Written by Nathan Weaver.
NOTE. This is an early draft of Nathan Weaver's Sweet Sixteen Killer novella, the first in a series of books following the cases of private detective Mercedes Masterson. Please let us know what you think of this early look of the story in the comments below.
Emily Fuller had been trying to find an opportune time to interject into the dinner conversation and ask her mom, Janet, if she could sleepover with her friend, Amy Matthews, the upcoming weekend. But it became clear after thirty minutes of her parents complaining about their respective jobs that it just wasn’t going to happen. So she interrupted her mom during what appeared to be a breath.
“Mom, is it OK if I go hangout with Amy this weekend?” She asked.
Janet looked at her suspiciously. “An overnighter?”
“Yeah.” Emily replied.
“No.” Janet said bluntly without reason.
“Why not?” Emily asked. “We don’t have anything going on.”
“I just don’t want you spending too much time out all night.” Janet said.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Emily asked.
“I know how you two are, you leave the house and go out in all times of the night, doing who knows what.” Janet said. “Her parents are useless and don’t keep track of you two, and I don’t wanna see you get hurt.”
“You mean laid?” Emily shot back.
“I didn’t say that, Emily.”
“You were thinking it,” Emily started, “Jeez, mom, I’m not a whore!”
Bradley, Emily’s dad, finally chimed in with a disapproving tone. “Emily, come on.”
“Come on what, dad?” Emily shouted. “Mom’s over here accusing me and my best friend of hooking or slutting around, and you’re just sitting there with your tail between your legs.”
“What do you do, then?” Janet asked.
“None of your goddamn business, mom!”
“Don’t use the Lord’s name in vain,” Janet chided.
“Screw you.” Emily said and jumped out of her chair. “Is that better?” She raised both of her middle fingers and waved them around in the air. “Not everyone is a slut like you were in high school.” She stormed out of the room as Janet yelled back at her and demanded her to come back and listen to her. Emily slammed her bedroom door, sending crashing sounds and vibrations reverberating throughout the whole house. She grabbed her backpack from her bed and tossed it to the floor. She flopped on her bed and began to text Amy.
[EMILY] moms a witch. wont let me come over this weekend. so pissed.
Emily smiled at the innuendo from her friend. She needed that little reminder that not everyone or everything was against her all the time. The teenage years had not been stacking up to be the best years of her life.
[EMILY] ;) laters
Emily leaned over the side of her bed and rummaged through the pockets on the outside of her backpack. She found her earbuds and put them in. She pulled up some Fiona Apple on her phone and turned it up. She had homework from Mrs. Lincoln's geometry class, but it would have to wait. She needed to decompress after another shootout with her mom.
After a few songs, her eyelids began to grow heavy. By track seven she was fast asleep.
She woke with a jump and tried to open her mouth, but her lips wouldn't separate. She felt her mouth with her hands and discovered duct tape had sealed her lips shut. Before she could remove it or react, a man dressed in black and a ski mask straddled her torso and arms, limiting her movements. He gripped his left palm across the duct tape on her mouth while he repeatedly stabbed her abdomen beneath him. She struggled to be released from his grasp, but she could only wiggle under his weight. The pain was unrelenting. Sharp pain, followed by sharp pain. She didn't have time to account for each wound before the next came.
Her tears fell.
She grew more exhausted with each blow and from her own thrashing under his weight. Her breathing became labored. He had punctured her lung and it filled up with blood. It was only a matter of time.
Fiona Apple continued to sing in her ears.
When Emily felt she could no longer move or resist, he completed his assault on her body. He placed the knife on her nightstand. He leaned into her face and they met eye-to-eye. He watched her eyes as he unzipped and unbuttoned her jeans. He continued to stare into her eyes as he forced her pants down to her ankles. He removed her pants and underwear over her feet, and then stood beside her bed. He slowly panned her legs with his gaze.
Emily noticed he had an erection through his pants. She knew he was going to rape her. But she was too wounded, too crippled, and more than halfway gone. She wanted to scream or bang on the wall, but even blinking felt like a chore. Her mind was flooding with all the people she'd never see again and she started to cry.
He began to stroke himself before climbing on top of her again. He reached for the knife and brought it to him. He spread her legs and made his final assault on Emily using the knife.
After he was finished, after all the damage had been done, he neatly reviewed the area around her bed to make sure he didn't leave behind any incriminating evidence. When he had completed his sweep of the crime scene, he looked at her a final time. One last chance to take his work in. To breathe the smell of a fresh kill.
And just before he left, he whispered, “Happy birthday.”
After he left, she opened her eyes. He had taken her for dead during his final assault. She painfully and slowly peeled back enough duct tape so she could call for help. She could only let out a whimper, nothing audible enough for her parents to hear in their bedroom.
Emily wanted to run to her parents. Scream for help. Anything. She slowly reached about her bed with her hands, trying to find something to help. Something that could help remove the pain. That's when she realized Fiona Apple was still singing in her ear. Only a single song had passed since waking. She was on track eight.
She followed the earbud cable through the blankets, sheets, and blood. She found her phone. It was wet with blood, but it lit up nonetheless. She could tell she was about to pass out, and she figured it would be her last sleep. The big one.
Using the cable of the earbuds she pulled the phone closer to herself. She got it as far as her hip, and had to stop. She was giving out. She spoke as loud as she could.
The music stopped and she heard a sound that indicated her personal assistant was listening.
“Text Mom, 'I love you.'”
“OK,” Cortana spoke back to her through her earbuds. “Here's what I have, 'Text Mom, I love you.' Would you like to send it, or would you like to try again?”
“Send.” Emily said.
“Your message has been sent.” Cortana replied.
Emily sighed a breath of relief as she closed her eyes and welcomed death.