It started about a week after the first snowstorm of the winter season. I go to a private university in the Midwest. I won’t name the school or the state for obvious reasons, mainly because I don’t want to get in any sort of trouble, though, knowing what I know now, I’m not sure that’s avoidable. Her name was Macy Beliani. I didn’t know her. She was a biology major and I’m studying theatre. In short, our paths never crossed, and I never would have even heard of her if it hadn’t been for what happened to her. Her body was found on a residential road, underneath a tree. A couple of students had stumbled upon it on their way to class that morning. The scene was horrific, and while the police tried to keep everything under wraps, there was only so much they could do. Word got out quickly from people who had been there, seen her. Her chest had been opened. Not ripped or torn, but opened, carefully and with precision. From there, her attacker had hollowed out her abdominal cavity. Everything had been taken. Just thinking about it makes me wince. Where she was found. I walked that road every morning to get to my first class of the day. Only that day, I had overslept. Usually, my roommate was pretty good about waking me up if I ever overslept, but that morning he had a meeting with one of his professors. By the time I had woken up, she’d already been found, and classes had been canceled for the day
I had a few friends who knew her, or rather, knew of her. She had a reputation, I would soon learn, as this sort of friendly but quiet character, always at the back of lecture halls. Passive but delightful in that girl next door sort of way. She must have kept to herself it seems since nobody really knew her all that well. She also had a darker reputation. Macy was a dealer. Mostly weed, I think, but a few people claimed she also sold them ecstasy. She was also a user, but of much stronger things. Heroine, or at least, that’s what the rumors said. She wore all black most of the time, mainly hoodies and sweatshirts, even on days when the weather was warmer. Call it human nature, but I think people always assumed she was hiding something under those long sleeves. Long story short, as horrible as it was, people came to their own conclusions about Macy’s death. The old combination of a drug deal gone wrong and wrong place wrong time permeated the gossip chatter of our intimate dormitories. I know it sounds terrible, but we are college students. We already have so much going on. We like thrills and movie nights and drinks with friends and whatever’s good and full of dopamine. The last thing we wanted to think about was this terrible thing that happened to this nice girl. So, we stopped talking about it and soon enough, people began to move on
That’s when they found the second body. Her name was Grace Kessler. Her body was found three weeks later at a playground four minutes from campus. Her chest cavity had been carefully opened, her internal organs removed, and taken from the scene. What was different this time, was that her head was missing. Again, I hadn’t seen it or found her or anything, but I had read about it and heard about it from friends. In fact, everyone had. This was big news. Grace’s parents were wealthy socialites, influential public figures. I think her dad was like a county commissioner or something. You know the type, and they wanted justice. They weren’t alone either. The school was petrified and desperate for answers.
Anyone with even a remote interest in true crime stuff knew what this meant. Two bodies in two months, killed in the same area bearing identical trauma. The consensus was clear and while the school was hesitant to push the matter, the student body was not. We were being hunted by a serial killer. Grace’s parents decided to sponsor a huge memorial ceremony that the school put up. At first, it was just for Grace, but after public outcry and a few really pissed-off Twitter rants, the memorial also took on the task of commemorating Macy’s short life. Most people liked the idea, but I know a few thought it was excessive. My roommate Jason, who I’ll admit can be kind of an asshole, thought the whole thing was stupid. “I mean I get what they’re trying to do” I remember he’d told me late one night, “but I hate that the school is making it mandatory. Don’t get me wrong, it’s horrible what happened to them, but why do they have to make it our problem”. As I said, he can be kind of a jerk sometimes
The memorial, for all its anticipation, wasn’t really much to gawk at. Jason, obviously, had no interest in going, so I met up with my friend Olivia and we decided to make a night of it. The memorial was held at the school’s “stadium”, which was a soccer field. Our school doesn’t have a football team so this was the best we could do. Anyways, there were candles everywhere and more flowers than I’d ever seen in my life. It was touching for a while but that faded pretty quickly. I hate to admit it but having been there myself, I kind of started to see where Jason was coming from. It didn’t really feel like much of a memorial. This was more like rich people doing what rich people always do. It didn’t help that her dad, that county commissioner I mentioned before. He was running for re-election at the time so at a certain point, it started to feel like this was all some big PR stunt to gain the public’s favor or sympathy or whatever would keep the poor guy in office. It didn’t help that Macy’s inclusion really did feel like a last-minute decision which Grace’s parents it seemed, we’re not huge fans of. We ended up leaving the memorial early and went out for ice cream. It was my idea. I had always sort of had a thing for Olivia so any opportunity to spend time with her was time well spent for me
With all the commotion on campus, many people began to get antsy, especially the women. The two victims were women and given the nature and I guess, public understanding of serial killers, many of the women on campus felt they were at a greater risk of attack than their male counterparts. At the same time, our school’s theatre program had decided to continue with their theatrical season. The school felt that given the fear and tumultuous air over everyone’s heads, perhaps the opportunity for a little healthy escapism would be therapeutic for our hurting community. A few felt the decision was a little tone-deaf, but regardless, it was universally accepted, and I have to admit, as a theatre student, I was happy for the opportunity to work on a show. The issue was that we rehearsed every night at the school’s theatre, until somewhat late, so afterward, we would have to walk home in the dark. Many of us lived on campus which meant it was only a two- or three-minute walk at worst. But Olivia had snagged an apartment at a great deal and thus, lived about thirteen minutes from campus. There weren’t any convenient bus routes she could take so her only means of getting to and from the theatre was by foot. Naturally, I was afraid for her safety, we all were. I didn’t want to overstep my boundaries, but I knew I’d sleep better each night knowing she got home safe
I approached her one night during rehearsal. She was an actor in the show and so I was able to grab a word with her while we were all on break. I wasn’t sure how to approach the issue. I figured in the end that small talk would just make me seem patronizing, so instead, I just came right out with it. I told her I was worried about her getting home each night, and told her that if she wanted, I would be happy to walk her home. I don’t know what I was expecting, but to my surprise, she loved the idea. She told me she had been looking for a “carpool partner” as she put it. I think she thought I must have lived in that direction. She never pushed it though, and it’s not like I was going to try and dissuade her. Then, she took my hands in her hands and smiled that damn smile that made me melt inside. Her hands. They were so soft and holding them felt so right. “Thank you, Alex. I’ll find you after rehearsal”. With that, the director came back into the room and we were called back to the space. I was working on hanging some lights and went back to that, but I couldn’t shake how awesome this all felt. I thought things would actually work out for once
Rehearsal ended two hours later at ten. It was a cold night and it had snowed earlier, so the road was cased in a thin sheet of ice. I wanted to race out of the building and find Olivia, but I had to stay back to help our lighting head fix some stuff. I got out of there thirteen minutes later and threw my coat and scarf on. My gloves and hat in my hands, I raced out to the theatre’s lobby, where to my surprise and delight, Olivia was waiting for me. “Hey” she shouted with a smile on her face. Olivia lived in the opposite direction from my dorm. I hadn’t walked this way before and honestly, despite the bravado I tried desperately to exude, I had no clue where I was going. I thought at some point she would ask where I lived, and I’d have to come up with some bullshit excuse, but she never pressed me for answers. She didn’t talk much during the first half of the walk. I made small talk about the show we were both in and I managed to make her laugh a few times which felt great. Then, about halfway, or what felt like halfway to her house, she reached out and took my hand. She held on with a firm grip and even through my gloves, I could feel her soft smooth hands touching mine. “Alex, can I be honest with you?” she asked. The question confused me. Of course, you can I thought, but figured that was a little strong. “Sure,” I told her, firmly but with character. She stopped walking. I stopped too, and she turned to face me. “I like you, Alex. I’ve liked you for a long time, but I’ve never really had the chance to tell you”. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
For a moment, I considered the possibility that I was dreaming, but after noticing a woman in the distance, walking our way, I figured that was too specific a detail to be all in my head. “Olivia” I started, “this is crazy but, I like you too, and I have for a really long time”. It sounded better in my head, but it got the point across. Then, she leaned over and kissed me. Passionately. This was my first kiss. It was insane. I felt like I was living in a movie. Our lips parted briefly, and I wasn’t sure what to think. I saw, in my peripherals that the woman from before was close by now and I moved to the side to make room for her to pass. “I just feel like I should be honest with you” Olivia continued. It was an odd way of phrasing it. “Felt, you mean” I joked. She smiled and then turned. “Excuse me,” she said. It wasn’t to me. She had stopped and asked the woman who by this point, was right in front of us. “Sorry?” the woman responded. I noticed now she had earbuds in, and she reached up to remove them, in hopes of hearing what had been asked of her. She never did. With one swift motion, Olivia reached over and broke her neck
I didn’t know what to think, do, or feel. The woman’s lifeless body fell to the ground in a revolting broken heap. Without a moment to spare, Olivia bent down and leaned over the woman’s abdomen. That’s when I noticed the claws. Olivia’s fingers, the same fingers which moments ago were interlocked with my own, now had vicious knife-like fingernails protruding from their tips. With that smile still painted on her face, she pierced the woman’s chest with her nails and slowly, began to cut. She moved her fingernails in a surgical manner, being sure to be neat. After a moment, Olivia retracted her hand, and peeled the skin back, creating an opening in the woman’s belly. In the cold night air, I could feel her fleeting body heat radiating from the freshly formed hole in her chest. Then, Olivia reached both of her hands inside and pulled out the woman’s intestines. She took them up in her hands, and I watched in horror as her jaw opened wider than I’d ever known possible. It looked like a snake, unhinging its jaw to eat an egg. She placed the heaping mound of organ tissue into her elongated mouth and then, closed it, returning it to its normal size. Then, she reached in again, retrieved another heap of organs, and repeated the process
I watched. I didn’t know what else to do. At first, I silently prayed that someone would come. That someone would see what was happening and call the police so I could be saved from this unfolding horror. But, then after considering how easily Olivia had dispatched of the last one, I prayed instead that no one would hear and come to investigate. I prayed that no one else would fall victim to this inhumane terror. As I stood there, contemplating these prayers, I noticed something. Each time Olivia removed her hands from the woman’s chest, the blood which sat upon them seemed to trickle off like water over oil. It never stuck to her skin; it never stained her hands. Despite the brutal actions they were engaged in, her hands remained as clean as they had always been. The same could be said for the rest of her skin. Only her clothes were susceptible to the flowing red liquid. With a pop, I watched her dislodge the woman’s heart, and finally, heaving it into her open snake mouth, she emptied the cavity she had created
I thought perhaps, the nightmare was over, but then she reached up with her hands and cupped the woman’s head. Repositioning her head to be over the woman’s, she quickly unhinged her jaw once more and slowly, swallowed the woman’s head whole. When her mouth had covered everything up to the neck, a sickening sound was produced as she swiftly decapitated the body with her teeth, which I now saw were jagged and razor-sharp. She swallowed the head in a matter of second before wiping her lips, and standing, again, to face me. That smile. That damn smile that used to make me melt. It was still painted across her face. It never left her lips the whole time she was on the ground, feeding. “What’s wrong?” she asked. Her tone was pathetic. She seemed more frightened by my disgust than I was by her actions. It was as if she truly could not place the origin of my discomfort. I fell back, horrified. “What are you?” She looked taken aback. For a moment the smile faded. I thought, in an instant, I would be next. Then, the smile returned as quickly as it had left. “Well, I guess I’m your serial killer”. She said it as if it was a joke, and as she said it, she began to giggle. Then chuckle. Then laugh. She found it hysterical. “Come on big guy,” she said, “you still have to walk me home”.
We got to her apartment about five minutes later. I don’t remember anything during the rest of the walk. I was in shock. I didn’t know what to do. When we reached her home, she turned again to face me. “Alex, you’re covered in blood”. I looked down at myself. I hadn’t noticed it before, but she was right. My clothes were stained. It looked bad. “I’m fine,” I said. I was so far gone at that point. In the pale moonlight, I barely noticed it. Her hands. Her clean hands. She didn’t have fingerprints
I woke up the next morning in her house, in her bed. My arm was draped over her body. We were both unclothed but I had no memory of how I found myself in this position. I got out of the bed without waking her and moved about the room, finding my clothes. When I was dressed and found my backpack, I prepared to walk out the front door. As I was leaving, I heard her calling from her bedroom. “Alex”. “Where are you going?” I didn’t answer. I got back to my dorm around noon. Jason was sitting in there with the blinds drawn playing video games. “Dude, you look like shit”. The comment scared me for a moment. I had forgotten about the blood. I looked down at myself but noticed that my clothes seemed completely clean. She must have washed them I thought. “I had a rough night” was the only explanation I gave Jason before collapsing on my bed for the next six hours. When I woke up later that night, I had multiple texts from Olivia. She wanted to know where I was. If I was okay. If I was safe. She apologized for what had happened the night before, but I still wasn’t even sure what had happened. My clothes were clean. Had I just dreamed it. Some friends of mine had told me Olivia was into LSD. I wondered if maybe this was all the result of a bad trip
They found the woman’s body later that day, and social media lit up. The serial killer had struck again. I haven’t answered any of Olivia’s texts. She keeps sending them and she seems genuinely apologetic, but I mean, what am I supposed to do. How am I supposed to respond to this? What the hell is going on. I thought about going to the cops but like, with what? What do I even have to give them? What did I even see? I don’t know what to do. I haven’t left my room for the past week. I keep emailing my professors and telling them I’m sick, but I’m not sure how much longer that will work. I had to tell someone. I had to. So, I did. I told Jason. Just now, not twenty minutes ago. He didn’t know what to think. He told me I need to relax and take a deep breath. I told him my theory about the acid trip, and he figured that was the most logical answer. He could tell I was really shaken up, so he offered to talk to Olivia for me. He’s a really nice guy like that and a really good friend. It’s a really nice thing for him to do. It’s funny though, I don’t remember them being friends. I guess he’s just trying to help. Who knows maybe this might all blow over in the end. I’m trying to think positively. Anyways, I’m thinking I should get some sleep. I don’t want to freak myself out. I don’t think the drugs have left my system yet, cause I’m still seeing things. I’m sure I just need rest. But I could have sworn when he was talking to me when he grabbed my shoulder with his smooth hands and told me everything was going to be okay. I caught a glimpse of Jason’s hands, and I could have sworn, he had no fingerprints.
Credit: Jacob Harper
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