Disclaimer: The scenario belongs to Showtime. The concept and tone belong to Jeff Lindsay. The words belong to whoever invented words. The order in which the words appear belongs to me.
Author's Note: Missing moment that takes place during 2x10, "There's Something About Harry." There's violence. Because, you know, it's Dexter.
Be Not Proud
His left hand is first.
Ever so gently, I slice it off. He wakes up quickly after that.
As his eyelids flutter open, the man sometimes known as Christopher Harlow whimpers and moans. Perhaps he is too delirious with sleep and drugs to scream, but I do not think he is a screamer anyway. I can usually tell when they are, and I have to be in a certain mood to deal with that sort of person.
I am not in such a mood today. Harlow is lucky; without the irritation of his screams driving me to distraction, I can give each of his limbs the quality time that they deserve.
As I see him come more fully awake, I strip the duct tape from his mouth.
"Where's Jimenez? Where's my snow?" he says immediately, then blinks up at me. He tries to lunge at me, but my tape holds him flat on his back. "And who the fuck are you?" he adds, almost as an afterthought.
I am genuinely amused by this, and favor him with a smile. "Your priorities astound me," I tell him.
"Let me go, asshole," he snarls. Evidently my sense of humor is lost on him.
I cast a meaningful glance at our surroundings, letting him see through my eyes the plastic-covered cabin walls, the tape that binds him to the table, and the bloodied blade in my hand. I consider his request a moment longer, then sum up my answer in one word: "No."
As if disappointed that his demand did not actually change my mind, he lets out a sound of frustration, which quickly becomes a moan of pain. At first, the pain confuses him, as it often does when they have such powerful drugs in their systems. I watch curiously as he takes stock of his body, and realization dawns on his face. He tries to move his severed wrist into his line of vision, but the tape prevents it.
"What did you do to me?" he says, panic creeping into his voice.
"I cut your hand off," I inform him helpfully.
"You did – what – what the fuck!" I can see the full force of the pain hit him, and tears begin to squeeze out of the corners of his eyes. He begins to curse at me in at least two languages. But as colorful and creative as his expletives are (I do not think I've ever been called a molester of alligators before), his tone is becoming shrill and grating.
Annoyed, I tear off a new strip of duct tape, and place it over his mouth.
"If you scream," I tell him, "you won't be allowed to talk at all. It's very rude." He stares at me, eyes wild.
"Jesus fucking Christ," comes a low baritone from behind one of my plastic walls. I pause, staring in incomprehension at the human-shaped shadow on the plastic sheet, before I remember and chuckle to myself. Lost as I've been in the intoxication of having a new playmate, I have almost forgotten that Doakes is still there, able to hear, but not able to see.
The truth is, I have never allowed anyone to watch me work. Ever. The ritual is too private, too personal to share with anyone but my chosen playmates. Not to mention that the only people capable of valuing the artistry of my vocation are usually the sort of people who end up on the receiving end of it.
Harlow's eyes flick toward the cage, and I sigh. "That's just Sergeant Doakes," I explain wearily. "He is about to kill you, only he is too squeamish to watch, let alone do it himself."
His brows furrow in what I assume is confusion. I don't blame him; he doesn't know my history with the great sergeant, after all. But none of that matters.
"Now," I say, "let's talk about you. Drugs, theft, kicking puppies when you were a child, the usual things. That's fine. But you've killed people, haven't you?"
Taped as he is, he cannot answer, so he gives me a muffled "Mmph" sound. I remove the tape, warning him that if he screams, he will lose not only the privilege of further speech, but also this once-in-a-lifetime confession opportunity.
He curses softly as the tape pulls free, then spends a few quiet seconds assessing the situation. "What do you want to know?" he says pleadingly. "I don't wanna lose the other hand."
"I want to know who you've killed. How many. And why."
Almost instantly, he starts rattling off names. "Five, that's all, I swear," he says. "It was all 'cause of the drugs. You know how it is, right? Please don't hurt me anymore, okay?"
"Five," I say. "That's quite a lot. Me, I've killed more than that. I'm sure Sergeant Doakes would be happy to tell you just how many."
I pause, in case Doakes wants to join the conversation. Nothing but silence.
"Not that it really matters," I continue as I hover over my tools, trying to decide which might be best for his knee. "What matters is why you are here. To be honest, I had no idea who you were until you texted Jimenez about your drugs. I killed him too, you know, in the same place that I'm about to kill you."
"...my fucking snow..."
Even I am taken aback by this. Usually after they become fully aware of what is happening to them, they can think of nothing else but their very finite future. But this! This is impressive.
"Don't worry," I say grandly. "I'm sure they'll welcome you on the giant cocaine mountain in the sky. Now, let's see about getting you there."
I replace the tape over his mouth, then test a large carving knife against the skin of his knee. It isn't right. I don't know why, but it isn't. I select a smaller blade, taking a moment to feel its weight in my hand. Ah. That's the one.
I sink the blade into his flesh. Later I will use the saw on the bone, but for now I carve around it. The muffled sound of his attempt at screaming reaches my ears, but I bat it away like a moth. I am lost in the breathless wonder of his muscle, skin, and blood.
Alternating between my small blade and my saw, I finish his knee. Something inside me suggests that I cut his other leg at the ankle. I do, and this time my first carving knife serves me nicely.
As he has requested, I leave his other hand intact.
Finally, when he passes out from pain and shock, I bring my largest butcher knife down upon his windpipe, neatly guillotining him. He dies with a loud gurgle, and I shiver dreamily.
I finish my work in the peaceful quiet that always follows death. Wind rustles through the leaves of the trees outside. Moonlight creates shadow outside the windows, and illuminates the rippling water of the Everglades. I bask in the perfection of the moment. Until I remember that Sergeant Doakes is lurking in the room.
For now, I try to forget him.
As I begin to pack the pieces of Christopher Harlow into my neat black bags, I am brought out of my blissful state by an odd sound, like someone choking. Retching, maybe, or even crying.
Well, really, who else would it be?
At first, I am annoyed at him for ruining the moment, as he has ruined so many others. But as irritating as he tends to be, he is still human, and as such I suppose he is entitled to feel the things that other humans feel in response to death. I listen for a moment, trying to determine what exactly he is doing, but I can't tell. It doesn't really matter, anyway.
"One life for five," I muse aloud, covering up his odd little noises. "Do you really think he'll be missed? Do you know how many others he might have killed?"
"Forty-six?" comes the soft, choked reply. Touché, Sergeant.
"Forty-six at least," I say, because even though point is accurate, his number is not. There was Brian, after all. "But I wonder how many they would have killed if I hadn't gotten there first. Hundreds, maybe? But that doesn't matter. All that matters is that I got them instead of you. If you'd gotten them, you'd probably get a promotion. Me? I get an FBI investigation."
I pause, listen. Nothing.
"I understand, though. I have my code, you have yours. Mine is more efficient, that's all."
"But it's sick..."
It's a word that he's used before, and I think I know what he's getting at. When he sees death these days, it's usually clean, industrial, and over as fast as possible. A bullet to the brain, a lethal injection, an overpowering electrical current. He doesn't like the idea of turning it into an art form.
Few people do.
I can't help it, though. Some people like golf. Some people like sushi. Some people like watching other people die.
I don't know how to begin explaining this to him, so I don't even try. Instead, I am distracted again by the sensation that this kill could have been perfect – would have been perfect – if only Doakes hadn't interfered. Everything was just so. Harlow hadn't even bled more than necessary. He'd been so obliging.
I take a deep breath, wishing I could recapture that blissful feeling once more before I finish packing Harlow into the bags. I shut my eyes, blocking out Doakes's silhouette against the plastic. But that isn't enough. I take a deep breath, and a gust of cool nighttime air curls into my lungs. That's it.
"Don't worry," I say vaguely to Sergeant Doakes. "I'll be right back."
Silently, stealthily, I open the cabin door and slip into the night. The stink of Harlow's blood is fainter now, fading into the almost imperceptible Florida breeze. Shadows dance around me. I spy the moon, hanging fat in the sky, and we nod at each other: job well done. For one more satisfying moment before I go back inside, I am a predator at peace.