THE SEVENTH CROSS

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THE FIRST KILL

That would lead to his first kill. He knew as soon as he saw her that she was the one. At first glance he was taken aback. “Mommy!” Under his breath, thank God, and then he realized how foolish that was. She was the spitting image and as beautiful as he remembered his mom to be. He instantly loved her . . . and then he hated her! Had he possessed a weapon at that moment, she would have surely died then and there.

But now he knew what must be done. It had to be done methodically, like the last one. He could do this and no one would ever know it was him! He’d noticed her name when she’d swiped her card at the dispensary, and made a mental note of it. If she was like everyone else, she’d be easy to find. And she was. FB would be all he’d need to know more about her than she knew about herself! People are so stupid these days! She deserved to die!

Now it was time for him to put his plan into motion. Part of him wished he could tell her to get everything in order to make it easier on the survivors. Why aren’t people more organized? His cupboards were more organized than most people’s lives!

Jason knew he had to be meticulous. There could be no connection between the two of them. None. He’d followed her the last few days and had finally determined where the murder would take place. People are so predictable! But that was a good thing, and two evenings from now, he would execute his plan. He’d even brought her a gift for the special occasion. It was a simple cross much like his Mom had worn. He remembered how she would caress it as she talked to him about God, and tell him how much God loved him, and how much she loved him. My boy! And he began to cry, and again as he had every night for years, he curled up in a fetal position and finally fell asleep at the foot of the bed.

He could barely contain his excitement as the sun began to set that evening. Soon she’d come down this path as she’d done every night for the past week, alone and oblivious to her surroundings. What was wrong with people? Didn’t they know that there were predators everywhere?

And then he saw her slowly strolling his way. He slipped his gloves on, zippered up his jacket, pulled his hood over his head, and waited. If he did this right, one quick snap of the neck is all it should take.

But it didn’t quite work out that way. She glanced up at the last moment and as he lunged for her, she side stepped him and screamed. He panicked but quickly regained his composure, and with a final lunge he brought her down, and with a quick flick of his wrists, he heard her neck snap and soon she moved no more. Apparently no one had heard her scream so he stayed with her a bit longer, softly stroking her long auburn hair. “I love you Mommy. Why didn’t you love me?” And with that he placed the tiny cross in her hands, stroked her hair one last time, and departed into the night.

When he was safely back in the confines of his home, he broke down. He sobbed without ceasing for hours. Thank God he had made his way home before the floodgates opened. But by morning, any guilt, if that’s what it was, was completely gone. And now there were four crosses left.

Jason had long ago given up trying to categorize himself. After his parents’ death, he began an intensive study into the supposed minds of psychopaths, and sociopaths, as well as any other path he could think of. The best he could come up with was that he could be deemed a sociopath with psychopathic tendencies. Whatever! They could call him whatever they wanted but there was no way on God’s green earth that they would ever catch him!

Still, he wondered why taking a life had virtually no effect on him. Even when he read about the young lady found murdered on the running trails the previous evening, it meant nothing to him. He felt a little sad that she had left behind a husband and two children, but she should have been more careful.

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