There is this idea that a mother’s love can either make a great person or a serial killer. Thera are other factors that used to come to play before someone sat down and began to understand the minds behind creatures of humanity that lurked in the darker corners of what was thought possible.
If a mother’s love is all that predetermines who will live and who will die, then Will should have been dead three decades ago. He, who never knew his mother, could only imagine what the figure who held no material value to him would say if she saw him now. A family man with a good job and a nice house and dogs.
On the surface that is who he is. He is a professor with a beautiful wife and a beautiful child living the established ‘American Dream’.
One cannot judge a book by its cover. Will, being a book with many layers, finds himself tearing out pages and rewriting them whenever he is faced with the killers that stare right back at him. Only this time, the killer he’s looking at is himself in the eyes of someone else. It is truly disturbing how he can see what he looks like now. Blood stains his plastic suit as the knife handle remains firm in his hand.
The basement door is locked, but somehow, when they pull into the garage attached to the side of the house and close the door, the trunk pops open. The basement was another feature that Annabelle loved because it was directly under the garage hidden and padded to be soundproof. Of course, the only entrance to it was through here as the door was hidden inside a strange cabinet. The previous owner had built the basement connecting to an older sewer system that allowed one to move underground rather extensively. Whatever they did in their past time was not Will’s business, but now, he cursed himself. The woman popped up from the truck scrambling to the garage door before he could even park his car. Annabelle jumped out and began her pursuit.
Unfortunately, the woman was able to free her legs though her hands were bound behind her back as she rammed through the door entering the house. Will’s heart stammered as he raced after them (not before checking to see that the man was still bound up and shaking.) He locked the car before rushing to get inside. The lights of the house were off, and it was quiet. Annabelle was a fierce beast to be reckon within especially in the compounds of her own home. Her tall, thick body could easily adapt to any circumstance allowing her to overtake her prey without much mercy or lead way. The woman had no chance against such a skilled predator that knew how to get into the heads of people. She wasn’t one of the best psychiatrists in Baltimore- she was the best. Therefore, Will found himself stripping out of his suit to race up the stairs two at a time.
Jameson’s room was the first door on the left. A small light crawled from under her room as he opened the door slowly. The smell of jasmine and dogs assaulted his nose as he relaxed at the scene in front of him. The girl was where he had left her. Wild curls were the only thing he could make out as the dogs slept around the bed protectively. He tiptoed over his pack to take a seat beside her. Jameson didn’t stir until he places a hand on her forehead. The soft touch made her turn into it.
Here, he sat perched like a gargoyle protecting the most precious flower in the dark forest that surrounded it. Beast lurched beyond their coven as he waited for the creature with elegant black horns to appear relieving him of his humanity for a few hours as they hunt and killed. He leaned into the headboard staring up at the twinkling glow in the dark unicorn stickers that magically appeared on the ceiling.
A faint smile shadowed his face as he listened to the creaks of the older wood floors. The woman wouldn’t get far. It was inevitable for her to try to outrun them. Still, such small mistakes could cost them more than a loss recipe. Will has to consider the figure lying beside him dead to the world. It is rather disturbing how she sleeps so unaware of everything.
Jameson doesn’t seem to have nightmares. Instead, it seems her dreams pull her deeper into the labyrinth relentlessly holding her until escape is futile. A few times she has complained about being awake but being able to move her body.
“Sleep paralysis.” Annabelle diagnosis.
He wonders what creatures lurk in the corner of her thoughts when she lays there dead, but alive waiting for her body to come to her. It must be terrifying. He can almost see her fear. It caresses his body squeezing around his ribcage until he can’t quite breathe. Will can still make out the day he found her.
Jack was standing in the master bedroom staring at the scene while Beverly and her team work to collect evidence. The killing was related to another case of a man who somehow hypnotized his patrons into murder. The man was a hotline guru who had a small radio station out in rural Maryland. The crime had been the fifth one that week. By chance will had been crouched over the bodies when he followed the gaze of the woman then the man trying to figure out why they were facing the direction of the bed. He pulled back the comforter to find a small body laying still wedged into the wall staring at him.
“There’s a child under here!” He exclaimed.
Jack looked at him as if he was crazy, but he pointed to the bed where Bev came up behind him and confirmed it. Jack began barking orders requesting a medic and some of the cops moved the bed where the little girl was curled up covering her mouth his both hands. After that, she didn’t speak. The doctor at the hospital said tests showed no issue with her internally and that it might be something mentally blocking her ability to communicate verbally. Jack waned answers and his only victim was that girl.
“Get me Dr. Lecter, asap and Dr. Bloom. She is the only key to this case and may know how to find the killer.”
Will frowned at this. It was the only real lead they had, but it felt wrong to force her to relive the events again. He knew all too well the horrors of witnessing a murder.
“Maybe we should wait.” Bev began to speak earning her a hard glare before both psychiatrists were called in with haste.
Dr. Lecter smiled at will seeing the concern on his face.
“She will be fine.” Alana spoke up beating Lecter to it. The woman stiffened as Alana placed a hand on his shoulder.
“Yes, we shall see what we can do, but I have to advice that everyone leave. We don’t want to push her to the point she completely shuts down.”
Jack started arguing. Both women refused to let him stay and told him they would let him come back in if she said anything. Will was the last to leave out behind him promising the girl they’d find the bad man.
The girl looked at him with glossy eyes before the door closed.
The sound of a hanger was what alerted him. The bedroom was but so big and the slight scrape of a hanger against the metal bars he installed in the closet alerted him of a monster hiding. Will stared at the doors of the closet almost inviting her to come out.
“It’s not kind to hide in a child’s room.” He spoke in a harsh whisper. Jameson didn’t stir though her face softened at the sound of his voice.
“I’m sure you’re aware I have to protect her from the monsters that live under the bed and hide in little girl’s closets.” He smiled as the door creaked open. An eye stared at him that was red and puffy.
“You....how could you?” the woman spoke. Will began to rise, and the door closed again.
He walked over the dogs who were all watching with no sense of alertness in their bodies. They knew there was no danger. He liked that.
“Please speak softer,” he murmured, “I’d rather not wake her.”
“You’re going to kill me.” A sob.
“Yes. You were rather rude at the market.”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t realize she was...” a sob, much louder than before escapes from the other side.
Will jerks the door open with fury before grabbing the woman by her collar. Before she can react, he covers her mouth and hushes her.
“You are too loud.” He hisses.
The woman shakes her head pleadingly. Her legs go limp as he begins to drag her across the room. The woman tries to fight- her feign attempts are futile as he tosses her into the hallway before shutting the door quietly.
“How can you do this when she’s here?”
The question is not one he hasn’t thought of before. It was one that remained a constant whisper in his ears at times after the hunt.
“The girl won’t last in an orphanage.” Will says.
Alana has allowed them back in the room as Annabelle stands over the bed caught in a staring match with the child.
“Well she has no other relatives that we can pinpoint. "Alana sighs in defeat. Will moves to the other side of the bed. He catches Annabelle’s eyes, and she nods. It isn’t an accepting nod, but she can tell what he is thinking. Whether she agrees or not, she won’t say out of politeness and the audience. It is a mute argument because, like with his dogs, Will has a habit of attracting strays and killers. However, Jameson seems to be neither. She is a peculiar child. She does no cry nor does have nightmares. She does not speak with her mouth but her eyes. Sometimes, he thinks she knows or has an idea. Her eyes say she can see the shadows that don’t dare to step into her light.
“She won’t survive.” He says as he lifts the girl from the hospital bed without thinking. She latches onto him as if he is the sun greedily taking in his body heat. Annabelle makes a discerning face- one that is curious to see how far he goes.
“Always so unpredictable.” She’ll later whisper when they are alone, and their bodies fall together like meteorites to the earth devouring each other in the purest essence.
The woman looks up at him in realization which causes him to laugh lightly. The simple answer is he is doing what he has always done. Nothing changes with having a child except he is a little bit more careful and ten times more mindful of noise. Still, nights like this, they have a rule.
They hunt when the flower sleeps and the creatures shed their persons’ suits dawning on their real forms: the stag and its shadow.
Oh what a lovely pair they make.