Thursday, March 19, 2020

Microstory 1324: Hillside Hangings

Police Captain: Do you know who I am?
Hillside Hangman: You appear to be the captain.
Police Captain: That’s right. But I wasn’t always a captain, ya know?
Hillside Hangman: Really? You weren’t born into the title?
Police Captain: My detective says you confessed to a number of murders; enough to put you away for life, and then some.
Hillside Hangman: I held out as long as I could, but when you got me, you got me.
Police Captain: Right. So, you killed eleven people?
Hillside Hangman: That’s right. I never had the chance to get December’s. You let me out for a few hours, though, I’ll take care of it for you. Might be better for you to have a nice, perfect number to pin on me. They might even extend my sentence.
Police Captain: I’ll think about it. Why don’t you take a look at these photos? Do they look familiar?
Hillside Hangman: Oh yes, of course. These were done by my idol—my hero. I based all of my own work on his. Do you know who he is? Could I meet him? I hope he’s proud of me.
Police Captain: I believe you already have met him.
Hillside Hangman: Really?
Police Captain: Insomuch as a thing like that is logically possible. The first of these murders took place in 1989, when you were only seven years old, does that sound right?
Hillside Hangman: Yeah, I remember watching the news. I was so fascinated by what he was doing to those people. I obviously couldn’t measure up to him back then, and I desperately pushed the urges deep down inside, but something in me just broke last winter. I think it was that documentary that came out about the original Hillside Hangman. He just reminded me who I was, and what I wanted to do with my life. I owe everything to him.
Police Captain: You were just released from prison back in March of last year, correct?
Hillside Hangman: Simple misunderstanding.
Police Captain: One hundred and eight people. The Hillside Hangman killed one hundred and eight people. He is one of the most prolific serial killers in the entire history. He was never caught, but he didn’t finish his last year; he just...disappeared. And there was that one year he missed a month.
Hillside Hangman: Most say he died.
Police Captain: Yep, that’s what they say. Either way, a hundred and eight is so profoundly impressive.
Hillside Hangman: So you can see why I admire him so much.
Police Captain: Oh, no doubt. The timeline is funny though. I looked back at your records. You beat your high school girlfriend half to death in 1998. You were tried as an adult, and sentenced to twenty years for aggravated assault. You never got parole, and in fact, they had to add a little time for bad behavior.
Hillside Hangman: I struggled in those early days, but I knew my life would be so much better when I finally got out, and followed my dream to become the new Hillside Hangman.
Police Captain: I thought you said something happened last winter? Something broke? But now you’re telling me you were planning on doing this while you were still on the inside?
Hillside Hangman: ...
Police Captain: You were always a really strong kid, right? They diagnosed you with some sort of condition I can’t remember, and probably couldn’t pronounce. You were, like...really strong?
Hillside Hangman: What are you getting at?
Police Captain: I was a detective when the first Hillside Hangman case was ongoing. I wasn’t the only detective assigned to it over the years, but I got closer than anyone. I saved what was meant to be number eighty-three’s life, because I figured out your mapping pattern, and got to her before she died. You were gone by then, but the brass was so impressed with me that I ultimately walked away with a promotion. That’s why I’m here now, talking to you, about something that always bothered me about that case.
Hillside Hangman: Well, you never caught him, so that must eat you up.
Police Captain: Eh, that’s disappointing, but it was a hard case. Your pattern was almost impossible to decipher, and when you realized I had, you adapted and changed tactics. I don’t blame myself for not catching you sooner.
Hillside Hangman: Me? No, you’re confused, Captain. I’m the new Hillside Hangman, but we both agreed I was far too young to have been involved with the originals.
Police Captain: No, we agreed that you’ve always been a psychopath, that you’re incredibly intelligent, and that you were a physically strong child.
Hillside Hangman: What are you talking about?
Police Captain: The rope the hangman used. It was thin. Kind of expensive. Readily available, and impossible to trace, but...not what you would expect from someone who hangs living victims in trees. They always kind of looked a little...too modern. They were actually reinforced with glue, which just added to the cost, and took much more effort. But then we found you, and now I understand why. Like I said, you were a strong kid...but you still had small hands. You’re under arrest for a hundred and twenty counts of murder, not eleven.
Hillside Hangman: Wait, your math is wrong. Even if you’re right, one-oh-eight plus eleven is only one-nineteen.
Police Captain: [whisper] I know about your little brother’s girlfriend in 1988 too.

No comments :

Post a Comment