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Chapter 2

Ralph was aware the knife barely protruding from his hand was the wrong kind of knife for this kind of work. The blade, only three inches long was too short and too dull to make a clean cut, but easy to conceal, small enough to perhaps get away with an excuse for having it if someone caught him with it. “It’s only for cutting meat,” he could say. The red plastic handled knife was also cheap, found in any hardware store or Walmart, and far too common to easily trace. But there was another plus, which to him was more important than all the rest.

Ralph loved the power surge he felt, the rush, of having to use all his strength to tear through female flesh, pounding his knife into a soft female body over and over until his ambushed victim was no longer able to fight back. And they did fight back, screaming and kicking and clawing with their nails. Sometimes it took many hard thrusts of the blade before they stopped resisting. He liked that. He liked watching sweet, little, rich girls – in his depraved mind, they were all rich-- writhe in pain and terror, finally forced to realize they were helpless to stop his brutal attacks. He couldn’t wait to throw them to the ground, rip off their blouse or jacket, pull down their pants, rip through their panties and bras, and do whatever he damn-well wanted to their bodies before stripping them of their jewelry and money. Most would give in, praying he would spare them if they just kept their mouths shut and stopped fighting him, pretended to like him, made sounds like they were enjoying it. Some would scream, as if that would save them? He had a simple solution for that. If they screamed, and refused to stop after

he slapped them in the mouth, he’d just slit their throats. Nobody else could hear the gurgling sounds, but he could…oh yeah…like the sound of a stream bubbling, but far more pleasure- giving. He got off on their shock and agony. Why shouldn’t he? He had been suffering far longer than they would. Their pain would be intense, concentrated, too soon over, while his was endless, endless, endless. Brain dulled, he felt nothing for them or anyone else. This girl would be just like the others...he wished he could remember how many…two…three…four...more?

They were all the same once he finished with them…almost unrecognizable.

Something caught his attention. He heard a noise ahead. Sneakers? “What the….” How did she get past me? He couldn’t understand how the girl was now jogging ahead of him. I must have been daydreaming? He let out an angry curse. Afraid it was too late, now fully alert,

Ralph’s eyes zeroed in on the girl. She was not too far away to catch. But how did she get past me? Could I have gone off that long? I thought she was wearing yellow? My damn eyes are playing tricks.

Ralph trotted clumsily after her, the knife clutched tightly in his hand. He hoped she would be tired, or too busy concentrating on running to notice him pursuing. He’d fix her extra special for forcing him to chase her. I don’t like running, he raged, as he searched the path ahead. All he had to do was find a good spot, tree covered, away from the road and the few cars meandering toward home in the darkening sky. Oh man, I’m going to mess this one up good!”

The thought of what he was going to do to her excited him, consumed him. He could almost feel her under him, her clothes in shreds, her naked body thrashing, unable to fight him off as he held her pinned to the ground, maybe breaking her back so he could enjoy the panic in her eyes longer. He wondered how big and juicy her breasts were…almost there…almost. He felt

the throbbing inside him. The anticipation was overwhelming. He wondered if he might be able to have sex with her. He hadn’t felt this lustful in a long time. It was her fault for making him chase her. Almost…almost.

The shadows of the trees reached across the sky and made it hard for Ralph to see where his shoes were landing. He turned on a burst of speed and finally was catching up…or was she slowing down? They were near a particularly dark area, thick leafy branches blocking the sun, the area in which another jogger had been killed three years earlier. But Ralph did not know that. Neither did Shelly.

Ralph could almost reach her with his knife. “You’re mine now bitch,” he rasped, his breathing fast and hard, as he braced to thrust the knife deep into her back. “Hey, bitch,” he shouted, hoping to terrify her, hoping she would turn around and he would see the terror in her face. That would really do it, he thought, the spark he needed to explode into violence.

Why didn’t she stop? She must have heard me? Why isn’t she turning to see who called? I want to see her damn eyes! Bitch!

Ralph, now totally morphed into a predatory beast, pounced, the blade fully extended in his fist. “Damn you,” he screeched as he threw all his weight behind the deadly thrust into her spine. “Die, you bitch!”

Fully launched, Ralph let out a blood-curdling scream, as his body followed the knife and seemed to be falling through a cloud, a translucent mist, shaped like a human being.

“What the hell?” Ralph’s shocked brain cried, as he crashed to the ground, head bursting open against a jagged rock, his knife plunged inches below his heart. He couldn’t understand

how he had fallen like that. Am I that clumsy, he asked himself, as he almost burst into laughter at the ridiculousness of missing the girl, an easy target, and falling on his own knife. He thought he could just get up and finish his job. And then he tasted his own blood.

But I’m still here. I can still get her. “Damn you, bitch,” he moaned. ”You’re dead now.”

He tried to pull the blade out of the small wound, but something was forcing it to stay where it was. He pulled up again, but the knife seemed to be digging deeper, as if something invisible was pressing down on his hands and forcing the knife inwards.

“What the hell is this,” Ralph’s brain screamed, as he gradually realized he was powerless against what felt like strong invisible hands pressing down on the knife, pressing down, and inch by inch yanking it up toward his heart, with Ralph screaming in agony at each thrust. “Who’s doing this, he screamed, writhing in the last throes of pain and terror.

And still the knife was pushing in and out, now sawing through the sternum up to the neck with greater speed.

In the end, Ralph’s hands finally slipped off the knife. He gave up fighting. The knife no longer moved. Gradually his breathing stopped…his heart beat went on a little longer…his eyes remained open, searching for his invisible assailant, even in death.

Shelly had witnessed everything and was now staring in shock from a safe distance at the incredible scene. “Where’s the girl,” she muttered, looking for the second corpse, the body of a young female runner. Where is she?

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