And Then She Was Dead – a Short Story

She didn’t even know she was being watched.

Oh, she had been watched before. Selma Watkins had been watched by men…maybe her whole life. She had the type of features that, well, honestly the kind that you didn’t look away from. But this night was different. This night, above all others, was the night that Tommy Hopkins was watching her.

From far away, at first. Tommy had known better. Then, from the windows across the street. Then, from the sidewalk that she walked past at 6:20 every night, as she left the office for her (routinely) late dinner. Tommy felt himself getting more and more comfortable as he realized how oblivious Selma was to her actual patterns.

Often (maybe too often as Tommy would think to himself), he would wonder of her boldness of walking alone. Tommy eyed her the way that hyper-obsessed men always eyed her. With a notice at first, then a passion. Then, an obsession.

Tommy Hopkins was obsessed.

At first, she noticed him like most women would.

“Why is this creeper staring at me from across the street?” she would ask.

“I’m scared,” she would say, and, “Who is this guy?” would follow.

Tommy Hopkins wasn’t the kind of guy to let some inquisitive little tramp ruin his day.

He had watched her – often.



Tommy Hopkins, as a matter of fact, was a serial killer.

Now, he didn’t see himself that way. Of course not. No, Tommy Hopkins thought of himself as a kind of hero.

Tommy thought he was doing good in the world.

Tommy thought he was cleansing the world of the trash that sometimes came through. The kind of trash that no one else could see, but Tommy could.

He felt bad. Not because of the murders (Tommy himself had done at least two dozen). No, he felt bad because of all of the other people that didn’t see the things that he saw.

Selma left her office that night, not hoping she would live, but also not thinking she would die.

It’s funny, right? Who leaves at the end of the day hoping they would live?

It was, in fact, the least possible thought from her mind. But Selma Watkins, through the unfortunate circumstances of being a person in the wrong place-wrong time point of her life, was going to die tonight.

Selma came out of her office building like any other evening that she would have – alone. Somehow, she knew Tommy was watching her. Somehow, Selma Watkins also knew this would be her last night.

And somehow, through the unfortunate magic of the stars, Tommy Hopkins would show up at the dank, empty corridor of her office building and would meet Selma Watkins.

“Hello,” Tommy would ask, to the only person standing across from him.

“Hi,” Selma replied, paralyzed, as she knew who he was (or at least who he might be).

“Nice night, right?” she asked as it somehow (intuitively) was a mark of her knowing her fate, but somehow stalling at the same time.

“This night is simply…lovely,” he would smile to his latest victim before saying, “Selma.”

Knowing the immediacy of the situation, Selma (fearing for her life), would turn to run.

Tommy, anticipating the situation and the ‘type’ of his victims that would turn, spins around to grab Selma’s ponytail.

He would reach as far as his arm would go, meeting his fingers around Selma’s hair. Yanking; pulling; he grabs what handle he has on his next victim and pulls her back down, yanking bones and flesh and hair and throwing that beautiful bundle that he’s been searching down to the ground.

Screaming, Selma yells out, “Tommy! Tommy! You’re name’s Tommy, right?”

Frozen, he waits.

“And you’ve been chasing me for a while, right?”

Tommy nods yes.

“Tommy. Thomas,” Selma’s breathing heavy. The kind of heavy that means you might not breathe any more, “You’re missing the whole point.”

“What is the whole point?” Tommy would ask.

Silent, Selma realizes she has no follow up, and her silence is deafening.

Selma reaches her hand up, to block Tommy’s last, final, blow.

And then Selma was alive no more.

And then she was dead.


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