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Symphony of the Dead

Updated: Nov 4, 2021

Spooktober Finalist!

By ADDYSON HALSTED, October 30, 2021

The definition of serene, he holds himself like a king. He cannot be more in his element. Watching from afar, he stalks his prey, the biting wind going unnoticed. In a way, he is the wind—unpredictable, yet elegant in every sense. He strides down the street, his eyes holding no emotion. After all, that is his job, the reason for his existence, to keep things under control.

Getting closer to the renowned psychiatrist, his pace never falters. Twenty feet away… ...then ten… ...and at last only an arm's reach away. He grabs her. Before she can scream, his hand covers her mouth, sealing her fate. Pulling her into the closest alleyway, he quickly pulls out his knife. And just like that, she’s gone.

He chuckles. A life that should’ve lasted years more ended in a matter of seconds- with a cheap kitchen utensil. As he stands, peering down at his victim, not an ounce of regret appears on his face because there is not any.

Stealthily throwing her limp body into the trunk of the prepositioned car on the side of the street, he starts heading to the soon-to-be burial site. Thirty minutes isn’t a long time, but it doesn’t matter either way, especially not for her. No one will even know she is missing, maybe not even for a few days. Pulling up to the edge of the woods, he gets to work. He has been planning this for quite some time, so the hole is already dug, the animal already slaughtered.

He takes her body from the trunk so delicately, almost like he is remorseful. Almost. With one good look at him, one can see there is no trace of guilt. The graceful movements do not belong with the task at hand. It is like a musical composition, the tossing of the body, along with the knife, is just another perfectly hit note. The next song begins as he covers her with dirt. It starts oh so softly, so sweetly, as more dirt fills the hole, more instruments join in. The hole is half-filled and the symphony plays on. Another body is added to the mix, this one the woman's cat which went missing barely a week ago. With that act, the final notes of the masterpiece play, and the song is done.

As the sun begins to rise, he drives home. When he arrives, he doesn't bother to remove his blood and dirt-stained clothes. He simply flops into bed. After the events of the evening, he is dead tired.

A kind man awakes. This man does not know how he ended up in bed and cannot recall the events of the evening. The last thing he remembers doing is leaving the restaurant. Stumbling into the bathroom, while rubbing the sleep from his eyes, he fails to notice the state of his clothes. The bright light of the bathroom temporarily blinding him, he makes his way to the sink. Looking up into the mirror, he finally notices his clothes. His eyes widen in utter shock. A dark maroon color covers his clothes, his hair matted with dirt, and his face completely foreign to him.

Having no words or explanation as to how he ended up like this, he staggers to his bed and flips on the news.

“Strange man seen dragging the body of psychiatrist Patricia Rowe from the building at which she works,” a female news reporter states. The newscast continues to show a photo taken by a street camera. “If anyone has seen this man, please contact the authorities immediately.”

He turns off the TV and throws the remote across the room.

“What! This can’t be!” The photo that appeared, although slightly grainy, is a clear picture of him. He frantically paces around his small bedroom, panicking. “That’s impossible! I- That can’t be me.” However, when he stops and looks in the mirror, he can’t deny the evidence. His face is all over the news, he is covered in blood and dirt, and he can’t remember the events of last night.

His eyes begin to tear up as realization sets in. They are going to come for him. He’ll go to jail and never see his family again. Looking to his nightstand, he spots the picture of his brother and sisters smiling and laughing around him. He doesn’t even remember killing that poor woman. Anyone he knows would vouch for him and say he couldn't even hurt a fly. Not wouldn’t hurt one, but couldn’t. There is not a single murderous bone in his body.

He has no idea what to do. He has killed somebody, and the cops are undoubtedly on their way. His phone rings in the background, but he can’t bring himself to answer it. He just sits there in distress.

Moments later, he hears shouting from outside his apartment door.

“Gary Sanders, come out with your hands up!”

His head shoots up at the voice. They have found him. Everything after that is a blur; his door is kicked down, officers come rushing in, he is handcuffed and escorted out. The ride to the police station is silent. He keeps his head down and doesn’t say a word. Eventually, he finds his way into an interrogation room, and the onslaught of questions begin.

“Where is the body? Are there others? Why did you do it?” These are the main questions asked, among other things. He looks up with tears falling freely down his face.

“I don’t know! I didn’t kill anybody! Please, you have to believe me!” He pleads with his interrogators, but they won’t listen.

All of a sudden the man’s body slumps and his vision darkens. A sinister laugh emerges. “You fools.” His head raises, all tears are gone. Replacing them is an evil smirk plastered across his face. The officers are baffled—this is not the same man they were just questioning.

“Mr. Sanders?” one of them asks slowly.

“No, I’m not Mr. Sanders. He’s clocked out for the moment,” he says with a smirk, venom dripping from each syllable. He leans back in his chair, and although his hands are cuffed in front of him, he can’t look more at ease.

“With whom are we speaking then?” the other officer in the room cautiously asks. He doesn’t reply. His only response is a vicious smile. However, after several minutes of tense silence, he finally speaks. What he says next is nothing but malicious.

“Why, I’m Gary’s better half.”

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