The Disciples of Hades
cold as ice, the feeling inside him, when he’d thrown the garrote over her head
and with an icy grip had strangled her until she sank lifeless to the ground.
All those weeks when he’d observed her habits and followed her every move had
finally yielded the reward he deserved. The bitch was so predictable. Every
Friday afternoon she’d left her offi ce with a suitcase on wheels and driven to
the country to visit an older woman and a young boy, presumably her mother and
the imbecilic son she no doubt was hiding from her fancy friends in London.
Every Saturday morning she’d taken mother and son on a shopping trip to
Bristol, and every Saturday afternoon she’d gone jogging alone in the woods,
always along the same track.
On his scouting trips, he’d discovered that the part of the forest where she went jogging was very secluded, and everything had gone according to plan. Still, caution had to be the rule. He grabbed her legs and dragged her a little farther into the woods to a tree stump and shoved her body in, then covered the sides of the stump with forest debris, completely hiding his kill. He drove back to the hotel, where he’d been staying for a week, acting like an ordinary tourist seeing the sights. He had dinner at the hotel restaurant, and afterward had gone back to his room, where he calmly waited till nightfall before returning to the woods.
Back in the forest and under the cover of darkness, he dragged the body out of its hiding place. There she was, that conceited prosecutor who’d caused him to suffer the humiliation
of being locked up in that godforsaken loony bin, where the only highlight was the hour spent each week with that batty nuthouse doctor, who was the only one talking to him on par with his intellect. The first time he again felt the overwhelming desire to kill he’d just turned eighteen, but he’d made the mistake of trying to strangle her with his bare hands, and the old cow was stronger than she looked and had gotten away. Now he was older and much more circumspect, and when he looked at the corpse, he felt a new sensation—as if he’d become bigger, taller, and more powerful. Then he inhaled deeply, sucking the coolness of the air into the very depth of his being.
He thought he could just bury her there in the woods—and may she rot—but then again he could burn herfirst—like a witch—and with that thought his face contracted into a grimace.He went to the car he’d hired, took the petrol can out of the boot, and after he poured the petrol over the body, he danced around it like some Grimm’s fairytale imp, playing at lighting a match and blowing it out before it could ignite the petrol, singing, “It’s up to me to let you burn, it’s up to me to let you rot.”
Suddenly he stood still and looked up at a full moon, which had appeared from under the black clouds to shine just for him, and he thought: The fire will burn away the corruption of the flesh. He lit a last match and dropped it on the petrol-soakedbody. The fire ignited fast, and when she burned before him, it felt like the flames were cleansing the depth of his tortured soul. He stepped away from the heat, and as he looked at the consuming flames from a distance, a deep sense of satisfaction washed over him like cool water. “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust,” he said ceremoniously