A Good Man
The first thing you have to understand, is that I am a good man.
I didn’t mean to kill them. It was just a… tragic accident. Yes. A tragic accident.
I’ll start from the beginning.
It was a wild, storm-wracked day. Rain lashed the hab-tenaments, driving almost horizontally at the shuttered casements. Lightning sparked and bounced off the spires high above, lighting up the deserted road as I pulled up next to our hab. It had been a hard day at work – my hands were numb with filing. I parked and made a dash for the safety of the porch, battered furiously by the rain. But I made it, and buzzed through into the warm, comforting atmosphere of our atrium. Marla greeted me, and we exchanged a tender embrace, before I went to get into some dry clothes.
As I emerged from our room, my three young children rushed me like playful dogs, joyful grins spread across their sweet little faces. They leapt on me, and we collapsed backwards onto the sofa, a mass of laughter and happiness. As we played, we could hear Marla singing from the kitchen.
Josep told me he had come top in his class that day, and Beri was full of tales of derring-do from her adventures in the scholam playground. Marla called us into the kitchen, and we all sat round the dining table, as she served the meal. The whole evening was filled with happiness and contentment; a loving wife and children will keep a man going even through the hard slogging hours – that evening really brought that home to me.
And that was when I decided to tell them.
About the new friend I’d made.
“Listen up everyone, Daddy has something to say. At work today, during my lunch break, I made a new friend.”
“Ooh, ooh, tell us all about it, Daddy!” piped up Cico, curls bobbing as she rocked on her chair.
Marla smiled warmly, “Go on, darling, who was it?”
“Well,” I said, “he should be arriving any minute now, so he can introduce himself.”
The doorbell rang, peels of electronic squawking echoing through the hab.
Exactly on time.
Marla rose to stand, a slightly surprised look on her face, but I motioned her to sit with a gesture. I pressed my finger to my lips, and the children could barely contain their giggles, but held their breath dutifully.
We waited, together, listening for the sound of the front door springing open.
It came, cutting through the silence like a blunt knife.
Then the soft footsteps on the rug.
A shiver ran up my spine, sending tickles of delight racing through my synapses.
The kitchen door slid open, and he entered.
He was just as I remembered; calm, collected, utterly beautiful, poised in subtle elegance. His long, billowing hair streamed down to his waist, great folds hazy with shine. His torso was a curving hourglass shape, the circular rent in his chest spewing ellipsoids of fetid pus, the sise of bricks. They fell with light plops onto the carpet, collapsing into a puddle of stinking slime. His legs were long and smooth, etched with lines of black scars, which twirled in and around his thighs and calves in dizzying triple-helixes.
His face was unchanged. A clear silicon mask, caked with dried blood and effluence. Only his eyes shone through the layers, huge and glaring, pits of beckoning darkness, complete in their unswerving blackness.
I staggered to my feet, heart beating furiously. I thrust myself onto the table and crouched on all fours, head bowed in deference to his presence.
I took a moment to look up and admire the doubtless looks of wonderment on my family’s faces.
I was disgusted by what I saw. I felt revulsion well in the depths of my heart, felt it build like a tsunami, threatening to rise up and overwhelm me.
They were… crying
I could not believe my eyes! They had been shown a man more beautiful than anything they had ever seen in their petty little lives, and they were crying!
I rounded on Marla, who was just sitting there, her eyes filled with fear, her hand clenched unnaturally on the edge of the table.
“Marla,” I whispered, “show some respect!”
“There’s… there’s… nothing… there,” she mumbled weakly, “there… can’t be anything… there.”
And the children just cried, cried their bloody little hearts out, as he stood and waited.
I couldn’t stand such insolence, such lack of respect to the best thing that had ever happened to me.
A few hours ago, when I had met him deep in the archival caverns, he had changed my life, and now they could only cry?
And he, being the beautiful, benevolent, flawless being that he was, just stood there, calm and motionless.
I felt the rage building within me, the primeval, feral desire to tear and gouge, the desire to make them understand what they were seeing, make them realise how much this meant to their Daddy.
The fury consumed me, and from thenceforth I could not be held responsible for my actions, you have to understand.
Yes, I curled my fingers round the worn handle of the serrated kitchen knife, yes, I raised it, admiring its glinting sharpness and hefty weight. Yes, I grabbed my youngest daughter, and before she could so much as gulp out another sob, I plunged it deep into her chest, made her like him, made her beautiful, gave her a gaping rent, just like his. Warm, scolding blood pumped out of her, my little darling, my angel. I pressed her spasming body to my chest, and wept with joy.
I picked up each of my crying children in turn, released my fury, and made them beautiful.
Then I turned to my wife. Her unbelieving eyes stared up at me, taking in the scarlet shirt, the blood dripping from my chin.
Gently, I picked up her stiff, tense body, and gorged on her flesh, tearing away the skin of her now shrieking face with my teeth, churning her eyeballs with my molars, slamming her against the wall as I let the fury overcome me, and ate my fill.
When I was done, I looked back at him, and through the mask, I saw him smile.
Then he was gone.
There you have it. My story. A tragic accident.
It wasn’t my fault.
As I say, I am a good man.
Serial killer Daviell Anniok was hanged a few hours after he penned this testament. The man referred to in the text is still missing.