Monday, October 8, 2018
By Daniel Skye
Jody sat in the very back of the theater, just as he always did. Even in a packed theater, not many people would opt to sit there. And that pretty much guaranteed a whole row of empty seats. Jody valued his personal space. He didn’t have many friends. The kids at school knew nothing about him or his family. Even to his teachers, he was an enigma. And that’s how he preferred it.
The house lights dimmed and the previews rolled. And all the standard noises soon followed. The sounds of muffled conversations, ringing cellphones, people munching on handfuls of popcorn or tearing open bags of candy.
The boy was very observant for his age. And he observed a man glancing periodically over his shoulder in Jody’s direction. At first, Jody thought he was waiting for somebody. But as the previews concluded and the movie title flashed across the screen, it became apparent that the man was alone. And he had his eye on Jody.
The boy was short and scrawny, with a ruddy complexion and a smattering of golden brown freckles across his rosy cheeks. But as a loner, he was very aware of his surroundings at all times, and he knew how to look after himself, watch his own back. He gave it thirty minutes, then abandoned his popcorn and soda and slipped out the dark theater, hoping to avoid the man that had been watching him.
He was three blocks from the theater when a white panel van pulled up beside him. The passenger window rolled down and the driver leaned over. Jody recognized the driver as the man from the theater.
“Hey, do you need a ride?” the man asked with a benevolent smile.
The boy remained silent, studying the man, sizing him up.
“Hop in. I’ll take you home if that’s where you’re heading. It sure beats walking. And I have candy. Do you like butterscotch?”
The boy considered his options. Then he shrugged internally and thought, what the hell? Why not?
The man leaned over again to open the door and Jody climbed into the passenger seat and accepted individually wrapped butterscotch's from the man. He unwrapped one and sucked on it, grinning from ear to ear. His parents would be so proud of him. They would eat well tonight.
They would pick his bones clean, then grind them to dust. Nothing would be left for the police to find. Not that they would look. The cops never looked too hard for people like this man. Nobody would miss him.
The boy slipped one hand in his pocket and felt around until his fingers found the syringe. A quick injection was all it would take. Then the man would sleep forever. It wouldn’t even hurt.
Well, maybe just a little.