Stranger Danger by Shin Dee Lau

Ding dong, ding dong! What an annoying sound.

I was busy, preparing some fresh wine and meat in the kitchen with my apron on, so I threw of the apron and put the food in the fridge, rushing to the door. Looking out of the door hole, I found with two middle aged men on my doorstep, one holding a tire and the other with grease smudged all over his face and hands, holding two suit cases. Opening the door a slight creak, I inquired who they were and why they were here. "Very sorry sir, to bother you for your time, but we have simply ran out of gas and the tire has hit one of those dreadful nails, so we were just hoping that you would have any spare gas or could give us a ride to the nearest gas station." Before I could answer, the door was slammed back and I found myself not only thrown back on the floor but with a revolver stuck up against my side. "Shut it old man, and perhaps, just perhaps, we shall spare your petty life."

In the background, the radio started buzzing urgently. "Breaking news. Two robbers have just escaped from the Bank Royals, killing everyone who was inside at the time, taking $300 000 with them in two suitcases. Warning. They are reported to have escaped to the area near East Mondale, and are fully armed. Police are currently looking for the two suspects, so lock your doors and be ready to contact the police if you see any suspicious activity. This is a highly dangerous situation. We repeat, highly dangerous…"

"Please, sirs. Spare my life and I shall not report to the police."

"Ha, you must know who we are, but it does not matter whether you are alive or not. We will easily make sure you won't tell the police either way. We have no choice but to take up shelter here until everything has died down. Now, shut your mouth like we told you to, or else." I had no choice but to do so.

"I am so very hungry, sir. Care to get something for me?" he said menacingly.

I ran to the kitchen to get the wine and meat I had prepared earlier, hopeless and frightened. Their laughter trailed of behind me, sending the hairs of my back raising up in lightning speed. As I cowered in the corner, a brief thought came over my mind. I had to stay calm. The telly had always said that evil preyed on fear, and the least I could do was keep myself out of trouble. Then again, I had served in the army before…..

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"My my, what do we have here? Some good old French wine and fresh steak with spices. I think we've done ourselves right this time, my friend. To be honest, old man, we've noticed your house for quite some time. You don't live alone here, do you?" I merely sat down and told them that my wife and daughter had been killed in a car accident, so I had stopped working and was now living on retirement money. I watched as they chuckled to themselves, each taking a swig directly from the wine bottle. Since they were the barbarians that they were, they fought for the meat, to the point where they had almost forgotten about me. But no such luck, and the gun was soon aimed back my way. I had great doubts that this would end without someone dying.

Soon thereafter, by the time the sun had set and it was fairly dark outside, the gentlemen were fast asleep. There was froth on their mouths. You see, they weren't really just sleeping, they were dead. Smiling to myself, I pulled all the curtains together, turned on all the lamps, and slowly started dragging the bodies downstairs to the basement.

Besides the two newly acquired bodies, there lay a young business man whom I had also "collected". On him lay an open wallet that didn't have any money left in it except for a few coins. This wasn't all for the money, I reminded myself. Serving in the war as a soldier was considered honourable, fighting with the country, as a loyal citizen. Expected to come home, with chests held high, proud and significant, but never mentioning the innocents that had suffered. I, however, had changed. I discovered that I enjoyed the killings. Who cared about the country, when you could feel the rush of adrenaline through your body each time a blade went down, or a final scream of agony was cried? I thought of it as putting a useless human life… well, to use! Poison and entertainment are my game. And so, the killings went on, to whomever was unlucky enough to stumble upon my lair.

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Snapping back to reality, I hummed a song to a slow beat, dragging each of the bodies one by one, through a secret door in the wall that led to yet another, smaller basement full of bodies. I took my time sawing them into small, convenient, pieces. More room for more bodies, eh? Closing the door behind me, I set several bones aside, with meat still hanging on them, and a few pieces of good, solid meat that was very carefully chosen. I washed up the basement and cleaned my hands, making sure to use soap. I went back to open the suitcase, and pure happiness spread through me. I'd hit the jackpot this time. $300 000 was going to keep me a long way. Patting the suitcase lovingly, I skipped up the stairs when the door rang. Ding dong, ding dong! My, my, who could that be so late in the night?

A young couple that was distinctly from out of town stood before me, tired and defeat. "Hello, good sir. We are terribly sorry to bother you so awfully late, but we simply have lost completely where we are. We thought we saw a light on.....and were wondering if you would be so kind as to perhaps let us stay for the night? If that wouldn't be too much to ask of you?" I was running high on luck today. "Not a problem at all. Come in, come in! Make yourself at home. Why don't you hurry and come in before you catch a cold? I have some nice wine and steak for you..."

This old man, he played ten,
He played knick-knack once again;
Knick-knack paddywhack,
Give a dog a bone,
This old man came rolling home…..