The Thrill of the Hunt. Short Story.

Ok, this is gonna sound a bit random, but this has been annoying me for awhile, it is relation to this ad here, and what exactly it is about.

Yes, it is about smoking and quitting which is a good thing, personally I don’t care if people smoke, they know the danger blah blah blah. I don’t smoke mainly because it tastes horrible, makes you and your clothing stink along with searing your lungs.

When I first saw the ad, I thought it was an ad saying “you look really stupid when you smoke, really really stupid. As stupid as these people” why did I think this? I thought they were “smoking” tampons. That is what they look like. Of all the shapes and sizes they could have chosen, why tampon shape? how hard is it to create a long, cylindrical object that looks like a cigarette? make it a bit thinner, a bit longer and bam, feels just like a cigarrette without the searing heat and lung burning capacity.

How did no one look at the shape and think “you know what? these look like the friends of a womans monthly visitor” were there no women on the design staff? If I smoked I would avoid quitting if they were my only option mainly so I wouldn’t look like a complete and utter jackass.

I dare you to look at that ad and tell me it does not look like they are all smoking tampons. I dare you.

Anyway, on with the show!


The Thrill of the Hunt.

He moved slowly, carefully through the night. Normally the street would be aglow in sickly yellow light but there had been a power cut, so now only the occasionally break in clouds allowed the moon to light the way. It was much darker than he expected, but he could still see well enough, besides, he knew where he was going and this route had been walked hundreds of times. The area was neat and tidy, annoyingly so, every garden was perfectly cut, every car perfectly parked. He could walk through the area blindfolded without fear of crashing into something. People here were pressured into compliance. Oh sure they could park where ever they wanted, have whatever colour house they wanted, they could do anything they liked, it was their house after all, but that didn’t stop the snide comments, subtle jabs and knowing smirks when you entered. They pressured everyone to conform and it worked, at least, on the surface. Inside people were allowed to have more freedom in their choice, though some stuck with the mentality that everything had to be perfect, to be better than the others. Kitchens that were all gleaming chrome and sitting rooms where you were afraid to sit lest the cushions become uneven. Really, it was no way to live.

Somewhere a dog started to bark, but was quickly silenced, the neighbours wouldn’t tolerate that kind of noise for long. A quick, anonymous call to the police about a dog that has been barking for hours would sort it out. It made his job so much easier really. What use is an early warning system if it is not allowed to warn you. Oh sure they owner would look out, but, seeing nothing they would snap at the dog, but he would still be there, watching them. He never really liked animals, they were so manipulative. Maybe not intentionally, but that didn’t stop them, always trying to look cute for scraps or sidling up against you. It was disgusting and he couldn’t understand why other people couldn’t see it.

The clouds rolled passed the moon, silver light flooded the streets. He paused for a moment and looked around the houses. Some had their blinds closed or the windows were dark, reflecting back the silver light, creating bright shining eyes, the houses staring at the trespasser, the one who does not belong. The street was lined with trees and, though it was getting later in the year, there were no dead or dying leaves. He wondered about that, when he took his walks through these kinds of places, where did the leaves go? Did the people in the houses come out every day and sweep them up? Do they hire someone to do it? Fight the ever losing battle as trees began to shed more and more leaves.

It was so peaceful outside, looking at the houses. He was alone outside and he enjoyed it. The people inside, together, fought or pretended to forgive, but outside he didn’t have to deal with any of that, he was himself and didn’t have to lie or cheat or pretend with anyone. That was one of the things about people, they were so seldom direct, most of them tried to sugar coat everything they said, taking half an hour to say something that should only take a few seconds. Humans were strange animals, for a group that claimed to be so intelligent, they were not very bright. He knew this and tried to take steps to prevent him from descending into the madness with everyone else. Of course there was his persona, how he acted during the day, around other people, but deep down, he was still the same. Slowly stripping away the layers of himself, to be pure.
There were some animalistic urges that one couldn’t deny, thirst, hunger, sex, but he could control them to an extent. They would all need to be fulfilled but he had the capacity to stop, to wait. He prided himself on his control, after all, control helps distinguish humans from the lower animals. Animals have an urge and give in, humans can control the urge. They can choose to wait. They seldom do, but the option is there.
There was one urge he did luxuriate in, the urge to hunt. Everyone has it, but they choose to channel it into something else, not him though. He used the urge in the way it was intended. That feeling you get when your stalking your prey, whilst they are unaware of your presence, save for a long forgotten warning system sending shivers up their spines.

He could hunt with the best of them and like his other urges, he controlled it. There were of course, times when it controlled him but they were becoming less and less. No longer did he go for the frenzied attack, it was messy. Now he was slow, methodical. He chose carefully and stalked his target.

Light bloomed from houses as the streetlights began to flicker. The power was back on. As he passed by the last few houses he looked in the windows. It seemed that in the darkness people forgot to close their blinds. He saw them, inside, going about their business, going back to dulling their minds with endless distractions as TV’s and video games were turned on again. He stood and watched them for a moment, a family in their sitting room. Each of them staring at the television, none of them talking. He wondered if they knew they were being watched, if they were aware of his presence and how easily he could see into their domain. Shaking his head, he moved on, it was starting to get a little chilly and the jacket he wore was light. He placed his hands in his pockets to try to warm them. He felt the heavy weight of the knife in his pocket and squeezed the handle reassuringly. It would be a good night.

The house he had chosen was big, but not as big as some. There were plenty of windows circling the house providing plenty of places where light could enter and fill the rooms. Of course, it also gave him plenty of choice as to where he should enter. A family of four lived here and he had not quite decided on the targets yet. This wasn’t unusual for him, sometimes he would kill everyone, sometimes only a few, it really did depend on a number of factors. Tonight, he thought he would leave the children, they were young, but he had killed younger. Something told him they should be left alone. Besides, if he went to them first, one of them might scream. He looked around briefly, more out of general habit than worry he was being observed, and moved from the path into their driveway. They had high bushes around the back, perfect for privacy, the fence was low and easily climbable. The back garden itself was big and scattered in toys. A play house stood by itself at the end of the garden, staring at the large house forlornly, wishing for occupants.

He was lucky and he knew it, it was something he liked to remind himself of, if the universe was sentient, it favoured him, if it wasn’t, he was simply a fluke. An unlikely combination that allowed him to do what he did. Tonight his luck didn’t fail him, the backdoor wasn’t locked. Perhaps they were tired when they went to bed and forgot, or the power cut had changed their nightly routine. They went to bed early, the children, still young, needed their sleep, but so did their parents who tired out easily. They should both be asleep by now. It was almost twelve and the house was in darkness. They were probably in bed, reading or watching television when the power went out and, with nothing else to do either had sex and slept, or simply slept. He guessed the latter. Slowly he eased down the handle, mindful of any noise, and opening the door he slipped inside, closing it behind him.

The house was warmer than it was outside, and he wouldn’t need his jacket, at least, not for the moment. Taking the knife from his pocket, he placed it on the table, and beside it added a roll of duct tape. He shrugged off his jacket, resting it on the counter, he would get it on his way out. He didn’t believe he would be rushed tonight, even if he was, he planned to leave by the back door anyway. Should he need to flee, he could easily grab it on his way past.

He had been in the house before, when they were out shopping or on family days, so he knew the layout and was able to go directly to the stairs, bypassing the other rooms. As he passed by the sitting room, he glanced in and saw, to his great pleasure, the father, sleeping on the couch. It would make things so much easier for him. Normally he killed one quickly and the other slowly, but there was always the dilemma of who to choose, but tonight, the decision was made for him.

The man on the couch snored lightly as he was approached, unaware of the danger. He gripped the knife tightly, then, grabbing the sleeping mans head brought it swiftly across his neck. The arc of blood was quick and high, splashing against the ceiling and walls, almost black in the darkness. The man’s eyes bulged as he tried to figure out what was happening, blood gurgled as he tried to breath, it filled his lungs. His hands rose briefly before falling back to the couch. The blood flow was slowing, becoming leisurely. He stepped back from the dying body and looked at his work. It was good, the cut was deep, death was quick and not too painful. He probably didn’t even know what was going on. He rubbed the blade against the fabric of the couch, cleaning it, then once finished, he turned his back on the body and made his was upstairs.

The floorboards creaked underneath his weight, but he wasn’t too concerned about the noise, the house was old and normally made such sounds by itself. His only concern was the wife. If they had an argument, she might not be asleep, however, if he fell asleep downstairs himself, it might be ok. The man hadn’t fallen asleep watching television, it would have turned itself back on when the power came back, but he didn’t look like he planned to fall asleep down there. He opened the bedroom door just a crack and peered in. It was dark, but he could make out the shape of her body beneath the covers, and, after a few seconds, he could hear her slow rhythmic breathing. She was asleep.

Stepping inside, he crossed the thick, plush carpet. He pulled a length of tape off the roll he brought, wincing at the noise. It didn’t matter though, she was too deeply asleep to hear. She shifted slightly in her sleep, turning over, exposing her face more. He smiled, she wanted this too. He took a deep breath in preparation, then brought his hand down over her mouth, sealing it with the tape, and pressed the knife against her neck. Her eyes flew open, full of panic. “Scream or fight and I’ll kill you, then your children.” she stopped struggling instantly. The threat always worked though he was never sure why, if he was going to kill their children, they couldn’t do anything to stop him once they were dead. “Now, just be good and this will be over soon. Where do you keep jewellery and money, just point with your hand, slowly.” she brought her hand up and pointed at the dresser, he wasn’t too surprised. “Is there a safe?” she shook her head. “Ok. Good.” a thin line of blood welled across her throat, when she had first woken he had cut her slightly. He wondered how exactly he should go about it. Cutting was fun, but it wasn’t the same sensation as strangulation, but that was so much noisier. He sighed, there were so many options to choose from.

Tears were welling in her eyes, spilling over her cheeks, she could pretend she was scared, that she was frightened, but he knew that she wanted this, after all, she had presented herself so readily, they had both wanted this. They had separated themselves, made it easy for him but just because she wanted it didn’t mean he would make it quick.
He knew where there were a few valuables, his main motivation wasn’t theft, but it would be stupid to ignore such easy money. The children were soundly asleep and he was in control, he had all night in which to play and he would make her exquisite.


About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
This entry was posted in Horror, Short Stories, Suspense. Bookmark the permalink.

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