Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson, Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer. What are some of the things that come to mind when you hear any of these names? Evil? Heartless? Cold blooded? Ruthless monsters? Scum of the Earth? A disgrace to the human race? How else could one describe a murderer, or more specifically, a serial killer? Certainly nobody can find anything good to say about them, after all, we are talking about some of the most notorious criminals in human history. People who have committed crimes so vile, the death penalty seems to be an act of mercy. Like they would be getting off too easy for all they’ve done. The general population might even go so far to claim that a murderer is not truly a person. That they are no different than lowly pests not fit to walk amongst civilian life. There simply can be no room in society for vigilantes who do not care for anyone or anything other than themselves. Right? Deranged lunatics who harm others for pleasure, who stop at absolutely nothing till they get what they want. Things that only fuel their greed and lust for power. It would be ludicrous to allow such vermin to roam free! Wouldn’t it? Ironic the things hypocrites will say when the accusations are not directed at themselves. The truth is that so many people commit virtually the same crimes almost daily, only to call others out on it as soon as they get the chance, never owning up to their own actions. After all, it’s only illegal if you get caught, right? It’s enough to make one wonder how nobody ever stops, for one measly minute, and actually take the time to think differently about such criminals. Does anyone ever wonder what compelled them to commit the acts they did, what were the circumstances at the time of the act, or how they became who and what they are today? Everyone started out as a kid at some point. Everyone has a childhood, a past. Surely nobody is born evil as if it were an inheritance, or with a natural instinct to kill, right? Something significant must have happened to them. Something so great, they resorted to becoming killers as a last resort. Or perhaps a series of small events built up emotional stress and trauma throughout a series of years, until it could no longer be contained, thus pushing them over the edge.
Whatever the situation, the point is there is always more than one side to a story. People simply need to be vigilant enough to listen.
It was late August. Warm wind blew moderately across the fair sized town of Brainerd Minnesota. Dark storm clouds filled the night sky as far as the eye could see. Clouds so heavy and thick, the light of not a single star could shine through. Though no rain poured down, heat lightning struck continuously. Dry, static currents of the electrical storm fought relentlessly with the weight of the humidity in the air, leaving one’s skin feeling all clammy in a mixture of sweat and tingley chills. All the little hairs on your body couldn’t decide whether to stand straight up at attention or remain watered down on a night like this. On one hand, one could feel the static emitting off their arms, legs, and neck, barely brushing against flesh as if someone was gently blowing on it from behind, sending chills down most peoples’ spines. On the other, the sluggish heat made it feel like walking through pudding. Sweat poured down in buckets off one’s skin only assuring their misery. Normally, people would stay within the safety of their homes, having the air conditioners cranked on full blast in any attempt to combat the conditions outside with their own personal climate control on the inside. Nobody in their right mind would be caught dead out in the midst of such frightful weather. Shame how for one young soul, however, sanity was but a far cry from reality. For surly, this person was the only one crazy enough to stay out on this treacherous summer’s night.
A young woman was making her strides through the local cemetery known as, ironically enough, Cemetery Hill. Each step she took was slow, calculating, and made with such precision, she might as well have been on top of a balance beam as gracefully as she weaved her way around all the graves. The age of the woman couldn’t be determined from a glance. Her appearance was rather slim and short in stature, indicating that of a teenager in high school, if not possibly younger. Yet despite the girl’s youthful features, her beauty was unparalleled in comparison to any other girl around. The girl’s alabaster skin tone radiated the slightest luminescent aura when viewed at the correct angle. Her hair was all the more hauntingly gorgeous as loose waves of ash blond locks cascaded past her shoulders and beyond her back, all the way down to her ankles. Hair so silky smooth it would shine with a mesmerizing shimmer whenever the light hit it just right. If that wasn’t alluring enough, however, one could go on to say the girl’s chromosomes line up very nicely. Slim as she was, she still had curves. The right curves, some might say, in all the right places. Altogether, she made a truly breathtaking sight. It was apparent her beauty surpassed the age she looked, yet her attire told another story entirely. Others might argue that what she was wearing was rather childish. Stuff that only wild teenagers would wear, not respectable adults. Her clothes may not have been the most elegant or classy, but they were far from being the most simple. Regardless, one couldn’t deny how her wardrobe seemed to possess its own definition of the word ‘fancy.’ A more gothic ensemble, she wore a short-sleeved shirt that seemed loose enough for her to remain comfortable in. On the center was the insignia of a dark red dragon, made more perceptible through its contrast against the black base color of the shirt. Matching the colors of her top was a pair of black jeans trimmed with accents of red. Loose to the point where they were somewhat baggy, but tight enough to hold up, her pants were littered with chains that jangled with every step she took. Her footwear was certainly a spectacle to behold as seven inch platform soles could be seen adorning her feet. As you have probably come to expect by now, they too were black, but the real question is how she can walk so well with such clunkers on without tripping and breaking her own neck! It’s really a miracle within itself. Her final article of clothing resembles a long denim jacket, following the ongoing trend of being black. Draped around the girl’s shoulders, the garment stretched all the way down to the ground. Being left unzipped allowed for it to flow elegantly in the midnight wind alongside her hair. Metal studs of various shapes and sizes embellished the piece of outer-wear enhancing its already edgy impression, along with an abundance of miscellaneous straps - also studded with metal. Needless to say, this trench coat looked like something that came right out of The Matrix. Completing the the overall look were a few accessories. Black, fingerless gloves with cubic zirconium across the knuckles covered her hands. Her left ear had a brass colored cuff in the shape of a dragon clipped onto it, and dark black sunglasses concealed the true colors of her eyes. Yes, she wore her sunglasses even in the dead of the darkest of nights.
The lightning above accommodating for the otherwise distinct lack of visibility allowed the girl to not only see where she was walking, but also read the names and descriptions on each and every headstone in the cemetery. She read them all carefully, being sure not to skimp out on a single detail. Looking at the birth to death dates allowed people to know how young each person was when they were laid to rest in eternal slumber, and how long ago it has been since they died. The ages were various, ranging from young to old alike. Proof that death does not discriminate. Perhaps the most intriguing, if not disturbing, spectacle in this case was how a wide variety of the stones were relatively recent. There had been many who died within the last few years - if not less. None of it seemed to matter to the girl. With each polished rock she’d come across, the same expression adorned her features. A blank look with absolutely no emotion behind it. No sadness, no fear, no grief, no remorse, no love, no anger... Nothing the headstones had carved on them appeared to phase her. One might wonder if the girl was capable of feeling anything at all, for a brick wall seemed to have more emotion than she did at the moment. Yet, if somebody were to get really close, and look directly at her face hard enough, they would be able to detect just how somber she really was.
Nobody could be certain as to what was going through the young female’s mind with every name she read. To anyone else, the deceased were no different than people you would casually encounter on the street, or in the mall, or at the grocery store every single day. Anybody you would meet for no more than a moment, then disregard for the rest of your life, for odds were likely you would never see them again. The fact that such people where now all dead within such a short period of time between one another was unsettling, especially for such a small little city where very little was ever known to happen. Not even the dearly departed in the grave seem to share a common connection with each other. Hardly any of the engravings displayed the same surname as another, ruling family ties out, and the vast diversity between age did nothing to prove there was any correlation among the dead. Nothing added up. So what is the purpose for this woman being here, throwing even the slightest regard to all of these strangers’ tombs? Her presence sparked many questions with very little answers. Was it possible that she really had known every last one of these people, and she simply stopped by to show her respects? Highly unlikely. Perhaps she hated them, arriving only to revel in the fact that they were finally gone? Like a criminal returning to the scene of a crime. Maybe she only knew one of them, and was merely passing by looking for a certain name in particular? But that made even less sense. Why go through the trouble of paying tribute to the others if she was only looking for one all along? And surly she could have picked a better day when the weather wasn’t so... unpredictable. Perhaps she never knew any of them at all! Maybe she’s just one of those weird people who honors the dead so much, she felt compelled to give each one of them their dues, despite the weather? A bit of a stretch observation, but one can never be too sure these days. For all anyone knew, the girl’s purpose could even be some strange mixture of a few if not all of the previous options at once. Whatever the real reason, one thing everyone could agree on was how suspicious the whole scenario made her out to be.