"and the stories get taller on down the line"
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As Ye Sow
by Raj Upadhyay
By the time he was thirty he had gone on a tri-state killing spree through Virginia and the Carolinas and left a signature clue at every scene so we would know it was him. We kept key details from the press. We always do when we have these ritualistic killings. Unless we get real lucky, there will be more of the same before we catch the bad guys, and this freak sure didn’t disappoint. We didn’t know if it was a satanic cult or the work of a Jack-the-ripper type. All we knew for sure is that crimes were sick beyond measure. Hanging entrails like garlands over the mantelpiece isn’t that unusual. Leaving a Polaroid of the victim, still alive, trying to push the guts back inside herself was a bit much.
Criminals always slip up. Deep down they want to get caught, I think, although with characters as nasty as Edgerton, I’m not sure. We got lucky when his next potential victim picked up a bad vibe off of him and hit 911 on her cell. We didn’t get there in time to save her, but we did get a whiff of him high-tailing it out of there, so we gave chase. If he wouldn’t have wrecked, I would have shot him. I’m sure of it. I might have been kicked off the force, but who cares. I wasn’t going to see this guy turned into another media celebrity. I mean, that was inevitable, but I didn’t want him to be around to enjoy it.
Turns out I saved the state the cost of a bullet, and my career, ‘cause the son-of-a-bitch flipped his Volvo on 95 northbound and bled out before they could cut him out of the wreck. I still laugh that he drove a Volvo. He must not have gotten the white van memo from the serial killer’s club.
He was still alive when they finally cut him out of the wreck, but just barely. His outside looked like roadkill and there was more blood in the footwells than in the body, but most of the internal organs were still working.
Signing the organ donation card was the only decent thing Abel Edgerton ever did. At least that’s how it seemed at first. That was before we discovered that there was evil intent even in that act. Somehow he knew, he must have known, that keeping parts of himself alive would keep his evil alive. Why else would he have done something decent? This was monster who drowned kittens before he was old enough to read.
The paramedics saw that donor card and they were ready to harvest those organs before he was all the way out of the wreck. He had a signed donor card, and was the universal blood type. Donation was on everybody’s mind, as the news had been filled with the story of a local girl who was dying for want of a good heart. She would have been better off.
As Edgerton died on the side of the road, I couldn’t help but think of vultures, or even vampires. Hovering like angels of death, eager to tear into this loser. Good. I hope they want his organs so bad they tear ‘em out and kill that scum. I hope he felt the same pain he had inflicted on his victims. But even then, even on the side of the road, I prayed the organs failed, or didn’t match. The idea that part of this monster might live was disgusting. I wanted him to have eyes in hell, so he could see the tortures that he had earned in a life of evil. Even more, I couldn’t stand the idea of that little girl walking around with that blackened soulless heart pumping in her chest.
Psychologists did a study recently that should have told us something. They gave people a choice of putting on one of two sweaters. One sweater had been worn by a serial killer, the other had been rolled in dog feces. Most people chose the biological risk of fecal contamination over the idea of touching something associated with pure evil.
The scientific journals find this as evidence of illogical thought processes. I think its evidence of a deeper understanding. You can’t dance with the devil without getting a little sulfur on your shoes. So how in the world could anyone think it was a good idea to transfer organs from a monster like Abel Edgerton into innocent humans? Given the choice, I bet all of those poor suckers who received pieces of Abel would have preferred to die.
After what happened, I’m absolutely sure of it. Of course, the idiots who did the transplants didn’t offer the choice, or the information. Hell, they might not have even known.
I wanted to tell her parents where the heart was coming from. If people recoiled from a killer’s sweater, how could they accept his heart? They might have done it anyway, a chance to save their girl. But I wanted them to know. I wanted them to keep a stake by the bed. Garlic wouldn’t do shit, but if their little angel came creeping into their bedroom one night, kitchen knife in her delicate hands, they could defend themselves against the nightmare she had become.
The Captain wouldn’t let me. He heard me talking about it to a Grant and Smiser and he tore me up one side and down the other. Forbid me to tell the folks or go near them. Hell, I wouldn’t have done it anyway. Superstitious Bullshit, self-fulfilling prophecy. I wouldn’t have ever said a word. Too bad. Too bad for all of us.
For my work on the case I got a promotion, and that was good. I went on to other cases and the little girl got her transplant and things went back to normal. For awhile. That November we got a call to a crime scene that looked all too familiar. Edgerton’s signature was right there.
One of the other guys said, “He’s baaaack” and I wanted to smack him.
The speculation was that the guy from the wreck wasn’t our killer after all. A copycat would not have known the signature. The other thought was that it was a cult thing, a satanic group all using the same signature.
I knew better. I knew it was Edgerton’s organs. I knew he was doing his dirty work from beyond the grave.
That’s why I got all of the other recipients of Edgerton’s organs up to that cabin in the woods.
The heart was the key to it all, but all of his parts were diseased, infected, contagious, ate up with evil. Every piece of him. Everyone who got a piece of him paid the price. The guy who got his eyes figured out what was happening to him and why. He had read the bible his whole life, and he knew what to do. “if thine eye offends thee, cut it out” and he did. It saved him, too.
The rest of them weren’t so lucky. They became pawns, zombies, slaves to the evil of Abel Edgerton. The brain was dead, the brain was buried, the brain was never donated, but I guess the evil never resided in his brain anyway. It was pure Black evil from hell and it lived in his heart. That’s my guess. If we could have figured that out sooner we would have killed the girl first and maybe the others could have lived, but it wasn’t to be. It’s probably for the best anyway. A beast as bad as him might have evil in every, cell, every fiber, every atom. Better to be done with it all. That’s why I torched the cabin where they had all gathered and where they all died.
The Captain didn’t say a word. Not one word. He knew it had to be done and he was glad I did it. It tied up everything nice and neat. We didn’t have to tell the community that some tainted meat had turned their neighbors into monsters and the cops had to gun them all down.
The captain even came up with the cover story. They had formed a recipient support group and were having a sleep over in the cabin when the cook stove malfunctioned. The story was that the fumes killed them in their sleep before the place went up. They didn’t feel a thing. The papers reported the irony of these survivors dying after being given a new lease on life. No one ever suspected that all of them had organs from the same owner. The guy who cut out his own eyes might have suspected, but he had left town and joined a monastery. Smart guy. When you have had evil living in your head, you might want to get as close to God as you can get.
I’m still on the force, and if I ever get into the room with another serial killer, I will put a bullet right through his black heart.