Serial Number

NSFL. Reader discretion advised. Hannibal-inspired.

Warm and thick it squirted onto his face and trickled down; lashes lumped and the corner of his mouth had a tainted taste all of a sudden. To some it would be metallic, like licking too long on a spoonful of yoghurt. To him it was sweet, like a ripe cherry burnt by a warm summer’s sun, the taste of love, of the soul. With a finger he stemmed the trickle. It was difficult not to avoid the vein, but gradually, at each attempt, he had gotten better at handling its edge. The skin parted quickly now, faster than before, and with precision like a surgeon’s. In the beginning the veins had taken damage as well, causing death way too quickly. But as he acquired a flair for shearing and slicing perfectly, he was now perfectly skilled.

Then again, it was not Annie Lorenzo, who was his prime target. No, she could do with some damage, which was the intention. It was her husband, Leonard Lorenzo, who was supposed to live. At least for a while.

And this he was, writhing and struggling against the restraints around his wrists, eyes terrified as he watched Emmanuel straddling his wife under the bloody bed-covers. Her death cramps and moist coughing sprayed the white sheets with ruby drops of blood. He had severed the sinews of the neck and cut open the trachea, which now filled with blood from the surrounding, damages tissue. His hands rested around her throat, not strangling her but cupping the blood as it slipped over his white, surgical gloves and into the bed; his fingertips caressed her skin soothingly. He could see the fear in her eyes as each cramp gradually stilled and she drew her last breath. Her shoulders slumped; each muscle in her body relaxed and he let go of her neck, releasing the blood into the pillow like a halo of death crowning her.

He straightened up and tossed a strand of his dark hair away from the face before he turned to look at Leonard, a wolfish grin on his thin lips and his grey eyes lusting for more. The blood adorned his face, gems of gory jewels. He grabbed the scalpel from the bedside table, where it had stained the white, laced tablecloth, and moved across the bed to Leonard, straddling him down as well; the bedcovers rustled and mingled with Leonard’s muffled moans of plea through the saliva-drenched cloth in his mouth.

“Are we having fun?” Emmanuel sneered and flicked the scalpel in his fingers. Leonard’s eyes widened, focusing on the scalpel, which sliced into his cheek producing a long, red line, a Cherokee’s war-paint. A drop trickled down the fear-pale skin like a lonesome tear of sorrow. A cry was stilled in the cloth and Leonard closed his eyes, the cold sweat hailed from his furrowed brow.

“No, no, no! You have to look, Leonard,” Emmanuel pinched his eyes open with his left hand. “You have to see, have to watch,” he glanced sideways to the corpse of Leonard’s wife, motionless and soaked in blood. “She will be delicious. A treat. Like candy to your eyes. But first,” he looked back down at Leonard and uncovered his throat and chest, “we have to prepare you. To be quiet. A silent audience for the spectacle you’re about to witness.” He reached down to the bag by the bed, which he had placed silently as he had entered the bedroom. Intrusion had been easy with no children living in their house anymore, and no animals to wake up and alarm the residents. Their evening routine had become his as he had observed them from a distance for a month, preparing the final, building the crescendo as every fiber in his body yearned to be released, yearned for the savage, brutal slaughtering and the delicious aftermath in which he would ascend to divine beauty, taking the virginity of his own career. And he wouldn’t stop once the first act had been finished. No, there would be plenty more to come.

A symphony of Hell.

When the two victims had been properly restrained to their bed, he had covered what he could with plastic and commenced the ordeal. He was baffled at how strong he had become from working out, a physical preparation in accordance with his mental state of being. Both had to be strong to endure the act. And they were. He was flying, a heavenly breeze held his wings aloft and guided him towards the climax.

He punctured Leonard’s trachea with a crude awl from his workshop and forced a hard but thin plastic tube into it, enabling him to breathe, although it would take some time to find the right method to do so. Meanwhile he would remain light-headed and dizzy and Emmanuel could move on back to Annie. He stood by the bed and produced a set of quality butcher knives which he used to slowly cut off the meatier parts of the dead woman’s body. He worked with incredible precision, having practised on animals and the like before, and once in a while he looked up to Leonard.

“No, no. Don’t look away, Leo,” he pleaded softly, put down the knives and went to turn Leonard’s head towards the gory scenery. “See? She will be delicious now, much more than before.” He knew that Leonard would soon pass out from fear and from the loss of blood. It didn’t matter much. He had seen what he needed.

Annie’s corpse lay partly dissected, bones exposed here and there. With a sturdy wire cutter he snapped open her ribcage and pressed the bones apart, exposing her lungs and heart. A few slices were all that was needed to loosen them from their confinement. When he had finished he went into the adjoining bathroom to wash up, taking a look in the mirror and admiring himself. He was glad he had chosen the black uniform that night. He left the bathroom, put on his shoes and went down into the kitchen where he found bowls of this and that size. Whatever could be used for storage he brought with him back upstairs where he began ordering the lumps of meat and put them into their respective containers. Leonard was still alive, barely though, and the tears that streamed down his temples indicated desperate crying. No sound came through the cloth anymore, and Emmanuel grinned at him. He took the heart, which he had put in a silver bowl, sliced off a piece the size of a coin, and went to Leonard, gently removing the now blood-stained cloth.

“Now, you can be whole,” he whispered as he forced the lips apart and placed the meat on Leonard’s tongue before closing the jaws upon it again and again, making him chew and with much difficulty, swallow the piece of Annie’s raw heart. Leonard tried to protest, but blood pumped up from the opening in his throat and all he could conjure was a wet gurgling as he stared at Emmanuel, tears still spilling from the corner of his eyes.

“There, there,” Emmanuel patted his bleeding cheek and straightened. “Sleep soundly while I, too, become whole.”

He went to the bowls and loaded them onto trays, which he carried down into the kitchen. The peace and quiet filled his body as he cooked the meat with various spices and ate it for himself. He continued until there was no more, each container empty, still bloody. He loaded it all in the dishwasher and turned it on, cleaning the kitchen to the last spot, even cleaner than it had been when he had arrived. Finally he went upstairs and to Annie’s bedside table where he opened a drawer and found her jewels. He took them all out and carried them to Leonard who was struggling now visibly with lack of air, although the plastic tube did keep him from being choked right away.

“A funeral for a prince awaits you,” Emmanuel said quietly, and one by one he slid thin chain necklaces and bracelets as well as smaller rings into the plastic tube, slowly blocking the airways completely. He kept his eyes on Leonard’s face, never blinking, observing each change in colour as he was slowly bereft of life. Muscles began cramping, his fingers twitched and spasms made his legs thrash against the mattress. Emmanuel rose and waited. It took five minutes for the last muscles to relax and a kind smile lingered on his lips before he cleaned the room of the plastic wrap and everything that could be traced back to him.

With the bag packed and slumped over his shoulder, he went back down into the kitchen. Upon the counter lay a list with twelve difference numbers, each with eight digits. He picked it up along with a ball-point pen, striking out the first sequence of digits, and smiling to himself, he left the house to set out to his car, disappearing into the night.

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