A girl called Malory avenges one and all after counselling pushes her over the edge.
OPEN UP AND BLEED FOR ME
Rows of bookshelves, all crammed full of books lined the walls. More books were piled on the thick, red carpet. A computer and printer sat in the corner. Faded posters of old rock bands covered the patches of the walls where the black paint was scuffed. Another shelf full of fancy notebooks was positioned next to the computer. At the other corner of the room there was an expensive looking sound-system for CD’s, I-pods and all other forms of music. Some armchairs stood at the one side of the room. A chandelier hung from the high ceiling.
One notebook lay near the keyboard of the computer, the pages covered in jet-black writing, slanted, twirled and curlicued to such a point that it was only readable to whoever wrote it.
The glass cabinet of ornaments contained a rather fierce looking china leopard that stared down at Malory Whitebled as she cautiously stepped in the door. The room was like something she’d decorated herself, as if Amaryllis knew her every interest.
The maid had shown her to the room and instructed her to sit down on one of the velvet armchairs and wait until Amaryllis was ready to see her.
Malory was thirteen and had come for counselling. She was a tall, thin girl with white-blonde hair. She’d started behaving strangely since she started high-school, behaviour including suicidal behaviour, self harm, making herself sick after eating, isolating herself, angry outbursts and a number of other things. Her big, brown eyes had once been happy and carefree but were now ringed with black, blue, grey and purple from lack of sleep. Traces of black nail varnish lingered on the nails of her long, thin fingers. Her wrists were scarred. There was a purple bruise on one of her temples.
Malory looked up as Amaryllis entered the room and sat down on the armchair opposite hers. Then she let her head hang again so that her white-blonde hair fell forward like a curtain. A curtain to keep intruders out of her mind.
Amaryllis said softly.
Malory didn’t look up.
"Don’t worry Malory. I’m here to help you. Whatever you say is between us. Just us."
Amaryllis half-whispered artfully.
"That’s what they all say."
Malory didn’t like to say too much to counsellors. They had a way of either turning the simplest answer she gave into a sign of deep psychological disturbance or twisting what she said so that they could psychoanalyse their own answers just to believe that they’d healed her of some made-up illness.
School guidance-counsellors were worse. It was as if it was their one goal in life to expurgate every child like a controversial piece of writing. To mould them all into neat, plastic-brained clones who would swallow any moral-filled story like a life-saving pill.
Malory had been a bit different, her beliefs considered outrageous, her loner tendencies ‘unsociable.’
They had exaggerated these characteristics as if they were flaws. She’d been sent to the guidance counsellor’s office for long hours, to see if they could "Make her act like a ‘normal’ child."
Her parents had been called in about her angry outbursts; specialists called for her because of the blood staining all the sleeves of whatever shirt she wore to the ‘none-uniform’ school.
Nobody could dissect her mind.
Now, Amaryllis changed tactics.
"Malory, is your school very strict?"
Malory didn’t lift her head but mumbled something incoherently.
"What did you say, Malory? Speak up."
Amaryllis instructed in that whispery voice of hers.
"They’re very strict. I’m going to tell you something I haven’t told the other counsellors. About how this whole thing really kicked off."
Malory said, barely audible.
Amaryllis leant forward to hear better. She felt like jumping for joy. This was progress!
"My school and my parents have a lot of old-fashioned Catholic beliefs. One day we had a free class. I had no homework to finish so I was drawing. I used to sit at the back of the class, before they moved me up to the front so they could keep an eye on me. I drew a burning cross, wrote ‘I don’t believe your lies’ on it. The teacher came around to see what we were doing with our time, so I flicked to a clean page and started drawing flowers, as I knew the burning cross would get me into trouble. It was too late though. The teacher wanted to see what I had drawn beforehand because I’m good at art. I refused and she took it from me anyway, and said she’d fail me for the year if I didn’t let her see it.
. She saw the cross and obviously she’d seen me on my own a lot. She thought I needed ‘help’ but never told anyone about forcing me to hand over the sketchpad.
It wasn’t a schoolbook, so technically it’s against school policies to force me to hand it over. She just said she was concerned about my loner tendencies. Then one day she called me out of the classroom and told me she’d get cautioned for taking things from a student if I told anyone. So apparently if I tell anyone then I’m dead."
Malory said, inhaling deeply as if she couldn’t believe that she’d told anyone about the root of her problems.
"Can you tell me the teacher’s name, Malory?"
Malory said simply.
"Very well. It would help though."
Malory looked at her pityingly.
Amaryllis honestly didn’t know.
A while later after Amaryllis had failed to make any sort of real progress, Malory’s mother knocked on the door to take her home. Malory was barely allowed anywhere on her own these days, not even being allowed to spend long periods of time in her room unsupervised, forced down to the sitting room for ‘a bit of family time’ by her mother. Malory’s mother was a strong believer in family-time, worst luck.
The thing was though, family time had a designated date and time. Not really informal chats or some unscheduled quality time. You had a time and place for everything in Malory’s house, but family time never seemed to be scheduled for exactly the moment you needed it.
Malory’s mother, Laurenza, was very pretty. She was quite young with dark green eyes, dark brown layered hair and a charming but suave manner.
"Hello Laurenza. We’ve made some progress today. Maybe Malory could wait outside for a minute while I talk to you?"
Amaryllis suggested politely.
"Yes, of course. Malory, dear, wait outside, I’ll be along in a minute."
Laurenza told Malory.
"I’ll wait outside while you talk about me then."
Malory said bitterly.
Laurenza scolded and smiled apologetically at Amaryllis.
About ten minutes later Laurenza walked out, looking pleased. Malory stayed silent for the whole journey home. Amaryllis knew too much. Counsellors couldn’t be trusted with much. Big mouths and thought they were clever. A bad combination.
Malory was a clever person but this cleverness had recently been put to use in the wrong way. She wouldn’t be forced out of her room that evening. With her wrists bleeding and her head pounding, she was busy plotting revenge on everyone who’d ever hurt her.
Her plan started with the easiest target, a girl who’d been bullying her because of her ‘need’ for counselling. This girl tormented her everyday, verbally and physically.
Malory knew that her parents searched her room so it would be impossible for her to keep the things she needed there.
Over the weekend she plotted carefully. Revenge wasn’t to be planned in ten minutes over a cup of tea. It was a careful process involving more thought than a week of school did.
Eventually she began gathering items, packing money, clothes and a knife into an old schoolbag. On Monday, Malory hid the bag in her locker and put the knife up the sleeve of the jumper she was wearing. She had ditched her usual slogan or rock t-shirts for a normal Nike jumper. Her slogan t-shirts usually drew attention to her and if they were too rude she had to turn them inside out.
She wasn’t one bit jumpy in class. She was as cool as a professional. At home time she approached Luella, the girl who bullied her.
She waited until the taunts started, before pulling a packet of her mum’s cigarettes out of pocket. She rattled them at Luella.
Luella was the sort of girl who liked to experiment with what she didn’t know.
"Come to that wooded area of the park and I’ll give you some. It’ll be a laugh."
Luella agreed, being a bit stupid.
They stood at the edge of the wooded area of the park.
"Come in a bit further with me?"
Malory said in an offhand manner.
They went in much deeper.
Then Malory turned around.
She pushed Luella to the ground, shook the knife from her sleeve and slit Luella’s neck, stabbing her throat, slitting her wrists, driving the knife through her chest, head and ribcage, even through parts of her mouth. All the while she was taunting her. When she finally decided she’d inflicted enough damage, she changed into the spare clothes she’d packed, wiped the knife and put her bloodstained clothes into the bag. She tidied herself up, surprised at how calm and relieved she felt.
Murder seemed easy.
Malory went home by a later bus, using the money she’d packed to pay.
When she arrived home there was a note on the table, written in her mother’s neat handwriting.
My aunt Emilla is very ill and I’ll be away overnight looking after her. I’ll text you if I need to stay any longer. You’ve got your key so keep the door locked. I’ll be back at about five-o clock tomorrow evening. Call me if you’ve any problem and don’t do anything stupid,
Malory grinned. This couldn’t have worked out more perfectly.
She didn’t even have to go to school tomorrow. She could dispose of her evidence and prepare to be shocked on Wednesday when Luella’s disappearance was known to all of the school.
She lit a fire in the ornate fireplace and burnt her bloodstained clothes. Most of her clothes looked the same anyway, so her parents would never know about this. Then she threw water over the fire and cleared out the ashes.
After all this had been sorted, Malory went for a shower. Her nails required immediate attention, as a red arch stained and caked each one.
The shower floor was covered in blood, so that needed sorting as well.
The knife was put through the dishwasher twice. A kitchen knife was the perfect weapon, Malory decided as she looked back on the days events, not feeling in the least bit shaken. Her reason for picking a kitchen knife was that a gun, a fancier knife or anything else of that nature couldn’t be easily camouflaged. A kitchen knife, as long as you washed it and restored it to its rightful place, had only ever been used for slicing bread and cake.
Malory felt a most disturbing feeling of pride wash over her. She was a murderer.
She tried to make herself feel bad, as feeling proud of what she’d done was surreal. But forcing images of Luella’s corpse to flash into her mind only made her feel sick. She was a professional at being sick by now, sticking her fingers down her throat after each ‘meal’ but she still wasn’t used to the acidic feeling of her throat being almost on fire.
She wished she’d brought nails with her earlier, so she could stage a crucifixion like the one she didn’t believe in. a final indignity for the girl who’d tortured her, a mark of hatred for the faith of most people who attended her High-School.
That was an idea for next time…
Malory wasn’t stupid. She new it would be both physically and mentally more challenging to lure a middle-aged teacher to her death then it would be a stupid thirteen year old who’d do anything to be ‘cool.’
Malory gave a hysterical giggle, realising she’d single-handedly proved that smoking kills.
She said out loud, though there was no one home. There was a bloodstained schoolbag in her room that she’d done nothing about.
Luckily it was a cheap, flimsy one, made of light material, so one round in the washing machine and a little while in the tumble-dryer did the trick.
Malory had two computers in her room. One was big, quite old and very temperamental. The other was a laptop she’d received for Christmas a few months ago and scarcely switched on. Her friends had all abandoned her since she’d started attending counselling, so she was never E-mailed anymore. Her mobile phone credit also seemed to be lasting a lot longer. Malory switched the laptop on for the first time in about six weeks and Googled ‘famous murderers.’
She received a wealth of information on America’s most feared murderers.
As she scrolled down the screen, her favourite by far was David Berkowitz.
She read about how he’d sent anonymous, taunting letters to the media, telling them he was responsible for the murders, but never signing these letters. She loved that idea.
She cleared her query history and deleted the page from the screen. She checked her E-mails in an unfair act of optimism but found only a few advertisements for 10% discounts on items nobody ever seemed to want to buy.
Malory sighed. Which was crueller? Killing a girl who’d bullied and tormented her for months or ditching, shunning or taunting a girl because she was being sent to counselling against her own will?
Malory didn’t see herself as the guilty one. People like Luella deserved permanent residence in the hell they prayed so ostentatiously to stay out of.
Malory was already planning her next murder. Ms. Dahmer was her preferred victim, but if she couldn’t think of any way to trap a cunning teacher then she would try someone else who’d spited her, and she had an assortment of those to chose from.
Ms. Dahmer was a science teacher, dedicated to her subject in a very big way. Malory wondered if she could use this dedication to lure the teacher to her death.
She had the following day to plan the murder. There was a hammer and nails in the rarely opened old garden shed, the tools she needed to carry out a mock-crucifixion.
She sat down at her laptop, glad for the excuse to use it, and changed her E-mail address.
Subject: science award nomination
Ms. Diane Dahmer
We are pleased to inform you that you have been nominated anonymously by a group of Bridgeway High School students for a dedication to the Teaching of Science (DTS) award. A few things we are sorry to inform you of, is that we cannot allow guests to accompany you to the event, and you will not find information of the event for the simple reasons that it is a very little-known and exclusive award. As you hadn’t signed the submission form we had to bend the rules a little bit, because the students wrote a lengthy letter about your brilliance in the teaching of science. Because of this rule bending, we would appreciate if you kept the amount of people you tell about the award to a minimum. The event will take place in Lushgreen Park this Saturday at two-o clock.
Please send an Email back to this address to confirm your attendance by no later than the Thursday beforehand.
In eager anticipation of confirmation of your attendance,
Malory grinned, happy with her fake E-mail, and when she checked her new E-mail address a few hours later there was a reply. It was short and to-the-point, a lot like Ms. Dahmer. It was the last line that pleased Malory. It read ‘I haven’t told anyone and I have also deleted the E-mail, as I am in charge of the school computers.’ That was just like Ms. Dahmer, always wanting to do what she was told and also go the extra mile, which in this case was deleting the E-mail. She was playing right into Malory’s hands.
Malory was feeling giddy and sick with a disgusting sort of excitement.
She had a lot to prepare.
The first thing she wanted to do was make sure she tracked down an abandoned barn. She wanted this barn for horrible reasons, involving a satanic altar.
It wasn’t as if these abandoned barns weren’t in plentiful supply, they were just something Malory had never bothered to look out for. So after her mother’s return she spent an hour after school locating one nearby and was successful. She went to the local supermarket afterwards and bought as many packets of matches as the ten-dollar bill in her pocket would buy.
She saw the cashier eyeing the many boxes of matches curiously.
"We’re doing an art project in school, making sculptures out of matches."
Malory explained, lying.
The cashier nodded, secretly glad of this enlightenment.
Malory took the matches back to the barn and hid them under a bale of hay. Then she walked home.
She noticed that her mother was giving her more freedom, so she always selected lies like "Went for a walk" or "Had a look around the shops" when asked where she’d been so that she didn’t let anything slip.
The next day she had to do more shopping. Candles. Long white ones from the discount store. These were also hidden under the hay-bale.
When Saturday came, Malory told her mother, Laurenza, that she was going out for a while. She packed the usual spare clothes, knife, bin-liners and the hammer and nails, telling her mother that the bag was full of books to return to the library. By ten to two she was in Lushgreen Park, a different one from which she’d killed Luella in. a more forest-nature-reserve type of park. thankfully the park seemed deserted. The fact that a circus was in town had pulled the crowd away from the park.
She wandered around nonchalantly until she saw Ms. Dahmer.
She said innocently.
"Oh, hello Malory! How is counselling going at the moment?"
Ms. Dahmer asked politely.
"Very well thank you."
"Did you by any chance see a crowd of people? I know the park is almost completely empty but between you and me, I’ve been nominated for an award."
Ms. Dahmer explained.
"Wow, congrats! I did see a crowd of people a bit deeper into the forest, where the river is. Will I come with you to show you?"
"Thank you Malory! That would be helpful!"
Ms. Dahmer accepted the offer and Malory led her deeper and deeper into the forest, until they reached the fast-flowing, sharply meandering river.
Malory pointed, opening her schoolbag.
Ms. Dahmer turned around long enough for Malory to bang her on the head with the hammer. She was knocked unconscious.
Malory dragged her for a long way deeper into the forest. She knew there was a quick way from here to her barn but she couldn’t drag a body all that way without being seen. That was where the purpose of the bin-liners came into play. She shoved Ms. Dahmer into the bin-liner and carried her back to the barn. Anyone who asked what the bag was for on the way was told that it was full of old clothes and toys for a charity shop.
At the barn, Malory took out her knife, hammer and nails and waited for Ms. Dahmer to wake from her unconsciousness.
When she woke, she gave a scream. But there was no one to hear her.
Malory, surprised at her own strength, pinned Ms. Dahmer against the wall. She made sure that the unfortunate teacher was in the right cross-position before nailing her to the wall. There were no screams, just low moans of agony, which thrilled Malory even more than screams.
It was a long, painful death. Malory left a rusted bucket she’d found next to the body to collect the blood.
Then she placed her schoolbag of spare clothes on the ground and set about her next job.
There was plenty left in the box of nails, and there was a huge amount of timber stacked at one end of the barn near the hay bales.
She began nailing pieces of timber together to form an uneven ladder up to one of the roof beams. When it was long enough, she leant it against the roof beam and cautiously climbed up. She climbed onto the thick roof-beam, hammer under her arm and nails clamped between her teeth, and nailed the ladder securely onto it.
She then filled a bucket of water from the rusty tap on the wall.
The water might have been rust flecked and freezing cold but at least she could wash the blood from her hands and sponge it off of her clothes, as she’d just remembered that she couldn’t go home in different clothes from the ones she went out in. her mother was unlikely to notice but you could never take those sort of risks. Malory decided to keep the spare clothes in the barn.
She would have to go home, as even her mother would be wondering where she was. Malory had purposely left her mobile phone at home, because of something she’d heard on the news once about mobile-phone tracking.
When she arrived home, she told her mum a cheery, fictitious tale about meeting up with a few friends in the park after she’d gone to the library, and they’d lost track of time. Her mum believed the simple but effective lie.
"It’s good to see that you’ve started seeing your friends again. You’ve counselling with Amaryllis so go put on something other than those t-shirts, or at least one that isn’t damp. What on earth were you doing?"
The question was rhetorical, so Malory just walked upstairs to her room and found a pair of black leggings, her black leather boots and a different t-shirt. She knew her mum hated her style but she liked it and in her opinion pleasing yourself mattered more than pleasing others.
Amaryllis was waiting eagerly for Malory.
Through every question, all Malory could think of was the fact that Amaryllis knew about the incident where Ms. Dahmer had snatched the sketchpad. This meant that when people noticed the teacher’s disappearance, Malory might be a suspect if Amaryllis told the authorities.
After the counselling session, in which any ‘progress’ made in the last one was soon forgotten about, Malory being back to her stubborn self.
Posters of Luella sporting the word ‘missing’ were beginning to crop up all over the place and the news of her disappearance had circulated the school by now, the topic of most conversations, the theme worked into most lessons, essays and projects.
Malory still felt a weird jolt of sick pride when she saw the posters, or when someone at school or at home mentioned the disappearance.
Ms. Dahmer was on ‘unexplained absence’ giving Malory’s class free-class science, therefor giving Malory time to plan the two more deaths she had in mind. Amaryllis, who she was sure would be her hardest yet, and her ex-best friend Arianna who would probably be even easier than Luella.
Arianna was one of those plastic-brained, moral-loving, sickening ‘perfect’, irritating little stereotypes that a place like Bridgeway High School was teeming with. They infested it like maggots squirming in a rotting piece of bread. They scored A++ in every test, exam and project. They were rich (though Malory’s family’s wealth hadn’t made her any more popular) they have that blonde-hair blue-eyes combination that fairytales seem so fond of. They’re those ones that make you feel like the best person in the world but destroy you with just a glance.
Arianna, like Luella, could be very stupid as well, but wouldn’t do anything like smoking that might count against her in the perfect-family-relationship sickener.
Something like a cute dog might do it though…
Malory never took huge amounts of time planning her murders. Obviously Luella’s had been less elaborate than Ms. Dahmer’s but it still never took more than a week of planning.
Still, Malory wanted to get the barn just right. She wanted something that would be like a house of horror when Arianna walked in. Malory still had to buy a length of rope with which she would hang people off the beam. She never approved of cruelty to animals but planned on testing it out on a rabbit or cat or something like that. It would be a pity to have spent money on rope, lured a victim up there and then have it not work so that she had to go to the trouble of using her knife after all.
So after school she went to the barn, ignoring the stench of the rotting Ms. Dahmer, she made sure that all her matches and candles were still under the hay bale, left the knife, hammer and nails with them, checked how much blood had drained into the bucket (to her satisfaction it was almost full) and did other gruesome jobs.
Malory came back the next day as well, with more matches and thicker candles that she’d found in the utility room cupboard at home, as well as rope that she’d bought in the hardware store.
She also carried a box with a stray cat in it. She nailed the rope at the top of the beam as soon as she got up the uneven ladder, cat under one arm. It was a calm creature, didn’t squirm or scrape, which made Malory feel worse about killing it. It was overwhelmingly odd to have murdered two people and not feel anything and then to feel remorse at leading a stray cat to its death.
She pulled up the rope and knotted it around the cat’s neck. Then she dropped it from the beam.
It screeched as it fell to its death, a sound that pierced Malory’s heart like a dagger.
She climbed back down the ladder and untied the cat, just the fact that it was dead made its fluffy, soft, tabby-patterned fur seem gristly and wiry like one of those mats you’d see on doorsteps.
Its body seemed both limp and rigid at the same time, its eyes glassy and dead like marbles.
She pulled up one of the other buckets, as there was an abundance of them in the barn, and cut the cat’s throat, letting it bleed into the bucket. When all of its blood was in the bucket she took a marker-pen from her pocket and labelled the bucket ‘cat’s blood.’ She labelled Ms. Dahmer’s bucket of blood with a scientific symbol, as it was risky putting her name on it.
Then she had to set about catching a stray dog. She decided that could wait until the following day. For now at least she knew she could hang Arianna, her ex-best friend.
Malory had thought that eleven years of friendship meant that you stayed friends through thick and thin, not drop your best friend because she ‘needed’ counselling, not help Luella shun or torment her, not graffiti ‘FREAK’ across any book she left on her desk, then lie to the teacher about it.
The purpose of the stray dog was to find one small enough to tie up in the bike-shed without being spotted. Hardly anyone brought a bike to school anyway, so that should be easy enough. Then at home time she would retrieve it, walk up to Arianna and ask if she wanted to see some more dogs, cute little ones, Arianna loved dogs. Malory was hoarding a small amount of dog food and the collar, leash, food-bowl and brushes her old dog had used before it died, under the hay-bale with the candles and matches. She planned to bring the dog back to the barn after she’d caught it, make it look all cute, leave it there in her former dog’s dog-bed, tied up to stop it from escaping. Malory wouldn’t kill it once it had served its purpose. She would help it to acquire a taste for human and inhuman flesh, let it devour her victims. Ms. Dahmer had rotted away to almost nothing, but Malory kept her necklace and earrings under the hay-bale with the rest of her hoard.
Malory had found something else useful at home, the remnants of a bottle of dog-shampoo. If she found a small enough dog then she could bathe it in a bucket, if the dog was bigger it could stand under the tap. Either way Arianna wasn’t going to evade her death.
So after school the following day it was dog-hunting time. As far as her mother knew, she was over at a friend’s house and would be back later. Her mother delighted in hearing these fictitious tales of knew-found popularity.
Malory had no look at finding one in Lushgreen Park but in the plain, town-park where she’d murdered Luella there was a wealth of strays. She practically had her pick of dogs. She picked up a small, fluffy grey dog, barely older than a pup and very trusting.
She carried it back to the barn, after christening it Wolf and playing around with it using a tennis-ball she’d brought for ‘play-time.’ Playtime was to win its (or his) trust, but barely needed.
When they got to the barn, Wolf whimpered at the stench of rotting flesh and the reek of blood but didn’t run away. Malory stroked him for his bravery. She knew about training dogs, after training her last dog to perfection. But this dog was special. He needed to obey Malory and nobody else. She would be Wolf’s only master.
She held Wolf’s head close to the rotting body until he stopped whimpering and became used to the scent, calm around it. Then she washed him, making sure his coat was fluffy and shining. She fastened the collar around his neck and tipped one tin of dog food into the feed-bowl and filled the water-bowl from the tap on the wall. Then she drove a nail into the barn wall, moved the dog-bed over to it and tied Wolf’s leash to it. She stroked him one last time before she went.
Her latest trick was to bring perfume wherever she went to mask the smell of rotting flesh that clung to her clothes. Malory was allowed to walk to school on her own again seeing as she ‘was making good progress.’ This made it easy for her to collect Wolf.
She walked him to school, tied him up in the bike-shed and ran to her first lesson.
She was calm through most classes that day, sneaking into the bike-shed at lunch to feed Wolf. But when the last class of the day came, she felt hopelessly jumpy, though she still managed to keep a cool exterior.
As the last bell of the day rang, Malory rushed to her locker, grabbed her books, stuffed them unceremoniously into her schoolbag and ran out the door in Arianna’s general direction.
Luckily the other ‘popular’ girls were a good bit away. Arianna was out of anyone’s line of vision.
"Arianna, I know you don’t like me anymore but I got a new dog and I really want you to see him! Please come! He’s really cute, just a little puppy! Come on, please!"
Sighed Arianna, pretending not to be interested, though her love of dogs made this hard.
"He’s in the bike-shed. I’ve got a couple of cats in a barn a little bit away from here, and some other puppies! Wait until you see Wolf first though, then maybe you’ll want to see the others."
Lied Malory, leading Arianna to the bike-shed.
Malory untied Wolf and handed him to Arianna. He was calm, as he’d been fed.
"Awww! He’s gorgeous, Malory! I think I would like to go and see your other pets."
Arianna said brightly.
"Come on then, but you must never tell anyone about the barn. I’ve no permission to use it and mum thinks I’m shopping after school."
Malory explained, knowing that Arianna was already planning who to tell first.
"I won’t tell."
She lied in that perfected way that thirteen-year-old girls lie to each other, two-faced and suave to the very core of their beings. The most cruel, deceitful people in this world, school-aged children and teenagers.
So they went to the barn.
Malory could see the look of horror on Arianna’s face as the smell of blood and rotting flesh hit her.
Then she saw the rotting figure of Ms. Dahmer hanging from the wall in a perfect crucifix formation. She saw the dead cat in the corner; she saw the two rusting buckets of blood.
"That’s Ms. Dahmer! You killed Ms. Dahmer! You’re a murderer, Malory Whitebled! I’ve been friends with a murderer for most of my life! There’s no animals here, except that horrible cat-corpse!"
Shrieked Arianna, a wave of nausea washing over her.
Malory dipped her hand in the bucket of Ms. Dahmer’s blood. She daubed it onto Arianna’s face.
"You killed Luella as well, didn’t you? You’re insane! You’re a murderer!"
She screeched, the reek of blood making her retch.
Malory mockingly picked up her knife from under the hay-bale.
"Your turn Arianna! Kill me. Just stick the knife in me."
She taunted, holding out the knife.
Arianna wouldn’t take the knife.
"TAKE THE FREAKIN’ KNIFE, COWARD! YOU AND LUELLA MADE ME KILL MS. DAHMER AND LUELLA WROTE AWAY HER OWN LIFE WHEN SHE STARTED BULLYING ME! YOU CAN ALL ROT IN HELL!"
Arianna felt a wave of nausea wash over her. Realisation hit her like a blow to the head. She was going to die.
She stared at the corpse of Ms. Dahmer and was violently sick. Then her eyes rolled back in her head and she passed out.
Malory gave a shriek of derisive laughter and began painting the skin of her victim-to-be with Ms. Dahmer’s blood.
When Arianna regained consciousness, she saw Malory leering at her.
She began screaming and Malory began drinking more of Ms. Dahmer’s blood from the bucket. The rusty metal clinked off of her front teeth while the blood stained her lips, teeth and mouth.
Then Malory forced Arianna up the ladder, Wolf under one arm, growling.
She knotted the rope around Arianna’s neck. Arianna’s body was racked with convulsive sobs so it was easy to push her off the beam so that the loud crack of her neck breaking echoed around the barn.
She was still just about alive, so Malory stabbed her with the knife, her bloodstained teeth bared in a vicious grin. Wolf was sniffing the cat corpse in the corner, used to the sour scent of rotting flesh by now.
Arianna soon hung lifeless.
Malory gouged out one of the dead-girl’s eyes and tossed it to Wolf who devoured it.
"Your first lesson starts here, boy."
She whispered softly.
She began to let Arianna bleed into another bucket, after she’d peeled off strips of facial skin from the girl as if she was peeling an apple.
She began training the dog to recognise the scent and retrieve it for her.
Malory had an idea of how to make herself look innocent in this particular murder.
She washed well in the freezing tap water and fed Wolf before she went home. When she arrived home she went directly upstairs to where her mobile phone was and dialled Arianna’s house-number.
"Hello Ms. Goldstein. It’s Malory. Can I speak to Arianna, please? I need to find out what French homework we got, I was doing an extra-curricular for half the class and forgot to ask what homework we got."
Ms. Goldstein, Ariana’s mother was one of those big, bossy, nice-in-a-no-nonsense-way women. She’d like Malory well enough before the whole counselling thing started up. She’d supported her daughter’s shunning of Malory then. For a ‘good Christian’ family they were behaving in a very unholy manner, like most of the people at school, including the teachers.
"I’m sorry Malory. She hasn’t come home yet. She’s probably at one of the other girl’s houses. I’ll get her to call you when she comes home."
Ms. Goldstein said, though they both knew that she wouldn’t voluntarily ask her daughter to phone her ex-best-friend.
Malory pleased her parents by watching T.V with them as soon as she’d hastily scribbled her homework. Malory had never liked the comedies her parents lived for. She liked the mystery of a good film-noir, though her parents now deemed them inappropriate, thinking that they’d give her dangerous ideas.
Malory disliked the comedies because she believed they turned your brain to rubber. The themes and plots were obvious, the jokes overused. The laughter-sound in the background after every ‘funny’ part insulted her, as if suggesting the viewers were too stupid to know when to laugh.
Malory wasn’t one for magazines either. Stories about real people could sometimes be okay but the celebrity stuff often made her angry. Interviews she could cope with. Poorly researched, often untrue paragraphs of gossip snatched from phone-hacking and hiding in attics of celebrities, notebook full of prying and false stories was taking things much too far.
This might seem a dramatic way of looking at a gossip magazine, but ever since her ‘depression’ had ‘started up’ Malory had begun to see the world like the aforementioned Film-noir. Counsellors, doctors, psychologists and ‘specialists’ had tried to shove themselves into her life, while friends and even family had backed out of it. Backing out was a nice way of putting it. Fled, screaming in disgust was a more accurate term.
As she watched the sickening high-school comedy with its extremely unrealistic accounts of a student’s life (following, of course, the most ‘popular’ kid), flogging-a-dead-but-living-horse stereotypical characters and ‘all-American/English/Irish/Saudi Arabian’ cheerleaders and football stars. You basically had your blonde, perky cheerleader, your good-looking sports-star, your poor geeky science-nerd-chess-club girl with her oversized glasses and book about nuclear physics. It almost made Malory sick to watch. As if any high school was really like that. The ‘popular-kids’ were either dyed-blonde or blonde dyed some other colour, not naturally beautiful. You had your sports-star that was always on detention and smoked down at the school gates after school, not practising dedicatedly for hours and hours. And any self-respecting science-lover-chess-club sort of student wore contacts if they couldn’t see right and didn’t care what the ‘populars’ thought.
One thing you should probably be told about Malory is that with every new doctor, counsellor, e.t.c, came a new pot of pill or bottle of medicine that she was trusted to take without reminder or complaint.
As you can guess, this wasn’t what Malory did.
Her medication was never taken; though she was clever enough to pour her daily dose of medicine down the sink and hoard the ‘used’ pills in her jewellery box.
Malory Whitebled was never going to be as conformist as to take ‘happy-pills’ as she referred to the anti-depressants as, or ‘crazy-drugs’ as the lithium tablets had been christened.
The reason she didn’t throw out her pills was for a terrible reason.
In case things got so bad she needed to take so many that she died, and a knife entailed a very bloodstained deathbed.
School the next day was a blur of plotting how Amaryllis should die. It was going to be her very hardest challenge, though Amaryllis's weakness was her willingness to help others. There was something different about Amaryllis from the usual counsellors. She really seemed to care.
It could be a façade to get Malory to ditch her wary ways and conform to the ways of other ‘depressed, manic, e.t.c’ people.
It was late that night when the idea for Amaryllis’s death struck Malory in a dream. She’d gone to sleep quickly that night, once she’d went to the barn to feed Wolf (then made him practice his flesh-hunting for twenty minutes), eaten her dinner (then thrown it up afterwards deliberately – needless to say) and done her homework.
She had woken up after a vivid dream and began devising a plan similar to Ms. Dahmer’s death.
All she needed was to get into the contacts-list of her mum’s I-phone via Bluetooth. It would be listed in one of the elaborate profiles that her mum was practically religious about keeping.
So she retrieved the file that very night using Bluetooth. Malory switched on her laptop and changed her E-mail address and began to compose a fake E-mail to Amaryllis.
Amaryllis, it’s Malory Whitebled here, I need you to meet me at Lushgreen Park tomorrow at five-o-clock. I need to talk to you urgently. I will tell you about it whenever I see you. Please delete this E-mail, but don’t worry, I’ve told my parents about it already but you must delete this E-mail for my safety and yours.
"I do believe I’m getting good at this!"
Malory muttered as she pressed send and went back to bed.
She woke up an hour early the next morning, not that she’d slept much. There had been a prompt reply from Amaryllis, confirming that she’d show up. Malory changed her E-mail address back to its original address and got ready for school. She had to bring a plastic bag in her schoolbag with her knife in it. She still had her spare clothes at the barn.
She planned to meet up with Amaryllis in the park before taking her to the barn where she would kill her.
Malory was glad that it was Friday at last and she was sure this would be her last murder for a while.
After school she met Amaryllis in Lushgreen Park the place was full but that didn’t really matter.
"Hello Malory. What did you want to talk about?"
"Well, first I’ve somewhere I need to take you. It’s only a little bit further away from here."
They walked to the barn, Malory willing Wolf to be eager for human flesh.
Amaryllis’s reaction was a lot like Arianna’s. Shock, horror and a million other words for fear and disgust.
Malory untied Wolf from the nail in the wall.
Amaryllis was frozen with fear.
"Malory! You didn’t kill all these people, did you?"
Malory had her knife in her hand.
"Every single one."
She smiled and Wolf snarled.
Amaryllis screamed but Malory was quick and plunged the knife through her chest.
She looked upon her counsellor, who was still just about alive. She stabbed her again when she’d pulled out the knife, dripping with warm, wet and scarlet blood. She continued the stabbing and her normal ritual of pouring the blood into a bucket.
Then she lit her hoard of candles while Wolf feasted on flesh. Now that her murders were over she was taking him home (after she’d washed the blood off of him, of course) so that she could keep him. Her parents had been promising her a new dog since her last one had died, but they’d never got around to it, so they shouldn’t have any problem with Wolf.
Malory packed the dog-food, bowl, collar, leash and all the rest into her school bag, put out the candles, cleaned herself up and went home. Wolf had to do without a leash on that particular journey, as she needed her parents to believe that she’d just found him.
The knife was staying at the barn.
Coming home to an empty house was beginning to be a reoccurring event but Malory didn’t mind. By the time her parents came home she was cleaned up properly and ready to discuss Wolf with them.
No discussion was needed. They let her keep Wolf.
She spent the next fortnight ignoring news bulletins about different ‘disappearances,’ not having to go to counselling and dedicating all her attention towards fully training Wolf.
Then one day Malory’s world of newfound normality was apocalypsed.
A policeman showed up at the door.
He wanted to question Malory, as he said all signs pointed to her as guilty, if a bully, her most hated teacher, her ex-best-friend and her counsellor had all disappeared in a short space of time.
Then Malory decided her time had come.
"I did it. I did it all. I’ll show you where, tell you when, I don’t care what you do to me. I don’t care."
Malory said simply.
There was no passion in what she said. It wasn’t said with anger or remorse or anything at all. It was almost as if she was offering to tell him the time, in an offhand, casual way.
She really didn’t care.
Weeks of carefully constructed planning and evenings spent stabbing and strangling had all been squandered away in that one conversational confession.
The policeman tried to mask his shock but he was reasonably new to the job. Some of the older policemen and policewomen wouldn’t have batted an eyelid at the terrible but calmly confessed revelations but he felt as if he would scream. It was if all evil had been caught up in this one young girl.
Malory held her scarred wrists out for handcuffs without even being told to.
Her mother was called from the next room and sat down to listen to Malory’s confession.
She fainted dead away.
Malory was taken to prison to wait for a trial. It was either juvy, a detention centre or the madhouse, she knew that. She remembered episodes of ‘Banged up Abroad,’ ‘Four Weddings and an Execution’ and ‘The World’s Worst Prisons’ that she’d watched when her mum and dad went out. She wondered if anything she’d done would be considered a crime of passion.
Did she want to be let off?
School would be hell and she’d be watched like a hawk but home would be worse. Her parents would be scared and ashamed of her, disown her, maybe even put her up for adoption. They’d been bad enough when she’d needed counselling. When they went out she’d be left at home. They tried to avoid bringing her to visit her relatives when they went to visit them. It had been hard.
Hard was an understatement.
Maybe she just wanted to be locked away like a dog that was too aggressive to be re-homed.
Maybe she wanted the fate of one too; to be put down, euthanasia to end her mind’s suffering.
Malory’s cellmate was, thankfully, quite bearable. She was a nineteen-year-old girl by the name of Rayanna. She had long, brown hair with red streaks, a ruby stud in her nose with matching ruby studs through four parts of each ear, big brown-green eyes, a tall sinewy build and a tattoo of the sun on one wrist.
Malory noticed that the tattoo was covering up the two long scars.
Malory knew how these scars had happened but didn’t like to bring it up.
The sun the tattoo depicted had a face with outlined long-lashed eyes and red lips with a ring through the lower-lip. Malory loved to look at it.
Rayanna was patient and didn’t mind Malory’s constant requests to see it. It was quite hard to imagine what she’d done to get herself locked up.
Malory suppressed the urge to ask.
Rayanna also reassured Malory that if her trial was delayed for very long or if they decided she was to stay at that particular prison then they’d allow her to bring in a box of belongings.
There was a poster on the wall that Rayanna had put up. Malory couldn’t tell who the guy in the poster was but she knew she wouldn’t mind staring at him for a few weeks!
Rayanna’s I-pod and charger were what passed the time best. At least a few hours every day (and the days blurred together horribly, without the clock and calendar on the I-pod they wouldn’t have been able to tell how long they were in there for) were spent listening to music.
Malory was glad that at least three-quarters of the contents was rock and heavy-metal but when all that had been listened to they would listen to the pop music and dance remixes, even though neither of them were as fond of these.
"My sister loved them."
Rayanna would say whenever their options were narrowed down to these.
Malory didn’t mind too much. You did what you could to pass the time. Even contributing to the layers of graffiti on the cell walls was better than staring into space.
Malory would proudly mark her burning cross upon the wall with some art stuff borrowed from Rayanna.
"You’re pretty good! I was gonna do graphic design in college until I ended up here."
Rayanna told Malory.
Malory said, surprised at the coincidence.
"My friend Alexey always comes to visit me, on visiting day. She always brings things like sketchpads and markers and to pass the time, she says so I don’t get out of practice at drawingwhile I’m here. You really learn who your real friends are once something awful happens to you. The ones that disown you were never really friends."
Sighed Rayanna. She lived for visiting day once a month.
"I was friends with a girl for eleven years, but when I got sent to counselling she joined the group of girls who bullied me. The awful thing is that I never wanted to go to counselling in the first place. It turned me into a monster."
"What happened then?"
"If I tell you then you’ll hate me."
"I won’t. I’ve been here for a year. There’s nothing I haven’t seen or heard, no-one I haven’t shared a cell with."
Rayanna said casually.
"I killed her. But first I killed the leader of the gang of bullies. Then the teacher who started the whole thing and lastly my counsellor who knew too much."
"Now I see why we were put in a cell together. They probably though ‘two murderers, both teenage girls. They’ll confide in each other, regret it and they’ll both be dead by tonight. We say they topped themselves and we’ve another cell to lock the mad, bad and dangerous in. perfect!’ ‘Cause I had to share with a woman who killed her children a few months ago. She kept scraping and biting her wrist until she cut herself and bled to death. They knew it was a suicide but made me mop up the blood!"
Rayanna told Malory.
"I suppose I should tell you how I ended up here. My stepfather killed my mother when I was twelve. My sister, she was six at the time, kept threatening to tell. He’d killed her right in front of us and said we’d be next if we told anyone. We felt so scared all the time. So one night I tried to kill him. I put a knife through his chest; the gun cabinet was locked. He lived long enough to call 999 though we tried to get his phone away from him. My sister was adopted by another family but I was arrested. My father told me if I got out of prison before I turned eighteen I’d be fostered out to another family. I’m dead to him."
Rayanna told her sad story as quickly and simply as she could.
"Well, I’ve told you mine, can you tell me yours?"
Rayanna then asked Malory with a sad smile.
"Well, when I went into secondary school they didn’t like that I was different. The rest were like clones, even the ones I was friends with. The school were strict, catholic, "god"-fearing people. They liked everyone to be the same, no non-believers, nobody who had a different way of looking at things. They had a fixed idea of normal and anyone outside that box was a threat. I thought differently and I’m sure if you sat some people down and asked if they believed what we were told at that school they’d say no. It was easier for them to say that they believe to avoid having to use their own minds. So one day in a free class I drew a burning cross, like that on I drew on the wall, and wrote "I don’t believe your lies" on it. My science teacher Ms. Dahmer was supervising the class. She wanted to see what I was drawing. I started drawing flowers on a clear page. I knew that the cross was going to get me into trouble. It was too late, she saw it, and to make a long story short, I ended up being forced to go to counselling. They had to call in specialists and everything. I was completely driven over the edge. First I killed the girl who bullied me the most, Luella. Then a week or two later, Ms. Dahmer. Then my ex-best friend Arianna and at last my counsellor Amaryllis. I won’t go into details tonight but if you really want to know then I’ll tell you another time. Tomorrow I have to show them the barn where I killed them and kept the bodies, and the exact spot where I killed Luella, and tell them in detail how I did it."
Malory had almost enjoyed telling someone who understood about her reason for killing, what had made her do it, her anger and her victim’s places in her life.
Early the next morning Malory was taken to show a couple of members where she’d killed Luella and the barn. She also showed them the place where she’d killed Ms. Dahmer before taking her to the barn. When told to give a detailed report of how, when, where and why she’d murdered them she was almost co-operative. She didn’t care what they did to her.
When she was let back in her cell with Rayanna she told her any details she might have skipped the night before and Rayanna did likewise. They vowed to keep in touch if Malory was sent to a different prison.
Each one felt understood for the first time.
When the day of Malory’s court-appearance came, she knew that she too was dead to her parents.
When she walked into the courtroom she didn’t really feel anything. Everyone else was of the opinion that she looked cold, damp and distant. The expression in her eyes was as if she was on another planet, one of ice and rain where she was the only living thing. Her hair was once again a protective curtain, though the ends were still wet from her shower and the rain outside. There were new scars and cuts on her wrists, done, like Rayanna’s past cellmate, by tooth and claw.
Nothing overly eventful happened until she was requested to swear to tell the truth, on the heavy, red, leather-bound bible.
Malory picked it up and felt as if the fingerprints of other criminals that had held that bible were sinking into her skin, staining it like tattoo-ink.
She opened the bible on the middle pages and began ripping out the pages lined with word and verse she loathed so deeply.
The pages floated through the cold, tense, frost-like air of the room like yellow-white butterflies.
Malory felt the same sense of euphoria she’d felt when she’d killed Luella, except without the sick feeling from lack of guilt. This time it was just pure euphoria.
She was dragged off straight away. The unfair, half-thought-out verdict was that she should be sent to a young-person’s mental-home.
She was allowed to collect her belongings before being driven there. Rayanna promised to try and write to her. Her parents muttered that they’d make sure the rest of her things were sent there.
Malory knew that they wouldn’t be visiting her.
Malory hated the mental-home even more than being confined to a cell in the prison. Wandering around a group of made strangers while you waited to go insane was worse than sitting, drawing burning crosses on cell walls.
She also received hate mail and newspaper cuttings from people who were disgusted by her.
One particular letter went like this;
You disgust me, you faithless child of Satan. The minute you stopped believing in God, you started killing. You deserve to be dead. I’d kill you myself but I wouldn’t dirty my hands on your filthy, killer’s skin. The people you killed were proper, God-fearing people with everything to live for.
You are nothing but filth.
I hope you die a slow, painful death,
You have a place in the dirt,
There was an address on the letter so Malory sent one back. They had a major emphasis on replying to your post at the institution.
Malory’s reply went like this;
If you wish to kill me, it makes you as satanic as I am. Though in this letter you will dismiss many things I say as blasphemous I would like you to hear me out. Your god would forgive murderers, thieves, criminals and any other ‘sinner’ with a few words. If judges still acted in that manner (which they never will, thankfully) then we would live in a world where people are beaten black and blue, jeered at, stabbed and raped every time they step outside the door and the culprits forgiven in a heartbeat and let loose to do it all again. Is that really the society you want to live in? A few confessional prayers won’t stop a murderer from killing again and I of all people should know that.
Secondly, the two girls, Luella and Arianna who I killed were not ‘proper, god-fearing people. They tortured and scarred me with their torment for weeks, then think they get away with it if they’re sure to say a nice prayer! Do you think you want to live in a world like that????
Thirdly, when you murder someone it’s a clean break, you take away their life, not scar it like I was scarred by their torment.
Fourthly, if you’re so well-up on your religion, then didn’t your god accept all people? The teachers at my school wanted everyone to be the same, no matter what they had to do to achieve that.
I think blind faith is a very dangerous thing, it doesn’t let us make our own decisions about things.
But you enjoy your state of total and utter enlightenment and I will enjoy my place in the dirt.
Malory had also been nicknamed ‘the executioner’ by the media, after they found out about her mock crucifixions and hanged victims.
Everyone in the madhouse feared her except one boy her own age by the name of Orlando. He was a bit of a psycho in some ways, and teased Malory terribly at first. He didn’t seem to care that she was a murderer.
"So you’re the Executioner?"
He’d said to her at first, grinning.
"So you’re the cross-dresser?"
She’d retorted, noticing he was wearing black nail-varnish.
"I lost a bet but I think I’ll revert to the whole Goth-look."
"Well get a shade of black that doesn’t have glitter in it. I’ll swap you plain black for that glitter one."
Malory told him, rolling her eyes.
"Of god, I hadn’t noticed there was glitter in it!"
He muttered, embarrassed.
Gradually they’d become friends, then slowly best friends, then eventually inseparable.
They were never ‘boyfriend-girlfriend’ or anything like that, but they seemed to have an unspoken rule that neither was to look for that sort of thing from the other.
But even with a friend to keep her somewhat sane, there was a lot of things going on in Malory’s head that couldn’t be sorted out.
For one thing, her parents had sent her a tactless letter that blatantly stated when she was allowed out of the madhouse she was to be put up for adoption, and they’d said they weren’t going to be making any further contact with her. they’d also said that she’d ruined their reputation.
For another thing, she was receiving disturbing death-threats in the post. She pretended not to care, even wallpapering her room with them and sending photos of the odd piece of interior design to the senders of the death threats.
Orlando hadn’t told her much about his past, but she noticed when his parents visited him they yelled at him and occasionally slapped him.
One day he approached her about a very serious matter.
"Malory. This is sort of hard to explain but I feel as if I have nothing to live for anymore."
He told her, looking straight at her with green eyes like laser-beams.
"I feel that way too."
She told him honestly.
"Tonight I’m going to commit suicide. I know that sounds weird but it’s my only option."
"I want to die too."
She wailed in an odd burst of emotion.
"I hate my life, a murderer in the loony-bin, my family hate me for damaging their precious reputation, I have scars to prove I spent nights cutting myself for months in hope that one day it would add up, because I’m too much of a coward to just do it and kill myself! What have I got to live for?"
She sobbed an angry, tearless sob.
"We’ll both do it then. I stole knives from the kitchens."
Orlando said, racked with guilt that he was allowing his best friend to kill herself.
"I’m not sure if I should let you."
He told her.
"If you were really my friend you’d feel more guilty about letting me live my miserable life. You’re ending my suffering because I can’t do it on my own and I can’t tell you how good it is to know that I don’t have to live for much longer."
Malory told Orlando.
So that night he slit her wrists and she slit his. The knife slicing through the residue of skin above the pulsating blue worms of veins was painful but both of their eyes, both sunk into blue-black hollows, reflected an age of suffering. They were setting each other free.
When their bodies were discovered lying lifeless the next morning, nobody was that surprised. The two depressed personalities were going to go sooner or later.
Malory’s parents refused to have anything to do with her burial so she was sent to be cremated by the people running the madhouse, her ashes scattered (or more tipped out of the box to be swept away by the wind) in the yard. Orlando’s parents relented and made their own arrangements.
The media were thrilled, swooping down on the hot news like a flock of starving, vicious vultures.
But Malory and Orlando were free from suffering and guilt, untangled from the web of life’s problems and disasters that they’d become entwined in.
They had committed their last, freeing murder.