Sunday, July 25, 2004

Introduction
Chapter 1- The Cancer Spreads 
I am eighty-seven years old and I am dying.  Terminal cancer is what the army of white coats has told me, but I know what will kill me.  And it's not cancer.  The cancer has been there, but it can't do the job fast enough.  Something else is eating me away, something else is consuming my body and mind, cursing through my blood vessels and seeing through my eyes.  Something more sinister hides inside me, just biding its time and waiting for the most opportune moment to destroy what's left of my fragile life.  And what is that, you might ask?  I daresay that it's nothing physical, nothing visible nor able to be diagnosed.  Yet I am able to conclude what will kill me, even though I never obtained any kind of medical degree.  No, I don't have any proof of this either.  But I know that the poison overwhelming me is my conscience, even if it's a little overdue.  It's about 70 years too late to save me, save me from the depths of the eternal, bubbling, sulfuric abyss of Satan's realm.  And how do I know that I am doomed to this endless torture?  How do I know that I will not receive salvation?  Well, I shall tell you, if you are willing to listen.....

Part I
Chapter 1- Not Normal Like You
My name is Rodney Jenkins.  That sounds like any normal name, right?  I am normal, or at least I thought I was.  I grew up in a "normal" family.  I guess I should tell you a little bit about them, even though this story is about me.  My father, Martin Jenkins, owned a dry cleaning business, which consumed most of his time.  The strong work ethic he had was ingrained from his high school years, when he worked all afternoon and evening after school.  He didn't have much time for his kids, but when he did, he was nothing but a good father.  He carried us on his strong, broad shoulders, he read us stories in his deep, resounding voice, and he took us fun places.  He was the main provider for the family and everyone in the family knew it.  I don't really care for him.

My mother, Kelly Dillon, was an Irish immigrant.  She met my father when she first came to New York and they fell in love at first sight and all that happy horseshit.  I don't think she ever really loved him, but she married him to escape the poverty that followed her from Ireland to New York.  He wasn't rich, but it was more than she had.  Not only did she work at my father's business, but she was responsible for raising us kids.  She bore three children, with me being the middle one.  My mom taught me to read and write when I was little and that's the best thing she ever did for me.  Besides that, she did nothing worthwhile for me.

Three years before I was born, the world was disgraced with the birth of my older brother, Mark Jenkins.  Oh boy.  Can someone say testosterone?  He was the captain and the quarterback of his high school football team and he dated the hottest girls.  Of course, he had to struggle to squeak out his 2.0 GPA, but with his talents on the field, who cared?  He was the "ideal" son because he was everything my father never did in high school.  I hated him. 

And then I was brought into this world, screaming and barely breathing.  I am now 15 years old and am cynical and bitter about the shitty world I live in.  People say I should be more forgiving and such, but I say screw them.  I will be who I want to be and who I already am.  And they say I shouldn't be so cocky.  Well, I'm sorry I don't share their view.  Sorry I'm smart and you're a dumbass.  I'm right, you're wrong, so kiss my royal, rosy red ass.  My parents basically ignore me and my grades.  They ignore my opinions and the fact that I live down the hall from them.  Oh well, more freedom for me.

My sister, Marcy Jenkins, was the baby of the litter.  She was born five years after me and she was daddy's little darling and mommy's little angel.  She could do no wrong from the time she was born, even when she shit her pants.  She did mediocre in school and was something of a little slut in high school, yet her "innocent" little face got her everything she wanted and then some.  God, I wanted to rub that innocent look off her face to expose the horrible person she was beneath it all.
 
Chapter 2- Distortion and Darkness Enters
During summer when I was fifteen years old, my distorted family forced me to take a vacation with them.  I hated family vacations.  We always fought and ended up being more miserable than when we left.  And this was no exception at all. 
 
We drove from New York to Louisiana, and specifically, News Orleans.  Supposedly, we were going to try to experience a whole other lifestyle for a week.  Instead, we brought our lifestyle of arguments and petty fights to New Orleans.  One night, after growing weary of fighting with my siblings, I stormed away from the motel room and roamed the streets of New Orleans.
 
I did actually enjoy the town, probably because it had a fucked-up feel to it.  It was kind of a normal city, but it was distorted somehow.  It seemed to me as if someone had taken parts of Las Vegas and run them through the House of Mirrors at a carnival.  Which suited me fine.  I was a little different myself.  I knew this already.  I just never realize the extent to which I differed. 
 
Music floated through the streets, as well as twisting, multi-colored lights and scintillating smells of Cajun cookin.'  With each step, I grew more and more at ease with myself and my family.  I reached a shopping district soon, but it like no other shopping center I had ever seen.  This was no mall, nor a plaza.  It was an open-air market and vendors stood by their products, pushing it on the people walking by.  There must have been nearly a half mile of vendors.  I was curious as to what these strange Southern people sold, since I had heard stories of black magic and such. 
 
I finally found the booth I was looking for after about 10 minutes of searching.  It was simply called "Vodun," which I later found out to mean "spirit" in an African language.  I also learned later on in life that the traditions in New Orleans had precursors in Africa.  I studied all of the products, which ranged from potions to books and from jewelry to dolls. 
 
I motioned to the vendor.  He looked at me and scared the living shit out of me immediately.  One of his eyes focused on me, the other one spun wildly around in his socket, never stopping.  The side of his face that had the crazy eye also sagged and looked older than the normal side of his face. 
 
"Oh-oh-umm....I had a question..." I started, unsure as to whether I should be here or whether I should have taken off running like someone had lit a fire under my ass.
 
"Whad's dhat, boy?" he nearly shouted at me, presumably since he was old and deaf.
 
My confidence grew upon confirming my suspicion that he was merely an old fuck and not any kind of sorcerer, so I boldly challenged him, "Does any of this stuff actually work?  I'm not some naive hick, I am serious.  What works?"
 
"All ov dis works.  Dere wood be no reezun fer me ta sell it if not," the vendor loudly reasoned.
 
"Hmm, OK, whatever," I mumbled.  I had hoped for him to be a little more vocal and knowledgable on the subject, but what can you expect when you're talking to the crypt-keeper?  He was probably senile beyond belief too. 
 
I nearly walked away, but then something near the ground on his display caught my eye.  It was a do-it-yourself kit, one that promised results.  I picked it up and turned it over.  The back of it promised results, satisfaction guaranteed, and easy assembly, which was good, because I am rather lazy. 
 
The vendor saw me reading through the back of the box carefully and nearly panicked.  "No, no, dat is not fer sale," he snatched the box from my hands, "dat is only fer show.  You don't want dat stuff.  It's nuttin' but bad news fer you."
 
Denying a teenager is not the best course of action, as any parent or teenager could tell you.  That told me that I wanted it more and that it may actually work.  I was young enough to believe that it may have some magical, mysterious, and dangerous power, but old enough to know what I could do with the power.
 
My eyes exploded with fury, but I held myself back from decking the old fuck.  I knew what I had to do, whether it was ethical or not.  I had to have that kit.  I walked away after giving him the finger.  The crypt-keeper was probably shocked, but I didn't really care.  He deserved it.
 
I returned an hour later, when I knew the old fuck was nowhere in sight.  I went behind his table to the place where I knew he had hidden the kit.  I pinched it and walked away, back to my family and my hotel, where I stuck my kit in my suitcase.  I didn't open the kit until I was home a week later and that's when the voodoo dolls were born.
 
Chapter 3- History
Some people has dismissed Vodun, the actual religion that spawned voodoo, as heresy or witchcraft, yet after doing some serious research, I learned that it had its roots in African history and that it paralleled Roman Catholicism in beliefs and practices.  Voodoo and voodoo dolls were actaully an offshoot, a black magic bastard version of the real religion.  Vodun preaches that there is an afterlife and there are rituals of consuming the body and blood of their holy one, which mirrors Roman Catholicism.  Voodoo is actually not true Vodun.  It has its roots in Vodun, but it is a belief that centers on magic, demons, and it is mainly practiced in South America and New Orleans. 
 
So who knew if the kit really could make authentic voodoo dolls that really worked?  I didn't know, but I was at the stage of life where I was extremely curious.  I needed to know.  I mean, I stole the kit, so I might as well experiment, right?  There was only one way to find out and find out I did one day after school in my room.
 
After breaking the seal on the box, I felt something totally unexpected.  I was ready for a blast of icy air to chill the room, but instead, the room grew extremely warm and beads of sweat popped out on my forehead.  A strange, sicky sweet smell invaded the room and made me gag.  I crawled to the window and opened it, allowing a rush of cool, crisp air to fill my room and mix with the hot, sweet air. 
 
Once I had fixed that problem, I separated the contents of the box.  There were sticks that I surmised were the legs and arms of the dolls.  Little solid wooden blocks served as the heads.  A bunch of hay was in the box as well.  I had to read the directions included in the kit to learn the purpose of it.  It was for padding, to create a body and lend thickness to the arms and legs of the doll.  Pencils, pens, markers, and paintbrushes were included in the kit as well, in order to make the doll appear as much like the person as possible.  If there was a do-it-yourself kti for voodoo dolls, this appeared to be the end-all one.
 
Chapter 4- You Should Always Follow Directions
I sorted out the contents of the kit, checking that I had everything it said I should.  I did.  It consisted of enough materials to make 7 dolls, which was a strange number, but maybe it was something to do with luck.  These people believed some weird shit anyways, so what did it matter if they thought 7 was lucky? 
 
Following the directions exactly, I made a doll that had very broad shoulders, was tall, and was decidedly male.  I followed the football picture of my brother Mark.  The last set of directions said for the doll to be active that it needed something from Mark.  I did not know whether it meant a part of Mark, like hair, or a trinket which was Mark's.  Since I couldn't stand the thought of going in Mark's room, which usually smelled of BO, or the thought of touching Mark to take a hair, I decided that the tag from his framed football jersey in the living room should do the trick.  Mark had worn the jersey when his team had won state that year and my dad, being the proud papa he was, framed it next to my sister's beauty pageant award.  I had nothing on the wall, since being smart counted for jackshit in my family. 
 
I opened the frame and cut the tag out and replaced the frame.  After adding the tag to the little jersey I had made for the doll, I set the doll down on my dresser and read the end of the directions, which actually read as follows:
 
"!!WARNING!!
This is an actual voodoo doll that you have made.  Do not be foolish with it.  Do not use it as more than a simple way of simple revenge or a joke.  This is a dangerous doll."
 
I nearly laughed.  I mean, what the hell?  I wanted to believe that it was real, but it was a doll.  And a shitty, homemade one at that.  In my attempt to mock the warning, I picked up the doll and a needle that came in the kit.  I stabbed the doll in the right arm, Mark's throwing arm.  The world didn't come crashing down and the sun was still in the sky.  I realized it was probably a nice hoax and it was simply a means of getting victimless revenge on people without harming them. 
 
Haha.
 
Chapter 5- Cause and Effect
Mark came home from practice that day at 8:00 PM, just like he did every day.  I checked his arm, but there was no obvious wound and definitely no puncture wound.  Damnit.  I just wanted it to work a little. 
 
OK, I admit I sound a little fucked up.  But I am jealous.  Mark is athletic and handsome and well-liked, but I am smart and quiet and no one knows me.  He gets all the attention and I get none.  I hate him. 
 
Oh well.  I took my normal, silent place at dinner, where the conversation was mainly between my dad and Mark about football and between my mom and Marcy about girl shit.  I was all alone, like usual.  Not that I minded right now, I was kind of depressed and saddened that I had hyped the voodoo dolls up in my mind and nothing happened from them.
 
During dinner, Mark reached out for the bowl of mashed potatoes for a second helping of that gluck, and when he returned his arm back to his plate area, he smacked his elbow on the edge of the table.  Hard.  The entire table shook with the force of the impact and silverware clanked aorund in the dishes of food. 
 
"Motherfuc.....fudger!" Mark corrected himself once he realized who his audience was, rubbing his elbow.
 
"Ya klutz, don't hurt that arm.  Ya gotta throw with that one come the football season," my father wisely advised him. 
 
When he had hit his elbow, I think I stopped with my fork midway to my mouth.  And I'm sure I looked retarded with my fork paused in the air as I watched, mesmerized by his pain.  And in some twisted, mean way, I enjoyed his pain.  The pain wasn't overwhelming and the sensation I had was fleeting, but both were hot flashes.  Pain for him, pleasure for me. 
 
Pleasure in more than one way.  I had hurt Mark....for the first time ever, I was able to fight back.  He used to pound me sometimes when we were younger, and due to his size, there was no way in hell that I could ever land a punch.  And I also found out that the dolls worked.  I knew it could be a coincidence, but I didn't believe in them.  Things happened for a reason.  Action, reaction. 
 
Chapter 6- Worship Me
Later that night, right before I went to sleep, I took the doll out of my dresser door where I had stashed it and looked at it closely.  It seemed to have changed since I had made it.  It appeared more real, more alive to me.  The eyes followed me and the jersey fit more snugly against the doll's chest.  What the hell?  Maybe I was tired. 
 
But I knew something had happened to it.  This both startled and pleased me.  I was stunned to see that this black magic crap might have some substance and pleased that I held power over people.  It was an almost sexual release, knowing that I was the God of Mark, even though he didn't know it.  I held his future in my hands and all he could hold was himself.  I smiled thinly as I grasped the doll firmly in two hands, one on the body, the other on the head.  I snapped it with one quick burst.  There was a crack as the wood splintered, then silence.  I went to bed.
 
Chapter 7- The View From the Top
I stood on the top of a mountain, looking down upon the world.  I could see clouds in the distance, but none threatened to obscure my view of the earth below.  There was no sound, except for my breathing and heartbeat.  I realized that I saw no people.  No one was on the mountain as far as I could see.  I was all alone.  Alone, but on top.
 
Chapter 8- Meet Neddy
I woke up that morning and got ready for school, just like any other day.  When I returned to my room and saw the severed head of the doll laying next to the foot of my bed, I suffered an enormous rush of adrenaline.  Had it happened?  Was he still alive?  Or was yesterday a coincidence?  I couldn't wait another second.  I ran along the hall until I reached his door.  I heard nothing, no rustling of clothes or snoring.  Pushing the down open, I could see into the side of the room.  Nothing so far.  Boldly, I shoved the door all the way open and was shocked with what I saw.
 
My brother and his cheerleader/slut/girlfriend were laying in bed, both sound asleep.  No snoring though, they were just quietly sleeping.  Goddamnit.  Nothing happened.  I shut his door, and with my head down, I trudged out to my mom's car and was driven to school in a somber mood.  Part of me said it was wrong for me to want him dead and I knew it was wrong.  I kicked that part mentally and told it to shut up or I'd drink and smoke it to oblivion.  That taught that little nosy, righteous prick of a conscience.  I reminded it of all the things Mark had done and how he made me feel.  I was rewarded with silence from my conscience, who I soon took to calling NeddyKnowItAll. 
 
I went through a day of school, ignoring the fuckheads making fun of me and the teachers telling me to do this and do that and study this worthless fact and blah blah blah.  Ugh.  Since my parents worked afternoons, I had to walk home.  Fun times.  I loved seeing all the richer kids pass me in fancy cars and laugh at me for walking.  By the time I was home, my mood must have been pure black.  I was pissy and in a mood for some lashing out.  I went to my room and crudely whipped together the five of the six remaining dolls.  I had materials to make four of them active and after cutting out some pictures from my yearbook, I made all of them active.  Judging by the fact that Mark was still alive and breathing after I broke his doll's neck last night, I didn't think these dolls would do anything, but making them made me feel better anyways.  At least it stopped me from doing anything else, like beating the shit out of things in my room. 
 
Chapter 9- It Begins
Around 6:00 PM that night, the phone rang loudly in a silent house.  I was in my room, listening to music, staring at the ceiling.  I was supposed to be doing homework, but it's homework and there's no one that loves homework, except for those damn do-gooders.  Pricks.
 
My mom picked up with her usual answer of "hi!"  That always bugged me.  Why did she have to be different?  Why did she have to break convention for something so easy to do as answer a damn phone?  Ugh.  Oh well, at least she was quiet for a little while after answering.  I really wanted to hear my music and her voice was disturbing me. 
 
I heard a weak gasp and then a thud and a bang.  I turned my music down and listened closely, cupping my ear.  Silence.  Hmm.  Something wrong, I wondered idly, maybe she fell down?  I rolled off my bed and walked calmly down the hall to find my unconscious mother sprawled on her back, with the phone off the hook in her hand.  I removed the phone from her hand and could instantly hear a panicked, frantic voice on the other side. 
 
"Hey, lady?!  You there?!  Lady?  Can you hear me?  Are you there?  Are you allright?" the male voice kept going on, picking up the pace with each desperate question. 
 
I did my best imitation of my mother's voice, which I have to say is pretty damn good. 
 
"Umm...yes....yes.....I'm still here....just shocked....can you repeat it so i can make sure I heard right?" I asked in a phony scared voice. 
 
The caller bit and took it hook, line, and sinker and I was hoping that he would swallow the damn hook until it was pushing on his ass.
 
"Mrs. Jenkins, this is Coach Novak.  I hate to be the one to tell you, but what I said the first time is true.  Your son, Mark Jenkins, umm......received a neck injury today in football practice.  He passed away before the ambulance could reach the field.  I am very sor-"
 
I cut him off by dropping the phone on the floor myself, but unlike my wimp of a mother, I did not faint.  I kept consciousness, even though the adrenaline was coursing through my system like the cars at the Indy 500.  My heartrate doubled and I could hear the blood pounding in my brain.  A weird tingling sensation traced through my arms and legs and I felt the most incredible surge of power just then.  Better than 20 orgasms added together.  My face flushed and my senses were all sharpened, excpet my vision which turned gray and then back to normality. 
 
Holy shit, that old fuck vendor was right.  This stuff does work, I thought.  Oh my God, there's no going back now.  I've done it.  I killed someone.  Not directly, since my pads didn't hit his as his neck snapped from the brute force and savagery of the hit.  But I did kill him.  I killed my brother.  Mark was dead, thanks to me and the doll.  Oh damn....the doll.....the dolls I already made.....shit.....everyone was screwed now.....
 
Chapter 10- Neddy Returns
The funeral was set several days later and everyone cried on cue, just like they should have.  I know some of them had to be faking it.  But they all acted so sad to lose him, so sad to lose a dumbass jock.  I didn't feel much, obviously.  He was family, but he was a jerk to me and just about everyone else too.  NeddyKnowItAll made a characteristic appearance.  He told me that I should grieve the loss of a brother and that I caused it, so I should admit guilt.  But once again, I told him where to go and I also replied that voodoo as a cause of death would be laughed at anyways.  I would never be blamed for his death.  No court could convict me.  Still, Neddy insisted.  Nope, and fuck you was my rebuke.   
 
I was a little worried about the other dolls though.  After finding my brother had died on the field, I had a sudden thought.  So I went to my room and found the other dolls and the directions that came with them.  The warning listed on the directions had more below it that I had not bothered to read.  Once I had seen it, I read it aloud to myself:
 
"Once a doll is made and made active, it cannot be unmade unactive without killing the person.  To dispose of the doll or to destroy it would be to kill the person, since they are now permanently linked to the doll.  With this power comes great responsibility, since the doll must be cared for."
 
Well, how you do like them apples?  Not only was I a killer, but now, like I had thought before, I was God.  I was the God of five more people.  Five more people who had no idea that I controlled their well being, their lives, their deaths, their destiny.....
 
Intermission I
Chapter 1- Lock it and Throw Away the Key.....Please.....
Mark's death never did really have any impact on me besides the physiological high I experienced that was better than any sexual satisfaction ever could have been, but that didn't mean I killed again.  Or at least for awhile anyways.  I did try to listen to NeddyKnowItAll on this one, since he was right.  I had to admit, though grudgingly, that he had a point here.  I kept the five active dolls and the one unmade doll in a locked safe in my closet, never to be opened.  To bring them out put the lives of the five people in terrible jeopardy and in my hands, which Neddy said was a bad thing.  He might have had a point there. 
 
Three years passed with the six dolls locked away, their power resting inside the safe in my closet.  But evil seems to find a way to surface, whether it simply exists in the world as a force or in people.  In this case, I prefer to think the evil was acting in two places at once.  Perhaps the evil out there helped me to do it.  But I am sure there was a willing part in me, despite Neddy's pleadings.....
 
Part II
Chapter 1- Dream Deep, Sleep Light
I awoke with a start, my heart threatening to jump out my throat and splatter itself on whatever was in front of me.  Sweat trickled down my face and my sides, and my bed was wet everywhere my body had lain.  A sour smell of sweat pervaded the room and forced itself into my unwilling nostrils. 
 
I could not grow accustomed to the dark, even once my pupils became dilated.  It was very dark, so dark that my vision was utterly useless.  I read somewhere that when one sense fails, the others try to compensate for it.  My sense of smell immediately told me that I may have pissed my bed, and that the wetness was not all sweat.  Damnit.  Gross.  My tactile sense told me that the sheets were rough feeling and I should really put some money into nicer ones.  But my hearing scared the hell out of me.  Something thumped, more steadily with every thump.  And louder, growing closer. 
 
"It was the beating of the old man's hideous heart" popped into my head, and this did nothing to diminish my escalating level of fear.  I liked Edgar Allan Poe, he was a genius of the horror story, especially in his time, even if he was an alcoholic. 
 
The thumping stopped growing closer and seemed to locate itself in my closet.  Once I was sure it was no longer approaching me, I got out of bed and tip-toed over to the closet door.  The beating noise was definitely inside the closet.  Sliding open the closet door, I realized that the thumping was not just in the closet, but actually originating from the safe. 
 
I entered the combination into the lock, and the little door swang open, squeaking on its unoiled, tiny hinges.  The thumping increased pace and strength, so I knew for certain that I was getting "hotter."  "Colder" was when I was sitting in bed, with the sheet pulled up to my lips, quivering in fear.  Strange to think an indirect murderer could quiver in fear, but like I said, I was normal.  Just no one, especially Neddy, believed that. 
 
I extended my hand into the gaping devoid of light in the safe, and pulled out the contents.  The five dolls were there, just as I had left them three years ago.  Now though, I understood why their had been thumping.  And as I had suspected with my sudden allusion to Poe's story, their tiny hearts were beating.  I could feel their blood pulsating in their vessels as I held them. 
 
Only two of the five active dolls were actually doing this, so I laid the other four back in the safe and shut it.  However, the other two needed to be silenced.  I wanted to sleep and the thumping wouldn't let me.  I knew it would drive me mad, just as it had driven the murderer mad in Poe's story. 
 
Taking the female doll, I dropped it on the floor and positioned my foot over it.  I stomped on it for a few minutes until I was sure it was dead, until the grass filling had been strewn everywhere and the wooden frame was in shambles.  The beating heart from the female doll subsided. 
 
I now had one more doll to destroy.  Taking it, I tore it limb from limb, finally plucking its head off.  The thumping had grown steadily weaker as the doll lost appendages and the male doll finally was snuffed out when the head was removed. 
 
After dropping the pieces of the male doll to mingle with the remnants of the female doll, I laid back down and fell into a deep sleep. 
 
Chapter 2- Here We Go Again
I awoke the next morning to my alarm blaring its shrill wake-up cry.  I reached around until I found the offending alarm clock and smacked it until I hit the correct button.  With a groan, I swung my body to the side and my feet hit the floor.  Except I didn't remember the floor having grass and wood chips on it.  Whatthefuck?  My sleeping brain tried to comprehend it, but it couldn't.  I looked around, vaguely aware that the floor was covered in rubbish.  Then it hit me.....I realized there had been no thumping, there had been no reason to silence the dolls, but what mattered was that I had.  The tattered remains of two dolls were at my feet, thanks to my sleepwalking and dreaming. 
 
My vision twisted, but I was determined to stay conscious.  I tried remember what dolls they were, but I could only remember that the female doll was my mother.  Shit.  I knew that people dreamed certain dreams for a reason, since everything happened for a reason, but I couldn't figure out what that reason was.  Why had I dreamed that the dolls had thunderous heartbeats that I had to stop?  Why had I killed the two dolls, thus ending the lives of two people?  I was excited and thrilled to have done it, but Neddy kept hammering at me, asking those kinds of questions.  He wanted me to explain it, and most of all, to stop.  But I obviously wanted to do it, or I would not have done it in the first place. 
 
Excitement.  Nervousness.  Apprehension at the male victim, whoever it was.  And a high, better than drugs or sex.  Here we go again.
 
Chapter 3- Meet Pete, But Don't Get to Know Him Too Well
I skipped school that day, there was no way I could sit still with the feeling brewing in me.  After feigning sickness, I just went into my room and tried to listen to music.  Nothing could keep my mind occupied.  Nothing except the two people who would receive their comeuppance from a vengeful god.  That god, of course, was me.  Haha.  Oh yes, this god was going to smote them. 
 
My mom shouted down the hall in our house, "I'm going for my run, Rod.  Food is in the fridge if you want it."
 
And that was the last time I would ever hear her again.  But in the meantime, I was interested to see what food there was.  I made myself a sandwich with extra mayo.  I love mayo.  Mmmm.  Plus, my appetite had increased greatly, maybe since I was in a constant state of nervous excitement. 
 
To help coax the sandwich down, I grabbed a Coke and flipped on the TV.  Nothing but news on.  Ugh.  I hated the damn liberal media.  They just focused on one side of the story and ignored the other, not to mention that the average IQ of a news show watcher must be about 4.  Oh well, better than static, I figured.
 
"Breaking news, folks!"  the shout caught my attention, since the car crashes after high speed chases were usually pretty cool.
 
The fake-looking, and usually smiling, reporter gravely stared at me through my screen.  "We've just received word of a horrible crime, one perpetrated by the Iraqi insurgents.  An American twenty-one year old volunteer was just brutally tortured, and then murdered.  His name was Pete Cunningham, a resident of New York.  The Iraqis captured him this morning and to make a bold statement to the world, they removed his body parts, limb by limb, and finally beheaded him.  We are being told by the government that there is a video of this, but for obvious reasons, we cannot show this graphic tape...." the reporter droned on. 
 
Well shit, I knew who the male doll was now.  Pete Cunningham had been one of Mark's friends and had about the same mental capacity as a tree.  The three most fun things in his life had been to make fun of me, to beat on me, and then to do both with Mark.  Oh, I hated him too.  He actually was one of the people which turned Mark into the jock that he became, before that one hit snapped his spine.  Pete also had given me a permanent scar on my side, caused by him when he tried to run me over with his bike.  Fucker.  And not to mention the internal scars, the ones no one ever sees.  He made fun of me at school more than anyone else ever had.  His teasing had helped me along my way to become to a pariah, an outcast, a joke. 
 
The dolls did work.  They were 2 for 2.  Wow, my mind silently thought, this means that I have killed two people now.  Holy shit.  And just like before, I suffered an enormous adreanline surge and it threatened to knock me out.  The rush itself didn't, but the fact that I fell down from the dizzying pleasure and near sexual release of energy caused me to strike my head on the coffee table on the way to the floor, knocking me senseless and out cold. 
 
Chapter 4-The View From the Top
I stood on the top of a mountain, looking down upon the world.  I could see clouds in the distance, but none threatened to obscure my view of the earth below.  There was no sound, except for my breathing and heartbeat.  I realized that I saw no people.  No one was on the mountain as far as I could see.  I was all alone.  Alone, but on top.
 
A plane flew overhead, its gentle buzz from faraway warning me of its presence long before I saw it.  Its metal glinted from the sunlight and I blocked it from my eyes with my hand.  Something burst from my hand, some kind of force or energy.  The plane seemed to blink and glint brighter, then not at all.  In fact, the plane seemed to have disappeared all together. 
 
Chapter 5- Being Healthy is Bad for You
My mother loves to jog and be all active and healthy.  My father sometimes would joke about it, saying that stuff would kill her someday.  Was he ever right.....
 
She also loved music, mainly old rock and roll.  Put these two favorite things together and you getting jogging with headphones.  The headphones played music, drowning out any other sounds.  Even that of an oncoming train.  She jogged in the train tracks, unaware that death was reaching her quickly from behind, nearing her with every second until it was too late. 
 
My mother died in a disgusting crunch, I suppose.  Her death was a headline in the news on TV and the newspapers.  They interviewed me and I cried and told them what a great mother she had been.  I told them I didn't hold the train or the train jockey responsible, it was just one of those fucked things.  I seemed genuinely sorry to lose her.
 
But the only real fucked thing about all of this was me.  I knew it for sure now.  Once I had learned of her death, I got the all-too-familiar high and became giddy.  Anything was funny, whether it was a bird flying outside or me hitting my toe on the corner of my doorframe.  Or watching myself on TV, lying about my feelings for my late mother.  I laughed like a madman, which was an apt description, really.  NeddyKnowItAll was screaming his head off.  I silenced him with the thought that confession leads to two doors:  jail or the nut house.  Or both.  Neddy had to rethink his cries for confessing, let me tell you.  Since he definitely didn't want any part of jail, he couldn't confess and provide proof of the dolls.  But the nut house was just as unappealing, since he and I would be strapped down and in a straightjacket for eternity.  He was silent for awhile. 
 
I was still riding on the high of the killing for weeks afterwards.  Everyone said I was doing remarkably well for losing my mother so recently, but I just smiled said it was an "eye-opening" experience that showed me what life "really had to offer."  And that it did.  Pete's death, combined with my mother's, put me into another world, one above the one of all the lowly, law-abiding mortals.  That feeling lasted for a long time, longer than the the death of Mark.  Like I said before, I was a God.  No, wait, I was God.  God of three more people. 
 
Intermission II
Chapter 1- Scorcher
Four years passed.  During that time, I didn't kill anyone.  Not indirectly, nor directly.  To be honest, I never killed anyone directly.  So basically, for those four years, I listened to Neddy.  His pleas and shouts became unbearable and I just caved into his demands that I stop.  That I stop using the dolls, that I stop deriving that sick pleasure, that I stop the killing.  Three people were dead because of the dolls and because of me, and Neddy said three was more than enough.
 
During those four years, I grew up.  I moved away, started a new life at college.  Yes, I did go to college.  I told you I was smart.  I attended the University of New Mexico on a full-ride academic scholarship.  Also, I'm sure having only one parent left alive and having one brother die in sports in a "tragedy" helped with that too.  So I studied history, specifically warfare and the spread of Nazi Germany.  That was my interest, my highlight in school.  The Nazi regime led my Hitler was amazing to me for some reason; it held me in its grasp in awe and compelled me to learn as much about it as possible.  But I didn't become some damn Neo-Nazi freak, like you might be thinking.  It was just interesting to me.
 
Also, during those four years, I met and fell for a girl.  Yes, yes, it doesn't seem like someone like me could "fall in love," and I guess I really didn't in the technical sense.  I just happened to meet someone who shared a lot of my beliefs (I never told her about the killings, some people are turned off by that kind of thing) and she didn't turn away in disgust from me.  She says she loves me, and I suppose I feel that for her too, but I don't know.  I can't explain it really.  I just know that I have trouble understanding girls and they don't get along with me, except for her.  Well, no matter, we got engaged a few weeks ago.  She really intends to marry me.  I do feel a little excited about that, so then I don't need to take care of my appearance or really do anything for the whole dating scene ever again.  Ah, the sweet life. 
 
We moved in together and rented her little apartment together.  It wasn't much, but we called it home.  At least it had air conditioning, which was a damn good thing in New Mexico.  The summers there are scorching and the winters actually can drop snow, so it's a land of extremes.  But speaking of scorching.....
 
Part III
Chapter 1- Three
The sirens wailed through the city, their sad, harsh song telling the whole world that something bad was happening.  Something bad was indeed happening, and happening to me.  Me and my fiancee, actually.  We're a team now, I guess. 
 
We were just getting up in the morning when we smelled smoke, faint but growing in strength in a very short time.  And then we heard shouts, glass breaking, yells of pain, and more crashing sounds.  Rushing to the front window, my fiancee and I could see smoke billowing out in a dark gray color from a room about 6 or 7 doors down.  People were streaming away from the direction of the smoke, all smudged with ash.
 
"Fuck!"  I was quite eloquent in the mornings and this appeared to be no exception.   
 
My fiancee and I were spurred into motion, with her grabbing photos and some clothes (since she was in a robe and robe only) and me running to my tiny cubbyhole of a closet.  I came to full alertness during this moment, since the excitement had apparently shot some epinephrine into my system.  The safe had been hidden in the back of the closet, mainly to avoid my fiancee from finding it and wondering what was so precious that I was forced to lock it away.  But in reality, the dolls weren't precious, but NeddyKnowItAll was hiding them from me now. 
 
In a flurry of thrown clothes and jumbled shoeboxes, I finally arrived to the safe.  After two failures at the combination, I got it open.  Wiping the sweat from my forehead, I grabbed the four remaining dolls (three of which were active).  Thinking that carrying four voodoo dolls in plain sight might appear weird or psychotic, I grabbed some clothes to hide them with.  I also managed to fit my wallet and car keys in my hands, which were full of clothes already.  Somewhere in the mess of trying to run out of my apartment without being able to see where the fuck I was going, I dropped something.  I knew I had, but I figured it was clothes.  Nope.  And to be precise, it was not one thing.  It wasn't two either.  It was three. 
 
Chapter 2- Retrace
I didn't realize I was missing anything until after I had moved the car from the parking garage to a parking lot a few blocks away and I had unloaded all my shit in my trunk.  The clothes piled into the trunk and the inactive doll fell on top.  But the others, two females and one male, were nowhere to be found.  Oh fuck, where the hell were they?  The little pieces of shit didn't just gain life and run away.  They had to be somewhere.  I kept searching, growing more frantic with every second.  Part of me, mainly Neddy, told me to be absolutely thorough in trying to find them, because if I failed to find them, three people were fucked.  However, another part wanted them to be lost and hopefully in the fire.  Burning, crackling, losing whatever life they had. 
 
I closed my trunk and began retracing my drive from the lot to the parking garage at my apartment.  I found nothing.  I searched the lot where I had loaded them into my car at the garage.  Nothing.  Oh fuck. 
 
I ran through the garage, and holding my shirt over my nose and mouth, I got as close as possible to the area where our apartment had been.  It was gone.  Flames twenty feet high ripped through my front room, their waving tongues trying to lick the smoky sky above.  Neddy screamed in my head and I believe I blacked out, but I don't know whether it was from NeddyKnowItAll being a little bitch or whether the smoke finally got me. 
 
Chapter 3- The View From the Top
I stood on the top of a mountain, looking down upon the world.  I could see clouds in the distance, but none threatened to obscure my view of the earth below.  There was no sound, except for my breathing and heartbeat.  I realized that I saw no people.  No one was on the mountain as far as I could see.  I was all alone.  Alone, but on top.

A plane flew overhead, its gentle buzz from faraway warning me of its presence long before I saw it.  Its metal glinted from the sunlight and I blocked it from my eyes with my hand.  Something burst from my hand, some kind of force or energy.  The plane seemed to blink and glint brighter, then not at all.  In fact, the plane seemed to have disappeared all together.
 
I was all alone on the top and there appeared to be no way down.  I took a step backwards from the edge and began teetering.  The cliff's edge was right behind me too and I fell off of it.  My back slammed into the jagged rocks on the way down and my head bounced roughly many times.  I rolled, flipped and was torn by brushes, rocks, and everything imaginable as I plummetted to my death.
 
Chapter 4- Hospital
A bird chirped.  No, that wasn't right.  Not a chirp.  A beep, the bird beeped.  Whatthehell?  Not a bird.  My eyes struggled against all odds and eventually, I was rewarded with a semi-dark room, one with blurred lights and beeping.  Hospital.  Shit. 
 
Oh yeah, I remember now, I was trying to see if I could make it back to the apartment.  Then I collapsed after seeing the flames.  Thankfully, someone must have carried me away from the fire, or else I'm sure I would have died there, just like those damn dolls did. 
 
The dolls.  Forgot about them too.  Three more dolls gone, these burnt to that nice, extra-crispy finish.  The TV for the bed next to me (apparently, they stuck at least two people in a room here and divided them with a curtain, like the damn curtain would stop any disease or noise) was on and blaring on some news station.  I still hated the media. 
 
They were doing their normal coverage of blood, death, destruction, and puppies.  Nice.  But one part of it caught my eye:  "Fires Deathtoll at Nine."
 
The reporter returned from break with the story, and in her most grim and sincere (yet totally fake and uncaring) voice, she read rom the TelePrompter:
 
"Yesterday morning in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a raging fire tore through an apartment building, killing 5 people.  The fire started as a grease fire in a kitchen in one of the resident's apartment, but it quickly consumed the entire building...."
 
She droned on about the damages and the lives lost, but that story didn't interest me.  I already knew what had happened there, mainly because I nearly died there. 
 
"Then, later on during the day, a fire claimed the life of a young politician in Washington D.C.  Colleen O'Connor was fixing her lunch yesterday at home when a gasline leading into her house caught on fire and caused the entire house to explode.  She was a freshmen Congresswoman for New York and everyone from both sides of the aisle agreed that her future was bright....."
 
The reporter continued to bemoan the loss of Colleen O'Connor.  Ah yes, Colleen.  What a royal bitch she had been in high school.  That's why I had made a doll of her, that's why she was dead.  But boy, does that name take me back.....
 
Chapter 5- Heartbreak High School
It was right around the same time that I stole the dolls, when I was fifteen, three years younger than my then-alive brother Mark.  There was only one girl in the school that I had "crush" on, and yes, even I had feelings for girls.  She was smart and one of the prettiest girls in school.  She was Colleen O'Connor.  And when I had asked her to a school dance in class one day during a group activity, she exclaimed loudly and derisively, "Go to the dance with you?  You're kidding, right?"
 
Upon seeing my crushed and defeated look and the tears beginning to spring forth, she softly murmured, "Oh shit, sorry.  I thought it was a joke....."
 
As if I would joke about that.  I ran from the classroom, taking my backpack with me.  I walked home, tears rolling down both cheeks and hatred burning in my heart, where just minutes before there had been hope and affection.  So that was why I had made a doll of her.....she deserved her punishment for what she had done to me.  Pete had made fun of me for being the loser I was, Colleen had destroyed any hope I had of at least getting a date in high school. 
 
Chapter 6- Back to the Present
So now they were both dead and I was glad.  Actually, ecstatic would be the word, especially learning that Colleen was just recently dead.  My head began buzzing and filling with the same strange and strong, yet extremely pleasant sensation that I always experienced post-death.  I couldn't think of two people that needed to be wiped off the earth more than Pete and Colleen.  But Colleen's death only accounted for one of the three dolls left behind in the fire....and I knew who the other two were. 
 
The same reporter returned from the story on Colleen O'Connor with her plastic grim face and read me some more good stuff:
 
"Also, a third fire started yesterday in New York.  Three people died there in a strange set of circumstances.  A high speed police pursuit led to the suspect's car crashing into a home in residential neighborhood, starting a gasoline fire that would kill the suspect and two people inside the home.  The suspect's name, since the person was a minor, has yet to be released.  The two victims in the home were Martin Jenkins and Marcy Jenkins, a father and his daughter...."
 
I smiled slightly and closed my eyes with deep satisfaction.  This was far better than any sexual gratification I could ever experience.  And the peak was lasting longer than any kind of pleasure of the flesh.  The triple murder was more satisfying, more fulfilling and made me feel more alive than I ever had.  I knew I had only one doll left, so nothing else would match this feeling.  I laid there, savoring the pure delight of the moment, the unadulterated bliss I felt and the supreme power that had cascaded through me as I ended the lives of those three people. 
 
But of course, NeddyKnowItAll had to have his say.  And he did.  The next day, when I was officially informed of the unfortunate passing of my father and sister, Neddy decided to speak up.  And kick me in the balls.  I actually cried this time.....for real.  No one was left out there, except for my fiancee.  The doctors, fearing I might lapse into a deep depression, gave me anti-depressants, which I used to silence Neddy for a long time. 
 
Intermissoin III
Chapter 1-  Loose Ends
I never killed again after that.  And I guess, after the dizzing high I felt after the triple murder, I don't know if their could have been any higher sensation.  Anything else would have been a letdown, a failure in my eyes.  So I never killed again. 
 
I married my fiancee and we had three children.  She gave into breast cancer and died in her sixties, never knowing that I ended the lives of six people.  My children never did, do not, and never will know that their loving and doting father was an indirect serial killer. 
 
Honestly though, I never did kill anyone directly.  See, that's a greater sin in my book.  Plus, I wouldn't want to get my hands dirty from their blood and such.  Filthy stuff, bodily fluids are. 
 
Neddy made many a token appearance during my middle-aged life and my later life.  I always listened to him during those times, since it was easier than fighting him or trying to silence him with alcohol or something like that.  He seemed pleased during those times, but I could tell that something still bothered him.  He harbored some kind of grudge against me, yet he would tell me what was bothering him.  Something was threatening to eat him up, and make him do something he might regret....
 
Part IV
Chapter 1- The Last Doll
So now you know my story.  Judge me how you will, just remember that I did not kill anyone.  I mean, I did, but not with my hands.  You know the sick pleasure I derived from ending life just so I could make mine more full. 
 
It doesn't matter how you judge me though.  I am already judged and I am afraid I have been sentenced to Hell.  The reason I believe this is NeddyKnowItAll.  The last few years leading up to this climax have been especially bad and his incessant whining and bitching are enough to drive me mad.  I wonder sometimes if I am already mad.  But then I realize that I couldn't carry on an intelligent conversation or converse with Neddy if I was truly insane, truly mad, truly fucking nuts.  No, I am sane. 
 
But I have to shut Neddy up.  I have taken eighty-seven years of his bullshit and I can't stand anymore.  And there seems only one fitting way to end Neddy's life.  I have made a doll for him.  And I have placed my wedding ring on his arm.  Somehow I always knew NeddyKnowItAll was going to kill me.  Now he will have.  I'm going down and he's coming with me.
 
I take the doll firmly in my two hands and then, in one swift, sudden motion, I snap the wooden stick that makes up its neck.  The breaking of the stick was the last thing I ever heard, and now I hope my soul can find some peace among the brimstone, sulfur, and tormenting flames of the everlasting punishment of Hell.