What They Deserved

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WhatTheyDeservedI suppose I’ve nothing to complain about. I may not have made it to a hundred like I swore I would, but eighty-nine is nothing to scoff at. I still have my own teeth and near-perfect eyesight, though my hearing isn’t the best. I’ve got my wits about me and I sleep in my own bed at night. None of my offspring dared to try and put me in a home. At my age, the word spry is thrown around a lot, especially when folks see me shoveling my own driveway. I tell you, I’m the same now as I was at twenty and no one called me spry back then.

I’ve got six children, twenty-nine grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren to fight over what I leave behind. Kelly is the only one who bothered with me more than a handful of times a year, and if you want the truth she’s the only one of the grandchildren I like. When she came to visit as a little girl, she’d always bring me those chocolate-dipped shortbreads I like and she never threw a tantrum. When she moved out my way to go to school and asked if she could stay with me, I said I’d like the company.

She’s a quiet girl. I wouldn’t tolerate her otherwise. She’s not into parties or drinking. She likes books, video games, and quiet. She doesn’t grumble about my cooking or tells me she can’t eat this or that. She doesn’t leave a mess in the bathroom and has never tried to run me out of my own space. As far as I know, she’s never gone snooping where she’s not supposed to be.

I guess it’ll be Kelly who finds me and she’ll be the one to read this first. She asked me a little while ago to tell her about my life. I expect after I’m gone she’ll wish she’d never brought it up.

I’ll start at the beginning.

I was born in 1928. I came into this world in the dead of winter, in a little wooden house overlooking the Atlantic. I was the eighth child born to Marjory and Ewan Boyd and only the second girl. My mother was only thirty-three and you can imagine what a hard life it was having that many children by that age. My father was nearly fifty when he married her. Having me nearly killed my mother, and three years later she finished the job herself by hanging from a noose on a nearby tree.

Maybe she figured that was the only way to keep from having the ninth child she had in her at the time. Maybe she’d been thinking about it when I was growing in her belly. I expect someone reading this will wish she’d done it sooner.

My only sister, Edna, took care of me after that. She married a local boy, a fisherman named Hugh, but refused to do it unless she could take me with her. She was fifteen and he was only seventeen, but he agreed. She didn’t want to leave me alone with Pa. She had her reasons, being the only other girl and being a young woman. I’m sure you can guess why. My father wasn’t a good man.

I ought to be grateful for the time I had with her, but later on, she died of scarlet fever and her husband sent me back to Pa. By then my father was bedridden and spent his days in the attic bedroom, sleeping most of the day and shitting in a bucket that had to be brought down to the outhouse. I guess that’s why Hugh thought it was safe to send me back. I don’t like to think that he didn’t really care what happened to me.

It was wartime by then and every one of my brothers had gone to fight. Our cousin Andrew moved into the farmhouse to take care of Pa and the farm where we raised bulls. I had only met Andrew a few times. He was a quiet fellow. He could read and he liked it, so he was forever giving me the books and magazines he’d bought in town, and when I was done we’d talk about them over supper. He made sure I kept on going to school, which I thought was nice since he could have kept me home to keep house for him.

If Pa wanted something, he banged on the floor and it was Andrew who climbed the narrow stairs to tend to him. From what Edna had said and what little I could remember, I didn’t want anything to do with my father, not any more than I had to. I’d only gone up there once to help Andrew clean after Pa had been sick, and I’d bristled every second under the old man’s glare. After that, Andrew never made me go into that stinking attic room where Pa lived.

I liked Andrew. I thought he was a good person.

I was thirteen when it happened. We were on the porch putting away the fat jars of preserves I had been working on the day before when I felt something in my hair. Thinking it was one of the buzzing horseflies about to bite, I slapped at the tickle and found my fingers brushing Andrew’s.

“What was it?” I asked.

Andrew smiled, shy as he ever was, and rubbed a lock of my brown hair between his fingers.

“I was just wondering if it was as soft as it looked.”

“Fool,” I replied with a laugh, but aa funny prickling remained at the back of my neck and I moved out of his reach.

I woke up that night with him in bed with me.

“Keep quiet, you’ll wake your pa,” he said, and when I didn’t listen he put his hand over my mouth.

In my entire life, I’ve never hated anyone like I hate Andrew. Seventy-five years later and I can still taste sulfur and acid in my mouth when I think of him.

I didn’t cry after he’d left me. I burned. I laid awake and I let all that hatred rot in my guts.

I got out of bed when I heard the creak of the floorboards in his bedroom. He was in the kitchen putting on his boots when I entered. As if nothing had happened, he cheerfully informed me that he was going to feed the bull and went out. I stood before the stove, unmoving for as long as he was out there, cemented to the spot by my loathing for him. The thought of living with that jagged ball of rage in my chest was unbearable. I thought of the mother I barely remembered hanging from the big maple just across the road by the creek. I didn’t want to do that. I didn’t want to end my life, even if it was easiest, but I wanted something.

The lantern bobbing in the pre-dawn darkness outside alerted me to his return. I stoked the fire and moved to the cupboard for the bread, cutting into it as he came back inside.

“I’m going to wash up and get the old man awake.”

“Don’t be too long or your breakfast will get cold,” I told him like I did every day, then added, “there’s some coffee in the cupboard. Did you want me to put the last of it on the stove?”

Andrew grinned, crooked and boyish. “That would be lovely, Christine.”

He drank that pot of coffee all day while I was miserable at school, and when I came home he was on the chesterfield with stomach troubles.

“It’s not agreeing with me,” he said with a groan.

“I’ll make you a cup of tea to settle your guts,” I told him.

He really got bad around suppertime and went up to bed after asking me to look after Pa. I said I would, but I let my father bang on the floor with his cane as I sat at the bottom of the stairs and listened to Andrew retch until he called for me.

If you guessed arsenic, you guessed right. I knew it could kill him like it killed the rats that were forever getting into the house. I wanted the suffering more than anything. I went to him when he called me and I mopped the sweat from his face with a cold cloth, but it wasn’t to offer him comfort. It was to watch him up close as he writhed in his own filth.

This was what I wanted, and I wasn’t finished.

“Chrissy, run across the field and have Tim go for the doctor. I think I’m dying,” he managed to say. I left the room and went to the porch, but not to get help. I returned with a can of kerosene and spread it across the bed. He was in so much pain that I don’t think he noticed. I struck a match and tossed it on top of him, and then I stood in the doorway as long as I could to watch him burn, gleeful as he screamed in agony.

Pa burned, too. He deserved it for what he had done to Edna. The neighbors saw the fire and rush to put it out, but it was too late. The house where I was born was gone by morning, and prayers were said for those who had perished.

After three years of moving from one family to another, I got married. I was tired of the handouts. My brothers didn’t come home from the war and I was alone in the world, a burden, and I was told as much by those fine Christian folk who had taken me in.

I didn’t love Archie, but he seemed all right to me, so I married him. He wasn’t much trouble, not like the ones who came after. He worked as a cooper, kept to himself, and he was gentle with me. It took me a long time to get used to him, but I did come to care for him. When he died of cancer in 1947 I was truly sorry, not just for myself but for the two children I had by him. He left me a bit of money, and so I sold our house and used it to take the kids to the city where I got work in a hotel.

I met Richie through my friend, Marilyn. He was a boxer, loud and foul-mouthed, and he liked to drink. I should have known how it would turn out, but I couldn’t help myself. I’d never really experienced lust in my life and I had it bad for Richie. I loved his brawn and couldn’t get enough of him. In the beginning, he was great fun. He was good to my kids. They loved him as much as I did, and soon enough we had one of our own on the way.

I was hanging my laundry in our tiny backyard when I heard Mary screech. Thinking she had gotten her hands on something in the kitchen and sliced a chunk of herself off, I went running and found her bawling on the kitchen chair where I’d left her to her lunch, a furious red mark across her face.

Richie sat next to her, ignoring her hysterics as he chomped his lunch of leftover pork chop and beans.

I reached for my baby and she lunged desperately into my arms. “Jesus Christ, what happened to her face?”

“She got lippy with me,” he said, nonchalant as he picked meat from the bone with his greasy fingers.

“You hit her?”

I couldn’t believe it. Mary was only three years old. She was so small. How could anyone do something to a baby, our baby he’d said, the same one he bounced around the front room on his back pretending to be the horsey she desperately wanted.

And he just sat there stuffing his face after hitting her.

Everything turned red. I wanted to slash his face with the steak knife at his side and watch him howl as his blood ran in rivers.

I took her into the yard and calmed her down by putting her in the laundry basket and played at being on a sea voyage. I left her giggling as she chased imaginary crabs on an imaginary beach and returned to my kitchen. My husband had retired to his chair next to the radio, leaving his dirty dishes on the table for me to take care of.

Watching him from the kitchen while he gulped his liquor, I saw him for what he was: an ignorant brute. The rough hands I had adored on my body was all there was to Richie, and he’d used them to hurt my child. It would only be a matter of time before he did it again, not just to Mary but to her brother and I, and there was my unborn to think of.

I wouldn’t leave him: that wouldn’t keep him away from his child unless I went very far, and I had almost nothing left after using the money from Archie to buy this house.

In the span of an hour I had made my decision. It was that easy, just as it had been with Andrew, but I needed some time. I couldn’t do it immediately like I had done with my cousin, not with the children underfoot. Richie was headed for a fight in Boston in two days and his absence would give me the opportunity to prepare.

The day he came back, I met him at the train station in my best dress, let out slightly to accommodate my growing stomach, red lips, and red nails, cradling a bottle of port in one arm. I’d left the children with Marilyn, who I knew would keep them longer if I asked her.

You can’t say I’m completely heartless. His last meal was his favorite: a nice roast chicken with buttery potatoes and carrots, all swimming in a special gravy he couldn’t stop raving about. He enjoyed his liquor as he listened to the hockey game on the radio, and not long after I finished up the dishes he started to complain about a stomach ache.

You would have thought a big man like Richie would have taken longer to go and would have withstood the poison a bit better than a scrawny fellow like Andrew. I can tell you now that there is no telling how a man will take the poison by how sturdy or weak a body is. Richie died slow, but he seemed to be in far more agony than Andrew had been.

Once he was so weakened he couldn’t get out of the bed, I didn’t even pretend I gave a shit about what happened to him. I stood at the foot of our bed and watched, smirking as he soiled himself.

I didn’t even care that I’d have to clean up his filth when he was done dying. I wished that just for a few seconds I could experience the pain that ripped through his body and know just how he suffered.

“You did this to me,” he managed to say towards the end. “Why did you do this?”

“To teach you a lesson about laying your hands on my babies.”

He vomited over the side of the bed, then groaned. “I’ll fucking kill you, you bitch.”

“You won’t live long enough to kill me.”

I telephoned the doctor at dawn and was appropriately distressed when he showed up to declare my husband dead. He’d complained about a stomach ache for quite some time, I’d said. He drank to numb the ache, I’d said. He only started to feel poorly in the middle of the night, I’d said.

No one questioned it. The doctor determined that he had died from an infection. No one had any reason to suspect anything other than natural causes. I collected a fat insurance check, sold our house and I moved to a small town a short train ride away. There, I gave birth to a little boy I named Richard Lowe Jr — Rick, we call him. That would be Kelly’s grandfather, by the way.

Rick never asked much about his real father. The man he called Pa was Ethan MacDonald, a soft-spoken bachelor twenty years my senior. We were married for ten years before he passed away and we had three children together, all boys. I had nothing to do with his death. I wouldn’t say I was in love with him, but I sure liked him a lot. If he hadn’t had a heart attack in 1960, we probably would have been incredibly contented together for many more years … and things would have been very different.

I didn’t remarry. With six children to take care of there was little time. I spent my days looking after my own little ones and three more for neighbors who worked at a nearby factory. It was only after my oldest kids became teenagers that I was able to do anything that didn’t involve wiping snotty noses or calming down tantrums.

One evening I left the older kids to look after the young ones and accompanied a few friends to a local country and western bar. My lord, I hadn’t had a time like that since Richie used to take me out dancing. I let my hair down and danced with every man who asked me, and for the first time in my life, I got a little drunk. I was only thirty-five, after all, no spring chicken but still young enough to kick up my heels. Those early days with Richie had been my only real taste of being a vibrant young woman, and I must say that with so much talk about women’s liberation I regretted that I wasn’t fifteen years younger so I could take advantage of all that my youth had to offer.

Clifford Higgins changed my life. He was younger than me and drove a truck for a local department store. He sang at the bar at night. He sounded just like Jim Reeves and didn’t have any trouble getting himself some female companionship, but for some reason, he took a liking to me and started pestering me after just one dance. I couldn’t walk into the bar without him hovering around me, ultimately chasing off anyone else who tried to ask me to dance or to buy me a drink. I liked the attention at first, until he followed me off into the parking lot after I’d forgotten my purse. He pressed me against the car and told me what he’d like me to do to him, something I won’t repeat out of decency, and put his hands on me.

And I felt something kick up in me, breaking through my disgust. I took a good, long look at his slick pompadour and greedy snake-like eyes and I wanted him. Not to take him to bed. I wanted to watch him rot from the inside out like I had watched Andrew and Richie. I wanted it so badly my mouth watered.

I pressed my hand to his chest. Smiling, I gently eased him away.

“Now Clifford, I can’t have everyone thinking I’m that kind of girl, can I?” I purred. “Why don’t you come on by tomorrow for supper and we can take a bit of a drive afterward?”

He backed off, and the next day he showed up at my door with a bouquet of flowers and a bottle of wine, stinking of cheap cologne.

Now, I would have put my special ingredient in his tea after supper except for a few reasons.

First, I had real reservations about giving him anything with the children around. I wouldn’t have wanted one of them picking up the wrong cup or one of the boys deciding to sneak a sip of wine from Clifford’s cup behind our backs.

Second, if I wanted to watch him die I’d have to go home with him, wouldn’t I? And you bet he’d want himself a little something before the poison had the time to kick in.

Third, from my place at the kitchen stove, I saw Clifford sit himself down on the sofa next to Mary, thirteen years old by that time and a lovely little lady. Apparently, Clifford thought so too. He gave her the same longing looks he’d given me and even had the audacity to slip his arm around her shoulders.

My tried and true method wouldn’t work tonight, but he had to die, didn’t he? To put his hands on me? To look at my child like that, to touch her? I’d have to think of another way to take care of that filthy prick.

I called them to the kitchen for supper and did my best to keep the loathing off my face.

I offered him a cup of coffee. Instead of adding arsenic, I laced it with some crushed-up sleeping pills. He became lethargic a short time later.

“That big meal tuckered me right out,” he told me as he hauled himself off the Chesterfield. “I hate to say it, but I can barely keep my eyes open.”

I smiled as sweet as I could. “You’ll have to make it up to me some other time, Clifford.”

I let him give me a kiss on the lips and put up with him sliding his hand down my back to rest just over my behind, and then I watched him go.

To this day no one knows who it was that let themselves into Clifford Higgins’s back door and crept into his bedroom as he slept.

Almost no one.

I waited until the children were asleep, and then I slipped out the back door. I didn’t know how to drive and even if I did, I don’t think it would have been smart to park a car anywhere near Clifford’s street. Instead, I walked the mile to his house.

You no doubt heard it said with nostalgia that we didn’t lock our doors back then and Clifford was no different. He lived in a little bungalow surrounded by trees. Aside from the streetlights, everything was dark. The town was asleep on that Monday night.

I didn’t plan on doing it the way I did. I was going to tie his hands and feet and put a trash bag over his head, then stand there and watch him suffocate. I changed my mind when I slipped into his house. A whiff of his rank cologne brought to mind the way he’d leaned close to my Mary, lips nearly brushing her cheek as he spoke to her, and I knew that suffocating him wouldn’t suffice.

I went out into his shed and looked around for something else, then returned to the kitchen.

I remember every little detail: the way my skin felt electric as I slid out of my clothes and into my long gloves and the weightlessness with which I moved made all the more so by the bulk of the ax I had found; the rasping rhythm of his breath as he slept and the way the dull light from his bedside lamp cast blunt shadows over his face.

And I remember the sound he made as the axe split his skull. It didn’t sound human. There was no emotion that matched it, not fear or surprise or pain, just a loud grunting like a pig. He flailed his arms but didn’t strike out at me, and I hauled back and hit him again and again and again and again and again and again.

It’s no wonder the mate of his who found him was sick when he saw what I had done to Clifford. His head was nothing but meat and gore all over his pillow and headboard and up the wall. I stood over him with the same splatter all over my skin and I committed every streak and chunk to memory. I was exhilarated, my heart slamming against my chest and my blood roaring in my ears.

I vaguely remember washing myself off in his bathroom, careful not to take my gloves off. I remember nothing of the walk home, nor much of anything the morning after. Part of me wondered if I had dreamt it, at least until Betty Ann telephoned me a few days later to ask if I had heard about Clifford. The police came around and asked me if I knew anything and I told them enough of the truth: that I only knew Clifford from the bar and yes, he had been to supper one evening but I hadn’t seen him since.

It was speculated that he had run afoul of a jealous husband and soon enough folks settled down, though I expect after that everyone locked their doors.

The murder shocked everyone. Much hullabaloo was made a few decades later when one of those half-hour crime shows on television covered the violent death of ‘local lothario’ Clifford Higgins, and last Halloween a local, what do you call it, podcast dedicated a whole hour to the gruesome end of Clifford Higgins.

Mary and I had gone to the funeral service like just about everyone else in town and walked slowly home with our empty Tupperware in the crisp autumn air when she shivered.  “I hate to go to sleep. I’m scared to death I’m going to wake up with some crazy person standing over me with an axe.”

“There’s no crazy person on the loose. Clifford tangled with the wrong woman and it ended badly,” I told her, slipping my arm around her shoulders and bringing her in for a hug.

I wonder if she’ll remember that moment after she reads this and realizes I wasn’t lying to her.

While my child struggled with nightmares, I slept like a baby. Three times I had cut out a cancer on humanity. I felt clean. I felt powerful.

I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I longed to write down every detail of Clifford’s death while it was still fresh in my mind, but I couldn’t risk someone finding it. As it turns out I didn’t need to write it down to remember it. I remember every detail, even after all this time. When you would see me standing before the sink, elbow deep in suds and gazing at a tile on the wall, I was deep in memory. If you saw me smile, it’s because I could still feel the warm splash of his blood on my bare skin.

I knew then that I’d do it again, but killing Clifford with such a personal touch that I was able to stay euphoric for years afterward through life’s ebb and flow.

My oldest son Joseph joined the Navy. Mary went away to the states to go to school. I had some trouble with Rick when he left school, but soon enough he had settled, marrying his girl and getting work delivering furniture. Left with three teenagers in the house, I got restless. By the time the last one was ready to leave the nest, I was like a caged animal. I knew what I needed to do.

But how? I wasn’t a cold-blooded murderer. I couldn’t kill just anyone.

I bought a plot of land in the deep woods a short drive from the sea and had a camper hauled back there. I learned to drive and bought myself a second-hand Studebaker. Instead of going to the bar to dance on Friday nights, I took to gassing up my car and driving along the highway.

There were a lot of young men thumbing for a ride in those days. On cold nights, they were grateful not only for my wheels, and we had us a good talk with nothing but yellow lines and the occasional flash of another motorist’s lights coming around the bend.

Sometimes the conversation was pleasant. They’d tell me where they came from and where they were going, what their plans were when they got there, families and friends – nice things, the way it should be. I’d offer them a drink of tea from the thermos I kept in my cup holder. I’d take them right to the city if that’s where they were going, or drop them off so they could make their way home or where ever they had come from.

Sometimes they didn’t want to talk about nice things. Sometimes they had something else on their minds. I was in my late-forties but I was still a good-looking woman. I kept my figure, a bit of color in my hair every so often kept the grey away, and I never went out without makeup. I was lucky that none got too worked up in the car and pulled a knife or a gun on me. It’s a dangerous world out there for a woman.

Soon enough these men would be asking for something more than a drive, and I’d play along offer them a drink from the flask I kept in my purse. They’d get drowsy around the same time they’d get handsy, and when we reached my trailer in the deep dark woods they’d need a hand getting inside.

I’d put them in a chair and put the kettle on while I waited for them to pass out, then my fun would start.

I’ll spare you the details of how I killed them, save to say I was creative and that they got what they had coming to them. All of them. Those pieces of trash learned there were consequences to be had for thinking they could talk to a woman, any woman, like they did.

If they were adequately repentant, I finished them off quickly with a shot to the back of the head. If they put up a fight, I made sure they suffered. Some cursed me and called me every name they could think of. Others cried for their mothers or the wives they left behind. Many begged. One even confessed to me all the sins he had committed in his lifetime, things so disgusting I made sure it took two days for him to die.

When I was done with them I burned their bodies in a big steel drum in the yard, then scattered what was left in the sea.

The one that galled me the most was the young fellow who repeated Hail Mary over and over again. No matter what I threatened, no matter what I did to him, he wouldn’t stop. I don’t remember beating him to death. I couldn’t tell you what I used. It was like a hurricane made of fire filled my head and I disappeared into it, emerging to a scene that made me cover my mouth with shock, as though it was something I had stumbled upon instead of something I created.

Don’t mistake me, I didn’t feel guilty. He was no saint when he was in my car. He had a filthy mouth, that one, and he got what he had coming like the rest of them, but I didn’t care for how it had ended. I didn’t like losing control. I didn’t like my mind checking out and robbing me of the euphoria I sought.

He was my last. I told myself I had done what I could, that enough evil men had been removed from the world by my hand, and I was finished. After I did away with his body I burned the camper and destroyed all evidence of what I had done. Kids did it, the police said, and that’s all there was to it. If these men had people looking for them, there was no way to ever trace them to me.

Now look at me: closer to a hundred than to fifty. It’s been forty years since I’ve killed but I long for it every day. I’ll be waiting in line at the bank and a man will catch my eye. Something about him will hold my attention — the way he speaks to the teller or looks at a fellow customer, oblivious or just not caring that she can’t stand to even talk to him, let alone put up with his leering. I clutch my purse until my knuckles turn white and for the rest of the day, I’m imagining the things I could have done to him.

I might have taken it all to my grave if it wasn’t for that policeman, Haynes. After all the renewed interest in Clifford’s death, this Haynes fellow took it upon himself to look into what really happened to Clifford. When he came knocking at my door, I let him in and made him a cup of tea, ready to repeat what I had told the police all those years ago.

“You come from up the North Shore, don’t you?” he asked cheerfully as he stirred milk into his tea.

“I did.”

“Beautiful up there. I have a cottage that way, though nothing special, just an old mobile home.”

“It’s a pretty place, for sure.”

“Your father and cousin died in a fire, didn’t they?”

Ah. I tell you, he caught me by surprise. I saw it now that he wasn’t just making conversation. Still, I kept up my facade.

“Yes, the poor things. My father had no chance of getting out alive, and Andrew … well, I warned him about smoking his cigarettes in bed.”

“Your other cousin, Laura Lee, told me Andrew didn’t smoke.”

“Laura Lee doesn’t know everything. She only came around once or twice. He liked his smokes, but he usually did it outside,” I lied. “He’d only started to do it in his bedroom when the weather got cold.”

“You lost three husbands as well?”

“I got married when I was sixteen. They were all good men gone too soon.”

“Even Richard?”

“Of course. What are you insinuating?”

“He had a reputation. He liked drinking and he liked using his fists.”

“Not on me.”

“On your children?”

“Only once, when Mary was very small. She got lippy with him and he gave her a smack. It wasn’t anything to make a fuss about.”

The conversation went on like this. He pressed me to tell him again and again about what I remember of Clifford, and then he’d slide back into my past with such smoothness I almost congratulated him.

He knew. No question about it, even if he didn’t have any proof and was operating solely on a hunch, he knew I’d had something to do not only with Clifford’s death but also Andrew and Richie’s.

I can imagine the promotion he’d get for putting away someone who had done what I did, his face all over the TV and a book for sale. He amused me. I wondered what he would have said had he known about all the others I took care of.

He thanked me for offering him a second cup of tea and excused himself to use the bathroom, and I went onto the porch. I heard him rooting around, as if my blood pressure medication or incontinence underwear had anything to do with how Clifford died.

When he returned and sat down, I slid the cup in front of him, then pulled the hammer from my waistband and struck him on the back of the skull.

I don’t know if he has someone at home waiting for him and it’s better I don’t know. I didn’t need to kill him. I just wanted to feel that rapture one last time. I struck him three more times and stood there watching him twitch. Even at my age I still had a hell of a swing. When he stopped wriggling and smearing his blood over my clean floor, I took my cup of tea to the front room and I pulled out this notebook.

I’ve had two cups now. The last was laced with camphor. I would have used arsenic if there had been any around, but no one keeps that sort of thing around any longer and I figure camphor will do what I want it to do. I once had a cat that swallowed a mothball and, well, mine isn’t going to be a peaceful death. I’m going to get as close as I’ll ever get to knowing what Andrew and Richie and the rest I poisoned went through.

I suppose you’re wondering if this is my last stab at trying to get into heaven, confessing my sins and offering closure to loved ones. I don’t believe in that shit. There’s no heaven and there’s no God. If there was, He would have done something to keep me safe that night Andrew decided to come to my bedroom over seventy-five years ago.

And I don’t regret a damn thing. Getting rid of those sons of bitches was the proudest thing I’ve ever done in my life. The world was made a better place without them. Admit it. They all got what they deserved.

© 2018 Annemarie Hartnett

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