03-GodsAndMonsters-SArthurs

The hotel bed squeaked beneath him as he shifted positions, leaning back into a pillow that he’d placed between himself and the headboard. His legs were stretched out in front of him and crossed at the ankle, bare toes wiggling as he turned channels on the television. It was an ancient model, square and clunky, perched on the edge of the slightly warped dresser. This place definitely left something to be desired, but it was close to the highway and cheap. Two important things when you were trying to lay low. Which was incidentally exactly what he was doing.

He was skimming the channels in search of the eleven o’clock news, eager to see what they might say about him. It was one of his favorite parts of the day, searching for any mention of himself in the newspaper headlines and on the nightly news. Once, he’d even made it onto the world news that came on earlier in the evening. That had been, perhaps, his most notable mention to date. It never got old either, that feeling of excitement that coursed through him when they talked about him. It was almost as good as the feeling he got when he killed, though not quite.

Finally, homing in on the local news station, he turned the volume up and reached into the bag of Skittles he’d picked up from the vending machine in the lobby. They were a bit stale, like they’d been loaded into their little plastic slot sometime in the 1980s, but he ate them anyway. The news anchors talked about the weather and the local high school sports teams and then, twenty minutes into the broadcast, they got around to discussing him.

“The body of another young Iowa woman was found today, in a cornfield near the town of Benton. Police believe this to be the work of serial killer James Montgomery, nicknamed the Cornfield Killer, who has so far managed to elude law enforcement for over eighteen months. Montgomery is tied to nine other slayings across Iowa, and is also possibly linked to several crimes in Idaho. Police are warning women to exercise caution until Montgomery is apprehended, recommending that you travel in pairs, stick to main roads and highways, and keep your guard up. Here is the most recent picture of Montgomery, provided to us by state law enforcement, taken around six months ago via CCTV at a gas station in Chester. If you see this monster, immediately contact your local police, and do not engage Montgomery. He is considered armed, and very dangerous. Now to the weather! We’re settling in for a rainy Easter Weekend…”

Turning off the television, he made a noise of disgust and threw the bag of Skittles, what few remained, across the room. The bag connected with the wall, spilling little colored candies all over the stained and worn carpet. The contrast was startling, all those bright colors against the dirty beige, but it did little to soothe his mood.

“Monster,” he growled under his breath, more than a bit offended. “How dare they call me a monster! I’m not a monster. I’m not even a man. I’m more than a man. I’m a fucking God!”

That was, truly, how James Montgomery saw himself. He was not a mere man, a mere mortal, no. He was something more, something evolved, something greater. It was what allowed him to kill at his leisure, what kept him moving and motivated without getting caught. They didn’t take him seriously enough, calling him a monster was proof enough of that. He’d show them, oh yes. He’d show all of them. This was just the beginning, those ten women, and he’d make sure they got his message loud and clear going forward.

Rising to his feet, he kicked aside the candy on the floor and slid his feet into his new work boots. He’d picked them up at a yard sale for two dollars, replacing his old and more easily identified ones. Outside sat the pick-up truck he’d lifted from a grocery store parking lot two days prior, license plate switched out for one he’d taken off the Volkswagen he’d had previously. Always moving, always staying ahead of the game. Another facet of being a God.

Reaching under the bed, he tugged at the sheet that was wrapped around the body of Kelly Ann Duvall, a blond he’d picked up hitch hiking last night. It was late now, dark out, the perfect time to relocate her into the bed of the truck so he could get moving. To the next cornfield, to the next dumpsite, and then on again into the night.

If they wanted to think him a monster, let them. He’d really give them something to fear. He smirked as he hefted Kelly Ann’s dead weight into his arms, the sheet soaked and sticky with her blood. He’d gotten a little excited with this one, gone a little overkill with the knife, but that was alright. Let them put that in their next headline about him. He could imagine it now, “Killer Ramps Up Violence”, splashed all over the front page.

Stepping out into the cool night air, he observed the empty parking lot, the quiet expanse of nothingness between this old motel and the highway. Laughing, he tipped Kelly Ann into the bed of the track, yelling out into the darkness with all the fervor he could muster.

 “TO BE INDEED A GOD!”

Keys in hand, rejuvenated by his new found desire for more, he got into the truck and cranked the old, guttural engine to life. He drove off onto a rural road, away from the highway, from the lights, further from his own humanity.

Monster or God, in that moment, were synonymous. Two words with one meaning, jumbled up inside the frenzied mind of a serial killer named James Montgomery. The cornfield killer. A God among men.

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