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June 2008 Volume 10 , Issue 6 submit to us!

by Dustin Neill -- Contributing Author [Email This Story]

"Before we start, let me just say that I know what you’re thinking because all the other guys before you have thought the same thing: what reason or motive did I have for doing these things? Am I right? Well, I could try to tell you, but you’d probably just call me crazy. Just like everyone else. All I can say is that if you tried it, you wouldn’t be able to stop either. That adrenaline rush is more addictive than heroin or cocaine. But I think there is a big difference between my addiction and those other ones. You know how most drug addicts go to rehab or whatever? Well, if I could do this for the rest of my life, I wouldn’t have the slightest hesitation. But even if I did want to stop, they don’t have rehab for guys like me. We’re a rare breed.

"The first time I did it, I didn’t do it for fun like the later ones--I did it for revenge. There was this stupid prick bastard who screwed me out of my share of money; a lot of money, actually. I couldn’t let him get away with it. I schemed for what seemed like a lifetime, learning his schedule so completely that I knew he went to the bathroom every day between 1:33 and 1:58 in the afternoon.

"Then the day finally came. I’d been waiting for, I don’t know, two months or so by then, trying to make the plan as perfect as possible. In the late afternoon that day, I broke into his apartment and waited for him to come home, hiding in the coat closet right across from the front door. The wait was almost unbearable, but it got me so jacked up that I was ready for him when he opened the door. I surprised him and punched him in the face as hard as I could, and the pussy was knocked out cold. Do you believe that? It only took one hit. I was a little disappointed, you know, I was looking forward to at least a little bit of a struggle. But I picked him up, sat him in one of his kitchen chairs, and tied him up tight. I gagged him so he couldn’t make a sound, and he came to when I threw a bucket of cold water in his face.

"The first thing I let him see was the blade of the knife. He tried to scream, but all that came out was a muffled mess thanks to the wad of dirty socks I had stuffed in his mouth. His eyes were what really got me excited, though. They were so big, so afraid, and I was the one who caused it. I smiled and let out a short bark of laughter, then drew dollar signs on his forehead, talking to him as I did so. I’d say some shit like, ‘you steal from me and I’ll steal from you,’ or, ‘you can’t screw anyone over now, can you?’ You know, really stupid shit, but it sounded fine at the time, and I think it was better than saying nothing. Before it actually happened, I wanted him to know beyond a doubt that he was going to die that night. The blood from the cuts on his forehead dripped down into his eyes. I’ve learned since then that seeing their own blood is the easiest way to get these assholes scared. Most of them actually cry when the blood reaches their eyes. It’s really quite amusing. Well when this guy started crying, I just couldn’t help it. I burst out laughing right in his face, and that made him cry even harder. I circled around behind him and wrapped him in a headlock. I drew my initials, DC, into each cheek, kind of like an artist signs his masterpiece, and his stifled screams that only I could hear made me very happy. I backed off and stayed out of his sight until his muffled cries died down to silence. His head was swiveling around looking for me, and he must have thought I was gone because he got really quiet and tried to loosen the rope around his arms like I wasn’t even there. I smiled and reached into my pocket to pull out an old D string from a violin and walked up behind him without a sound. I wrapped it around his neck and pulled as hard as I could.

"The dying process actually lasted much shorter than I thought it would, but it felt like a lifetime and I loved it. It took less than five minutes for his limbs to stop jerking, but those were the greatest five minutes of my life. I loosened my grip and pulled the string out of the inch-deep gash now in his throat and walked over to the sink to wash it off before I left. I had never before felt such a deep satisfaction until those five minutes. I think that’s what really made me want to do it again and again . . . 

"Well, doc, that was my favorite one, but I can tell you about the other eighty-seven cases if you’d like. I remember each of them just as well."

"That won’t be necessary, Derek." Dr. Ron Jamison had the look of someone who was trying his hardest to control his emotions, but was failing miserably. He stared across the table at the man who would spend the rest of his life in the prison, or be transferred to a mental institution, only because Michigan did not have the death penalty. It was sad that someone so young could show such a lack of compassion. The file he had glanced at briefly before this meeting indicated that Derek Clark, a.k.a. the "DC Killer," arrested less than two years previously, had turned 26 years old only two months ago, and yet here he was confessing to murdering eighty-eight people. After listening to the story and observing Clark’s own reactions, or lack thereof, Dr. Jamison could not quite tell if this man was crazy. The fact that he was one of the worst serial killers in United States history indicated that he should be insane, but there was something about his eyes that separated him from any of the other criminals whom he had diagnosed. "I just have a couple more questions to ask you for this first meeting."

"Sure, doc, but I could really use a cold glass of water first if you don’t mind."

"Not a problem." Dr. Jamison glanced over at the two-way mirror to his right and within minutes the door opened and a guard brought in two glasses of ice water. He set them down in front of the two men at the table and left without a word.

Clark picked up the glass and took a long swig of the cold water while Dr. Jamison took a quick sip, too eager to move on with the questioning to worry about having a drink. When Clark set down the empty glass the doctor asked, "May we proceed?"


"How did you get away with these killings for so long, and how were you eventually caught?"

"It really wasn’t a long time that I got away with it, you know, only four years."

"Right, my apologies. Let me rephrase that: how did you kill so many people without getting caught?"

"I actually wonder about that, too. For at least the last two years, I think the cops all across the state had a good idea what I looked like from people who’d seen me around the time of the killings in each city. I mean, I never hid my face or anything, so I figured they’d eventually piece enough together to get a good drawing of my face. Anyways, I guess I was never caught because I never killed more than once in the same place and didn’t leave any patterns or clues where I’d kill next--"

"Well then how were you caught?"

"I was just getting to that. Like I said, I wasn’t leaving any patterns except for my initials that I carved into everybody. I mean, the people I killed were all different: men, women, tall, short, skinny, fat, black, white--it just didn’t matter to me. The only way I could have been caught is by pure chance--and so it happened. I was getting ready for my 89th and I got picked up at a bar. I had had too many drinks and I ended up punching the bartender for one reason or another. Before I knew it, the police were there and they took me to jail. They matched my mug shot to the descriptions they had of the DC Killer, and I’ve been here ever since." He stared off into nowhere with a look of disgust on his face.

"I see. One last question: have you ever, since your first victim, felt any sense of regret or remorse?"

Clark paused and seemed to consider the question. "Can I be honest with you?"

"Of course."

He glanced over at the mirror, then leaned forward in his chair and looked straight into Dr. Jamison’s eyes. "Not for a second. In fact if I could do it all over again, I would in half a heartbeat."

Their eyes locked, neither one willing to break the bond. Dr. Jamison looked into the killer’s eyes, his gaze deep and searching, looking for even a hint to tell him that the man was crazy, but not finding it. Derek Clark remained as unreadable as before.

Dr. Jamison finally broke the connection and stood up, closed his briefcase, and nodded again in the direction of the mirror. The door opened and two guards entered to take his place as he left with Clark shouting behind him, "See you later, doc." He met the prison warden in the hallway.

"So Dr. Jamison, what do you think?"

"That’s a broad question, sir. What do I think about what?"

"What do you mean ‘about what?’ About Clark for Gods sake."

"Well, what about him?"

"What the hell’s the matter with you? What’s your diagnosis?"

"Sir, I can’t give a diagnosis after only one visit with a patient. No psychologist could do that accurately. It takes weeks, sometimes months of observation."

"Well, damn it, then what are your initial reactions?"

"Sir, would it be possible to continue this discussion at a later time? I’ve got a couple of patients coming in late today and I need to get back to my office soon to see them. I’ve already rescheduled twice, and it would be unfair to do it again." This was, in fact, a lie. His offices were getting ready to close for the night, but he wanted to read over the file of Derek Clark again.

The warden excused him, and he drove to his office. Upon arriving, he flipped on the overhead light, closed and locked the door behind him, and made his way over to the mini-bar in the corner of the office. He poured himself two fingers of Jack Daniels and walked over to the couch against the opposite wall. Sitting down, he let his thoughts absorb him, contemplating his encounter with the infamous DC Killer and thinking about why he had ever got into psychology.

Since a very young age, he had been fascinated with the workings of the human mind, particularly how the mind of a criminal worked. What did a murderer think about when he killed another person? What went through the mind of a rapist or a child molester to drive them to commit such an act? As far back as high school, he had realized that when he grew up he wanted to work as some sort of criminal psychologist to settle his curiosity, and he had worked extremely hard to achieve his goal.

He walked over to his desk where Clark’s file had been dropped off earlier in the day, and sat down. It had come just as he was getting ready to go to the prison for the interview and he was only able to take a quick glance at it. He now rifled through the pages trying to see what the police had pieced together about the puzzle that was Derek Clark.

Everything gathered in the file pointed to a relatively normal childhood. Most, if not all the killers he had worked with and read about came from a family environment where the parents were drug addicts, or the mother was a prostitute, or there were no parents at all. He had two parents and no other siblings. Neither parent had so much as a parking ticket on their record. He didn’t live in a bad neighborhood, and he went to some of the better public schools in the area. He had violent outbursts in school, but they were spaced out and never too serious. He did not attend college, and moved away from his parents as soon as he was out of high school and had not once contacted them. This was the one big incident of a violent outburst that Derek had shown before disappearing. According to Mr. and Mrs. Clark, they had argued with Derek concerning his decision not to continue his schooling. The argument had ended when Derek turned over the dining room table and proceeded to smash anything he could get his hands on. While the parents hid in the bedroom, Derek left and apparently never looked back.

The phone rang, one short beep followed by a long, drawn out blast, signifying a call from outside the building. He picked it up. "Dr. Jamison."

"Doctor, this is Officer Freedman over at the prison."

"Oh hello Dan, how are you this evening?"

"Well, I’ve been better sir, we’ve got a situation over here."

Dr. Jamison wasn’t sure why a situation over at the prison should affect him at this time of day, so he kept reading over the file as he asked, "What kind of problem Dan?"

"An escaped prisoner from maximum security, sir. Your newest patient, Mr. Clark."

There was a long silence between them. Dr. Jamison pushed away the file. "How could that be? I saw him less than an hour and a half ago."

"At the moment, sir, how is not as important to us as getting him back into our custody. Now I’m calling to let you know that we received a possible sighting, and we expect to have him within a couple hours. We believe that his intention is to get out of town, but since you’re his new doctor, we’re going to have a couple police officers escort you home and search the house for you. If and when it is determined that Clark is not in there, the officers will stand watch outside your house for any sign of him until he is back behind bars."

"That’s very considerate of you guys, Dan, and I really appreciate it. When can I expect the officers to be here to take me home?"

"I’ve already dispatched them to your office, so they should actually be there within the next five to ten minutes."

"Okay, I’ll wrap up my work here really quick and I’ll meet them in the parking lot. Thanks again, Dan." He hung up the phone and leaned back in his chair. So Clark had escaped, he thought. Would he try to get the hell out of Dodge, or would he come for me? He gathered up all the loose papers on his desk and stuffed them all into his briefcase.

He got out to the parking lot just as the police car came to a stop. Two officers got out of the car as Dr. Jamison approached and they shook hands. "Hello Doctor," the driver said. "My name’s Officer Tom Bennett, and this is Officer Jim Harper."

"Nice to meet you guys, although it’s a shame that we’re meeting under these circumstances."

"That it is, sir."

"So I understand you’re here to escort me home?

"Yes, sir."

"Does that mean I’ll be driving my car home and you’ll follow me in yours to my house?"

"Actually, sir, I’m to be driving you home in the cruiser, and if you’re okay with it, Harper here is going to follow us in your car."

"Very well. What do you say we get going?"

"That’s fine with me, sir."

Dr. Jamison handed his keys to Harper, and then got into the passenger seat of the police car next to Bennett. The fifteen-minute drive to his house was made in complete silence until they pulled into the driveway. Bennett turned in his seat to Dr. Jamison and said, "Unfortunately, sir, you’re going to have to come in with us when we search the house. I can’t risk leaving you out here on your own."

Dr. Jamison nodded.

"Now when we go in, you and I are going to stay off to the side while Harper searches the house. When he gives the all clear, we’ll leave you about your business and we’ll be outside patrolling."

Again, Dr. Jamison nodded.

"Okay, let’s go." They both got out of the car and joined Harper, cautiously approaching the front door. Bennett and Dr. Jamison stood aside as Harper drew his gun, unlocked the door and went in. The two men followed and stood tensely in the corner of the living room as Harper began the search. There was silence as he explored every room on the main floor. He came back to them and whispered, "This floor’s all clear. I’m going upstairs next, then I’ll head down to the basement." The men nodded and Harper was off again. They heard a gentle creak and watched as he disappeared up the stairs . . . then there was nothing.

The silence seemed to stretch on and on, each moment becoming more nerve-racking than the one before. Bennett was anxious. "Something’s wrong," he said. "It shouldn’t be taking him so long."

Dr. Jamison said nothing, but looked toward the kitchen where there was the staircase to the basement.

"Wait here, I’m going to go check if he’s okay." Bennett took three steps forward, then stopped. They could now hear the gentle creak again, this time coming down the stairs. He raised his gun. The sound grew nearer and nearer until the figure of Harper came into view. Bennett lowered his gun and let out a deep breath, just as a louder swoosh filled the air and Harper’s throat exploded in a shower of deep red. The force of the knife sent the officer back up a couple of steps before he plummeted down to the bottom and lay still.

Bennett was in complete shock, but tried to raise his weapon in the direction of the kitchen where a shadow of a man could be seen. As he leveled the gun, Dr. Jamison plunged his pocketknife into the side of his neck and held it there. Bennett’s eyes grew wide and he looked at Dr. Jamison in complete awe. He tried to speak, but could not choke anything out.

"You look surprised, Officer. Don’t you know that experimentation is the best way to settle your curiosity? Sometimes theories aren’t enough." He twisted the knife deeper into Bennett’s neck, and then pulled it out to let the body slump to the floor. He stood back and admired his handiwork.

"Jesus Christ, Ronny, why the fuck did you bring two cops over here?"

Ronny looked up from the dead body to see Derek Clark approaching. "I didn’t want to do it, dumb ass. They offered to give me a police escort. What was I supposed to say, ‘no that’s okay, I’ll take my chance with the escaped murderer.’ Are you really that stupid? Jesus, use your brain for once."

"All right, all right. How about we argue when we get out of here. They’re going to expect this guy’s report in the next few minutes."

Ronny wiped some of Officer Bennett’s blood off of his hands and said, "All right, here’s what we’ll do. We’ll throw around some of the smaller furniture in the living room so it looks like I put up a good struggle. We’ll both disappear, and they’ll think you kidnapped me."

Clark pondered the plan briefly and replied, "Yeah, that could work. All right, you’ve got some blood on your face and in your hair, so go grab a change of clothes and wash up, and I’ll get started here. Hurry up--you’ve got five minutes, tops."

"Okay, I’m going. By the way, that was a really nice throw."

"Thanks. We put on a good show at the prison today, didn’t we?"

"Yeah, we really did." Ronny ran to the bathroom, stripped down and jumped in the shower for thirty seconds. He got out and ran to his bedroom to change and was ready to leave within three minutes. "Are you ready here?"

"Yeah I think so. How does it look?"

"Like I put up a hell of a fight. Let’s go." They ran out to the police car and jumped in, Derek in the driver’s seat, and Ronny jumping in beside him after throwing his bloodstained clothes in the back seat. In the distance, they heard police sirens sounding as they drove away.

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Features -- June 2008 -- Beginning Month Issue