My story published on National Flash-Fiction Day’s Flash Flood.
Derek fed on insignificance. Nobody cared about some fuck-object, like Ginger or Lily. Nobody cared about Holly with track marks. Allen with no home left no one worrying. Nobody cared about Derek, either. He was just another nameless one of seven billion.
Snuffing out a human was like blowing a dandelion apart. To Derek, the kick was seeing the pieces – that was his province; his craft.
As best he knew, he was always like this. When he was a kid, he brought his turtle to the neighborhood creek bed. He wanted to know what was under the shell. So, he took a hammer and cranked the shell off.
Then he wanted to know what was behind the eyes.
He asked his mother for another one. He couldn’t ask for a new mother after he wanted to see what was beyond her hazel eyes. She was his first. The mother usually is – the point of gestation; it’s kinda poetic when you think about it.
“Your temper is going to get you in trouble someday, son,” his dad always used to say to him. Father was a small man, small-minded and small-willed. Survival of the fittest would have left him behind, as a withering old man.
Derek didn’t want to be anything like his father. He had ambitions, goals and an insatiable curiosity. He wanted to see nature’s fingerprints on everything.
Naturally, he wanted to go further; the lepers of society were too easy. He moved to the suburbs, like a cancerous growth. People in the suburbs thought they had erected a shell to keep the monsters away. It wasn’t the inner-city or the expansive countryside. Neighbors, lawns, dogs, newspaper deliveries created an air of normalcy that defied nature. Derek was nature’s way of correcting the imbalance.
There was a thrill in standing inside a living room adorned with family portraits and apple prints on the wall, knowing the destruction about to occur – the destruction that would erode the weak façade. It made him feel like a God.
But that was his undoing. He was sloppy, just like with the turtle. And kept hammering and hammering until the police were putting Taser prongs into his back and chest. He was still pumping on adrenaline and felt like he could have snapped the handcuffs like the god he was. He didn’t.
He now sat on death row. Drawing pictures of flowers, like dandelions.
That was fine. Destruction was nature’s way, even with Derek.