Fear will make you do things you would not ordinarily do, I know. This tragic tale happened eight months ago. I use to think that if I moved to an expensive neighborhood, it would be a safer place to live. A picturesque location where soccer-moms drove their kids to a private school every morning, and where security officers, dressed in grey suits, patrolled the ground’s perimeter while wearing ear phones and dark sunglasses. But now I know that there truly isn’t a safe area where one can live and raise their children. For even criminals can have money, enough money to buy their way into that expensive neighbourhood, and enough money to pay cash for the apartment next door.
I over heard the neighbors talking about the new guy, the man who had recently moved into the building: what he did for a living and what he had done, in the past, for money. How did they know these things about him, did he tell them? When I saw him, he looked nothing like the man they had portrayed. He looked to be in his forties, he had kept himself physically fit, and he was well dressed. Where were they getting their information?
The day he approached me, I was unlocking my apartment door. I looked at him. He smiled. Nice teeth, I thought, he must spend a fortune to keep them up. He passed by, so I opened the door and walked in, and that’s when it happened. I’m not exactly sure what, but I remember losing my balance, crashing my head into the bookcase, and landing on the floor. What they say about shock is true. During those first few seconds, when I was dazed, I could not think because there was no memory to think with. The brain has a great defence for protecting the body; it releases a substance similar to Morphine. I felt no pain, none. Not even when he dragged me, by my hair, to the kitchen. I knew it was happening, but the pain was somehow numbed.
Why did he drag me? I’ve always wondered about that. Maybe he wanted to keep me close, within reach, but that later proved to be a mistake.
“Just stay calm,” he said without shouting, while he searched my apartment. What could he have possibly wanted or thought he could find in my place? I, who spent half my pay check on rent, proven by my sparse furniture and a Ford pinto parked out front, was poorer than he. I just sat there while he opened drawers. I made no attempt to leave, nor use the phone. I remained myself, calm and composed. It was when he walked into the bedroom and I stood up in the kitchen, that real fear began to take hold.
“Once you find what you’re looking for, will you leave?”
“No,” he answered.
“No? Why won’t you leave?”
He said nothing, just kept searching.
“Will you at least let me go?”
“No,” he said again.
Just keep talking to him, I thought, maybe it will calm him, and he will change his mind. “Tell me what you’re looking for, and I’ll give it to you.”
I was standing in the kitchen, by the opened knife drawer. While his back was to me, I glanced down; looking for the big Skinny knife, but it was not there. I looked at his hands, and there it was, he was holding it. Without any reason, he rushed toward me. I panicked. I fumbled for anything in the drawer, closed my eyes, and shoved it into his abdomen; it was a ten inch, curved, turkey fork. For a second, he too appeared dazed. I immediately grabbed the serrated, super carver and sliced the side of his neck as hard as I could. Feeling the blade’s edge scrape against the vertebra and seeing the enormous amount of blood squirting out with each heart beat, I knew I had severed the Jugular artery. He reached for his neck, with the big Skinny still in his hand, and looked down at the blood squirting onto the microwave. I grabbed my heavy, black cast iron skillet and swung it with all my might at the side of his head. I heard the skull crack. It did not take long for him to drop to the floor. But as seen on television, the so-called-corpse, that was once believed dead, always got up, and I didn’t want that to happen. So, after losing my balance and slipping in the blood that was on the floor, I took the long slicing knife and placed on his eyelid. Using the skillet, I hammered the knife into his eye socket, as far as it would go. Once in, I used the skillet to bang the knife northward, and then I banged it southward, to the right side, and then to the left, over and over again, hoping that the blade would slice and disconnect something, anything, just as long as he did not stand up again. Thick blood and chunks of matter came up through the eyesocket. I just needed to know that he would not stand up and attack me while I was on the phone. I pressed 911 and waited for the police.
When they arrived, I was standing outside my apartment, in the hall, with the door open; I needed to keep an eye on him. I just needed to make sure he was still there on the kitchen floor, and not standing behind me. I told the police the whole story.
They seemed to believe me, up until I told them what I had done. They just stared at me, and then they looked at each other. One officer walked over to examine the body more closely, the other stayed with me.
“If he was already down, why did you feel the need to…do what you did?” He asked.
“I just needed to make sure,” I said. “I needed to make sure he was dead, and that he was not going to stand up and come after me.”
“When you decapitated him with that knife, you didn’t feel that was enough?” I didn’t answer; it was obvious that I did not. “And you didn’t know the guy?”
“I told you, he’d just moved into the building. I’d seen him, maybe, twice.”
“Is the ambulance here yet?” His partner called out from the kitchen, “This guy is still breathing!”
“But, that’s impossible!” I said. The second officer radioed in about the ambulance while he took a look at my neighbour, still breathing, down on my kitchen floor.
The ambulance arrived and carried him off to the hospital where, later I was told, he was rushed into surgery. With the man’s prints on the knife and on the door handles throughout my jumbled apartment, and thank God for my nosey neighbors; I was not arrested, just questioned to death.
I was told he was hooked up to tubes and machines for months before he was transported to a convalescent home, where his mother visits.
“He’s in a coma, from which he will never wake up,” one neighbor said. “He’s kept in a special bed that prevents bed sores, and is fed through a tube in his stomach. He has a Trach tube in his throat where phlegm is suctioned from his lungs, but he seems to be breathing on his own.”
How could he survive after everything that was done to him? To this day I still wonder. Next time, the head will have to come off.