It was a glorious night. So pretty. The fat, full, white-blue moon bringing light as bright as day to the worst parts of the city. It was such a beautiful moon and I was one of the few willing to fully appreciate it. It brought light and so much joy to me to see it smiling there in the sky. So unburdened. It brought all the beauty of the tropical night with it. The wild, soothing, and sea tinged wind whistling through the palm tree and brushing through the alleys, whipping through my hair, the reflection of that beautiful moon in the dark, black water, the bright pinpricks of angrily glinting stars.

This beauty spurred the Need. It, my Shadow, friend, voice, whatever it was. And so, tonight, I chose to indulge it.

I sighed. A long, happy, totally at ease sound. The razor-edged string was nigh invisible as I dropped it back to the ground. Luring and strangling her was surprisingly easy. You would think a hooker who had murdered four people would be a bit more cautious. Poor little thing. She hadn't even stood a chance. Well, she might not have been on the list if she hadn't had killed a 'client', a drug dealer, and a mother and her child, but that was not to the point. They did say drugs make you do weird things. Well, now I have to clean up my pretty little future piece of art. I smiled and flipped the body over. Her eyes were wide and her mouth was open and slack. She had long blonde hair and pretty blue-green eyes. How nice. I walked back to the burgundy Jeep that was parked out of sight. It had taken me a while to save up the money to buy it, but it was a really nice vehicle. I opened the back and retrieved the black bag that was filled with my artistic supplies. I dragged it back over to the body, casually glancing at my surroundings. What a nice little warehouse. Good and empty but with just enough of space. Cozy. I might just decide to rent it or something.

I stared at the girl long and hard before being struck by a wonderful idea for my next art piece. Her long blonde hair and sea green eyes reminded me of a mermaid. So that's what she would be. I would need to find a fish tail, but I knew just the place. I might be able to finish her tonight, in fact. I opened the box and pulled out a plastic bag, liquid stitches, a small bucket, a saw, salt, packing sawdust, ice, and plastic wrap. I spread the bag across the ground carefully and placed the bucket in the middle before pulling over some crates and tying the rope to a low rafter. I wrapped the other end around the girl's ribs, hoisting her so that she was directly over the bucket, feet occasionally brushing the edge of it. I scowled as the slice in her throat tore a little and sluggishly leaked more blood, like I didn't already have enough to worry about cleaning up. I pulled the top off of the liquid stitches and ran it over the thin, deep slice. I held her throat till it started to close back up. It would never heal, what with her being dead, but it would keep her from losing her head. I picked up the surgeon's saw. Now was the messy part. I took a deep breath and held her slightly swinging body still, placing the cool serrated edge of the saw a few inches below her belly button. I pressed in before moving back in forth, applying more and more pressure. The thickening blood gushed slightly at first, splattering the plastic bag bucket and me in a thick red sludge. I grimaced. I hated messes. I probably should have been a bit more prepared but it was a spur of the moment kill. Ah well. I stopped when the slice was about two inches deep. A gurgling, bubbling sound emerged from her gut, and I carefully wrapped a fist around the intestines that I could see through the slice. I tugged and gently coaxed the slimy coil. I grimaced. Contrary to what you might initially believe, I am not one for extensive gore, though occasionally it was called for. Sometimes, it was even fun, but intestines were just not my thing. I dropped the organ into the large bucket. Next, I carefully removed all of the lower organs, filling the bucket, before completely severing her hips and legs, leaving just the torso, arms and her pretty little head. I pulled the lower body to the edge of the bag before wrapping it in plastic and coating the severed part with salt, packing sawdust and ice. Keeps it fresher, you know. I looked back to the top half. It was still dripping. How much blood could be in such a thin body? Apparently a lot. I poured ice, sawdust, and salt into the gaping hole that used to hold most of her digestive system and reproductive organs. I wrapped the waist and hole in plastic wrap before untying the upper body. I half carried half dragged the torso to the black van that I had brought into the warehouse earlier. I dumped it into the back before returning for the lower half and black box. I wrapped the two halves in black plastic and slid them under the seats I covered the bucket and threw the plastic in a large black garbage bag and then into a dumpster. I found bleach and some rags and quickly wiped the area of blood splatter. Then I set off to find the next piece of my future sea creature.

The cheap open market on the west side of town usually had a couple of fish sellers. Whatever wasn't sold was tossed in a freezer in one of the local restaurants. A simple bargain or some petty theft and there we go. It was only a little after sundown, so most of the venders were still at it. I saw one particular man packing up. He was huge in comparison to my shorter, willowy build. His bands of muscle swam in his arms at the smallest of flexes. He was tan and a good two feet taller. His pushed the dark hair out of his eyes and bent to pick up a large crate. He began piling white bundles with a distinct stench. Fish. And big ones at that. Wonderful. I parked the jeep and practically pranced up to the monger. I shook my shaggy brown bangs out of my eyes and cleared my throat to get his attention. He hoisted up a particularly large fish end with a grunt and plopped it into the crate. "Whatcha' want? I'm done here," he asked gruffly.

I nodded to the four-foot-long fish tail blue and grey-green, with elongated scales barely in the crate, "How much for it?"

"It's just a marlin tail. But it's pretty big so I gander…'bout fifty," he smirked.

I flinched, he was obviously gouging me, but nodded and fished out my wallet. I plopped the bills into his hand. He counted it and grinned.

"Need me to take it to your car, Small-fry?"

My eyes narrowed, "No thank you." I didn't particularly like people who viewed size as a trophy. He nodded with a sarcastic chuckle and handed me the tail. I still had the build of a scrawny teenager but I was in much better shape. The fish tail felt about a hundred fifty pounds, but after it was situated across my arms it was fine. I carried it with no problem and plopped it next to the legs. I slammed and locked the trunk before setting off for my art studio. It was a small shack, used to be some hermit's smoke house, about fifteen miles out of town, abandoned and off the main road so no one ever went there. It was a nice work atmosphere. The solitude and peacefulness of the outdoors.

Perfect. That was the word. My two lives needed to be separated. And so I kept them that way. Why is my art so different? Why would I do this? I don't know what started the Need. I can't remember when it even started to begin with, no matter how hard I try. Maybe I don't really want to. No matter. Humans have always intrigued me, regardless. Fiction and Violence have also, to an even stronger degree. They inspired me. At first it was just thoughts put onto paper, drawings and painting of fantasy drenched over in blood. Then, when I was thirteen, it was missing neighborhood pets and strays and a sudden interest in taxidermy. Finally, when I was sixteen, it was a beautiful and petite girl in my class who looked exactly like Tinker Bell. Tiny, blonde, and full of attitude. I liked her. Perhaps she liked me, once upon a time. I dated her. I thought I loved her. And then I caught her cheating on me with a jock in the upper class. I was the weird, quiet art kid with questionable taste in music and hobbies. She was the popular blonde girl. Of course she didn't like me. And then there was that Need to see blood, to see death. I had wanted bigger game and now I had a reason. I let her go at first, but then I found her. They never found me or the pieces of the girl. So here I was. I was careful though. Neat. Tasteful. I do have a conscience, miniscule as it is. I would never ever kill a child. I would also never kill anyone whose guilt I could not prove. If there was anything to scream innocence, then I moved on to better game. Murders. Wife-beaters. Rapists. Drunken thieves. Really, no one would miss them. The police were only half-heartedly looking for me. I didn't kill until I felt that I had to. Eyes are the windows to the soul. I was fascinated by them. All serial killers had a signature right: a souvenir. I took up-close pictures of the eyes, it would be wrong to sully my art by removing them. I was smart. I calculated. I didn't feel a range of emotions like other people. I do feel them but they are muted. I can't feel extremes. I can feel happy but not ecstatic or joyful. I can be angry but not enraged. I can be disappointed and even sad but not depressed. I suppose that it makes it easier to live but at the same time, it is harder to make other people believe and accept me. I have to constantly act and front. Both of my biological parents are gone and I have no substantial memory of either, but I adored my foster parents; they are both dead now, a car crash, but I truly felt the strongest affection possible for them.

I pulled into the shack. "Come on, pretty girl." I grunted and hauled both bags out of the back. I dragged them inside of the empty blue painted wood room, covered in opaque plastic sheets, with a long table in the center. A tray sat next to it. I sat the two halves of the body on the table and went to retrieve my tools and fish tail. I sat them beside the table and arranged tools onto a tray beside the table, venturing to a closet in the right corner, second back shelf, for others; some of them were power tools. I would probably need the body to stay in the freezer until display time at the gallery. I flicked on a light switch and a single bar of bright whitish blue light flared from above me. I looked at the body. I really should have waited. I should have been more prepared or at least have waited to do the slicey-dicey part here. I mused, frowning at my complete lack of forethought. No matter; it was clean, and now I could focus.