This is part one of a fictional serial, in 1010 words.
Alexander Conroy was a pillar of the community. Chief Executive at the Town Hall, he had worked there all his life, starting straight from college in a junior role, and always impressing. Nothing was too much trouble. He could be relied upon to work late, chair meetings, sit on interview panels, and to be completely conscientious. Nobody had a bad word to say about him, except perhaps that he sometimes seemed a little distant, and had few friends. Not many people got to live in a small town until they were almost fifty years old without making some enemies, or being a cause for resentment, but he had achieved that.
Underneath that veneer of respectability, hidden by the immaculate suit, and polished shoes, Alex had a dark secret burning inside him. As long as he could remember, he had always wanted to kill someone. Not some thing, like a small animal, or bird. A person, a living, breathing individual whose life he would take, and watch as it left their body.
But he knew better than to act on impulse, and would bide his time, until that time was right.
Research was the key, he realised that. Most killers get caught because they make silly mistakes. Many get caught because they want to be found out, adoring what they perceive to be the fame of their crime. Some cannot stop once they have started, caught up in the lust for more killing. Famous killers often engage the authorities, with silly notes and taunts, or by taking trophies and leaving symbols. Alex had read about them all. For more than thirty-five years he had read every book, seen every film, watched every documentary. If he chose to, he could have been an academic on the subject of murder; an expert called upon to comment, or even a famous author. But that was never going to happen.
Every book he had ever read on the subject had been dropped off at a charity shop, or burned with the leaves in Autumn. The same with every VHS tape or DVD film he had ever bought. None of them had been purchased in a mainstream shop, instead they were picked up in jumble sales, charity shops, or boot sales. Once he owned a computer, he had never ordered a book or film online, and had been careful to avoid any website or article that dealt with murder, or crime in any form. It took patience, care, and planning, but Alex was a man with more than his fair share of all of those. The years didn’t matter to him, as preparation was all, in his world.
That had even extended to his choice of wife. The tall good-looking man had been considered to be something of a catch in his youth. Good job, respectable family, a non-smoker, and moderate drinker. Girls came easily to Alex, and soon saw their future with him. But he waited for the right one. The one who wouldn’t want to get to involved in his life, the one who didn’t think too much about what went on in the world. And one who could never have children. Lucy was ideal. Some medical problem that he didn’t delve into meant that she could never conceive. She was settled on that, and didn’t mention adoption, or any other avenue to motherhood. She was also considered to be unattractive by others, a dumpy girl who struggled with a weight problem, and wore glasses with thick lenses. Just right.
People were surprised when he asked her out. She had only been working at the Town Hall as a temporary clerk for a few weeks, and she was overwhelmingly flattered when the handsome departmental manager asked her out to dinner. What many people called a whirlwind romance led to an engagement after just two months followed by a quiet wedding before the year was out. Alex was very pleased, and Lucy was deliriously happy. He had sold his bachelor flat, and they moved into a modest house in a good part of town. Nothing flashy, but comfortable, and most suitable. Lucy got a job as the receptionist for a local Vet. Alex had said no pets, so she sought work close to other people’s animals instead. He was kind and affectionate, and she adored him. The perfect marriage.
It certainly was for Alex. Lucy went to Weight-Watchers, Zumba class, even Yoga and Pilates. She never won that battle against her increasing obesity, but it got her out of the house a lot. Alex had the best of both worlds, a compliant wife who was out most evenings, and the cloak of a respectable happy marriage viewed by all as enviable. He even managed to earn more respect, when he was seen to be ‘taking on’ the unfortunate Lucy; marrying her for the best reasons, not just for her looks. She accompanied him to functions, and nobody stared, or mentioned how she was squeezed into dresses that were far too tight. Mrs Conroy loved her new role, on the arm of one of the most desirable men in town.
So she never bothered Alex. Never asked him what he was reading, or watching on TV in the room she called his ‘den’. They went on holiday for two weeks every year, and were financially secure. She wanted no more from life.
The years passed peacefully. Their twenty year anniversary came and went, celebrated by a trip to Disneyland in America. Lucy had always wanted to go, and Alex pretended to enjoy it, for her sake. Though he did enjoy being in America at last. This was the holy grail for those interested in murder. More serial killers than anywhere else, and a history of violent crime that fascinated him. Even though he couldn’t make anything of that on the two-week holiday, just being there made him excited. Once they got home, he started to plan his crime in earnest. He had promised himself it would happen before he turned fifty, and he didn’t have long to go.
To be continued…