“When are you going to kill me?”

He looked amused. “I heard you the first time. I just didn’t know the answer then. Truth is, I still don’t know the answer. It’s not like I bring around a schedule with me detailing the time of your death. I just make it up as I go along. Or I wait for the idea the situation presents to me. I can say only this: I’ll kill you when I feel like it.” His eyes pierced her, forcing her to look down. “Though I have to admit, you do a good job individualizing yourself. You’ve seen all those women in that room… See how dull they are, how their eyes no longer glimmer? The first words they gave me were either in the form of curses or screams. It’s very rude, you know, considering I gave them my hospitality. Then they begin to ask why they are here, why them, why I was going to kill them… Why, why, why… I get tired of it. It’s like they’ve never heard of a serial killer before.”

The speed of her rocking, now equivalent to her heart rate, quickened.

“Since you take comfort in knowing, and since I would prefer you to be comfortable, I might kill you when I’m done with my dining.” A wry, cunning grin implied his enjoyment of her every move—from her reactions, to her trembling legs, to her rigid rocking.

“How…?” Her voice trailed away. She was afraid to ask, not because she feared the question, but because she feared the answer.


“How…are you going to kill me?” She was still looking down.

“That too depends on how I feel at the moment.”

“But what are the options?” she insisted, disliking the ambiguous answers. There was nothing ambiguous, however, about the situation she was in. She was unlucky enough to be someone’s prey, and he was lucky enough to find her. It just so happened that he liked to play with his food before he killed it.

She looked at him, expecting his attention to be drawn once again to his food, but he was still looking at her. His eyes could kill. They seemed so knowing, so intense, so crazed, so insane that she felt he was looking right into her. She tried to return the gaze, but couldn’t. It was too much for her to return.

“Options…” he repeated. “Well, if I were feeling lazy and you were proving to be an annoyance, then I’d shoot you on the forehead straightaway. Here’s the general rule: The less annoying you are, the more you feel the pain. The more annoying you are, all the more you will feel the pain. But of course, it depends largely on me. Who pays attention to rules anyway? Not even the ones who make them follow them. Now, if I were frustrated, I’d probably cut your fingers off—and possibly even your limbs—and leave you alive for a few days to feel the pain. If I were generous enough, I’d listen to your pleas for death—your craving for that one lethal taste of death—and I’d kill you swiftly. But if I were feeling cruel, I’d leave you alive for days, listening to your cries for death. If I were up to a challenge, we can play a little game where I hold a knife to your neck and ask you questions. You get it right, the knife moves a centimeter away. You get it wrong, the knife moves deeper and deeper into your skin. There’s a prize though, even if you lose. You’ll be conscious long enough to see a red fountain. Rare, isn’t it? Oh, and no need to worry; I’m not interested in what I already know. So even if you’re low on academics, there’s a slight chance you might succeed here.”


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