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No Rest for the Wicked

By Martin Turton


A moan of almost sexual ecstasy. She had found me. I had known she would; she always did. But that didn't ease the terror. I breathed slowly through my mouth, my eyes closed. I remembered the time when I had seen her in the motel in Chicago, white dress billowing about her as she hovered near the ceiling. It might have been a delusion brought on by the bottle of Jack Daniels. It might not.

Jason, why do you run, Jason? You need me…"

I rolled off the bed, keeping my eyes away from the ceiling. I could feel her watching over my shoulder as I rolled up my sleeve. I already had the knife ready by the side of the bed.
The next day, the first body was found.

Were the two incidents related? I wasn't sure, but when I heard the call on the scanner, I wasn't as shocked as I might have been. This was Aurora, Nebraska. Young women didn't get cut and sliced open like that. Hearing the caller screaming like that made me glad I'd quit the force.

I wasn't always such a coward. There'd been a time when I'd have rushed to the call. But dying does things to a man. Like make him value his life a bit more. I'd once raced to scenes like this, hoping against hope that the victim was still alive no matter what the caller said.

Oh my God, the blood! The blood!"

Now my first thought was: is the killer still there, waiting for the next poor schmuck to cross his path? I was glad I was out of it. Not very heroic I know; but like I say, dying changes your way of thinking.

I could hear the tremor in Travinski and Lyle's voices. Poor kids, no young cop in Aurora expects to be shovelling bodies off a sidewalk first thing in the morning. I heard the desk jockey radio Travinski again.

"You be careful when you get there, Chris."

"There already, Alan. Less than two minutes."

Typical Travinski, trying to sound in control. Even over the scanner I could hear her breath high in her throat. Her cheeks and the bridge of her nose would be flushed red, too. Her colour was always high when she was excited. No, not that excited, not in that way. She was still a kid. Only seven years younger than me, but still a kid.

Dying ages you, too. Makes you feel older than you really are. Kind of like when you're a kid and playing chicken swimming out to sea, or riding that skateboard down those scarily steep stairs, or climbing the rusted ladder up that old water tower…you don't do shit like that when you're older, it's too dangerous. Your mortality is that much more real to you. Well, once you've died that whole process is multiplied by…well, a lot.

Before I go on about the murders (yeah, I was right, there did end up being more) maybe I should explain about my own death seeing as I've mentioned it so often.

I was shot.

Not in some heroic shoot-out like in the movies, no partner holding my hand and bravely fighting back the tears. No, all alone on a porch where the white paint was peeling away and showing the mouldy green beneath. I wasn't even on duty, just picked up some groceries from across the street and heard a woman's screams. I knocked, and some slob with crazy hair and a string vest pushed the door open and a firecracker sounded. I still had my groceries. A pool of red was falling to the floor.
The bastard's shot my juice! I remember thinking. Even when the world toppled and turned white. That's gonna ruin the rest of the groceries.

Only two minutes. That's what the doctor said to me. I'd died, but only for two minutes. Well, I can say that two minutes is a very long time when you're dead. A lifetime, you might say. And no, I didn't get angelic choirs and elevators to the ubiquitous white light. I got voices that writhed around my mind like eternally searching worms; I got walls of the deepest black, wet and rank. There were cells inside these walls with creatures with hollow eyes which covered half their face as they huddled in corners and wailed into the darkness.

Only two minutes.

What had I done to earn myself a place in this unhappy residence? Well, this is a tale about the murders which the press would eventually label 'The Mirror Man Murders," which is a lot more interesting than any past misdemeanours I may have made. I will say, though, that when I finally did see a light (gold, not white; and haloed by sterile steel) I wasn't as alone as I had been when I died.

And I'm not talking about the surgeons.


Her hands shook as she laid the pictures out before me on the table. I'd known it was Travinski when I heard the knock. I hadn't thought I'd let her in though; guess it showed how pathetically desperate I was for company when I was letting in cops with nothing but murder snaps for entertainment.

Oh my God, the blood! The blood!"

I turned away, my hands held out before me. "I don't want to see. I heard the call. I know it's bad."

Travinski ignored me, laid out more photographs. One by one, side by side; a gory parade of horror and brutality. "Just look, Jason. What harm can it do? You've dealt with cases like this, you might see something. Shit, Jason, look at what this man did! He might kill again."
I tried not to look, but I did see. I saw the slender body stretched out across the sidewalk; saw the red blood stark against the white cardigan.

Claire. That was her name, Claire Davidson. I cursed Travinski for telling me the vic's name. How had the damn woman managed to get to know me so well? My ex-wife had said I was impossible to get to know, and now here was this young cop in my apartment pressing my buttons like an old pro.

"Okay, okay, I'll take a look," I said. Travinski grinned and I held up a hand. "But I'm gonna make a cup of coffee first."

Travinski's triumphant smile didn't budge an inch. "I'll have milk and two sugars in mine, thanks Jase."

I ignored her and hurried into the kitchen. I had to give Travinski credit for keeping herself together. Bigger and tougher cops than her had been reduced to useless wrecks at scenes like that. She seemed as perky as ever. The cups rattled in my hands when I got them from the cupboard, sugar spilled onto the worktop as I spooned it straight from the bag. Shit like this affected me more than it used to. I took a scalding gulp of the coffee before I'd even taken the cups back into the living room.

Travinski was on her knees next to the coffee table, still poring over the murder snaps; and yeah, the bridge of her nose and her cheeks were flushed red. This was a woman excited by the hunt. I'd been like that once.

Blue eyes watched me put the cups down. "So, what do you think?" she said.

"I think she's about as dead as she's gonna get." It didn't sound as flippant as I'd meant it to. It was too quiet in my cheap apartment. I suddenly wished I had a television or something to drown out the silence.

"She is now," Travinski agreed, chewing her lip. "But it took her a long time to get there. See the depth of the cuts? She was tortured, Jase. Maybe for nearly an hour." She held up one of the photos. "Who could do a thing like that? You ever seen anything like it?"

I hadn't.

Death is like sex. You always remember the first (mine was a hit and run on Amsterdam Avenue). The others kind of blend into the background noise, but you remember them all, some you have to dredge from the very deepest pit of your memory, but they all stay with you. And I knew I had never seen anything quite like the Claire Davidson murder. The sheer evil glee of it.


I had run from New York to Chicago, from Chicago to Aurora, and Rebecca had followed me all the way. Once I'd studied those pictures, once I had thrown Travinski out in the early hours of the morning, I was seriously thinking Rebecca had brought her own private hell with her.

To this day, I'm not sure what her true name is; if, that is, the creatures of Hell have names. I called her Rebecca, as that was the first name she gave me, whispering in my ear as the surgeons dug the bullet out of my gut. She has given me other names since, mocking the memories she somehow seems to be able to pluck from my head, but I ignore her and call her Rebecca.

I had known she was watching from the corner as we looked over the snaps; I had learnt to sense her presence like a bad thought that I can't shake. She was sulking, which was good. Sometimes she flew into violent foul-mouthed rages which made it difficult to hold a conversation with those who couldn't hear her-which was everybody but me.

I looked over into the corner where I could feel her hovering. "You saw the pictures?" I didn't know if she had purposely allowed me to see her that time in Chicago, or if it had been a slip on her part, or whether it had been another of her tricks. She had been beautiful; one of those pale, ethereal blonde ladies straight out of a BBC period drama. Since then, I noticed I'd changed the way I spoke to her, despite my best attempts not to.

"Somebody had fun with that one." Her voice always disturbed me; high, like a child's voice but with the confidence, knowledge, and natural suspicion of an adult.

"Yeah, they did," I sighed. I had learned to be careful when talking with Rebecca. Like a lot of women, she was temperamental. But while most women might storm off into another room, or at the worst throw a flowerpot at your head-Rebecca was a creature from the bowels of Hell and her tantrums were definitely a thing to be avoided.

Travinski had left one of the photographs on the coffee table. I picked it up, turned it over in my hands, trying my best not to look at the girl who had been cut so carefully and methodically. "It's not natural," I pretended to murmur to myself, though the words were for Rebecca.

I hadn't known what reaction to expect (I never did), but I
definitely didn't expect the ripple of laughter sounding from the corner. It sounded like a thousand tiny Christmas lights shattering on the floor.

"Jason, Jason. What did you ever do before you came to my home?" I could sense her move across the room to hover by the only window in my apartment. Did the drapes flutter as she moved? I put it down to my imagination. "You saw plenty of murders and rapes before; were all those murderers and rapists fugitives from there? Don't use me and my kind to excuse the evil in all men's hearts." That laugh again, close to my ear now. I hadn't felt her move. "Fuck me, Jason." Her voice changed, huskier than before. For all I knew, she was using Claire Davidson's voice. "Fuck me and pretend I'm her. You want me, Jason. You want to hear me scream."

Something was wrong. Something was very wrong. I had never heard Rebecca speak like this. I had known there was something different about this murder. And now I knew Rebecca thought so too.

The hairs on the back of my neck were standing to attention; I could have sworn I felt her lips on my ear. I stood, shrugged a shoulder against the shiver oscillating down my spine and threw the photograph carelessly back on the table. "Well, it's no concern of mine."

I could feel her watching me. I imagined her looking up from the couch like some spurned lover. "No. No it isn't." Her voice was soft, like the whisper of a cold wind through bare winter trees.


Say you know there is going to be a murder in your neighbourhood soon. You don't know where, you don't know when; only you
know, deep in that primal place where all instinctive fears are born, you know that it will be soon. And it will be very, very violent. What would you do? What could you do?

I did the only thing I could. I lived my life as normal. As normally as a guy old before his time and followed around by an evil spirit can, anyway. And, to be truthful, Aurora had changed after the murder. Can such a place ever be the same after such an outburst of brutality? Cops waited at every corner; cars crawled along the streets, stopped by detectives who leaned into open windows and talked to drivers. Flyers were handed out showing a smiling, beautiful blonde girl in her early twenties.

In my mind it was an eternity between the first two murders, a long, cold winter of watching and waiting.

In reality it was three days.

A boy this time. Well, Callum Berugh was twenty-two, but he looked like a boy in the 'before' shots. He'd been cut and sliced just like Claire Davidson.

Maybe the killer was getting more skilled with a blade; maybe I was allowing myself to look more closely at the photos. There were definite diagrams etched into the young flesh. How had the killer managed to get Callum to stay still while he cut his flesh so carefully? Travinski said the boy had been tortured alive. The tox report on Claire Davidson had come back negative. Something told me that the same would happen with Callum Berugh's. These kids hadn't been drugged.

So why not more of a struggle?

I rolled up my sleeves, ran a finger along the ridge of bloodied wounds there. The cuts I had made when I bled for Rebecca.

She was berating me from a corner, talking to me in my mother's cold, clean voice and comparing me to my more successful friends (pretty much all of them apart from Guy Spatowski who hanged himself in his garage just before his twentieth birthday). Sometimes she could steal things from my memory which even I thought I'd forgotten.

"Why do you make me cut myself?" I said.

If you are wondering at this point how anybody could make you cut yourself against your will, I would argue that if a creature from Hell can see into your mind, see into your innermost fears and paranoias (deep down we're all paranoid to a point, trust me) then it can damn near make you do anything it wants.

Imagine lying in bed trying to sleep, it's 2 am and you haven't slept for three nights, the room is spinning you're so tired and you have the voice of a girl you used to date ten years ago telling you how small your dick was. Oh, and how you used to feel cold inside every time she smiled at your friend Richard? Well, she was sucking his cock every night, and when you went to see that movie together and they disappeared at the same time? Screwing in the bathroom, they were. All this said, not in Rebecca's voice, but in an exact imitation of the girl's voice. Believe me, a few nights of that, and when she tells you to get a knife and a bowl, you do it.

"Would you have me go back to the place from which I came?" When she spoke it was in the voice I had come to think of as hers; high, lilting, and child-like.

I looked at my arm; they were deep gashes, no doubt about it-my hand had slipped when making the cut just beneath the elbow, and that was more like a gaping black hole in the flesh. It stung like hell when I flexed my hand. I flexed my hand now. Sometimes pain was good, reminded you that you were alive. "You think I would miss you?"

That tinkling laugh again, my apartment had just dropped about twenty degrees. "Miss me?" Her lips brushed my ear. I ignored the hollow ache in the pit of my stomach. "You are me Jason. As I am you. It is not a matter of you missing me; it is a matter of whether you could live without me." A pause. "Or whether you would want to live without me."

I stopped rubbing my hand over the cuts; it made me feel sick when my fingers brushed the exposed flesh beneath the skin. "So," I decided to ignore the comments about Rebecca being a part of me-I had long been one to ignore things I don't want to think about, "you carve these diagrams into my arms to stop yourself being taken from this world." I barely noticed my fingers had begun running up and down my arm once more; like a blind man reading Braille, though I had no idea what the strange letters meant. "Maybe the killer does the same?" But then, if the killer could take form and attack these two kids, then didn't that mean that Rebecca could…more thoughts to add to the black box at the back of my mind, labelled 'to be thought about at a later time'. I prayed that I would never have to delve into that box.

"Why bother about them?" Rebecca had drifted away once more. "They are small people living small lives. Like you." I jumped away, an involuntary yelp escaping me as I felt a finger of ice touch my bloodied arm.

"Do you realize what a dull little man you are, Jason? How boring you are for a lady to live with?"

I had no idea where she was now; her child's voice seemed to seep from the very walls of my apartment. My skin writhed and rippled at the memory of that touch. "How can you do that?" It was difficult to speak, my throat was so dry.

"Spend less of what is left of your life running, Jason, and you might be more aware of what I can and can't do. Think of what I can do for you." A finger ran down my cheek; my lips pulled back over my teeth in revulsion. "That nice young police woman, Travinski." She sighed the name, her breath like cold vapour. "You want her." The voice suddenly changed to Travinski's nasal drawl. "You want to hear me moan, Jason. Hear me moan your name.
Jason." Travinski sighed my name. "Oh, Jason…"

It was always like this with Rebecca. Things I needed to know mixed with the taunts and the mockery. Though, I had to admit even then that I did like the sound of Travinski moaning my name. Something to be thought about later. I grabbed my coat from the couch. I had no idea where I was going, but I needed to be away; to try and find someplace where I could think.
"Running away again, Jason?" Rebecca's voice again. She sounded like a sullen child. "You wouldn't be man enough to stop him anyway." This last was muttered so quietly that I almost missed it; I wasn't even sure I had heard it right.

"What?" I had one arm in the coat. "What was that?" The lump in my throat hurt like hell.

"He won't stop, Jason." I could see plumes of my own breath as Rebecca spoke, she sounded happy; almost like a spiteful child telling her brother his favourite toy was broken. "He couldn't stop even if he wanted to. His only wish is that he could make them live longer as he cuts them. He wants to look in their eyes as he peels the flesh from their bones." There was a long pause. The cold of my apartment was hurting the cuts on my arm. Rebecca's breath brushed against my lips. I fought the urge to pull away. "And he is getting more skilled with his blade with every death."

"You know who he is?" I whispered. As soon as the words were out of my mouth they seemed to be swallowed by the invisible creature before me. It felt like a lingering kiss. I was vaguely horrified to feel myself getting hard.

Who he is? Or what he is?" That shattering laugh again. She moved away, I could see her breath misting on the window pane. She seemed to spend a lot of time looking out of the window in those days. "But the question is: how badly do you want to stop these killings?" The drapes folded slightly in the middle. I had died four years before; up until this night I had never known Rebecca could move or touch anything. More games, more manipulations. I knew I had to play it cool with her; to show she had me rattled only encouraged her. "What do you want?" I clenched my hands, fighting the urge to touch the ridged cuts on my arm.

The drapes straightened once more. "You will know what I want soon enough, Jason." A heavy sigh as the painful cold was beginning to ease. "What did your sweet, little, police friend say about the broken mirrors?"


"How did you know about those?" Travinski was stirring her McDonald's coffee, her sausage and egg Mcmuffin untouched on her lap as we watched a couple of clumsy kids playing in the park. The mother was nearly having a fit trying to keep them from falling off the frame. I felt like going over there and telling her there were a whole lot of worse things to be worrying about than a couple of bumps and scrapes.

I didn't, of course. I couldn't go over there and tell her that I thought that maybe some creature from Hell was slicing and dicing kids right around the corner from where little Johnny and Mikey were dreaming about cotton candy and rocking horses or whatever the hell it is kids dream about these days. No, I couldn't tell her that anymore than I could tell Travinski that a creature who had followed me back from Hell had told me that small, shattered hand mirrors had been found next to each of the vics. "They were in the photos you showed me."

"No they weren't." She took a delicate sip of her coffee. It seemed a strangely ladylike gesture for her. I thought for a moment of Rebecca's taunting the night before but shook it off with a shiver. It was freezing; one of those early winter mornings without a cloud in the sky. The kind of morning where you just want to pull up the covers and snuggle up to a nice, warm, naked body. I took a bite of my sandwich. It was already cold.

"Oh," I said, all innocence. "Weren't they?"

"You know very well they weren't. Paxton wanted that kept quiet. He thinks it shows the killer has some kind of deformity; thinks the killer sees these young kids preening in front of a mirror and gets insanely jealous." Travinski took a bite of her own sandwich. Ketchup seeped out of the side and onto her cheek. "He thinks that's why he cuts them up so bad."

I raised an eyebrow. "Sounds a good theory to me. You don't think so?"

Travinski wiped at the sauce with the back of her hand. "I think it's horseshit. And you're trying to change the subject. How did you know about the mirrors?"

I folded the sausage and egg back inside its wrapper, thinking I'd reheat it later for supper. I met Travinski's eyes, the kind of blue where all the colour seemed to have drained away. "I have my sources. I'm a bit disappointed you didn't tell me though, Chris. You come around asking for my help and then keep information from me? Makes me wonder what else you've been hiding." When on the defensive, try and twist it so you're on the attack-a tactic I'd often used in my marriage; that's how I managed to make it last all of two years.

"Okay," Travinski nodded. Her cheeks were flushed, though whether it was from the cold, or because she was pissed at me, I wasn't sure. "Say I had told you about the mirrors, what then? What would your genius mind have conjured from that? You've told me nothing about the murders so far." She rose to her feet, her breath billowing in the air, her green scarf tight about her neck. "You're nothing but a washed-up cop from the city trying to act the big man in our little hick town."

I thought that was a bit rough-she'd been the one to come to me, after all. I'd wanted nothing to do with this. Still didn't; but the two women in my life seemed to have other ideas. Travinski pulled her gloves on. It was getting colder. "Maybe when you decide you can be honest with me, then we can talk, Jason." She waited a moment, as though expecting me to speak. Dark rings rimmed her faded blue eyes.

She realized I wasn't going to say anything and turned and walked away without a word, gloved hands stuffed deep into her pockets.

The blonde with the two kids also seemed to take offence at my silence, and she was soon hustling and bustling the two little scamps on their way. And I was left all alone in Cole Park.

Not long after, the screaming started.

My heart nearly leapt clean out of my throat. The sandwich fell to the ground as I jumped to my feet, gun already in my hand.

It sounded like a woman's scream, though I guessed it could be a child. It was coming from beyond a cluster of bushes and trees.
Shit, the kids from the park

My heart was doing a fairly good imitation of a jackhammer in my throat as I ran, gun held out before me. The park was deserted now; early morning joggers gone home to intern themselves in their suits, mothers gone home to get little Johnny and Mikey ready for school. Another scream. A sound of scuffling behind trees. Leaves bright and green in the slanting sunlight.

I jumped over a bush and into the thicket. A branch caught me just below my eye. It felt like tears falling down my cheek as the cut opened. I held the gun in both hands and dropped to my knees, wondering if the killer had been alerted by my less than soundless approach.

I brushed my cheek against my shoulder; the cut was pretty bad, blood spattered down the arm of my grey coat. Why the hell hadn't I brought my cell with me? I pushed a branch aside with the barrel of my gun, but saw nothing but more damn branches and leaves.

It was then I thought of Rebecca.

Yeah, there was I, on my knees in the mud, a killer no more than a few feet away from me and I couldn't see for shit with all the trees about, and I was thinking about my evil spirit. And I missed her. I wished she was there with me. Even now, looking back, I still think there is something pretty screwed about that.

Memory is a strange thing. As I close my eyes and remember back to that time, it seems as though I was squatting in that thicket for hours; days, even. Of course, I should have turned away and gone to the nearest payphone.

I didn't. I sprang through the trees, even as I heard another scream ripping through the frozen winter air. Leaves whipped my face, twigs tearing at the cut on my cheek.

Even before the trees had stopped grasping at me with their chill fingers, I levelled the gun at a figure crouched over the prone bundle lying in the middle of the pathway.

"Freeze!" Maybe my voice cracked a little; my heart was so loud, I barely heard my own shout.

It looked like some terrible tableau from one of those weird paintings my ex-wife used to like dragging me around to see. Thick trees grew on either side of the road, frost like icing sugar on the branches which met overhead to form an arch over the scene.

The creature held the knife, sliced it into the bundle on the ground with graceful ease. And yet the killer was insubstantial, with the form of a man but the solidity of a thick fog. It was wearing a long brown coat and a brown trilby hat pulled low over its brow so its face was hidden as it concentrated on the butchery. The knife stopped its methodical work as the monster heard my shout.

It slowly turned toward me, still hunched over its prize. Eyes blacker than any night met mine. Its face was pale as curdling milk.

Fuck this, I thought, and fired two rounds at the horror.

Missed, of course. My hands were shaking so badly I suppose I was lucky I didn't shoot my own foot. The creature rose to its feet, knife still held in its long-fingered hand, blood dripping to the path shining bright in the early morning sun. Its eyes were hollow like the creatures I had seen in the cells when I died.

I still had the gun levelled at the thing. My bladder ached and my breath rolled about me in great plumes. Despite the pure blackness of it eyes, despite the fact they were nothing but black holes of emptiness; there was a malevolence in them that had me frozen to the ground. Even when it took a step towards me, I couldn't have run any more than I could have pulled the trigger. It took another step, the knife in its hand swinging loosely by its side. I was frozen to the spot and it had nothing to do with the shocking coldness of the morning. I was beginning to see how it had sliced those kids up so neatly. My bladder ached all the more at the thought of it sauntering on over to me and doing what it liked to my poor body with that knife. I would have whimpered but I couldn't even move my mouth.

I could see the broken glass scattered on the path glinting in the early morning sun through the brown overcoat of the murderer. That was odd. I hadn't been able to see through it a moment before. And now, as I looked at its face, it seemed to be
melting as it struggled another step towards me. The pale face with the long nose and sharp chin seemed to be folding in on itself.

"No!" A shout from the side of the path. I hadn't known anybody was about. I realized I could move again as the killer faded away even more. The knife fell to the floor, the cruelly curved blade still thick with blood. "No!" That shout again. And then I saw him. A fat, short guy with a receding hairline and a mirror in his hand. "No!"

The mirror. I thought of my conversation with Rebecca; of what Travinski had said. This guy had been watching the creature from hell cutting up that body on the floor. He had a mirror in his hand; a woman's vanity mirror with a long handle. I raised the gun. My breath misted before me as I saw the guy raise up his hands, mirror still clutched in the left.

"No!" he shouted yet again.

I fired. Shot him just below his left eye. He looked almost comically surprised as the bloody red hole burst open on his cheek. He must have been dead before he hit the floor. I didn't bother looking; I was already running to the body in the middle of the pathway.

It was a man. Older this time, perhaps early thirties I guessed from his clothes. He was still alive.

I couldn't help myself. I was sick on the path next to him. Not lavishly sick, more a retched coughing where long white strands of saliva hung from my mouth, steaming in the cold air.

No wonder the poor guy had sounded like a woman. The same diagrams, like some bastardised version of Egyptian hieroglyphs, had been slashed into his flesh. No, not slashed-more carefully than that. They had been
etched into the pasty white body.

His face was a mask of red blood and white bone, though his eyes had been left untouched. It was these eyes, brown and fevered bright, that fixed on me in silent pleading. Bubbles of blood frothed on his lips. I got the feeling he was trying to ask me something. Maybe begging me to put him out of his misery.

"No," I whispered. "I'm so sorry." I brushed his blood-matted hair away from his forehead. It looked like the killer had begun to try and peel his face away. A long cut had been dug into the skin in a straight line across the brow, a thin flap of skin hanging loose and exposing the bone beneath.


"Help!" I shouted.


"Please, somebody!" My chin was wet from the drool of my own vomit. More blood puddled from the vic's mouth. It horrified me more than anything else that the poor guy was still breathing.


It was the crack of authority in the voice that finally made me look up from the vic and to the side of the path where she stood next to a tree, her hands by her side.

"Rebecca." I didn't know I'd spoken it aloud until I saw her nod. She still wore the white dress, incongruous with the mud and blood and freezing cold of Cole Park. She had the blonde hair, she had the white dress; but she was a child, nothing like the beautiful lady I had seen in the motel in Chicago. She couldn't have been any older than thirteen. Somehow I knew that I was seeing the true Rebecca. Perhaps I had always known from her voice that she was a child; or that she had died a child, anyway.

She was standing about forty feet away, but when she spoke it was the familiar sensation of having her whispering in my ear; even down to the feeling of having her breath brushing against my cheek. "You need to run, Jason."

My hands were covered in blood, thick and cloying as it squelched between my fingers. Those brown eyes never moved from me. I wanted to scream in his face, beg him just to hurry up and die, to put us both out of our misery. How can you lose so much blood and still live? The fevered brightness of his eyes was dimming. He was bleeding out. I looked to Rebecca, she hadn't moved from the side of her tree. She appeared unnaturally bright, her white dress even seeming to cast a reflecting glow on the bark of the tree next to her. "But what about…" I pointed with a bloody finger at the vic. "I can't just leave him."

"He'll die whether you're with him or not. They're coming, Jason. And you're covered in his blood. You need to run. Now!"

Without seeming to move, Rebecca appeared closer. Her blonde hair was brushed to a shine, but it was the blood I noticed more. I thought she was crying bloodied tears for a moment. But then I realized it was more as though somebody had torn at her cheeks with sharp nails, leaving bloodied streaks from just below her black eyes to her jawline.

I was frozen in place, looking from Rebecca to the vic and back again.

As soon as I heard the sirens, I fled.

My throat ached as I ran, my breath tearing out of me in tortured gasps. I wasn't as fit as I used to be. I suppose I wasn't thinking; I headed straight for the quickest route back to my apartment-straight across the kid's playground and then to 16th Street. I staggered more than once, lucky to keep my feet, the sirens still blaring behind me.

The cars were bright in the morning sun as I reached the junction on 16th, I was still running, my lungs burning. I leaped over the hood of a pickup truck, nearly skidded straight onto a young mother with a stroller. I steadied myself with a hand on each of her shoulders and headed straight for the alley, trash cans scattering as I knocked them aside. I heard the woman's screams as I skidded round the corner. She must have seen the bloody handprints on her nice suede coat.

It seemed to take me an hour to fit my key in the damned lock, my hands shaking worse than when I had shot at the demon. As soon as I was in, I fell to the floor, my back against the door, my body racked with sobs. How long had I been crying? I hadn't even noticed when I'd started.

"Pull yourself together." Rebecca's voice. Full of scorn and disgust.

I had the back of my head against the door, eyes closed as I tried to catch my breath and stop my heart punching a hole right through my ribcage. I clenched my bloodied hands into fists; the blood already sticky. I opened my eyes; she appeared just as she had at the park, a young girl with bright blonde hair and perfect features like she had just been carved from marble. No bloodied tears streaking down her cheeks this time, though.

I didn't move from my seat against the door. "You saw it. What the fuck was that?" It was difficult to speak, my lungs were still burning and my heart was hammering like a broken shutter on a stormy night.

"That was Raymond. His hold on this world is weak, as you have seen, but he won't stop, Jason. You deprived him of his pleasure today; he will be back soon enough." I could hear her smile, a slight exhalation, but the expression on the child might as well have been sculpted from that marble. "Perhaps he has already chosen his next victim. Somebody he might have seen at the park today."

This did cause me to rise to my feet. "What, what do you mean? Chris?" I thought of the kids and their over-protective mother too, but I didn't want to mention them in case they had somehow escaped Rebecca's attention. I still didn't trust her, however much I had needed her earlier.

The child shrugged a delicate shoulder; her expressionless face matched with the teasing of her tone was beginning to creep me out, I don't mind admitting.

"But the guy…the guy with the mirror. He's dead, so the killer can't come back." Even I hated the pleading tone in my voice.

"You think that was the only mirror in this place?"

I stopped breathing for a moment. "But, you mean…I thought that guy was…" I was confused; sweat as cold as Rebecca's touch streaked down my face. "I thought they were like us," I finished lamely.

"Us?" Rebecca smiled, moved towards me though I never saw her take a step. She looked up at me, her eyes as black and empty as the killer's at Cole Park, and she wiped a trickle of sweat away from under my eye. This time I didn't pull away from her touch. "Oh no, we are one of a kind, you and I." The finger of ice touched my lips, and then she turned away. "You have to stop him, Jason."

"Stop him? How?" I wanted nothing more than to have a shower and to scrape the blood and filth away.

"We have to stop him before he comes for us, Jason. He has seen you, and now he knows of me. Your young police friend will only satisfy him for so long before he searches for other prey."

"Chris? He's going after Chris? My hands were shaking so bad blood was spattering on the floor. If I had anything left in my stomach I would probably have been sick again. "How can we stop him?"

When she turned around again, Rebecca held a knife in a small white hand. Her face was as expressionless as ever. "You have to go back, Jason. He can't be stopped in this world. You have to go back and find him; end his thirst for blood in the place it was born."

If I hadn't had the door pressed against my back, I'd have backed away from those black eyes fixed on mine, from the knife she held before her as she floated towards me. "I can't go back." I sounded like a scared kid and I'm not ashamed to admit it. Looking for crazed killers in Hell didn't sound all that appealing to me, as you might imagine.

"Think of Christine, Jason." Rebecca moved ever closer, knife still clutched in her hand. "Think of all that you want to do to her, what you want her to do to you…" and then it was Travinski standing there before me, gloriously naked, her hair loose for once, dark blonde hair falling over one eye, falling loose to her shoulders. It looked just like I always imagined. She stepped closer, looking up into my eyes, her breasts pushed against my chest; her hand toyed with the zipper of my bloodied and muddied jeans.

I reached out with a shaking hand to push her hair away from her face. Soft as I had always known it would be. Even before I pulled my hand away, her cheek sliced open; like an overripe tomato. Before the blood had started to flow, three more cuts burst open across her face, and when I pushed her away, the familiar diagrams were cut by some invisible knife into her belly, her breasts, her legs. She screamed louder than I had ever thought possible, her head thrashing and blood falling from her mouth. I had never seen so much blood in my life. Not even on that poor bastard in the park. "No!" I moaned. I could feel drool falling from my mouth, but didn't want to wipe it away with my hands covered in blood. "No. What can I do?" I think I'd started crying again. "I'll do anything."

Christine was gone. Rebecca took me by the hand. I noticed the bloodied tears streaking down her face were back again.

I followed her to the bathroom. She still had the knife. "No need to cause a mess when you go back, is there?" She gestured to the bath with the knife. It was a small, narrow bath that creaked and wobbled when I climbed in.

"What am I to do when I find him?"

Rebecca handed me the knife, looked down at me with her expressionless white face. The cuts on her cheeks were deeper than I had thought. "Stop him," she said simply and put the knife in my hand, closing my fingers around the silver hilt.

I nodded, looked down at my arms, at the deep gashes there. I felt sick as I remembered the similar cuts on the guy at the park. "I've nowhere left to cut." I said, looking up at Rebecca.

She stood by the side of the bath, looking down at me like some disapproving parent. "There is always more room, Jason." She stooped to remove the plastic bag from the waste bin next to the sink and shook out the contents onto the floor.

I saw what she meant; my legs, chest and belly were covered in lovely unmarked skin.
Rebecca pulled the plastic bag over my head before I began cutting. I breathed deeply, the plastic tickling my lips; in and out, in and out.

The bag tightened around my neck. The plastic moved in and out of my mouth quicker and quicker. I couldn't see anything but vague shades of blackness through the milky opaque haze.

That was okay, though, a small hand guided the blade as I began to cut at my chest.
The hand guiding the movements of the blade became more urgent when I heard the shouting out on the stairs. Everything was getting darker. My world was the inside of that bag covering my head; in and out, in and out. Slower and slower. More shouting. I twisted the knife, following the prompting of the cold hand. The world went white and then black again. A sound of crashing, of running feet. I clasped both hands around the knife. Rough hands grasped me. I was hauled from the bathtub. More shouts.

Somebody call a fucking ambulance!"


And so here I am.

Once I was fit enough for trial, it didn't take all that long. The Darren Barlby (the vic at Cole Park; no, he didn't make it) case was open and shut. As was the murder of Richard White, the guy with the mirror. The forensic evidence was overwhelming. The Claire Davidson and Callum Berrugh cases were more circumstantial. Sheer bad luck that Davidson was seeing a guy from my apartment block and Berrugh's route to work took him past my front door every morning. Go figure.

My defence? What was I to say? That I had found a demon from hell slaughtering the guy and I chased him away before trying to follow him to put an end to his killings? That story would only have got me a one-way ticket to the hospital I am in right now. Maybe I should have tried it after all.

The Mirror Man Murders were two years ago now. I think they believe I won't try and cut myself anymore; they've even let me have unsupervised time out of the jacket now that I have stopped screaming every time I see a mirror. I still see Raymond, with his pasty white face and his brown trilby, but I control the screaming, I swallow it so I am screaming and raving inside but my face is a mask worthy of Rebecca herself. Ah, Rebecca…

In my first months here, she barely visited me at all and so I would kick and scream at the walls shouting her name over and over, begging her to come back to me. Since those days, I have learned that such behaviour only gets me pumped with more drugs so that I can barely see or hear her even when she does come.

And so I sit in my chair and I am quiet and I am even allowed some paper and a pen to tell my story the way it really happened. And without the drugs, I can see Rebecca the way she truly is, with no games or deceptions.

Ah, and there she is now…"
Jason," she calls my name. Just the sound of her voice sends a thrill skittering down my spine. Her small hand falls on mine, trying to tear the pen from the paper. "You have to go back, you have to stop him," she whispers in my ear.

"But how, how can I get there?" I look around my bare little room, the white walls and the narrow bed.

The pen, Jason." She touches my eyelid with a thumb, her fingers stroking my temple. I close my eyes and tilt my head into her caress. "The pen is mightier than the sword, after all. And we have to stop him."

"Yes," I say. "We have to stop him."


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