Lincoln, neither the American President nor the motorcar, was obsessed with serial killers. He wasn’t a serial killer himself but he had read every book ever written about them. His favourite one was Jack the Ripper, although there were a few other close contenders. He reckoned that the real identity of Jack the Ripper was the Prince of Wales.
Lincoln had never met a serial killer in his life, at least not until now. Shall we kill him off, Gentle Reader?
BANG! There we are, dead as a doornail. He tried to run out of this story. Not a chance! Add Lincoln to the list. Another one bites the dust in these pages.
Rose Engelbrecht was researching for her doctorate. She had the craziest doctoral topic: what motivated a serial killer? Did these murderers have anything in common, not just in the tools used or the methods, but in the motivation? It might sound a fairly blood-thirsty interest to have, but Rose’s psychiatric tutor and mentor thought that if a common thread was discovered it could help in the identification of possible future serial killers.
Of course Rose couldn’t study every serial killer since the beginning of the world. She limited her research to sixteen. There was the one known as the Chimney Butcher for example. He (for it was a he) always left a lighted cigarette burning on the victim. It was the rising smoke that gave rise to the designation. Another one was known as Madam Stiletto. It wasn’t known for certain but it was thought these murders were the work of a woman. The victim had always been stabbed in the heart with what seemed like a sharp stiletto heel. Nothing was absolutely certain about the stiletto, but on one victim a fragment of a red stiletto had remained inside the heart. Madam Stiletto had been the most elusive of all the serial killers Rose studied, and Madam Stiletto was very much still alive and active.
Rose pondered and studied; studied and pondered. She could discover no common motivation. There were weapons and dark alleys in common between some of them, but motivation was an elusive quality. What would drive a serial killer to go out and kill? Rose had spent weeks, months even, pondering. It was now ten in the evening. Her doctoral dissertation was meant to be in three weeks. Rose looked out the window. She was getting desperate. There was a full moon. What drove a murderer? What? What?
Rose donned her regular hoodie, slipped into her red stilettos, and left the building.
It was yet another dark and stormy night. Emma lay in bed with the lamp on, staring at the ceiling. She was listening to her little radio. A serial killer, known as Hack n Ripper, had escaped from the local prison. Dear me.
Globules of blood began to form on the ceiling plaster above Emma’s bed, dripping down onto her counterpane; blood seeping from the room above. (How very Thomas Hardy! How very Tess of the d’Urbervilles!)
Emma failed to notice. She turned out the light, drew the bed covers tightly around her neck (she couldn’t stand having a draughty hole in the bedding) and slumbered off.