Serial Killers: How Much Did You Take (Part 2) by Stefanos Singelakis
- Serial Killers: How Much Did You Take (Part 1) by Stefanos Singelakis
- Serial Killers: How Much Did You Take (Part 2) by Stefanos Singelakis
- Serial Killers: How Much Did You Take (Part 3) by Stefanos Singelakis
The car sped down the street. Half the time Ramone didn’t even appear to be looking at what was in front of him. I wondered how long it would be until we hit something. The windshields were wiping cold red off the glass. Did it already happen? Was somebody already dead? I looked back but saw nothing. The sun was going down. As I watched the lines in front of us that kept getting sucked under the car, I felt as if the world was slipping away. Ramone picked up the tumbler that was sitting in the cup holder between the two front seats. The ice chips clinked as he pressed the glass to his lips. He knew I was watching him and he eyed me. His pupils were now the color of blood.
“You alright man?”
I wasn’t sure why we were in the car.
“Where are we going?”
Ramone’s mouth spoke but no sound came out; just like before. His teeth were black as tar, a dark treacle dripping down his chin.
“Maybe you should wipe that off.”
His face turned away from the road again. Ramone’s lips were moving.
“Are you ready to do this man?”
I tried to speak but everything came out garbled; I knew what I wanted to say but nothing came out right. I couldn’t hear myself speak. I took a breath and stared out the window.
“I guess… what’s the plan?”
I felt the eyes again. His tongue was pink and dripping. His breath was like smoke. He ashed a cigarette. I couldn’t hear. There was only the sound of the tires and a ringing in my ears. I repeated the question.
“What’s the plan?”
“Huh? I can’t hear you. Stop mumbling.”
I didn’t know it but I had been talking into my sleeve as I repeatedly wiped the sweat off my face. It was like a nervous tick. I forced my hand down on my lap.
“I said where are we going?”
I could see he was sweating too. He took another gulp off the tumbler. The ice clinked. He was dripping through his shirt. The shrooms had taken us deep and I was also probably drunk.
“What do you mean man? This is your plan.”
He seemed almost upset. The air in the car now stunk of scotch and butts. I didn’t know what was going on but believed that somehow it would be worse if I admitted it. I had to play it cool and fidgeted around in my short pocket until I found a crumpled pack of smokes and lit up. I pulled hard on the cigarette.
“Right… I was just testing you is all. All right here. No trouble at all.”
He kept looking at me at intervals. With one eye on the road and the other constantly shifting towards me.
“That’s good Mike. We’re almost there. I hope you’re ready to use that thing.”
I peered down at my feet and noted the black 9mm lying relaxed between my shoes.
“Right. I mean, sure I am.”
What the fuck was he going on about? I looked out the window at the road. His mouth was still moving but I ignored it. It was no use. No use trying to make anything out of this gibberish. It was all muck. Impossible to understand. I’d need special translating equipment; at least a grand worth. I figured that pretty soon we’d all be drowning in it. Black tar everywhere. My eyes retreated from the open window like to two hunted animals and slowly moved back to Ramone. He was sipping his scotch again. Again, I heard the clink of ice.
“So, you ready to do this?”
I didn’t know. I didn’t know what I was supposed to be ready for.
“Ready for what?”
He shot me a glance.
I didn’t. I was screwed; totally clueless. Act sharp, look strong.
I could feel the wind on my face. It wasn’t long before the shadows started creeping in. Looked out the window again. That’s where the wind was coming from. There was no stopping us; not as long as Ramone’s foot stayed on the gas pedal. Everything he did had impossible speed. The machine was moving us forward. And as we moved, ghosts followed us down the road. The house was haunted. Wait… no, I wasn’t in the house nor on the porch or anywhere near there. The car was haunted and the road kept moving. I felt like we were standing still but the concrete wouldn’t let us stay put. We were always going forward. It was non-stop. We were moving but the ground wasn’t. It kept switching. Where were we going anyway? Where was he taking us? Was… was the road moving too? I couldn’t take the road anymore. It was making me dizzy. I looked back down at the floor then up at my lap and saw that I still held the gun and the car had stopped
We parked in a dark, beaten-down dirt parking lot in the middle of nowhere. Twenty feet away was a dilapidated house that looked like it was about to cave in on itself. Parts of the roof were hanging off the side like loose teeth. I knew where we were. This was Jimmy’s house and… Ramone and I were going to sell him something; or was it the other way around? Ramone turned off the car and left the keys in the ignition. He popped the trunk.
“Alright Mike, you take the gun and I’ll get the bag.”
I could feel my hands begin to tremble. I stared at the 9mm.
“I’m not taking this fucking gun.”
“Why not?” He shot me a look of disbelief. “That’s your fucking gun, isn’t it?”
I stared at it for another second.
“No man. I’m not taking this fucking thing.”
I don’t know why but I reached past the empty scotch tumbler that was still sitting in the cup holder between the seats and handed him the piece.
“I don’t want it.”
I could hear the locomotives again in the distance. The sound of Ramone’s annoyance. I also heard the rats; the rats were still there making my skin crawl. A second later, he stuffed it in the front of his pants and muttered something about, “Sumbitch won’t even carry his own gun.”
He opened the door.
In the trunk was a black gym bag and a fucking machete. Ramone picked up the blade and handed it to me.
“Thought I’d bring this. Here, you can hold it.”
I held the machete and looked over the broad, thirty-inch blade.
“What the fuck were you planning on doing with this?”
Ramone chuckled. The fangs were back.
“You know, scare the fucker a little. So that he doesn’t try anything funny.”
I looked at the black gym bag. It looked floppy.
“And what’s in there?”
Ramone scooped it up.
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Stephanie Ellis writes dark speculative prose and poetry and has been published in a variety of magazines and anthologies. Her longer work includes the folk horror novels, The Five Turns of the Wheel, Reborn, and The Woodcutter, and the novellas, Bottled and Paused (all via Brigids Gate Press). Her dark poetry has been published in her collections Lilith Rising (co-authored with Shane Douglas Keene), Foundlings (co-authored with Cindy O’Quinn) and Metallurgy, as well as the HWA Poetry Showcase Volumes VI, VII, VIII, and IX and Black Spot Books Under Her Skin. She can be found supporting indie authors at HorrorTree.com via the weekly Indie Bookshelf Releases. She can be found at https://stephanieellis.org and on Blue Sky as stephellis.bsky.social.