Haemophobic Tendencies

I cried the first time I killed someone.

Embarrassing isn’t it?

You’d expect better from someone like me, but what can I say? No-one’s perfect.

I just wasn’t expecting so much blood. It was disgusting. I figured strangling someone would be less… messy.

I would have made a great doctor if it wasn’t for this damn phobia. That’s what I always tell people. They laugh, but it’s true.

I’ve always been fascinated by the human body, I have an intricate knowledge of anatomy, all self-studied of course. When the rest of the kids at school were out trying to convince the girls to drop their pants I was reading Gray’s Anatomy. I was a little weird. I’d have made a great doctor.

Not out of any misguided sense of altruism mind. Quite frankly, people are awful. Have you read the news lately? Bombs and rape and politicians taking away from the poor and giving to their corporate buddies and have you seen Jennifer Aniston’s new boob job? Now here’s a 15 page special on grown men throwing around a ball and earning more than Micronesia’s GDP. People are the worst.

I just liked the idea of taking people apart and putting them back together again. Like an especially confounding organic jigsaw puzzle. Like I was some sort of corporeal mechanic. Fascinating stuff. Apart from that terrible sea of red that pours out when you open someone up.

I fainted on my first day of medical school. We hadn’t even got to the part where we saw patients — one of the students next to me got a paper cut. Seeing that awful flower blooming on his finger like a viscous tumour absolutely knocked me out. They told me maybe I’d be suited for a different part of the medical field, something more analytical, less human — but I knew I was destined to work with the human body, one way or another.

So I got a little creative. I did some reading, I watched a few documentaries, and I realised my calling. It was one of those “of course!” moments, when you chastise yourself for being so stupid, for not having realised in the first place. I was never meant to be a doctor. I was meant to be a serial killer.

Excessive violence was out of the question of course. I’m not exactly built for it for a start. Secondly my temperament has always been quite calm, I’m not prone to excessive displays of emotion, there was no childhood trauma I was trying to work out. And most importantly, excessive violence more often than not led to excessive bleeding. It’s a bit hard to get away with murder when you’re passed out next to your victim.

But I am a determined person, and I wouldn’t let something so small as a phobia get in the way of my grand life’s purpose. They’d build statues to me in prison I’d decided. I would pass into folklore, a thing of legend, a monstrosity that would end countless lives without shedding a drop of blood. Of course as is usually the way, my romanticism was a little short lived.

Edward was a homeless man living a few streets down from me. Played the clarinet for spare change. He disgusted me. No-one likes the clarinet Edward. No-one.

He was dirty, as the homeless are often want to be, and he was young. Perhaps only on the cusp of 22. Ran away from home, mummy had a crack problem and daddy was some other pauper cliché. I was simply removing human trash from the streets in all honesty. The government ought to be paying me for my services. But I suppose that wouldn’t be very politically correct. Everyone’s so sensitive these days.

So I invited Edward to my house. I can be perfectly charming when the need arises, and though perhaps Edward thought there was something sexual in my request, his need for a shower and hot food overrode his reluctance. Pathetic.

I let him shower first, I didn’t want him dirtying up my furniture. I’m quite meticulous about these sorts of things. He came back into the living room and reluctantly dropped his towel. His body was lean. Well perhaps lean isn’t the best word to use, but malnourished seems a little strong. His body looked like he hadn’t eaten in a week. How poetic of me. He was quite hairless, in fact he looked distinctly feminine, even the way his manhood was shrinking under the cool brush of the A/C unit was somehow touchingly effeminate. I handed him a pile of clean clothes and walked to the kitchen. He took them, confused at first, but then relieved. He was, he realised, simply at the receiving end of a stranger’s kindness. And he was about to find out how far that kindness went.

I needed him relaxed, so I asked him what he wanted to eat.

He said he wasn’t fussy.

I insisted — I would never be rude to a guest after all.

He said he missed mash potatoes and gravy.

I told him how about I cook up some sausages too.

He liked the sound of that.

The secret to a great bangers and mash is the same as the secret to all good cooking — it’s about the quality of the ingredients. Don’t use skimmed milk for the potatoes. Cream is ideal, naturally. Sausages with high meat content only, anything less than 97% isn’t worth selling let alone buying, but regardless they need a little seasoning. Nothing much, just a pinch of Herbes de Provence and a little sea salt. I’ve got a little trick with the gravy too. I use the fat from the sausages and make the gravy as you would from scratch, but I add in a few spoons of that expensive powdered stuff you can buy in the supermarket. On its own it tastes like poverty, but added into a lovingly crafted homemade gravy it gives it that magic touch.

Edward was the happiest he’d been in 7 months.

I’m quite the cook you see.

After every bite he would close his eyes, arch his back and make that infuriating mmmmmm sound you hear in those awful television advertisements. He was trying to talk in between bites, but he could barely get the words out around the mouthfuls of food. At one point he thought he was choking from eating too quickly, but soon enough he realised it was only the rope I was twisting slowly around his neck.

His legs started to flail, his arms hammered behind him uselessly, his malnourished arms may as well have fallen off the use they did him. Did you know that that after 24 to 48 hours without eating the body starts breaking down your muscles? You need glucose and amino acids to function, and whilst it breaks down the glycerol in your fat tissue for glucose, it has to turn to your muscle for the amino acids. Amino acids are essential for life. Everyone knows that.

I was leaning into the chair because I knew pulling back on him with the rope and his bodyweight would result in him falling over otherwise. This in itself it wasn’t an issue, but if he got loose from the rope then things would get more complicated.

All things considered, it was going well. It takes about 10 to 15 seconds for someone to fall unconscious when they’re being strangled. He was showing all the signs, blood rushing to the faces, eyes “popping” out of his skull, the violent struggling in response to the body’s air hunger.

Then I slipped.

That sloppy homeless bastard had knocked over the plate while he was struggling. I’ll admit part of my annoyance came from a perfectly good portion of food being wasted. Mostly it was his interfering with my plans that left me so angry. I’d bathed him and clothed him and fed him, and to treat me with such ingratitude. Plebeian.

Whilst my gravy is often described as delicious, it’s not the most healthy, there’s rather a high quantity of animal fats and oil. What I’m trying to say is it’s quite slippery.

My right foot went skidding across the floor and I lost my balance entirely, falling over backwards and bringing Edward with me. I don’t know if it was the impact itself or my body instinctively preparing for it, but I must have pulled a bit sharper than intended. I severed something of Edward’s internally, most likely the carotid arteries.

Lying on top of me he started to cough, harsh, hacking coughs, and blood bubbled and sprayed onto my face.

I screamed.

He was pulling harder on the rope, trying desperately to throw his dying body off me, but the more I struggled, the more I sawed at his throat and the more claret came raining down on me. I imagine my face was fairly splattered in red by then, apart from the tracks my shuddering tears were clearing across my skin.

Edward was most definitely dead by this point, the blood was pouring slow, sluggish and dark. That was the last thing I remember before I passed out, that fat mahogany drop dripping from his earlobe as if in slow motion. I was unconscious before it landed on my face.

No-one ever really enjoys their first time, that’s what they always say isn’t it? I’ve learned a few lessons from it though, and it’s not really a failure if you learn something.

For example for number two, I pushed him someone from a 17th floor window. Whilst it was functional enough a method, and I was far enough from the blood that I didn’t pass out, it lacked the satisfaction of looking a man in the face and watching the light fade from his eyes and knowing it was your doing. That everything he was and everything he could be was being crushed under your metaphorical heel like a flower that had the audacity to grow between the cracks in the pavement.

I got 3 weeks in solitary for that. I would have had my sentence extended if there was any solid proof or motive I think, they knew it was me but they couldn’t prove it.

If there’s one regret from my first time, it’s that I ended up getting caught. Murder is a little harder in prison, especially considering my condition. It’s easy enough to get your hands on a shank but rat poison is a little harder to acquire.

I have a positive mind-set though; I’m seeing it as a controlled environment for my experiments, get a little practice before I can perform in the real world again.

After all, practice makes perfect, and I’ve got rather lofty ambitions.