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Heart Beats

People sometimes take care of family because they're family.

And sometimes, vengeance is just an excuse for doing what you like best.

Heart Beats by Chase Whale

My knife has a lot of secrets, and I’m going to tell you one.

First I need to tell you about my Grandaddy. He served in Vietnam when he was only 18-years-old — was sent home shortly after it begun. During a fight, he caught a grenade from a Viet Cong and threw it away from his comrades. His reflex wasn’t swift enough — it blew up a few feet in front of him, taking his pinky, index, and pointer finger, and the shrapnel did a number on his face real good. Imagine that; he forever had to give the finger to the world. The war made it so.

When he got back, he made good on his promise and married my Memaw, Laverne. They sure did build a life together, those two. This very house we are in, my Grandpa created with seven fingers and six of his comrades. It took them a little under a year of non-stop work. Rain, snow, heat — my Grandpa was building his palace regardless.

He finished in 1971. They lived here happy, content, and blissfully in love, until three months ago, December 10, 2016, when you killed them.

You were good at murder. I bet you thought you’d never get caught, especially by the grandson, who also kills for sport, just like you. You must have had it well-planned out. No scent of you found, and the cops are still scratching their heads. But you and I are the same, and someone who kills for sport will always be in the crowd when the police, media, and the neighborhood show up, just for the thrill. To be there, hiding in plain sight. Hello, motherfuckers, it’s me, the one who killed the people you suckers are hoping to get a peek at. 

Hubris is our biggest flaw.

It was fun fucking with you in the beginning — showing up at your apartment while you were sound asleep, blindfolding you then slicing your tendons with this blade. You were clueless and so angry at the person responsible for dismembering your vessel. My favorite was choking you with a rope from behind your car until you passed out. How many times did I do that? Three?

You are a sluggish prey. It got boring. And here we are. I’m ready to end our relationship now.

As I push the knife—hush now, nobody can hear you scream with that used sock duck taped inside your mouth; you know how this works—as I push the knife into your heart, I want you to think of my Grandaddy and Memaw and the life you could have had but threw away. You ready?

It’s OK; you’ll bleed out and die, and I’ll be on my way. Oh, don’t worry, I’ll make it look like the guilt chewed and chewed at your heart for murdering two innocent elderlies. You snuck back in and stabbed yourself in the heart right where you murdered them. Cops will think it was one of those weird sacrifice rituals or just plain remorse. Doesn’t matter — you and I will know how you died: painfully, while someone watched. Me. That gives me chills just thinking about it. 

Good-bye, my dude. It’s been fun. 

Chase Whale is a graduate of the University of North Texas' Creative Writing B.A. program. He's a film critic and crime fiction writer, and you can find his work on Out of the Gutter, ScreenAnarchy, Indiewire, MTV, Flaunt Magazine, and other places. Yes, his name is really Chase Whale. More on