The woman dashed along the turning alleys, splashing through the water left by the rain. The night was thick with city mist and her desperate footsteps echoed off the surrounding walls. Someone sinister stalked her through the darkness. The cruelty of his knife had been nearly inescapable; evil intentions had been tethered around her throat by his icy fingers. She still hadn’t fully caught her breath and it was hard to run, but she willed her feet to go on.

The cacophonous clatter of tumbling trash cans resounded through the alley as the man plowed through them, thundering along in pursuit. She didn’t know how close he was and didn’t have the guts to look. Trying to hear his steps through laboring breath while she ran proved almost impossible. She could barely hear them and could not discern his whereabouts.

The alleyway she fled through now curved towards taller buildings and their roofs shrouded the streetlights, nearly plunging the street into complete pitch. Blindly, now, she ran from death. In her line of work, she had always expected this could happen. Any sleazy john, rival pimp, or hooker walking her stroll could be psycho enough to try to kill her. But, this guy hadn’t been a customer. This was the first time she’d ever seen him. He looked like a cop–a bit of a disheveled one–but a cop all-the-same. She figured if she just complied and played nice he’d be on his way. But, she was wrong. The creep began his assault as soon as he stepped out of the car, punching her in the gut and kneeing her in the face before throwing her into the backseat by her hair. After that, everything became a blur. Some heavy blows rained down before heĀ held her down with a knife dangling in her face and a hand squeezing her throat.

“I’m gonna kill you, whore,” the man’s cold whisper threatened, his violent eyes dancing with lunacy.

Not knowing where the reserve of strength came from, the woman started to wiggle and thrash about until her arms came loose from beneath his body. She managed to flail her hands around enough to knock him out of the car. The next move was instinctive; the streets had been a good teacher. She leapt from the car and stepped on his groin, then ran off into the night.

She now expected to turn down a dead end any second, becoming trapped within the walls of death. But a tall fence lay ahead, a giant hole cut through its center. The city and its open streets waited beyond. Although unsure of the extent of the man’s urge to kill her, she thought a better chance of survival was out in the open. She rushed towards the gaping hole and hopped through. The alley was getting shorter and the streets came to greet her. As she passed between the buildings, ready to burst back into the dim lights, an impact from behind sent her gliding on the concrete. Her elbows and face bashed against the street, knocking her silly and spilling blood down her throat.

The world was blurry as she looked around. Her elbows were most certainly broken and her right shoulder was pulled hard out of place. Her jaw couldn’t move without searing pain ripping through her face; and, every breath sent agony rippling through her mid-section. As she lay there feeling the dampness of the street saturate her skin, she forgot the reason for her flight.

Her left leg was soon lifted; her body began to scrape along the street. The sky above her was slowly sliding past. She was moving, being dragged out from the dim night lights back into the shadow of the alley. That’s when she remembered where she had been going.

But, it was too late. He had caught up with her and was now smiling down with his blade reflecting glimmers of light from the world beyond the alley walls.

“I know these alleys as well as the rats,” he told her. “You never had a chance. I was just going to cut out your eyes, but since you made me work so hard for this, I think I deserve a more suitable reward. Perhaps some flesh to take home. Or, maybe I’ll just take something from inside you as a trophy. What will it be? Your heart? Your lungs? Your stomach? I guess I’ll decide while I’m carving you up. But first, let me make sure you don’t run again.”

He stomped on her ankles and broke them. Then, her knees followed. The sudden onset of agony tore wails from her mouth. The killer casually knelt beside her, pulled a rag from his pants pocket and stuffed it in her mouth.

“As much as I relish the screams, it is a bit distracting. Now, back to business.”

He took the tip of the blade and sliced just under her right ribcage, putting it in far enough to make a thick pool of blood squirt out. He plunged it in and moved it around. Her squirming body pleased him, so he worked the knife around some more, all over her body, as he had done to others so many times before. They all deserved it, too–all the skanks and harlots. They should have known better. They could have been mothers, but chose to be vapid, self-absorbed dregs poisoning the world with their soulless debauchery. Remorse was not optional. So, he set to his work with callous precision, her cries and the gushing of blood urging him on. When he dealt the final blow by crushing her throat, her corpse was a hacked-up mound of blood-dripping meat, punctured and torn from head to toe. He had enjoyed the artistic disfigurement during the course of his work so much that he opted not to eviscerate this victim, so as not to damage his completed work.

He looked at her face, mouth agape, eyes wide in shock, and slapped her lightly on the cheek. “Oh, do not fret, my dear. You are at your most beautiful, now–far more worthy than you ever were before. You should feel honored. I will leave you for all to see.”

He stood and tucked his knife into his jeans. After one last lingering look at his handiwork, he walked back through the dark of the alley, avoiding the open street just in case anyone that might have heard her scream cared enough to see what was going on. He navigated the shadows back to his car and drove, unnoticed, through the quiet city night.


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