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The Unlikely Serial Killer

The Unlikely Serial Killer

No one ever suspects the woman...

8

Crime / Suspense / Mystery / Thriller


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Rachel Bryan (United States)


The tower she had built out of plastic taco sauce containers threatened to fall over. “Hey! What the hell do you think your doing? You’re supposed to be filling those with salsa. Not goofing off.” Silvia looked after her boss Michael as he stormed away. “Now there is a guy who deserves to die,” she thought.

That was one of the perks of being a serial killer. You get to decide who lives and who dies. Silvia was particularly fond of knocking off the annoying ones and of course, anyone who went out of their way to be rude to her. “That’s right bitches! No Dexter here,” she whispered under her breath. Silvia was as far away from righteous as you could get. She didn’t kill to right wrongs or save the lives of would be victims. She killed because she enjoyed it. Every single part of it. The selection, the interaction, the toying with them…the fear in their eyes as they died at her hands. Early on in her career, she had learned as much as she could about her craft. The key was to not get caught. Prison is a very dull place for someone who’s only true joy in life is killing others. Not enough opportunity. She was lucky in that she didn’t have much of a “type.” It didn’t really matter what they looked like. They were almost always male. Almost always because she had killed a woman once. Just once. It had been weirdly awkward and not nearly as satisfying so now she just stuck to men. Men with bad personalities. That was Silvia’s thing, personality traits. She got rid of the ones with defects.

Take her boss Michael for example. Here was a guy who not more than a year ago had been pretty decent. Not perfect, just decent. Then he went and won some major cooking award. Boy did that go to his head. Now he was “famous,” if chefs are actually capable of that. His restaurant was constantly packed with customers and he was rolling in fat wads of cash and overly busty women who could have cared less about who he was this time last year. Silvia had been working for him since he had opened up shop. But he appeared to have forgotten that. Just as he had forgotten the sacrifices that all the others had made to help him get to where he was today. Silvia was the last of the original crew and she was almost certain he was looking for an excuse to get rid of her too. Probably hurts his image to have a tiny scrap of a woman lurking in his award winning kitchen who barely has three years worth of cooking experience to her name. “Lessons must be taught.” She mused as she took the taco sauce to the fridge.

Another major perk of being a serial killer is the stereotype. Everyone expects a serial killer to be a man. Very rarely do you ever meet a female killer. No one ever saw her coming. At 5’2” and 115 pounds, she was pretty tiny by most standards. She had mousy brown hair, green eyes, and wore thick rimmed glasses that she really didn’t need but wore anyways because they made her feel like Clark Kent in disguise. She was the least threatening person you could encounter in a day and she liked to keep it that way. She had killed, over the last five years, 27 men and one woman. Not a one knew what had hit them. Granted, being so tiny did create problems when it came to cleaning up. The largest man Silvia had killed was her father. He had been her first murder. At 6’4”, 320 pounds he had been quite the task. She thought about him as she clocked out for the day. She hadn’t set out to kill him. That had never been her intention. But she had and his death set off something inside her which lead to the death of 27 more and counting. She had only been 14 at the time.

She had ended up early on in the foster care system. Bouncing from one home to another. Not that she wanted to give foster kids a bad rep. She knew plenty of kids from the system who went on to do amazing things. Like Lucas who lived a few doors down from her. She had known him while they were staying in the same foster home just before she ran away the first time. He had turned out well. Hot shot attorney. Honest to god nice guy. It was highly unlikely he’d ever end up on Silvia’s kill list. Her father hadn’t been on it either though and look how he turned out. She didn’t really remember him that well when she set out to find him. She knew from a distant cousin who kept in touch that he had just gotten out of prison and had moved back into the neighborhood she had been born in. He had gone to prison for murdering her mother one night in a drunken rage. Guess you could say the apple didn’t fall very far from the tree. She had showed up on his doorstep and he had let her stay for two days before he told her, in not so nice terms, to get the hell out of his life. She had been angry more than hurt and he had ended up in a pool of blood in the bathtub later that evening. Some people should know better than to leave their doors unlocked. She had left him in the tub and fled back across the country where she wound up in another group home. No one ever came knocking about her dad and she relished the rush she got from not being caught.

One death had led to another and slowly she perfected her craft. As of yet, she’s never been on anyone’s suspect list. And why would she. It’s hard to pin down a female serial killer who selects her victims based on perceived personality defects. Not to mention, she had a variety of favorite techniques and tools at her disposal. All things that drive detectives crazy trying to piece together. It had been a while since her last kill. Six months. “That will change.” She thought as she waited patiently on the front porch of Michael’s house, a bottle of wine in one hand and an overnight bag in the other. If there was one thing he could be counted on for, it was looking for a quick toss in the sack. And that is what she had promised him in the text earlier, which he had quickly accepted. She didn’t expect any different from him. She had known him long enough to know his weakness. They all had weaknesses. It was just a matter of learning what they were and exploiting them. He opened the door and she stepped inside. “Sorry I snapped at you earlier today.” “It’s alright. And to prove it, I’ve got a special surprise for you tonight.” She said as she smiled slowly and closed the door behind her.


Competition: The Pen Factor 2016, Round 1

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Read Reviews

Review 1:


Compelling hook?

Fresh?

Strong characters?

Entertaining?

Attention to mechanics
  • You demonstrate a professional quality of writing throughout the story.
Narration and dialogue: Balance
  • Your story struck a good balance between narration and authentic dialogue.
Narration and dialogue: Authentic voice
  • Your characters’ voices were convincing and authentic.
Characterization
  • Make sure your characters are multidimensional. Do they have strengths and weaknesses? Mere mortals make the most interesting stories because they are like you and me and we are able to empathize with their journey. That’s how the connection with a character is formed.
Main character
  • Connect us to your main protagonist with a deeper characterization. Could your protagonist have a few more distinguishing character traits?
Character conflict
  • The reader’s experience of the story is heightened when the characters’ goals, conflicts and purpose are clear. Perhaps giving this aspect of the story further attention could be worthwhile.
Plot and pace
  • Maintaining the right pace and sustaining the reader’s interest is a challenging balancing act. The story had a clear and coherent progression with a structured plot. A truly absorbing story!
Suspense and conflict
  • The joy of reading often lies in the element of suspense prompted by internal or external conflicts. The build-up was intriguing and I felt the tension mounting with each word.
Technique and tight writing
  • The writing was tight and economical and each word had purpose. This enabled the plot to unravel clearly. Your writing exhibits technical proficiency.
Point of view
  • The story successfully solicited the reader’s empathy through the clever use of the narrator's point of view. You show great deftness in handling point of view.
Style and originality
  • Creating a unique writing style while maintaining quality of prose is tricky. As writers, we face the daunting task of making sure we are not being predictable. Can you find a way to give the content and characters more of a unique edge? Perhaps say something boldly, something fresh or show an unorthodox approach to a topic?
Atmosphere and description
  • Your story was a feast for the senses. The atmosphere wrapped itself around me and transported me onto the page alongside your characters.
Authentic and vivid setting
  • The setting was realistic and vivid. The characters’ mood and emotions were conveyed successfully through the believable setting.
Opening line, paragraph and hook
  • Your great opening was a promise of wonderful things to come. I was hooked!
General comments from your fellow writer 1:
Well, the story is full of unexpected thinks and pangs and it has a some surprise attack for a readers. The final lines are unlooked for results and the story really catch me. I think this is a classic narrative stile and it works always.

Review 2:


Compelling hook?

Fresh?

Strong characters?

Entertaining?

Attention to mechanics
  • You demonstrate a professional quality of writing throughout the story.
Narration and dialogue: Balance
  • Your story struck a good balance between narration and authentic dialogue.
Narration and dialogue: Authentic voice
  • The protagonist didn’t always respond believably against the backdrop of the story. Ask yourself if people would really answer to a situation in that way. Think about whether the characters’ voices could be more convincing for their age, background, gender, time period, genre, gender and ethnicity. Dialogue should be natural and consistent throughout the story.
Characterization
  • Make sure your characters are multidimensional. Do they have strengths and weaknesses? Mere mortals make the most interesting stories because they are like you and me and we are able to empathize with their journey. That’s how the connection with a character is formed.
Main character
  • Your protagonist exhibited a unique voice and had original characteristics. Their actions and dialogue were convincing!
Plot and pace
  • Maintaining the right pace and sustaining the reader’s interest is a challenging balancing act. The story had a clear and coherent progression with a structured plot. A truly absorbing story!
Suspense and conflict
  • The joy of reading often lies in the element of suspense prompted by internal or external conflicts. The build-up was intriguing and I felt the tension mounting with each word.
General comments from your fellow writer 2:
Wow, awesome job! A little creepy for my taste, but others will enjoy this story.

Review 3:


Compelling hook?

Fresh?

Strong characters?

Entertaining?

Attention to mechanics
  • You demonstrate a professional quality of writing throughout the story.
Narration and dialogue: Authentic voice
  • Your characters’ voices were convincing and authentic.
Characterization
  • Make sure your characters are multidimensional. Do they have strengths and weaknesses? Mere mortals make the most interesting stories because they are like you and me and we are able to empathize with their journey. That’s how the connection with a character is formed.
Main character
  • Connect us to your main protagonist with a deeper characterization. Could your protagonist have a few more distinguishing character traits?
Character conflict
  • Your characters drew me into their world from the very beginning. Their goals and conflicts were clearly conveyed.
Plot and pace
  • Maintaining the right pace and sustaining the reader’s interest is a challenging balancing act. The story had a clear and coherent progression with a structured plot. A truly absorbing story!
Suspense and conflict
  • The joy of reading often lies in the element of suspense prompted by internal or external conflicts. The build-up was intriguing and I felt the tension mounting with each word.
Technique and tight writing
  • The writing was tight and economical and each word had purpose. This enabled the plot to unravel clearly. Your writing exhibits technical proficiency.
Point of view
  • The story successfully solicited the reader’s empathy through the clever use of the narrator's point of view. You show great deftness in handling point of view.
Style and originality
  • I loved your fresh approach. Creating a unique writing style while maintaining quality of prose requires both skill and practice. Impressive.
Atmosphere and description
  • A writer’s ability to create mood and atmosphere through evocative description is vital to the reader’s experience. It’s a real skill to craft out how the characters react to the setting and atmosphere and perhaps your story could go further in its description. The reader wants to experience the same sensory and poignant journey as the characters.
Opening line, paragraph and hook
  • Your great opening was a promise of wonderful things to come. I was hooked!
General comments from your fellow writer 3:
Great, great opening with the taco sauce containers. It wasn't only fresh, funny, and insightful into the protagonist's work ethic, it was also the catalyst for Michael's upcoming death. You're obviously comfortable as a writer - grammar, language, punctuation etc. The piece does read like a first chapter (e.g. setting up the neighbor that she DOES NOT intend to kill) and leaving unanswered questions. There is also a lot of background, with the father for instance. IF this were a first chapter it'd be more powerful to hint at the first murder at 14 then later reveal it was her father. That description was good but for something so important - something that set her on her career path - we should feel it more in the details of setting, sights, sounds and especially dialog. Give us something the father said to show v. telling how godawful he was. The main character comes off successfully as a psychopath who kills over personality defects - love that she's not sympathetic so far. Maybe more about her own quirks though. Does she even like cooking? Does she have any aspirations beyong killing? Does she have a pet she perversely loves? Great story overall. Congrats.