Murder by Moonlight

Murder by Moonlight

“Full Moon Killer strikes again!”

Jonathan Bates shook his head sadly, and clicked on the link for more information. A

serial killer was the most exciting thing to happen in his town, and the townsfolk were

following the story with a morbidly insatiable curiosity.

This month, the wrong-place- wrong-time sucker was Eddie West. A 28 year old child in a

man’s body thanks to a brain-destroying dedication to alcohol and drugs. Eddie still lived

with his parents and, despite the town curfew, was known to seek privacy in the nearby

park in order to pursue his goal of mental and physical destruction. Fortunately for the

late Eddie West, he was all but unconscious already when the killer found him and

decorated his body with punctures and deep slashes. He died without knowing he was


The previous month, poor timid Penny-the- librarian made the fatal decision to take a

shortcut home through the park. Her body was discovered the next morning, so badly

mutilated that identification was initially made based on the library ID which still hung

around her tattered neck.

Before that … Jonathan thought for a minute, and seemed to recall the police finding the

torn remains of some homeless guy who had been having a party for one in the local

cemetery. His body had been so badly savaged, it was at first thought that he had been

attacked by wild animals.

And so on, and so forth.

No-one was a suspect, everyone was a suspect. Neighbour silently contemplated

neighbour; family members reported the “suspicious behaviour” of other family

members. One woman nearly killed her husband with a saucepan when he tried to

sneak into the house after a later-than- anticipated return from the pub. The sports store

could barely keep up with the demand for baseball bats and the like. Jonathan himself

carried a small but efficient switchblade, fifty nine dollars from ebay; half of him feeling

like a dangerous badboy, the other half terrified that ownership was going to get him into


Come late afternoon, full moon or not, the streets were all but deserted. No-one needed

a curfew to tell them that being out after dark was a really, really bad idea.

But still the bodies kept piling up.

Jonathan finished the article, stood and stretched. His little dog, Spike, took it as a sign

that walks were imminent, and ran in excited circles while Jonathan tried to fasten the

lead without getting too badly tangled. It was getting a little late in the afternoon, but he

figured that at least now he didn’t have to worry about being killed for another month.

The whole town seemed to cycle down after the latest murder. Walkers nodded

comfortably at each other as they passed, children screeched in the playground under

the watchful gaze of their mothers as the sky slowly darkened towards evening.

But as the days became weeks, tensions started rising. Leisurely strolls became quick

power-walks, more eye contact was made with the pavement than with other people,

dogs were jerked away from interesting smells and told to hurry up and squeeze one out

so they could all go home.

By the time the first night of the full moon arrived, the curfew was in force and enforced.

Police cars patrolled the streets slowly, shining light into the darkest corners. More than

one amorous couple was rousted from doorways and from behind bushes, and sent on

their way, scowling with frustration and muttering about heavy-handed police state.

By the second night, nerves were at screaming pitch.

Jonathan stood and peered out the window, watching as a police car prowled by. Spike

immediately started running in circles, squeaking under his breath about walks in the


“Sorry, little man” said Jonathan. “It’s just too dangerous. How about a nice double-long

walk tomorrow?”

As with most animals, Spike didn’t quite grasp the concept of delayed gratification. A

normal walk right now was vastly preferable to some amorphous concept of a double-

long walk at some time in the unforeseeable future. There was really no comparison.

Spike’s circling slowly dried up as his excitement ebbed away. His nose and tail drooped

in dull disappointment. He lifted his sad little face to see if Jonathan was joking, and

didn’t like what he saw. Spike slowly lay down with a whimper, the sting of betrayal

evident in every line.

Jonathan caved.

Ten minutes later, disappointment completely forgotten, Spike was out sniffing bushes,

his stumpy tail wagging so furiously that his whole back end swayed.

Jonathan clutched the leash tightly, his ears and eyes working overtime. Killers aside, he

really didn’t want the embarrassment of being sent home by the police. And, human

nature being what it is, he didn’t really believe murder could happen to him.

Now they were at the park, Spike desperate to go in and run around without a lead. And

really, what were the odds that the Full-Moon Killer would be at the exact same spot at

this exact same time …

Very much against his better judgement, Jonathan led Spike into the park and released

the hound.

Spike ran off, trying to sniff everything at once.

Then he stopped, the hackles rising along his neck. A tinny growl erupted from his throat

as he slowly backed up, his tail dropping.

Scuffling noises, a grunt, high pitched breathing, nearly a scream.

Jonathan crept forward, hand on knife, and peered through the bushes.

The bright moonlight revealed a horrifying scene, two figures grappling, a knife flashing

between them.

Jonathan forgot his fear, and charged forward. “Hey! Hey!” he called out (although he

made a mental note to change it to something more scintillating when recounting his

heroism to reporters).

Both figures turned to him, the knife falling between them. The woman collapsed to the

ground and started weeping hysterically, the man ran in Jonathan’s direction, hands

outstretched. Jonathan panicked and lunged forward, his knifeblade flicking out and

plunging effortlessly into the man’s neck. The man sank to the ground, eyes round with

surprise as the life ran out of him.

Jonathan collapsed onto his knees beside the body. It was Andrew from the Post Office.

Who’d have thought it! Andrew was a relative newcomer to the town, telling everyone

who listened (whether they wanted to or not) that he was sick of the rat race, just wanted

to see out his working years in a town community.

He had moved here nearly four months ago … not quite four months … but seven

bodies meant seven months …which meant …

Jonathan’s insides turned to ice when he heard the woman giggle behind him. He hadn’t

even heard her approach. He turned and looked up at her as she stood framed in the

moonlight, knife poised and ready to slice.

Allan Holmes is highly imaginative and loves to brood on the various aspects of human nature and psychology. He is also deeply interested in myths and the fantasy world. He believes that imagination is a magical gift to be kept alive for as long as one lives and is best expressed through

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