Macabre Obsession

Status: 2nd Draft

Macabre Obsession

Status: 2nd Draft

Macabre Obsession

Book by: Derek Atkins


Genre: Horror

Content Summary

Unsuccessful murder-mystery writer Kerry Keller gets assistance on a story when Vera, an old lady with peculiar talents decides to step in. When a young girl catches Kerry's eye, all Hell breaks loose.


Content Summary

Unsuccessful murder-mystery writer Kerry Keller gets assistance on a story when Vera, an old lady with peculiar talents decides to step in. When a young girl catches Kerry's eye, all Hell breaks loose.

Author Chapter Note

Any and all types of reviews and comments are deeply appreciated.

Chapter Content - ver.2

Submitted: May 30, 2016

In-Line Reviews: 1

A A A | A A A

Chapter Content - ver.2

Submitted: May 30, 2016

In-Line Reviews: 1



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Chapter 2

Kerry sat hunched over his keyboard late into the evening, the only sound a faint clicking of keys and a continual rattle of the window; the pressure of frigid air against the frosted pane was ragged and unrelenting. He was still heavily clothed from his earlier tramp into the real world, minus only his outer pair of gloves. His remaining pair were soft cotton with the fingertips removed. Long dangling strings sprouted from the cuts and splayed over the keys as he typed. Keys so vigorously scrubbed with alcohol wipes that the characters were no longer visible.

Kerry dared such necessary contact of his skin with a sense of surrender. Typing while wearing both sets of gloves never worked. It was too restrictive to type with speed, and the need of constant corrections drove him mad. The resolve required to replace his fear with practicality was a victory of sorts, a sacrifice of tangible merit, although Kerry felt little in the way of a victor. He believed in his deepest parts it best to tuck away each sacrifice for some future reward, undiminished by too much reflection.

Shortly after midnight a particularly strong rattle of the window jerked Kerry upright. Bobbleheads of superheroes jiggled in discord from their sentry posts on the windowsill, moved by unseen forces. For the briefest of moments Kerry thought the girl had somehow entered his apartment again, and a wave of anxiety overwhelmed him. He leapt from his chair and toward the door behind, but it was secure and he confirmed the six locks were in their proper positions. He stood at the door, heart racing, and cursed himself. He then methodically opened and closed each deadbolt in turn, bottom to top, and then down again. When the urge subsided, Kerry bowed and thumped his forehead against the door in frustration.

Another gust of wind set the superheroes in motion again, wagging and bobbing their cartoon features. They were the bulk of his personal items within the apartment. It was a childish attachment perhaps, one started by his father-- a score of plastic figures that held an imaginary promise of protection from evil forces. Right now, this moment, he didn’t like them much. They all appeared united in mocking him and his foolish fears. You’re afraid of the wind? they seemed to say. Not the wind! How pathetic.

“Even you, Hulk?” Kerry asked aloud. His favorite hero continued to nod.

The girl. He was terrified she had returned. The mere thought scared the hell out of him, enough to make him charge headlong to the door to keep her out. A girl. Not a drug-crazed thug. Not a gun-wielding robber. Not even Ruben, who was much more likely to try and force his way in.

No--a girl.

Recriminations, embarrassment at his weakness of mind and body, all lowered to a simmer as he remained at the door and struggled to understand the last several nights. He could almost swear he had let her into the apartment the first time, although that made no sense. He had never seen her before in his life. Why would he even open the door so late at night? Why was it so hard to remember exactly what she looked like?

It was all too troubling to think about, and so he hadn’t, at least not until now. She was certainly beautiful, almost angelic--but how could he know that and still not be able to recall her features exactly? Especially after what she'd done to him. Kerry shivered uncontrollably and crossed his arms, rubbing them vigorously.

He walked into the tiny galley kitchen and opened a cupboard door. The bottle was still there--if he decided he needed it. Zyprexa. Kerry held it in his hand and slowly rotated the bottle, watching the small caplets tumble over each other. Tumbled pills for tumbled thinking. He hadn’t taken them in months, and he was loath to take them now. He had taken them faithfully for five years, and they did wonders in stopping the hallucinations that began when he was seventeen. They even lessened his OCD, which was an unexpected bonus. Zyprexa often surprised the doctors. But the price!--not financial, the county gladly paid for all of that--but the cost to his creativity, his writing…his soul. Who could live forever with a brain padded with cotton, with indistinct desires and stillborn dreams? The revenant Kerry would be strong, in this at least. He put the bottle back and closed the door.

Kerry pulled a butter knife from a drawer and rummaged through several drawers, removing some paper napkins and plastic bags before walking to the rattling window. The storm outside was in full gale now, the howl of wind eerie in its cadence. He attacked the gaps around the window with vigor, forcing paper and plastic deep into the crevices. A quarter of an hour later, Hulk and his compatriots settled back at attention.

He couldn’t stop thinking about the girl. Unbidden thoughts flowed freely now instead of the previous trickle. He had become skilled over the years building mental levees around painful thoughts or emotions, but the levees were about to fail. In desperation he resorted to a trick his father taught him. He held up one hand and spread his fingers, each digit representing a troubling emotion or problem, and in that simple gesture, what was overwhelming became small and fixed. Controllable.

Only five fingers, an easy number, and you are in control of them all.

It didn't matter what the actual number of problems were, there were only five. He calmed almost at once. Slowly, with deliberate focus, he determined to think everything through.

It was far easier to imagine her an hallucination rather than reality. Every fact was in favor of it. But nothing about the encounters with her satisfied Kerry’s memories of his interrupted teenage years. Those sins of his youth were more of voices and indistinct feelings of paranoia--at last giving way to the conviction Mother was trying to kill him in his sleep. He didn’t sleep for nights on end, huddled in the sanctuary of his closet. That he was an embarrassment to Mother couldn’t be attributed to hallucination, she made that quite clear, visions or no. “…just like your Father,” she’d say, “…one more burden to drag along!” At least Father was able to escape her voice when he left. Why didn't he take me with him?

Kerry had to force a change of thought before things went south, as his hand had begun to tremble. He lowered a finger, then another, and willed himself to believe he felt better before he could continue.

There was a positive side to this precarious fence-walking, the fine line between raw sobriety and medication. His writing now progressed at a furious pace, and it wasn’t just a matter of quantity. Even his torturous self-doubt faded in the fact that the murder mystery he was writing was good. It exhilarated him! He was talented in something!

How could he ever give that up again? Kerry’s best writing, sharp clarity and insight, deftly dissecting the mind of his murderous characters, coincided with her first appearance. It was undeniable. There was an answer among the ashes, but he couldn’t see it.

He returned to the little desk and his computer and was soon absorbed in his novel, the conflicting emotions of the past ebbing the more he wrote.

Frank was the name of his twisted, brutish killer. He dismembered the husband of his secret love with flair in the last chapter, dividing the parts into manageable bits that fit neatly into his Coleman party coolers. Frank was pleased that he had three coolers after all since the husband was heavier and bulkier than he first thought. Frank--pragmatic to the end. Tonight, Frank would make his way to Denaprio’s pork ranch just south of Chicago’s famous cattle yards, where some lucky swine were about to have a midnight feast. He’d wait a day or two before cornering the wife for a private party.

“Frank, Frank, Frank…,” Kerry said under his breath, his face inches from the screen. “…you just have no imagination at all, do you?” He picked up a pencil from the desk and tapped it distractedly against the edge. “What you need is a little pizzazz, buddy. Something that sets you apart.” After a moment: inspiration. “Aaah! It’s your name, Frank. It’s a common, boring name, you have to admit. Let’s fix that. We’ll call you…Xavier!” The sudden thought made Kerry smile. “That’s right, Xavier--originally from Oslo! Sounds evil-sexy. Much better. And lose the pig farm; it’s been done before.” The next pause was considerably longer, but worth it. “Xavier, the sly foreign dog that he is, pinches the Coleman coolers from the local Peace Officers Guild, and returns them in time for the annual police barbeque, complete with mystery meat. We’ll have to smarten you up a little to make that believable.” Kerry attacked the keyboard with renewed vigor.

“Thank you, Vera!” Kerry said with honest satisfaction. “But you’re not going to like what Xavier has in mind for poor Jan and the kids."

© Copyright 2024 Derek Atkins. All rights reserved.

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