Estimated reading time — 18 minutes
The Stanwyck Ghost Tours used to be a tradition in my hometown around Halloween. It was always cheap and heavy on the schlock. Hammy tour guides, cheesy music, cheap decorations. Picture Monster Mash as a two-hour ghost tour, and you get the idea. But given the town’s limited history and questionable urban legends, I couldn’t really blame Mr. and Mrs. Wesley for going all out with their prized attraction.
Every year, the Wesleys would set up on those October weekends. Just five dollars a person. Everyone under thirteen got in free. It was a walking tour so those cool autumn nights were the best part about it. The Stanwyck Ghost Tours were innocent, family fun. No gore. No cheap scares. And even free candy corn awaited those who dared to brave the entire journey.
And the sights were glorious. There was the haunted cemetery on Sharber Road. Or the Crane House which was home to a local murder no one except the Wesleys had apparently ever heard of.
For all its weaknesses, I loved every second of those tours. They were the one bright spot in a childhood that wasn’t the best. For me, the spirit of Halloween was embodied in those two-hour walks. And everyone in Stanwyck loved the Wesley tours. Until the murders happened.
To this day, no one has ever really determined the motive or the reasoning for why Jack Bates did what he did. He was a young man. Barely twenty years old at the time police uncovered his dark secret. Somehow, Jack had been pulling off kidnappings, torture, and murder in this small town for years. And all of them happened inside his mother’s house. The police even said they found a body inside each room. As if Jack was determined to build a crypt inside the modest one-story home. Evidently, his mother had been dead for quite some time. However, no one knew if he did her in or not. Her body was found in a chest freezer. Possibly from natural causes. Maybe from homicide.
And we never got a clear answer. Jack Bates hauled ass out of town before they could ever nab him. Before anyone could get any answers. And we likely never will. It’s been twenty-five years since all this went down and to this day, Jack Bates has never been found. He’s still on the loose out there somewhere. And for whatever reason, Stanwyck acted like he still walked amongst us. When he left town, so did all the Halloween fun. Curfews were enforced. The scariest haunted houses and Halloween decorations were taken down after they were thought to be in bad taste. And the Wesley’s ghost tours faded away. Halloween had become sanitized. And it stopped being fun.
I’d always considered myself lucky that all this happened right before I left for college. Thankfully, Jack Bates hadn’t stolen my childhood. My Halloweens were safe from the hysteria that swept through our little town.
To say the ghost tours stuck with me would be an understatement. I cherished them. Maybe part of that was due to not coming back home to Stanwyck very often anymore. Nostalgia can be a Hell of a drug, you know. Of course, the older I got, the more I thought about those Halloweens I spent making the rounds downtown. Hearing Mr. Wesley’s horrific Boris Karloff impersonation. All those non-stop Halloween pop tunes the Wesleys would play for us. Monster Mash. Thriller. Werewolves Of London. And obviously, (Don’t Fear) The Reaper. All these memories remained embedded within me. One of the few good things I could remember from that boring town.
I can’t really say what drove me to finally return home. I had no family left in Stanwyck. Hell, I didn’t really have any friends to begin with. I suppose the appeal of going back near Halloween finally drove me back to my hometown.
And you can only imagine my surprise when I came back the first week of October and stumbled upon an ad for a brand-new ghost tour. One unlike any Stanwyck had ever seen! A guided tour through the abandoned home of Jack Bates. Holy shit, I thought. Apparently, that whole ‘bad taste’ movement of the early 90s had eroded in the years since I last visited.
The ad mentioned the guide would be carried out by a man named Jackson Bateman. I guessed he wasn’t related to the Wesleys. Hell, I didn’t even think they had children. But this Jackson character certainly shared their flair for the dramatic. I mean Jackson Bateman. Come on, why not just call yourself Jack Bates, Jr. at that point.
I couldn’t resist this tour. I couldn’t betray my inner child. Yes, I caught flack from my girlfriend…
“What are you thinking, Jim?!” she would say. “That sounds stupid!” But I had to make this pilgrimage. And to think I was gonna be a part of the very first Jack Bates tour. It was too much to pass up.
I left Sheri back at the motel. I knew she wouldn’t wanna take this journey with me. So I went alone… like I did during my childhood.
There wasn’t much glitz or glamour when I made my way to the old Bates home. Outside of a small sign promoting the Jack Bates Death Tour, I didn’t see any jack o’-lanterns or hear any spooky music. Nothing like what the Wesleys used to do. There was no hokey Halloween antics.
Even though the Bates house itself was in town, it always seemed really isolated and creepy. All the neighboring businesses were closed, but even the other houses out here were pitch black. Like this Jackson Bateman guy had paid everyone to clear out for the night. Hell, even the street lights seemed dimmer.
For that matter, the Bates house still looked the same. There were no decorations up. It was dark as night inside. Apparently, Jackson or his helpers hadn’t put any effort into restoring the place. And maybe that was the point.
I saw a small congregation standing on the wooden front porch. All of them looked about as confused as I did.
I made my way up the rickety stairs. Outside of the casual chitter-chatter, I only heard a stray hooting owl or two. No Monster Mash. Then again, the silence only increased the scene’s eerie tension.
On the porch, I stopped next to two teenage boys. They seemed like total shitheads. Neither of them could’ve been over sixteen. They were giddier than a bunch of kids about to see their first horror movie. And I guess going inside the home of Stanwyck’s most violent resident was probably the closest they would ever get to living a real-life slasher flick.
An All-American college couple stood near the tall front door. They were good-looking and seemed to be just looking for a thrill.
Aside from them, I also saw a dull middle-aged couple. They looked like married suburbanites. Definitely not the typical clientele for this kinda shit.
It looked like it was just us. Seven people on opening night. And I was the only one who came by themselves. Typical.
As we waited in the dark, my eyes strayed toward the old door. Besides the crude graffiti marking it, it looked like all sorts of scratches and marks covered the harsh wood. There were decades of wear and tear on it.
To my surprise and to everyone else’s, the door swung open with a flourish of a creak. And there he was. The man of the hour. Our guide: Jackson Bateman. He lacked the Wesleys’ cheesy playfulness. There were no capes or costumes. Just a middle-aged guy in a tee shirt and jeans. A regular Joe.
I didn’t hear anything coming from inside the house either. Certainly didn’t see much lighting.
“Y’all here for the tour,” Jackson said in a calm Southern drawl. A confident tone.
Everyone grumbled and nodded in agreement.
“Well, come on in,” Jackson said. He pointed a flashlight at our faces. “Let’s get this party started.”
And then we entered. I did my best to stray toward the back of the line, but the creepy Stepford suburbanites lagged behind like clueless tourists.
“First stop’s the living room,” Jackson announced to us, his voice serious and the opposite of a carnival barker.
A heavy draft flowed through the house. It wasn’t that cold outside but it seemed like the Bates home had been preserved with a permanent Halloween wind chill.
The battered wooden floor groaned beneath our feet as we followed Jackson’s beam of light toward our first stop.
“As y’all know, Jack Bates went missing in these parts well over twenty years ago,” Jackson informed us.
“Wasn’t it around Halloween?” one of the smartass high schoolers asked. I could tell he was a real know-it-all. Probably a gore whore who ate this true-crime shit up like candy.
“It was, indeed,” Jackson replied. “October eighteenth to be exact.”
I wondered if anyone else would bother to question Jackson’s accuracy on the subject. But apparently not. Then again, I was glad. You gotta go with the flow with these haunted house shysters. Even if you suspected their knowledge wasn’t 100% accurate.
Upon entering the living room, portable lamps cut on immediately. It gave us just enough light without killing the creepy mood. A campfire light if you will. There wasn’t a whole lot of furniture in here, but the main attraction of the room certainly caught everyone’s eye.
A female mannequin lied in the center of the room, positioned as if she were on a mortuary slab. Her arms were sprawled out, a puddle of redness beneath her. Her dress was torn. Her chest carved open with rough precision. Loads of plastic organs and presumably fake blood covered the deep slice. Even with a blank expression, the mannequin looked to be in tormented pain. Like the spirit inside her was calling for help. And these weren’t just cheap mannequins either. They were detailed. The Uncanny Valley on steroids.
Jackson shined his flashlight on her. Unlike the rest of us, he looked unfazed by the grotesque sight.
“She was Jack Bates’s first murder,” he said. His voice steady as always. “Irena Crane.”
He stepped away from us and stopped right in front of the mannequin. It almost seemed like he was looking down at it with admiration.
“He carved her organs out while his mama wasn’t home,” Jackson went on. His cold eyes faced us.”He met her a party and brought her right here to this very room to slaughter her.”
“Is it true he ate her organs?” one of the little shits asked.
I released a nervous chuckle. No one else did.
“No, I’m afraid not,” Jackson answered. He shined the flashlight at me, instantly killing my stupid smirk.
“Jack Bates wasn’t a cannibal,” Jackson went on. He gave us a creepy smile. “That was a little too mainstream for him.”
He returned his focus toward that mangled mannequin. “But he did cherish this first kill.”
“How so?” asked Mrs. Stepford. She looked about as out-of-place here as a church lady.
Jackson faced us once more. Like he was delivering a play-by-play, he pointed his flashlight at his lower right shoulder. “He got Irena’s name tattooed right here on his arm.”
Mrs. Stepford Wife made a face of disgust.
“He was always gonna remember her that way,” Jackson said.
From there, Jackson led us off into the kitchen. Everyone else, including myself, seemed a little hesitant to follow. Something about Jackson just seemed a little off to me. Whether it was his creepy intensity or odd sense of humor. Nothing about him made it seem like he was ideal for this tour guide thing. Hell, I’m not even sure if the guy had permission to even be inside this house. Aside from the lamps and lack of bodies, everything else looked like it was the day the police burst through. The rotten wood, the peeling paint. Even that moldy smell you got whenever you go through your grandparents’ storage room.
And the kitchen was more of the same. The lamps all cut on as soon as Jackson entered. I saw a rusty sink that looked to be dripping nothing but putrid brown water.
And once more, a mannequin caught our eyes. Jackson shined his light toward it as if he were illuminating a shrine.
There on a long wooden table was a male mannequin. He was dressed in jeans and a faded tank top. His body absolutely drenched in blood. So much blood it flowed off the table in a steady rhythm.
And knives were all over him, sunk through his foamy arms and legs. Another knife was struck squarely in the middle of his open mouth. He was positioned like a gory human clock.
Holy shit was the common reaction amongst us. Even I was surprised. Somehow, Jackson had topped himself with this victim recreation.
“Steve McMurphy,” Jackson said aloud. He confronted our uneasy faces. “Jack’s second victim.”
Like a veteran detective, Jackson walked up to the table and pointed his flashlight upon the mannequin. “Steve had just moved into the neighborhood when Jack started stalking him.”
I thought I saw a fucked-up smile on Jackson’s face. He kept looking on at that mannequin with such reverence. Moving his flashlight all down the body from head to toe. Like Jackson was enraptured by the sheer grisly sight.
“He brought Steve right here into the kitchen,” Jackson said. “He laid him out on the table and shoved all these knives right through him. He started with the arms and legs. And the whole time, he kept listening to Steve’s agonizing screams for hours until three o’clock in the morning.”
“And then what happened?” one of the little shits interrupted.
Jackson looked over at the teen and waved the flashlight toward the mannequin’s horrified face. “He put that knife right there straight through his mouth,” Jackson said. “That shut him up for good.”
Jesus, I thought. Jackson seemed to be almost amused by all this. The asshole was cracking jokes…
“Can we touch the bodies?” Little Shit number two asked amidst the awkward silence.
I thought a harsh glare broke through Jackson’s smug confidence. “Absolutely not!” he answered. Then once he saw everyone’s startled reactions, Jackson seemed to hone in his sudden outburst. “I mean no.” He maneuvered his cold eyes toward ‘Steve.’ “I don’t want anyone to disrespect the victims here.”
And from there, the whole tour only got stranger. Jackson then led us into the bathroom. It was a claustrophobic space complete with a broken mirror and busted-up tile.
A mannequin floated inside a bathtub that was filled to the brim with red water. A naked male mannequin this time. This one with a knife plunged straight into his chest. But that wasn’t all. The mannequin’s severed arms and legs were lined up in the corner of the bathroom. Perfectly placed like they were decorations.
Of course, Jackson knew all about this victim as well. David Sebastian. A young man Jack had duped into coming inside his fortress of fear. The guy never had a chance. Jack hacked him up and placed his body parts throughout the room for display. Jack’s mother had passed by then so Jack had the whole house to himself. And according to Jackson at least, this is what made Jack Bates all the more audacious with this kill.
I’ve gotta say the more Jackson interacted with us, the more uncomfortable I got. The things he was saying, all the information he knew. I mean how the Hell could he know all this? I could tell the others were wondering the same. God knows, the Stepford couple were probably losing their shit in here.
As Jackson went into more vivid detail on how Jack started slicing off David’s legs before working his way up to the arms, I gathered up the courage to speak to Jackson.
“Hey, man,” I began in my typically awkward fashion. “How do you know all this stuff?”
Flashing a smile, Jackson pointed the flashlight at me. Like he was taunting me. “I do my research,” he answered in a cool quip.
“But none of that was in the papers!” I heard Mr. Stepford reply.
Jackson shifted his unblinking eyes onto the Stepford couple. “Oh, just trust me,” Jackson said. “Consider me an expert.”
None of us said anything else. We were too scared.
And from there, Jackson kept up his wicked smile as he led us into Jack Bates’s mother’s room.
More of the same awaited us in there. There was a huge bed, of course. complete with sliced-up sheets and pillows. And a huge dresser stood in the corner of the room, nothing but jagged glass left for a mirror.
But this time, the mannequin was pinned to the wall. The limp body held there by more of those long knives. It was a remarkable recreation. The male mannequin looked so real. The blades that were stuck into his arms and legs looked so agonizing. And the red liquid that kept dripping off him had drops that were so loud and eerie. The dripping practically echoed through the chamber of a room.
And Jackson knew all about the victim Tommy Hiers. Jack Bates’s final kill.
Waving his flashlight at us, Jackson made us all get closer to the body.
We were hesitant at first. We didn’t wanna get too close to Jackson. But we followed his orders and got a closer look at the ‘victim.’
Jackson talked about how the police came into this room and found Tommy’s body positioned here just like this. Jackson’s flashlight even motioned toward the exact places where the knives were. Don’t ask me how he knew…
All the while, I kept noticing how scared one of the little shit teenagers had gotten. The kid’s eyes kept staring at Jackson’s arm rather than the mannequin’s. I couldn’t help but wonder what exactly was scaring him. As I got lost in these thoughts, a sudden scream erupted and scared the shit out of me and everyone else in the group.
A horrifying scream came from no other than Tommy Hiers’s mouth. His rubber mannequin mouth. Somehow, the body had lurched forward and reached for us, the screams begging for help and mercy. Tommy’s eyes were aglow with a vivid bloodshot desperation. Everything about him was pleading for his life. But he was fake…
Jackson’s chuckles overpowered the mechanical mannequin’s sudden commotion.
“Relax,” Jackson reassured us.
The mannequin went still on the wall. We all relaxed from the jump scare.
“Even I got to resort to cheap tricks sometimes,” Jackson added.
As he reached over and flicked off a switch on Tommy’s back, we all saw the sight that had made the little shit so overcome in fright. I felt a chill rush up my spine.
Jackson’s shirt sleeve had lifted up, revealing a flamboyant tattoo. Roses and a skull highlighted a name that was written in cursive: Irena Crane. Jack Bates’s first victim.
“Holy shit!” the college couple whispered to one another.
Before any of us in the group could react, Jackson confronted us with that smile on his face. As if he knew we were on to him, but he didn’t care.
“Now, one more room and we’ll be done for the night!” Jackson said, his voice abuzz with excitement.
“But I thought that was the last one,” the Stepford wife responded, her voice shaky and uneasy.
“Oh, no, it was the last one,” Jackson responded. “But tonight, I have a special treat for all of you. We’re all going to Jack Bates’s room.”
For whatever reason, we let Jackson herd us out into the hallway. We all seemed to be in a confused panic. We didn’t trust Jackson, but we didn’t wanna piss him off either. We just let him sweep us away. Right toward the final stop on this creepy tour.
I did my best to ignore the terrified chatter around me. I tried to talk myself into staying calm. Surely, if Jackson was a killer, he couldn’t get all of us. Hell, he wouldn’t get away with wiping out an entire group on the first night of his damn ghost tour.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Jackson pull his shirt sleeve over the tattoo as best he could. He was determined to hide it, I could tell.
As soon as he turned to glare at me, I avoided eye contact. I hoped he didn’t see me. I hoped he didn’t know that we knew who he really was. But I knew that was wishful thinking. All we could do was let Jackson lead us into this final room.
Jackson moved at a faster pace and went on ahead of us, disappearing inside the room. The Stepford couple stopped the rest of us right before we could go inside. They pleaded with us in that damp, dark hallway.
“Just use your freaking brains!” Mrs. Stepford said us to us in a harsh whisper. “He’s gonna kill us in there.”
As I listened to the others argue amongst themselves, my eyes drifted over to the bedroom doorway. It was wide open and beckoning me to venture into the room of Stanwyck, Georgia’s resident serial killer.
Finally, our bickering ended once the college girlfriend shoved her boyfriend toward the room.
“The Hell with this, let’s just go inside!” she exclaimed.
The shithead teens followed after them like peer-pressured freshmen. I exchanged uneasy glances with Mrs. Stepford before I too followed the crowd into the dark bedroom.
I still debated whether we had made the right decision or not as I stepped inside. The windows were all covered up. The room more claustrophobic in this crypt. Only a few portable lamps and Jackson’s flashlight provided us any solace from this staunch darkness.
I strained to see a bed looming in the very back of the room. A wooden dresser stood right next to it. Gleaming off the lamp lights were a sharp array of weapons on the dresser. All of them were lined up in a meticulous row. The tools of Jack Bates’s trade. Several of the knives looked to be stained with a dark red tinge.
Hanging on the walls were several framed photos. All of them of Jack Bates and his dearly-devoted mother. The pictures looked to be from the late 80s and early 90s. But they were so well-preserved. They represented a chronology of Jack Bates from childhood to college. In every picture, his beaming smile seemed to taunt me. His cold eyes as well. Cold eyes that were very reminiscent of Jackson’s, I realized.
Everyone stopped in the room, our eyes glued not to a mannequin but to an all-too-real human standing right in front of the bed. Jackson’s back was turned to us, his flashlight and eyes locked on to the bed. He never said a word.
“So what happened in here?” one of the shitheads stammered out.
Jackson didn’t respond. And he looked like he wasn’t going to either. After all, there was no mannequin in the room… the journey in here seemed so impromptu compared to the rest of the tour.
The group was silent and awkward. We all looked at each other, but we knew we were too chickenshit to say anything. I sure as Hell wasn’t going to. All I could do was look off at those framed photos. I realized Jackson must’ve hung them there himself. And that made me wonder… where did he even find them? I always thought the police collected these photos.
The Stepford couple began arguing with each other. Again.
“Look, I’ll talk to him!” the husband whispered.
“No!” his wife protested.
The college-age girl held on to her boyfriend for dear life. I could tell by looking at her that she immediately regretted this decision.
“Just hold on!” Mr. Stepford told his wife. He stepped away from her and approached the silent Jackson. From where I was, Jackson looked like one of his damn mannequins. Silent and still.
“Hey man, it’s time to go!” Mr. Stepford yelled at Jackson. One of the least-imposing yells I ever heard.
Jackson didn’t turn around. His gaze remained stuck on that bed.
Behind nervous eyes, I watched the confrontation unfold as Mr. Stepford stopped right behind Jackson.
“The tour’s over!” Mr. Stepford went on.
“Honey, let’s go!” Mrs. Stepford pleaded.
She and I made brief eye contact. Her arms were folded. She didn’t wanna be left standing by herself.
Mr. Stepford ignored his wife as he reached a trembling hand toward Jackson. “Hey, what the Hell’s your problem!” he yelled.
“Honey!” Mrs. Stepford yelped.
Right as Mr. Stepford snagged Jackson’s shoulder, Jackson whirled around with the quickness of an alarmed wolf.
I saw the color drain in Mr. Stepford’s face.
Jackson dropped his flashlight and just stood there with that fucking grin. And those cold eyes. Even his sleeve was pushed upward, revealing Irena Crane’s tribute tattoo for all to see.
And in Jackson’s hand was one of Jack Bates’s trademark knives. Long, sharp, deadly.
I heard Mrs. Stepford scream. And the whole fucking group panicked.
Mr. Stepford staggered back, but he didn’t have a chance. Like a child trapped in a closet with a hungry monster.
Jackson jabbed the knife right into Mr. Stepford’s stomach.
Mr. Stepford lurched forward, screaming in pain. Blood dripped all along the floor in loud drops. The same sound I had heard from Tommy’s corpse.
I stood there, stunned by the sight. Jackson was unrelenting. He jammed that blade over and over into Mr. Stepford’s chest. The stabs more frenetic than a boxer’s punches.
All around me, I heard the commotion of the crowd trying to leave. But something kept blocking them.
“Baby!” I heard Mrs. Stepford yell aloud.
Her husband hit the floor hard. I could see the blood building up beneath him. All those holes in his chest were deep and vicious.
And Jackson stood over him. He grinned and held up his blood-stained knife, ready for more.
“Oh, God!” Mrs. Stepford screamed.
The two shitheads tried to push her out of the way. Her hysterical self had been blocking the doorway all along.
“Get the fuck outta the way, bitch!” I heard one of the teens scream.
Just as the mob hysteria reached its fearful peak, Jackson chuckled. “Everyone, relax!” he said in a friendly tone. Even his eyes now showed emotion. His smile seemed genuine.
Confused, I watched him push the retractable blade inward. The knife was a fake. “You’ve just survived the Jack Bates Death Tour!” Jackson said with pride.
“What the fuck…” one of the teens said.
Everyone started to chill. Even though we were all a little confused.
“Wait, is this a prank?” the college girlfriend said.
Mr. Stepford lunged off the floor and gave a battle cry.
Everyone jumped back, startled. Even me.
The Stepford couple laughed like hyenas.
“Gotcha!” Mr. Stepford yelled.
“What the fuck…” the college girlfriend complained.
“Holy shit, man!” I heard a teen exclaim.
Mrs. Stepford smiled at all of us. “Were y’all scared?”
“No shit!” the teen replied.
I took it all in, impressed by the gimmick. I’d always heard about these tours and their fakes. But I never suspected it here. Nice one, Jackson, I thought.
“Alright, everyone!” Jackson said. He helped Mr. Stepford up.
The blood looked too red to be real I realized. Probably ketchup.
“Just follow our plants back out front!” Jackson continued. “Be sure to tell all your friends about us and feel free to leave a review!”
I watched the excited crowd follow the Stepfords out the door. I heard their footsteps get further and further away. I decided to stay behind and stay alone with the man the others had all been convinced was the real Jack Bates.
“Did you like it?” Jackson asked me.
I turned and saw him wipe off the Irena Crane tattoo.
“Yeah,” I said. “That was pretty impressive.” I walked up to one of the hanging portraits. Jack Bates at eighteen-years-old. It was a portrait of the serial killer as a young man.
“I appreciate it,” Jackson responded. He tossed the fake knife on to the bed and walked up to me. “We put a lot of work into it.”
“I can tell,” I said. He stopped next to me and followed my eyes to that portrait. I saw some unease sink into him. It fucking hit him hard.
“You knew so much about the victims,” I went on. I shifted my own cold eyes toward Jackson. “But you forgot one thing.”
Jackson met my gaze. I could see the fear in him. His calculating killer act never fooled me. And I know he knew who I was once he saw my high school photo hanging on the wall.
“The final victim,” I finished.
Before Jackson could run, I snagged him in my arms. I was a lot stronger than I looked. He didn’t have a chance. All he could do was quiver in my hands as he tried to break free. But I had him. He was a lot less stronger than Steve or David or Tommy. He was a lightweight masquerading as a killer. I was the real deal.
And all Jackson could do was look into my cold eyes. And my chilling smile.
“No, please!” he mustered out. I wasn’t worried about his pleading voice and screams. Everyone was outside and well on their way home by now.
With force, I slung Jackson onto the bed.
The mattress sunk beneath his weight. The fake blood all stuck to his vulnerable flesh. He looked around for a weapon, but could only grab that pathetic fake knife.
Unfortunately for Jackson, I came prepared. I pulled a switchblade out of my pocket and flicked the long blade.
I noticed my sleeve had curled up. And of course, Jackson saw my Irena Crane tattoo. The real one. Mine was much less gaudy. Just her name in red letters.
“No!” Jackson yelled. He leaned up and raised the fake knife.
With my first swing, I hacked into Jackson’s wrist. He cried out in pain as he dropped the pitiful weapon.
I descended upon him with the gusto I’d always had when taking my conquests. I stuck the blade right into his upper chest.
Blood spurted out of Jackson’s mouth. His weak hands grasped at the handle. But I knew he was too weak at this point to pull it out.
Jackson collapsed back onto the bed. The mattress may as well have been his coffin.
I knew I had him right where I wanted him. He was weakened but not dead. Just alive enough to where I could still have some fun.
Grinning, I looked over at the dresser. All those knives awaited my precise touch. And unlike Jackson’s blade, they were real. And oh-so-sharp.
“You got the room set up so nice for me,” I commented to my victim.
“No, please!” Jackson pleaded in a weak voice. He rolled around on the bed, The blood poured all around the switchblade like oil-filled soil. The crimson river would be flowing all night.
I picked up the largest knife from the dresser. I studied the blade before tracing my finger along its ultra-sharp tip.
“Please, don’t do this!” I heard Jackson yell. A scream for his life that was about as pathetic as what I knew for sure was his fake name.
Me, on the other hand, I didn’t need a fake name. I didn’t have to be Jim Price here in this house. I could be myself. I could be Jack Bates.
Keeping my permanent smile, I looked over at Jackson’s helplessness. I raised the long knife and got ready to make my move. Boy, it felt good to be home.
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