Inspired by the challenge Nick Royland has thrown down to write a piece of Flash Fiction within 30 minutes, please find below my attempt at this. Hope you enjoy it. Do go and check out other peoples work on his site – he hosts Flash Fiction Fridays.
I am Invisible
I am invisible. I am the Nemesis. I am your nightmare. And I enjoy it.
I clearly remember my first victim, although others have paled over the years. She was a young woman, who came into the station to report a theft of something. Her car? Her handbag? I no longer recall. Her pale stringy hair hung over the desk as she filled in the paperwork for me, and I was revolted. I was concerned that it would stroke the desk top, and I would have to wipe the greasy streaks it left off the laminex surface.
I followed her out of the station on some pretext – did I pretend sudden illness? And then called out to her in an alley: the shortcut she had taken back to the main street. She turned to me, so trusting, question in her eyes. The image of those eyes, so blue, with blood vessels bursting in them as I strangled her, is buried deep in my memory. I left her there, in the alley, under a pile of cardboard boxes.
She was found so quickly, and I didn’t make that mistake again. Ever since, I have been much more careful to cover my tracks.
I like to choose random people, people who catch my eye for some reason. They come from many different walks of life: old, young, rich and poor, women and men. I do not believe in discrimination. Most annoy me in some way, but perhaps not in ways that other people would be annoyed. They speak too loudly, or mutter, or have chipped nail polish. They bump into me with luggage, or sit too close, or eat their crisps without due care and attention.
Some no doubt are good people, or perceived to be, but everyone has some darkness inside. Mine is just more intensely focussed than others. I have always been focussed where others are vague. Mine is like an inkblot sitting just behind my cornea. Sometimes I think my victims see that inkblot just before they stop being. Stop thinking. I am invisible, and I erase others so that they also become invisible. The world is too messy. I like tidiness.
Working where I do, I enjoy watching my colleagues trying to find this mysterious villain. They can really quite ingenious about it sometimes. I try not to feel patronising, and I am able to congratulate them when they find an especially damning clue, but feel like I am patting a hopefully puppy on the head. Once in a while they come too close, and I am forced to alter things a little. Open a package which should be sealed. Add another fibre when only one was found. Look up records sloppily. But I must be careful.
Recently, I had a victim in an office in a warehouse. I had picked him off the train – he was too polished, too confident, and I disliked his highly polished shoes. We had fun with those shoes later, but it was rather messy. After I had dropped his remains off a nice high bridge, I returned to clean and paint the room. Said I liked tidiness. When I left for my shift, there was no evidence of my activities, or so I thought. But a week later, my colleagues had found the room, although they associated it with the wrong victim. One of them found one of my hairs, embedded in the paintwork. They DNA tested it before I had a chance to intervene, but one hair is not enough to hang a man, even theoretically. You can pick up a hair anywhere and have it stick to you, disgusting as that thought is.
I sometimes wonder what it would be like if I am ever caught, unlikely as that may seem. Prison life does not scare me, although the boredom of incarceration does not greatly appeal. But at least they try to keep things tidy. I would much prefer to simply be hung, I think. No longer lingering in small airless rooms, just a simple, clean and quick death. This is what I offer my victims too: an alternative to the long, boring days of real life. To the endless meetings and work and toil. To having to soap one’s armpits every day, clean out the cat litter, change nappies. An end to waiting in queues, being ignored, being overlooked. My victims know that for a brief period of time: a few minutes, an hour or a day or two, they are the most important thing in the world to me.