Disclaimer: I do not own Victorious, but if I did, this would be on HBO.
Cat had a secret.
Actually, Cat had a lot of secrets. They crawled around her feet like caterpillars, and she'd wiggle her toes and feel them squirm around. Little secrets, soft and small. But she had a big one, and this one was a butterfly. She always pictured it as one of those big blue ones, resting on her chest, wings slowly raising and lowering, proboscis unfurled to touch her bare chest , beady black eyes blank.
It was a pretty secret. It made Cat smile everytime she looked at it, it's tiny feet shuffling over her heart, tickling. She'd stroke it's wings sometimes, recalling the memories, that powder coating her fingertips, and they'd be shiny for days, and eventually that glitter, that shining urge would coat her skin and sink in, and that butterfly would swell a little bigger, wings raised. Everytime she stroked it, motes of memory would flutter into her mind, make that urge grow, until she shined with it, until her bones glittered and she had to. Memory wasn't enough. This butterfly was too still, too silent. She needed it's wingbeats against her. Cat's secret? She was a serial killer.
She didn't think of herself that way of course. Serial killers were mean, were scary. They were bad. Cat wasn't bad, she was just curious. They were almost accidents, every time. Despite her dealings in it, Cat didn't really understand death. These weren't real people, they were toys. It wasn't her fault that her games made them grow cold and still. They were purposeful accidents.
The first time really was an accident. She'd been seven, he'd been five. Her daddy wasn't as rich then. They'd lived in a comfortable part of Hollywood. No pool out the back, but she had a foyer that was big and cool and dark all the time, chandelier shining like icicles in the high ceiling. He was her neighbour. Frankie. He didn't have a pool either, but his mom had bought him a rubber one, bright aqua and yellow, crabs and fish and whales frolicking around the edge. He'd yelled to her over the hedge that separated their yards, voice high and excited, and she'd crawled through a gap, branches scraping her clothes, scratching her arms. He'd already been stripped to his speedos, legs skinny and pale, skin beaded with water, blonde hair slick and spiked. His mother was in the house, he said, tiny fingers thrusting towards the upstairs window, shades drawn. She was in there with daddy. Come play.
He'd started running, feet pattering on the emerald grass, dirt the colour of chocolate in messy patches where the grass had died. The sun had beat down hotly, squinting Cat's eyes, and he'd turned to her, hands planted on his narrow hips, thin chest stuck out proudly. Betcha can't catch me, slowpoke.
So Cat had chased him over the spiky grass, pebbles bruising her feet, and he'd squealed and giggled and ran, Cat's fingertips slipping across his slick back, raking, her brunette hair flying around her shoulders, strands stinging her eyes. Too slow, too slow. He'd called behind his shoulder, feet twisting in the grass as he ran circles around the pool, feet stained with shards of green. Eventually he'd ducked her, panting a little, flopping into the shallow pool. It was only a foot deep, two at the most. Cat barely even got the bottom of her white shorts wet when she jumped in, careless, foot kicking his arm. She'd jumped on his back, a grin on her face, knees squeezing either side of his waist, body weighing him down. She'd got him now! He wouldn't run anymore. She put her full weight on him, hand pressing into the back of his neck, forcing his face underwater. She'd scare him. She could feel his thin ribs heaving, spine flexing under her bottom. She wouldn't let him up yet! She giggled, imagining the look on his face when she climbed off. His hands scrabbled at the inflated edge of the pool, fingertips pruned and cold, body twisting under Cat's bigger form. But finally he stilled, and Cat thought he'd learnt his lesson, he'd given in, and she'd climbed off, water swooshing around her legs. But he hadn't turned around, he hadn't rolled onto his back and spit water at her, and eventually she'd nudged his shoulder, whispering softly to him. It wasn't until she turned him onto his back that she'd started to get a creeping sense of wrong, looming over her like a shadow from a shape she couldn't see, couldn't understand.
His eyes were wide and blank, the shine taken from his pupils and slathered over his eyeball, making it glassy, like the eyes of the deer head her daddy had mounted on the wall in his study. His lips were tinged an odd colour, shades of blue bleeding under the pink, face drained of colour. She'd pushed his shoulder, told him to stop goofing, nervous giggle seeping out from her tight stretched lips. But he hadn't moved, lips slightly parted, dull gleam of his teeth from between them. And all of a sudden, a no had bubbled up in her chest, like some great surge of gas erupting in a mud spring, spitting sulphurous fumes and belching, and she'd scrambled back, legs hitting the edge of the inflatable pool, rubber edge giving and spilling her backwards, a gush of water following her. Frankie's body bobbed at the movement, shoulder slipping back under the water to spin him around, form supine, face down, and she'd known then that the game was over. That this was bad, very bad, and she'd get yelled at and not allowed to go to the zoo, and she'd have to apologise, and apologies twisted in her mouth like snakes and always came out mangled and awkward.
She'd ran, panicked, back across the grass, worming through the hedge, branches like hands tugging at her clothes, telling her to go back and wake Frankie up, that it was just some joke he was playing that she didn't understand. Her heart pounded sickly in her chest, so hard she could taste it in her throat, blood rushing giddily, a feeling of terror, or maybe elation coursing through her. Some emotion that tickled her very nerves, and whether it was fear or triumph, she wasn't sure. She couldn't sort them apart yet. Maybe it was both. She'd won the game for good. She got the same feeling when she'd ridden that rollercoaster, and the car had gone up, up, up, and she'd seen the track drop sharply, stretch way down below, and the scream that had been ripped from her mouth contained both joy and sheer, raw panic.
She'd kept her usually talkative mouth shut, from the moment she heard his mother's scream. Cat had clasped her hands in front of her, wet clothes shoved in the bottom of her closet, new ones put on. A pink shirt with a fluffy white poodle on it. She liked this shirt. But no one ever asked her about it, beyond saying that Frankie had gone away, that he was in a better place. She even started to believe them. They seemed so sure he wasn't here, that it wasn't him she'd seen zipped up in a black bag, stretcher bumping over the grass, two tall paramedics with blue gloves and sunglasses moving so slowly. She'd tilted her head, watching his mother, her eyes rimmed red, fist raised to her mouth, and Cat had wondered if she was keeping that happy scream in too. It was an accident, one of those sad things that just happen. That mother should've kept a better watch on her child. That's what Cat's mom had said, eyebrows plucked thin, arched so she didn't have to make a concious effort to judge someone; it was already built in. That was Cat's first brush with death, and she was expecting something huge and scary. A skeleton in a big robe looming over her, scythe glinting. But it was nothing. She didn't feel sad Frankie was gone, she never liked him all that much anyway. He still wet his bed, and sometimes he smelled like corn chips, and he'd hurt her dog Oscar's leg once, and made him yelp. She didn't miss him.
It didn't take long for her to forget it had even happened. It became some buried memory in the graveyard of her mind. Until the day it was unearthed, so violently. It was so big, Cat had even looked for a big enough word for it, to describe this flash, this realisation.
She'd had a revelation.
Her daddy was a plastic surgeon; one of the best in Hollywood. If a woman (and it was usually women), went to him once, they usually came back. Cat thought it was because her daddy was so handsome. He made the ladies feel good about themselves, kept their faces frozen at their most beautiful. He said he brought them back their youth, the happiest times of their lives for them. When she was eleven, he'd announced one Saturday that he was taking them all to a wax museum. He'd said he'd gone all the time as a kid, that it was what made him get into plastic surgery; sculpting the age from faces, immortalising someone, at least outwardly.
Her brother had pinched her in the backseat, Cat squealing sharply every time he did, their mother twisting with her sharp eyebrows telling them to knock it off. Cat didn't understand her brother. He spent all day in his room, buried in comics, in video games. He was older than her, heavier, hair black like her father's. His nose was shorter than hers, almost piggish, eyebrows thick and heavy, lips thick, a crudely carved caricature of her father's own smooth good looks.
They'd gotten there finally, Cat peering out the window at the large building, a gaudy sign over the entrance. She felt an odd excitement tremble in the pit of her stomach, to see all these frozen people. The first ones she saw were crude; were the oldest wax models made, their faces blank, hair not quite right, clothes sitting oddly. They were lifelike, but something about them crawled over her skin, made her shake her head just slightly, as if to disagree with some whispered argument that they were indeed human.
Her father's voice murmured in the back of her brain, softly intoning every step, every process that went into shaping these figures. All that work to capture a moment. A snapshot brought to life. The newer made models scared Cat. Not like the first ones had, with their eerily-human-yet-not-quite appearance. No, these ones scared her with their silence. She'd held her breath, her parents and her brother moving ahead, and waited to hear a breath, to see the wax figure's chests rise. To see them break from their still positions, and finish the motion they were captured in. They were perfect. And then her mother had called from ahead for her to catch up. If she stayed behind, they might just make her into one of the wax figures. That's what they did with the bad little girls.
Cat had stared at one in particular, the churning cogs of her mind growing febrile. Not a celebrity, caught in a pose for the imaginary cameras, but one from the horror movie room. Some were caught mid-attack, blood trickling over their cheeks, lips wrenched back in a silent scream. They made Cat's heart race, made her tongue run out over her lips and her fingers pluck at a lock of hair, twisting it. But this one was different. It was a woman, throat slit, great ribbons of blood starting to gush from the slash, body caught just as it started it's collapse. Her face wasn't terrified, she wasn't screaming. Her eyes were wide, reflecting the soft lights in the room, lips slack. There was the tiniest hint of a ripple in her brow, starting to fade as death took over her. Her knees were buckled slightly, jeans wrinkling, hands out-turned as if in a gesture of appeasement. Cat had tilted her head in front of this woman, fascinated at the expression on her face. This snapshot of death. It stirred something in her mind, a similar memory.
Frankie. His image bubbled into her brain like some balloon, let loose from a child's hand into the sky of Cat's memory. He'd looked the same. Eyes wide, glassy, limbs limp, like some marionette waiting for a puppeteer. He'd had that same slightly confused look, terror erased by death's gentle hands, smoothing away the lines and wrinkles just like her own daddy's hand did. Cat felt her heart lurch sickly, and that revelation burst over her, glowing and bright. It was perfect. This was... this was truth. Her juvenile mind desperately waded through the morass of he thoughts, trying to pick what limited words she had to describe this revelation. This was the true person. Smiles could fade, frowns could lie, but this instant, this dying moment, plucked away emotions and showed their soul. It took away everything, including humanity, and left this gaping hole Cat toed the edge of, trying to comprehend. It kept them forever as themselves, ripped away the curtain of influence, of change. It kept them perfect. Cat had seen, and only Cat, that last spark of life fade away, that truest moment that revealed Frankie's soul, and it wasn't scared, it wasn't angry, it was the most pure thing she'd ever seen. Her mind built constructs around this moment, skinned it and pinned it and traced every vein in the taut hide. It grew glowing and perfect, and she wondered vaguely what her daddy's true face was like, what her brother's was. What their souls looked like, in that very last moment. It was beautiful, this truth, and she'd stared back at the dying wax woman, even as her mother dragged her away, face exasperated. Wrinkled with emotion, despite her husband's efforts. Her mother came closest to this true self, the women who went in tired and came out blank came close, but they were just blank canvases, sheets smothering that glow of soul that Cat had seen. That fading light in someone's eyes, that odd tenseness of muscles. She wanted to see it again.
When she went to sleep that night, the thought played in her mind. She wanted to see that beauty, that true self, just once more. She wanted to see past the terror, past the joy, past the emotions that stained everyone's personality, and just see their true self. The same thing she knew God saw when they went streaming up to heaven, forms incorporeal. Just once more.
A/N: I thought I'd try something different. So after learning how to ride a unicycle while juggling pies, I wrote this.
Please let me just say, that I am not actually a serial killer.
I've only ever killed that one person.
And that other one was a total accident. He fell on my knife. Twenty six times.
Anyway, no convictions!
So review, or there could a lot of accidents going on soon, capiche? :P