Wednesday, November 2, 2022


    Nothing is better than catching someone in the act of a dark secret. My neighbor, Albert, certainly had one, but so did I. 

    It was a bleak day in December, where the air was crisp and the world was quiet in the New York mountains. I dragged my tools up a hill, crunching snow with every step. The air nipped the tip of my nose. Everyday it was the same routine: Stacy my belongings under the same bush. Bring my spiky mat, as I call it, to the same small, lonely road. I unrolled it carefully across the snow-kissed asphalt and returned to my bush. I ducked down and waited, my rifle at the ready. 

    It was all about patience. This road, abandoned by the state, was the perfect place for me. It only ever got a few cars driving on it per day. Most times I had to wait long hours before someone drove by, but today, I didn’t have to. A tan SUV was speeding by only to be halted as the tires popped. I counted: One, two, three and then four. They combust simultaneously, but with my experience, I can now hear the difference in a second. My rifle was ready, but as the driver stepped out to see what happened, I lowered it. 

    This driver was none other than Albert, my elusive next-door neighbor. Taking someone so close to me was a risk, but I don’t leave witnesses. As much as I liked the old man, mainly because he remains unseen, I can’t have him reporting this. A dead man tells no tales, and the cops would never find him. They never found any of my other victims. I readied my rifle once more and blew out his knee caps, where his unprepared body collapsed. As he bled out, I grabbed my bag, raced to his side, and stuck a needle through his neck. 

    Before he became unconscious, his eyes looked into mine and he smiled. I looked at his legs, which now stained the road more than I was hoping for. It would take me hours to clean this, but I got to work. I also rummaged through his person and his car for personal identification, but found that there was nothing of the sort. No ID, no license, and no registration. All that remained was one trash bag in the trunk that reeked of rotted meat . As I opened it, I realized the reason for his smile. 

I wasn’t the only one.

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