It’s 3:17 AM; a steady rain is falling, just like it’s been for the past two days. The night is black, even the street lamp is off. I wait in the darkened doorway for the “perfect one.” The “perfect one” will come, she always does and when she does I shall meet her like I always do.
I don’t understand why? Why am I forced to meet the “perfect ones?” Why have I been chosen? I try to refuse, to stay away, but I’m always being dragged out. I scream, I argue, I smash my head against the wall trying… trying to stop the voice in my head. That damn voice! So mellow, so soft, whispering to me – “it’s time, it’s necessary, you can’t refuse.” Over and over and over again, it just continues, without stopping, until I agree and I prepare.
I think this one will be number 5, yes I believe it is the fifth “perfect one.” I always bring something back, a memento of our time together. The bar should be closing now. The last call for drinks is over. The bartender should be ushering the patrons into the street soon. The door’s opening, a couple comes out. The man opens his umbrella. They look up and down the empty street for a taxi. There are never any taxis in this neighborhood, in rain or shine.
The couple starts to walk up the block. Now they cross the street to where I am in hiding. I pull my wide brim hat over my eyes and pull my collar up on my full-length black leather coat as I back into the corner of the dark doorway. They walk right by me, talking away, never looking around. They keep their heads down as they continue up the street and turn at the far corner.
The lights go off in the bar as the door opens and several people shuffle out into the rainy night. A couple runs to a nearby car. One man, obviously drunk, staggers down the street. The last one out of the pub steps into view; a woman about 5 feet tall, stocky, probably in her late 40’s. She pulls the raincoat up and pulls the hood over her head as she starts walking up the block. She must be a waitress or barmaid. She walks with her head down and her hands in her pockets. As she comes abreast of where I am watching, the voice tells me that she is the “perfect one.”
I let her get a half block ahead of me. No one is following her and there is not a soul on the street. Even the buildings’ lights are off. I stay on the opposite side of the street following her. As she nears a small side street, she stops and turns around. I stop behind a tree and peer through a car window at her. I know she feels that she is being followed. She’s nervous as she looks around again, then shrugs and starts down the side street. I cross the street and start gaining on her. I stay in the street, walking briskly towards her.
A quarter way up the street she stops by a large multi-level house. She fumbles for her keys inside her handbag. I creep over closer. She opens the gate and heads for a small set of steps that lead to a basement apartment. As she descends the steps I run and pounce on her as she fumbles trying to place the key into the lock. I have one gloved hand over her mouth as my other hand holds a knife to her throat. She tries to scream, but my glove muffles the sound. “Shush, be silent, not a sound or I’ll cut your throat from ear to ear. Will you be quiet?” I ask.
“What do you want?” she whispers. “You want money? I only have sixty dollars and fifty cents, tips were bad, but, but it’s yours. Go on take it!”
“I don’t want your money,” I say. I watch her intently, seeing the panic in her eyes, and the sweat secreting from her skin. I inhale deeply, the fear emanating from her is intoxicating.
“Oh God, please don’t rape me, don’t do it, I beg you!” she cries.
“I don’t want sex with you,” I say.
“What the hell do you want then? Is it jewelry? I can get you some. I don’t have any now, but I promise you I will give you whatever I have. I won’t say nuthin to the cops, I swear,” she begs.
“I don’t want your jewelry,” I say.
“What the fuck do you want then? She yells.
“Shush, you’re the ‘perfect one’, I was sent for you,” I whispered.
She shoves me back, screams at the top of her lungs as she bangs on the door. “Help, help, help! Let me in, there’s a lunatic here. Help!”
I grab her hair, pull her head back and slam her against the wall. The lights come on in the apartment. I have the knife poised to strike at her throat. She looks at the door, looks at my face and we both hear the locks being opened on the door. She screams even louder this time, but now she has a reason to scream as I plunge the knife into her right eye, cutting the eye out of the socket.
A big man opens the door and steps out. He starts to say “What the fu..” as I slam him with my fist and stab his shoulder with the bloodied knife. I turn to my “perfect one” and say; “Now I have my memento, as I shove the eye ball into my coat pocket. I hear sirens as I plunge the knife into her throat. As I turn to run I hear her trying to say something, but the words are garbled as her blood continues to pour out.
I run up the few steps to the street. I can see police car lights coming up from a block away. I turn and run up the street and as I near the corner another police car turns down the street. I turn again and run down the street as I hear a cop yell, “You, stop, police! Stop or I’ll shoot.” I keep running, the rain is pouring down, I see an alley off to my right. As I run down the alley I hear shots being fired, I slip and fall hard on the pavement. As I clear my head I look up and see a taxi at the end of the alley. I look back and pair of cops, with their guns out, are cautiously coming down the darkened alley. I run for the taxi.
I jump in the cab and yell, “go, go, go!” The driver puts down his newspaper and says “Where to?”
“Just drive, go anywhere, just get out of here!” I scream.
“Sure thing buddy. I just have one stop to make before I drop you off.”
“Yeah, yeah whatever,” I said.
“What happened back there?” The driver asks.
“I don’t know for sure. It sounds like a woman was attacked and the cops think I did it. I’m just looking to put some distance between them and me.”
“Don’t worry they won’t catch you now, not in my taxi,” he says.
As the streets roll away I no longer hear the police sirens. I settle back into the seat and ask the driver “What were you doing at the end of the alley? You had the taxi lights on and the ‘On Duty’ light showing.”
“I was waiting for you. You’re my only fare for the night,” he said.
“What? How can that be? You don’t know me and I sure didn’t call you. So how were you waiting for me?”
“I just knew you would be there. Well, here we are. You might as well come in. We’ll be a few minutes. There are some people I want you to meet.” The driver exits the taxi and proceeds to the door of a pool hall. He stops, turns to me and waves me over. I get out of the taxi and I notice that my hands are covered in wet, oozing blood. I no longer have gloves on, but the knife is still in my hand.
As I near the door, the driver opens it and I step into the room. I look around and see that a group of women are playing pool. As I move deeper into the room the women put down their pool cues and turn to look at me. Oh no! These women are the four ‘perfect ones’ of the past. This can’t be happening; these women are all dead; I killed them. One by one they come up to me. Each one asks if I remember her? As I stare at them in horror, they start to change. They start to become what I made them into, when I took my memento from them. One woman shows me her missing and blood soaked right ear. She reaches down and takes the knife from my hand. I can’t move a muscle. I am frozen in place. I can look down and see that the blood is pouring from my hands onto the floor.
The woman, whose right ear is missing, brings the knife up and cuts off my right ear. The pain is excruciating. I start to scream, but no sound comes out. I stare in horror as she takes my ear and places it over her missing ear. My ear replaced the one she was missing, making her whole again. In succession each of the other women came forward. They handed the knife to each other as they cut off what I had removed from them and reattached it to themselves. One removed my nose, another the middle finger on my right hand, and the next one took my hair scalp.
I heard the door open. I turned my head completely around and saw my latest “perfect woman” enter without her right eye. As she walked to the other women she said, “Sorry I’m late, but the traffic was brutal!” The women started to laugh. The one eyed woman, with blood on her throat and face, took the knife. She smiled and pried my squeezed shut right eye open as she inserted the tip of the blade into my eye and slowly worked it around the eye socket. “How does it feel?” she asked.
Each part of me that was cut off continued the agony without stopping or the pain ebbing away. The pain increased in intensity ten-fold as the next part of me was removed. I kept screaming and screaming, but no sounds came forth. With my remaining eye I saw her reinsert my eyeball into her eye socket. My brown eye was replaced with a blue one that matched her other eye.
“Well, time to be going. I guess we’re done here. Ladies your limousine awaits to take you to your destination. As for you, it’s back in the taxi for your final ride,” the taxi driver said.
“No, no this can’t be! The voices told me what to do. I only followed what they said,” I stammered.
The taxi driver laughed as he put me back into his cab and started driving. As the heat intensified in the taxi, the appearance of the driver started changing. His face and hands became red, horns sprouted on his forehead and the entire taxi seemed to be aflame. The taxi driver laughed again as he said, “Voices in your head are the last thing you’ll worry about now!”