The murder

    Photo by Blake Sobczak/North by Northwestern

    You are waiting. You have been waiting.

    He steps off the bus, the buds of his headphones tucked snugly into his inner ears, the vinyl on his jacket giving off a dull sheen in the glow of the street lights. Loathing rises in your throat and your heart immediately begins to beat faster. But you stop yourself. There will be time enough for that. The key, for now, is to remain as emotionless and unheeded as a shadow.

    And so you step into the crowd of people spilling out of the bus, casually slipping into the throng of shufflers headed north, the same direction he is trudging, his hands in his pockets and the cacophonic tunes of Lady Gaga no doubt blasting into his head.

    It’s always easier to kill someone from the front.

    The crowd eventually disperses and he is walking more or less alone. At any rate, no one gives him a second glance. Or you, for that matter. You have learned that, despite popular opinion, black is not the best color for hiding in the dark. The dark is never actually pitch black, so a person wearing black clothing standing in the shadows appears to be a distinguishable dark spot to a careful observer. You are wearing gray; a dark, somber gray blends into the grimy shadows cast by the city at night. Walking close to the sides of buildings and avoiding the glare of the street lights, you are invisible.

    It’s lucky that Chicago is designed like a grid. You can slip down one alley, run down the parallel street, sprint down the adjacent alley and catch him as he ambles past. Strategically, it’s better than grabbing him from behind. It’s always easier to kill someone from the front.

    Slightly out of breath from running, you peer out cautiously. He is approximately thirty feet away. You wait for him to get closer. If you scare him when he’s this far away, there’s a good chance he’ll be able to outrun you. You’re a fast runner, but adrenaline, you’ve come to realize, knows no bounds.

    Twenty feet away. You can hear his footsteps. You will wait until you can hear him breathing. Ten feet, and you brace yourself. You try to stifle your emotions, but you can’t help yourself. Rage is coursing through your veins, your breathing is erratic…but you must control yourself. You can’t let this become a crime of passion. Those are too messy, leave behind too much evidence. Control. Control is the key.

    You can hear his harsh breathing. Your muscles tense. One step closer and…

    You don’t take an inefficient flying leap at him. You step right in front of him. He looks up at you, recognizes you, his eyes widening, but before he can say anything your switchblade snaps open and you plunge it into him.

    You stab him so as to release the least amount of blood but induce the most amount of pain, thrusting the knife upwards through his diaphragm, slicing through the soft tissue towards the left side so you can sever his aorta. The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach…

    Blood pools in a neat circle on his abdomen, soaking through his clothing. Hardly any of it spills, but he is dead before you pull your knife out of his torso, before he collapses on the pavement and before you wipe your switchblade on his jacket.

    You hate him. You would have liked nothing more than to stab him multiple times, to drain all his blood from his body, to have him feel himself die, to drag your blade across his jugular veins and sever his head from his body, but you restrain yourself. This, you remind yourself, is not a crime of passion. You take the money from his wallet so the police will know it wasn’t a crime of passion, too.


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