Serial killers. What image springs to mind when you hear those words? Crazy, wide eyed freaks? Mad, unkempt hair maybe? A top hat and black cloak if you’re in to that era? Or what about a limp and a glass eye, with a blood stained handkerchief hanging from a pair of shabby trousers?
No? Ok, of course not, because as we all know, looks can be deceiving and if we’re going for cliches why not throw in the old favourite about never judging a book by it’s cover. However you say it, we all know that spotting a serial killer is not that easy.
That’s how Janice and Doug have gotten away with it for so long. Janice and Doug. Such nice, ordinary names don’t you think? They look the part too. Both in their fifties, both relatively fit and healthy. Doug still runs every week, and fits in the odd game of five aside football with his old uni buddies when he can. Janice enjoys pottering in her garden and swims three times a week. Just your average, run of the mill couple really…well, apart from the odd spot of murder.
It started innocently enough, as these things do I believe. I don’t think murder was on either of their minds that humid summers evening. Doug had been out for a run, leaving it until after sunset to try and avoid the heat of the day. It wasn’t ideal, but with a 10k to run the month after he needed to keep his training up or his legs just wouldn’t have the miles in them come race day. Janice had been in the garden, watering the plants once the sun had disappeared, it having been a particularly hot day.
Doug was under a stream of cooling, soothing water when he felt the draught of the bathroom door being flung open. He squinted with one eye and saw Janice coming towards him, a look of sheer panic on her face. He could see that she was terrified, on the verge of passing out. He opened the shower doors and reached for his towel, then grabbed his wife just as she fell. He placed her on the toilet seat and, steadying her gently, wrapped the towel around his dripping body. She looked up at him and managed only three words…’dangerous, kitchen, help’.
He can’t say why he grabbed for his football boot as he raced from their en suite shower room that evening, but with metal studs adorned to the sole they were a formidable weapon.
He made his way downstairs and crept silently through the spacious house towards the kitchen. The only sound to be heard was his own heart. He reached the kitchen door which was ajar and peering furtively through the crack he saw him. An intruder. A dirty, filthy, useless object. Defiling their home, no respecter of privacy or decency. Doug felt a burning rising in his head and a rage like never before. It was coursing through his veins and before he had time to think he charged into the kitchen screaming, brandishing the lethal boot.
Upstairs, Janice, having gotten herself to the sink and splashed cold water on her face, was feeling more like her old self. That is until she heard the screaming. The colour, just starting to return to her face, swiftly disappeared again but she knew this time there was no Doug to catch her so, steading herself against the sink she wobbled out of the shower room and made her way down stairs.
Doug was coming slowly out of the kitchen, football boot still in hand. He was wet still from his shower, or maybe it was sweat from whatever had just taken place in the kitchen. He was certainly breathing in a very heavy manner. He looked at Janice and said, in a quiet, calm voice ‘he’s dead, i killed him’.
No one really knows what took place between husband and wife that first night. What recriminations were flung about we will never know. How the body was disposed of is known, to this day, only to them. The one thing that we know for sure is that Janice must have reconciled herself to the fact that her husband was a killer. How else can you explain the fact that for years to come they embarked on a joint killing spree?
There is a part of me, on retelling this story, that feels an empathy with Doug and Janice.
Oh, I know what you’re thinking, it’s not right, to take a life, I agree, but honestly…….
How many of us have killed those bloody wasps in the summer???