FICTION: "HEART KILLER" BY ANDY NOWICKI

This is an excerpt from Andy Nowicki’s new novel Heart Killer, coming this Friday from Terror House Press. You can pre-order the paperback edition here and the Kindle edition here.
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The important thing to take from this rambling autobiographical preamble is, I guess, my secret predilection, which has caused me no shortage of problems in my personal life: I am very attracted to very bad men.

I don’t mean the typical stupid girly swooning over macho, domineering, self-centered assholes with greasy hair and sleazy smiles. No…when I say “bad,” I mean really bad. Murderously bad. Bad, like the creep who ruined my sister’s life, broke her formerly indomitable spirit, made her for a time into an Emily Dickinson-like recluse, minus the virginal purity or the literary talent. I treasured that man’s sheer audacity; I mean, he laid my own sister low: that was no mean feat!

So I admit—here exclusively, for the first time, the first of many revelations—I actually stalked the guy for a little while.

I’m not totally sure how it started. Some night, sitting in my dorm room with my slutty ditz of a roommate engaged in some vapid phone conversation where she carried on about how she was so scared she peed in her pants when she saw Rosemary’s Baby at the local movie theater last weekend, I just found myself bored and fed up with the dull routine to which I’d consigned myself. I wanted to get out and have…well, “fun,” I guess. But I didn’t want the stupid brainless college coed “fun” all of my bimbo cunt dorm-mates liked.

So I slipped off by myself. I’m sure that everyone just assumed I was hitting the library again, like the insufferable grind that I was. Little did those birth-control pill-popping, joint-rolling imbeciles know that I was bound for adventures that night that transcended their most daring fantasies or fears…I got in my raggedy beater of a station wagon—a hand-me-down from Vicky, which she’d grudgingly let me have when my dad gave her a brand spanking new hot-pink Ferrari the summer before—and I left my dull little campus full of horny, fornicating, lascivious little drug-addled idiots. Even as I pointed my car in the direction of my destination, I half wondered if I really wanted to do what I was about to do, if I were truly up for the undertaking I’d assigned myself. I even once decided that I was crazy, that this was a bad idea, and turned around at a stoplight before promptly turning back again. “Be strong, Frances!” I whispered to myself.

“Be strong, be strong, be strong…”

When I reached the neighborhood, I parked a good two blocks away. Dusk had settled by now, and I felt less conspicuous as I got out of the car and strode stealthily down the road until I reached his house. There I froze. He was standing there on the front porch, but he wasn’t alone.

It had only been three weeks since this guy had broken up with Vicky, rendering my sister an emotional invalid, and he was already on the make again. I saw them by the front door, kissing passionately. And I recognized the girl; she’d been in my Intro to Criminal Justice class freshman year. A rather homely thing; slightly plump, in fact. She’d always struck me as perfectly nice in her shy, plain kind of way; her hair, long and dark, was always parted in the middle, after the manner of an old-time country singer; the flared jeans she always wore, on the other hand, signified her desire to be hip and cool, like all of the tuned-in, turned-on girls of that wretched post-hippie, pre-punk era. For his part, the man sported a patently preppy look: striped shirt, jeans, and casually combed wavy brown hair; from my vantage point at the top of the hill by the road, I once again marveled at just how ordinary he looked. Where was the demon who dwelt inside that blandly handsome frame? I had to find out.

The couple was too immersed in their lip-lock to notice me, and I stooped low and crept up to a nearby bush. As I got closer, I saw that he had grown frisky; he was pawing at her ample chest with his hands. The girl wasn’t entirely comfortable with this, and she gently tried to push his hand away, in response to which he suddenly grabbed her arms and roughly pulled them to the side. I witnessed her slightly pudgy face turn pregnant with alarmed shock at this moment; she breathlessly whispered, “What are you doing?” to which he replied, “C’mon, baby, give!” in an insistent tone. She must have rejected this overture (I had a hard time seeing every detail of their interaction), because a moment later, he had rudely shoved her away, muttering “Fine, be that way!” a little testily.

He turned to go inside, and she shouted, “Wait!” His hand on the knob of the front door, he turned again. Then I heard her say, “I’m sorry…this is just kind of new for me.”

He looked unimpressed, rolled his eyes. I wondered for a moment if he would slam the door in her face and leave her in the remains of the dimming autumn night. I hoped he wouldn’t, for some reason. I sympathized with this plain-Jane ingénue, and didn’t want her to “blow it,” whatever that might mean. After a beat or two, still gripping the doorknob, he asked her, “Are you a virgin or somethin’?”

The girl lowered her head, and didn’t say a word, but she must have nodded, because the man’s face assumed a vicious leer.

“Far out!” he grunted, then chuckled rather nastily. He pushed open the door, walked through, then impatiently asked, “You comin’ or not?” I didn’t see the expression on the girl’s face, but she must have eagerly nodded again, because she rushed through the door in a hurry; I heard it swing closed behind her, and I was all at once alone again in the unquiet night, huddled behind my bush, sweating heavily, though it was not particularly warm. Presently, I rose, inhaled deeply, and crept closer to the house. My first compulsion was to peek inside the window, where I saw through to the living room. It had none of the earmarks of a bachelor pad; there were no beer advertisements, no garish posters of Peter Frampton or Led Zeppelin or the Who or Aerosmith or any of the other emblems of abundant masculine allure, the sort of tokens young American men use to reassure themselves of their rock-star badassedness. This house might well have belonged to an elderly widow of modest means; the interior was sparsely furnished but well-kept.

I had never been to this guy’s house before, though I’d driven past it many times after looking up his name in the phone book and finding my way to its location through the help of a map. Always as I cruised past, I’d think to myself: there was the spot where Vicky Lazarus finally met her match, and I’d be overcome by a tingly sensation of mingled excitement and gratitude, as well as a certain shame for rejoicing so fiercely in the humiliation of my own flesh and blood…well, the feeling I got from idly driving down the street where Darren lived was nothing compared with the sensations that washed over me as I stood on his doorstep, which only intensified when I noticed that the “virgin” had apparently not closed the door thoroughly; it was, in fact, still open just a sliver. My breath grew heavy as I found myself pushing the door ajar and creeping inside; my heart pounded like it might explode. It barely even registered to me consciously at that moment that I was undoubtedly committing a crime; a breaking and entering charge would surely ruin the perfect record I’d accumulated up to this point in my life. Why didn’t I even care? What was I trying to find in this house that I didn’t know already?

Before I could hesitate long in pondering the matter, I immediately heard voices from the upstairs bedroom. First came the faint sound of female sobs, which brought me up short; I clutched the shag carpet of the floor, ridiculously burying my head in its harsh scratchy texture, as if doing this would somehow render me less conspicuous. The effect of the girl’s crying on me was immediate and visceral; I began to pant and sob softly in unison with the poor thing. Tears even fell down my cheeks and into the fuzzy rug as I imagined what he was doing to her at that very moment.

Yet, mournful as I felt, I was also undeniably turned on.

Within my panties, my maidenhead grew as moist as my eyes; I pictured Darren straddling me, forcing himself upon my own virginal body, tearing away my innocence with every brutal thrust. I imagined that his penis must be enormous; I pictured it looking something like a baseball bat, and I saw myself bleeding copiously under his relentless assault. I felt myself being fucked to death, gasping, face-down on the floor of a stranger’s living room. I climaxed so vigorously that I actually saw spots and feared I might pass out. And as my body continued to shake with this never-before experienced release of frighteningly intense desire, the upstairs activities escalated into a full-blown ruckus. I heard what sounded like a continuous series of smacks of an open hand on exposed flesh, followed by a female groan and a sniveling sob: he was slapping her—where? Across the face? In the stomach, the thighs, the buttocks? I couldn’t tell if her cries were expressions of pain or ardor or both at once. Finally, I heard Darren’s voice, so loud and so demonically angry that it thrilled me to my core. He was shouting:

Whore! Don’t tell me you’re a virgin! I just took that from you, whore! So what are you now? What are you?” [Loud smack.] “I said, what are you? Answer me!” [Sobbing and sniveling.] “Stop crying…just tell me: what are you?”

Then I heard the girl, whimpering, “I’m—I’m a whore…”

“A whore!” he shouted, triumphantly. “I just made you a whore. And you let me do it! Aw, you bled all over my bed, whore. What am I gonna do with you?” The poor girl whispered something in response, to which he shouted, “Speak up!

“I don’t know,” she repeated, between sobs.

“Oh, you know,” he insisted. “You know, all right. You’re going to have to die.”

She sobbed more fiercely and told him no, and he made her plead for her life. She pleaded more and more insistently, but he showed no sign of relenting in his fury. I shook and sobbed myself, there on the floor, my eyes and pussy still wet, and wondered bleakly what I should do. Call the police? But how could I explain my presence in this house? But then I heard what sounded like the cocking of a pistol and I froze. Then, a second later, Darren bawled out:

“Awww! Oh, man! Now, you’ve pissed on my bed, too! Cum, blood, and piss! Only thing you haven’t done yet is shit—you wanna do that now before I kill you?”

There came a pause, during which I could hear the girl baying and keening like something inhuman; I realized then that I could barely hold back my own terror-filled gasps and moans, and I grew dimly aware that I too had pissed myself. The urine had seeped through my jeans; my DNA had now penetrated into the pores of the carpet. I, too, had been ravaged and de-virginized by Darren; though he hadn’t laid a hand on me, he’d made me complicit in his depraved depredations. Hot streaks of guilt tore at me as I lay there, despicably sated and miserably incontinent.

Then I heard: “Ha! It’s not loaded, you stupid bitch! What…didja think I was actually gonna kill you? I’m not gonna kill you come on, baby…take it easy, now…” He went on to explain that they were “just havin’ fun.” “I know you were diggin’ it, too. You came, didn’t ya? It’s just rock and roll, babe, that’s all. C’mon, I’ll drive you home…”

It was only at that juncture that I somehow found my way to my feet, stumbled out of the house, and ran like hell to my car. Once behind the wheel, I drove and drove and drove, crying all the way, my panties and jeans cold and wet with urine and discharge. At some point, I stopped the car and found to my horror that I’d begun to bleed as well; sometime during the ordeal, my period had started, even though I wasn’t due for another few days. The traumatic ecstasy and the ecstatic trauma of the event had clearly triggered my body in ways I could not possibly begin to fathom.

I never told anyone about that night. Who could I tell?

If I’d been Catholic, I would have confessed it to my priest. I found myself even wishing I could be Catholic, even though I could never buy into that gobbledygook, just so I could hear the soothing sound of the priest’s voice on the other side of the grated window in the confessional booth. I pictured myself telling him these things, and I heard him gently grant me absolution. He would tell me that Jesus still loved me, would assure me that my sins were forgiven.

I knew the truth, however: I was unforgivably sinful, and my mind was repulsively sick. Unlike other girls my age, who liked nice guys who bought them flowers and drove them to prom and told them they were beautiful, I could only get aroused by criminal psychopaths like this Darren guy. What was wrong with me? Whatever it was, God—if he existed at all—had seen to it that my soul be afflicted with this dreadful privation of instinctual decency. My natural desires had been horrifically warped. I could no more avoid my ravening urges than a moth could escape the roaring fire; I was enticed by the thought of my own destruction and captivated by men who had the guts to step out of line and do me active harm, inhibited neither by the strictures of old-fashioned chivalry nor the nagging insistencies of newfangled feminism.

In short, I was one fucked-up chick, and nothing whatsoever could be done about it.

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Listen to Andy's recent podcast on Heart Killer with Matt Forney:

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