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

It’s Always Easier in the Dark

By Aristo Couvaras

 

1.Midnight March

 

It’s dark. It’s always easier in the dark…

 

The heels of Clyde’s dress shoes tipped and tapped along the walkway. Left, right, left, right. With the same steadfast pace he had always taken his steps with, well since as a toddler he had managed to master the practice of walking.

Over cobbled stone, paving, white sandy beaches and polished, gleaming wooden floors, Clyde had made a habit of being a man noticed, and known for, the decided manner in which he walked.

He had learnt it from his father, not the practiced manner of his gait, but how not to walk. Clyde never walked with shuffling feet, never had his neck lowered, let alone bent, never slouched or kept his shoulders narrow. It was, he had learnt, unbecoming to dress as his father had done but still walk like a beggar or vagrant. So, he dressed as his father did but walked his own way, his own path.

With this well-to-do fashion, he marched down the steps of the court house and along the pavement, alone. And that was the way he liked it, he reveled in it, all the more so when there was no one to watch him. It meant that they had all gone to their cushy lives while he drove forward, burning midnight oil, lighting candles at both ends.

Why just that day he had told one of his young clerks, the name escaped him, how did he ever expect to be in his position at the firm when the young buck arrived later than Clyde did, when he left hours before Clyde did. “I understand Sir”, the young man had responded while he followed Clyde through the network of passages and hallways in the courthouse, cases and briefs piled in his arms, “it’s just that, lately, the missus Sir, she’s been having trouble at home is all. You see the children they’re…”

And Clyde had walked on to the next hearing, not hearing what travesties affected the young man’s household. Clyde’s household was sorted in its affairs. He made certain of that. Even that, he firmly believed, was as a result of the man he chose to be. A man who walked in an esteemed manner. Left, right, left, right. His heels echoed the sounds of his march.

 

Closer, closer. I hear you, I will see you soon. But you will not see me. It’s too dark for you to see me.

It’s dark. It’s always easier in the dark…

 

There were no coaches on the streets, and Clyde had given his own driver express direction to leave when Clyde pursued his business endeavors late into the night. It was not enough to be hard on his office workers, and walk as he did, carry himself as he did, but he knew he also could not make those lower than his station toil the same hours as he. They would not understand, would not come to see the intrinsic value in it as he saw it, and the more different they were to him, why, the more he could laud over them, the more he could celebrate it privately with each step.

Left, right, left right, his heels tipped and tapped along the paving. With only the moon and lampposts to guide his way. Though he could make the walk blindfolded were the need to arise, so many times had he made this exodus under the cowl of night. He had a residence that was not a great deal of distance from the court house and these regimented strolls allowed him some form of exercise that his business pursuits did not. He would not be brilliant and weak, as his father had been, he would be better and stronger, fitter.

Then, from an alleyway he had passed, he heard the young clerk’s voice, “Sir, it’s just that, lately, the missus Sir, she’s been having trouble at home is all. You see the children they’re…”

Left, right, left…Clyde halted. Was that? No, it couldn’t be. But Clyde was a man who trusted his intuition, a man who walked as he did, and did what he did, very rarely doubted himself. That had been the clerk’s voice.

Far above the street, above the lampposts and the eaves and gables, the weathervanes and steeples, above the shingles on the courthouse even, a dark shroud had just stopped in front of the glowing moon as Clyde stopped near the alleyway.

 

Ah! Now you hear me too. Only you don’t know that it’s me you hear. You don’t know that it’s me in here. But you will know me soon enough. Come in, let us become acquainted. But you don’t need to see me. Besides, it too dark in here for that.

It’s dark. It’s always easier in the dark…

 

Clyde announced to the cavorting shadows between the two walls, “have you been a lush? Absconded all your earnings on a night out?” He took a step closer, a step off the pavement and into the alley. “I thought things were rather, exasperated at home, that you retired early tonight so as to attend to your wife and your children. Now am I really to find you here, inebriated, laying in the dark not ten minutes from the courthouse?”

The voice that answered grew less and less to belong to the clerk, “attend to the children? Tonight? Not me Sir. Sundays are for laying flowers at their graves.”

“I do apologize. I had no idea.” Clyde stepped deeper into the constructed abyss, “Why don’t you come with me then lad. We’ll sober you up at my residence, fortify you with some piping hot coffee and telephone your wife, tell her you’ve been busy all the night. What do you say?”

“Why don’t you come with me?” hissed the blanket of shadows. Then the voice giggled.

Now annoyed, Clyde took another step toward the voice. From right behind him, so close he smelt something unpleasant but surely not liquor – something more akin to embalming fluid – came the malevolent mirth, “it’s more interesting than where you’re going.”

Clyde spun about sternly. And then he felt it. Looking down he saw a grisly section of steel, a notched blade, its pointed edge sticking out a full six inches from his heart. He could feel his shirt quickly becoming drenched in blood.

The voice dripped with spite, behind him again, “go on. Walk in that officious way of yours. Walk right away from this. You might want to take my other hand though, where we’re going…well, you don’t know the way…”

The voice giggled and a coated tongue licked at Clyde’s cheek.

Aristo Couvaras

Aristo Couvaras is twenty-seven years old, of Greek descent (if the name doesn’t give that away) and who was born and raised in South Africa, where he still resides. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in both English Literature and Clinical Psychology, as well as a Bachelor of Law degree, both attained from the University of the Witwatersrand. He has an upcoming work titled The Natloer, set to appear in Things in the Well Publications latest anthology -Beneath the Waves- Tales from the Deep.Anyone wanting to contact Aristo can do so on twitter @AR1sto.

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