The Murder House
by David Barton
He saw the schoolgirl enter
the house about half an hour after he’d parked opposite it.
‘Gotcha!’ he said
After climbing out of the
car and taking a look around, he crossed the deserted street towards the house.
Making his way along the short
path that led up to the door, he observed to either side of him as he trod, the overgrown garden that announced that the house
hadn’t been inhabited for a while.
The girl had entered through
the door, hadn’t even had to force it. Funny that it was open. He thought they would have kept it locked. Then he guessed
that some of the local kids, like the girl who had just entered the building, had probably forced it open on some other occasion
to explore the inside.
He found the girl lighting
up just inside the hallway. He gave a cough; she shot a look towards him, the cigarette almost falling from her lips in the
She looked frightened, her
eyes darting around as if looking for some means of escape, without having to go past him and through the front door.
he tried to reassure her, ‘I’m not gong to hurt you.’
‘Isn’t that what
they all say?’ she said. Despite being afraid she took a drag on her cigarette and exhaled blue smoke into the air.
‘All … who?’
‘Men like you.’
‘No … you …
you have the wrong idea,’ he said, ‘I saw you enter the house, and …’
‘And … what?’
Again her eyes flicked around as if searching for an escape route.
‘Just … to see
if you were all right. This property is condemned. It’s dangerous to be in here.’
She gave a casual glance around
at the large hallway. ‘Looks safe enough to me,’ she said, then she looked back to him. ‘I only came in
here for a smoke.’
be in school?’ he asked. It was only 2 pm; he knew the schools in the area didn’t let out until just before three.
‘School is for losers,’
she said. She took another drag on her cigarette.
‘So, you’re going
to go far if you keep skipping school?’ He offered her a wry look.
‘Maybe … maybe
not, who cares.’ She gave a shrug.
‘Are you still frightened?’
he then asked.
‘I never was in the
first place.’ He put this down to bravado, although she now appeared to be calm and collected, as she casually puffed
away on her cigarette.
‘No, you’re not
frightened, are you?’ he said and gave a laugh. ‘A real toughie, I bet. I mean, if you were frightened,
you wouldn’t have entered this place.’ He glanced around.
‘No, I’m not frightened,’
she said, taking another look around the hallway herself.
‘I mean; this is where
it all happened.’
‘Yep,’ she said,
‘where it all happened. The Murder House.’
‘He murdered young girls,
like you, he …’ He paused, thinking it best not to remind this young girl of what exactly that sadistic bastard
had done to other young girls like her.
She looked him straight in
the eye. ‘It’s okay, you can go into details, I’m not squeamish.’
‘I don’t think
it’s the sort of thing you want to discuss with a young lady, what he did to them.’
‘Anyway, why would I
be frightened? He’s not likely to be here, is he? Not when he’s dead.’
‘They never found the
body,’ he said.
The girl’s attention
now shifted towards the stairs that led up into the darkness of the floors above.
She looked towards him. ‘Do you think he’s still alive? That he could return? That maybe …’ She peered
upwards. ‘… he could be here, right now, hiding somewhere in this house?’
‘No,’ he said.
‘But if I were a young girl, I wouldn’t want to be near this place after what happened here.’
‘He tortured them, didn’t
he?’ she said. ‘Then he … you know … had sex with them.’ Her eyes lit up. ‘I heard that
with one of his victims, he cut her head off and then did it with her after. Without her head!’ She grinned
‘I’ve read all
about it, in the papers … I like things like that.’
‘Yeah, I mean, it’s
interesting, innit? Stuff like that? Murder and all that?’
‘I’m not quite
sure it’s healthy for a young girl to be interested in things like that. Shouldn’t you be interested in pop music
‘Pop music’s boring.
Except for Goth, I like Goth. And boys … boys are just stupid.’
Suddenly her eyes ignited
again. ’Do you think there’ll be any blood upstairs? Stains, and stuff?’ She looked to be almost drooling
over the prospect.
The girl peered upwards again,
her eyes almost leaving their sockets.
‘You’re not going
up there, he said. ‘It’s probably not safe.’
She glanced to him. ‘Are
you going to stop me?’
‘There most likely won’t
be any stains,’ he said. ‘The police will have cleared it up.’
‘Nah,’ the girl
said, ‘the filth won’t have touched it. They’re lazy bastards. If there’s a burglary, like there is
sometimes on our estate, they don’t usually turn up ’til hours after it’s happened.’
‘You live on an estate?’
‘Yeah. I suppose you
live in big posh house, don’t you, eh, mate?’
‘No, not really,’
he told her.
She finished her cigarette
and let it drop to the floor, then stubbed it out with her foot. Then she looked towards him. ‘Do you make a habit of
it then, of following young girls into deserted houses?’
‘If I think they might
be in danger, yes.’
‘Do it a lot then, do
‘No,’ he said,
offering a smile, ‘you’re the first girl I’ve followed into a deserted house.’
‘Oh …’ she
seemed disappointed. She stared at the stubbed cigarette at her feet as if thinking about something, then looked up towards
him again. ‘Well, I’ve decided you can, if you want.’
‘Can if I want …
what?’ he asked.
‘Have sex with me, if
that’s what you’re after. You’ll not have an offer like this again. Young girl, coming on to you. Offering
it to yer on a plate.’
For a moment he was stunned
into silence. Then he said, ‘I’m not interested in you.’
‘Why not? I’m
pretty, aren’t I?’ she said.
‘Yes, but … how
old are you?’ He raised his eyebrows.
old enough, innit? I mean, it’s legal, we wouldn’t be doing anything wrong.’ She glanced towards the stairs
again. ‘I’d really like to see the upstairs.’
‘I’ve told you,
it’s not …’
But before he could finish,
the girl had made a dash towards the stairs and was bolting up them.
He followed her as swiftly
as he could, and as he ascended them he put his foot through the rotted wood of one stair about halfway up. ‘Shit!’
He had grazed his ankle. Although
he hadn’t done much damage, it hurt like hell. He pulled his foot out from the splintered wood and bent to rub it. He
peered upwards. Now he couldn’t hear the girl’s footsteps on the bare boards above him. Why had she become so
quiet now? Had something happened to her?
Wincing, he made his way up
the rest of the stairs, treading carefully, wary not to repeat the same injury on any of the others, but nevertheless in haste
to find the girl.
She was giggling and lying
on an old mattress in what must have been the master bedroom when he did find her. It looked filthy, but she didn’t
seem to be bothered much about its state.
‘Handy,’ she said.
Then she patted the mattress beside her. ‘Lie next to me.’
‘No,’ he said,
lingering in the doorway.
She started to unfasten her
‘Don’t do that,’
he said, appearing more uncomfortable with the situation by the minute, but entering the room now. ‘Please, don’t.’
Then the girl seemed to notice
something on the opposite wall of the room facing her.
she said, her eyes widening.
She rose to her feet, and
as she did so her skirt fell from her. She stepped out of it, her blouse hanging down loosely now.
He turned to face the wall.
There were bloodstains on there and on the floor. The stains were only small but nevertheless some blood had been shed here
at some point.
As the girl reached the wall,
she put her finger to one of the stains. ‘This is … fresh,’ she said, looking at it.
As he looked he saw that some
blood had indeed come off the wall onto her finger.
‘Shit!’ he said
in sudden panic. He glanced to her. ‘Let’s get out of here!’
‘Do you think he’s
come back?’ she asked, still examining the blood on her finger.
‘I’ve told you
… he’s … dead.’ He was edgy now. ‘We’d better get out of here, though.’
‘Why?’ she asked.
‘I mean, if you don’t think he’s come back … why do we need to get out of here?’
He stared at the stains on
the wall and tried to put out of his mind images of what might have happened in this room to cause them. Another victim, a
young girl like this one in the room with him now. He looked to her. He couldn’t help himself but glance towards her
and run his eyes over her. Her legs. Her breasts. He tried to fight images flooding into his mind, substituting a victim of
the killer for her. Imagining what had been done to the girls happening to this girl. It was no use, of course. Those terrible
images were flashing through his mind, as he saw victim after victim perish at the hands of the killer.
right here … the blood …’ he finally managed to utter, averting his eyes from her to halt the flow of visions.
about it, aren’t you?’ she said.
He looked back to her. ‘Thinking
‘About what he did to
them? Imaging if it was me who was the victim.’ She was searching his face for signs that he was, although she seemed
Her eyes gleamed with fresh
excitement. ‘Let’s play victim and killer!’
‘What?’ he asked.
‘Look, we’ve really got to get out of here!’
‘Too much to stand,
is it? The thought of what he did to them? What you’re thinking of doing to me?’
The bitch is right; he heard
a voice say somewhere inside his head. It was as if it was whispered in his ear and then echoed around his mind. Do to her
what you did to the others!
‘But I didn’t
do anything to the others!’ He’d said it out loud.
‘I knew it,’ the
girl said. She appeared excited at the idea.
‘You should get out
‘Why, what are you going
to do to me?’ she asked him.
said making for the door. ‘I’ve … got to get out of here.’
But she ran over to the door
before he could reach it and closed it, standing in front of it, barring his exit.
‘What are you doing?’
he asked her.
‘You can’t leave,’
she said. ‘We haven’t had any fun yet.’
‘I’ve told you
… I don’t want … sex with you’
Her eyes were full of mischief
now. ‘I’m not talking about that,’ she said.
‘Or play … games.’
‘But we haven’t
decided who’s going to be the victim and who’s going to be the killer yet,’ she said.
Then she pulled out something
from her jacket pocket and before he knew what was happening, merely catching sight of a flash of silver, she had thrust whatever
it was into his ribcage.
A sharp pain gripped his abdomen.
She had stabbed him with a
He looked from the knife to
her, stunned at what she’d done. Then she withdrew it and thrust it into him again. And then repeated the action yet
She stood back and watched
as he slid down the door to the floor, where he sat just staring bewilderment at her.
‘Guess that means I’m
the killer,’ she said matter-of-factly. Then she added, ‘Told you I was interested in murder, killing and stuff,’
she said. ‘You’re my first, however.’ She grinned, and stared at the wounds she’d made in fascination.
‘They say it gets easier with each one. That’s what I’ve read.’
‘Why?’ he asked.
It only came out as a croak; such was his pain.
‘Do I need a reason?’
she said. She shrugged. ‘It just seemed like a fun thing to do. I was bored and I wanted some amusement. Schools for
losers, as I said. Least this way I learn something.’
‘You need help,’
he uttered weakly.
She laughed. ‘I
need help? I’m not the one bleeding to death!’
Then she got her mobile phone
out from the other pocket of her jacket. She saw him look to it and rolled her eyes, then said, shaking her head, ‘Oh,
no … I’m not going to phone for an ambulance for you. I’m phoning my mum to let her know I’m safe.
There a lot of funny people about, she worries.’
She made the call. He couldn’t
believe how calmly she spoke to her mother. It was as if nothing had happened.
‘I’m fine, mum,’
she said into the phone. ‘Be home soon. Yes, I will be careful, won’t talk to any strange men or anything.’
She flashed him a grin as she said this.
When she’d finished
she stared at him. ‘Such a worrier,’ she said. ‘Well, can you blame her in the world we live in today?’
Her voice was different now.
Her face was taking on a different appearance too. The features slowly changing into that of a man.
He recognised the face. He
had seen it staring back at him from countless newspaper reports. That face. The face of evil. ‘Redmond? I
thought you’d be rotting in hell!’ he said to the man who now stood before him.
‘Why would I want to
be in hell, when there’s innocence to corrupt?’ Redmond took a moment to stare at him, then said, ‘I whispered
in her ear and she was willing. So willing. It’s in everyone if you … bring it out of them.’
‘You evil bastard!’
‘Thank you,’ said
Redmond and grinned. ‘Thank you so much. Such a compliment. Just one thing? Why didn’t you have her, when she
offered herself to you?’
‘Because I’m not
‘You are …
like that. I can see it in you. It might be hidden in the furthest reaches of the catacombs of your mind, but its there. And
much more. I can see it all. Every depraved act you ever thought of committing. You could have had her. It would have made
dying afterwards a little more bearable, knowing you’d made love to such a pretty young thing.’
He thought back to the images
he’d seen of Redmond’s victims and realised that Redmond had probably been responsible for placing them in his
‘You’re not human!
You never were!’ he cried at Redmond.
‘Yes, I was,’
Redmond said. ‘I was once human. But I surpassed that. I transcended it. I could see that it was limited in possibilities.
To be a moral, upstanding member of the human race is just dull. Far better if you can … live a little.
Not be restricted by what’s considered good or evil.’
‘Is your life passing
before you eyes?’ the fiend asked.
He didn’t answer.
‘Must be filled with
good deeds, and so much goodness. After all, did you not enter this house because you feared for the safety of the child?
Wasn’t that a mistake and a half!’
He looked down at the blood
escaping from his abdomen, when he looked up, Redmond had gone and there was just the girl again.
‘Cheer up,’ she
said, ‘might never happen.’ Then she gave a giggle. ‘Oops, it just did!’
She raised the knife to her
eye line and stared at it as if mesmerised by it. ‘Come on knife,’ she uttered to it. ‘We’ve got a
lot of work to do. We’re going to be busy aren’t we in the next few weeks, you and me? Lots of fun to be had.
After all, bunking off school is usually pretty boring. Gotta do something to keep myself occupied. Keep me off the streets.
You just don’t know who’s out there. There’s lot of funny people around.’
She looked towards him, as
his life was just about to pass from him.
Copyright David Barton 2006