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Short story: What Ishmael Wants

Worth 1000 words: Summer Herald will each day publish an entry in our short story competition. The winner will be announced on January 30. Picture: Simone De Peak.

ISHMAELhad always been fortunate. He had grown up on the wealthy eastern suburbs of Sydney. As an only child of a single parent he was spoilt and had his gluttony rewarded.

After finishing his law degree he married his college sweetheart, Amber.

The two soon moved into a small suburban home. But their marriage lasted little more than four years, ending when Amber suddenly abandoned their home and her married life. There were no children to consider and Ishmael seemed to move into his new status as a bachelor with remarkable speed.

Ishmael had never wanted the married life. It wasn’t exciting enough, nor did he long for a garden or picket fence. He had married Amber for one purpose, she was his and he wanted to keep it that way.

But now as a newly minted single man he was free from prying eyes, free to fully embrace his more unusual tastes. With the spectre of 30 looming, and with his growing contempt of his legal career,his hunger had never been stronger.

Amber wouldn’t be his one and only dirty little secret that he kept for the rest of his days. She would merely be number one.

His emptiness could not be satiated, though it could be filled, if only for a short period. If he would just feed his deepest desires. Desires that he thought that he had abandoned or forgotten years ago.

Every morning since Amber, he would awake consumed by thoughts of unbridled joy and ecstasy of a solace and of a release that he had thought unattainable.

Amber could now bear witness to his transformation. She could remain under the floor boards.

At first he had wanted to move her, but no one had questioned his story that she had simply abandoned the marriage. She could stay with him and soon with the others.

Ishmael had been freed from the husk that he once was and the life that he never wanted. His slanted shoulders and glazed-over eyes replaced by a new-found vitality. Born of excitement and enjoyment. His new life awaited and there were so many that he wanted to introduce himself to.

A simple glance a look of shared interest would be enough to allow him the freedom to feed his needs. The paved, bustling sidewalks afforded him the perfect opportunity to become one with the faceless masses. Though he would forever be alone. A lone hunter stalking.

Blonde hair and blue eyes were burned into his mind. Amber hadhad these attributes and he wanted to find them again. And again. He needed to replicate the emotions that he felt when he took her life. When he looked into her eyes and saw the fear and shock cloud over.

The disappearance of his unhappy wife had gone unheeded. She had simply needed to escape a life that she no longer wanted.

If more women were to disappear, the bodies would mount,and he really wanted them too.

But what could be worse than a budding killer being caught before he had the ability to experiment and grow. The chance to build a name for himself.If he was caught he wanted it to be years down the track when he had the notoriety, the fame.

Maybe he could manage a career where he remained unchecked and unchallenged and would become an urban legend, a bogeyman.

The answer to so many unanswered questions. Amber would stay with him always, but the others … he had to dispose of them. Cutting, burning, dissolving. He enjoyed the notion of the visceral sensation that these options afforded yet none offered a signature flair. Something that was his and his alone.

He was a wolf among the sheep. He was fast, he was lethal he could feel his physical power.

Every day since Amber’s death he felt more and more powerful.

His lungs were full of fire and he wanted others to burn.

They were weak and inferior, spending their lives in service. They didn’t have the strength to do the hard thing. The brutal, cruel, unimaginable thing. Those who didn’t have the strength –the will to survive – were little more than sheep that he would lead to the slaughter.

What did it matter if one or two or three more women disappeared?

They were nothing. He was giving them the opportunity to be part of something bigger to be part of him, to be part of his legend.

He had wanted this for so long and now with Amber, his loving wife he had taken his first step into this new world.

The rush of euphoria was intoxicating. He wanted more and more. He would pile the bodies high, feeding his needs with every new victim.

Picking and choosing who he wanted from the masses allowing his need for power and blood to fuel every facet of his life. Giving over to his base instincts and allowing them to take hold.

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