2569 readings

411

WINNER
Jury Selection

Also available :
[Extract from the confession of a condemned man to his lawyer]

I have not always had this gift. The gift of being able to see ghosts. I was only able to see them after I had committed my first murder. I remember it as if it was yesterday. Little Laura... She was so pretty. Blonde, curly hair. The face of an angel, always smiling. A teenage girl with her whole life in front of her. I followed her when she was coming home from school, and I got her in the little park she walked through to get home. I took her into a dark corner, then slit her throat and buried her in a corner of that same park. It was my first murder, and I took very great care because until now no-one has ever found her body.

And it was shortly afterwards that I saw it. Her ghost. It was transparent, and silent. It was standing at the foot of my bed, and simply looking at me, searchingly. I was scared to death at first, of course. I thought it was there to take revenge, to haunt me, or else to push me towards suicide, one way or the other. But it remained there, doing nothing. It was staring at me the whole time. I tried hard to get rid of it, with salt and steel, like in the films, but it was hopeless, I couldn’t reach it. I couldn’t touch it and it couldn’t touch me. It was just a burden following me around. Maybe it was hoping I would feel some remorse, that it would prick my conscience? But unfortunately for it, I don’t have one. A conscience, that is.

On the contrary, I was very keen to add some more ghosts to my collection, so I began to look for other victims. Like that thirty-two-year-old homosexual, who I had found through a dating site. After attracting him into an alleyway, I disembowelled him and left him there to rot. That was my first known victim, the one that launched my reputation as the ‘Midnight Killer’, as it became my practice to kill my victims at that precise hour.

As I had expected, when I woke up I had not one ghost, but two. Next to Laura was the ghost of my victim of the previous night, with the same expression on his face. That expression that I was to see on more and more faces, for I was not about to stop when things were going so well.

So I kept on killing, more and more frequently, more and more perfectly. And my collection of ghosts grew bigger with each murder. They were almost like a little army following me everywhere, staring at me fixedly. Oh, if only others could see what I saw... Each face was like a hymn of glory, a tribute to my work. Each face reminded me of the night I had killed it. I was enjoying the best days of my short life.

But then one incident upset everything. Somebody had had the bright idea of copying my modus operandi, and killing people the same way I did. But he did not choose his victims at random, as he was following in my footsteps. So he killed people from the same families as my victims. Their uncle, their father, their mother, their sister... Until I found him. He was full of nothing but unconditional admiration for me. He even asked me for my autograph... which I gave him of course... signed with his own blood. But the interesting thing was not that wretched copycat, but what happened afterwards. In the morning, his ghost had indeed joined the others, but this time they were no longer looking at me. They were much too busy with the new arrival.

They were torturing him. Horribly. Even I, used as I was to seeing that type of thing, could not help averting my eyes from the barbaric spectacle. I even felt sorry for that miserable creature, which just goes to show.
Then, at last, I understood. I understood why they followed me. Why they never said anything.

They were waiting.

They were waiting for my turn to come. For me to finally enter the spirit world, when they would have their revenge at last. Just as with that wretched copycat, they had great plans for me, and all they had to do was to wait for the moment to come. And, as the ghosts that they were, waiting was what they did best.

I tried, of course, to ask for forgiveness, I wept, I pleaded. But it made no difference. They remained like marble and I could do nothing to alter my fate. After a while I became resigned. What was the point?

Now that the police have caught me, and I am soon going to go to the electric chair, I am very frightened. I am really terrified, because I am the only person on Earth who knows what awaits him after his death. An eternity of torture, inflicted by the ghosts of his victims. And well they know it, because I can see them at this very moment, as I am telling you my story. They no longer bear the same expression with which they used to greet me every morning.

No, now, for the first time... I can see they are smiling.

Translated by Wendy Cross

411

Few words for the author?

This is a place for encouragement, constructive criticism, and respectful comments… unsure if you should say what’s on your mind? Take a look at our advice on commenting here! Read the chart

To post comments, please
Image of Mkb
Mkb · ago
Hi Diago. Nicely told.
·