Chapter 1

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Prologue

 It was dusk.  All was quiet.  The neighborhood was coated in darkness.  It was thick.  A few lights dimly shown through the leaves of the numerous trees that dotted the hilltop.  No one would expect him, much less her.  He was alone just like always. He could see the moon.  It hung in the sky like a shy sun.  It goaded him.  It tried to show his location, but even the moon cast shadows. 

He had been here many times before.  Usually he would come in the daylight, but today was after all a special occasion.  He had killed before.  When he was young he always enjoyed capturing stray cats or dogs and ‘playing’ with them before bagging them and tossing them in the river.  He had become quite good at it actually.  First it was a simple smack to the head and then the one time he used a sharp rock and saw the first real spray of blood he knew he had to find a knife.  The next day he stole one from his father’s butcher shop.  He had never been sure if his father had known.  That night when his father back handed him to the stone fireplace causing his head to rocket with pain and his lips to tremble with blood he had a fleeting thought that maybe his father had known about the knife, but he had never been certain.  Plus, the next hit from his father made him forget that last thought so it was a rather moot point anyhow

The day after that he took his black-eyed self and used the knife for the first time.  He caught his ‘first’ prey behind the house and used the knife on it over and over again.  Splashing himself with blood until he became scared that he might be caught and hurriedly cleaned up and threw the remains into the river to reside with the others. 

He smiled at the thought of his childhood and shook himself to the present once more.  Behind his back his co-workers had described his smile as murderous and he smiled again at the irony.  Tonight was special.  He had hunted and killed the most dangerous game before, but he felt more alive tonight than before, perhaps, because it was a full moon?

He had been waiting in the carriage house for hours waiting…waiting for the perfect moment.  The way the moon had begun to shrink away told him it was time.  It had given up.  He slowly began to creep out of the carriage house making sure he didn’t make even the slightest of a noise as he slipped out of the backdoor which he had left slightly ajar for just this moment.  He clicked it behind him and began to move between the decorative foliage as he headed toward the main house.  It was large almost manor sized.

“The rich always have a way of living in grander don’t they?” he thought.  He reached the maid’s entrance and opened the door without hesitation.  How sad and humorous was it that the lady of the house was the person to provide him with an easy, afterhours entrance without even knowing it? Again he chortled to himself at the irony.  He was a ghost to most.  People told him things without even realizing it or caring. 

He silently fell into the shadows of the house and moved across the kitchen to the stairs.  He crept upwards.  It seemed almost as long as he had hidden in the carriage house, but he knew it had only been a couple of seconds…a minute at most.  He had finally reached her door.  He had dreamed about this moment for several nights and he had to wait to calm down from his excitement.  He didn’t want to be careless.  He finally grasped the doorknob and turned it…first a quarter turn, then finally a full one after hearing no rustle from the other side. 

Once the door was open enough for him to crouch through he was quick and efficient.  He stood, strode across the room swiftly, slipped the knife from his sleeve –the very same he had stolen years earlier- and began to stab.  She screamed and thrashed as the blood soaked through her expensive sheets and coated his face.  She desperately tried to escape, but it was already too late.

 As she started to choke out on her own blood he paused and crouched…he whispered, “It’ll be alright.  We’re having fun, right?”  

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