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Estimated reading time — 7 minutes

The second Darryl’s keys were rattling in the lock Katie was off the couch and racing to the front door.

“Did you do it?  Did you do it?”  She was practically bouncing up and down with giddy anticipation and unwilling to give him a second to even breathe.  “Did you kill her?  Is it done?”  Darryl couldn’t help but to smile and shake his head.  She was such a bad influence on him.  He tried to remember the first time they had met but for some reason was unable to.  It just kind of seemed like she had always been there.  Tim and Jerry had been his roommates for close to eight years and somewhere along the way she just kind of fell in with the twin brothers.  Before Darryl knew what happened she was living in the little, two-bedroom house as well.

Remembering when the guys moved in was a little easier.  He had like them both immensely the first time they had met and fell hard for their sob story of growing up as orphans with no real family other than each other.  That wasn’t the real reason he extended the invitation, however.  The truth was…they were fun.  Age wise, they were technically adults, but their maturity level in no way reflected that.  Neither of them ever bothered growing up and there was really no telling what they might be getting into at any point in time.  Plus they really like to play up the identical twin aspect and enjoyed going with the same look as each other every day.  Darryl could tell them apart…at the moment Tim’s hair was just a bit shorter than Jerry’s…but most people didn’t have a clue.

Tim had told him once, quite some time ago, the story of how they’d met Katie in the area but Darryl really didn’t retain it.  Tim had verbal diarrhea and a different story or ten every day; it would have been impossible to try and keep them all in the memory banks.  Tim’s condition was aided considerably by the fact that he always had a bag of green herbs nearby.  Jerry wasn’t quite the stoner his brother was but he did partake from time to time.

Darryl hadn’t complained when Katie started hanging around.  There was something about her that he found truly compelling.  It wasn’t that he had the hots for her or anything like that…she was not at all his type; but she was sweet and funny and an absolute dynamo of highly contagious positive energy.  He loved the way that she kept them all in line and yet on their toes at the same time.  For all these reasons and others that he didn’t fully understand, she could talk him into practically anything.  She had an innate ability to persuade him into activities that most people would consider irrational; and a way of making sense out of it in the process.

That’s the way it was with Julie, his soon to be deceased ex-girlfriend and Marcus, his recently deceased ex-best friend.  As crushing a blow as discovering their secret liaison was, Darryl was originally going to just break off both relationships and count his blessings that he discovered the infidelity when he did and not further down the road when she might have been his wife and he might have been his best man.  It had been Katie who finally got him to see the reasoning behind ending their lives.  They were, after all, bad people.  Who knows who else they would have ended up hurting in the long run?

It was the same thing with Yuri Melosh the Ukrainian guy who used to live down the street that swindled Darryl out of nearly three grand in his Ponzi scheme.  How many little old ladies would he have cleaned out before someone finally stopped him?  Then there was Pritchett Rickets the prick who kept pinching his clients by undercutting his offers on jobs.  Darryl was one of the best small job carpenters in the area but somehow that damned Rickets was always on his tail.

It was Katie that pointed out that the unscrupulous man must have been following Darryl.  It also stood to her reasoning that there was no possible way of just cutting leech out of his life…other than killing him of course.  Father Michener was the only one Darryl tried putting up a significant argument against; and even now it weighed on his conscience.

Father Andrew Michener had been the pastor at the local Catholic Church for nearly forty years before he passed on.  Darryl’s grandmother, who left the little house to him when she died, attended services there twice a week, every week, until she died and the priest had grown fondly attached to the long-time widow.  When Darryl moved in nine years ago, Father Michener had made it a point to visit the home and check in on Doris’s grandson and Darryl quite liked the pleasant man…not enough to attend his church; but he did like him.

It was Tim and Jerry who initially didn’t care for him.  The first time they met, the Father made a light-hearted joke about them being free-loaders who didn’t pay rent and, despite the lack of malicious intent, the guys, who never took offense at anything, had their feeling hurt.  That was really no big deal but the priest continued to make weekly recruiting visits and eventually Katie was the one to see the demons in him.  Absolutely terrified the first time she saw the man and the creatures possessing him from within, she later explained that the gift was called “discernment” and that she had always been able to see unclean spirits.

Darryl fought her for some time on the issue but her fear was real and Katie never lied to him…or anyone for that matter; she was truthful to a brutal fault and in the end:  he believed.  He believed in a world beyond the one he could, he believed that Katie had gifts that he didn’t and, above all, he believed her when she said they would be plagued by demonic attacks if the poor man wasn’t put out of his misery.  It was, by her estimation, a mercy killing.  Darryl had been hoping that moment of bestowed mercy would be the last time he would have to deal with such unpleasant things…but…here he was again.

“So…” she pressed, “Are you going to answer me or what?”  Darryl chuckled again and pushed past her to the living room.

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“Are you going to give me a chance to actually answer?”

Katie feigned offense behind him and said, “Well excuse me…by all means.”  Tim and Jerry were wrestling with each other on the couch like a couple of teenage boys and didn’t bring it to an end until Darryl plopped down on the couch next to them, diverting their attention.

“Well?”  Jerry asked what they were all thinking.


“He hasn’t said.”  Katie had positioned herself on the lazy-boy across from them.  “For some reason he’s trying to play it cool which…” she paused for effect, “is not cool”.   The brothers began to fall all over each other with raucous laughter which brought Darryl’s attention to the empty baggie and green herbs strung about the coffee table.  They were high as kites.  Sometimes living with those two was like being in a frat house…or having children maybe.  He definitely didn’t take them as seriously as he did his female roommate.

“Well…” Darryl finally spoke, “Not that you two yahoos will remember later.”  He was looking at the twins and they fell into another round of side-splitting.  “But…yea…I did it.  I cut her brake line.”  Katie’s jaw dropped.

“You cut her break line?” she repeated.  Darryl proudly nodded ‘yes’ but the pride only lasted a moment before Katie made her displeasure known.  “What the hell Darryl?  That’s not what we talked about.  You were supposed to poison her or stab her.  Where the hell did you come up with cutting the brake line.”  She sighed, exasperated.  “How do you even know which one is the brake line?”

“YouTube,” Darryl replied sheepishly.  “I looked it up.”  The brothers couldn’t stop laughing, Jerry actually falling to the floor and holding his sides.  Katie didn’t find it funny at all.

“You looked up a video on how to cut a brake line and then you went and cut someone’s brake line?  Please tell me you at least used a guest account on a computer somewhere else.”  She seemed like she couldn’t even believe she was having to ask and it was the complete opposite of the reaction he had been expecting.  Especially when he could only mumble “I used my phone”.  Katie jumped across to the couch and slapped him in the face, drawing blood with her nails.

“You fucking idiot!” she yelled in his face.  “You’ve screwed us all.”  Tim joined his brother, rolling on the floor as neither seemed to grasp why Katie was so upset.  “What are we supposed to do when you get arrested?”  Darryl was genuinely shocked.  Why would he be arrested?     


“I…I don’t understand.” Was all he could say and Katie shook her head with sick pity but was not given the opportunity to explain.  The next few seconds passed in a blur.  Broken glass filled the room from the windows and chunks of wood flew in from the hall where the front door had been smashed from its hinges.  Suddenly the room was full of men in black armor from head to tail, flashing lights and screaming.  Violently thrown to the floor and handcuffed, Darryl couldn’t see what condition his roommates were in.  Much like him, they were probably overwhelmed by the sudden flurry of activity.

Jerked to his feet and hustled down the hall, he knew that he would probably be in some degree of trouble but he truly hoped that his friends wouldn’t be charged with anything.  He didn’t see them being cuffed and his name was the only one they stated as being under arrest and Mirandized so hopefully they could be left out of whatever mess this turned into.  As he was being pulled out the front door, Darryl called out over his shoulder, desperately hoping they could hear him.  “Don’t say anything guys.  Don’t say a word.”  By that point, it was the best he could do.  An hour later he was behind bars, barring the death penalty, for the rest of his life.


Toya Pearson couldn’t help but to curse when the call came in at one forty-five in the morning.  Raising two girls as a single mom combined with a job that could call at any moment, as the current call proved, sleep was proving more and more elusive.  The moment the ringtone woke her from deep sleep she knew she was done for the night…she didn’t even have to answer it.

It did, however, turn out to be a rather interesting call though.  The department had arrested a rather notorious serial killer.  Not that it wasn’t good news…one less sicko on the streets was good for everybody, but that wasn’t the part that particularly interested her.  It was his pets.  Normally, the rare personality that fell into his range didn’t keep pets…not living ones anyway; but this man had three cats which were currently in the kennel at headquarters.

Were it not such a high profile case the animals would have most likely been turned over to Animal Control or the Humane Society but given the uniqueness of the situation they thought to call her.  Toya’s official title was that of a Detective Profiler but everyone knew that her true passion was her feline rescue group.  No one had a problem turning Katie, Tim and Jerry over to her and, rather that put them through further trauma, she decided to keep them in the end.  They won her over rather quickly with their infectious personalities and her girls fell in love immediately as well.  The youngest, Sarah, even claims that they speak to her.  It’s adorable.

Credit: Shannon Higdon

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