"The first woman I ever killed wasn’t especially memorable. In fact, there was nothing distinguishing about her, except, of course, the fact she was the first woman I killed. I have always found it to be irredeemably sad when a person’s death outshines their life. I try to avoid victims who’s fate will become the only thing they are remembered for, but this is a more recent development in my policy. It did not apply to her.
The woman’s name was Danielle. She was 5’9, blonde, slender, and her lips tasted exactly like you’d expect them to taste – whiskey and cigarettes, with a hint of something darker underneath. It was that animal instinct that I chased.
Now, when I say she was the first woman I killed, I don’t want you to assume she was the first person altogether. She wasn’t. I had grown accustomed, by that time, to the inner workings of men, the way their ribs shattered like glass and how their blood sloshed out like syrup. Some men I left alive with warnings, some I hurt for no reason at all. That’s what true power is. Doing as you feel when you like.
But there is something different about killing one of your own. Us humans slaughter cows and pigs like no tomorrow; the select few among us (vegans) feel remorse, but the rest of us see them as nothing other than means to an end. Ask your everyday cow farmer to turn around and kill a human, however, and you’ve got a bit of a dilemma on your hands.
Some like to believe it’s the inherent good in humanity. I disagree. I believe it’s the inherent self-preservation; we are all born with one goal in mind – survive, at all costs. Killing someone for no reason doesn’t aid that goal very much at all.
Danielle was killed for one purpose only, and it was an entirely selfish one. I wanted to see if it was possible for me to kill one of my own, but more than that, to kill somebody who I thought I loved. My other victims were faceless, nameless. They slunk in and out of shadows, preying on the naïve and the soft-hearted, crushing souls and spirits with one single touch. Danielle was none of those things.
She, at first glance, appeared to be your run of the mill suburban mom. She had two kids, a boy and a girl, a husband named Larry who worked 9-5 at a white collar job and who wore slacks even on weekends, a dog that was four years old named Cherry, and of course, the secret lesbian affair with none other than yours truly.
If you look too deeply under the surface, you’ll find secrets. I didn’t seek out Danielle because I thought she could give me something I was lacking. I found her because I needed to find her; because she was the logical next step in my reign. There was a progression to my victims. I began with the easy ones; the disabled and the elderly, the quiet and the meek, and once I had conquered those, I moved on to stronger men. But I was still missing one component. In all my other experiments I had relied on brute physical strength. I was small but I was wiry, and men do not expect much out of a girl like me. Underestimation is often your greatest asset, and a knife the greatest equalizer. But I had never relied on mental torture.
I say I killed Danielle because I might as well have, even if my finger didn’t technically pull the trigger. I was the devil – or angel, depending on your point of view – on her shoulder, gently guiding her in the direction I thought she needed to go. I chose her because she was soft, and pliable, and because that animal instinct underneath the taste of her vices is both what drew her to me and what ended her.
I began slowly and easily. I whispered sweet nothings in her ear. I taught her softly and slowly about what love was. Larry was no more Prince Charming than I am Mother Theresa. He loved her in the only way he knew how, which was money. But girls like Danielle are not satiated by material wealth. They need emotional connection, reassurance that they’re as beautiful as they hope to be, promises that life is more than burnt toast and closed-eye sex.
I taught Danielle about love while I taught myself about hate. The two are not as opposite as you may think. They are both born of the same emotion – passion – and both trace very fine lines. As Danielle began to grow more attached to me, and I became a regular fixture on Tuesday nights, I began to feel that burning desire to right the injustices of this world again. Danielle did not create it, but I can give her credit for sparking it.
By June of that year, leaving Danielle would have been enough to send her into a spiral. But spiraling people are so unpredictable. They never do quite what you want them to do. I had to set it up to be more fragile than that. Danielle was already breakable; she had been abused as a child, a revelation that came in the dark of night and one I eagerly clung to. Here, finally, was my opening.
I began to coax her out of therapy. I convinced her that her medication was only a suggestion, that she was so much more beautiful and alive off of it. It didn’t take much. Danielle had been teetering on the edge of insanity so long that a singular push sent into effect a whole chain of dominoes. I sat back and watched them fall.
It began with alcohol and it ended with her brains splattered out across the garage door. The thing about mentally ill people is that as soon as you take them off medication, they immediately attempt to self-medicate. They’re smart enough to know something is not right, but not quite intelligent enough to figure out the solution. So, they turn to drugs or alcohol. My sweet Danielle chose whiskey as her vice.
The two children began to notice, but Larry, ever forgetful and foolish, refused to believe it. Look at it from his point of view. He had two children, a beautiful home, a young wife who did all the heavy lifting, and a cushy job that paid him six figures for sitting at a desk all day. Why would he want to do anything to disrupt that? So his two children got caught smoking weed – children are always rebellious. OK, the home was losing value rapidly, but the real estate market is always volatile. And his wife sometimes smelled like whiskey, but he could ignore all of that quite easily.
The only thing he couldn’t ignore was me.
Perhaps he suspected long ago, or maybe it really only was when he found me licking his wife’s snatch that he realized something was very, very wrong. I had set it up like that, you see. By this time Danielle trusted me implicitly. I was aware Larry’s meetings had been canceled; I knew he was going to come in early with some gold trinket to try to return that luster to Danielle’s eyes, but instead he found her, spread eagle on the bed with me in the middle of it all. My absolute favorite place to be.
He didn’t leave her, of course, but he might as well have. The thing girls like Danielle don’t realize is that while they are not fulfilled by material wealth, they also require it. Take that away and you have nothing but a husk of a person.
I think, in many ways, Danielle longed for that sweet blundering love that Larry had shown her. Misguided, yes, but true nonetheless. By this time I think Danielle was beginning to realize that my love, while infinitely more exciting and beautiful, was far, far less stable, and also about as fake as they come.
So how does a repressed, abused little girl react to both of her loves turning out to hate her? Well, she turns to drink; and after drink to drugs, and then to self-harm, which is the most addicting drug of all.
She got to the cutting part all by herself. I just needed to give her that one last tap to send her all the way over the edge.
I snuck into her house one day – never leave your key under the welcome mat, children – and purposefully left Larry’s gun cabinet unlocked. (Another hint: don’t make the passcode to your safe the same as the password to your phone.) And when Danielle slowly walked into Larry’s study and saw that gorgeous black metal staring at her in the eyes… perhaps it was too much. Or perhaps it was just the right amount.
If any of you are judging me for the heavy-handedness of this, please don’t. You must remember she was the first and I was practically an amateur. Emotional manipulation can only go so far; sometimes a physical component must be introduced.
So now she had the gun, and she had motive; she was alone and unloved, and off her medication, and severely, severely depressed. Her children were older; they would not miss her, and Larry didn’t even love her anyways. Or so I told her. I told her this was the best way out, the only way out, that it would be painless and quick and before she knew it she’d be in heaven with the rest of the angels. I promised her, because girls like her never learn that promises only mean as much as the person saying them believes it. I swore on my father’s grave (I put him there) and she put that gun to her temple and pulled the trigger.
It was ruled a suicide. It made the local news. “Community Wife Commits Suicide after Stock Markets Crash.” Ah, yes, ’08. It gave a lot of people a lot of excuses. The paper didn’t mention my name nor my involvement, but you must read between the lines on these things.
Danielle is special to me because she is the first and because of her one defining quality. Like I said, she looked like a cookie-cutter Life magazine cutout of suburbia, except for her eyes. There were stories in those eyes. They were not brown or blue, but rather ice grey. They were chilling and hauntingly beautiful. The thing about pain is that it leaves its mark in subtle ways. In Danielle’s case, it didn’t just mar her eyes, it became them.
To someone like me, who draws on pain, it was gorgeous.
This recollection is probably the best place to start my confession. I’m doing this for many reasons, few of which you, dear reader, will ever know. But come and I will tell you all about me: the making of a serial killer.
It will only hurt a little."