Pretty Young Thing- A Short Story

In the winter of 2006, 29-year old Timothy O’ Riley was arrested on suspicions of the torture, rape, and mutilation of 15 women throughout the 5 boroughs of New York City. 5 years later Timothy was tried and convicted of each case, sentenced to 15 life sentences. He died in prison  of a heart attack at the age of 55. A day later while his old cell was cleared away, a guard found a yellow legal sized notepad hidden in a crack in a wall. The contents of the notepad explain that there had been one more victim Timothy was never put on trial for- his first victim. This is his retelling of the encounter…

I can still smell the raspberry shampoo she used. Her golden brown hair shimmered in the sun, her skin glowed with youthful exuberance. She was a delicious first victim. Put up a fight. I later realized that’s what I wanted- if the woman didn’t put up a fight then the kill would lack satisfaction. But they all were good girls, letting me hear their last gasps of breath, the light flicker away from their eyes.

I met her while shopping for my daughter in the Queens Center Mall in some little boutique that sold jewelry for cheap. My daughter was seven- when I met her she had been twelve. I didn’t introduce myself, never even spoke a word. Rain was beating the pavement outside. It had begun to soak the streets around noon- it was past three in the afternoon when our paths crossed. I knew I wanted her as soon as I saw her.

She went up to the register to pay. I rushed to be behind her. The cashier asked for her name, number, and address  so that she could be added to a mailing list, to which she gave. I committed this to memory: Jasmine. A pretty young woman with golden skin and smelled of cocoa butter. Jasmine stood at about five feet with me towering behind her at six foot one. I could smell the raspberry in her hair, my groin began to twitch. I didn’t act. I don’t know how I was able to control myself for so long. The urge was strong- too strong- to function. Jasmine walked out of the store, but not from my life.

Two nights later while working from home I decided to call her. I pretended to be a wrong number. I lowered my voice to sound younger although my features took care of that just fine. I also knew for this to work I had to talk like the young kids, gain her trust.

“May I speak to Mike, please?”

“No Mike here, sorry.”

“Wait. You sound mad pretty. What’s your name?”

Jasmine giggled. My groin strained in my jeans. She introduced herself and said, “I have to go.”

“You gonna call me back?” I asked.

Giggling she said, “sure.”

Ten minutes later my phone rang. It was Jasmine. We talked for a half hour, beginning to establish the connection needed. The charade went on for a month. The day we officially met was a bitter night in January. We ate at a diner in Brooklyn, where she lived, and then went back to her place. Her parents and sister were out for the night. I only had this opportunity to see her because she couldn’t get out of an after school event. With the apartment to ourselves we watched TV in her living room, kissed, fondled one another. I wanted her that night but the timing was wrong. In fact, her age was wrong. I needed her to be a bit older.

The papers were right- I am calculated. Each of my victims had already been someone I knew. I perfected the craft by practicing on Jasmine. I met each girl at the same age as her but killed them at varying ages. They were like wine to me- I needed them to be vintage- lived life, so to speak.

I watched Jasmine graduate middle school and then high school. Just like all the others. She, unlike the others, got by on her looks to get through life. Jasmine was smart but nobody took her serious enough. So she used her sex appeal. At the time of her untimely death she was a waitress at a club in Manhattan. The young people have a term and stereotype for her occupation: bottle girl. These “bottle girls” were said to give sexual favors to men in the VIP area. I have witnessed such a thing on many accounts. The trips she bragged about via social media, the items she purchased- they came from the pockets of men she was doing a service for.

Jasmine could have been anything in the world. She loved ballet at the time we met. She still did when I took her life. But she chose to be on her knees. Wasted potential. But that isn’t why I killed her. As I said, she was the only one of my victims who had chosen this path. The most common links each girl has with one another are how long we had been acquainted, their skin tone, and hair color. That’s why she was chosen.

The night I killed Jasmine had been a bitter, cold night. The wind bit any exposed skin with its tiny razor-like teeth, your nose bled mucus and it ran down your lip. Even under the warmest jacket you were robbed of comfort. Jasmine and I met after she got off work for dinner. She had moved from Brooklyn to Washington Heights to be closer to work. After a seafood dinner had fattened our stomachs we took a cab to my car in The Bronx where we drove to City Island. Little did she know this is where I lived. I believe it’s how I had been able to elude police and FBI for as long as I did- they were looking for a man who lived in Brooklyn which is where the pattern later had started and for the most part occurred.

My daughter was with her mother that night. She and I were not on good terms which had been a negative towards my own safety, but I hadn’t realized this at the time. But it was easily fixable.  I had a boat under my ex-wife’s name. The pier was not under twenty-four hour protection. Why would it be? City Island is a quiet, peaceful area. Nothing ever happens there.

I took the boat out as far as High Island, which houses radio towers used for CBS, and cut the engine. Jasmine and I embraced, our lips touched. Before she knew it my hands were wrapped around her throat until she lost consciousness. When she came to she had been tied to one of the radio towers. The look of worry, fear, and resolve washed over her face under the pale moonlight. The sky was clear, the air smelling of salt, the wind taking large, chunky bites.

“Timmy, what are you doing?” She asked as she surveyed her surroundings. Her voice was pleading but her eyes knew, or had some clue, to what was about to transpire. I didn’t say a word as I revealed a hunting knife. The blade shimmered in the light of the moon.

“Timmy, please,” Jasmine said, and the blade quickly cut into her right cheek. She didn’t yell but began fighting through the restraints. The blade then cut into her left cheek, deeper this time. Jasmine cried out finally. Like a good girl. I threw salt water on her face and she yelped in pain. At the same time I cut into both sides of her abdomen. Blood was running down her face, her shirt caking with water and blood while blowing in the wind. I cut into her thighs next and Jasmine continued to attempt to free herself from the restraints. We remained there until five the following morning with the cycle repeating but the cuts getting deeper.

Our eyes met just before I dug the blade one final time into her skin. She wanted to save herself but the flicker of wanting to die had passed over her face like a shadow. Her hands twisted in desperation but the whimpers that escaped her throat told me “please kill me.” They all had that look in their eye. I ended her suffering but it was slow, painful, with the sun rising behind me.

I chopped up her body and returned to land. Growing up, Pelham Bay Park had always had this mystifying force- it felt as if there was evil hidden underneath the shrubbery. I chose to scatter Jasmine’s remains there. Later I decided to dump the bodies at the halfway marker of City Island and Pelham Bay Park. In typical fashion, the New York Post dubbed me The Gordon’s Fisherman. The company’s stock had begun to show signs of decline because of this. The name has stuck last I checked. As I write this Hernandez, one of the guards assigned to my cell block, helps me keep tabs on my legacy. That is what is written all over the internet. I also took notice that Jasmine has never been found. I’m sure once this confession is discovered that will change.



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