Stranglers In The Night

Ted folded the newspaper up and put it down next to his latte. He allowed himself a satisfied grin then finished his coffee while going over the highlights in his mind of the story he had just finished reading.

“The body was found in a darkened stairwell in a state of decomposition, a length of nylon cord still wrapped around its neck.”

“Signs of a violent struggle.”

“The eyes bulging from their sockets.”

He especially liked that last bit. He would remember that one for a long time to come. He picked up his napkin and dabbed the corners of his mouth. Straightening his tie he stood up looked around and walked outside into the bright sunshine.

What a glorious day it was. He was relieved that the body in the paper had finally been found. He hated it when they weren’t found in sequential order. He had been deciding whether or not it might be prudent to give the police a hint when he found the story in the morning paper. Ted was very fond of serendipity; it indicated a sense of order in the universe.

He strolled to a nearby park, sat down and took out his Blackberry. He brought up his list of potential targets. Now that things were in the order they should be he could proceed to get on with his work.

His last target had been a woman. In keeping with the order of things his next would be a man. It was only right. He went through the list and brought up details of those that interested him. He had done profiling and collected details of his most likely targets; it was only a matter of selecting one and determining when and where to strike.

He took his time but eventually found a name that pleased him. Something about the symmetry of it he supposed. No matter, it was decided. He would begin surveillance on the subject right away.

He took a cab to target’s address and stood outside watching. Most likely he would be at work now. He looked up and down the street and moved to the door. Taking out his lock picks he let himself into the house and donned his gloves. He went straight to the computer to see if the calendar afforded any useful information. It did, the target was having dinner with some friends that very night.

Ted knew the place and going over it in his mind he realized it afforded excellent proximity to an alley where they could be alone. He had only to lure his target to it. That would not be a problem.

As the man came out of the restaurant Ted approached him.

“Excuse me sir, could you help me for a moment. There’s an unconscious person in the alley here and my phone’s battery is dead. Perhaps we could use yours?”

He guided the man to the alley and was removing the garrotte from his overcoat when he felt a cord whip around his neck and he was pushed against the wall. His target ran from the alley never to be seen again. He struggled for all he was worth but his attacker was stronger than he was. As he lost consciousness the irony of the situation dawned on him.

The copycat folded his newspaper and put it down next to his coffee. The serial killer’s intended victim had not contacted the police. He reflected on how long he had been following the killer’s activities and how much he had admired him and wanted to be him.

He anticipated a long career. He took out the strangler’s Blackberry and perused the list. Decisions, decisions.

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