So here is the first chapter of the full length novel Puma Dean. We will be serialising this over the next few weeks:
Even at the age of twelve years old, the main issue with your first kill is the fear of messing it right up to buggery.
There can be nothing worse for a potential serial murderer than meticulously targeting and trapping your first victim with perfect prior planning, only to get overpowered at the last minute and taken to the pigs by some interfering passer-by.
That’s why I chose a one-armed fat kid and a chainsaw.
Peter Houston was an unfortunate creature; an oxygen complexity at birth robbing him of his right arm and for the majority of his short life keeping him at the hard end of school fellows jokes and practical japes. A particular favourite being that of handing him his favourite cider ice-lolly from Junky Jim the ice cream man, then burning him with a flaming stick thus giving him the difficult decision of his lolly and a painful burn on his torso, or to drop his precious lolly and defend himself with his single arm. We used to call it Lolly or Life. Unfortunately he generally chose Life.
Which eventually became rather futile.
The graveyard at the rear of the local church was badly maintained, the majority of the tombstones cracked or fallen, shrubbery and bracken had taken over the once neatly kept grass and the outhouses which presumably once held the groundskeepers machinery now derelict and home to a thousand used needles and condoms.
Occasionally you’d find a mates big brother aimlessly fumbling around in an underage girlfriends blouse in the outhouses, at which point we’d watch, take notes and repeat the pillow talk to him in random conversation in front of his mother the next day.
‘Yes Mrs Brown it really would make me so content to hold your bulging washing for you.’
A strange look from his mother but a look of mortal fear and confusion from the unsuccessful mishandling illegal lover sitting watching the rugby just in earshot in the other room.
Still, the graveyard was the place to go to acquire all sorts of illegal experiences, so one I thought perfect for my first jump into the world of mass slaughter.
I spent around two months gaining Peters trust and became someone he considered to be his best friend. I admit this did not require a huge amount of planning as Peter was pretty desperate for friends and from memory my plan consisted of not burning him for two months. Anyways I gained his trust and friendship.
I’d fired the chainsaw up a few times in granddads shed and I knew it was loud but thought I’d be able to get away with it, due to the scrap yard sitting some fifty yards away from the designated killing floor. When I eventually get the baby running in the graveyard though it sounded like I’d set off a nuclear warhead.
With the cover of going to see Paul Jenkins brother trying to poke Melissa Jones later on and in the meantime graphitising the tombstones with some Latino hip-hop tags, we made our way across the fields away from the prying eyes of main road traffic and towards the back entrance of the graveyard via the unused high-school path and tennis courts.
‘What have you got in the bag Puma?’
‘Spraying and surveillance equipment mate.’
‘Cool, do you honestly think Paul’s going to do Melissa tonight then?’
Peter was nervously picking his nose and refusing to make eye contact.
I was struggling to carry a bag full of chainsaw and body-carrying equipment
‘I heard that Paul was trying to see Harriet Lewis’
‘No, Melissa all the way Peter.’
I carefully threw the bag over the fence and followed it, trying to keep the dull small talk going while battling with a heart rate of one seventy and a compulsion to kill the one armed bandit with my bare hands.
‘Don’t need help Puma, I can get over myself’
Three failed attempts later I yank the little piggy over the fence, grab my bag and hike off towards the graveyard.
‘This is going to be great’
‘You got that right kidda’
The out-building was a small brick creation of around six by six feet in floor space and around twelve foot in height. The roof which has presumably once been of wood, was mainly disassembled and crumbled by both the wear of time and the destructive nature of teenage layabouts.
I took out a half-used paint aerosol I’d brought for extra cover and slapped it into Peter’s left hand, gesturing towards an empty spot on the wall.
‘I don’t know what to spray Puma, you do it first.’
‘You go first, see what you can do.’
‘When are Paul and Melissa getting here?’
Impatient little piggy.
‘In a bit, just do some spraying first. I’ll go and check outside’
I stepped outside and took out a pair a rubber gloves, stepped into an old boiler suit and laid the chainsaw on the ground.
Taking a large breath to steady my nerves and to try and take my thoughts away from my trembling hands, I pulled my mums marigolds hard up my arm, letting each slap down on my tender wrists, buttoned up the boiler suit, slipped a balaclava on and looked down at the chainsaw.
This is the moment I’d remember forever. I could have simply put everything back in the bag and slipped back into the outhouse and watched Peter spastically spray some Lovebug Starski tag onto the side of some unused building, saying I’d heard someone coming, and disappear back across the fields towards home and watch the football results coming in on Football Focus while eating my dads pie lid.
But I didn’t have chance to make the decision.
In my moments of nervousness, I hadn’t noticed the aerosol ceasing to spray, nor had I heard a little fat one-armed child make his way around the side of the building. Nor had I noticed him watching me.
I looked up through my balaclava; badly fitted boiler suit done up to the chin and chainsaw in marigold-clad hands, and saw the eyes of my prey stare in disbelief.
Then the little fucker was off like a rabbit.
Trying to fire the chainsaw into life as I started after him, the thing dragging behind me like a broken plough, I slowly lost ground on my prey as he powered down towards the main road. On the forth attempt the chainsaw’s mechanism caught, burst into life with a roar of energy and spat out flaming globules of stinking petrol. The initial reverberation was so loud I nearly lost my footing but eventually, with the growling weapon in-hand, it gave me an extra yard of pace, something deep inside vibrating against my chest.
I screamed at the top of my voice.
Peter turned around and I could see what I’ve since described as ‘panic eye’, a pair of windows which have suddenly realised the severity of a situation.
He still had a good twenty yards on me and was only about a hundred yards from the safety of the main road. The one last chance I had was the obstacle he had in front of him; a small wooden fence with a thin strip of barbed wire across each slat. As Peter closed in of the fence, I noticed him looking over his shoulder at more frequent intervals, each one seeing me closing the gap yard by yard.
As he went for the fence he tried to jump it in one, using his one arm as leverage and springing both legs over the slippery light wood. This was it, the moment of truth.
He misjudged it.
His body crashed into the fence at full pace, bouncing back onto the ground with a thump.
I was on him in a second.
As I slid uncontrollably to a stop on the wet grass I brought the chainsaw around from my side and felt it hit the sodden mass of boy on the floor. I crashed into the fence and for a second thought I’d chop myself up with the out of control cutting device.
I got up quickly; made sure I was in one piece and looked back at the body on the floor.
Peter was in a ball, blood pouring from somewhere. He was mumbling and crying as I went over to him. It was difficult to make out where exactly I’d hit him but I guessed somewhere in the side and managed to cut very deep.
As he looked up he started to scream, almost making me drop my equipment. Panicking and quickly looking round for any random observers, I shouted at him to shut up.
So I cut his head off.
I didn’t plan to do this, it was a knee-jerk reaction. The only thing I could think of to make him stop screaming. And, to be fair, it did indeed stop him screaming.
I’d done it. No going back. This was the start of everything. My body was shaking like I’d never experienced before, I felt sick but also felt tremendous excitement. I vomited a couple of times between fits of laughter. All I had to do now was dispose of the body.
One of the biggest surprises to me about the whole process was how heavy and strangely weight-distributed a human head is. It was like carrying a small round tube television. I dropped it a couple of times when I first attempted to pick it up and watched as it rolled a couple of times on the grass like a bust footy, before coming to a rest on its back.
After turning off the revving blood-hungry chainsaw, I eventually managed to get the head along with the rest of the body into the sack I’d brought with me.
I dragged the sack to the edge of a small swamp I’d found a few days prior and slowly slipped the remains of the fat little lump into the murky depths, making sure it would sink with the addition of some large rocks which were nearby.
I put the boiler-suit, marigolds and balaclava into a second bag, which would later be incinerated near granddads compost heap, and made my way nervously but excitedly home.
I remember that day so well. When I got home there was a new episode of Prank Patrol on the telly and mum had made crispy pancakes, chips and processed marrowfat peas for tea.