His Witness

By: Vanessa Waltz

But Ben knows too much. He knows how much I like this shit, knows it won’t be quick and painless, no matter what I promise. Tears leak out of his eyes and his small body racks with pathetic sobs. Deep, gasping sounds that make Vincent squirm.


This happens sometimes. I’ve heard about it happening in war, too. You always see it in the movies. Soldiers dying everywhere, spending their last breaths screaming for their mommies. Well, it’s not fiction. It happens. Extreme fear and blood loss do strange things to the brain.

I don’t like it when they do it. That’s why I usually muffle their voices, but in this case I let him scream. We need him to talk.

Vince curls into himself and swears under his breath, ironing his face with his hands.

How can he feel pity for this asshole? He’s just as bad as we are. We all deserve this.

I work on his hands then, knowing how painful that area under your fingernail is. There are special tools I use. A thin, long piece of metal with a razor-sharp tip, as broad as your fingernail. I dig, dig, and dig. Soon his screams are shaking the table and he’s thrashing so hard, I’m afraid he’ll rip out the restraints. He’s like an unbroken horse. Jesus.

“What did you tell them, you rat fuck?” I scream right next to his head.

Great, heaving breaths shake from his throat. “I told them—I told them about the coke dealing at the strip club, but that’s it, I swear!”

“Oh, fuck me.” Vince grips his hair, his eyes wide. “What exactly did you tell them?” he bellows. “Ben!”

“I can’t! I can’t!” Ben closes his eyes and cries like a baby. It’s a high, shrill sound that makes my ears ache. He might as well be a cow screaming before slaughter.

I set the tool down and pick up a knife, and Ben lets out an even louder wail.

Giving up, Vince throws his hands up, shaking his head. “Just fucking kill him.”

“I’m not done with him, Vince.”

A steely look comes over his face. “Just do it,” he spits out.

Make me.

A grin spreads over my face. With this knife in my hands, he’s not making me do fuck all. I want to sink this blade right between that fucker’s ribs, and I’m crazy enough to do it. He knows it. I look right at him.


He tenses. “No? What the fuck did you just say to me?”

Vince eyes the knife in my hand. I realize that behind his thinly veiled disgust, there’s fear, too.


“I make a lot of fucking money for you, Vince. I only ask for one thing in return: I handle the hits.” The gleaming knife twists in my hand as white-hot anger clenches my jaw, making my face hot. “If you can’t take it, get out of my room.”

“Tommy, this is fucking sick.” His dark gaze lingers on Ben’s pale body, which trembles violently as blood leaks out of him.

Then get the fuck out of my room, pussy!

“I earned this, and I need it.”

Vince’s eyes glitter strangely as he looks at me for several long seconds. I can feel the judgment rolling off him in waves, which is fucking precious. He swallows hard, nods, and walks out the door. Ben moans horribly when it closes. The last flicker of hope in his eyes dies when Vince leaves. He knows he’s fucked.

I start to work on him in earnest. He goes quiet when I’ve extracted every single scream that I can. They all go quiet in the end, and only then do I kill them. With the knife, I swipe open his carotid artery, and he’s dead in seconds. Dark-red blood spills sluggishly from his neck. There’s blood all over the goddamn floor.

What a mess I’ve made.

A wave of exhaustion hits me when I clean it all up and give the other associates his body parts to dispose. It’s a catharsis. I don’t glory in the gore of it at all. I don’t like seeing the blood, the fibers of muscle tissue, bone, or any of that shit. It’s the violence that gives me relief from the anger poisoning my blood. It’s as if there’s a monster banging on my ribs, clawing to get out. If I wait too long in between kills, he takes over me. The rage consumes me, and I snap. I hurt people who don’t deserve to be hurt.

I wash my arms in the sink outside the room, but more blood keeps dripping from my soaked shirt, so I tear it off and shove it in the bag with Ben’s arms and legs. I grab one of the deli’s white t-shirts and pull it over my head, growling when several dots of blood bloom on the shirt like pinpricks. Goddamn, that fucker got all over me.

Then I wring my hands out and push open the double doors to the back of the store. I feel like a doctor delivering bad news to a large family in a waiting room. Their eyes avoid me completely. They know my arrival means Ben is gone.

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