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.
Estelle had worked hard all year. It was her last year at university studying for a degree in Biochemistry. All the other students in her year seemed to manage to get all the work done AND party, party, party. But not Estelle. She plodded on day after day. It’s not that she didn’t enjoy Biochemistry. She did, and she got good grades for her assignments and labs. But the others seemed to do that too, AND party.
So when the last lecture was over, and the last assignment handed up and returned, and the last examination finished, all the other students went downtown somewhere to party, party, party. Estelle was invited but she didn’t really know them that well.
Instead she went on her own and bought herself the biggest strawberry milkshake the shop had. And a blueberry muffin.