M.A. De Neve
brought her latte to the girls’ table. She sat down and listened to her
cars, ambulances, reporters. They were
all at the Totter house last night.”
still not saying if it’s a serial killer.”
course, it’s a serial killer.”
doesn’t fit the serial killer pattern,” Alice told her friends. She sipped her
caramel latte and started to explain. “Serial
killers usually target a specific type of victim. Brunettes are popular with
some serial killers. The killers are often sexual predators who target young
women. They might take souvenirs, but robbery is seldom the motive.”
friends looked at her wide eyed.
read lots,” Alice explained. When they
continued to stare at her, she added, “Mystery novels.”
Miss Detective, I suppose you’re profiling for the cops.” Phyllis
be ridiculous,” Alice told her. “I’m a retired math teacher.”
can all do the math here,” Carol smiled at her. “Five victims, zero
fingerprints. Zero clues. All the victims were robbed and their bank accounts
raided. This killer has stolen several
of math,” Lucy piped in, “My Social Security for this month isn’t due until
tomorrow. Can anyone lend me a few dollars for bus fare?”
took out her wallet and laid a ten-dollar bill on the table. Everyone one knew
retired teachers got great pensions. The other women had been secretaries or
nurses or housewives. They didn’t get the big pension checks. At least Alice
killer used the self-check-out at the Kroger grocery store.
the aisle, Kimberly Fonseca paid for her roasted chicken, pasta and almond milk
with her debit card. The killer watched her as she pressed in her pin number.
Kimberly was a divorcee, a receptionist at the local radio station and the
daughter an elderly couple who’d moved to Florida years ago. She requested cash
back from the self-serve checkout, pushed the money into her wallet, grabbed
her groceries and walked to her car.
killer had purchased only a jar on mayonnaise. “Good morning, Mrs. Fonseca,”
the killer called to Kimberly.
morning,” Kimberly returned the smile, and walked to her car.
hour and twenty minutes later, she heard a knock on her door. The killer stood
out there. “You forgot your gloves at the self-checkout.”
shook her head. “Those aren’t mine.”
They are such nice gloves.” Her visitor slowly pulled the gloves over long,
surprising-strong fingers and stepped forward, forcing her to step backward.
her through with an umbrella, one of those with the sharp ends,” Alice told her
friends at Starbucks the next morning. “It
was sitting right by the door inside her home.”
do you know all that?”
shrugged, “I hear things.”
my son is an EMT; he was one of those who…who you know, responded to the call.
He was there before the cops got there. He said nobody is supposed to talk.”
Carol said. “The police keep the details to themselves.”
he talked, didn’t he?” Alice insisted. “They all do.”
didn’t tell me anything,” Carol looked nervously into her coffee.
is how do you get all these details, Alice?” Lucy asked.
neighbors don’t have to wait for the six o’clock news to hear the details.”
aren’t a neighbor. You live three streets over.”
what do you hear about the killer, this mad man?”
says it's a man?” Alice liked to keep the conversation moving. This should do
woman couldn’t commit all those murders.”
wouldn’t be strong enough.”
doesn’t take a lot to strength to run someone through with an umbrella.”
one of the victims was a man. A woman
couldn’t overpower a man.”
wouldn’t have suspected her. No, this killer is someone the victims all trust.
Otherwise why would Kimberly have let him—or
her—into her home. We all know there’s a killer amongst us.”
women all ordered chocolate croissants. Their Social Security checks had come
direct deposit that very morning. They were flush, at least until the end of
killer finished eating potato pancakes and watched as the restaurant's night
manager counted up his receipts and prepared to close shop. The killer had
already paid for the meal and slowly prepared to walk home.
someone coming to get you?” the manager asked.
up. Let’s walk together. It’s such a nice night. The bank is on the way.”
He held a green canvas envelope filled with
course,” the killer smiled.
manager’s body was found the next morning behind a dumpster in the bank's
parking lot. He’d been stabbed repeatedly with a knife from his own
restaurant. Of course, the killer hadn’t
left any prints.
used hair spray to get out the blood stains her jacket. It was an old laundry
secret. She sprayed the garment with the hair spray, let it dry and most stains
disappeared. While the washing machine removed the hair spray and any evidence
of last night’s crime, she went online to review her bank account. She
didn’t understand how her friends existed
month to month on Social Security checks. Because of her teachers’ pension, she
got a little more than the rest of them did. Still she liked having extra
decided she could afford that trip to Alaska. Who knew how many opportunities a
cruise might offer to grow her retirement accounts.
M.A. DeNeve is a retired
college instructor, crazy cat lady, tree hugger and bag lady. Her short stories
appeared in Over My
Dead Body, Yellow Mama, Everyday Fiction
-E. Her novels
are available on Amazon.
is an illustrator for horror/sci-fi and pulp fiction websites and magazines.
She is also founder and senior editor for the independent poetry publisher, Subsynchronous
Press. An SFPA Rhysling Award nominated poet, her poems have appeared in journals
such as Eternal Haunted Summer, Jellyfish Whispers, Scfifaikuest, Illya’s
Honey, and Red River Review, as well as numerous
anthologies. Her short stories have appeared recently in Night
to Dawn, Yellow Mama, Black Petals, Sirens Call, and Tales
from the Moonlit Path, among others, as well as in numerous horror
anthologies such as Night in New Orleans: Bizarre Beats from the Big Easy, Thuggish
Itch: Viva Las Vegas, and White Noise & Ouija Boards. She
appeared, briefly, as the uncredited "all-American Mom with baby" in Purple Cactus
Media’s 2007 Arizona indie-film, "Vote for Zombie." Having lived in France,
Brazil, Canada, and several states in the US, she now resides in southern