this! Maybe we can find a solution together. There has to be a way to break a curse! Just give me a few days, I’m sure we can sort it out. We could end this forever,” I beg, tears beginning to roll down my cheeks.
Carrie leaned down and pressed the nose of the revolver to my forehead. “You’ll soon see why that’s not possible. I’m sorry,” and with that everything went dark.
As I open my eyes, the first thing I notice is the smell. It smells like rotting flesh. Once my eyes are able to focus, the first thing I see is myself, tied to a kitchen chair, with a bloody hole in my forehead. This has got to be the worst nightmare ever. I lift my hands to rub my eyes, and see that the revolver is in my right hand. I set it down on the couch and head to the bathroom to splash some cold water in my face. Maybe that will trigger me to wake up.
Looking in the mirror I see what I do not want to believe. I’m Carrie, well, I’m in the body that murdered me. There is no way that Carrie was telling the truth, it’s impossible. I splash some cold water in my face and head back to the living room.
My body is still there, tied to that chair, the same hole in my forehead. I can’t take this, it feels like my mind wants to just shut off, it’s too much to process. I decide to try again to wake myself up, just in case this really is a dream. I walk over to a lamp that is on an end table near the couch. I lift it up with my right hand, and bring it down hard onto my left. I let out a yelp, the pain is blinding, but I haven’t woken up. I walk back over to the couch and sit down, being careful not to hit my injured hand on anything.
This isn’t possible, yet I do feel as though I’m in a stranger’s body. Everything looks and smells different, I feel out of it and uncoordinated. I feel like I need to crawl out of my own skin, except it isn’t actually my skin. I wonder who he was, this skin suit I’m wearing. Since it can’t die, how old is it? Am I in the body of a famous serial killer that was never captured? I’ve always been fascinated by serial killers. Maybe it’s Jack the Ripper or the Zodiac Killer, or both? I remember watching a documentary on the Zodiac Killer in which they showed a sketch of him. If I threw glasses onto this body it looks pretty close. I guess I’ll never really know.
I really hope that rotting flesh smell isn’t coming from me. What am I going to do? Should I call in sick to work tomorrow? Or call 9-1-1 and report my murder? Whatever happens next, right now I need to calm down. I’m spiraling out of control. I lean my head back against the couch cushion behind me and close my eyes. Now that I’ve quieted my mind a little bit, I can hear them. The screaming, it’s soft and distant, but very distinct.
I wonder if there are no true serial killers. Maybe there or more cursed people out there. I wonder if any serial killers have been executed or imprisoned who haven’t actually committed a crime, but the body they are stuck in has killed many. I guess it really doesn’t matter, nothing really does anymore. Even in the few minutes I’ve been sitting here, I can hear the voices getting louder.
I only have a couple of choices, either murder someone now, or wait until I cannot handle the screaming in my ears anymore, and kill someone then. Either way I end up having to take a life, I end up pulling a new soul into this curse.
Then it dawns on me, I can choose my victim. Just because Thomas and Carrie chose random people, doesn’t mean that I have to do the same. There is a man who lives around the corner from me who is a registered sex offender. I know this because he had to knock on everyone’s door to tell them when he moved into the neighborhood last July. I looked him up after that to see if he hurt some kids, or if he just got caught having a drunken piss too close to a school at three o’clock in the morning. It turns out that this guy is the real deal, he has hurt three little children in ways from which they will never truly recover. He is perfect for the task at hand.
I stand and stretch, then place the revolver in my waistband. I don’t want to be a murderer, but since I have no choice, I’m going to simultaneously free myself and free the world from one more monster. I’m on my very own kamikaze mission.
I head to the kitchen to grab some duct tape and a flashlight from under the sink. If I need to knock him out, I can hit him in the back of the head with the flashlight and secure his arms and legs with the duct tape. I haven’t quite decided yet if I’m going to talk to him before killing him, or just let him figure it out on his own. Maybe a few weeks stuck in this body, in this weird purgatory, will be a fitting start to his eternal punishment.
Once I have the items I need, I notice my pizza sitting on the counter. I grab a slice and wolf it down. It’s not the best last meal, but I’m glad that Carrie made the pizza. It’s better than nothing.
I walk over to my body as I lick the pizza grease off of my fingers. It’s so strange to see my own dead body. It doesn’t even look like me anymore, it really is just an empty shell. I want to leave a note for my family, but I was very obviously murdered, so it wouldn’t make sense to leave a note. Maybe once I cross over to whatever is on the other side, I will understand how I can help them through losing me.
I am understanding more and more how Carrie felt about being stuck in this body. It’s like all of the murder and evil committed by it is trying to strangle me. I need to get out as soon as possible. My injured hand has already begun to heal itself, so I’m glad I didn’t try the suicide route.
Revolver, duct tape, and flashlight in hand, I head out the front door. The pedophile only lives a few doors down, so I decide to walk over. It’s hard enough walking around in this foreign body, let alone trying to drive a car. The fresh air is nice, and for a brief moment it makes me feel almost normal.
It’s around ten at night, and I’m surprised to see that his house is already dark. His car is in the driveway, so he must be home. This should make it easy. I walk up to the door and use the flashlight to break the small window nearest to the doorknob. This makes it easy for me to reach in and unlock the door. Once I’m inside I stop and listen, but I don’t hear anyone moving around.
I head upstairs and quickly find the master bedroom. The house is a mirror image of my own, so navigating it is pretty easy. The door to the bedroom is cracked, so I carefully swing the door open and step inside.
I can hear the steady sound of sleeping breath and notice an orange spot in his left ear. He must be wearing earplugs, it’s like he’s trying to make it easier on me. I can feel instincts kicking in, not my own, but those belonging to the body I’m wearing. It is as if the kill memories are stored in its very cells, in its DNA. This body is a killing machine.
Before I realize what I’m doing, I’ve jumped onto the bed, straddling him and pinning his arms under my knees. I reach down and rip his left earplug out as his eyes fly open in fright. He seems too stunned to struggle, but he starts yelling immediately.
“Get off me! Who the fuck are you? Get the FUCK off of me!” he screams.
I chuckle to myself and lean forward to whisper in his ear, careful not to get close enough for him to bite me. “This is for the children. This is the beginning of your punishment. Whatever happens next, just know that you deserve it. You deserve every single second of it.” And with that, I place the nose of the revolver to his forehead, and with a grin, I pull the trigger.