What is my name? Well, that depends on the town you met me in. In one town, I was called Bobby Smith. In another town, I was known as David Veridian. This town, I go by Mitchell Turner. The name I was given at birth is Michael Anthony Gray and I have secrets, lots of them. I was born with blonde hair and green eyes. My six-foot-two, 215 pound muscular frame, is hard to miss. My wide shoulders make me look like a football player. In each new town, my eyes and hair color change to match the name I choose to give myself. Bobby Smith had light brown hair with blue eyes. David Veridian had red hair with green eyes. Mitchell Turner has black hair with brown eyes. I choose to be a day laborer. There are no name checks, no background checks. You show up, do the job and get paid in cash. It makes it easier for me to slip in and out of town. I don’t stick in one town for very long. If I begin to get comfortable, I move on. You see, when I get comfortable is when the itch happens. When the itch happens, I can’t stop it. I must see it through to the end or drive myself mad. I am running from my past and trying not to get caught. I have done a lot of bad things to people. Some things the human brain cannot fathom. There are moments I wonder how badly I am broken to do these things to people, innocent people. Was it boredom, or was it something else completely? I do enjoy it, every single moment of it. I cannot change who I am, nor would I want to. Life would be so boring if I was normal.
Afterwards, I think I should end everything. I should just jump off a bridge, or slit my wrists, or take a gun to my own head. I never do. I just move on to the next town and change my name. In my head, I believe if I keep moving, then I can outrun the itch. When the itch takes over, then there is nothing I can do about it. I stalk my prey like a lion does a gazelle in the African wild. I watch them for weeks, waiting for the right time to strike. Once I have them in my clutches, then there is no turning back. That is why I run. The moment I feel myself starting to think about it and look as everyone as my next plaything, I run. I take the first bus out that town and go miles away. There are times I find myself in an entirely new state. I have to stop or one day I will get caught. Let’s face it, I never want to be caught. I just want to live. If it means I keep running from town to town, then so be it. But I will not go to jail over the crimes I have committed, and I will not end up in a psych ward. I was in a ward once and I will never return.
I remember my first kill. It was Old Mrs. Werthington’s cat. I was six when it happened. The black and white cat would constantly come into our yard and never let me pet it. Sassy would spit at me and growl. I was scratched at least a dozen times within a month. I figured, if I couldn’t pet the cat there was no need for it to be in our yard. I worked at getting it to trust me. I would keep part of my ham sandwich in my pockets, leaving a trail of it for the cat. One day, it came to me to eat out of my hand. That is when I grabbed it. I wrapped the garden hose around its neck and squeezed with everything I had. The cat struggle for a little while but finally died. The yellow of its eyes were completely black and the whites were red. I took the cat into the woods and left it by a tree for the forest animals to eat. Later that night, I heard Mrs. Werthington calling for Sassy. I laid in my bed and smiled. It was a secret that only Sassy and I knew. Every night and even during the day she would call for her cat. Her frail, shaky voice called out for her. I even offered to help her look for her. She called me a sweet boy for offering and then proceeded to explain that sometimes cats wander off, but they will always return home. Sassy never came home. My first taste of death brought joy to my heart. I wanted to do it again. The “itch” was planted, and I needed to kill again, and I did.
FORTHCOMING in FEAR THE DARK