Sunday, October 30, 2011
Short Story by Bruce Blake
Read for Pseudopod by Brian Rollins
An abused teenager begins taking out his rage and isolation by torturing and murdering a drifter found in his father's shed. Complications arise for the budding serial killer while trying to dispose of the body (parts).
Honestly the most painful part of this story wasn't Tim's violence or sadistic pleasure in it, it was hearing about how his father and brother treated him. The story isn't as splatterpunky as it could be, which is for the better, although a lot of it is focussed on the mechanics of brutal murder. But the true horror here comes from the fact that I find myself empathizing with the psychotic kid. The story is written with no implied moral judgments or soul-searching. The kid just does what he does, and you can sort of see why. Of course torturing and killing people isn't a rational answer, but if you can feel the kid's pain, you can see what drives him, and drives him to take it so far. He's completely powerless and friendless and he has no way to express how much he hurts. I can't help thinking he could have grown up to not kill people, despite his obvious issues, if he'd had a brother or mother who helped him stand up to his dad, instead of making things worse. It reminds me of my favorite Fringe episode in recent memory, in a good way.
4 sympathetic serial killers out of 5.
Originally published online by the author, no longer available as of October 2011.