Victims should know why they are being killed.
February 19, 2014
A VG Serial: ToxiCity
Six months Earlier
Back in civilization for over a year, Maggie found a place to live and a job with lots of flexibility. Dusty wasn’t living with her, but he was close. When she was settled, she called Prairie State, pretending to be a prospective client. They gave her the locations of several projects she could check out and told her the principals of the company. A few days later she drove to Peoria and rented a room.
She stalked the chief contractor for a couple of days, tracking him to a bar where he hung out. She showed up on a Thursday, claiming to be a travel agent passing through. She was still a looker when she wanted to be, and she made sure she wanted to be. She let him buy her a few drinks, made sure he drank more, and listened to a bad country band. By the time she invited him back to her room, he was already pawing her. As they stumbled toward her door, she stopped and dug into her purse. Drawing out a small vial with an aerosol nozzle, she spritzed him in the face, yelped, and ran in the opposite direction.
“Hey, what the hell was that?” he called out, wiping his sleeve across his face.
“I’m sorry,” she said sheepishly from the hotel parking lot. “I was trying to fix my hair, and I thought I saw a mouse. I hate them.”
“Oh, honey. Come here. If there was a mouse it’s gone now. And your hair is the last thing I’m interested in right now.”
Her smile widened and she led him into the room. She fucked him good. After all, it would be his last.
It didn’t take long. A few hours later, the convulsions started. By the next morning, his breathing was harsh and labored, and his face had turned blue. He struggled to call an ambulance, but she tied him down to the bed. When his face started to show recognition of what was happening, she started to talk.
It was too bad, she told him. His only mistake was working the clean up at Meadow City years ago. She asked if he knew the poison was still in the ground, eating away at the water and soil. If he knew the developer paid off the state. And the judge. Settled with the utility. She told him the whole story and watched his eyes bug out.
By nightfall, he lost all control. It was over soon after that. She took a shower and changed her clothes. Dusty showed up right on schedule. Together they cleaned up the room, carried the body out to the pick-up and dumped the body at one of his own sites. Then they headed back north.
The son of Prairie State’s owner was a different story. He liked to go fishing on weekends, she learned, so two weeks later, she drove downstate again. This time she hid in the bushes outside his house, wearing a warm-up suit and running shoes. When he came out of his house at dawn on Friday, fishing gear in hand, she emerged from the bushes and bumped into him, making sure to prick his thigh with the pin of a brooch. Apologizing for her clumsiness, she jogged around the corner, jumped into her car, and followed him to the lake.
By nightfall, he was so sick, with fever, chills, and hallucinations that he didn’t resist when she showed up at his lodge and offered him a lift to the hospital. She took him to a motel instead, and by evening the following day, it was over. Once again, she and Dusty wiped down the scene, then dumped the body.
Maggie was ecstatic. She hadn’t expected it to be so easy. The carnality of it was exhilarating. Shadowing her victims, luring them, seducing them. Drinking in hours of pleasure as the poison snaked through their bodies. Seeing their anguish build and deepen. Monitoring their last moments, in which the final spurts of life struggled against the relentless advance of death.
She and Dusty celebrated at dinner. They’d done a good job, she said as they lingered over dessert. But there were some refinements she wanted to make. She wasn’t a psycho serial killer; the victims should know why they were being killed. But she didn’t want to explain it, as she had to the contractor. In fact, she didn’t want to talk to them much at all. Just watch.
She recalled the pictures Greg shot so many years ago. Pictures of Meadow City under construction. They were still stashed somewhere. She would send the intended victims one or two pictures in advance. They might not know why the pictures were showing up in their mailbox, but they’d figure it out soon enough. In a way, she rationalized, she’d be doing what no one did for TJ. He never knew why he’d been made to writhe in pain, feeling the life drain out of him. These people would.
Episodes in the novel will be published on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
Please click the following title,ToxiCity, to read more about Libby Fischer Hellman’s books on Amazon.