The Captured Art of a Flash-Bulb Murderer


He isn’t sure how much it affects the heart rate, or whether it’s before or after they die when they soil themselves. Often he’d lay on his bed alone and think – a pastime he’d accepted when he’d started. The self-inflicted loneliness is both a blessing and a curse – about his victims. Through thought he would normalise it: Their bodies have no time to prepare for death, but their deaths have plentiful time to be prepared. A beautiful contrast. In his mind, death was just a universal force that he’d learned to control. He’d learned to inverse it. He had mastered the art of taking life away, and with it the art of letting himself live.

Turning over on the bare mattress his eyes moved, as they always did, to the photos on the wall. They kept what he did real; they documented the past, and encouraged a future. Each was a testament to his power. Each was a photo of  a victim in the moment before death.

He delighted in the fact that none of the photos showed the blood or the wounds of his victims, or the weapons used to kill them. To him, this was a feat. Verification of his power. All that he preyed on, bar the opportunity to execute his power, was the last moment of his victim. The terrifying moment in which they knew they were about to die.

Photos of muffled screams and eyes that seemed to transcend the paper and ink which made them. Eyes which lived on, in an immortalised and celebrated moment, far beyond the last breath of those to whom they belonged. The wall had become to him a living fresco of delight and death through which he maintained a sullen yet glorifying pride. The screams, the blood, the agony. The conscious moment of imminent annihilation.

The sights and sounds of those moments pervaded the room, replacing the loneliness his task had aimed to destroy. In these photos he gained reason to live, reason to continue with his art. This was, after his self-satisfying art, a second success. His life and their deaths. The curse and the blessing.

He sat up, picked up his old Polaroid, and felt the shape of his pocket-knife through his jeans.

Then he left.