Serial Killers: How Much Did You Take (Part 3) by Stefan Singelakis

Serial Killers are part of our Trembling With Fear line and are serialized stories which we’ll be publishing on an ongoing basis.

We stood on the porch.

“Should we knock?”

Ramone shot me a half smile. 

“Might as well.”

He pounded the front door with his fist. For a second the door seemed to cave in and then bounce back into its original shape. I wondered if every door was like that and gave it a whack as well. Again, the door changed shape, rippled and groaned and then went back to normal. I was going to bang it a second time. 

“Don’t.”

“What?”

“We want Jimmy to answer the door. Not run out the back.”

“What’s the difference?”

I still didn’t really know what was going on but Ramone thought I had come to. 

“It will take too long to search the house. And the car might draw someone’s attention. What we want is to go in and out.”

Fuck. This was making me nervous. I reached to the back of my belt and unfastened the machete. Ramone dawned another demonic grin. 

“Good idea. That will scare the fuck out of him.” 

A couple more seconds elapsed. There was the sound of a door opening in the house and then a voice near the front door.

“Who is it?”

I squeezed the machete. 

“It’s Ramone hombre. Open up.”

I heard some cursing from behind the door. 

“I’ve got nothing. Come back tomorrow during the day.”

“Hey man, I drove all the way here.”

“I said fuck off and come back tomorrow.”

“Hey! Open the fucking door man!”

The cursing behind the door had grown louder. 

“If you don’t get off my porch, I’m getting my gun.”

That was a mistake. Ramone hated being threatened. Especially by Jimmy. They hated each other. This was only going to get worse.

Ramone pounded on the door. 

“What the fuck is your problem man? I’ve got five bills so open up. Stop messing around.”

Once he mentioned the five hundred, I heard the locks opening. Jimmy was opening the door. For a second, he stood there and said nothing. He was fat and balding in the front. What was left of his hair had grown long and hung down about his shoulders in a greasy mop. He had a large nose and eyes that flittered like that of a rat. It was then that I realized that he was eyeballing the machete in my right hand. 

“What the fuck are you guys doing?”

Neither of us said anything and Jimmy was getting fidgety. As the seconds ticked away, his fidgeting became unbearable. The more he moved the more he looked like a giant grey rat. I heard the tail hit the floor and his hands… his fucking hands had claws and his teeth… they were the color of piss and there was fur everywhere. I fucking hated rats. Part of me wanted to run back to the car and the other half wanted to stomp the meaty tail that now lay on the ground between his legs.

“You fucking assholes are here to rob me.”

We didn’t say anything. He continued to squirm and he couldn’t stop squeaking. It was awful. 

“You guys go fuck yourselves! I’m not giving you…”

If I’d let it go a second longer I knew that Jimmy would have attacked me. There was nothing else to do. No other options. I lifted the machete and struck down as hard as I could. I closed my eyes. There was a terrible shriek and then it was over, a heap of fur lay twitching on the floor.

***

Five minutes later, we were speeding away, back on the road. Ramone was driving and sweating even worse than before. 

“Why’d you do it man?”

The drugs had taken me in another direction and I felt cool. Impossibly cool and relaxed. 

“What are you talking about?”

“Man, Mike, you’re crazy man, totally crazy…” There were tears in his eyes.

I shrugged. He was going on about some bullshit again. I moved my face towards the open window to get some air. Ramone wouldn’t stop looking at me. 

“Hey Mike?”

“What?”

“Just tell me, why’d you have to take it?”

“Because that’s what we went there to do,” I said, thinking about the haul. All in, we’d collected about 20 grand in cash from Jimmy.  

“Fuck.”

I glanced at him through the corner of my eye. 

“Just relax Ramone. You can stay at my place tonight to lie low.” 

Ramone didn’t say anything. We drove the last ten minutes in silence. He pulled in until the car stopped in front of my porch. 

“You coming in?”

Ramone was still sweating and his eyes were wet. He looked like he was having a hard time. 

“No man.”

“Alright. Suit yourself. Take your cut.”

“No man, I’m good. You hang on to it.”

“Fuck. You live thirty miles from here. Take some cash and grab a cab.”

“I’ll be fine. I just… have to leave.”

I figured he must be tripping really hard to not want to take the money. 

“Alright, then I’ll save your half for when you want it.”

Ramone looked at me and I could tell that he was afraid. 

“No Mike, I think I’m just going to go.” 

The door creaked open, Ramone got up and he walked away. I figured the shrooms must have taken a turn for the worse. Poor bastard. I was sure he’d be back. Ramone wasn’t the sort of guy to say no to money. That’s why I’d asked him to help me out on this job. Finally, I remembered.  

I pulled out the keys and stepped out of the car. Popped the trunk. There it was. The black gym bag, full of cash. An easy job. I stood there for a moment and then felt an urge to look at the money. I fidgeted with the zipper. When I opened it, there was the cash strewn about like confetti and in the midst of it all was Jimmy’s bloody, severed head.

Fuck, I wondered, how much did I take?

Stefan Singelakis

Stefanos Singelakis is a Montreal based author. He has a Master of Arts in Religions and Cultures from Concordia University. During his time as a student, he rediscovered the joy of creative writing. Currently, he enjoys creating short stories, novellas and novel length projects. He has previously had two short stories published. The latest is titled Question Mark and was published in Scarlet Leaf Review. The other is called Drive and was published in Montreal Writes. His goal as an author is to have his work published and read by an intelligent audience that loves a good read. 

Stephanie Ellis

Stephanie Ellis is a member of the HWA and writes dark speculative prose and poetry which has been published in a variety of magazines and anthologies. Her work includes the novel, The Five Turns of the Wheel and the gothic novella, Bottled, both via Silver Shamrock Publishing.She can be found at https://stephanieellis.org/ and on twitter @el_Stevie.

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